Monday, November 28, 2016

John Adams, William Adams, George Adams, and Justus Wellington: West Brookfield Civil War Soldiers

"John Banks' Civil War Blog," has a new interesting post about three brothers from West Brookfield who served in the Civil War.  William and George Adams, both died as a result of wounds suffered in battle.  John Adams was captured, sent to the Rebel prison at Andersonville, and survived five months of imprisonment before being paroled and later discharged.
Read his post here.
Also read his post about Justus Wellington, another soldier from West Brookfield. Justus Wellington died at Antietam.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

U. S. Navy to Name Ship USNS Lucy Stone

An article posted 20 September 1916 on Worcester gives information about, and local reaction to the news that the U.S. Navy will name a fleet replenishment oiler in honor of 19 century West Brookfield native Lucy Stone.  Lucy was active in both the Women's Suffrage, and the Abolitionist movements.
My previous post about Lucy may be found here.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

BackRoads Studio Tour Set for October 1st and 2nd

See the September 9th edition of the Quaboag Current for details on this years' Backroads Studio Tour where 15 local artists and artisans open their studios and workshops with demonstrations and displays.  This is a self guided tour through six scenic New England towns.  Make it a weekend get-away, and visit Old Sturbridge Village, or some of the local historical sites.
The link to the Current article is

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Nathan B. Ellis : Transcription of an 1819 Will from Brookfield, Massachusetts

   Nathan B. Ellis came to Brookfield from East Medway, Massachusetts, probably about 1788.  He was a clothier in West Brookfield, and was, for a time in business with his brother Asa Ellis, Jr., and afterward, with his brother Shepard Ellis.  Those partnerships were dissolved and Nathan continued the business on his own.  Nathan B. Ellis & Co. was known for having developed a method of coloring cloth a scarlet color, said to be as nice any imported scarlet cloth available at the time.
   The 1891 marriage of Nathan and his wife Thankfull (Barrett) is found in the records of Brookfield, as are the births of their nine children. His name appears on the 1798 tax rolls in Brookfield as the owner of a single story wooden dwelling on an acre of land valued at $250. The house was 1065 square feet in area, with 11 windows containing 74 square feet of glass.
   Nathan died September 6 , 1819 at age 55 after what was said to have been a long and painful illness. My transcription of his will is below.

Will of Nathan B. Ellis of Brookfield, Massachusetts

Worcester Coumty Probate Case No. 19037
Will signed and dated 6 April 1819
Filed 27 September 1819, Proved and approved 26 October 1819
Recorded in Volume 52 page 134
Decree Volume 52 page 137
I Nathan B. Ellis of Brookfield in the County of Worcester in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Yeoman. Being though infirm in health, of Sound desposion mind + memory do make this my last Will and Testament.

I commit my Soul to GOD its devine aurther in the humble hope of happiness in a future state of existance, my Body I commit to the care of my Executors herein after named, to be decently buried according to their desention. Respecting my Worldly Estate I give and bequeath and devise the same in the following manner

First. I give and bequeath to my beloved Wife Thankfull Ellis one half of my dwelling House one third of my Barn one half of my Land that lieth in Brookfield meaning the home lot. also eight + fouth acres of land encluding the orchard that is on the Wheeler place so called and to take so much land off the north side of said Orchard and to be bounded on the NewCounty road leading from Western to Hardwick + from thence to land now improved by Bill Wheeler as shall make the said eight + one fourth acres also eight acres of my Wood lot off of the north end of my land on the Wheeler Farm so called, The use possession + Improvement the full term of her natural Life I also give to my wife one half of my old home, two cows, four ewe sheep, two lambs, one barrow hog one half of my small waggon, one half of my small sleigh, Harness, two b[????], two of my best beds, bedding bedsted bords, with the adition of two pair of the best sheets she has a righ to select them for herself, also all my tables, excepting the new cherry table, also my best brass kettle, together with all my furness ware, all my Shourt tongues handirons cranes + hooks, twelve of the best of my chairs, one cheese tub, meet tub, wash tubs, four sider barrels one large silver spoon + all my silver tea spoons + one warming pan one churn, two spiningwheels, one half of my puter crocory glass +ware, two looking glasses, all my brown earthan ware, one loom all apperatus belonging to the same, all my table linen, towels one case of drawer, two chests with leads, also all the accounts due me on my old ledger, my best bible + one third part of the remainder of my books. I also give to my wife full power to use and desp of the above mention personal estate as she shall think proper
[2nd page]
I also give to my wife the use and improvment of one half of Pew in the meeting House and one half of my horse shed by the meeting House during her natural life.
Secondly I give to my daughter Elsabeth Ellis, the third best best bed bedding bedstead + cord compleat for one bed, one new cherry table also one hundred + eighty dollars
Thirdly. I give to my dughter Mary Ellis the fourth best bed beding bedsted + cord compleat for one bed. + one hundred and eighty five dollars
Fourthly. I give to my daughter Caroline Ellis, the fifth best bed bedding + cord compleat for one bed. and one hundred + eighty eight dollars.
Fifthly. I give to my daughter Lucy Barrett Ellis, the sixth best bed beding bedstead + cord compleat for one bed and one hundred ninety dollars.
Sixthly. I give to my daghter Susannah Ellis, the seventh best bed beding bedsted + cord compeat for one bed + one hundred ninety dollars.
The afore said sums of Money is to be paid to each of my daughters before named when either of them shall arive at the age of twentyone years or at the time of their marriage the same to be on interest from that perriod respectfully which shall first happen untill the principal shall be paid
Seventhly I give to my son Baxter Ellis ten acres of pasture + woodland lying north + adjoining his Wheeler' pasture so called. also one third part of my farming utenseals, + one fourth part of Pew in the meeting house + one other fourth pew at the decese of his mother
Eighthly I give to my son Calvin Ellis one hundred dollars to be paid to him as follows vis forty dollars of the above sum to
[3rd page]
to be paid to him within thirty days from my deceise and seven dollars + fifty cents to be paid to him anully untill untill the remainder of the said one hundred dollars is paid also when the said Calvin shall arrive at the age of twentsix years he is to be paid two hundred dollars if his mother should be deceise if not deceise he is not to have it untill her deceise
Ninthly. I give to my son Gaius Ellis all the residue of my real estate. What is not heretofore desposed of excepting + receseing[?] the pasture + wood land that I purchased of Linas Banister also one fourth part of my pew in the meeting house and the other fourth part of said pew at the deceis of his mother also all moneys due me by notes + what is due me in accounts on the company ledger also all the residue of my personal estate excepting what is not hereto fore desposed of. on the following conditions (viz) he the said Guias is to pay the legases hereitofor m__ti [mentioned] my just debts [________] excepting the debt due toThomas Witts decees heirs
-also I give the said Gauius all my real estate + that I have willed to his mother after her deecise providing he pays each of my daughters twenty dollars within one year after her decees also he is to pay Baxter Ellis one hundred dollars within one year after the decees of his mother, I also give unto my sons Baxter +Guias Ellis the pasture + woodland that I purchaced of Linus Banister and they the said Baxter Guias are to pay to the heirs of Thomas Witt decese what I am indebted to them for the said land they are to share in the profets and loss if their should any in the sail of said land, I hereby aurthorise and impower my son Baxter and Guias Ellis at their descretion to sell grant convey the said real estate last described to make seal execute acknowledge and deliver such Deed for the purpose of paying the last mention debt as fully and affectually to all entents and purposes as I myself may or can do it while in full Life. And
[4th page]
And I do hereby constitute and appoint my sons Baxter Ellis + Guias Ellis sole Executors of this my last will and Testament, or the Survivor of them, or in case either of them shall refuse to accept the trust or Shall become incapable to execute the same, the one who shall so execep or remain capable.
And I do revoke and disannul all my former wills + Testaments ratify confirm this to be my last will and Testament, In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this sixth day of April in the year of our LOD one thousand eight hundred + nineteen
Signed Sealed published pronounced + declared by the said Nathan B. Ellis to be his last Will and Testament in presence of the subscribers, who in his presence at [words in crease not legible] presence of each other hereunto affix our names as witnesses. Nathan B. Ellsi [signature]

John Ross [signature]
Matthew Wood [signature]
Uriel Spooner [signature]

Sources: Boston Recorder, Boston, Massachusetts, online digital image, 27 November 1819; Death notice for Nathan B. Ellis, Genealogy Bank ( accessed 28 June2016.
             Massachusetts and Maine 1798 Direct Tax. Online database. : accessed 28 June 2016), New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003.) Original manuscript: Direct tax list of 1798 for Massachusetts and Maine, 1798. Nathan B. Ellis, Brookfield, Massachusetts; R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA.
            Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850; Online Database: Brookfield marriage record of Nathan B. Ellis and Thankfull Barrett; :accessed 28 June 2016,) New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2016).
            Worcester County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1731-1881. Probate Case No. 19037 for Nathan B. Ellis; Online database. American Ancestors  (  accessed 28 June 2016,) New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2015. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives.)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gauis Ellis Letter to the Probate Court Judge Questioning the Action of the Executor of the Baxter Ellis Estate

Letter found in Baxter Ellis Probate File - Case No. 19003, Worcester County, Massachusetts
The will of Baxter Ellis of West Brookfield, Massachusetts was approved 4 December 1866, but settlement of his estate could not be completed until after the death of his widow, Lucy in March of 1887 (some 22 years later.) Baxter Ellis' 91 year old brother Gauis, who lived in Neenah, Wisconsin, wrote a letter to the court in Worcester, Massachusetts, regarding the disposition of the assets of the Baxter Ellis estate, the terms of the will, and Baxter's intentions at the time the will was written. I found nothing more of this matter in the probate packet, but the final settlement of the estate occurred in October of 1887.

The letter handwritten in a shaky script and under the printed letter head of "GAIUS ELLIS, REAL ESTATE AGENT, NEENAH, WIS. reads as follows:
"Neenah Sept 27 /87

Judge Thayer Sir I have rec'd a notice to appear at your court on the first tuesday in Oct about my brother (Baxter Ellis) will

As I have been informed by Dwight Ellis (the executor) that there was after the first enstolment was settled he left for the use of his wife 4700 dollars to be devided among his heirs. One half to sister Lucy B. Ellis + Susan Fitts equally between them or their heirs and the remainder to his other heirs.
[2nd page]

Mrs. Elizabeth Lincoln (D. Ellis sister) sent me a letter feby. 14/82 saying it was as D. E. had stated. Now I don't want a difficulty about the matter but I want it settled right and I will acquiesce
Mr W. E. Lincoln (acting as the executor for my Bros Estate) Sent me a letter saying I must sign a receipt of $ 500, + send it to the Warren Savings Bank Warren Mass and they will send you $500 - I did so + got the $500, dollars. Now they say there is a mistake.
I do believe my Bro meant I should have that, or more,

[3rd page]
Now of the believes that this was my brothers will that one half goes to sisters LB. E. + S.F. and the residue to his other heirs, then I have not enough But they want I should send back 117$ and I will do it if it is right. But out of $4700 they take a goodeal to settle the estate
If I have troubled you out of reason please remit your bill and I will settle it
Gaius Ellis
It is too far for me to be present to attend Court G.E.
Excuse all mistakes I am 91 1/2 years old.
Source "Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925," images, FamilySearch ( : 16 May 2014), Worcester > Case no 19003, Elllis, Baxter, > image 317 - 319 of 1094; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.

Three previous posts about this Probate File

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Will of Baxter Ellis of West Brookfield, Massachusetts
Probate Case No. 19003

    Filed 7 November 1888 and Approved 4 December 1866

[Formatting is not an exact copy and there were some notes in the margin which are not included. LLS]
                   In the name of God Amen,
                        I Baxter Ellis of West Brookfield in the county of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, but knowing the uncertainty of the mortal life, do make and publish and declare this my last Will and Testament, in manner and form following, that is  to say ____________________
First                First I give and bequeath to my beloved wife and her   heirs the sum of three thousand dollars --- Also my Household Furniture, wearing apparel, family stores, and Library       
Second            I give and bequeath to the Trustees of Phillips Academy at Andover Massachusetts the sum of Five Hundred dollars for the purpose of founding a scholarship (in part) in the Theological Seminary under their care, the income of this endowment only to be expended for the support of needy students in said Seminary from year to year
Third              I give and bequeath to the American Board of Commisioners for Foreign Missions, the sum of Five Hundred dollars
Fourth            I give and bequeath to the Massachusetts Home Missionary Society the sum of Five Hundred dollars.____________
Fifth               I give and bequeath to the American Peace Society the sum of one Hundred dollars ______________
Sixth              I give and bequeath to the American Bible Society the sum of One Hundred dollars.
Seventh          I give and bequeath to the American Tract Society instituted in the city of Boston the sum of One Hundred Dollars.
Eighth            I give and bequeath to my brother Gauis Ellis and his heirs the sum of Five Hundred dollars.____________________________________________
[2nd page]
Ninth              I give and bequeath to my nephew Calvin H. Hayward and his heirs the sum of Two Hundred dollars
Tenth             I give and bequeath to my niece Susan E. Jones and her heirs the sum of Fifty Dollars.
                                                  The aforesaid Calvin H. Hayward and Susan E. Jones being children of my deceased sister, Mary Hayward
Eleventh        I give and bequeath to my nephew R. Gordon Ellis and his heirs the sum of one Hundred dollars and my niece Julia Ellis and her heirs, the sum of Fifty dollars - (children of my deceased brother Calvin Ellis)
Twelfth         I give and bequeath to my sister Caroline Adams wife of Sidney Adams, and her three children the sum of twenty dollars to be equally divided between  them Vis. Five dollars to each
 Thirteenth      I give and bequeath to my sister Lucy B. Ellis, wife of Abijah Ellis, and her heirs the sum of Two Hundred Dollars - And to her four daughters and their  heirs to wit: Susan Allen, Frances Ellis, Mary Ellis, and Caroline Ellis the sum of Twenty five dollars each - In case of the death of either of said four daughters, previous to my decease, the legacy hereby bequeathed to such person to be equally divided among the survivors of said four daughters
Fourteenth    I give and bequeath to my sister, Susan Fitts the wife of Samuel Fitts, and her heirs the sum of Two Hundred dollars And to her two sons (by a former husband,) Edwin Upham and Lyman Baxter Upham and their heirs the sum of Two Hundred dollars each
[3rd page]
                         And to the four daughters of my said sister Susan Fitts, to wit, Caroline Hayward, Maria Upham, Elizabeth Upham, and Adaline Upham the sum of twenty five dollars each In case of the death of either of said four daughters previous to my decease, the legacy to such deceased person to be equally divided among the surviving sisters.               
Fifteenth      I hereby give and bequeath to my nephew Joseph I. F Ellis and my niece Mary Shumway and their heirs (children of my brother Gaius Elllis) the sum of One Hundred dollars each
Sixteenth     I give and bequeath to Curtis Ellis (son of my nephew Nathan B. Ellis deceased) and his heirs the sum of One Hundred dollars
Seventeenth   I hereby authorize and empower my Executors herein after named to sell and dispose of any and all my real and personal estate at such time and in such manner as the may deem proper.
Eighteenth  After the payment of my just debts, funeral charges and procuring a suitable pair of grave stones and the payment of the aforesaid legacies I hereby give, bequeath and devise the use improvement rents profits and income of all my estate both real and personal, which shall remain, to my said wife Lucy Ellis, to hold for
and during the full term of her natural life and at the decease of my aforesaid wife I hereby order and direct that of the residue and remainder of my estate then remaining one half part thereof shall be paid to my sisters Lucy B. Ellis and Susan Fitts and their heirs equally to be divided
[page 4]
between them and the other half part thereof I hereby give bequeath and devise to my legal heirs -
                                    And I do hereby appoint my said wife Lucy Ellis and my cousin Dwight Ellis to be joint executors of this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking annulling and declaring void all former Wills by me at any time heretofore made
                                    In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this eighth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty- four. 

The words 'and his heirs" "and her heirs" "each" = "them" being interlined before signing.                          Baxter Ellis [signature]
                Signed published and declared by said Baxter Ellis as his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who in his presence and in the presence of each other  have hereunto set our names as witnesses
                                                  [Illegible] Blair
                                                  H. B Bosworth
                                               xJos F. Hitchcock 


Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1881, images, FamilySearch (,1073166901 : accessed 02 Jun 2014), Worcester > Case no 18981-19051, Elliot, Joseph-Elllis, Smith, 1731-1881 > image 331 of 1094, probate file of Baxter Ellis; citing Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Next of Kin and Heirs -at- Law of Baxter Ellis

Baxter Ellis, son of Nathan B. Ellis and Thankful (Barrett), died in West Brookfield in 1866 leaving a will and a sizable estate. He left a will in which there were bequests to a number of charities, and also to his widow , Lucy (Upham) and other family members. Below is a transcription of the page in his probate file which identifies his next of kin and heirs-at-law according to the statutes at the time.
(Minors must be so designated, and the names of their Guardians given, if they have any. If any party is a married woman, her husband's name must be given. The heirs-at-law and next of kin may be determined by reference to Chap. 91 an 94 of the General Statutes)

To the Honorable the Judge of Probate Court in and for the County of Worcester:

RESPECTFULLY represents Dwight Ellis of Warren in the county of Worcester and Lucy Ellis of West Brookfield in the County of Worcester that Baxter Ellis who last dwelt in West Brookfield in said County of Worcester, died on the Eighth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty - six possessed of goods and estate remaining to be administered, leaving a widow, whose name is Lucy Ellis the subscriber and as his only heirs-at-law and next of kin, the persons whose names, residences, and relationship to the deceased are as follows, viz:-

Gauis Ellis a brother residing in Racine Wis.

Lucy B. Ellis a Sister     "         " Boston Mass

Calvin Hayward a Nephew " " New York N. Y.

Susan E Jones a Niece   "     " Albany, N.Y.

R Gerdon Ellis a Nephew " " Cincinnatti O.

Julia Ellis a Niece            " " do ___ do

Caroline Adams a Niece " " West Brookfield Mass

Ephraim Adams a Nephew "     do do

Nathan Adams a Nephew "    " do do

[These last 9 names below are followed by a vertical wavy line on the right side with Wisconsin written to the right]

Edwin Upham " Nephew

Lyman Baxter Upham " Nephew

Caroline Hayward " Niece

Maria Upham " Niece

Elizabeth Upham " Niece

Adaline Upham " Niece

Joseph J. F Elis" Nephew

Mary Shumway" Niece

Curtis Ellis " Son of a Nephew


"Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925," images, FamilySearch ( : 16 May 2014), Worcester > Case no 18981-19051, Elliot, Joseph-Elllis, Smith, 1731-1881 > image 326 of 1094; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I Monument

 West Brookfield, MA War Monument
   The sum of $3,500 was appropriated at the town meeting in the spring of 1920, and this three- sided granite monument, was erected on the town common later that year. Three brass plaques bearing the names of the war veterans were added in March of 1921. A dedication ceremony was held on Memorial Day, May 30, 1921, in remembrance of the service of West Brookfield men who had served in the Civil War, the Spanish American War, and the World War.

West Brookfield War Monument
Photo taken 2 April 2015 by Leah Smith

 1861  The Civil War  1865
Julius A. Amsden                                              Joseph W. Cutler
William L. Adams                                             Ephraim C. Carey
Leonard E. Alexander                                      Charles E. Cutler
Joseph P. Adams                                               Lorenzo Chickering
George E. Adams                                              Eli W. Combs
John E. Adams                                                  Abijah D. Cutler
Elbridge B. Ainsworth                                     William T. Cutler
Charles H. Allen                                               Edwin W. Crane
Joseph W. Allen                                                Jacob Combs
Milton R. Allen                                                 Daniel H. Chamberlain
Waldo S. Allen                                                  Anthony Colburn
Benjamin F. Armitage                                     Pliny Cooper
George Abbott                                                  James Collins
Jabez A. Blackmer                                           James Coughlin
Henry E. Bullard                                             Leander T. Chamberlain
Daniel Buckley                                                 Amos Dean
Lyman Bliss                                                      William Daggett
Edwin T. Brown                                               James Dempsey
Carlos P. Buck                                                  Emerson Dane
Joseph H. Bartlett                                            Ralph O. Dupee 
Azor W. Barlow                                               Patrick G. Dillon 
Edwin W. Barlow                                             Joseph Dailey
Sylvanus T. Barlow                                          John Dillon
Daniel Boyle                                                      James Dillon
Pliny E. Barr                                                     Hiram Eaton
Horace W. Bush                                                Orrin Eddy
William H. Barnes                                            Andrew H. Emery
D. Wilson Barlow                                              Franklin W. Fellows
Joseph E. Bailey                                                John E. Farley
Samuel F. Beach                                               John F. Fobes
Lewis Boria                                                       Lyman W. Gilbert
Rufus E. Blackmer                                           Martin J. Gilbert
Albert Barnes                                                   George H. Gilbert
Jabez Blackmer Jr.                                           Harvey Gilbert
Emerson H. Bullard                                          Hermon J. Gilbert
L. B. Bliss                                                           Barnard R. Gilbert
                                     Alfred W. Gilbert
John F. Hastings                                               Augustus N. Potter
David W. R. Hinckley                                      John J. Powers
William A. Hitchcock                                       James M. Pratt
Adam Howe                                                       Edward W. Prouty
George E. Howe                                                Henry C. Reed
William P. Howe                                               Moses Renon
Amos F. Jackson                                               Jefferson H. Richards 
James Jess                                                         Samuel D. Richards
Isaac N. Jones                                                   Calvin H. Root
Michael Joyce                                                   Henry L. Ross
Charles L. Lamberton                                     Benjamin F. Sampson
Henry C. Lamberton                                       Isaac M. Sampson
Daniel Lawler                                                   Perez Sampson
William G. Lawrence                                       Ira T. Sibley
William Leonard                                              George W. Shaw Jr.
Albert W. Livermore                                       Dennis Smith
Charles H. Livermore                                      Daniel C. Spear
William H. Lombard                                       William A. Sprague
Ezra P. Lovering                                              George W. Temple
Seth L. Lowe                                                     William R. Thomas
Albert Lynde                                                     Charles E. Thompson
Masial Mallett                                                   Harvey Truesdell
John Mann                                                        Lucius Truesdell
Charles W. Marsh                                            Edwin M. Tucker
George L. Marsh                                              Eli Tyler Jr.
John Martell                                                     Frederick A. Varnum
Morris Mathews                                               John M. Ward
John McClusky                                                 Alfred D. Washburn
Lewis M. McCrellis                                           Charles K. Watson
Daniel Mullen                                                    Justus C. Wellington
William A. Mullet                                             George H. Wellman
James Mundell                                                  Abner Wolcott
John Mundell                                                     Erastus W. Woods
John Myles                                                         Oliver Woodbridge
                                  Ebin Woodbury
Appears just above the names of the World War I Veterans
                               1917   The World War  1919
Hugh A. Allen                                                    Louis Larose
John H. Anderson                                             William J. Long
George H. Anderson                                         Elverton L. Mara
Arthur H. Brigham                                           Francis S. P. Matthews
Ralph S. Clark                                                  William F. Mulvey   
Robert D. Converse                                          Alfred S. Mundell
Charles D. Cunningham                                   John J. O'Connell
John H. Donovan                                               Horace O. Parker
Howard J. Foster                                               Robert Patterson
Ernest A. Gratton                                              James M. Pratt Jr.
Leo J. Gratton                                                    Clifford L. Pratt
Ellsworth W. Galvin                                          Royford E. Perry
Paul H. Hazen                                                     Maurice T. Risley
Cliford J. Huyck                                                Arthur R. Stone
Clarence E. Hocum                                            Irving L. Tyler
Gordon G. Jaffray                                             Arthur H. Warfield Jr.
Edward F. King                                                  Frank Woodward
                               The Spanish War 1898
Frank H. Stone                                                   William Bassen

I transcribed these names from a collection of photographs I took on April 2, 2015.
Source for monument information was - Jeffrey H. Fisk, A History of West Brookfield 1675-1990, West Brookfield Historical Commission 2009, pages 172 and 179.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Isabel Amey's Birth Certificate Lacks the Day of Her Birth

Leah Smith

14 March 2016

Homework for Dear Myrtle's Elizabeth Shown Mills Study Group Week 1

Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 1: Analysis and Citation,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage ( :  accessed 14 March 2015)

Isabel Emily Amey Certified Birth Record Analysis   
   I have here a certified copy of my grandmother's birth record. It is printed on heavy weight stock of a pinkish color with navy blue borders and seals. A copy of the record form submitted to the state of New Hampshire by the Clarksville, NH town clerk is on the certificate. Printed toward the bottom of the form is the following statement. "I HEREBY CERTIFY  THAT THIS IS A TRUE ABSTRACT ISSUED FROM THE OFFICIAL RECORDS ON FILE AT THIS OFFICE"  The signature of the State Registrar and an official stamp appear just below that statement.  It also bears a stamp stating, "Original Records filed in Town Clerk's Office in chronological order with other records for the year "  1907 is handwritten after the word year.  A number stamped in red ink is just above the state seal on the bottom left. 
    Upon close examination, I see that her first name, Isabelle, is spelled differently than she spelled it, and that her middle initial "E," rather than her middle name of Emily appears. The day of her birth is missing, and the month is June rather than May when she celebrated her birthday.  Her place of birth, Clarksville, New Hampshire, was also the residence of her parents. Thomas Amey was the name of her father, but other records indicate that he was born in Pittsburg, New Hampshire and not Clarksville, New Hampshire as appears on this record. His residence, age and occupation are in agreement with other sources.  Ardelle  was the middle name of Isabel's mother, and her first name, Nellie does not appear on this record. (Isabel's mother was sometimes identified as Ardel or Dell in both vital and census records.)  Ardelle's maiden name, age, occupation and residence are in agreement with other records. Isabelle was listed as the fourth child.  She was the fourth child of this family, but the eighth or ninth child of  Nellie Ardelle Luther.  
   F. W. McLaughlin of W. Stewartstown, NH was listed as the physician or attendant at birth.  The name does not indicate whether or not he/she was a physician, but I know from Report of the State Board of Health of the State of New Hampshire for the Two Years Ending ..., Volume 20,  Published by Arthur E. Clark public printer 1908, and found on Google Books, that there was a Dr. F. W. McLaughlin of West Stewartstown at that time.
   There are two problems with this record. 
   Firstly - The day of the month is missing. 
   Secondly - The month may be incorrect. My grandmother always celebrated her birthday on May 23rd.
   This is certainly the official birth record for my grandmother. I would use it as a primary source for her place of birth, and the names of her parents, but not for her date of birth. What could account for the lack of a birth date, and the possibility of an incorrect birth month?  I can only guess, that some time passed before the doctor reported the birth, and he simply did not remember when it occurred. Assuming that the Town Clerk's records were in chronological order as stated, perhaps the birth was recorded in the correct place in the record book according to known birth dates of the births just before and after  my grandmother's.  Clarksville was sparsely populated and there would not have been many births in a year. It is likely, but by no means certain, that my grandmother was born, May 23rd 1907.  She was my grandfather's only daughter, and he may have remembered it as a very special day in his life.
   When my grandmother had to furnish proof of her birth information, no birth record was found in Clarksville, New Hampshire. I seem to remember that she was told the records were destroyed in a fire.  May 23, 1907 was accepted by the Social Security Administration only after my grandmother's half-sister, 20 years her senior, wrote a letter stating that she was present at the birth on May 23, 1907. I do not have a copy of the letter, nor can I verify her statement.


State of New Hampshire, Department of Health & Human Services, Division of Public Health Services, Registrar of Vital Records, and Health Statistics, Certification of Vital Record , Clarksville, Coos County, New Hampshire, Certificate Number 00484485, Isabelle E. Amey, Certified Copy issued  31 January 2000 held in personal collection of author.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

My Genealogical Giant - Talk about Irish Luck!

   Dave McDonald in his "Thinking Genealogically" blog wrote a recent post about a "genealogical giant" in his life.  He asked his readers about their own "genealogical giants."
   One who immediately came to my mind was Ed O'Day. Ed and I have never met in person, but corresponded for awhile years ago.  I learned about him from a member of the historical society in my Massachusetts home town. I remembered his parents, the Postmaster and Postmistress in town, but I had never met Ed, who had left town, probably before I was born.  Known to many as Professor Emeritus at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, here was a hometown descendant of an Irish Famine era family. He had extensively researched his own family and other local Irish families, as well. And he was willing to share some of his knowledge with me!
   He shared information from the Chattel Mortgage Books he found in the basement of the town hall. (I would never have learned of their existence from any other source.) He had naturalization information found at the county courthouse. I learned from him that naturalization papers for the brother of my husband's great great grandfather contained the parish and county of his birthplace in Ireland. I hadn't even known there was a brother! Later, I was able to locate images of these naturalization papers online at
   Ed was familiar with the history of the Roman Catholic church in the area, and knew how to find records according to the time period.  He had written a history of the Roman Catholic Parish in our town. He had also researched and written a scholarly article about Irish railroad workers.
   Ed published some information helpful to those researching Irish families.  It is on a website entitled Irish and Irish-American Family Research Many listed resources have become available online in the fourteen years since he posted the information. A checklist for locating Irish origins using American records is just one of the items available on this site.
   I will always be grateful for Ed's kindness, assistance, and encouragement.  I feel so fortunate to have found an Irish genealogist and historian from my own hometown.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Photo of Gordon Richards For Sale on Ebay

EBay has a photo of Gordon Richards for sale.  The photo of an infant child on a pillow, was taken outdoors in a rocking chair.  See the photo at this link

Most likely this is G[eorge] Gordon Richards, born 14 March 1908 in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, son of George Leonard Richards and Cora Elizabeth Mundell.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Mr. Andrew Stirling - Memories of Childhood Neighbor

   Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings posted his Saturday Night Fun Genealogy Challenge for tonight. It was to write a blog post about a childhood neighbor. 

   My family moved next door to Mr. Stirling, when I was four years old.  My parents had been warned about the grumpy old man in the house next door.  It turned out that this widower, whose only daughter had died, and who did not seem to be close to his sons, became the reason for many pleasant childhood memories.  He was a character, for sure. He had nicknames for some of the other neighbors which were not flattering at all.("Old Horse Face" and "Old Stanhole" were two that come to mind. Never would he buy cookies from us when we sold them to benefit our 4-H club.  In fact, he made reference to "the damned hache fours."  He was very upset when Benjamin Franklin's likeness on the half dollar coin was replaced with the likeness of John F. Kennedy.  Mr. Stirling's parents had come to Massachusetts from Scotland.  His deceased wife had also been born in Scotland. (Clearly, he was not a fan of the Irish, although my siblings and I really did not understand it at the time.) He told stories of his time working on the Panama Canal, and occasionally he mentioned his deceased wife and daughter.
   I remember climbing the apple tree, and playing croquet in his yard, and growing my 4-H vegetable garden on his property.  My sister and I would pick dandelions from his yard for a nickel a bucket full.  (This kept another neighbor with a meticulously kept lawn, very happy.) Sometimes Mr. Stirling would give us those chocolate covered marshmallow cookies, or Archway oatmeal raisin cookies as snacks.  Other times he would come outside and tell us to quiet down so he could take his nap.
   A dog he named, Sally, came to live with him at some point. She was of  mixed breeds, part Pointer, I think.  Sally would wrap her body around us and knock us over in the snow banks created by the snow plow. She was fed hamburger and steak, while Mr. Stirling preferred to eat crackers and milk.
   My parents had a cordial relationship with this neighbor. My father mowed his lawn in the summer, and was allowed to store the lawnmower in his barn.
   One summer we came home from summer camp and found that Mr. Stirling's funeral had been that very day.  He had been found dead in his rocking chair, after other neighbors became concerned that Sally had been outside for an extended period of time and had been barking.
   The following year Mr. Stirling's young grandson and his wife became our neighbors.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Images of a book of Biographical Sketches of the Members of Alanson Hamilton Post GAR now online

Book cover image used with permission and clipped from

  I have just become aware of a resource recently placed online at   You may view the images of a wonderful book of sketches of Civil War Veterans who were members of the Alanson Hamilton Post of the GAR in West Brookfield.  These sketches include biographical, genealogical and war service information. The information was kept up to date into the 1930's and includes the names of many descendants of GAR members. Burial places are included, some with Section and Plot numbers. The original belongs to the Quaboag Historical Society.
  Be sure to check this out!
  You may also be interested to know that there is a similar book about Brookfield Civil War soldiers which may be found at the Merrick Public Library in Brookfield.
Thank you to Dan Hamilton for letting me know about this book.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Washington Tufts of Brookfield, Massachusetts: A Will Transcibed

Recently I came across Washington Tufts' will in Ancestry's collection of
"Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991." I had seen the signature of Washington Tufts on some naturalization documents he had witnessed, but I knew nothing else about him. This Will begins to paint a picture of Mr. Tufts, his character, and the people and ideas which were important to him. I have since found other information in his obituary, and in Massachusetts Vital Records.  US Census records also helped to fill in some details.  I have thus far been unable to find a photograph or portrait showing his likeness.

Washington Tufts was born in New Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1814 and relocated in Brookfield about 1840.  He was employed as a clerk in a local business, and then for a time was in the meat business in West Brookfield.  He became the first agent for the Western Railroad Corporation in about 1858, and held that position for 34 years.

Washington married Harriet Sanford in 1846.  She died in 1858. There were no children as far as I can tell, and Washington never remarried.

Mr. Tufts served for fifteen years as the town clerk in Brookfield.  He was the first town clerk after Brookfield and West Brookfield became separate towns, and at one time or another held almost every town office. Washington became a state senator in 1875. He was a charter member of the Hayden Lodge of Masons, and a Knight Templar.

Washington Tufts died in Brookfield 1 July 1893 leaving a large estate. His funeral was held at the Unitarian Church there, and his burial was in the town cemetery after a masonic service. Find A Grave has a photo of the monument on his grave which is impressive in appearance. See

Worcester County Probate Files
Case 15455                                                                                                              Washington Tufts

Be it remembered, that I, Washington Tufts, of Brookfield, Worcester County, Massachusetts, being of sound mind and memory, but knowing the uncertainty of this life, do make this my last will and testament.

After the payment of my debts, funeral charges and the expenses of administering my estate, I give, devise and bequeath as follows, viz:

First, I give the sum of one hundred dollars to be deposited by my Executor in Some Savings Bank, to be held in trust by said bank, under the provisions of the Public Statutes of Massachusetts, Chapter 116, Section 35, for the following uses, trusts and purposes, viz: Said principal sum shall be forever held in trust and the dividends or income derived therefrom shall be to the person who, when the same is paid shall be acting as Treasurer of the town of Brookfield, said dividend or income to be expended by said town on the care, preservation and embellishment of my lot and its appurtenances and surroundings, situated in the Cemetery in said Brookfield, in which I shall be buried, and the receipt of the Treasurer of said town as aforesaid to said Bank, shall be a full discharge for said Bank, for all payments of dividends as aforesaid.

Second, I give the some of one hundred dollars to be deposited by my executor in some Savings Bank, to be held in trust by said Bank,  under the provisions of the Public Statutes of Massachusetts, Chapter 116, Section 35, for the following uses, trusts and purposes, viz: Said principal sum shall be forever held in trust and the dividends or income derived therefrom shall be to the person who, when the same is paid shall be acting as Treasurer of the town of New Braintree in said County of Worcester, to be expended by said town on the care, preservation and embellishment of my lot and its appurtenances and surroundings, situated in said New Braintree, in which my father and mother are buried, and the receipt of the Treasurer of said town as aforesaid, to said Bank, shall be full discharge for said Bank, for all payments of dividends as aforesaid.

Third, I give my watch and chain to my cousin Charles Keyes, son of Franklin Keyes of Warren, Mass.

Fourth, I give all my silver and plated ware, to Charles B. Sanford, who was brother to my deceased wife.

Fifth, I give to Henry W. Crosby, Frank Prouty, and Hiram P. Gerald, all of said Brookfield, and their successors and assigns, all of my Bonds of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Co., the face value of which amounts to Twelve thousand dollars, in trust nevertheless, and for the following uses, trusts and purposes viz:  This legacy shall be forever held in trust as a fund, to be known as the Washington Tufts Fund, the net income derived therefrom, after paying expenses and for their own service, to be paid over by said trusties as soon as can conveniently be done after the receipt thereof, to the person who when the same is paid, shall be acting as the Treasurer of the first Congregational Unitarian Society of Brookfield, a religious society located in said Brookfield, being the one where I usually attend church, to be expended by said Society for their general uses and purposes, and the receipt of said Treasurer, shall be a full discharge for said Trustees for the payment of said dividends and income.  I hereby authorize my said Trustees, and their successors and assigns to sell or exchange any part or all of said bonds at any time, should they be unanimously agreed that it was for the best interest of said Society so to do, and the net proceeds derived from such sale or exchange, shall thereafter held as, and shall constitute the fund as aforesaid for all and the same uses and purposes as hertofore provided.

It is my will also, that there shall at all times be three Trusties in charge if said fund and in case of the death, resignation, or removal of any of my said Trusties herein mentioned, or their successors to said trust, then it is my will that said Society shall as soon as can conveniently thereafter be done, elect a successor or successors to fill all vacancies, and said Trusties and there successors may be required by said Society to execute to them a satisfactory bond either with or without sureties for the faithful discharge of their duties as such Trusties.

Sixth. I give to the Congregational Society in New Braintree, in said County of Worcester, a religious society where my father and mother usually attended church, the sum of Five hundred dollars, and it is my will that said Society should invest the same, and forever after hold the same as a fund, to be known as the Washington Tufts Fund, and the net income derived therefrom to be expended and applied by said society toward the payment for the services of a minister of the gospel for preaching for said society, and the receipt of the person, who shall be acting as treasurer of said society shall be a full discharge for my executor,

Seventh. I give to my Executor, herinafter named the sum of Four thousand dollars, in trust nevertheless, and for the following uses trusts and purposes, viz: To invest the same as a fund, and keep the same invested thereafter, and to reinvest the same or any part thereof as may be necessary or expedient, and to allow said fund to accumulate by the addition of the interest and thereto, and in case that my sister Sally C. Tufts should survive me and should have expended all of her own property and estate, or if at any time after my decease she should have expended all of her property and estate, then my said executor shall pay over to her, or expend for her, any part or all of said trust fund, either of both principal and interest, for her comfortable support and maintainance during her life, or so long as any part of said fund shall remain unexpended as aforesaid, it being my will that she should have a good and comfortable support and maintainance out of said fund during her life after she shall have expended all of her own property and estate.  At the decease of my said sister, then all of said fund that shall remain unexpended as aforesaid, I give to my nephew, George K. Tufts, to him and his heirs forever, In case my sister should decease before my decease, then this legacy shall lapse.

Eighth, All of the residue and remainder of my estate, that I may die seized and possessed of, or in any way entitled to at the time of my decease, I give to my nephew, the aforesaid George K. Tufts, to him and his heirs forever, and it is my intention to make no bequests to any relative not herein mentioned.

I herby nominate the said George K. Tufts, to be the Executor of the will, and it is my will that he, exempt from giving sureties on his official bond as such Executor.

In case of the death, resignation or removal of the said George K. Tufts, as Executor, as aforesaid , then I give to whoever shall act to execute this will, all the same forever and authority to act in every respect, that I have herein given to my said Executor, and it is my will, that they shall be exempt from sureties on their official bond.

In testimony whereof, I hereunto set my hand, and in the presence of three witnesses, declare this to be my last will this ninth day of May A. D. 1893.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Washington Tufts [signature]

On this 9th day of May A. D. 1893. Washington Tufts, of Brookfield, Massachusetts, signed the foregoing instrument in or presence, declaring it to be his last will, and as witnesses thereof, we three do now at his request, in his presence and the presence of each other hereto subscribe our names.                                                           

                                                                     George A. Craig [signature]

                                                                    William Mulcahy [signature]      
                                                                     Lizzie Mulcahy  [signature]

 A true record;

                   Attest: George H. Harlow

Sources:, "Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988," ( :accessed 15 December 2015,) marriage record for Washington Tufts and Harriet Adaline Sanford. Massachusetts, Mason Membership Cards, 1733-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Washington Tufts, Birth Date - 16 Oct 1816, Birth Place - New Braintree, Death Date - 1 Jul 1893, Last Residence Place - Brookfield, Lodge - Quaboag, (Chartler member Hayden Lodge - Brookfield), Occupation - Station Agent, B and A RR Massachusetts, Wills and Probate Records, 1635-1991 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: Massachusetts County, District and Probate Courts.

"Death of Washington Tufts: Brookfield's Well-Known Citizen Laid to Rest After a Well-Spent Life," Brookfield Times, Friday 7 July 1893, Front page; online image ( accessed 15 December 2014.)