Monday, October 31, 2011

Eli M. Converse - West Brookfield Merchant - born October 31, 1850

Eli M. Converse was born in Brookfield on October 31, 1850.  His parents were James, a shoemaker, born in North Brookfield,  and Mary, born in Brookfield..  Eli spent his boyhood in Brookfield and married Nancy M. Prouty there on May 1, 1878.  Nancy died on October 14, 1883.  On December 20, 1887 Eli married a school teacher from Brookfield named Lucy Maria Dunton.  They moved to West Brookfield probably the following year.  A daughter Elsie was born in 1889 and a son Robert came along in 1891.

Eli was engaged in commerce in West Brookfield, owning and operating a general store in the Wheeler-Conway Block, first with Frank Blodget and then by himself.  The business was sold to Charles O. M. Edson in 1914.

Eli served the town of West Brookfield as a selectman and school committeeman.  He also served in the Massachusetts Legislature in 1911.  He died in his home on School St. on February 24, 1936 after a long illness.  His obituary appeared on page four of the Springfield Daily Republican on February 25, 1936.

Sources: A History of West Brookfield :1674 - 1990 by Jeffrey H. Fiske
Obituary of Eli M. Converse; Springfield Daily Republican, Feb. 25, 1936; p.4
Vital records of Brookfield and West Brookfield, MA

Weekend storm leaves 15" of snow - downed trees, no electricity or phone

Word from family is that there is 15" of snow on the ground, along with many trees and branches.  Power is not expected to be restored until at least Thursday.

Although I remember snow flurries once on Halloween, I do not remember ever having any significant amount of snow in October when I was growing up in West Brookfield.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Orianna Tyler and Eugene Kirkland married Oct. 28, 1891

Orianna Tyler was born in West Brookfield on April 13, 1863.  She was the daughter of George F. and Caroline (Pepper) Tyler.  Orianna married Eugene Kirkland, son of Charles and Elizabeth on October 28, 1891, according to The Tyler Genealogy: The Descendants of Job Tyler, of Andover, Massachusetts, 1619-1700.  No location is given for the marriage, and no record has been located in Massachusetts vital records.

Eugene was born in Huntington, MA on Nov. 14, 1857, according to the Tyler Genealogy.  Huntington vital records show the birth of an unnamed male Kirkland on that date.

 The 1880 census has Eugene living with a brother in Washington State, and the 1900 census has Eugene, Orianna and daughters Helen and Eva living in Colfax, Whitman County Washington.  Daughter Eva died in 1925, Eugene died in 1926, and Orianna lived until Dec. 13, 1954.  I have found no record of Helen after the 1920 census.

Where were Orianna and Eugene married?

What became of Helen Irene Kirkland born Whitman County Washington on April 13, 1895?

Please share the answer if you know it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Alonzo Edmond Gilbert - Born Oct.26, 1846; married Oct. 26, 1871

Alonzo Edmond Gilbert was born in Brookfield on October 26, 1846.  His parents were Nathaniel and Lucy S. (Rich) Gilbert.  Alonzo grew up in West Brookfield and worked in the shoe industry as a young man.  He married Annie May Handy, a native of Readville, ME, on October 26, 1871.  Their marriage is recorded both in Brookfield and West Brookfield vital records.  Since both Alonzo and Annie lived in West Brookfield at the time of the marriage, I suspect that they were married in Brookfield.

Alonzo and Annie had a son, Eugene Alonzo Gilbert, said to have been born in Dover, New Hampshire in 1873. [no record found]  By 1900 the family was back in West Brookfield where Alonzo was employed as a grain and coal dealer.  Annie died in 1910, and Alonzo moved with Eugene's family to Wilbraham sometime between 1910 and 1920.  Alonzo's Death was recorded in Springfield in 1925 in Volume 73, page 434 of Springfield Vital Records.   Eugene and family are found in the 1930 census in Springfield. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lillian Nancy Gilbert - born October 25, 1866

Lillian Nancy Gilbert, daughter of David Wait Gilbert and his wife Sarah Jane (Bush), was born in West Brookfield on Oct. 25, 1866.  The family moved to Boylston by 1869 and to Worcester by 1880.

Lillian married Artliff F. Dunkerton in Worcester on March 15, 1888.  The couple had three children.  Artliff died in Leicester in 1918, but Lillian was was enumerated in the 1930 census with the family of her son Charles in Auburn.  She died in Paxton in 1948.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Edward Clennan - born October 24, 1877

Edward Clennan was born in West Brookfield on October 24, 1877.   His parents  Andrew and Margaret (McEvoy) Clennan were both West Brookfield natives.

Edward worked as a day laborer doing odd jobs in the area and continued living at home until at least 1910, when a young Minnie Frohloff  boarded in the Clennan home in West Brookfield while working as a stitcher in a local corset factory.   Minnie was the daughter of Julius Gustave and Wilhemena (Priebe) Frohloff.  She was born in Massachusetts on Dec. 22, 1891.  Her parents had come from Germany and settled in New Braintree.

According to Edward's World War I Draft Registration Card, dated September 12, 1918, he was still living in West Brookfield and had secured employment working for the local highway department.  I have not found Edward in the1920 census.

Minnie Frohloff was still boarding in West Brookfield in 1920, but was living with the Boucher family. She had become a forelady in the corset shop by this time.

By the time of the 1930 census, Edward and Minnie had married and were living in Manhattan, New York where Edward worked as a carpenter.  They returned to Massachusetts in the late 1930's and settled in Holyoke.  Edward died at home in Holyoke in July of 1943.  He was buried in West Brookfield Cemetery.  (probably Pine Grove)  Minnie lived on in Holyoke, and died in a Chicopee nursing home on July 12, 1971.  A brief obituary stated that she was cremated.  [No children were enumerated in the 1930 census and none were mentioned in either Edward's or Minnie's obituary.]

Where and when (1920 -1930) were Edward Clennan and Minnie Frohloff married?  I suspect that they were not married in a church, but cannot be certain.  Edward's family was Catholic and Minnie's family was Lutheran.  Please post the answer to this question in the comment section, if you know.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Quick Trip to West Brookfield - Always Beautiful in Autumn!

I just returned from a very short visit in West Brookfield.  I did not have time to do any family history research, but did see some family members I had not seen in quite a while, as we all celebrated some family milestones.  The leaves were beginning to show their beautiful fall colors and this coming weekend should be a wonderful time to drive in the country.  Howard's Drive-In will be closing for the season this weekend, so be sure to stop by for your favorite fare.  I certainly enjoyed the fried scallops and onion rings, as always.

West Brookfield researchers will be happy to hear about a new resource becoming available this week.  Due to the generosity of Alice Jay, each library in the Quaboag Plantation towns will be receiving a copy of a new book.  This book, entitled, Quaboag Plantation, the Beginning, includes transcriptions of early parish meeting records (Congregational Church) from 1754 - 1826.  I will try to find more details about the publication this week.

Coming very soon is the auction for the preservation of the Rock House Reservation.

Those whose research includes the village of West Warren, may be interested to know of an effort to compile a village history.  Pete Hastings is the person to contact for information.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Joshua Metcalf Chamberlain - born October 2, 1825

Joshua Chamberlain was born in Brookfield, Massachusetts on October 2, 1825 to Eli and Achsah (Forbes) Chamberlain, according to Brookfield Vital Records.  He was one of a family of ten children which included younger brothers, Daniel Henry and Leander Trowbridge Chamberlain.

Joshua became a Congregational minister who worked in Dubuque, Des Moines, and Eddyville, Iowa.  He did Christian Commission work and served the American Missionary Association as state agent.  He was mostly identified with Iowa College in Grinnell, Iowa where he served for thirty-six years as trustee, nearly twenty years as treasurer and financial agent, and six years as librarian.  He generously donated thousands to the college. A women's dormitory was built on the property where the Chamberlain home once stood.  This land was also a gift to the college.

He was at different times editor of the Grinnell Herald, the Grinnell Independent and Congregational Iowa.  He also contributed to various periodicals.

Joshua died on November 12, 1897 in Grinnell, Iowa, leaving his second wife, Eliza, and daughter Mary, from his first marriage. He was buried in Hazelwood Cemetery in Grinnell.

Sources:The pilgrims of Iowa; by Truman O. Douglass, Pilgrim Press, Boston, MA; Heritage Quest

Annual reports of the Department of the Interior for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1898. Report of the Commissioner of Education. Volume 2. Containing Parts II and III.
Date: 1899-01-01; Publication: Serial Set Vol. No. 3767, Session Vol. No.25; Report: H.Doc. 5 pt. 5.2 & 5.3;  Genealogybank.com

Iowa Cemetery Records;  Ancestry.com