Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Last Will and Testament of Elizabeth (Cahill) Welch

[Note the variant spellings of Welch]
Worcester Probate 62748
Series A
                                         Know all men by these presents
   That I Elizabeth Walsh of West Brookfield, in the County of Worcester and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, calling to mind the uncertainty of human life and being in a sound disposing mind and memory do make this my last Will and Testament.
First. I direct my just debts and charges to be paid.
Second. I give and bequeath to my Grand Daughter Elizabeth Walch daughter of Michael Walch of West Brookfield all of my real estate situated in West Brookfield consisting of a dwelling House and about one fourth of an acre of land.
Third. I appoint my son Thomas Walsh of Rutland in said county to be executor of this my last will and testament and in presence of three witnesses below named I subscribe my name or mark.                                                  her
                                                                Elizabeth  x  Walch
  On the 27th day of October A. D. 1873 we Charles Chaffin, Andrew Holton and James Hanly at the request of Elizabeth Walch saw her sign the above in our presence and we all signed in her presence and in the presence of each other.
                                                                    Charles Chaffin
                                                                    Andrew Holton
                                                                    James Hanly

Elizabeth died two days after her will was written.  Her death was recorded in Worcester and crossed out - died Oct. 29, Elizabeth Welch, W., age 81, residence Brookfield, place of death, Holden, born Ireland. The cause of death was listed as Accidental on R. R.  The death was also recorded in Holden as Elizabeth (Earle) Welch, age 81, W., died Oct. 29, of Pneumonia, born Ireland, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth both born in Ireland.  The circumstances of Elizabeth's death are unknown to me, but she was most likely staying with her daughter Bridget Fitzpatrick at that time.

The property identified in the will, and in the quitclaim deed in my previous post was located on Crescent Ave. (known locally as Pig Alley) in West Brookfield.  Michael Welch purchased it in 1868 and sold it to his mother Elizabeth in 1869.  See Worcester County Deed Book 771 pp. 457 -458 deed to Michael from Loring Thompson May 1 1868, and Deed book 849 pp. 199 - 200, July 22, 1869.

Deed book 849 p. 199 July 22, 1869

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Elizabeth (Cahill) Welch - Living heirs named on Quitclaim

Several years ago, I spent some time looking through land transactions, for information on the West Brookfield property owned by my husband's great-grandmother, Elizabeth (Cahill) Welch.  I was fortunate enough to find this quitclaim deed with names and residences of her living heirs some of whom, were unknown to me at the time. 

Images of these land records are available online at  My research was done before an index was available online, so it took some time.  Luckily, I had an approximate address of the property and was able to trace backward from recent property owners.

Elizabeth Cahill Welch was born about 1791 in Ireland.  It is likely that she was born in Queens County, where her marriage, and the births of some of her children were recorded.  Married in October of 1809 in Ballinakill, Queens, Ireland, William and Elizabeth Welch , had at least seven children born in Ireland between about 1813 and 1836.  Listed on the first page of this document, the children were Eliza Malloy of  Palmer, Bridget Fitzpatrick and Thomas Welch of Rutland,  John Welch of Worcester, William Welch of Warren, and  James and Michael Welch of West Brookfield.
Using this one document, I was able to make contact with a descendant who had research going back to Ireland.  The history of this family, while not complete, now includes the families of all the above children with the exception of John.  John lived in the city of Worcester as did a number of others with the same or a similar name.  I believe he was born about 1813, and may have been the John Walsh enumerated in ED 883 on page 61in the 1880 US Census, City of Worcester, MA. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sarah (Rand) Boyt - Her Last Will & Testament

Sarah Rand was born Jan. 5, 1826, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, daughter of Absalom and Sarah (Gill) Rand.  On Nov. 1, 1860,  at age thirty-four, she became the fourth wife of Timothy Weston Boyt, a butcher by trade, and a resident of West Brookfield.  She gave her Last Will and Testament in front of witnesses on August 14, 1861.  It reads in part:
   "In the name of God, Amen.  I, Sarah Boyt, wife of Timothy W. Boyt, of West Brookfield, in County of Worcester, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, being in good health of body and sound and disposing mind and memory, and being desirous of settling my worldly affairs whilst I have strength and capacity, do hereby make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made."
   "First - I hereby constitute and appoint said Timothy W. Boyt, (my husband) to be sole executor of this my last will."
   "Second - I give devise and bequeath to my said husband, Timothy W. Boyt, the use, income, and improvement of the following described real-estate situate in the village of said West Brookfield ......" [property description] ..... "as long as my said husband shall live: and in case I have children of my body living upon the decease of my said Husband, then I give, devise and bequeath all the rest, residue and remainder of said real-estate (after the said life estate of my said husband) to such children in equal shares and proportions, and so to their respective heirs and assigns forever; but in case there shall be no children of my body living at the decease of my said husband, then I give devise and bequeath, said rest, residue and remainder to the heirs of my said husband Timothy W. Boyt forever.  I intentionally omit, in this my last will, to dispose of any property, I may have, not herein named, or specified or to provide for any person or persons not herein named."
   "In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal, and do publish and declare this to be my last will and testament, contained in one sheet of paper, in the presence of the witnesses named below, this fourteenth day of August in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and sixty one."
  "Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said Sarah Boyt as and for her last will and testament in the presence of us who in her presence and at her request and in presence of each other, have inscribed our names as witnesses hereto -  Sarah Boyt"
Francis D. Holt  X
Silas D. Cooke
Adam Howe
   Sarah died in West Brookfield on Sept. 15, 1861, just one month after her will was signed.  The cause of her death was recorded as, "childbirth."  No other record of this Boyt childbirth, stillbirth, or death was found in Massachusetts vital records.

Sources -"Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1881," images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 Feb 2014), Worcester > Case no 6750-6832, Boylston, Ward N-Braybrook, Hepzibah, 1731-1881 > image 1113 and 1114 of 1161.
               Massachusetts Vital Records, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American
               Massachusetts, Worcester County, Land Records,, Deed Book 641, pp. 381 and 382

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Henry Proctor Barrett - Cattle Dealer, Public Servant, Nonagenarian

   Henry Proctor Barrett was born June 29, 1812, son of Benjamin Proctor Barrett and his wife Ruth (Brigham).  The family lived in a section of Brookfield known as Brookfield Settlement which later came to be known as West Brookfield.  Henry's father died sometime between 1813 and 1815 of Yellow Fever contracted while serving in the southern campaign of the War of 1812, according to family lore.   Capt. Benjamin Barrett, a Revolutionary War Pensioner,  became largely responsible for raising his grandson, Henry P., who lived and worked on the family farm while attending Birch Hill Seminary.
   Brookfield Vital Records show an intention of marriage between Henry P. Barrett and Celuria W. Tuttle of Winchester, NH, on August 26, 1836.  The marriage took place on Sept. 26, 1836, according to Henry's obituary, and seven children followed.
  While working on the family farm Mr. Barrett became interested in buying and selling cattle and other farm stock.  He acquired a cattle broker's license in 1847, and built a reputation as a shrewd and successful trader; as well as, a successful farmer. He was active in town and Congregational church affairs, and held a number of responsible positions in both, including, selectman, tax collector, overseer of the poor, and highway commissioner.   He loved to share recollections of his early life in West Brookfield which included meeting General Lafayette at the local tavern, and seeing Daniel Webster in Barre. Henry was the oldest man, the largest land owner, and largest tax payer in town at the time of his death in his home on Ragged Hill, on Jan. 31, 1904, at age 91.

Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts: With a History of Worcester Society of Antiquity, Volume 4 (Google eBook) p. 215

Massachusetts Vital Records, [Vital records of both Brookfield, and West Brookfield.]

"Death of Henry P. Barrett : Oldest Resident of West Brookfield - Celebrated 67th Wedding Anniversary." Springfield Daily Republican, Tuesday, February 2, 1904, pg. 3.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Emelia Furgal born in Poland

 Emelia (Furgal) Mazur Buss was my husband's great grandmother.  She came to the United States from Poland sometime between 1906 and 1909, and settled in Warren, Massachusetts, where her brothers, Michael and Frank, and her sister Mary lived. Anton Laska, an older half-brother, also lived in Warren.

She married Wladyslaw (Walter) Mazur in Warren on August 3, 1909, and four children were born to this union including Roman, Lewis, Daniel, and my husband's grandmother Wanda.  Sadly the marriage ended in divorce sometime between 1930 and 1940.   Emelia continued living in Warren for a time, working as a weaver in a nearby woolen mill.

Sometime before July 1942,  she went to live, and work as a housekeeper in Rutland.  There she met Edward Albert Buss, and they were married July 1, 1942 in Gardner, MA.  Albert died in 1950, and in 1953 Emelia purchased property on Lake Wickaboag in West Brookfield.  Family gatherings were often held there in the ensuing years.

Emelia died in Norfolk, Massachusetts on June 20, 1961, and was buried in Rural Cemetery in Rutland.

Recently I discovered baptismal information for Emelia on the website in the "Poland Select Tarnow Roman Catholic Church Books, 1612 - 1900."  According to this index Emilia was baptized 22 Sep 1886 in what is now Lubasz, Lubasz, Krakow, Poland.  Her parents were Catharine Kolano and Adalbert Furgat. It is likely that she was born in 1886, although census and vital records, indicate that she was born in various years between 1886 and 1891.  I have been unable to find her name listed on a passenger record, but census records indicate that she came to the United States in either 1906 or 1909.