Sunday: April 17, 2011: A Change of Plans – Peru, MA & Wahconah Falls

It is Sunday in the Berkshires and everything is closed.  That is okay, I need a little time to recover.

The Dakota Restaurant had a brunch from 10 to 2 pm and I decided to try it.  I arrived about 1 pm and they had a full buffet.  It was very good and even better than Old Sturbridge Village.  The waiter who served me did everything:  take orders, tend the bar, bus the tables.  Next stop was feeding the car.  Gasoline was at $3.50 to $4+. Ouch!

I proceeded up Holmes St. to Arrowhead the museum and soon discovered that I completely misread the website and that they are not opened till after Memorial Day.  I just went back and revisited it and the information is at the very bottom of the website about opening times.  Here is the link away Herman Melville.

I ran into the Executive Director Betsy and she told me that Melville had been coming to the area since a child of 13.  Greylock Mountain was the inspiration for Moby Dick. Like everyone I read “Moby Dick,” and new it by heart.  Of course, you have to see the Gregory Peck movie version.

I learned that they give tours every hour at his home starting at 10 am when opened.  Betsy informed me that they have just received the paperwork to go ahead and repaint Arrowhead, which is really in need of some help and funds to do so.  The paint was peeling as I wandering around taking photos.  They have to proceed carefully because of the historical significance of the house.  No power washing here.

The Movie Website gives some information about this movie:  It was done in 1956 and it was not bad.  I believe that Patrick Stewart was Capt Ahab and did a TV version in 1998 with Gregory Peck in another role.  Patrick Stewart was formerly Capt. Picard in Star Trek Next Generation.

There are other interesting things you can do in the Berkshires like the Hancock Shaker Village, The Berkshire Museum or the Museum of the Gilded age.  Betsy tried to entice me but I was more interested in the Center Cemetery in Peru, Massachusetts and decided to drive there and investigate.

Well, I missed the turn to Hinsdale and ended up at Wahconah Falls State Park.  I had thought of stopping there on my way to Pittsfield on Friday but changed my mind.  Well there it was so I followed this other car onto the turn and gravel road and headed to the Falls.  A short walk after parking the car and I found something reminiscent of home! Awe this is more like it.  Raging water over rocks!! Enjoy!!


A short easy and pleasant walk.

I have noticed that although there is forest which is mixed with deciduous and pine trees, there is no undergrowth like ferns and bushes in these forests and like back home.  It was very pretty and there are barbecues situated here and there, ready for a picnic. It looked like there were trails to follow.

A young couple was at the falls and I asked how to get to Hinsdale.  She corrected me and called it Hinnnsdale.  Oops!  I smiled.  Well she was right, I missed the sign. So from Hwy 9 you turn onto Hwy 8 which takes you to Hinsdale with a sharp turn left onto Hwy 143 and head up a very steep hill to Peru (formerly Partridgefield, officially changed to Peru in 1805.)

My quest was to find Haskell’s.  Roger Haskell the son of Zachariah (Zechariah) Haskell and Keziah Goss Haskell was buried in the Center Cemetery in Peru.  Now this cemetery might also be called “Hill Top.”  My theory is they all came west together.  No one knows where Zachariah and Keziah Goss Haskell are buried.  I was hoping to find a sign.  I did find their son Roger and his wife Mary’s tombstones.

As I turned south to go to the cemetery  after reaching the center of Peru. I drove by a chained Doberman Pincher. Lots of the dogs that live in the country in Massachusetts do not like cars.  I had never witnessed this behavior.  He was chained but it seems dangerous for the animal??

The Center Cemetery was very wet.  There were puddles by some of the stones, mushy grass, mud and my shoes got really wet.  It was threatening rain even though the pictures doesn’t seem to indicate it with the fluffy clouds.  The cemetery is sort of on a hill and slope.  It is a good size.  I tried to pull the Aveo in but she protested and spun her wheels so I carefully turned around so I could get out and didn’t go any further which put me in a puddle.  Ugh!



I found Roger and his wife and other Haskell’s.  One tombstone was toppled over and I could not budge it and the danger of hurting myself was imminent so I backed off.  It is a Zechariah Haskell but not the one I want to find.  Darn!

I am a little worried about this cemetery.  It is out in the open but it does seem to need to be cared for?  I worry about our heritage and see it slipping away.  The ground was so soft and the tombstones were leaning in all directions and lots of breakage.  I know it was a rough winter and there has not been a lot of time to get to repair, I hope they do.

Roger Haskell is on the left and Mary on the right

Roger Haskell died Apr 8, 1842 age 90 years (hard to read he was leaning over.  Next to him on the right, Mary Haskell died Dec. 13, AD 1849 aged 86 years and 23 days.

More Haskells – Hannah Haskell wife of Cullen B. Watkins 1843 to 1931 on the left


Little Bertha, Precous Jewel on the left, George Haskell 1844 to 1914.


It needs a shovel and several people to move it and flip it, not to mention fixed it.

The Berkshire Collection had a book titled Cemeteries of Hinsdale and Peru.  I took copies of the Center Cemetery but messed up some photos so I will have to revisit that book.  There was a handwritten notation that listed Haskell names in the collection but only gave page numbers.  I was going too fast and running out of time at the Berkshire Athenaeum.  The lesson, take photocopies as well of critical stuff.

Find A Grave has a listing for this cemetery but it is not complete.  I have more photos of this cemetery and will post them later when I get a chance.

The Peru Church with two steeples!! The Library is to the left!

I returned on Hwy 148 to Hwy 8 to Hwy 9 to Dalton and then Pittsfield which was quiet today because it was Sunday so I was able to study the city of Pittsfield.  I missed a Rite Aid because it was housed in a building butted up to others.  If I could describe Pittsfield it is that the streets are wide in the downtown area.

I really didn’t want to eat at the Dakota for I had done that twice but the Italian ristorante was not opened so I had dinner in my room in the Comfort Inn.

Before I had left for the day and went to brunch about 1 pm I called Rose Miller of the Granville Library and explained I had a problem.  The original plan was to go to the Granville Town Hall and view vital records with the town clerk who was there in the morning and afternoon on Mondays.  Well with Patriot’s Day that was not going to happen.  Rose also had a conflict but an appointment at the library at 1 pm.  She had access for it was also closed.  So I would drive down to Granville and visit with her and see the Main Street Cemetery.

Chores and dinner done, I settled in to bed.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011 – Archives and the Granville Public Library

I awoke to the sounds of Springfield, Massachusetts.  I ordered room service for breakfast and it was tasty and the coffee was warm.
Today I will try to figure out the secrets of the Springfield Archives and Library  They have a terrible website with no finding aids or anything that is of help.  I am hoping to at least get an idea of what they may have for our family by visiting them today.

I did receive an email from the Head of Library and Archives, Ms. Maggie Humberston and she told me about what they had in their library that might be of help to me.  She kindly contacted the Granville Public Library for me and realized I had made an appointment with them already.

Sometimes things just work out if you are patient.  I was to learn that Ms. Humberston is a very helpful and very pleasant to work with.  Calling might be a better choice to see if they can help you on your research.  They also extended their hours for the New England Regional Genealogical Conference.

I decided to walk to the museum area so I could check out the park. There are several museums in the complex they call it the Quadrangle.  I went right from the Sheraton lobby along Boland Ave. to Harrison Ave. and turned right at Chestnut and left onto to Edwards.  There is a large sign that spans Edwards announcing the Springfield Museums.  You can’t miss it.

Sign over Edwards Street – Springfield Museums

You continue east on Edwards till you spot the visitor center which is to the right and south.  You go there first.

Visitor Center Springfield Museums

After you pay your fee of $9.00 you turn around and head north and cross Edwards to the Museum of Springfield History.  The Library and Archives are in the basement.

History Museum & Genealogy Library
Entrance to the Springfield History Museum

There is a statue in this park area of Deacon Samuel Chapin a 10th great grandfather of mine.  It is not known where he is buried but he probably was one of the burials in the old cemetery at Elm Street and he is now in the Springfield Cemetery?  The statue is on Chestnut and State Street on the west side of the Springfield Public Library a big white building on the south side of the quadrangle.  The attendant in the Visitor Center explained to me where the statue was located so I cannot claim that tip.  The statue is not in the quadrangle but on the corner of the two streets I mentioned.

Deacon Samuel Chapin Statue corner of State and Chestnut Street

Wikipedia has an article on him that needs work but it is a start:
or try this:  Deacon Samuel Chapin was a founder of Springfield.  He is my 10th great grandfather.

Deacon Samuel Chapin married Cicely Penny they had a daughter named Catherine and she married Nathaniel Bliss on 20 Nov. 1646 in Springfield (Longmeadow).  Nathaniel and Catherine Bliss had a son named Samuel (1647-1749) who married Sarah Stebbins on 2 January 1672 in Longmeadow.  There daughter Margaret Bliss married Benjamin Cooley a son of Daniel Cooley and Elizabeth Wolcott and grandson of Benjamin Cooley.  Benjamin and Margaret had a daughter Keziah Cooley who married Philip Goss III of Brookfield on 25 November 1723.

I am learning about this family line the Chapins, Blisses and Stebbins so please realize that my knowledge of them is growing slowly.

I was hoping the Connecticut Valley Historic Museum would be opened but it is still closed for renovation and I am sad that it is still not ready.  I was really interested in what it might have to offer.

I paid my $9.00 fee at the Visitor center and received my label to apply to my jacket and headed back across Edwards to the Springfield Historical Museum.  The archives were in the basement.  The receptionist took me to the staircase and I descended to the lower floor and found the door entrance to the Springfield Library and Archives.  I settled in finding room at the big table.  There were other researchers there but not as many as might be expected.  I took a quick surface glance and made a summary of what is there just by looking at the filing cabinets, index card cabinets and stacks.

Here is my summary but be advised it is not all.
1.  Town, State histories
2.  Massachusetts Vital Records
3.  Newspapers – Springfield various years
4.  Census for Springfield
5.  Local History Index
6.  Photo Index
7. Whose Who in Springfield
8. Town Directories for Springfield
9.  Scrapbooks
10.  Migration Trails
11.  Genealogies and Family histories

Ms. Maggie Humberston introduced herself and when I told her my name she remembered my email and helped me to get some books that might be of interest to me.  She was very pleasant, friendly and truly interested.  I liked her right away.  The other assistant was also helpful.  He was fielding many questions from another lady that was really digging into the research.

I spent most of my time studying the book East Granville, Mass. Congregational Church Part I Pages 1-174.  It covered baptisms, contents, deacons, deaths, marriages, ordinationsI made some copies about 12 copies.  I need to compare this with other documentations I found on my last trip.  This is part of the Cooke Collection at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield.  Part II is the index of names. They also have histories of the Seward Family but I did not have time to really dig in.

About 1:30 pm I headed back to the Sheraton. The sun was shining but the wind was bittingly cold.

In April 2007 I had visited the Granville Public Library History Room and found some interesting manuscripts and information on Enos Seward and his family.  This time I will be talking to the librarian, Rose Miller.  She is the curator of the history room at the library to see if I can dig deeper. I have new and updated information that might help me find some interesting connections?  The last time I was there they let me into the history room but this time they did not.  Apparently there are very rare and precious books in the room and someone has to be there.  So call or email the library to make an appointment.  Go to their website and check their hours.  Be aware that in the winter they may be closed due to snow.

The route to Granville from Springfield is on Hwy 149 and then Hwy 57 through Agawam and Southwick.  I crossed the Bridge at Boland and left Springfield. The area is much like what I would describe as the foothills of the Cascades here in Washington State.  They call them mountains in Massachusetts but when you live out west they are just foothills to us.

The Granville Country Store is a fun experience I had stopped there the last time I visited.  Apparently it is under new management and didn’t seem to have the same feel as back then.  I didn’t see the gift baskets?  I purchased a piece of cheesecake to quiet my tummy; however, when I took a bite I discovered it was frozen.  I have never eaten cheesecake that way before.  It was good.  While I sat there people would come in buy something and head back out.  I was there 20 minutes and at least 10 people stopped by.  It is one of those country stores that carries a little of everything.  I believe they are famous for a certain kind of cheese.  Check out the website given above.

Granville Country Store
It was 3 pm and time to head over to the Granville Public Library.  I went up to the corner next to the library and a car flew by me.  I said to myself.  I bet that is Rose Miller.  She pulled into the back of the library where there is a gravel parking lot and backed her car in.  I took her lead.  She made the comment “I guess I didn’t have to park on the sidewalk.”  I said “No big deal.”  I asked her name and she said “Rose Miller.”  The library faces west onto the village green.  It is on the east corner of the town center area.
Granville Public Library from the parking lot of the Country Store

Rose proceeded into the library while I gathered my things.  I was close behind.

We were soon into the history of Granville.  My first questions was “Is there an East Granville?”  Rose replied “Not anymore.  Once Tolland broke off there was no need so what is Granville was East Granville.”  So if you are looking on a map for East Granville it will have to be an older map before about 1800.

My other question as about the original proprietors.  Rose showed me a map from the Granville History book.  She emphasized that the names of the men on that map were speculators and not settlers.  She had another map that was of the settlers and there was our ancestor Philip Goss (IV) with his brother Tom Goss and also a Samuel Church all on one piece of property.  Map:  Settlers Map copied by Mr. Heino, Granville Town Surveyor in the last 50 years, origin unknown.  Rose said they had to have a sponsor, farm the land, clear it, and have cattle within a specific amount of time and then they could have the land.  Unfortunately the orientation of the map is not yet figured out.  I will need to do more investigating to figure out the north and south and just were the land was of the 3 men listed above.  Rose is going to do more digging for me and we will be seeing each other again on April 18th when I come back down from Pittsfield, MA.

I asked Rose about Gibbons, Rose, Haskell and more.  Of the Rose family books I picked out one with the title Rose – Suffield Branch by a Gad Rose.  I turned right to page 6 where I found Jonathan Rose, father of John Rose the man who married Keziah Goss Haskell on 23 June 1761 in Granville, Massachusetts. I took photos of the pages.  I have yet to study them.

Rose pulled the cemetery books and I studied them trying to see if I could find the burial place of John Rose who died about 1788 in Granville.  Lemuel Gibbons who died 1797.  I found some information on the Peter Gibbons Family of which Lemuel is the son.  Lemuel married Mary Goss sister to Solomon Goss and daughter of Philip Goss and Mary Kendall Goss.  I will discuss this family more later.  I was unable to locate a stone.

The time went by quickly an it was 5:30 pm.  I asked Rose where there was a good place to eat and she suggested Tuckers in Southwick.

Before I headed out I went further west on the highway and located the Granville Town Hall.  Rose said that it was worth it for me to go their for vital records.  I will do that on April 18th when I get to Pittsfield.

Granville Town Hall

The road dips and weaves as you go further west from the town park and library.  I came upon the Main Street Cemetery but there was no parking so I will have to figure out what to do when I return in several weeks.  I want to go into this cemetery and study the stones.  There are Gibbons buried there.  Turning around I headed east back to Springfield.  I missed Tucker’s?  Next thing I knew I was back in Springfield crossing a bridge south of the city.  I was soon back at the Sheraton but heading for the overflow parking.

I am realizing that trying to analyze the research while traveling is not easy and I am going to have to take the time sometime on this trip to made some sense of it because it will influence my choices at various repositories.

Dinner was the sport’s bar in the Marriott which was a bit nicer than the Sheraton.  Time for bed. The New England Regional Genealogical Conference opens tomorrow.