Millbury Historical Society's Latest Program Edifying and Entertaining!
Nathan M. Richardson is a published author, performance poet and Frederick Douglass Historian.
Mr. Richardson is now in his 9th year of The Frederick Douglass Speaking Tour - a living history performance that captures completely the physical, spiritual and intellectual essence of the former slave, writer, orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
Nathan came to Millbury recently and performed at the Asa Waters Mansion to a rapt audience. He recounted his relationship with President Abraham Lincoln and with fellow journalist and publisher William Lloyd Garrison. Nathan/Frederick also made note of Douglass' ties with Lynn and New Bedford, MA as well as describing his two trips to Millbury, Massachusetts to participate in adult lyceums of the era.
But perhaps the highlight of the evening was Mr. Douglass' interaction with two seven-year olds from Millbury: Paul Bemis and Lucas Mason. Paul's mom, Erica Fairbanks-Bemis, had brought the kids to introduce them to the shocking history of slavery, and Nathan made a meaningful connection with the boys by testing their literary capabilities.
It was great fun for both the youngsters and for the audience! Pretty gutsy kids to participate in front of so many grown-ups, and Nathan demonstrated a deft touch with the youths!
Later, Nathan responded to questions from the obviously well-informed and enthusiastic spectators. One couple had come all the way up from Johnson, Rhode Island!
And afterwards, refreshments were served, and Nathan mingled with his most appreciative fellow historians.
The Millbury Historical Society is selling some of the surplus Aftermath yearbooks we have. If any of these years mean something to you or a loved one, you can either message us on Facebook or call
Live Flea or Buy at 774-287-0104 to make sure the one you want is still in store.
They are selling for $10 apiece and are brand new! The years available are:
2 – 1931; 2 – 1934; 1 – 1935; 1 – 1936; 2 – 1949; 1 – 1951; 1 – 1952;
1 – 1958; 1 – 1971;1 – 1984; 1 – 1995;
1 - 1998
Frederick Douglass (Nathan Richardson) quizzes young historians Lucas Mason (l) and Paul Bemis on the finer points of reading levels.
MORE on Nathan Richarson, Heartily Endorsed by The Millbuy Historical Society!
A current resident and native of Suffolk, Virginia and 22 year retired veteran of the United States Army, Nathan M. Richardson is an accomplished performance poet and published author. His published collections are Likeness of Being, Twenty-one Imaginary T-shirts and The 7 Last Poems of an Unarmed Citizen. His work has been widely re-published in anthologies, magazines and newspapers such as the Channel Marker, The Cupola, Coastal Virginia Magazine and The Washington Post. Nathan has been a featured author at the following writers conferences/festivals; the James River Writers Festival, the Christopher Newport University Writers Conference, the PDCCC Literary Festival, the NSU William Carroll Literary Festival and the Hampton Roads Writers Writers Conference.
For the past 20 years Nathan has been the organizer and host of the Poetry, Prose & Pizza Open Mic Series. These quarterly open mics are syndicated in the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk and Prince George, Virginia. Nathan teaches a variety of workshops for emerging writers. Three of his most popular workshops are "Artistic Verses" - an ekphrastic poetry workshop, "Drop the Mic" - a poetry/storytelling workshop for middle and high school students and "Words Beyond Walls" - a poetry workshop for youth in juvenile detention centers.
Nathan has more than 30 years of youth activism mainly as a mentor and poetry coach with the youth empowerment organization - Teens with a Purpose (TWP). TWP is a peer led organization in which teens use their creative gifts in poetry, rap, music, dance and theater to influence their peers throughout the community. With Nathan's leadership, the Hampton Roads Youth Poetry Slam Team (a division of TWP) has competed nationally and internationally. The 2012 HRYP Slam team placed 2nd amongst 43 teams at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival and 3rd amongst 24 teams in 2021.
Nationally, Nathan's poetry has been commissioned to accent major art exhibits at the Delaware Museum of Art, the New Mexico Holocaust Museum, and the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA. His most successful poetry residency to date was as creative writing instructor for the Camp Rise Summer Arts Program at the Attucks Theater in Norfolk, Virginia, which was awarded the 2012 National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award from The White House.
Nathan's historic portrayal of writer, orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass began in 2015. After being encouraged by acclaimed storyteller Shelia Arnold to find and interpret a historic character, Nathan first settled on Douglass because of his similar appearance. He soon realized his kinship with Frederick Douglass as a self-taught writer/poet, orator/storyteller and activist/abolitionist. After years of research and more than 300 performances for national and international audiences, Nathan still finds the shoes of Douglass a loose fit.
ORGANIZATIONAL AFFILIATIONS: Nathan is a life-member of The Poetry Society of Virginia and currently serves on the planning committee for the organization's Centennial Celebration in 2023. He is a longtime member of The Suffolk Art League. He is a member of and teaches workshops at The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, VA. Most recently he was invited to join the board of directors for 1st Amendment / 1st Vote based in Auburn, NY. 1stA/1stV is a non-profit organization that supports the aspirations of young women and encourages their civic engagement through community activism and politics.
Nate's Website: https://www.scpublishing.com
Millbury's Famous Inventor Thomas Blanchard
This 1862 oil painting by Christian Schussele depicts America's famous inventors of the day, and there, second from the right, is our man Thomas Blanchard, inventor of the Eccentric Lathe!
L to R: William Thomas Green Morton, 9 Aug 1819 - 15 Jul 1868, James Bogardus, 14 Mar 1800 - 13 Apr 1874, Samuel Colt, 19 Jul 1814 - 10 Jan 1862, Cyrus Hall McCormick, 15 Feb 1809 - 13 May 1884, Joseph Saxton, 22 Mar 1799 - 26 Oct 1873, Charles Goodyear, 29 Dec 1800 - 1 Jul 1860, Peter Cooper, 12 Feb 1791 - 4 Apr 1883, Jordan Lawrence Mott, 12 Oct 1799 - 1866, Joseph Henry, 17 Dec 1797 - 13 May 1878, Eliphalet Nott, 25 Jun 1773 - 29 Jan 1866, John Ericsson, 31 Jul 1803 - 8 Mar 1889, Frederick Ellsworth Sickels, 20 Sep 1819 - 8 Mar 1895, Samuel Finley Breese Morse, 27 Apr 1791 - 2 Apr 1872, Henry Burden, 22 Apr 1791 - 19 Jan 1871, Richard March Hoe, 12 Sep 1812 - 7 Jun 1886, Erastus Brigham Bigelow, 2 Apr 1814 - 6 Dec 1879, Isaiah Jennings, 1792 - 1862, Thomas Blanchard, 24 Jun 1788 - 16 Apr 1864, Elias Howe, 9 Jul 1819 - 3 Oct 1867
First Annual Carole Chiras/
Millbury Historical Society Scholarship is Presented!
Elmwood Street School
We wish to congratulate Millbury High School senior Jacqueline Gilbert, daughter of Jeffrey and Kim Gilbert, for being awarded the first annual Carole Chiras/Millbury Historical Society Memorial Scholarship.
This $3,500 honor goes to a worthy student who will attend Worcester State University. Worcester State is where Carole met her husband of fifty-six years, Jack Chiras, many years ago.
Carole, who passed away last year, was known for her smile and cheerfulness. She was a gifted and talented educator who could put anyone at ease and make them feel valued. This, combined with boundless creativity and a giving heart, fueled the soul of an elementary school teacher.
She served at Providence Street School, Shaw Middle School and Elmwood Street School where she retired as principal in 2003.
In addition, Carole was a proud member of the Millbury community and a lifetime member of the Millbury Historical Society. She loved leading tours of the town’s noteworthy sites and sharing her vast knowledge of the town’s rich history. She was a board member of the Millbury Bicentennial Committee and served as the History Chairman.
Congratulations, Jacqueline, and good luck in the future!
MILLBURY HISTORICAL SOCIETY AWARDS SCHOLARSHIP
The seventh Annual Grace M. Laflash/Millbury Historical Society Scholarship was recently awarded to Ryan Shaughnessy, an eighth-grade student at Assumption School in Millbury.
Ryan was the top history student in the eight grade. He will be attending Marianapolis Preparatory School this fall.
Grace Laflash was a Charter Member of the Historical Society and its Secretary for nearly forty years. She was the unquestioned expert on Millbury History.
Grace taught fifth-grade at Assumption for over twenty-five years, and she instituted a Millbury History Class into the curriculum. Hundreds and hundreds of students learned about this Town from Grace. Her classes often put on plays and skits about events from Millbury’s early history and took part in every Town historical celebration.
When the bridge spanning the Blackstone River and the railroad tracks needed replacing in 1983, Grace’s class researched the history and found that the accepted name of “McGowan Bridge” was incorrect.
Instead, it was originally named the “Gowing Bridge” in honor of a prominent businessman in Town. At the grand opening ceremony, Grace and her students were given the honor of cutting the ribbon for the new “Gowing Bridge.”
Grace passed away in 2015, and her family asked that donations be made in her name to the Millbury Historical Society.
The Board of Trustees of the Society voted to use the funds to establish a scholarship in her name at Assumption School and President Frank Gagliardi made the presentation at Awards Night in the Church.
Grace M. Laflash
The Annual Meeting of The Millbury Historical Society took place on Thursday, June 8th- the 210th Anniversary of the Birthday of The Town of Millbury!
Boston Globe reporter, Emily Sweeney, shared the inside scoop on her books BOSTON ORGANIZED CRIME and GANGLAND BOSTON and then sold and signed them afterwards.
First Presentation of 2023 for
The Millbury Historical Society Draws Huge Crowd!
Wednesday night May 17th, The Millbury Historical Society, held our first program of the year at 6:00 at the Asa Waters Mansion.
The author Elena Palladino discussed her book, "The Lost Towns of the Swift River Valley" about the four towns sacrificed to create the Quabbin Reservoir for Boston's water supply.
We attracted a capacity crowd of seventy-five people! The audience was able to question Elena and meet her afterwards. Everyone certainly enjoyed themselves!
Millbury Historical Society Presents Program about World War II's LCI 713, Millbury's Ship
Be proud, little town of Millbury, because in August of 1944, your seven-thousand residents (one-thousand of whom were in the armed forces) raised over one-million dollars in the Fifth War Bond Drive of the war! Enough to sponsor its very own naval landing craft: the LCI (L) 173!
Recently, The Millbury Historical Society presented a program about this this long-forgotten, patriotic feat and how it was accomplished by our town! Learn where the idea arose, how the funds were raised, when the ship was commissioned, and where it is TODAY!
Watch the video below to access the program. It begins with an eight-minute introduction to the LCI-713 itself.
LCI-713 Commissioning: September 19, 1944
LCI-713 in Portland, Oregon TODAY
ELSIE ITEM and the DECK LOG OF THE USS LCI(L) 713 is a magazine about Millbury's own Landing craft!
The WINTER 2022 issue has a special column about Doug Bowker, grandson of Harold Bowker, who began the War Bond drive to fund the craft.
Below is a link to the magazine. Be sure to read pages 13, 14 & 15 about Doug and his tribute-model!
The Millbury Historical Society would like to acknowledge and thank all who turned out for our Veterans' Day program about Millbury's very own World War II vessel: The LCI-713!
The event was exceptionally well-attended, and the citizens of Millbury donated generously to the welfare of the landing craft for the second time in its existence!
In particular the Society would like to thank all the Veterans who stopped in; The Charles F. Minney Post for hosting the program (Bob & Barbara Roy: great job!). Kevin Krassopoulos, Public Access Director, thank you for filming the entire event, and Maureen Sullivan Editor of The Millbury-Sutton Chronicle did a wonderful job with the advanced Publicity.
Watch Video ^
Lots of Fun on February 17th!!
A History of 60 Elm Street
From Lynch's Garage to the Franco-American Club to A & D Pizza
A 1967 article (with a 1951 photo) about the silver anniversary of the Franco-American Club (1943-1968).
A 1958 photo of Senate re-election candidate John F. Kennedy's appearance at the Franco-American Club.
Matted/Plastic-Wrapped Prints of the FLYING SAUCER Car Hop and THE CENTRAL DINER are available in a 9” x 12” off-white, museum-quality mat with a bold French line around the opening.
“Diner Don” Sawyer is a New England watercolorist who is well known for his stylized renditions of regional diners, roadside attractions, and pastoral scenes.
Each print is titled, geographically-identified, and signed by the artist, “Diner Don” Sawyer.
These colorful, treasured prints are available at the Museum of the Millbury Historical Society during museum hours (or call Frank at 508-865-4192) OR at Gloria Schimke’s space at Live Flea or Buy (774-578-7919).
9” x 12” Prints of the Flying Saucer and The Central Diner $35
10” x 20” Print of the Flying Saucer only $40
Nostalgic Millbury for Sale