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 will be ninety-one years old in
March.         
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!
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 Firemen.

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. She leaves her loving husband of 54 years, Gerard Laflash; three children,
Gerard Laflash and his wife Michelle, Andree Laflash, and Peter Laflash; 5 grandchildren,
Nicholas, Joshua, Zachary, Justina, and Kyle; brothers Frank Gagliardi and wife Kathy, and
George “John” Gagliardi, Jr and wife Barbara; sister Janis Corey; many nieces, nephews,
cousins and friends. She was born in 1933 in Millbury, daughter of the late George Gagliardi &
Jeanette (Lachapelle) Gagliardi.

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. Grace loved everything Italian – especially the food and her family
history. 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. Through the years, she was involved in many other activities related to
Millbury and its history including: Secretary for Friends of Millbury Public Library, member of
the Bandstand Committee, Secretary for Friends of the Asa Water’s Mansion, member of
Millbury’s 175th Anniversary Celebration Committee. Grace was a strong woman of faith. She
taught Bible Study at the Adult Day Care Center and always shared her faith with others. She
was a caring and self-sacrificing person who enjoyed interacting with people, especially her
family and friends. The family would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the care providers at
Millbury Healthcare Center.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Millbury Historical Society, P.O. Box 367,
Millbury, MA 01527, www.millburyhistory. org.

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.

Thursday, July 2 from 9-11
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 Ed
would have perfect lighting!  

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 our Town is
Found!
Portrait of Amasa Wood by John
Blunt

Photo of this portrait by Edd Cote
Portrait of Sarah Foristall  Wood by
John Blunt

Photo of this portrait by Edd Cote