Amasa Wood, A Forgotten Pillar of Millbury is

The Millbury Historical
Society Museum will be
Sunday December 6th
from 11-4 for the Millbury
Chain of Lights.

Be sure to stop in at the Asa
Waters' Mansion!

Besides our usual exhibits, there
are two new ones:

“The Amasa Wood Family:
Forgotten Leaders of Millbury”
"An Autographed Letter from
President Taft.
Gateway to the Blackstone Valley
The Millbury Historical Society
Incorporated 1972
Millbury, Massachusetts

Preserving Millbury's Past for its Future
Our Mission

"As a bridge from the past to the future, the Millbury
Historical Society is committed to preserve, protect,
present and promote the history of Millbury."
P.O. Box 367
Millbury, MA

In January of 2013, The Millbury Historical Society
received a generous donation of military artifacts from
Mr. Harold Granish of Dunwoody, GA.

These obviously very old items belonged to his
deceased wife's family whose ancestors hailed from

A military expert proclaimed the artifacts (a shako, a
saber, an epaulette, a belt and its buckle/shield) to be
one collection from the Millbury Light Infantry and said
they were in remarkably good shape for items almost
two-hundred years old.

The Millbury Historical Society heartily thanked Mr.
Granish, eighty-nine, for his donation and invited him to
stop in to Millbury if he should ever be up this way.

Well, recently, Mr. Granish, now ninety, did just that! He
drove up
alone in his brand new Buick Lacrosse to
Syracuse, NY for his sister’s funeral and thought that
“while he was in the area,” he would make a side trip to

He visited the
Museum of the Millbury Historical Society
and was delighted to see the display of his military
artifacts! You can do the same by stopping into the

P.S. Mr. Granish also owns a 2008 red Mazda Miata
convertible, but that stayed in Georgia!
Harold Granish Admires His Military Display
Mr.. Granish Comes to Millbury!
Driving Alone! At the Age of
Ninety-One Year Old Beverly
McLean Sees Half-Brother for the
First Time!

Bob Rochon, owner of Creative SignWorks here in
Millbury, recently found a polished nickel cigarette
case in a barn in Sutton.
Inside the case there was a photo of a cute little boy
and his dog.
On the back of the picture there was the inscription:

“My Dear Little Boy-
William H. McLean.
Gone but not forgotten
James McLean
Millbury, MA.”

Bob Rochon presented it to the
Millbury Historical
with hopes that they could solve the mystery
of the deceased little boy.
Millbury Historical Society board
member and old-fashioned sleuth Jerilyn Stead
associated the name McLean with her friend Beverly
McLean Cambridge!
Beverly McLean Cambridge was the author of a book
The Bramanville Girls.
In 2011, The Millbury Historical Society had invited
Beverly to present a book signing at the Asa Waters'
Mansion. (Click
here for more on Beverly’s book.)
Jeri Stead contacted Beverly to see if the inscription
on the photo meant anything to her.
She said, “Jeri, I’m going to cry! That is my half-
brother whom I have never seen!”
Beverly’s dad, James McLean, had two families. He
and his first wife Elizabeth had Baden (born 1900) and
William, the mystery boy, (born 1912).        
Sadly, William succumbed to meningitis when he was
seven (4-21-19). William is buried in Central Cemetery
with the same inscription on his grave as is on the
Tragically, Elizabeth Brown McLean died a mere
eighteen months after her son (11-13-20) of heart
disease. She was only forty-two.
James’ second wife Edith then bore him Raymond
(1922) and Beverly (1924). Thus it was that Beverly
had never seen her half-brother nor the photo in the
cigarette case. However, she remembered going to
Central Cemetery as a child on Memorial Day and
watching her dad cry at the boy’s gravesite.
Jerilyn had the photo enlarged and recently presented
it to Beverly at her lovely assisted living facility in
Beverly, MA. She is now ninety-one years old.       
From now on, Beverly will treasure the opportunity to
view her little brother daily.

See how it paid for Bob Rochon to put his faith in
Millbury Historical Society!
Seven-year old William McLean's Gravesite in
Millbury's Central Cemetery
Ninety-one-year old Beverly
McLean Cambridge,
half-sister of the stricken
lad, William.
Bob Rochon, owner of Creative Signworks here in Millbury. Bob's
discovery made this "reunion" possible!

In Memorium to One of Our Founders

Grace M. (Gagliardi) Laflash, 81, went home to be with
the Lord on Friday May 15, 2015 after a long illness.

Grace was a founding member of the Millbury Historical Society and
served as secretary for 35 years. Grace enjoyed giving tours of the Asa
Water’s mansion on Elm Street and was involved with creating the
museum on the 2nd floor.

Her love of Millbury’s history was evidenced by her extensive
knowledge of the details within the 900 pages of Millbury’s History book
which she shared in articles written for the Millbury Journal and
Millbury/Sutton Chronicle newspapers. She was consulted as an
authority on the town’s history by numerous people, researchers, and
published authors.

In Millbury’s early days, streams and
rivers produced the water power that
turned it into a flourishing manufacturing
town. Two well-known pillars of the town,
Asa Waters II used the Blackstone River
to run his Armory, and General Caleb
Burbank produced paper using the water
of Singletary Stream. They both built
mansions which we can view today.   

We are also able to see what these
forefathers looked like as there are
copies of portraits of Asa Waters II and
his wife Susan Holman Waters hanging in
the Waters’ Mansion, and the original
portraits of General Caleb Burbank and
his wife Hannah Smith Burbank are
hanging in the
Museum of The Millbury
Historical Society
. These portraits were
painted by John Blunt, a traveling artist
from Portsmouth N.H.

Another pillar of our town harnessed the
water of Ramshorne Brook. His name
was Captain Amasa Wood. He came to
Millbury in 1808, bought land from
Johnathan Waters in West Millbury and
opened up a shoe shop. Initially he
transported his shoes in leather bags on
horseback to sell in Providence and

Amasa would carry money for other
businesses and stop and sit by the old
log fires in many taverns along the way.
When he returned home, all the
neighbors and friends would gather to
hear news from along the route.

Amasa Wood was a captain in the militia
during his early life and held many
positions of honor. He was a Millbury
selectman for many years and a member
of the Massachusetts Legislature.
He liberally gave to his church, and his
spirit of generosity was instilled in his

There is a memorial window given in
memory of his son John Wood in the
Millbury First Congregational Church, and
his son William left a Trust Fund to the
church in his will in 1895.

One of the Captain’s “acts of kindness”
was bestowed on one of his employees
is still bearing fruit today.

A young man by the name of Ithamer
Stowe came to work for Captain Wood.
Captain Wood treated Ithamer like a son.

In 1839 Captain Wood bought 120 acres of
additional land in West Millbury for $2500.
Knowing Ithamer enjoyed farming,
Captain Wood turned around and sold this
land to him at a loss of $800!  

This land became the Stowe Farm. When
Ithamer and his wife had their first son
they named him Amasa.

When you look at the Stowe Farm from
Carlton Road today, you will see that it
continues to flourish.

Amasa Wood’s business expanded
rapidly and he built a mansion with a
shoe manufacturing business behind it.
He later expanded and manufactured
shoes in Connecticut, Georgia, and
California. He undoubtedly supplied
shoes and boots to both the Union and
Confederate Soldiers during the Civil

By 1873 “A. Wood and Sons” employed
seventy-three people from Millbury and
the surrounding towns in his West
Millbury business. Shoes bearing the
name “A. Woods & Son” were looked
upon as “the best of the best”.

Captain Wood’s mansion has
disappeared although we do have a
photo of it. Asa Waters II and Caleb
Burbank were wealthy enough to have
their portraits painted by John Blunt so
we’ve always know what they looked
like.  Throughout Millbury’s history we
had never seen a John Blunt portrait of
Captain Amasa Wood and his wife
Sarah Foristall  Wood-until last fall!

Millbury Historical Society Board
Member Jerilyn Stead found a 1980
magazine on the mantle in the Millbury
Historical Society and inside it had
portraits of the Waters, the Burbanks,
and the Woods! Captain Wood also had
portraits painted of four of his children!

The magazine was published by the
Folk Art Museum in New York City.
Jeri contacted them and requested
photos of the portraits as the Wood
family was so prominent in Millbury’s
past, but was told the portraits were in a
private collection.

The curator at the museum said she
would tell the collector of our inquiry
concerning the portraits and they would
contact us if interested.

Jeri Stead soon received an e-mail
which began with “Hi, neighbor”!  
Sue and Dexter Pond, who live in
Grafton, have collected many of the   
John Blunt portraits. Their collection
included prominent people who lived in
Millbury and Sutton during the 1800’s.  
Out of all of America, the Ponds lived
right in Grafton!

The Ponds invited Jeri to come to
Grafton to view the portraits and Edd
Cote, our Millbury photographer, was
also invited to come and take photos of
their treasures. The Ponds even took
the portraits outside so that Edd would
have perfect lighting!  

L to R): Driver Sharon Anderson, Dexter
Pond, Sue Pond, Historical Sleuth Jeri Stead
All pictured with the Amasa Wood Family

All photos courtesy of Edd Cote

The Millbury Historical Society certainly
appreciates the generosity of the Pond
Family which has allowed us to bring to
life the long-forgotten shoe
manufacturer of West Millbury.
In Memory of Our Past President  
and One of Our Earliest Members

(l. to r.) Millbury Historical Society President Frank Gagliardi,; Past-
President Linc Bordeux; and Vice-President Mary Lou Mulhane
enjoy being "students" at the Grass Hill School.

Linc was one of the Millbury Historical Society’s earliest
presidents serving from 1982-1984, and the restoration of the
Grass Hill School on West Main Street was a special project of

He always supported the society by attending meetings and
historical trips, and he was very proud of Millbury and his
family’s business.

Thank you, Linc, for all your interest and dedication.
Special Exhibit!
The History of Millbury's
Fire Department

Please stop into the Town
Hall Foyer and see photos
and artifacts concerning
the history of Millbury's

The Millbury Historical Society is a
membership organization.

Become a member and help to preserve
Millbury's past for its future.

Types of memberships:
Individual $10
Couple $15
Family $25
Business $25
Lifetime (Individual) $100
Lifetime (Couple) $150

Make Checks payable to:

The Millbury Historical Society

Mail to:
P.O.Box 367
Millbury, MA 01527
Click below for printable
membership application
The Annual Meeting of the Millbury Historical Society is Warmly

Performer Judith Kalaora received a standing ovation for her portrayal of Deborah Samson Gannett,
(1762-1827), the first woman to enlist, fight in, and be honorably discharged from the American Military!
Deborah enlisted under the name of Robert  Shurtlieff.

Judith captivated the audience in an hour-long program on June 11th at the Asa Waters' Mansion. We
wish Judith well as she brings this show to off-Broadway in October!
Photos of Judith Kalaora as
Robert Shurtlieff and Deborah
Samson Gannett Courtesy of
Janet Dumas

   Our Last Program Was So     
                Much Fun!

   Patricia Perry, well-known to
Millbury, having put on several
programs here in recent years,
presented “LEGENDS AND LIES” on
Thursday, October 29 at 7:00 PM at
the Mansion.

   Participants tested their knowledge
of historical myths and tall tales of the
past in this very interactive show with

   The show was vastly entertaining,
and got the entire audience involved
and buzzing as they searched for

   Refreshments were served in the
Rose Room.

   If you missed this program, please
keep in touch and attend our next

Celebrate Small
Business Saturday!

The Millbury Historical
Society Museum will be
selling our historical wares
Sunday November 28th
from 9:00 -Noon.

Be sure to stop in at the Asa
Waters' Mansion!