To My Dearest
The Civil War Letters of George and Emily Ward
On Thursday, June 13, 2019 the Annual Meeting of the Millbury
Historical Society took place. The program was very well attended
and refreshments were served.
Here is more about the program: when the Civil War broke out in 1861,
George Ward was asked to raise the 15th Massachusetts Regiment.
In August 1861, he left his wife, Emily, and their two small children to
go to war. They wrote to each other frequently.
In all,116 letters survive in the collection of the Worcester Historical
They detail the pain of prolonged separation, the challenges of single
parenting and the horrors of the battle front.
Lynne McKenney Lydick and Thomas R. Lydick shared the personal
and poignant letters of this couple.
Lynne McKenney Lydick and Thomas Lydick
The real Emily Mayo Ward and her husband George Hull
Some photos from our Scavenger Hunt which was held in Downtown Millbury on Saturday, September 28, 2019.
Dick & Caroline Belisle
Masons Donate Charter Replica (signed by Paul Revere) to The Millbury Historical
The Millbury Historical Society hosted a presentation on the history of the Olive Branch Freemason Lodge Thursday
night, October 18, 2019.
Ross Weaver went into great detail regarding the roots of the Olive Branch Lodge along with the connection with the
Masons organization. Assisted by Richard Townsend and several other Masons in attendance, he read some of the
history compiled by Randy Mogren Sr.
The group began with meetings held in 1796 at Campbell Hall, near Main Street in Oxford. They officially charted
September 14, 1797 and the charter was signed by Paul Revere, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts, and by Isaiah Thomas, Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge. The lodge was official named the
Olive Branch Lodge in 1799.
Their first hall was built in 1815 as an annex to an old tavern in West Sutton called Samuel Waters Tavern. In 1845 they
relocated to a building at the corner of Boston & Providence Road in Wilkinsonville. In 1859 they moved to their first
Millbury location, the Old Arcade Building, located above the Methodist Church on Elm Street (presently the Elm’s
Draught house Theater). In 1872 a new hall was constructed in the Rhodes-Simpson block on South Main St.
On March 11, 1882 the lodge was completely destroyed by fire. The original charter and a few other items were the
other things saved. A new building was built in the same location, but out of brick this time and was ready in 1884.
The Olive Branch Lodge AF&AM merged with the Mumford River Lodge in Douglas and continues with their mission “to
make good men better”.
On September 24, 2016, a gorgeous fall afternoon, approximately one
hundred twenty-five people attended our "Uncommon Old Common"
program in which we unveiled a sign noting the historical significance
of the original center of Millbury.
President Frank Gagliardi introduced the program and Jerilyn Stead,
portraying Thankful Singletary, led the audience through the history
of the establishment of "The Lord's Barn" and thus the Town of
She had paced off the size and position of the original church (on
Mike & Scott Remuck's present property) and had the "parishioners"
line up along it for instruction.
After that there were more stories from Carole Chiras and Frank
Gagliardi and then the exciting unveiling of "The Sign"!
Refreshments, courtesy of Goretti's Supermarket, were served.
Sign by Creative Signworks.
Board of the Millbury Historical Society and the New Sign:
(Standing) L to R: Jeff Dore, Mary Lou Mulhane, Richard Hamilton, Frank Gagliardi, President, Ken Dumas, Jerilyn Stead, & Carole Chiras
(Kneeling) L to R: Sharon Anderson, Maureen Army, Debbie Pousland & Janet Dumas
Thankful Singletary Instructs the
Parishioners Gathered in The Lord's Barn
Impressive crowd watches the program at The Old Common
The Millbury Historical Society
Holds Exciting Program
Zosia, Immigration and Industry
Thursday, September 15, 2022
On Thursday, October 13th The Millbury Historical
Society sponsored a fund-raiser for The Grass Hill School
called Family Letters of Abby Kelley and Stephen Foster.
Abby Kelley’s family lived in Millbury from 1835-1842.
While in Millbury Abby decided to become an Anti-
Slavery lecturer. That decision changed her life and the
country’s history forever.She married fellow radical
abolitionist lecturer, Stephen S. Foster, in 1847. When
they traveled separately, their letters bound them
Professional actors Lynne McKenney Lydick and
Thomas Lydick brought Abby and Stephen to life before
a capacity crowd at The Asa Waters' Mansion. Everyone
agreed that the program was most interesting and
Lynne McKenney Lydick and
Thomas Lydick as Abby and
Stephen Foster AND the real Fosters
On Thursday, September 15th, The Millbury Historical Society presented the program “Zosia, Immigration and Industry” to a large crowd.
Helen Rawinski Blazis portrayed her Polish grandmother Zosia who arrived in the Blackstone Valley to work in the woolen mills in 1912.
Helen expertly led the audience through the immigrant experience in the mills: the hours, the work and the pay that a hard-working young woman could put aside for a bright future if she were thrifty.
Helen also explained that the Blackstone River was the swiftest river in the country which made it most desirable as a power source. Unfortunately, in time, it also became the most polluted river in the country.
Other topics covered by the speaker were the many different mills in Grafton and Sutton, their hierarchy of workers, and the many Polish families that worked in them and lived in the villages provided by the factory owners.
Afterwards, there were refreshments of Polish pastries and breads, and Helen Rawinski Blazis was available if people wished to buy her book “Zosia” for $25. (If interested, please message the Millbury Historical Society at https://www.millburyhistory.org/)