Millbury:
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
01527
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"Four" Fathers Program of the
Millbury Historical Society is
Rated an Historical Success!

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
Millbury.

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
Millbury!

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
Museum!

P.S. Mr. Granish also owns a 2008 red Mazda Miata
convertible, but that stayed in Georgia!
Harold Granish Admires His Military Display
Special Thanks to:

Tour Guides Tracy Charbonneau, Karen Levitre,  and Jen
Kenary

Photographer Edd Cote

Program Designer Walter Nelson

Maintenance Crew Adam and Asa Army, Gary Levitre, Rick
Lavallee, Brian Iandoli, and Patrick Mosley

The Weeping Mary Chaplin, Lauren Francis

Goretti's Super Market

Meadowlarks
18th Century Gentlemen Relaxing in Asa Waters II's
Garden
(L to R) Colonel Jonathan Holman (Joe Barbato), Monitor
Ken Dumas, and Asa Waters I (Tom Fox)
Waters' Housekeeper Sharon Anderson
accompanies her boss Susan Holman Waters (Jeri
Stead).
Squire Amos Singletary (Roger
Desrosiers) welcomes the public
into his domain.
Reverend Ebenezer Chaplin (Alex Belisle) of the
Lord's Barn, North Parish, Sutton holds forth on
the injustices against him.
Maids and housekeeper of the Mansion: L to R is Maureen
Army, Debbie Pousland, Karen Levitre, Mary Lou Mulhane,  Jen
Kenary , Tracy Charbonneau, and Sharon Anderson
Mr.. Granish Comes to Millbury!
Driving Alone! At the Age of
Ninety!
Ninety- 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
Society
with hopes that they could solve the mystery
of the deceased little boy.
Immediately,
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
called,
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
photo!
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
The
Millbury Historical Society!
Seven-year old William McLean's Gravesite in
Millbury's Central Cemetery
Ninety-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 grew up in Millbury’s Little Italy on North
Main Street. She cherished her childhood
memories of the large extended family and
numerous friends and was very proud of her
Italian American heritage. She enjoyed
researching and recording family genealogy.
She taught 5th grade at Assumption school in
Millbury for many years, specializing in Millbury
& American History. Later, she was a
homemaker for the Millbury District Nursing
Society. She 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
Boston.

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
children.

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.
Wednesday, August 5
from 6-8 PM, there
will be an opening of
the
Millbury
Historical Society
Museum
.

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

There are military artifacts,
sports displays, Aftermath
yearbooks, and bins of photos
and Millbury Nostalgia for you to
peruse!

In addition, this will be the
unveiling of the new exhibit
“The Amasa Wood Family:
Forgotten Leaders of Millbury.”









The Millbury Historical Society is
Handicapped-Friendly with
videos.

  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
War.

  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.
Amasa Wood, A Forgotten Pillar of Millbury is
Found!
In Memory of Our Past
President  and One of
Our Earliest Members






Our Friend and Former President,
Lincoln Bordeaux 1925-2015

(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 his.

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 in to the Town
Hall Foyer and see photos
and artifacts concerning
the history of Millbury's
Firemen.


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