Friday, September 30, 2011

Charles E. Thompson - born Sept. 30, 1843

Charles E. Thompson was born Sept. 30, 1843 in South Hadley Falls, to Francis W. and Mary W. (Gilbert) Thompson. 

Charles lived in West Brookfield from a very young age and attended local schools.  He entered the shoe trade, as a young man.

He saw service during the Civil War enlisting as a Private in Co. D, 34th MA on 27 July 1862, and continuing to serve until his transfer out in Harpers Ferry, VA on Sept. 6. 1864.  That same day, he joined the Co. H of the 22nd VRC (Veterans Reserve Corps) as a Corporal, and continued his service until the end of the war.  He was discharged in Columbus, Ohio. [July 1, 1865]  He suffered from rheumatism and heart disease while serving in Harpers Ferry in 1864 according to records from  the US National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866 - 1938 database found on

It is unclear what Charles did immediately after his discharge in 1865, but he eventually returned to West Brookfield and married Emma Jane Bigelow there, on May 3, 1871.   The 1880 census in West Brookfield shows that Charles had returned to the boot trade, and that his wife had given birth to two daughters.  Estella, was born in 1872, and Carrie was born in 1874.

Charles applied for Civil War Pension as an invalid Sept. 5, 1890.  He was admitted to  the U. S. National Home for Volunteer Soldiers in Togus, Maine, in 1892, but was discharged dishonorably "for drunkenness and bringing liquor into the home with intent to distribute," in 1893.  He may have stayed in Maine where he died in Oakland, Kennebec County on December 23, 1906.  He was buried in Oakland, according to Maine records.

Emma Bigelow Thompson lived in West Brookfield until her death in 1937.  Daughter Carrie married William Edward Dixon in 1894 and moved away.  Estella, known to me as "Stella" stayed in town and never married.  She spent the last nine years of her life at Quaboag Nursing Home and died at Mary Lane Hosptial in Ware at the age of 99.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

James Joyce - born September 28, 1866 - When and where did he die?

James Joyce, son of William and Julia (Hyland) Joyce, was born in West Brookfield on September 28, 1866.  He was enumerated in West Brookfield a the time of the 1920 census, and was probably the unnamed brother, aged 63, enumerated with Elizabeth Joyce in 1930.  The August 3, 1941 obituary of his nephew, William Edward Joyce, found in the Springfield Sunday Union and Republican, page 14A, named James and his sister Elizabeth as surviving relatives living in West Brookfield.

Please leave a comment, or contact me privately, if you have additional information about James, or the Joyce family of West Brookfield.

Jerome P. Ducy/Ducey - born Sept. 28, 1862

West Brookfield Vital Records show the birth, Sept. 28, 1862, of Jeremiah Ducy, son of James, Shoemaker, & Mary Martin, both born Ireland.  He was the seventh child in a family of eleven children.  He is called Jerome in the 1870 census in West Brookfield, and also in 1880, when at age 17, he was working in a boot shop.  After the death of his father James in 1890, Jerome, along with his mother and sisters moved to Worcester.  Jerome's mother Mary died in Worcester in 1899, and he continued to live there with his sisters.  The 1900 census taker enunmerated the family on Bancroft St.  Jerome, enumerated as Patrick, was working as a shoe stitcher.  Patrick and his sisters Mary, Martha, and Agnes lived on 20 Stoneland Rd. in 1910.  Patrick was employed in a shop as a machinist.

Sadly Jerome Patrick Ducy died of Lobar Pneumonia on April 27, 1913.  The record of his death included the following information: Patrick J. Ducey of Worcester, born West Brookfield, son of James and Mary (Gilmartin) both born Ireland, died at 20 Stoneland Rd. on 27 April 1913, of Lobar Pneumonia,, and was buried Apr. 29, 1913 in Sacred Heart Cemetery,  West Brookfield.  He was a stitcher for Warren Leather Goods.

A notice in the Springfield Daily Republican of April 30, 1913 read, "The body of Jerome P. Ducey, a former resident of West Brookfield, was taken there for burial yesterday morning for burial in Sacred Heart cemetery."  The notice also stated that he was born in West Brookfield.  Siblings who survived him were named as Frank [John Francis] Ducey of San Francisco, James Ducey of Brockton, and sisters Mrs. Kate Fitzpatrick, and the misses Mary, Marie, Mattie, and Agnes Ducey, all of Worcester.

[There were two families in West Brookfield with the name of Ducey or Ducy.  These families seem to have been unrelated.  The family of James Ducy, which included Jerome Patrick, most often spelled the name DUCY.  The family of John Ducey, most often spelled the name DUCEY. ]

More information about these and other West Brookfield families may be found at

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Alvin M. Thompson and Mary Rice Bigelow - married Sept. 27, 1843 in North Brookfield

Alvin M. Thompson, born Feb. 22, 1823 in Brookfield, son of William and Ormacinda (Moore) Thompson, married Mary Rice Bigelow, daughter of Jonas Bigelow and Nancy Maynard.  The marriage was performed by Rev. Dr. Snell of the Congregational Church in North Brookfield on Sept. 27, 1843.

Alvin and Mary had four children including Ella Medora, who married Myron Sherman, twins Elnora and Nellie who died at six months old, and Henry Moore Thomspon who married Charlotte H. Maars.

Alvin enlisted in 1862, as a Private in Co. K of the 36th MA Infantry.  He was taken prisoner at Campbell's Station on Nov. 11, 1863 and supposed to have died at Andersonville Prison on March 4, 1864.

Mary died in West Brookfield on May 4, 1902, and is buried in North Brookfield.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Leander Trowbridge Chamberlain born September 26, 1838

Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915, and online database of record extractions provides that Leander Trowbridge Chamberlain was born or christened in Brookfield, Worcester, MA in August of 1837.  His parents were Eli Chamberlain and Achsah.  His obituary provides a birth date of Sept. 26, 1838.

Rev. Chamberlain graduated as Valedictorian from both Phillips Academy and Yale.  He enlisted as assistant paymaster in the Navy on the day he graduated from Yale, and was sent to the South Pacific.  He was promoted to the office of naval storekeeper and later, judge advocate of the fleet.

He graduated from Andover Theological Seminary in 1869, and became pastor of the New England Congregational church in Chicago.  His parish was in the the center of the great fire in 1871 and he became superintendent of the relief association. Rev. Chamberlain left Chicago in 1876 to become pastor of the Broadway Congregation Church in Norwich, Connecticut.  He received his doctor of divinity degree from the University of Vermont in June of 1879.  In 1883 Rev. Dr. Chamberlain became pastor of the Casson Avenue, Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, NY where he preached until the day before his marriage when he left for Philadelphia.

Records show that a marriage license was obtained in Philadelphia, PA in 1890 and that the intended bride's name was Lea.(index no. 39554).  The New York Herald - Tribune of December 30, 1890 names the bride as Frances Lea, a sister of writer Henry Carey Lea, and gives details about the wedding that is to happen in Philadelphia that very day. Sadly. Frances Chamberlain died in early March of 1894.

Throughout his life Rev. Chamberlain continued to preach throughout the nation and served in numerous capacities in New York City and elsewhere.  He founded the Brooklyn institute of arts and sciences, and was President of the Untied States Evangelical alliance.   He was also president and secretary of the American and Foreign Missionary union.  He was vice president of the Immigration Committee of the Civic Federation in 1909 and spoke in opposition to further restrictions on immigration, stating that the immigration laws at the time were sufficient to protect the county from undesirable foreigners.

Leander was a resident of Pasadena, California when he died in Altadina on May 9, 1913.  He was buried with his wife in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, PA.  Dr. Chamberlain left $63,000 to religious, benevolent and scientific organizations.  He also gave $100,000 to an institute in Turkey which he had projected and fostered.

Rev. Dr. Chamberlain was the brother of the Honorable Daniel Henry Chamberlain, once governor of South Carolina.  Dr. Chamberlain preached or spoke in West Brookfield numerous times,  including at the dedication of the Meriam Public Library in 1880.

Friday, September 16, 2011

William Adams - Born Sept. 16, 1824 - Was Civil War Casualty

William Adams was one of three sons of Benjamin Adams and Frances Holmes who fought in the Civil War.  The West Brookfield Historical Commission has more information about the Adams brothers on its website at

For more information about the family you can go to
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More information on this or any West Brookfield family is always welcome.

Lucius Phelps Chamberlain - Born Sept. 16, 1830

Lucius Phelps Chamberlain was born in Brookfield, Massachusetts on September 16, 1830 to Eli and Achsah Chamberlain.  The eighth of ten children, he was the brother of Daniel Henry Chamberlain, and Rev. Dr. Leander Chamberlain, both of whom achieved national prominence.  Educated in local schools, Lucius continued his schooling at Amherst Academy.  He taught school for several years, after which he was employed at the State Reformatory at Westboro, MA, for a period of four years. Lucius left Westboro to be come farm superintendent at the Connecticut State School for boys. 

He married Eliza A. Merriman in Meriden, Connecticut on April 5, 1859 and lived in Meriden, CT for twenty-five years, serving once as a member of the Common Council there. In 1884 he became a professor of agriculture at the Connecticut Agricultural College at Storrs where he stayed until1902.  Lucius moved to the Hartford area in 1902 and to Rocky Hill in 1910.  He died in Rocky Hill on February 25, 1916, and was buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery in Meriden. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Charlotte Tomblin Fales born September 14, 1871

Charlotte Tomblin Fales was born in West Brookfield on September 14, 1871.  Her parents were George H. Fales and Laurinda Tomblin, both West Brookfield natives.  Charlotte graduated from the music department of Wesleyan Academy in Monson (later Monson Academy) in 1891.  An accomplished pianist and organist, she served the Congregational church in West Brookfield for a total of fifty years, retiring in 1963.  She also was the organist for the Ware Congregational Church for a time.

Charlotte was an active member of the West Brookfield Congregational Church where she belonged to the social and charitable society; as well as, the parish auxiliary.  She was also a Red Cross volunteer and a member of the Quaboag Historical Society.

Miss Fales died February 17, 1971 in her home on Main St. at the age of ninety-nine.  She was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery.

The West Brookfield Historical Commission has a file containing information on the Fales family.  The file includes handwritten notes and family trees. Some of the notes were written on small pieces of paper about 2"X 3" probably by Charlotte's sister Marguerita (Fales) Fuguet. The file also contains information on the Tomblin and Rice families. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

George Hammond Brown, born Sept. 3, 1937

George Hammond Brown was born September 3, 1837 to Hammond and Roxy Bemis according to Brookfield Vital Records.  He was educated in local schools, and married Alice Maria Shaw in West Brookfield on September 25, 1865.  George was engaged in the grain business with George Crowell in the firm of Crowell & Brown.  Later, he joined his father, Hammond Brown in a shoe business known as Brown & Son.  Once retired from the shoe business, he farmed in town.

Mr. Brown served the town of West Brookfield  as a selectman, a member of the Common Committee, a constable and a fireman.  He also served as a delegate to the state legislature in the 1880's.

George and Alice had two sons, Herbert Shaw Brown, and George H., Jr.  Alice died in 1915, and George died at his home on South Main Street, on February 2, 1919.  They are buried in Pine Grove Cemetery.