June 4, 2011: Spracklins – Meeting a Half-Cousin

The Spracklin family married into the Goss family. Spracklins are from Somerset in England.  John Andrews Spracklin immigrated in 1817 with the Wine and Anne Rood family (his aunt) and settled in Washington Co., Ohio.  There John A. Spracklin met and married Lydia Goss, daughter of Solomon and Olive Scott Goss. John and Lydia had a son named Daniel D. Spracklin and he married Elizabeth Keller in Morrow Co., Ohio.  They had four children: Henry, Oliver, Mary and Amarilla.  Only Amarilla and Henry survived to adulthood.

Elizabeth Keller Spracklin, my great great grandmother, died in 1859 several months after the birth of Amarilla Spracklin (later Barclay) my great grandmother.  Daniel remarried to Sarah Blacketer Allgood in 1863 in Iowa where he had migrated to from Knox County, Ohio.  He and Sarah had 7 more children:  Lydia, Virda, Reed, Daniel, Peter George, Charles Edward, Alfred Marion.  Alfred died young.

On Saturday June 4, 2011 while still in the D.C. area I met with a descendant of Peter George Spracklin.  She is a perfect Half 3rd cousin.  Peter George is a 1/2 brother to my Amarilla.  I now know three cousins from this side of the family. 

So about 10 am on Saturday, I got into a taxi at the Gaylord National Hotel south of D.C. and headed into D.C.  We were scheduled to meet at 11 am. 

Well…everything went really well and I was looking forward to being dropped at the American History Museum on Constitution Avenue but….Guess what?  The National Mall was overwhelmed in PINK!!!

It was the RUN FOR THE CURE and streets were blocked off.  My taxi driver let me out at L’Enfant Metro and I had to walk.  Fortunately, it was not too hot or muggy…yet!

It was fun to walk along and observe ladies and men in different combinations of T-shirts in white with pink, pink with white and more.  Some had numbers on them.  Here I was in total black!!!  Hmmm…??? It was truly showing the power of women.  I was humbled.  My mother died of colon cancer that had decided to take over her liver back in 1984. She was 74 years old and had a good life but still! I now how terrible this disease can be. 

There were huge billboards with the map showing the route and water stations.  This photograph shows the participants heading for the finish line.

I walked quickly heading for the American History Museum entering into the cool foyer a pleasant place to wait for my cousin to arrive.  Would I recognize her?  Well, she beat me to it and saw me at once!

We sat on the soft bench and immediately started chatting about the family.  I showed her the family history reports that I had brought for her to study.  She is interested in genealogy but has not taken the plunge. It was too confusing for her and I understand that.  Having a database is vital because each generation explodes the family tree to even more great grandparents to try to learn about.  I use Legacy’s deluxe version. It is free for the standard version:  http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/

I gave her a descendants chart of our common ancestor Daniel D. Spracklin and a family group report of her great great grandfather Peter George.  We happily chatted away about genealogy. 

She had decided that it would be fun to go to Chinatown and I was willing.  So we figured out how to get a taxi on 7th and headed to the Ming Restaurant. It was very nice restaurant and we took a table by the window. 

I told her about my life and family first.  A lot of girl talk!  She told me about her family and of course I wrote it down.  Lunch was fun!  I am always blow away by the stories of another’s life and the similarities of experience but yet the different choices.  My cousin was being born when I was a silly teenager having Hawaiian luau parties in the 1960’s. 

After lunch we wandered past the Chinatown arch and found a Starbucks on the corner.  Just like home! We decided to get some coffees and I staked out some stools.  We spent the time lingering and talking some more about life and experiences.  We did some people watching as well for it was a busy street corner and a busy Starbucks. 

Now you are probably wondering if I had a list of questions to ask her and had prepared oral interview.  I had some ideas but I decided I wanted to just let the conversation flow. I think I made the correct decision.  Now I am not a big talker so these kinds of conversations are a bit challenging for me and take concentration.  Apparently my cousin was trying to absorb as well so it was good that the conversation just flowed for our first time together. 

It was about 4 pm and I had an idea that I could visit, at the very least, the Rotunda of the National Archives and view the Charters of Freedom before heading back to Gaylord National Hotel south of D.C. So we walked along 7th Avenue noticing the shops and architecture.  We parted at the line waiting to get into the National Archives with several hugs.

I told my cousin about a curious thing that happens when you get involved with the genealogy of your family.  It is the fact that you build new friendships when you reach out to your cousins. You rekindle relationships that are lost. I had not seen a McDonald cousin in 25 years but reconnecting with her has been priceless.  I had the good fortune to visit my 87 year old cousin and get to know her before she past.  You grieve with them when the loose someone dear to them.  You rejoice when you surprise a cousin who doesn’t know you yet by acknowledging their contribution and they didn’t even know they had touched your life. HA!

It was a lovely day.  I have the best cousins!!!


Saturday, April 23, 2011: Simsbury

The Simsbury 1820 House is very elegant.  Reminds me of the Inn at Biltmore in Asheville, NC but on a smaller scale.  Breakfast was delicious but more Continental style with cereal, bagels, pastries, some fruit, and coffee!!! It was from 7 to 10 am.  They do provided coffee on the first floor throughout the day and wine at the front desk.  These are small bottles of wine about 2 glasses.  They were not bad.

You descend the stairs and turn the corner and go down a hallway (there are signs) and down more stairs into the lower area of the Simsbury House.  There are tables with white table cloths and soft chairs.  Food is arranged on a bar area and table area.  Easy to pick and choose what you like.  The walls are brick and their is a fireplace.  Very intimidate area. 

It was pouring rain.  I could see the rain bouncing off the railing outside my window as I worked on my computer.  It was not letting up.  One of the hostess said it didn’t look good for the whole day!  Hmmm….?

So, I stayed in my room organizing my papers and getting my stuff ready to repack for my flight out the next day.  It took most of the morning.  Still it was raining.  So I had several breakfasts and lots of coffee. 

The Simsbury Genealogical and Historical Research Library was just north of the hotel on the corner.  So I grabbed an umbrella that was complimentary in the lobby area and headed out.  I had tried to call them but I was not getting an answers.  I was happy to see that a car was parked in the parking lot.  The door opened and I was inside the familiar rooms.

There website has since improved from the last time I was there.  It has lots of great links and information so go explore and have fund.  They are also known as the Simsbury Free Library as opposed to the public library which is south of them in Simsbury.  I was impressed with the links which included the Simsbury Public Library http://www.simsburylibrary.info/ancestors.htm  You might be interested in the Simsbury Vital Records and Genealogy database.

Allison the director was sitting in her seat and I approached and chatted.  I reintroduced myself and she said she remembered me.  I was glad to see Allison.  Things had been a little uncertain and she was brand new the last time I had visited. 

I wandered around studying the titles of books, and remembering the layout which had not changed.  They have their book stacks and it is a nice collection. This is small library but they had a good mix of books, periodicals and even pamphlets of interest for the area.  They have titles for of course Simsbury, Granby and other towns in the area.  They have Connecticut titles, Massachusetts titles and other books even Ohio.  There is microfilm of the New York newspaper and Hartford papers.  They also have connection to the Internet and Allison can get you on to access various things that you have to be a library member in Connecticut to do so.  It was difficult not to dally on some of the book titles.

Simsbury Genealogical and Historical Research Library

The interior is beautiful as you enter first a sort of museum area.  The library is in the back area.  Lovely building.  The other important fact is that it is right next door to the Simsbury Cemetery.  Go to there website that I gave above and take a look at the photos of the interior. 

They have a booklet about the Simsbury Cemetery Vol. I but it lists the interments and more.  So I studied that compilation very thoroughly.  I was looking for the Viets family. 

They have a very nice brochure that you can pick up “Simsbury Free Library.”  I found my copy at the CHS.

I found several interesting items:
First Church Records of Simsbury 1682-1930?, A Sense of Place, Thomas D. Ayres, Simsbury Historical Society, 2009.  I did not find any Haskell’s, Gibbons, Sewards or Goss listed. 

Connecticut Cemeteries Vols. 1-4 and 5-9, New York, 1914.  Mostly the eastern part of Connecticut. Some man in New York had done this burial listing of cemeteries. 

Back in my room, I did more organizing of my papers and decided that I needed to ship some books and brochures home.  Just no way I could stuff all this into my luggage without it weighing tons.  So I found a UPS store in south Simsbury and went off in search of it.  I always try to figure out the closest shipping source like Office Depot or something like that or UPS or a mailing center. 

I found the UPS at 542 Hopmeadow St. and it was open.  The nice man inside was chatty and we discussed the weather and cats!  He took my money and when I said that was a good price because it usually is not cheap, he jokingly said he had tried to charge me more but just couldn’t.  Books weigh a lot!  I could expect my treasures on Monday May 2, 2011.  Wow, May is almost here?

Next stop was the Simsbury Cemetery.  You can enter it from the Main St. in Simsbury for there is a paved road to the far left.  The big gate is in the middle and you might be able to drive through but it is soft grassy and it was very wet.  It is a big cemetery. 

Simsbury Cemetery, Simsbury, CT.

There are some awesome tombstones in this cemetery on the hill toward the back.  I drove around studying them.  There are at least 4-5 Crypts up at the back top of the hill. 

Usually you see one or two but 4-5 or more?

These two are amazing.  Like the spire!

I was looking for John Viets and Catherine Viets.  I had my page of information and walked Section B.  The book I looked at had maps of the cemetery.  No luck.  I had the row number, no luck.  It was raining and cold so I gave up for now.

Time for lunch/dinner.  I thought of Meto Bis sounded delicious.  However, I decided on Plan B Burger Bar on Railroad Street.  Now you are probably thinking it means an alternative plan for a restaurant but no it means Burgers, Beef and Beer! 

Plan B Burger Bar, Simsbury, CT

This place was hoping.  You enter and there is the bar ahead of you.  Downstairs is another restaurant but I was seated at a tall table and chair – I mean I climbed up.  There are booths and tables but I was on my own and it was very busy.  The bar is to the left and there were these big handle bars of different beers.  I liked my seat because I could see what was going on and do some serious people watching. 

The young man ahead of me at a similar table had a Tony the Tiger on his sweat shirt.  I noticed Tony was separating.  Now this is a major treasure this Tony emblem.  When he left I stopped him an inquired if he knew he had a problem and he did.  He told me he had been too busy to fix it.  A friend had made it for him years ago.  He assured me he would take care of it.  Touched my shoulder and thanked me for my concern.  He was probably late 20’s early 30’s. 

Now I was studying the decor and was puzzling over the lights which were hanging from a track.  I asked one of the waiters about them and he said they were ice hooks.  I had observed that they had twisted wires around them and these bare light bulbs were hanging from them in two pair or four pair.  Very clever! They were wonderful no glare. 

My hamburger was delicious and served on a rectangular white plate like a gourmet dinner? Sort of like Red Robin but actually better.  My waitress was friendly and pleasant.  They were playing old Beattle’s music.  So I felt right at home.  As I ate my dinner the place filled up even more.  Two men at the bar were playing with their fancy phones.  I am beginning to get jealous of these types of phones that you just take your finger and push the items along.  Being a visual person it is very enticing. 

A recent arrival came over to the bar and was intent on choosing the perfect beer to go with his dinner.  This was a fun place!  The food was very good. 

My goal this time was to go to the Simsbury Historical Society but a tree fell on them. There website has a picture of the tree on the center. Ouch!

Plan B was right next door so I just drove a little ways into the historical societies parking lot.  I had been here before but they had just moved into their visitor center and had not opened the archives yet.  So once again I was not going to be able to access this archive.  I am not really sure they have anything for me.  Still I am curious. 

Simsbury Historical Society Center. The tree is gone now!

It had stopped raining but it was cold and wet. When you enter the Simsbury House you come into the foyer and there is a real area like a old hotel were the receptionist sits behind working on their computer.  Makes you feel like an old hotel.  There is an entrance from the Main St. and a long drive through a grassy area up a incline to the parking lot.  This is the photo that you see on their website.  The Simsbury 1820 House is part of a group of hotels in the area.  There are other rooms on the main floor that you can explore a little. All lovely.

You enter through the area of the two columns up the steps through the porch into the foyer.  I had asked that the maid not clean my room because I had made a mess and put all my papers on the bed.  So I also told the main desk so she would not get into trouble.  She had not cleaned my room so I was pleased.

I was enjoying my room and I just relaxed for the night.

Friday, April 22, 2011: Treasures in Hartford and on to Simsbury

It is Good Friday and some things are CLOSED and also on Saturday! Boy how did I miss this as a holiday.  That is two holidays that I was not prepared for actually three days worth, major glitch!  Easter weekend and Patriot’s Day.  Wikipedia has listings for each country including the USA so it is a start: 


I do check Town Hall websites, County Government websites but State Websites might be a good idea too.  Some holidays are regional or by state so this is important.  If I had done a better search I would have moved my travel up a few days in the beginning and left New England earlier than the 24th of April…??? I was able to work around it and that was good.  This was a big trip to prepare for!

Time to leave the Chester Bulkley B&B in Wethersfield.  It is very quiet here.  As I work on my computer I watch the sun set over the spires of the building across from the house.  I like my little sitting room They have white wicker furniture in it and it is light and sweet with nicknacks here and there and litle foot stools.  The house was beautifully decorated.  My bedroom was roomy and the bed was inlayed wood with a rounded head on both the foot and headboard.  It was very lovely.  Very comfortable. 

I like the lavendor doors.  His garden was just about ready to burst.

I watched night fall through this window, lovely spires to look at!

My host was a young man who purchased the house and runs it on his own.  He said he had decorated some of the house.  This host was quieter but he was a good cook.  I ate the omelette he made the day before and it was good. I usually don’t eat omelettes but I ate the whole thing! My breakfast was waffles with these peaches on it and it was good too.  He did answer my questions and I did get a couple of laughs out of him but he was definitely quieter than the other hosts.  He seems to think that gas will be $4 to $6 dollars in the summer and with the bad snowy cold winter tourism is down.  I wish him and the other B&B owners luck and good fortune and I have excellent experiences in each place I have stayed this trip. 

Today I am going to see the Ancient Burying Ground in Hartford.  The librarian at CSL told me that I would probably have to park on the street or in a lot and walk to it.  There is a church next to it. 

The individual that I am visiting is a 10th great grandfathr Andrew Warner.  No one really knows where he is buried but he founded Hartford along with many others.  He is a forbear of the Scott family? I have been so focused on the Goss family marrying into the Cooley’s, Wolcotts, Bliss and others that I have not investigated these other lines of my family which are old and founding immigrants to America.  I am getting mixed information on this man’s descendants and a lot of confusion.  There is a book about the descendants of Andrew Warner compiled by Lucien C. Warner and Mrs. Josephine G. Nichols, 1919 at Ancestry.  Lots of good information in this book. I need to do more digging. 

I made my way back to Hartford and down Main St. stopping for gas and there were 5 police cars on the other side of the street.  Awh city life!  I past Capitol Ave and and spotted the church and the cemetery on the left.  The cemetery and church are on Jewell or Atheneum St.  I don’t remember if the streets were named differntly on each side?  I turned left on Asylum two blocks north and parked in the lot on the corner.  It was cold but partly sunny.  There was wind. A Burger King was on the corner across from the Old State House.  I wanted to also view the library and city hall but it was so cold even though it was sunny.  Brrr…!!!

I made my way down a couple of blocks to the church and started taking my photos. There is a gate on the right side of the church were the cemetery is located. Several layers of iron fence surrounds it.

The Church notice the tall building behind

First Church of Christ

Hartford name after Hertford in 1637

Entrance gates to the Ancient Burying Ground in Hartford

This statue greets you!

Dedication plaque
There is a very large monument and large rectangular stone in honor of the African Americans buried in this cemetery with no stones.  They have tried to identify who is here. 

African American memorial

Daffodils are blooming along the edge.

You enter the cemetery through the gate.  Considering its age it is in very good shape.  My ultimate goal was the big giant obelisk in the center. 

The names are alphabetized on each side. You just have to find the side of it that has the name you are looking for.

An ancient cemetery in the heart of Hartford

I am pointing to Andrew Warner’s name. So the “A’s” start on the side to the right. You walk counter clockwise around it. I am afraid I don’t know a lot about this man and frankly I could be wrong!  So I need to do some research on him.  The point is that the names on this obelisk are founding father’s and it is important for all of us to at least take a look at the information. It was pretty awesome to visit this cemetery in the middle of this huge city surrounded by all these tall modern buildings. 
There is a website and about this cemetery.  http://www.theancientburyingground.org/  This website has all kinds of information.  It has a burial list and map.  I also purchased a book about this cemetery.  I shipped it home so I don’t have the information at this time.  There is also a pamphlet with a map and some of the inscriptions:  “A Walking Tour of the Ancient Burying Ground of Hartford, Connecticut.”
I was getting so cold I couldn’t stay any longer even though I had lingered and walked some of the cemetery reading names out loud. So I walked back to the Burger King as fast as I could.  I bought a hamburger and some hot coffee and enjoyed it thoroughly.  I also watched Hartford come and go. I had been to Hartford but only to the state library, the historical society and the fancy convention center.  So just sitting and spending time in the center of the city was a fun experience. Now it was the Good Friday so it was probably a quieter Hartford in the downtown area.  Several men were napping in the corner of the restaurant.  A man sat across from me.  He had a huge amount of keys on his belt.  He seemed tired and he was in uniform for he had a label on his shirt.  
Once I was warmed up I returned to the parking lot.  There was a vendor with their wares set out on the sidewalk.  I paid my fee and turned right onto Asylum.  I pointed the car west and off I went to the Connecticut Historical Society which is open 12 to 5 pm.  Once you get on Asylum just make sure you stay right because the lanes do disappear and head west on this street till you get to Elizabeth Ave. then turn left and the entrance is right there on the left.  You can’t miss the building for it is big.
I had such a wonderful time there the last visit that I returned a second time.  This was going to be my third visit.
Connecticut Historical Society

Entrance to the Connecticut Historical Society
This society is located at 1 Elizabeth Ave. in Hartford.  The photo above shows the entrance off of Elizabeth Ave.  There is  parking on the west side.   

I had looked at the website and studied the catalog and other finding aids but was not real sure what I was going to do.  Since it was open even on a holiday, I decided to go there and see what trouble I could get into. 

I was greeted by the nice young lady that I had sat next to at the Friday night banquet a the New England Regional conference.  She was very nice and helpful.  Another lady was at the reference desk and she too had been at the conference.  I am afraid that their names have escaped me.  She was busy with moving microfilm and books and rearranging things so they could bring in more materials. Just know that all the librarians are very helpful and pleasant. 

You can access many items in the research room but a lot of items have to be retrieved so you make your orders on the one order card and if you have any trouble filling it out you just ask the librarian and they help you.

I revisited the Goss file in the manuscript card catalog and I didn’t find anything in it that I had not already studied and obtained copies of.  Sure wish Donald Lines Jacobus would have signed his letters it would make it more special. 

They have WiFi so you can access that and it works wonderful.  Ask at the desk for the code.

I ordered some old maps and studied Simsbury trying to see if I could find Simon Wolcott’s land in Simsbury. Do you think his treasure is still buried there?  I wandered the stacks and pulled some books.  This library is amazing so little time! 
It closed a 5 pm.  So about 4:45 pm I packed up and said good bye and thanked the librarians and headed out.

Stacks at CSH

Research center

Entrance to the research center CHS

It is time to head north Simsbury.  Philip Goss of Brookfield and Mary Kendall Goss were in Simsbury before they headed up to Granby, Granville and then Becket.  Actually Philip’s land was in North Granby.  He had the births of some of his children recorded in Simsbury. 

I had a reservation at Abigail’s south of Simsbury.  It used to be Pettibone’s.  They took me right into the dining room even though I was really early.  I made good time and exited Hartford without too much trouble.

My dinner was tasty and Abigail’s was very fancy.  The area I was in seemed new so I was a little surprised and had expected something older!  A family (mother, son, father, her mother) sat down across from me and was very intent on planning their meals.  Apparently they had been there before.  The husband was very handsome but very serious.  It was clear the mother was the focal point of this family. 

I was sitting on the right for my dinner

I headed for the Simsbury House 1820 in the heart of Simsbury.  I missed the sign and got honked at by acar on my bumper. Grrrr….!  I found the Simsbury House by turning on Library St. and coming in from the side area. 

The Simsbury house turned out to be more of a hotel than a Bed and Breakfast.  There is a big porch and the entry way into the foyer.  The stairs are to the right and up to the second floor.  My room was down the hall to the right and looked out over the parking lot. 

My plan was to empty the car and gather all my belongings to repack for the flight home on Sunday.  That was two days away so I had some time to get things reorganized.  It took 4 trips maybe 5.  Once that was done I settled into the room.  The room was a good size and had a wonderful desk with a view through the window.  A bathroom was off the side wall.  The walls were papered with toile in a light powdery blue and the curtains were a little darker hue but still in toile.  I am providing a link for those who do not know their toile!

I climbed into the big soft bed. A little TV, a little wine! Good night!

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:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049513/  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.

Saturday: April 16, 2011: Becket Athenaeum and more!

The Becket Athenaeum is open from 10 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, otherwise the hours are every other day.  They do not have an online catalog to access that I can find? So I am going in a little blind. 

Becket was called No. 4 and Philip and Mary Goss of Brookfield (IV) came there to live for awhile until he was was again enticed by the lands offered in Pennsylvania near the Susquehanna River.  To get to Becket you can go through Pittsfield but I decided to try Holmes Road up to Williams St. and over to the Washington Mountain Road and down into Becket.  The road is paved but rough and me and my Aveo bounced around a lot.  We did some serious climbing up roads but basically had the road to ourselves.  There was one guy in a car who I tried to get to pass me but when he had the chance he just stayed on my bumper.  There was a truck in the road and I pulled out and in and then over and he finally went flying by me.  Go figure??? I have done well in Massachusetts regarding driving and have not had any problems so far.

I came to this crossroads and there was this little sign “Becket Village” pointing that away – left.  Soon there was another sign “Becket Village” and it had arrows pointing both ways. Hmmm…?? I am assuming it meant either North Becket or Becket Center. I jumped in and followed it out on Brooker Hill Road and that took me into Becket or rather North Becket. 

Becket Art Center, North Becket, MA

Becket Athenaeum, North Becket – park and enter in the back!

Becket is a combination of little communities.  The Becket Athenaeum is in North Becket on the southwest corner in a building that used to be a church.  It is in front of the Becket Art Center.  The sign is on Hwy 8.  You open the backdoor and there is a room filled with books and interesting things like a stuffed alligator. Like all small establishments the search for room is a problem. 

They had water damage so they moved the important documents upstairs.  I was greeted by Nancy the librarian.  She told me that you could not go upstairs without the director of the library to obtain documents.  What is there is your guess for it is not on the computer and cataloged.

Can you see the alligator?

You cannot access the catalog from beyond the library. You have to be there to look at what they have.  Nancy puts in the code and lets you search.  I took some time to do that to see what would come up and she is right the historical collection is not online. 

The Becket Athenaeum is a wonderful library with all kinds of books, a section for kids and more.  I did find some histories of Berkshire, topo maps, an atlas of Massachusetts.  While I was there two people brought in more books for the library.  I found a DVD reader verion of Brisinger the trilogy by Christopher Paolini. That was amazing to see a 5 set DVD talking book.  The trilogy will actually become 4 books which for fans like me is great news.  http://www.alagaesia.com/#/home  I was in an airport and was drawn to the picture of a dragon on the cover and the book was Eragon.  Funny what you might find in a out of the way place in a library!  I digress, HA!

Becket Athenaeum website: http://www.becketathenaeum.org/  I would suggest you read the History of the library and their About page. 

I mentioned to Nancy that Paul H. Goss had visited years ago and he was my cousin.  He knew about Cathaline Archer the author of several Becket histories and knew she was preparing them for publications.  He also knew Cecilia Snow who had done an unofficial list of Becket births, deaths and other vitals records.  Nancy knew what I was talking about and said they had photocopied this vital record compilation because the original was really fragile.  She pulled the copy for me to look at.  It was very large and she laid it on a table. She found the entry for Ebenezer Goss’ birth. 

Mrs. Snow’s compilation of Becket Vital Records

Nancy informed me that the director would be there in an hour and I tried to fill it up with seeing what I could find in this library while I waited.  I had not made an appointment. 

1.  I purchased two books.  The “Walking Tour of Becket,” ($3.00) and the “Biecentennial History of Becket 1768-1965.” by Cathaline Alford and Mitchell J. Mulholland Archer  ($15.00)  I have already seen this book but decided it was worth it.  This book has some good information on Philip and Mary Goss. 

2.  I found a copy of the book:  Pioneer Valley a Pictorial History, by Guy A. McLain.  It has a map of Springfield showing the land records for 1840.  The pioneer valley is the Connecticut River Valley and as I was driving along I was going in and out of it once I came from Winchester, NH. 

3.  Historical Atlas of Massachusetts, Edited by Richard W. Wilkie and Jack Tager, Univ. of Mass, did not get a date of publication.  It has of course maps showing the development of Massachusetts by townships and counties.  A map of the sites in King Philip’s War of 1675 and of course Lancaster and Brookfield were involved.  The spread of settlement and town incorporation from 1620-1691.  A 1635 map of Boston “existing ways and owners.”  This kind of book helps to get perspective on our ancestors lives.

4.  See above photographs.  The Genealogical Records of the Inhabitants Town of Becket.  According to Nancy this compilation was done by Ms. Snow herself.

I soon became restless and came to the conclusion that I needed to move on.  I had what I wanted the birth record of Ebenezer Goss as seen above.  So, I left my information and gave a brochure of my trip to Nancy.  My advise is to call in advance and make an appointment with the director if you want to look at anything in their collection.  Hopefully they will compile a finding aid to it and that would be wonderful.  I don’t know if she will find anything on our family but it is worth a try. 

I decided to go down to Becket Center because the “Walking Tour Booklet of Becket” I purchased had the different historical sites in Becket really carefully identified.  It is a great booklet and helped me to figure out that Philip Goss probably lived in the Becket Center area which is south of North Becket on Hwy 5.  This booklet describes as the main area of settlement in Becket.  North Becket was not established till into the 1800’s.  The whole history of the area of Becket and the other townships is part of a larger movement as people who needed more land. 

The area around Becket is rugged.  It takes a lot to prepare the land to grow anything for it is rocky and not fertile without some work.  I tried to put my head around why Philip Goss went there?  He had lot #56. It could be a real interesting exchange of what motivated g-great grandfather to move there? 

Here is an article about Becket:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Becket,_Massachusetts

I left the library and it was cold but it wasn’t raining.  Brrrrr…..Hwy 8 was just out front and I headed south. Along the way I found the North Becket Cemetery which is situated on a hill.

North Becket Cemetery

Small road that goes up a little incline, look for the wood bear on the side of the road!

The sign for a town is usually well in advance of the town.  The concept that a town goes on for a long while in New England takes a little getting use to.  In the west we lean toward counties being the boundary. I was beginning to think I had not turned right but the sign came up as entering Becket Center a National Historic District. 
I spotted the church and went over to investigate and there was a cemetery right next to it called the Becket Center Cemetery.   
Becket Center Church

I continued down Hwy 8 and found the town hall.  Becket is spread out and still a very small town.  The land around the town hall is flat.

Becket Town Hall – What Treasures are there??

I did more exploring and returned north up Hwy 8 and turned left at North Becket heading back the way I came over the rough road to Pittsfield through Dalton.  My goal had been to get a feel for what the land was like in the Becket area. 

It was not that hard to find the Berkshire Athenaeum for it is on the corner of East Street and Wendell Ave.  It is a rather modern building looking like something modern in brick with cement trim.  Not what I had expected although there is a painting at the website?  Parking on Wendell Street was 4 hours.  So I had plenty of time to investigate the library.  It was cold and the wind was blowing…brrr…!

As I entered the Berkshire Athenaeum there was a notice on the door that they would be closed on Monday, April 18th for Patriot’s Day.  WHAT?  Oh dear!!  I approached the Reference librarian and asked what Patriot’s Day is all about:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriots’_Day  Sigh!!  I really try so hard to plan my trips around holidays but this one caught me by surprise.  Sigh!!!

Meanwhile, I walked into the Berkshire Athenaeum History Room and was very pleased to see a well designed, organized room.  They had the rolling electric stacks.  They do need resetting on occasion. File cabinets with genealogies, maps and more.  I signed in and set to work, tons of microfilm, finding aids and more.  I only had 4 hours now that I lost the coming Monday. Berkshire Athenaeum’s Redesigned Local History Department flyer explained the layout and use of the area and information about their collection.  Study the website as well: http://www.pittsfieldlibrary.org/

Berkshire Athenaeum History Room only a portion..much bigger!

1.  National Archvies Northeast Region (Pittsfield) brochure was in a rack.  It is now a historical document with the closing of this archive in Septemeber.

2.  Print out – Colonial Plan of A Portion of Hampshire County now Berkshire County.  This map shows the Key to Small Grants and there is Township #4.  They have this map in a stand and let you copy them. 

3.  Another handout in a stand – Berkshire County and its Neighbors.  When I was touring Pennsylvania a few years ago it was suggested that I check out New York for that is where a lot of people went to.  So this handout features surrounding counties, Berkshire County, neighboring New York, Connecticut and Vermont.
These two maps are just simple drawings but they help to get a reference.

4.  The library catalog has a lot of information and you can pull printouts to review when you arrive.  I had about 24 things planned and began evaluating them.  Some were books, some were microfilm and some were parts of collections like the Berkshire Collection (the one with green tape over by the computers). They have a Master Index – Bibliography for this collection alphabetized Vols. 1-65++. I started with the stacks.  It was fun to push the button for the electronic stack.  I pulled histories of Becket, Otis, Peru and more.  I pulled cemetery records for Otis, Peru, and Becket.  I found a really great book that was a compilation of the cemeteries. I stumbled on it in the Berkshire Collection. 

Source:  A Guide to Berkshire County Massachusetts Cemeteries, compiled by the Berkshire Family History Association, 1988. This guide was very helpful.  It had maps of the townships and located where the cemeteries were and then a description and location of each cemetery identified.  I have not had time to find out if this type of compilation is also for other counties in Massachusetts and maybe Connecticut? 

5.  Family histories like the Davidson Family, and Descendants of Robert Rose of Wethersfield etc.

6.  Becket, Mass, records of the Congregation Church (township #4), transcribed by Rollin H. Cooke.  It mentions that on p. 518-532 there is a listing of the Becket Center Cemetery.  Of course I took pictures and our family of Philip Goss is mentioned frequently.  I need to review my findings.

7.  They had on the walls maps.  One was of Berkshire County showing mountains and the rivers.  The lecture I attended at the NERGC in Springfield a few weeks ago mentioned that people would travel on the rivers or near them and go way out of their way around mountains in order to migrate.  I had been noticing the rivers and they all had rapids in the Berkshires and were really not for traveling by boat?  So they much have traveled along side them?  I am very interested in the migration of settlers to the Wyoming Valley and where they would go when conflict occurred there.  So far I have not see anything describing this movement back and forth?

8.  They also had detailed topographical maps of Berkshire that were relief types.  Deeds describe things using the local mountains and streams and so far I have not found anything detailed enough to satisfy me.  These were great so I took some photos.  Now how to get copies?

They also had a copy of a book:  The Legend of Mt. Greylock, A History of a Mountain by Kirsten Demeo.  Greylock is the tallest mountain in the Massachusetts.  It comes in at 3489 feet…? http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/mtGreylock/  I wonder if my brother would like it?  He is such a snob when it comes to mountains and their elevation! However, if it is a mountain of note he knows about it.  I cannot fool him with a photo at a different angle.  He knows right away. He used to climb them but now he just Googles them. 

I was struggling a little with finding things and the librarian was engaged from the moment I had entered.  I managed to get a lot done and get a feel for where things were.  I explored their finding aids and filing cabinets.  The librarian had been helping other patrons and it looked like he was not going to be done soon.  After awhile I had to interrupt him and once he pointed me in the right direction I was off and running. 

It was time to leave and the librarian asked if I found what I needed and I told him I was confused about two cemeteries and that it was either Hinsdale or the one in Peru.  We took out the information and reviewed it and he discovered a notation in the information that indicated it was the Hill Top Cemetery in Peru, Massachusetts and he suggested that I tried that.  Hinsdale and Peru are very close to each other and northeast of Pittsfield an easy drive.  It would save time to only have to visit one cemetery.  I was on the hunt for Haskell’s? 

I did enjoy my short time there at the Berkshire Athenaeum and highly recommend this archive as a source.  They will be inheriting some of the microfilm from the NARA that will be closing.  I have no idea where they will house it and it is possible you will have to order it and they will pull it. 

This was a very good day.  I had long wanted to visit the Becket and Berkshire Athenaeums.  Paul probably visited the more ornate building version when he traveled in Massachusetts.  See this article and picture.


Dakota Restaurant, Pittsfield right next to Lenox, MA

Notice the bear….!

Since the restaurant Dakota was right next door to the Comfort Inn, I decided it would be the choice for dinner and it was not too bad.  You are greeted by a giant Kodiak Bear when you enter that is on its hind legs and paws outstretched.  The walls are wood paneling (yeah I know knotty pine, I like it) and the decor is like a log cabin in the woods.  There are two fireplaces at each end. I had been cold a lot on this trip because I had left my windbreaker at the Dragonfly in West Brookfield and only had my velour jacket and sweaters.  So a fireplace looked comforting and inviting.  Very rustic and I liked it the restaurant felt comfortable. 

I noticed a flyer about brunch on Sunday and thought that sounded like a good idea.  The ending time was 2 pm for Sunday and that would work well.

Getting back to the Comfort Inn turned out to be easy.  I just slipped through the green chain linked box and curb and turned south into the driveway of the motel.  Yeah, it was that close.  Going out on the highway and then taking a quick sharp turn was not something I was eager to do. 

A good day and now it was time to get organized for the next.  Oh don’t ask me to pronounce “Athenaeum” when I did the person didn’t understand me so it is not as you expect.  It is an old term for library.  I have seen it spelled “Atheneum.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011: Lancaster Wanderings I – Rowlandson Rock, Goss Lane

Breakfast is included at the College Town Inn.  This is a Bed and Breakfast and the architecture is more modern.  I usually prefer the old creaky houses.  This was nice and I am enjoyed my stay.  My room was comfortable and I had an outside entrance.  I have never had that in a B&B!
The owners are very nice and we chatted at breakfast about my research.  The decor is a “little bit country” but very clean and tidy.  The house is a maze so you do have to pay attention.  The breakfast room is large and could be used for other functions.  Charlotte was born in the area and Jack is from Pennsylvania.  He said they had been here since 1957.  WOW!

I spent the morning catching up with the journaling and blog and it is taking a lot of time.  It was also raining heavily and I was hoping it would get better….dreamer….!!

Just as soon as I loaded the car it started to pour.  I mean POUR….AUGGGGH!!!!!  Rain Rain Go Away…!!  Not while I am in Lancaster!!!!!

So I sat in my car a while but the rain was not going to give up.  Eventually I made the decision to go ahead and look for sign posts and historical markers and things I could do without getting too wet. Hopefully it would let up.  Hmmmm……!  According to the weather report the worst part of the rain would be this evening…maybe this was the evening storm earlier than planned?  Hope, Hope….!!!

Rowlandson Rock, Lancaster, Massachusetts

Rowlandson Rock is on George Hill and there is a George Hill Road.  So I turned off Main Street to the right and came to a dead end. It was closed!!! Apparently a section of the road sunk for I could see a lake in the middle of the road on the other side of the cement barricade.  It meant you had to go around.  I did that using Prescott St. and turned on Langen St. and went up George Hill Road realizing that I was on the wrong side of the hill and Windsor Rd, the entrance, was around the other southern side. 

Prescott St in Lancaster

I found Windsor Road and proceeded up the road to two stone pillars with lights on the top and a small expanse of rock fence on both sides.  I drove through and found a big yellow house on the right and the blue water towers in front of me with a chain link fence and a locked gate.  I drove to it but was puzzled as to what to do next?  There was absolutely no signs to direct you.  The idea of slogging around trying to find the site in the pouring rain was not something I was eager to do.

How to Get to Rowlandson Rock!!

Do not take the road to the right for that is the yellow house’s lower garage area.  Do not take the next road to the right for that is the yellow house’s front parking area.  Go ahead to the chain link fence gate and park.  There is a path to the left.  Hopefully the person who parked the green tractor across the path entrance has moved it? If not the path is probably blocked by the tracker.  Look to the left for rocks stacked like a short fence or indicating a path and you will find a path to Rowlandson Rock. 

You will have to walk like a half block to it but it is easy.  It is to the left which is probably the west.  The rock is around the water tanks a little north of them. As soon as you get on the path you will spot the site and it is a no brainer from there.  It is a nice wooded area.  There is a plaque that is starting to peel but the rocks are there. 

I would have taken a picture of myself at the rock but it was raining so hard I had my blue slicker on and was trying to protect my camera and as you can see from the photos raindrops got on the lens.  My slicker pockets were filling up with rain running off the slicker.  It was not fun.  I wish I had my knit gloves that were in my coat pocket that I left behind! Sigh!

The Road to the Water Towers. Note the Tractor blocking the path!

See the bit of blue and the path on the left!

Rowlandson Rock and sign

The sign with raindrops!!!!

Rowlandson Rock has nothing to do with the Goss History except it is the setting for what is to come.  After this terrible incident during King Philip’s War 1675, the Rowlandsons didn’t stay in Lancaster and Philip Goss I purchased the Rowlandson Estate in 1687 and that deed started a chain of events that has lead the migration of the Goss family west.  It is also a very big part of the early Lancaster history and I love all kinds of history. 

There is a book by Mary Rowlandson about her ordeal:  A Narrative of the Captivity, Sufferings and Removes of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, 1791.  It has been reprinted and rearranged several times.  Google Books has a copy.  There may be a movie about this someday according to a reliable source?

Take a little time and drive around George Hill Road and Hilltop Road in Lancaster it is very lovely up there.  There are some fine homes there and what I would call estates.  There is a house, barn and more in pink!

Goss Lane, Lancaster, MA
There is supposed to be a Goss Street in Clinton off Main Hwy 70 at Roma St and Laurel St. The street that connects them is Goss St.  Charlotte of the College Town Inn said there was the “Goss Lane” in Lancaster. 

Well I traveled all over the place till I realized that the Langen Road becomes the Goss Lane.  I had tried the Sterling Road entrance (no sign) but there are two large signs that say “DO NOT ENTER” a little ways from the entrance.  When I finally figured it out and spotted the sign “Goss Lane” which was the only one I could find, I realized it was directly across from the blockage to the George Hill Road.  HA!  I do feel a bit silly about it all but it can be confusing in a new area. 

My curiosity taking hold I drove the whole Goss Lane and sure enough I found the two signs I mentioned earlier.  I might venture a 1/4 mile? (Where’s my hubbie when I need him!) Apparently they are trying to discourage through traffic.  It is a narrow road the Goss Lane.  As you drive south on it you move from a large pasture on the right with houses on the left and then into a valley between two hills with trees and lovely homes nicely situated apart from each other on a winding road up an down and around.   It is lovely along Goss Lane. 

Goss Lane, Lancaster
Well I did eventually stumble upon the 2nd Rowlandson Rock Sign.  It is on the right as you turn onto Sterling Road.  I am still looking for other signs which are eluding me at this time?

Time for lunch.  Sandee’s was right there when I came out from my excursion on the Goss Lane.  I remember it from the Internet.  My grilled cheese sandwich was good comfort food.  They are not open for dinner which is too bad.  The food was delicious and very good in price. 

I swear it rained till I decided to get lunch about 12.30 pm and then it stopped for awhile.  So I was eating at Sandee’s along Main Street and I couldn’t leave, well I suppose I could have taken my sandwich with me?  Hmmm…..!
The Site for the Great Elm is on Central Bridge Road before you get to the bridge and after the Five Corners.  Apparently it was a very special tree to have live as long as it did.  

The rain was still coming down but lighter and I just could not wait any longer and headed for the Middle Cemetery to do what I could, after all I am a veteran Seattlelite and know rain…off I went!

April 10, 2011 – The Brookfields

Walking the Old Sturbridge Village is a big job and by the time I returned to my car I was ready to just take a few minutes, relax and rest.

A little backtracking was required to find Hwy 148 and I was soon heading north.  I tried again for the highway sign of the Brookfields and again the light changed green so I turned into this parking lot and positioned the car so I could get a picture of the signs. 

I am about to “Browse the Brookfields” and my first introduction is the town of Brookfield itself.  Hwy 148 passed under the turnpike I-91 and I was in Brookfield before I knew it. 

There was construction going on with a bridge into Brookfield reducing the lane to one and so I waited till the light changed green before I proceeded.  Soon I came to the intersection where you continue on 148 or turn onto Hwy 9 which takes you to West Brookfield where I have reserved a room at the Dragonfly Bed and Breakfast. I will return to Brookfield tomorrow to do research at the Town Hall and tour around to other places of interest.

Dragonfly Bed and Breakfast – West Brookfield just before the Village Green

I entered West Brookfield and turned the corner which revealed the village green and it was not too hard to spot the B&B.  I pulled into the driveway and saw that they had a parking area which I assumed was for guests so I repositioned the car.  The Dragonfly B&B house is beautiful.  It was built in 1780 and is in the Colonial style. It has been fully restored by the proprietors Mark and Michael.  I stopped and took a picture and hopefully there will be more. 

I noted that across the street was the Post and Boots Store and a stately house with green shutters to the right!  Barbara is with the West Brookfield Historical Commission. I was about to head to the B&B when a man approached me asking if I was Bonnie.  I said “yes,” and he introduced himself as Dick and he was also with the West Brookfield Historical Commission.  We easily moved into chatting and decided that I would come over in a little while and we would go on a tour of the area and to all the sites and then out to dinner.

The bad news was the Salem Cross Inn was closed for cleaning. AUGH!!! I was disappointed.  I had been looking forward to eating dinner there.  Apparently Dick, as well as Amy who is affiliated with the Quaboag Historical Society had investigated the Salem Cross Inn and had discovered that it was going to be closed for cleaning.  Dick wanted to know if I liked Chinese food and he suggested the Wok Inn.  I was okay with that! The Salem Cross Inn was formerly owned by the White family, a grandson of Peregrine White brother to Resolved my ancestor a 9th great grandfather and both son’s of William White and Susanna of the Mayflower.  I saw Peregrine’s cradle at the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, MA on a trip there years ago. 

I settled into the Dragonfly B&B being greeted by the proprietors Michael and Mark.  The stairs to the upper floor are very steep and narrow.  They were kind and helped me carry things in.  Mark offered to put my food into the little refrigerator outside my room and empty out the ice from the Styrofoam ice chest. I did not want it to chance staining the lovely old floors. Once that was done I headed across the street to find Dick and Barbara.

Barbara appeared and we ended up in their kitchen studying a larger version of the Brookfield Map that is online.  They have recently published the history of West Brookfield and here is the link for more information:  http://www.westbrookfield.org/qp_a_history_of_wb.htmIt   There is only one line on the Goss family in this book and pretty much what had been stated before in the other histories of the area. Here is their home page link:  http://www.westbrookfield.org/  It is one of the best websites of this nature I have ever seen!

We climbed into Dick’s “Cruiser” and we headed up Foster Hill.  Dick and Barbara pointed out where the sign posts were along the road in that historic area and more tidbits.  It is where the first settlement was up to 1675 the year of King Philip’s War which destroyed the settlement and it was abandoned for about 10-13 years after that terrible event.

West Brookfield had their big celebration last year and it sound like it was a big a success.  The old burying ground just has a plaque.  Barbara explained that you had to walk a very far distance to get to the actual location.  At the big celebration there were signs showing the way.  She said the Native Americans came and performed their “cleansing” rituals at the site. I bet that was very amazing to see.  Barbara was very impressed with their reverence.  I don’t believe they know who was buried there for their are no stones.  Later Amy was to tell me that it was an Indian burial ground?

Dick explained that there was the Quaboag Historical area and the Wickaboag Historial Valley area.  The West Brookfield Board of Commissioners has eight members and both Dick and Barbara are members of the commission for West Brookfield. 

We stopped at the Old Indian Burying Ground on Cottage Street in West Brookfield.  Dick had gathered brochures for me and there is a map inside the one for the cemetery highlighting some of the gravestones.  Dick and Barbara were enthusiastic and went off trying to locate Philip’s stone for me.  We wandered around a bit trying to find Philip Goss and his wife Judith Goss.  I went back to the car and obtained my photo of the stone and when I saw the double curve I knew right away. Just as I was seeing the tombstone both Barbara and Dick yelled to me that they found it! Philip Goss and Judith Hayward Goss are buried there.  They are my 7th great grandparents. Their tombstone is amazing.

I was totally impressed that it was in as good a shape as it was.  Of course it is starting to split on the top ridge. The foot stone is beginning to lean and actually looks like it is sinking? I told Dick and Barbara that I am there to help with any repair and I am sure that any other Goss descendants will be will to give assistance.  It the world will not preserve our heritage than each and everyone of us needs to jump in.  I will let you know if there is any need but at this time we are in good shape. 

A momentus moment and long in coming – Philip Goss & Judith Hayward’s Tombstone

This was indeed a BIG moment for me.  I had been studying the Goss family for over 10 years ever since the day I found the Philip Goss file in the DAR library in Washington D.C. and in that file was a manuscript by my cousin Paul H. Goss and other documents by Flora Osborn.  

Barbara took this an another photo for me.  It was great to share this very important moment for me. 

The wind has turned cold and it was dark and cloudy.  I am looking, well, odd but I don’t care.  I have come a long, long way!!!

We stopped at the sign post for the John Hayward Jr. Grist Mill.  I do not know exactly how John fits in with Judith’s family.  He established his grist mill in 1708 and it is on the road to Ware?  I think a little more investigating is in order.  Another for the To do List!

Grist mills were needed to grind the grain into a more usable and digestible food stuff.  So they were critical to the survival of a settlement. Town meeting histories will have a mention of them if not be devoted in some part to the encouragement of their construction.

We stopped at many other sites and I began to get a little confused as to where things were and tired.  So we headed to the Wok for dinner.  We chatted about life, past events, genealogy and just had a very pleasant time.  Dick and Barbara are from Long Island, New York and one day they just decided to move to West Brookfield.  I think they made the right choice! I thank them for their time, interest and most of all for the love of history and their willingness to fight for it and care for it.  We need more people like them!

Here again is the website for the West Brookfield Historical Commission  It has lots of good information about the history of the area an a biography of Capt. Philip Goss.  They have a map of historic sites to study. They have the Old Indian Cemetery and all the burials that they have been able to identify. It is a website worth studying seriously if you are a Philip and Judith Goss descendant and for all descendants as well.

I will be returning to some of these sites tomorrow and will give more detail of them in the next post.  One of the benefits of being at the site is that it starts to make more sense. 

We said goodbyes and I thanked both of them for their time and that it was greatly appreciated.  I headed into the Dragonfly and proceeded to get organized and ready for the day.  I called Amy and verified that we will meet at 9 am tomorrow at the Quaboag Historical Museum.

The Museum is a private organization while the West Brookfield Historical Commission is a required governmental board.  They are separate and distinct but they all know each other for it is a “small” town.

April 10, 2011 – Part II: Springfield to Sturbridge

My goal was to head east to Brimfield where there is evidence that Benjamin and Margaret Cooley settled.  They are the parents of Keziah Cooley Goss my 6th great grandmother.

This link is a brief historical sketch of Brimfield and it is definitely tied to Springfield:  http://history.rays-place.com/ma/hampd/brimfield.htm.  The vital records that are online do not reveal that Benjamin and Margaret Cooley were there.  I am in the process of checking the cemeteries in the area to see if I can find a trace of them. They had to get close to Brookfield so that their daughter Keziah and Philip Goss could meet and marry. 

Getting to Sturbridge was interesting.  I am learning that they don’t call a town what is on the map.  I passed through Wilbraham.  Fiskdale is called Sturbridge.  The road can be two lane, one lane, then back to four lane and then back to two lane and it doesn’t seem to make sense?  The average speed on this Hwy 20 was 45 miles per hour which is doable.  When I hit Palmer I got a little mixed up but after a couple tries I was on my way east again.  That little jog in Palmer was a bit confusing. 

I was in Sturbridge about 12.20 pm.  I passed Hwy 148 with the sign to Brookfield and North Brookfield.  I got real excited about it and tried to take a photo but the light turned green. 

I drove a little further into Sturbridge and saw the signage for the Old Sturbridge Village so I turned to the right keeping an eye out for the Tavern.  I turned into the Sturbridge Village parking lot and spotted the Oliver Wright Tavern on the left at the entrance.  Something is not quite right about my Streets and Trips Mapping software because it had a different location for the tavern?  It means I have to be very careful and I get to “wing it.”

Oliver Wight Tavern – Old Sturbridge Village

I parked and headed in.  I went into the building on the left entered the door and discovered that there was a gift shop and restaurant and they were serving brunch.  It was nothing fancy and quite a big room actually 3 rooms, one small area with a fireplace, a food area and then a big area filled with a variety of tables.  The decor was not fancy.  The host took me too a table and chairs by the window.  The room was noisy with the talk of many people.  It wasn’t full but it was doing well. 

The Oliver Wight Tavern offers brunch on Sunday from 10 to 2 pm.  They had everything.  If you wanted breakfast, or pastries, or pancakes and waffles, turkey, desserts and more, even salad.  My waitress was friendly and made sure I had plenty of coffee.  It was delicious and very filling.  Their brunch is $20.00 and by the time you are through it is around $25.00.  Actually that is not necessarily a bad price for a brunch.  I have paid far more.

After brunch I explored the very large and extensive gift shop with its many rooms.  There was pottery, quilts and quilting kits, toys, clothes, books, dishes and many more items of interest.  I am afraid I gave in and did by two books:

1.  Quabbin a History and Explorers’ Guide by Michael Tougias
2.  A New England Village, by Joseph S. Wood

After brunch I toured the Old Sturbridge Village. Admission is $20 so you do want to spend some time there.  I was interested in the grist mill and of course it is a long walk to it. This village is similar to Plimouth Plantation and Colonial Williamsburg in that they are large, spread out and living history villages.  This particular one is set in the time period of 1790 to 1840 which is a little late for my time frame of 1687 to 1747.  Here is the link again http://www.osv.org/.  They have a lot of programs, activities and educational outreach.  If I lived nearby I would probably become a member.  Lots of activities for the children from about age 6 on up but not so great for the babies. 

I stopped briefly at the Parsonage Barn and a performer was playing his guitar and telling stories: Tunes and Tales and Travels & Treachery. 

They hand you a map when you enter showing you where the different buildings are and on the back are the various programs and the times.  There is a stage coach.  In the summer there is boating on the lake.  Even though I did not stay long I enjoyed myself.

Grist Mill

Lake with Covered Bridge

Farming area

Time to head for the Brookfields.