Thursday, April 14, 2011: Nights Pasture, Lancaster

By the time breakfast came at the College Town Inn I was packed and ready to go.  I had to reschedule some activities in the morning before leaving Lancaster because of the pouring rain the day before. 

My first goal was the find the “Night’s Pasture” area in Lancaster.  I had attempted it the day before but was just not getting the right feel for the geography.  Marsha, of the Special Collections, at the Thayer Memorial Library, suggested Center Bridge Road.  I decided to try it and low and behold there was the Nashua connecting to the North Branch? I was so happy!!!! Marsha also explained that the area was used for growing corn. 

There is a map in the book written by Henry S. Nourse on page 264 and also 266 that is a drawing of the lands of the old settlers.  The book is the Early Records of Lancaster 1643 to 1725, by Henry S. Nourse, 1884.  This book is at Google Books but that copy has bad pages in it.  Fortunately the maps are in tack.  They are really wonderful and there is an area at the confluence of the North branch and the Nashaway River that is right were  one of the areas of Joseph Rowlandson’s titled the “Nights Pasture.”  This is part of the lands that Philip Goss I (1654 to 1698) purchased in 1687. 

Do not expect much.  It is a large open area without much there.  A road has been added since and a bridge.  Just know that I could tell through the trees that the North Branch and the Nashaway were coming together.  They were not turbulent but serene as they merged! 

Southwest side of the Center Bridge

More Southwest Side
Still more south side
Nashaway River Southeast





Trying to show the meeting of the North branch with the Nashaway

Southeast



Coming from the northwest

  


Trying to even more show where the North branch meets the Nashaway River



Northeast from the road to the field



Southeast side of the bridge North branch

The field from the road looking northeast on the west side of the bridge

Field area looking north

The field area looking northeast

What is a “Nights Pasture?”  Well, Nourse talks about that in the same book and it is rather fun to read.  The nights pasture was for the animals to go at night.  See page 299 for more information about the night pasture and enjoy Nourse’s explanation. 

Oh, the Great Elm Historical Marker is just east of this area? 

The next stop was the marker for the Rowlandson Garrison which would be more of the Joseph Rowlandson land ownings.  I found it where the opening is in the stone wall along Main Street before you get to the cemetery which is on the left.

I again refer you to the maps in Nourse’s book I mentioned about.  Have Fun!

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Wednesday April 13, 2011: Lancaster Wanderings IV – The Thayer Memorial Library Special Collection

I was still at the Old Settlers Burial Field and it was fast becoming 3 pm and I decided it was time to go to the Thayer Memorial Library.  My hosts at the B&B gave me a tip that in the Town Hall you might find some interesting information.  I did not have time to go and investigate but maybe you could find some interesting information there?  Try the Town Clerk?

There is a parking lot on the street north of the church where the government and library buildings are.  I overhead the librarian mention this to a patron the day before.  It is easy to walk between the church and the library and a very nice place to park. You can park in front of the library but that is limited. 

Thayer Memorial Library on Court Square, Lancaster, MA, parking to the left

The Thayer Memorial Library has a Special Collections area.  It is  filled with history.  The history of Lancaster and beyond.  Recently they updated their website and it easy to find it for it has its own label – Special Collections.  Just look across the top area of the website.  Click on that and start exploring.  It really is important to make an appointment with Special Collections ahead of your visit.

So I headed out and back up the path an through the Middle Cemetery to my car.  I ran into another lady who was also going to the library to do research and she knew about me.  She told me the name and I said I had not seen it in the areas I had looked.  I could not help her.

Call the library and listen to the choices given and select the call # given and leave a message.  Also check the hours for the Special Collections is limited in hours although they can try to accommodate your needs.  Be prepared to explain carefully what you need and in detail for the head of this Special Collections will have everything laid out for you when you arrive and she will also access other information if you need her too.  You can also email her but the email bounced after they uploaded a new website for the library. 

My appointment at the Thayer Memorial Library in the Special Collections was at 4:15 pm when the collections opened and it was about 3 pm.  I decided I needed to get to the library and start doing some research. 

I wandered around the library trying to figure out where things are.  It has these many rooms.  Not many tables.  I found the history section in the back area  over to the right.  They did have the book on the Inscriptions of the Nashaway towns and that was helpful.  The book my Marvin on the History of Lancaster had a map of the Old Settlers Cemetery and I was able to find the Philip Goss (1654 to 1698) tombstone.  This was going to help. 

Marsha the Special Collections head found us at the table and introduced herself.  I was busy doing other things and then realized they were waiting for me.  I apologized.  The other lady had joined me and a young man who had been very helpful was sitting at the end of the table.  He was not going to be going to the Special Collections room in the basement but he did seem interested. 

We followed Marsha downstairs.  The Special Collections Room is down a hallway last door on the right past the bathrooms.  There is hallway into a big room filled with bookshelves stacked with records, books and more. 

Marsha had pulled items for us to review at these tables and we all set to work.  We only had 4:15 to 6 pm to work so I had to move quickly. 

My goal over the last ten years has been revisiting the sources that Paul H. Goss used in his manuscripts and articles to try to solve the Goss lineage problem.  I am getting down to just a few more to find but you do have to realize a lot of republication has taken place.  Paul died in 1963 and that was 48 years ago. 

Here are a few things I was troubleshooting on this day!
1.  In his manuscript he mentions the Frederick Lewis Weiss manuscript of “Early families of Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1643-1700,” published 1941.  This was only obtained at the Thayer Memorial Library.  It includes an index of the descendants of the founders of Lancaster mostly those connected to the the First Church of Christ in Lancaster 1653- to 1942.  I believe there are 3-4 volumes in binders of his notes on these families.  It has a pretty good history of the Goss family.

2.  Another item of interest was the Nourse notes.  These Nourse’s handwritten notes on the history of Lancaster.  I am referring to Henry Stedman Nourse the author of many of the histories of Lancaster and the vital records compilation. 

The title on the binder was:  Brief Historical & Genealogical Sketches of the Earliest Proprietors and Pioneers of Lancaster, MA 1883 Vol 2, H.S. Nourse Vol I. This is not in the catalog for I don’t have a print out.  I have to give credit to Elbert Garrett Goss for telling me about these notes.

3.  The descent of John Prescott, founder of Lancaster, MA 1645, from Alfred the Great, King of England 871-901 by Frederick Lewis Weiss.  This is a small pamphlet and I have to admit I am impressed.  Unfortunately it is not my line for Philip Goss I married first Hannah Hopkins and she went off to Jamaica and there was a divorce.  He remarried to Mary Prescott, John’s granddaughter for a second marriage.  My line is down from Hannah. 

4.  Paul H. Goss mentions a Joseph Willard and A Memorandum of LancasterMemoir and Miscellaneous Writings of Joseph Willard, Historian of Lancaster, Resident 1821-1833, died 1865 at the library. It contained information on this man but it was only on his family and other articles but nothing about Lancaster history specifically so I have to admit I am puzzled? Marsha looked high and low for anything else but did not find it. Now Paul was a Reverend and anything involving ministers he was very interested in.  So maybe this was one of his heroes? So this one source is still a mystery. 

Back when Paul did his research they did not do specific footnotes of the materials and so it is difficult to figure out what he is referring to and when he made the lists at the end of a section he really didn’t specify where he obtained the information.in the previous section?  I am not being critical of my cousin because that is how they did things back in his time frame of 1890 to 1963.  For the researchers of today it can be frustrating.  I am frequently noted to say: “Paul what were you thinking?”  Paul is a hero of mine and I marvel as to how did he ever figured this all out without a computer!!!! HA!

5.  The history of the First Church of Christ in Lancaster, MA 1653-1840 by Frederick Lewis Weiss.  This title was about the ministers who served and did not go into the members.

6.  I was curious about the descent of John Houghton Jr. who married Mary Prescott after the death of Philip Goss I in 1698. 

John Houghton of Lancaster, Mass. and some of his descendants, by Annie Lane Burr and Thomas Hovey Gage about 1925.  I found John Jr. and it referenced his marriage to Mary Prescott.  Houghton is a big name in Massachusetts.

7. Memorial of Josiah Kendall, one of the first settlers of Sterling, Mass., and some of his ancestors and of his descendants.  By Oliver Kendall, 1884.  This book is online at World Vital Records which is sometimes available at an archive free to access.  I just opened the book to see how it was organized and it was very nicely done.  The author had it presented well.  This Josiah is interesting and how is this Kendall Family connected to Mary Kendall?  Now I have tried to dig into the Kendall Family line and I have run into some interesting problems.  Paul’s version of the history of the Kendall family is very confusing in his manuscript and hard to follow.  I am not sure he really knew?  Anyway I am still puzzling it out.  This book states that the son of John Kendall who married 3 times and one of his wives was Elizabeth Comey and they had a son John Kendall b 1684 but he died young.  It was the son John Kendall born 1699 who married Deborah Richardson. 

This Josiah Kendall that is the subject of the above book was born in Sterling in 1712 and his parents are Lt. Samuel and Elizabeth Kendall, grandparents are Thomas Kendall and Ruth, great grandparents are Frances and Mary Tidd Kendall.  I hope I got that right!

A website The Tracks We Leave has interesting information about the Kendalls:
http://www.newenglandkendalls.com/whatsnew.html  They have a different John Kendall married to our Mary.  Hmmmm……?  Click on tabs on the right and start exploring.  Very interesting!!!  I am still pondering this all???
 
As usual you have to make decisions about what to dig for and not and time limits your choices.  I could be spending my life (I am) on this Goss family and into the next life. HA!

The room was cool, set to a low temperature and we all kept our coats on.  Marsha is at first a little serious and she really had a New York accent but after awhile she starts to giggle and smile and then she gets really into pulling records for you and wanting to know if she can help.  I have to admit that having the records all ready for me is pretty cool.  Sometimes I would just prefer to browse the stacks but you can’t always do that in an archive.  I asked what the rules were and Marsha told me that some items could be copied and what could not be.  So you do have to inquire. 

I had a list of things I wanted to ask so Marsha sat next to me waiting to assist me.

1. Garrison – West Regiment of Middlesex

She thought this was probably in Bolton past the Eastwood Cemetery there had been a garrison there.  This was mentioned in an article in NEHGR the year 1692

2.  Main Street in Lancaster.  Is it close to the original highway?

Yes it is but not specifics where given and I was just defining it so I could interrupt a map out of Nourse’s history of Lancaster that showed the land holdings of the early settlers.

3.  Atherton Bridge where is that?

On Bolton Road.  I found this link on historical bridges.  The bridge has since been rebuilt.  Marsha commented that she can’t believe she used to drive on the old rotted bridge and from the looks of it in the picture I can see why:  http://www.historicbridges.org/massachusetts/atherton/  This bridge is mentioned in deeds and descriptions in the history books for Lancaster.

4.  Prescott Mill is that in Clinton?

Yes, it is now where there are apartments called Prescott Mill Apartments.  I think it is on Water’s Street in Clinton. 

5.  Wecapekat Brook?

It is in Sterling and use to be very important in the past.  It is near Hwy 62 and Sterling Road.  I might need to do a little more digging.  I have not found a really good topo map and the Massachusetts one I have looked at and I want details like the names of the hills and more. 

6. Nourse and Marvin the authors of the histories of Lancaster, are they reliable?

She said they were both very good.  Sometimes a history book can be well done but others are not as great.

7.  I mentioned the Kendall connection to the Goss family

She said that the Sterling Library was good for Kendall information.  There was also a Kendall Road in Sterling and a Kendall Hill.  So she took out a piece of paper and drew an map for me. Then giggled that she had sent me on a wild goose chase!  I will double check before I go a wandering.  Her map and what my Streets and Trips mapping software tell me are not the same? 

These questions I asked have a lot to do with the descriptions that are in the history books regarding land and locations of former homes and more.  Of course on a map of today you can’t find them because they rename things over the years.  Please forgive me if I get things wrong.  I really need a detailed map of Lancaster and the area.  Also there are multiple spellings for a geographical feature which can really cause confusion. 

I had completed my research for the day.  There is so much more but I do need to get to my Legacy Database and the Goss Manuscripts and get that all organized when I get back to Seattle. There is so much information that I have. 

I asked if I could wander the stacks and she said yes, just don’t touch anything.  So I wandered through the aisle studying the titles and realized they have quite a collection of Massachusetts books, histories and series and more.  I believe it is all on the online catalog for at least accessing maybe not the Lancaster Collection?  If not you can call the library and it has a great list of the names of the department heads and their number and you can leave messages or use the email online.  Her email was bouncing when I tried it before I came on this trip but they had just launched a new website so I hope it works now. 

I asked whether there was a Lancaster Historical Society and she said that it was really the public part of the Lancaster Historical Commission which is listed under Departments at the town website http://www.ci.lancaster.ma.us/Pages/index.

I have not had much success at accessing them but they do hold meetings and announcement them on the town website.

There are maps of the historical sites in Lancaster.  One is so fuzzy I can barely read it and the other that is mentioned on the Town website has a broken link.  Another one I found has small print? I did not have time to try the Courthouse across from the Library.  They might have some information? What I do not know but it was a tip.

Clinton has an Historical Society and she said it was very good. http://www.clintonhistorical.org/. She also mentioned the Sterling Library was a good source.  I was surprised that there was no Lancaster Genealogical Society?  I did visit Clinton for dinner the first night and as I walked the town I started thinking “industrial” and Marsha smiled and said that Clinton was textiles?  Jack mentioned plastics for pharmaceuticals? Nypro http://www.nypro.com/ was the name he gave.  I decided I needed help so I give this link about Clinton at  Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton,_Massachusetts  The article gives some interesting links.  It is a start. 

I was content and very pleased with the afternoon work at the Thayer Memorial Library and I had fun. 

There is Goss History in Clinton but mostly John Goss history, the 1/2 brother to Philip Goss II (should be II).  I think Elbert Garrett Goss’s manuscript that I referenced at the Family History Library is probably a good place to start for that line of descent. 

When I rolled into town I got lost in Clinton and didn’t take a left when I should have to go to Lancaster.  No big deal but it is a bit of a challenge to get around Clinton.  Not the first place to go when you get to Lancaster till you start to get a feel for where you area.

Via Alto in Clinton, MA – Very nice!

 

Clinton’s downtown!


As I go on this trip I realize that I am just going to have to come back.  So when I go to Boston in a few years I will work my way west.  I was told that Massachusetts residents will live in a town and commute to Boston, even from West Brookfield?  “They just get on the turnpike!!!” 

I left the library happy and content, but tired and hungry.  Sandee’s was closed? So I found a Colonel Sanders Kentucky fried…I like the biscuits.  It was a good dinner if a little salty. 

I am hoping the rain has finally stopped!

Note:  Because there are so many Philip Gosses an in different generations, I prefer to use Paul H. Goss’s labeling to keep things straight.  So if I use the Roman Numerals please don’t assume it is attached to that person in their real name like Sr. or Jr.  One of Paul’s manuscripts is digitized by the Family History Library and you can get a copy there:  Here is the link Paul Henry Goss FHL  This copy is probably one of the final copies for in reading it I see that he has fixed things like spelling and other edits

Monday, April 11, 2011: The Brookfields – At Last!!

It is a little surreal for me today.  I have been working on the Goss family for years and collecting the manuscripts of my cousin Paul Henry Goss, Flora Montanye Goss and several other researchers. Paul and Flora did a lot of research on the Goss family back in the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s.  I have been collecting their articles and manuscripts for over 10 years.  I have been revisiting the sources Paul gave as he wrote about the history of our family and updating them due to re-publication and other issues.  To actually be in a place where the historical events took place that Paul writes about is so very amazing and to follow a little in Paul’s footsteps is very exciting for me!  The Family History Library has digitized one of Paul’s manuscripts that you might find interesting:  The Goss Family  I have studied it and believe it to be a later version of his manuscript.

Breakfast at the Dragonfly is provided and I was particularly looking forward to the scones that they had featured on their website.  The Dragonfly Bed and Breakfast was built in 1780.  Everywhere you look you see a dragonfly.  Even on the nice glasses they provide.  Very clever and not overdone.  Mark and Michael picked out the colors and decided on the design.  I think they did a great job.  My room has dark navy blue walls.  I had painted by living room that color, actually darker but my hubby didn’t like it.  This has lots of white trim and a white ceiling so it cuts the amount of dark blue a lot. Also the room is facing north and west so their is a lot of light.  My first night in the inn I was listening to the sounds of West Brookfield.  It gets very quite at night and few cars are on the road.  There are not that many streetlights so it is dark in that area of the town.

I had made arrangements to visit the Quaboag Historical Society. It is housed in one of the old train depots. I had to hurry for I had spent too much time eating breakfast and chatting with Michael and Mark.  They have a son Sean and he is a handful.  Roxy the cat was hiding out!  She had greeted me when I came in the day before and meowed softly, I got down to return the favor and she wandered away.  I am missing my two kitties at home, sigh!  Roxie reminded me of my calico Breezy.

The train depot or Quaboag Historical Society is at the south end of Cottage Street.  The walls inside are knotty pine.  Yeah, I know I am the only human in the world who loves knotty pine!

Quaboag Historical Society – Serving the Brookfields & More
Inside the Quaboag Historical Society – A variety of Exhibits

I called out for Amy and she was in the back working.  She had left the door slightly ajar.  Amy apparently is the whole show at this society.  She is the one in charge.  She is also very busy.  She gave me a tour.  I looked at books, pamphlets, maps and a few more things and bought some items.  She really didn’t have genealogies but she is interested in receiving them.  Another item for the ToDo list. Like all other societies this one needs the help of others.  I do not live in the area or I would offer my services.  I thanked Amy for her time and interest.  I wish I could have spent more time asking her tons of questions.

I sat in the parking lot for a little while deciding what I would do next.  The Brookfield Town Hall or the Old Indian Cemetery.  I headed for the cemetery.  I had time.   This time I wanted to document the cemetery and the tombstone of Philip Goss and Judith Goss.

To get to the Old Indian Cemetery you head west or east on Hwy 9 and when you are in the middle of the town of West Brookfield and come to the courthouse and the library you turn north onto Cottage Street and drive about 2.5 blocks or to the tan house with the white shutters but not before you get to the West Brookfield Beach. You cannot miss the cemetery it is on the left and the boundaries are a stone wall about 2 feet high all the way around it. It is situated in a grove of pine trees.  You cannot see it on Google Earth because of the Pine Trees but it is there, I guarantee it!  The West Brookfield Historical Commission website has pictures of the entrance and a list of the burials:  http://www.westbrookfield.org/oic_home.htm  I have every confidence that they have as complete a list as possible.

I began photographing this cemetery.  My goal was not to do every stone but to give an idea of what the cemetery looked like, the condition it was in and the size and shape.  My primary focus was the headstone of Philip and Judith Goss.  As I studied the area I realized there was also a foot stone and noted that was indicated on the West Brookfield list.  There is another stone next to the foot stone but it is really buried in the ground.  I also searched around for other indications of another grave.  I was looking for the son of Philip and Judith but I would probably need other tools to determine if he was there and my hubby might have ideas.  The foot stone was tilting to one side on the edge and seemed like it was sinking.  It also had lichen growing on it.  The area around the two stones was empty and that makes me suspicious that there might be more burials. If you look at the whole cemetery you see stone tilting either forward or backward.  Others are leaning to the right or left.  There are a few broken stones and even a sinking stone.  I wonder if there are other stones buried below the surface?  Hard to say!

Entrance to the Indian Cemetery – West Brookfield
Capt Philip Goss & Judith Goss Headstone and Footstone
Haymaker Monument – in the back corner to the left

I have more photographs of the cemetery and a video.  I will upload them to the blog after I return home.  It is really difficult to do blog while traveling.

My next goal was to head for Brookfield and go to the library or the town hall.  I ended up at the town hall a big red brick building.  The floors in the foyer creak really loudly.  I am afraid I stopped and experimented a little.  CREAK, CREAK!!  I opened the door of the Town Clerk’s office and came into a little room with three people.  There was a man talking to the clerk about guns.  I waited.  I told him I was interested in vital records in the 1700’s and he handed me a copy of the Brookfield Vital Records to 1850 book.  Apparently I was not going to see original records.  He told me they were in the vault.  He vouched for the records in the published book? I gave him some of my brochures that I had prepared for this trip on my blogs.  He was friendly but I could see that they were really not set up for dealing with genealogists.

Brookfield Town Hall

Brookfield Town Hall website http://www.brookfieldma.us/

A quick check of the Family History Library catalog and much to my amazement the vital records of Brookfield are all in published form not original records??? The Massachusetts Archives has the 1841 to 1910 vital records online but I do not know if they have them on microfilm for Brookfield??  Something tells me there is a good story if not a sad one here????  I will do more investigating this access to the originals.  I am now very concerned.

I found the Brookfield Library (Merrick) at the end of the village green on the east side.  It was closed on Monday and opened in the afternoon on Tuesday.  I would be gone by then.  When I studied their online catalog I did not find much at that library for genealogy.  If they have a filing cabinet filled with history, I do not know.  I was not going to be able to find out by visiting for they would not be opened and I had to get to Lancaster.

Merrick Public Library
Memorial Square

It was time to move on to North Brookfield so I headed up Hwy 148.  It was around 12 noon and I was getting hungry so I decided to stop at the Brookfield Orchards.  There were signs everywhere.  Someone knew how to promote the business.  If I recall the roads are Ward, Elm and Lincoln Road.  Just follow the signs you can’t miss it for all the buildings are red and white.  On the left is a big field of apple trees.  They have not blossomed.  I bet that is pretty.  You can tell there is a large orchard for the trees go on forever.

The Brookfield Orchards Store is large with a variety of things for sale: pottery, dishes, crafts items, jams, jellies and canned items, books, maps, junk and even a museum of collections.  I spied apples being processed and some were going for a bath in a large container.  This place has and sells everything.  The older lady was eating her lunch and she readily answered my questions about the goods and store.  As I wandered the last area of the store I found some old maps of North Brookfield, Brookfield and West Brookfield and more.  They were about the 1880’s and taken from an county atlas.  They were charging $12-15 dollars for some and a small fortune for the others.

Going for a swim!
Just look for this Sign

I returned to the front but nobody was around.  I waited about 10 minutes an a young girl entered and I asked if she was in charge and she nodded yes.  I told her I wanted a dumpling and a slice of cheese.  What a tremendous about of energy level drop.  She was more interested in other things.  I was grieving for the other older lady and wondered where she was at least I could have a fun conversation with her.  The Brookfield Orchards was fun.  If I had more time or was staying awhile I would have purchased some apples.  I live in Washington State so you can understand my interest.  The older lady she mentioned that the strains of the apples were all different in the various apple growing areas.  The store is almost like a museum and you could spend some serious time there.  My dumpling was tasty The cheese was Vermont cheese and it was good.  I did gobble them both down.  Seems to me it needed a big dollop of whipping cream!  I think they serve them with ice cream?

North Brookfield was the next stop on my wandering of the Brookfields.  I took Elm Street into North Brookfield and came upon the Walnut Grove Cemetery.  I had some cars behind me so I turned into one of the entry ways and explored this cemetery for a short while. Find A Grave has a listing of the interments coming in at 569.  I think the cemetery is bigger so you might need to do more investigating?

After I finished with the Walnut Grove Cemetery I came upon the North Brookfield Town Center and I recognized the Town Hall from a picture.  I was trying to figure out what was happening with the North Brookfield Town Hall.  It looked like it needed a paint job really bad.  When I tried to open the doors to enter they were locked and it looked like the Town Clerk and other officers were not in their offices.  It looked abandoned? If you go to this link you see that their hours are rather short Tuesday and Thursday 12 to 3 pm and Tuesday evenings 5 pm to 8 pm.  http://www.northbrookfield.net/

North Brookfield Town Hall
First Congregational Church on the Town Square

Lesson learned:  Check the website.  I really didn’t want to do anything there because their records are not far enough back for me but I was curious and wanted to explore.

As I drove north I noticed a cemetery on the left at Maple Street and Main. They were doing some road work and I didn’t want to get caught in the middle of that so I left.  I believe it is the North Brookfield Cemetery on Maple Street and Find A Grave has a listing of the interments up to 152.  Something tells me that this is not a complete list.

After taking some photographs of the North Brookfield Library (Haston Free), Town Hall and village green I headed north.

I was going in search of the plaque commemorating the home of Rufus Putnam.  Rufus Putnam founded Marietta, Ohio.  Marietta, Ohio is where Solomon Goss and Olive Scott Goss settled after leaving Pennsylvania.  It is just to coincidental to be ignored.  Solomon Goss is a son of Philip and Mary Kendall Goss.

Rufus had land next to and overlooking Horseshoe Lake in North Brookfield.  I drove on a regular two lane highway till I turned off onto Oakham Road and then I turned onto Rufus Putnam Road.  The road started to get rough, pot marked, and covered in some areas with loose gravel.  I found Horseshoe Lake which is reserved for the drinking water of the area and has all these signs posted all other warning people not to swim or play in the lake.  I was trying to decide if I wanted to go up this hill.  A van came down it at a fast clip so I could tell it was not too bad. So I took the plunge. I got to the top of the hill and to my surprise there actually was a marker for the Rufus Putnam home.  The view was wonderful of Horseshoe Lake and the surrounding area.  I can’t believe I found the plaque!  WOW!! Try this article about him:  http://digicoll.marietta.edu/oca/background/biography/putnam_rufus.html

Horseshoe Lake
Site of Rufus Putnam’s homestead
Rufus Putnam Road
Horseshoe Lake Looking Down from about Rufus Putnam’s Home

I left the North Brookfield area and took Hwy 67 back to West Brookfield and it brought me out almost into the main part of town.  I stopped and P&S Pizza for some fish and chips. The piece of fish was huge!  It was the best fish and chips I had ever eaten and I was on Cape Cod.  The waitress said it was haddock?  They are right there on Main Street across from the Ye Old Tavern.

The Merriam-Gilbert Public Library in West Brookfield was open. There were several titles I wanted to check out regarding the work of a Archie Jay.  The librarian gave me some keys.  One key was to the Archie Jay collection which was a 2 drawer lateral filing cabinet.  The other keys were to the historical book collection.  I did have to sign a register but they didn’t ask for any blood.  HA!

I climbed the very steep stairs to the 2nd floor and found a wonderful room with several rooms.  The historical collection was housed in a small alcove.  I opened the filing drawer and set to work.  The files are arranged by subject and I was particularly interested in gristmills, the Goss Garrison, maps, family histories.  I took a lot of photographs of interesting things.  They really didn’t have the type of map I was looking for.  Mr. Jay’s collection was well organized in files and was sort of a grouping of manuscripts, newspaper articles, copies of published works for family histories, written notes and handmade maps. It is a 2 drawer lateral filing cabinet. Mr. Jay was the town historian for years.  Barbara and Dick had the good fortune to meet and know him as he was winding down his activities.

Apparently this collection had been added to the catalog by the West Brookfield Historical Commission and this implies that if a town library has any historical or genealogical materials you are going to have to inquire.  I was having no luck except for the West Brookfield library (Merriam-Gilbert) in finding any historical or genealogical references in the online catalog or any section of a library website referencing genealogy or history.  Who knows what information is out there that is not catalogued…Oh my!  The other issue is money.  I am seeing the lack of it and how it is affecting the records.

I liked the Merriam-Gilbert Library and would loved to spend a little more time there.  It was very lovely inside and the librarians where helpful and friendly.

Merriam-Gilbert Library, West Brookfield right across from the Town Hall on Cottage Street
Stained Glass Window 2nd Floor of the West Brookfield Library
One of Two Large Locked Bookshelves
Off to the Indian Cemetery to visit Philip and Judith Goss.  I dallied their in the cemetery for my 3rd visit enjoying the serenity of it.  A young child was laughing in the backyard next to the cemetery.  The day was sunny and very warm.
Philip & Judith Goss – Footstone
Headstone:  Philip on the  left and Judith on the Right
Back in my room in the Dragonfly Bed and Breakfast I settled in to work on my blog posts and do other chores.  As I worked I watched the day end in West Brookfield.  There was actually a sunset with a little bit of orange.
It would soon be time for bed.