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

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011: Hardwick, East Brookfield, Sterling & Lancaster!

Breakfast was delicious once again at the Dragonfly Bed and Breakfast, my hosts are delightful.  I had quite a challenge packing the car because of the steep narrow steps in the Dragonfly.  I am afraid to fall.  Going down the stairs or an escalator I take very careful steps. Unfortunately, I think I left my jacket in the closet?  I cannot find it anywhere.  It took a little pondering to figure out what might have happened to it but I think that is where it is.  Hopefully they will retrieve it and ship it to my home?  I usually make a check and sweep of everything in a room before I go.  Oops!  I could have used the knit gloves the next couple days. Brrrr….

Gilbertville to Hardwick
Today I wanted to drive north to Hardwick about 20 minutes away.  This is where Keziah (Goss) and Zachariah Haskell married 20 July 1745. This Keziah was a daughter of Philip and Judith Goss.  Hardwick records are in the Town Hall of Gilbertville.

Gilbertville, MA

Gilbertville – Public Library on left, Town Hall in Distance

There are other marriages and relationships that are very interesting.  There is a Peter and Sarah Gibbons that married there and their son Lemuel and Mary Goss married in Granville.  This Mary is a sister to Nathaniel, Solomon and Ebenezer Goss.  This means she is a daughter of Philip and Mary Kendall Goss.  Paul H. Goss’ manuscript does not deal with this Mary Goss.  He thought it was a mistake but if you go to the written Granville records you see her birth.  Since my trip to Pennsylvania in 2008 (See Pennsylvania Wanderings under Blogs on the right) information has come my way via my cousin Ken Goss on this line and the connection to his family.  We have shared information and there is a book titled:

A Turning of Hearts:  William Davidson Gibbons Family History,” written by the William Davidson Family Organization, contributed and compiled by Helen Bay Gibbons, 1891.  This book is at the Family History Library #929.273 G352 and it discusses this line of the Goss family.  It is quite interesting.

Find A Grave also has information about the burial of these two individuals:  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=45465909  Mary remarried to a Santee and is buried in Granville, Ohio.

Salem Cross Inn
I took Hwy 9 north and came upon the Salem Cross Inn.  The cattle were in the pen next to the driveway eyeing me.  Is that dinner I was looking at? There were some babies as well. I would have enjoyed chatting with the owners about the history of the inn.  Maybe the next trip?  According to the Salem Cross Inn website John White was a grandson to Peregrine White of the Mayflower and the brother of Resolved my ancestor.  Some information about this is given on the Salem Cross Inn website.  http://www.salemcrossinn.com/

The whole thing – Salem Cross Inn
Hmmm….Dinner?
Their Sign?

John Hayward Jr’s Gristmill Sign Post
I passed the historical marker for John Hayward Jr.’s gristmill on the highway so I have confirmed that it is indeed in this area north of the Salem Cross Inn on the right by the white railing and I continued on up the road.  It was lovely country.  I made the sharp right turn to Gilbertville and found Hwy 32 and headed north.
See a previous post for this historical marker.

Gilbertville
I stopped at the Hardwick Grocery & Package Store and asked to use the facilities and they refused.  I then asked if they had ice and they said yes and then they let me use the facilities which were behind the purchase counter?  I decided I would also stock up with a bottle of wine.  One of the ladies had very wrinkled skin on her face and worn a baseball cap. She was very nice and helpful. The other was a Indian woman (India) with barely any teeth.  She just kept sitting on her stool and didn’t move.  I was having trouble understanding her? It was an odd assortment.  The store was tidy and organized!

Gilbertville is long and the highway is pretty much were things are located on both sides.  The government buildings were first on the right as you went north.  The town library was a stately building after the church.  The hours are short so you do have to make sure you  check them before heading to them.

Village of Hardwick
I proceeded up the road on Hwy 32 and spotted the sign the Village of Hardwick.  Much to my amazement I found the most lovely town with a large village green and a cemetery next to the old town hall building! I need to learn more about this cemetery.  It didn’t have a sign.  I suppose it is the Hardwick Cemetery or something like that. Find A Grave has a Hardwick Central Cemetery but it doesn’t look like this little one next to the old courthouse. It appears to be up the road further north?

Hardwick Church
Hardwick’s old town hall?
Center Cemetery in Hardwick
More of the Center Cemetery
I spotted the Paige Memorial Library just a little way beyond the village green.  Of course everything was closed but I knew that and now that I know more I can make some inquiries later.
Paige Memorial Library, Hardwick
Much to my good fortune a nice man was walking along and he made a comment about taking my photo in from of the church and I responded how about in front of the cemetery?  His name was Dennis and he was from Florida and he was visiting his family.  What a happy spur of the moment!  See the photo above.

I wandered around taking photos and discovered that they have the Hardwick Historical Society right there in the center of the town. I do remember that they didn’t have a website and I was running out of room in preparation for this trip.  So I will probably have to write or call them.  This means I cannot do a link to them.  I guarantee there is a building there with a lot of old items inside – yes I peered through the windows. It would be very easy and free if they set up a blog for their society.

I wonder if they have a listing for the internments in the cemetery? I am looking for Zachariah Haskell who married Keziah Goss daughter of Philip (III) and Keziah Cooley.  No one seems to know where he is buried or if he died in Hardwick? For all I know Philip might even be buried there?  No record can be found on Philip Goss (III died 1742) son of Capt. Philip and Judith Goss.  I am still checking around!!

Zachariah Haskell had land in the area:  I found this in one of the history books.  Sorry, I was moving real fast to get ready for this trip and running out of time.  There is so much information to process and research  that I would like to do.  Here is the description it is to the east of the town:

Zechariah the f. was a tailor, and resided about a hundred rods northerly from the turnpike on the road from Mandell Hill to Ruggles Hill. 

If my calculations are correct he was about 1/3 of a mile from the road.  Now what is the turnpike?  Anyone there know what they might be talking about? I have found the two hills.  I did drive down Barre Road for about a mile and it is lovely country and that road takes you between these two mountains.  Barre might not be the correct road?  Perhaps a deed or something or even a estate file might reveal something.  It is worth checking.

The Quabbin Reservoir
Back in 1938 the Quabbin Reservoir was created.  In order to do this they had to flood up to 5 towns.  They also had to move the bodies buried in the cemeteries in the area something like 7561 burials were moved.  These burials were transferred to the Quabbin Park Cemetery west of Ware, Massachusetts.  The towns affected were Dana, Enfield, Greenwich and Prescott:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quabbin_Reservoir

I have not had much success finding any ancestors of mine in this cemetery which is at Find A Grave. It is probably not a complete listing.  The Pittsfield Athenaeum is supposed to have microfiche and more details.  I was so tempted to visit this cemetery but decided not to this time.  It is west past Ware.

Book:  Quabbin – A History and Explorers Guide, Michael Tougias, On Cape Publications, 2002.  The first part of the book covers the history of the reservoir, removing the people and more.  On page 19 he discusses the removing of the 7561 burials to the Quabbin Park Cemetery.  He states that 6551 went to this cemetery and the rest went to others as decided by the families. Many burials were unmarked and 500 potter field interments were moved.  Apparently they took great care in the removals.  Also there are remnants of the former towns that you can spot above the water line?  I have not had time to review this book but I have to admit I am fascinated.  Friends of Quabbin:  http://www.foquabbin.org/ or just Google it and you will get a lot of hits to explore.

Goss Garrison, West Brookfield
I made my way back to West Brookfield and went in search of the Goss Garrison.  Dick from the West Brookfield Historical Commission had shown me a house but I am not really sure that is the location?  I was so interested in what a garrison looked like I did not focus…oops!  There is no plaque for the Goss Garrison it is shown on the maps at the corner of Snow and Cutler Roads along the Old Hadley Path which is a named road on the map in that area.  There is a house down the road a little way on Cutler.  Dick might dispute this all with me and that is okay!

Mini Horses mom and baby!
More mini horses
Cutler & Snow Intersection
Looking South

 

If you use the Salem Cross Inn as a marker you need to turn right onto Snow Road which is before the Salem Cross Inn.  It reads Oak St. on the left side of the road.  Be advised that road signs may or may not be there?

At this time the area were the garrison was located is devoted to a beautifully kept mini-horse farm.  The little babies were frolicking in the field with their mothers.  A older lady and probably a grandson were observing them.

After studying the area and the map which I have a nice copy from the West Brookfield Historical Commission.  If this is the correct area for the Goss Garrison, it is definitely a high point and you can see far to the south and around easily.  So it is a strategic location and I am on a quest to find a photograph or rendering of what a “fortified garrison” house might look like.  So far I find all kinds of interesting information when I Google but no visual aid to give an idea of what it might have looked like.  I have seen these types of depictions before in the history books.  There is a picture of a 1720 Garrison House in the Olde Houses of Quaboag Plantation published 9/17/1960 – approximately on page 20 and after the map.  It is huge and much bigger than I imagined.  According to the description “he used 8×12 hand-hewn timbers on all outside walls and in the center of each room.” “In the large fireplace foundation in the cellar, which is 15×20 feet in dimension, there is an opening through which a tunnel could be entered allowing the occupants of the house to exit about a quarter mile away, if necessary, in the event of an Indian attack.  I will keep digging for a older version.

The Dragonfly B&B is also listed in this booklet on the Olde houses before the Garrison house.  It was originally the Austin Phelps home and was painted white.

Source:  Map: Historical Sites 1660 thru late 19th Century, Great Brookfield 1701 Boundaries.

This map is large and has a coded sheet that accompanies it.  It was about $10.00.  This map is similar to the one on the West Brookfield Historical Commission’s website that I have listed to the right in the links section. That online map is smaller and more difficult to get precise.  I think this bigger map is easier to interpret.

I proceeded down Cutler to what is the road sign for the Old Hadley Path to see what it was like.  It is mostly residential now.  This street version is only a short length and the actual path seemed to follow along other streets and head west.  The new roads make it hard to identify the old paths.

West Brookfield, MA
The village green for West Brookfield is huge.  I parked near the church and wandered around a little.  I think I am in love with West Brookfield.  It is a lovely town.

Historical Marker for West Brookfield
Fountain in the West Brookfield Village Green
The Church at the west end of the village green for West Brookfield
The House on the hwy south of the village green West Brookfield

Old Indian Cemetery – Again!!!!
I try to visit a cemetery were an ancestor is buried as much as I can on a research trip.  This was no exception.  One more visit to the Old Indian Cemetery to say goodbye to Philip and Judith Goss. Hopefully this photograph is a lot better than the other one that I posted earlier.

Old Indian Cemetery, West Brookfield, MA

 

 

 

Philip Goss & Judith
Footstone – Philip Goss and Judith

Foster Hill Historic District Next was to revisit the Foster Hill Road Historical area.  I spotted the sign post for Foster Hill.  I have a map on foam board from the Quaboag Historical Society ($15.00) of this first settlement.

The Quaboag Plantation August 1675 – The Town Plot 500 acres of land. The original 16 plots & owners of land as described in John Pynchon’s records of the Quaboag Plantation Land grants, located at the Springfield Library in Springfield, MA (1665-1673).” 2007. The surname Pynchon is pronounced Pinchon like in pinch someone.

Names on the Quaboag Map
Thomas Hovey
James Hovey,
Daniel Hovey
Judah Trumble
James Travis,
William Prichard
Captain John Ayres
Thomas Millet
Thomas Wilson
Rev. John Younglove
Samuel Warner
Samuel Kent
John Warner, Sr.
Thomas Parsons
Richard Coy, Jr.

This covers the first settlement up to 1675 when it was destroyed.  They call it the Quaboag Plantation.  Last year they celebrated the 300th Year of this settlement.  I have a program brochure from the Historical Society and it looks like it was quite the celebration.

Here is the plaque commemorating Judge Jediah Foster.

I also found the plaque for the cemetery which is 120 rods following the line of the trees. Apparently they had it marked for the celebration and you could walk back there.  I did not attempt it at this time.  There are no tombstones there and they do not know who is buried there.

In New England the tradition was to bury the dead next to the meeting house.  Eventually that would stop and they would move to a larger area.

This first settlement was located before 1675.  That date is the year of King Philip’s War and that was when the settlement was attacked and destroyed.  They did not come back for 10-12 years to reestablish.  The area is very well documented on the West Brookfield Historical Commission website see the links to the right. They have a map showing where the various events took place so you can do more exploring.  These two plaques were all that I obtained at this time.  There is a lot more to do.

This settlement is a little too early for my purposes but it does set the stage for Philip Goss (I) who purchased the “Night’s Pasture Estate” from the Rowlandson’s in Lancaster.  In this same war Mary Rowlandson was captured and taken by the Indians and eventually returned.  She wrote about it.  I will discuss this later when I get to Lancaster.  Similar events took place in Brookfield as well.

His son Philip Goss (II) would come to Brookfield and settle. This purchase took place in 1687 so that means Philip Goss (I) has migrated to Lancaster from Roxbury about that time.  I have been told by an authority that Roxbury is not a place you want to go wandering around in.  Brookline is much better.  What I am referring to is the Muddy River and this person knew that term.

East Brookfield, MA
There was one more Brookfield to explore and a last stop is East Brookfield with a view of Lake Lashaway.  No time for a stop at E.B. Flatts for food.  I headed east on Hwy 9 and arrived in East Brookfield in no time.  I found the village center and located the municipal building.  I am not sure that is their current town hall.  I think that is on another street?

I did a little exploring and went for a walk.  The road goes really close to Lake Lashaway which is a good sized lake.  I imagine that in the summer this is a busy place.  It already was a busy place with cars and big trucks swishing by.  I didn’t dare cross the road for fear of getting hit!  There was a house on the lakeside that had an odd assortment of junk stuffed in this small area.

Town Center, Municipal Building in the background
Lake Lashaway
A Collector by the lake!

My time in the Brookfields has ended.  Sigh!!!  I did not visit New Braintree (actually went through a little jog of it to Hardwick) or Warren which are consider part of the 5 towns of the Brookfields.  Maybe next time. I am told Warren has a good library.

My touring of the area has proven to me that Philip Goss and Judith lived in what is now West Brookfield but back then it was a part of Brookfield.  They lived up on Hwy 9 about where the Salem Cross Inn is located to the east along the Old Hadley Path where Philip had lots of land.  I will be studying the land records and see what I can find.  The Registry of Deeds for Worcester County is in Worcester (pronounced Wuster and it is not the sauce).  They are also on film at the Family History Library.  A researcher by the name of Elbert Garrett Goss did some work back a few years and he has some of the old deeds in his manuscript that are rather interesting to read.  He descended from John Goss and Mary Woods.  John Goss was the son of Philip Goss I of Roxbury and Mary Prescott grand daughter of John Prescott the founder of Lancaster.  It has been digitized by the Family History Library.  He has several titles there I am referring to this manuscript:  “Descendants of Philip Goss of Lancaster.”

Heading for Lancaster, Massachusetts
My next goal is Lancaster, Massachusetts where the man who started it all is buried:  Philip Goss of Roxbury and Muddy River ca 1654 to 1698, my 8th great grandfather.  The Goss line stops with him until someone figures out who is parents were? No it is not John Gosse of Watertown.  He died before this Philip was born. John could be a grandfather, an uncle or Philip being a mariner just came from England on his own?  A fellow PS-APG member told me that he was having trouble with an ancestor that just appears in the records and then from there you can track him.  The problem is knowing when they actually set foot on this continent.  It was considered English soil so why keep records of the crossing by ship?

My plan is to go to Boston in the future for another visit to the New England Historic Genealogical Society and dig deeper into the old records on the family of Goss, Kendall and more. I will visit other major repositories in the Boston area and then head for Concord, Groton, and down to Worcester to do more research. I will probably not be able to resist revisiting Lancaster and West Brookfield.  We will see.  It is a whole trip all of itself.  It was not an easy choice for Worcester is so close and I did drive through the west side of it on my way to Lancaster!!!!

I traveled on Hwy 9 which took me through Spencer, over to Leicester, and skirting the west side of Worcester onto Hwy 12 and West Boylston north across the bridge to Sterling and Lancaster. Worcester is a big city and busy but I found my way through her just fine.  They have nice big parks in this area of the city. Massachusetts does pretty good with the Highway signs but the street signs are not so great.  I was finding that they would list the cross streets but not give the street you are on doing that at the beginning and then the end?  Some how I was lucky and was managing not to get lost as I negotiated my way through Worcester.

Sterling, Massachusetts
Sterling was once part of Lancaster but it separated off.  Actually Lancaster was divided up and several towns split off:  Sterling, Harvard, Stow, Bolton, Hudson, Marlborough, Leominster (pronounced Lemonster or something like that), Clinton, Berlin, and Boylston.

I crossed a bridge to another part of West Boylston that lead into Sterling.  I was soon in Sterling and it is very compact.  Everything is right there with the village green right in the middle in a wedge shape.  I spotted the Conant Public Library and the Town Hall.  You could park the car and just walk to what you needed.  I have on good authority that the Sterling library is a good resource.  The link: http://sterlinglibrary.org/conant/

Conant Public Library, Sterling, MA
Sterling Town Hall
Sterling Municipal Building

Chocksett Cemetery in Sterling, MA
Moving further north up the highway, I went to the right and I did not go onto Hwy 12.  I believe it is called Redstone Hill Rd? I came upon the Chocksett Cemetery.  The entryway from the highway was very tight and I managed to squish the car into it without scrapping anything.  There isn’t a paved road through this cemetery only a dirt road with a railing on the side because it is very close to the cliff.  I discovered there was another entrance on the south side which was much bigger and more room to park probably on Bridge Street?  I believe Find A Grave has a listing of this cemetery.

I started at the west end and read the gravestones going to the east.  I discovered Kendalls and Goss names.  I took lots of pictures which I will posted when I return from this trip. These are only a few.

The very tight entry way on the west side
More Chocksett Cemetery

There is a website devoted to the Kendalls that I will add to my links section where you can get more tombstone photos and information about the Kendall family.

Also and article about the polydactyl trait in the Kendall family. http://www.newenglandkendalls.com/whatsnew.html.  There is actually a great deal of information on the Kendall family if you just Google it!

There actually is a hill behind this cemetery called Kendall Hill and there is a Kendall Hill Road. I did not have time to drive it and find it.  I do know it is there.

Lancaster, Massachusetts – At Last!!!!
I went in search of the Lancaster public library but missed it and had to turn back.  I was getting conflicting information on my maps as to its location.  So mistakes do happen.  I did find it right next to the Town Hall and the church.  Now I need to learn how to park properly.  Apparently there was some confusion on my part but the Special Collections is not open till Wednesday night so I will have to return. I thought I had made an appointment with the archivist but I guess it was for tomorrow night!  I was very tired by the time I got to Lancaster and hungry.  So I opted to go to the bed and breakfast and get settled in.

Thayer Memorial Library in Lancaster, MA
Lancaster Courthouse
The Church on the Court Square, library to the right

Parking is on the north side of the library.  I found the street on the north side of the church called Harvard and turned right as I came from the south onto it and found the parking area.  There is a walk way through to the library and courthouse.  Much better than the 6 slots in front of the library.

I had lodging at the College Town Inn on Center Bridge Road which crosses the Nashua River and at High St.  It is a bit of a dicey intersection but I am learning when I can go and not go.  I was greeted by the proprietors and they were very friendly and helpful.  I got a map!!  He suggested an Italian Restaurant in downtown Clinton called the Via Alto 27 and it was a very nice dinner.  Clinton is an industrial town something to do with plastics for the pharmaceuticals?  It was a lot bigger than I expected.  The area were the restaurant was had brick buildings close together and shops one after another.

Old Common Burial Cemetery on Old Common Road
The rest of the evening was spent walking around the Old Common Burial Cemetery on Old Common Road just about 1/2 a block from the College Town Inn.  I took photos and did a video of this cemetery.  I was looking for cousins.  Descendants of John and Mary Goss and they are there in an area with a cement outline in a rectangular position.  I will upload again when I return to my home.  This cemetery is in need of help.  I think it is in need of some care.  I hope someone is looking out for it.  I see tree limbs, broken stones, leaning stones and more.  So far the Goss area is in good shape but I think there are more stones buried in the ground.

Old Common Burial Field, Lancaster, MA
More Old Common Burial Field, Lancaster, MA

 

I have more photos and will upload them later when I return home.  The photos you see are of the tombstones for the Goss family.  Find A Grave also has a listing of this cemetery on Old Common Road near the 5 corner intersection.

  • James Goss 1797 to 1800 son of John Goss and Mary Whitcomb Fuller
  • John Goss, Jr. 1804-1828 son of John Goss and Mary Whitcomb Fuller
  • John Goss 1770 to 1843 the father son of Joseph Goss and Sarah Wilder
  • John Goss 1802 to 1803 son of John Goss and Mary Whitcomb Fuller
  • Joseph Goss 1799 to 1801 son of John and Mary Whitcomb Fuller
  • Mary W. Goss unknown d. Mar 4, 1852 the mother – do have her lineage at this time.

These are descendants of John Goss and Mary Woods 1/2 brother to Philip Goss II. 

I was exhausted so I returned to the B&B which was just a short walk.  I settled in for the night doing my chores and trying to get another post up and not allowing myself to get to far behind.  Blogspot is not cooperating…grrrr.  If you find editing errors please be patient.  I think I will do a review when I return home and update the posts for I can only get so much done as I travel.

Time for bed.

College Town Bed & Breakfast, Lancaster, MA

Additional Sources:  Quaboag Planation alias Brookefeild, by Louis E. Roy, MD (mostly historical background of the first settlement) and History of East Brookfield, Massachusetts 1686-1970 also by Louis E. Roy.  I purchased this compilation at the Quaboag Historical Society Museum for a hefty price but I like to show support to the societies and archives that are in the areas of my ancestors. The North Brookfield history book by Temple and Adams has a great deal of information in it on our family.  I believe these books are at Google books, Internet Archive etc.