Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Historical Brookfield Area Newspapers, 1872 - 1953, available online

Dan Hamilton's Brookfield Research Website now hosts Brookfield Area Historical Newspapers 1872-1953 in PDF format.  These files do take a long time to load, but if you research families from Spencer, the Brookfields, Leicester, or Charlton, they are worth waiting for.  A rich source of obituaries, and information about town and family events, you will need to set aside some time to peruse digital copies of the Spencer Sun, Weekly Times, and Spencer Leader.  Take some time from shoveling snow and browse some old newspapers while you relax in front of the fire. You are likely to find something of interest that is relevant to your genealogical research.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Clifford L. Pratt - Veteran of World War I

   Clifford L. Pratt was born 20 April 1892 in West Brookfield, Massachusetts.  He was the fourth child born to James H. Pratt and his wife Martha "Mattie" Emma Potter.
  Clifford served in Yankee Div., Co. H. 104th Infantry during World War I,  and was cited for his bravery at Chateau Thierry in France.  He was gassed at Argonne-Meuse receiving burns on his legs.
   Mary Cora Boutin became his wife at St. John's Church in East Brookfield, MA on 19 August in 1919.  A daughter Evelyn Doris was born in 1920, and a son Leon was born in 1924.
   Clifford was a Charter Member of American Legion Post 244 in West Brookfield, and its first Associate Commander.  He was Post Commander in the 1930's.  (This American Legion became the Adams-Coney-Frew Post #244 after World War II.) 
   He died suddenly at the home of Douglas Lyman in West Brookfield on 2 January 1958.  Burial was in Sacred Heart Cemetery after a requiem mass at Sacred Heart Church on the fourth of January.

 1. Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910, online image,  Copyright 2001-2005, New England Historic Genealogical Society; http://wwwancestry.com
 2. Massachusetts State Vital Records, 1841 - 1920, online image, http://www.familysearch.org
 3. Spencer Leader, Clifford L. Pratt, 9 January 1958, p. 10, copy from microfilm, Boston Public Library
 4. Springfield Daily Republican; Location: Springfield, Massachusetts; Etta M. C. Boutin and Clifford L. Pratt Marriage Announcement Date: 12 August 1919, online image, http://www.genealogybank.com
 5. State Library of Massachusetts, World War I Soldier Photograph Collection, online images, http://archives.lib.state.ma.us/handle/2452/124230

William E. Gilinsky - World War I Soldier

   William E. Gilinsky was born 1894 in Worcester, Massachusetts to William E. Gilinsky, a Lithuanian immigrant, and his wife Josephine (Stone.) He enlisted in the Army from Worcester, on 26 May 1917, and served in Battery E. of the 102nd Field Artillery, during World War I.  He was honorably discharged on 17 January 1919.
   William married Mary Emma Snyder in Worcester in 1923.  Two children soon followed, Mary Frances, in 1924, and a son who is still living.
   On the night of 20 January 1935, while freeing sand from the back of a state highway department sanding machine,William was fatally injured when a car crashed into the rear of the sanding machine pinning him between the machine and the car. The accident occurred in Brookfield near Lone Oak Lodge. He was rushed to Mary Lane Hospital in Ware, where it was determined that both his legs were broken, and his lower body was crushed and mangled.  He died later that night. 
   A military funeral was held in Sacred Heart church in West Brookfield on January 23rd with members of the American Legion Post 244 serving as bearers and color guard. The procession included the American Legion Auxiliary, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Ware, a delegate from the Battery E. 102nd Field Artillery Association of Worcester, and a representative from the local fire department.  The organ music for the mass was provided by Mrs. Milton Fountain, and soloists included Mrs. Walter Skiffington, Napoleon St. Denis, and Thomas Hamel. The funeral procession proceeded to Notre Dame Cemetery in Worcester for a committal ceremony following the mass.  Members of Worcester Post 5 fired a volley, and Thomas Hamel, bugler of Post 244, sounded taps

Jeffrey H. Fiske, A History of West Brookfield, 1675-1990, West Brookfield Historical Commission, 2009.
Spencer Leader, 31 January 1935, p.16 William Gilinsky Killed.  Copy from microfilm, Boston Public Library.
Springfield Daily News, 24 January 1935, p. 6, Gelinsky Accorded Military Funeral. Online image, Genealogybank.com.
State Library of Massachusetts, World War I Soldier Photograph Collection, online images, http://archives.lib.state.ma.us/handle/2452/124230