Fannie M. Ames/Webster/Starkey(Sharkey)/Smith – owned land along New Salem Rd in 1940s and 50s


in 1929, Fannie bought 6+ acres including some buildings in Orange (747/363) for $1500

it looks as though Fannie and her then-husband Lester [Leslie?] Smith owned land in southeastern New Salem that was taken for the Quabbin Reservoir in 1928 (756/274)

  • deed reads “Fannie M. Smith (formerly Fannie Starkey, sometimes known as Fannie Sharkey)”
  • she and her husband [?] seem to have bought two 10-acre parcels land from Myron and Elvie Doubleday in 1925 (704/189) and 1927 (677/237)
    • first parcel was on April 1, 1925 – 10 acres in Dana – Myron Doubleday bought this from William L. Newton in May 1920 (662/218); it previously went from someone named Brown to Levi Newton (388/229)
    • the second one is more confusing – the deed goes from Lester Smith, unmarried, to Fannie Starkey, for two 10-acre parcels, including one that “is the open or mowing land, and a part of the farm formerly owned by Levi Newton” (so presumably this is the first parcel), and a second contiguous 10-acre parcel – both of these were conveyed to Lester Smith and Fannie Starkey by two deeds on April 1, 1925 (704/188 and 704/189) – so it’s unclear why the later deed registration for the earlier sales

in 1939, Fannie (again, on her own – deed says “umarried”) bought the three parcels of land (100 + 12.5 + 15 acres) on New Salem Road from Ernest E. Webster of Orange (835/288)

  • a second deed (835/329) shows that she also sold 19 acres (with buildings) at the intersection of Wheeler Ave and Goddard Ave in Orange to [her son] Ernest E. Webster
  • he assumed the back taxes for 1937-1939 with this sale

then in 1961 we have Fannie’s son Ernest E. Webster administering the sale of Fannie’s land after her death

  • he sold 197.5 acres on New Salem Rd (the original 127.5 acres plus the 70 acre William Leonard farm that she added in 1941) to Max and Barbara Winchester for $8000.00


Fannie Ames born in Bridgewater, Mass. on March 24, 1886

  • parents were Ephraim Frederick Ames (a stonemason born in Walpole 1854-1921) and Ida May Bisbee (born in East Bridgewater 1864-1921
  • Fannie’s father Ephraim Frederic Ames b Nov 23, 1853 in Walpole, Mass. – father Ezekiel is listed as a boot-maker, born in Canton; mother Julia’s birthplace is listed as Bridgewater
  • in 1865 state census he was living with his family in Wrentham – his father is listed as a Maine-born farmer
  • the bicentennial history of New Salem (pp 69-70) notes that “F. Ames” was living in an old house there in 1871
  • Fannie’s mother Ida May Bisbee Ames b June 27, 1864 – parents are Otis Bisbee and Eliza White Ramsdell Bisbee – in the 1870 US census Otis is listed as a stonemason, as is his oldest son Frederic, 19 – the next son John, 17, is listed as a farmer, and the next, Clarence, 14, as a farmhand – the family seems to be quite well-to-do, with property value at the top of their East Bridgewater neighborhood
  • Fred and Ida married in East Bridgewater on Nov 13, 1879 when Ephraim was 25 and Ida was 15!
  • the 1880 US Census lists Fred E. Ames, 26, and Ida M. Ames, 16, living in West Bridgewater, where he is a laborer
  • Fannie was born in 1886, seemingly the first of their children to survive

Fred Ames’ older sister Julia (c.1846-1912) also lived in New Salem for a time – she was married at least twice:

  • in the 1870 US Census the whole family is living together in Wrentham:
  • Ezekiel Ames    46  farmer
    Julia F Ames    42
    E Frederic Ames    16
    Richard Ames    13
    Hattie M Ames    8
    William Ames    6
    Lizzie Ames    4
    Ittilai [?? that’s really what it looks like] Gifford    37  farmer
    Julia Gifford    23  – so Julia has married an older man – not clear whether Joseph is their son or his – if theirs, then she has also (like Fred’s wife Ida) married extremely young
    Joseph F Gifford    7
    Frank Gifford    4
    Lena M Gifford    3
    Julia I Gifford    1
    Levi S Gay    24  moulder
    Annette F Gay    19
  • there’s no personal property listed for this very extended household!

in the 1880 US Census Fannie’s grandfather Ezekiel [Ezekell] appears to be living in Wendell:

  • entry #6 in the ag census
  • he’s got 12 acres of tillage, 49 of pasture/open land, 20 acres of woods
  • 10 acres mowed, 2 not mowed, made 5 tons of hay with one horse
  • value of farm is $700, equipment $50, livestock $108 (all mid-low range)
  • value of products sold is $185, mid-upper range
  • he owned 3 milk cows and 3 other cows, 5 of which he purchased that year
  • the farm made 250 lbs of butter, a very high amt [I think I remember seeing his name in the W.W. Wood ledger]
  • also had one pig and 14 chickens – sold 30 dozen eggs
  • grew just half an acre of Indian corn, netting 20 bushels
  • 1 acre of potatoes –> 100 bushels, a substantial amount
  • 25 apple trees for 40 bushels of apples and $20 value
  • 8 cords of wood sold for $16


in the 1880 US Census, aunt Julia has remarried to a younger man (m. Feb 11, 1879) and is living with her second family (and the four children from her first) in Walpole:

  • Henry J. Smith    24  farm laborer, born in [South Boston] Mass., parents from England
    Julia F. Smith    32
    Joseph G[ifford?] Smith    17  works in Emory [?] Mill
    Frank G[ifford?] Smith    15
    Lena G[ifford?] Smith    12
    Julia I. Smith    10
    Nelly F. Smith    7

at some point Fred and Ida’s family moved to New Salem – here they are in the 1900 US Census:

  • Ephraim F Ames    47  stone mason – shows both of his parents were born in Maine, he was born in Mass. – owns his own home
    Ida May Ames    36  born in Mass. of Mass.-born parents – has borne 9 children, 5 living – married 20 yrs
    Fanny M Ames    14
    Florence C Ames    13 (1887-1956) – here’s a photo of her from the Andersen Family Tree on Ancestry
    Leon F Ames    10
    Julia F Ames    5 (1894-1929)
    Eliza W Ames    1
    James E Sweetland    52  lodger/basket maker

in the 1900 US Census, aunt Julia is widowed and she and her second family are now living in Deerfield:

  • Julia F Smith    52
    Frank L Smith    36  farm laborer
    Ella F Hatstat    26  servant
    Alice M Hatstat    7
    Charles B Reynolds    53  boarder
  • Mrs. Julia Ames Smith bought a house in New Salem around 1900, and moved there with her son Frank Gifford and daughters Julia Howes and Ella Hatstat – the daughters lived there until 1933 when the MDC bought the property and tore the house down  (New Salem bicentennial history, p 73) – Julia (1846-1912) was Fred Ames’ sister, so Fannie’s aunt
  • the Augustus Holden house in New Salem was bought by “Fred E. Ames and Mrs. Ames” about 1904 – “About 1912 the Frank M. West Box Company acquired 33 acres of the 40 acre farm. The house and cleared land also was sold to Julia Smith and her heirs.” (p 74)
  • a Mr. and Mrs. Ezekiel Ames also owned an old small house on West Street in New Salem (Melvina French, who married Nathan Hudson of Wendell, had earlier lived in the same house) (p 79) – so did Fred and Julia Ames’ parents eventually move to New Salem too?
here's a photo of her

Fannie’s sister Florence Gertrude Ames, from Andersen Family Tree on Ancestry

Florence GERTRUDE Ames Rice Wright Starks (Fannie’s next youngest sister, a year younger)









on March 3, 1902, Fannie married Ernest Edward Webster (1879-1908) in front of a JP in Vernon, VT

  • she was 18, he was 22
  • he was a sawyer – parents Charles F. Webster (1845-1899) and Laura Gee (1847-1894)
  • he had already been married and widowed – strangely, his first wife was also Fannie M.! (Shaw) (1878-1899) – a tremendous amount of loss in this family in a short time
  • looks as though Ernest and Fannie (Shaw) had a son, Rodney Earl Webster (1899-1982)
  • Fannie (Ames) and Ernest had a daughter (Althea? Laura?) in 1902 and two sons, Forrest (b 1905) and Ernest (b 1908)
  • and then father Ernest died 1908, leaving 24-yr-old Fannie with three small children

in the 1910 US Census Fannie is married and living in Buckland with her considerably older husband Fred Starkey and a young family, plus a couple of her siblings and a baby belonging to one of them:

  • Fred E Starkey    41
    Fanny M Starkey    24
    Laura A Webster    7 – the Webster children are listed as stepchildren of Fred – they are Fannie’s children from her previous marriage
    Forrest L Webster    4
    Ernest E Webster    2
    Leon F Ames    20
    Julia B Ames    21
    Catharine Ames    0 [11/12] – census says “niece” – i.e. a daughter of (presumably) Julia?

meanwhile back in New Salem, here is the Ames household in 1910:

  • Ida M Ames    45  married, but no husband in sight – had he left the family? or died?
    Eliza W Ames    12
    grandson Harold W Rice    6 (probably a child of Gertrude, one of whose husbands was named Rice)
  • Ida is listed as the head of her household and is working as a laborer for the Crowl Fern Co – this was a company that grew ferns, laurel, etc, run by a family named Vineca and named for the Crowls who started the business before 1890 – the building burned around 1930 and the company closed – see New Salem bicentennial history (1953) pp 99-100 and MHC Reconnaissance Report p 11
Ad for Crowl Fern Co from "New England Ghost Towns" Facebook page

Ad for Crowl Fern Co from “New England Ghost Towns” Facebook page




The Florists Exchange, Vol 22, 1906

The Florists Exchange, Vol 22, 1906






also in the 1910 US Census are the other Ames/Smith/Hatstat relatives, next door to Ida:

  • Julia F. Smith, 63, widowed, born in Mass, father born in Maine, mother in Rhode Island – she has had five children, all living, and she owns the property the family is living on
  • Frank Gifford, her son, 44, a farmer (1866- )
  • Julia I. Howe, her daughter, 40, working at the fern company (1870- )
  • Ella F. Hatstat, her daughter, 31, also working at the fern company (1874- ) – Ella is listed as married for 18 yrs, but there’s no husband in the household – she’s had one child
  • Alice M.B. Hatstat, 16, presumably Ella’s child

aunt Julia Ames Smith died Nov 28, 1912 – she’s buried in the North New Salem Cemetery

in the 1920 US Census Fannie is living back in New Salem, still listed as married although there’s no husband in the household (she is head), with the following:

  • Fannie Starkey    33  occupation “washwoman” for a private family or families – can’t tell from the handwriting – she’s renting a farm property – next door are Paul and Ella Richardson and their two daughters – he’s the owner of a Box Shop – might this family have been wealthy enough to employ her?
    Forrest Webster    14
    Ernest Webster    11
    Charles Starkey    10
    Eugene Starkey    8
    Robert Starkey    6
    Leslie Starkey    3

Fred E. Starkey is extremely hard to find other than in the 1910 census – in the 1920 census the birthplace of the Starkey children’s father is given as “at sea”!

deeds show that Fannie and her husband Lester Smith bought two 10-acre parcels land from a Myron Doubleday in 1925 (704/189) and 1927 (677/237)

Fannie (Ames) Starkey is listed in the state vital stats as having been married in 1928 – shown in New Salem (36/450) and Warwick (54/258)

sister Julia d. 1929

in the 1930 US Census, Fannie has a third family living at a farm property they own on Wheeler Ave (this is at Goddard Rd and Wheeler Ave – not sure where Goddard Rd is or was, but census records put it somewhere between East Rd and Wheeler Ave, with just four small households showing there in 1940 – I think it’s actually Cross Road, where John Moore’s farm is – here’s the 1937 USGS map detail):

  • Leslie A Smith    35  teamster on a farm – born in Michigan of two English Canadian parents
    Fanny E [should be A] Smith    44
    Rodn[e]y L Smith    0 [11/12] – this is Leslie and Fanny’s son – so a very late baby for her
    Earnest D Webster    23 – he’s a truck driver
    Charles H Starkey    19 – farmer on a general farm (presumably this one)
    Eugene F Starkey    18
    Robert L Starkey    17
  • they have a radio

not unsurprisingly by this point, Lester/Leslie Smith is as hard to track down as Fred Starkey was

in the 1940 US Census Fannie and Rodney (10) are living on East Road in Wendell, where she’s listed as a farmer and the head of the household

  • a boarder, George Rock, 61 (b in NY state) is also living there as a Farm Laborer
  • also in 1940, Fannie’s son Robert Starkey, 27, is living on Goddard Rd in Orange (presumably at or near the family’s Wheeler Ave property) with his wife Marjorie N., 22 (Marjorie Nell Fairman, 1917-1960) – he’s working (or rather, not working for the past 15 mos) as a plumber’s helper – he has an 8th grade education

Fannie died 1958 – buried in North New Salem Cemetery


  • Althea or Laura Webster (1902-?)
  • Forrest Lewis Webster (1905-1977)
  • Ernest Elwood Webster (1908-1976)
  • Charles Starkey (1910-?)
  • Eugene F. Starkey (c.1911)
  • Robert L. Starkey (Jan 28, 1913-June 29, 1991)
  • Lester E. Starkey (1917-1926)
  • Rodney L. Smith (1929-1940)

Fannie’s gravestone in the North New Salem Cemetery










William H. Leonard

b. Winhall, Vermont (just east of Manchester)

according to his 1881 marriage certificate, his parents were William H. (should be D.) and Nellie Leonard, both born in Vermont

  • there are two families of Leonards in Winhall in the 1850 US Census:
  • Job and Betsey, both 63 – Job is a doctor
  • in the same household, Louisa, 44, and William, 32, a carpenter
  • then three small children, Marie, 8?, William, 6, and George, 3
  • in the next household are farmer Job M. Leonard, 40, and Lucy Leonard, 22
  • so I’m guessing our William is the son of (then-widowed son) William and grandson of Dr. Job and Betsey – Louisa seems to be another grown child of Job and Betsey (she appears in the 1860 census as a “Maiden Lady” in the household of Wm and Antoinette) and the family next door may be another grown child or children
  • following up on William’s father William (Sr):
    • William Darwin Leonard was b. Sept 10, 1818 in Winhall
    • the public Tannahill Family Tree in Ancestry lists the following info (with Wm’s middle name erroneously given as “Darling”):
    • death date unknown, but he was still alive in 1880, living in Winhall w/ (second wife) Antoinette, Dan (16),  Lucy (15) and Bessie (14) – in the 1900 US Census Antoinette is listed as widowed
    • wife was Antoinett L. (“Philetta” on Wm Jr’s 1881 marriage cert?), 1835-1917
    • they had a very large family – there are 8 children under 17 living with them on the farm in Winhall in 1870, by which time William Jr (26) is married and living in Worcester – Antoinette must have been a second wife, since she was born in 1935 and Wm Jr in 1844 – there’s a 15-yr age difference between Wm Sr and Antoinette, so this makes sense
    • Antoinette Laura (Howe) Leonard d 1917 of sclerosis of the liver at 81
  • William Darwin Leonard b 1818 in Winhall, VT
  • Philetta/Phyletta, seemingly of Leicester, MA (hence the Leicester connection) who died of Dropsy on June 25, 1868 at 29 and was buried in Leicester, leaving three young children


  • William Jr fought in the Civil War and then moved to Massachusetts, living in Leicester (presumably with his mother’s relatives), Worcester
  • he married Harriet at some point between 1865 and 1870, but they were divorced by 1880
  • he remarried, to the older Sarah Haynes, in 1881
  • they bought a 70 acre farm on New Salem Rd in Wendell in 1883
  • William died suddenly of a heart attack in 1903 at 59

served in Co C, 14th Reg’t Vermont Volunteers during Civil War

in the 1865 Mass Census he’s 21 and living in Leicester and working as a painter

  • he’s in the household of a John and Fanny Cogswell (I think) – John is a painter from Leicester, Fanny is born in Winhall, VT, so possibly a relative/friend of the Leonards
  • also in the household are the Cogswells’ 18 yr old son and a 73 yr old who is possibly John’s father, listed as a laborer
  • the neighborhood has many working-class occupations and a handful of farmers

in the 1870 US Census William, 26, is living in Worcester with:

  • his first wife, Harriet, 21, born in Mass.
  • their 6-month-old son Henry A.
  • William is working as a painter and has an extremely modest personal estate of $150

in the 1880 US Census he’s 36, divorced, living in Worcester, and working as a painter and glazier, along with

  • his 10 yr old son Harry A
  • his housekeeper, Sarah Haines, 51

m. Sarah F. Haynes in Worcester on Jan 12, 1881 – this was his second marriage, her first

  • his parents are listed as William D. and Philetta, hers as John and Sarah
  • William’s occupation is given as Glazier
  • his birthplace is listed as Windhall, VT, hers as Newburyport

in the 1900 US Census William (56) and Sarah (64) are living in Wendell

  • he’s listed as a farmer
  • Elisha and Ellen Woodard are on one side of the Leonards, John and Lillian Wentworth on the other
  • Sarah’s father’s birthplace is Maine, mother’s is Mass.

d. Aug 30, 1903 (buried in Wendell Center Cemetery) suddenly, of heart disease at 59

his estate was probated on Sept 14, 1903

  • Sarah and son Harry were his only heirs
  • Harry was living at 2235 Cottage [Anne?] Ave in Chicago at that point
  • looks as though George A. Fleming was the executor/administrator for the estate
  • the appraisers were his neighbors Elisha Woodard and John Wentworth and Andrew Baker
  • George A. Fleming, Charles Ballou, and Charles H. Cogswell [is that the Leicester connection, I wonder?] seem to have given a bond [I’m not sure how all this works] for $2000 for the estate
  • the real estate was valued at $800 and the personal property at $600
  • Sarah petitioned the Overseers of the Poor for a widow’s allowance (I guess she couldn’t/didn’t inherit the property?) – the handwritten notes on the cover letter for her petition say “son by former marriage in Chicago; Per[sonal property?] $314.70; Debts $200; Estate $398.61 at auction [presumably this is the sale to Georgie Shumway]; R.[eal] E.[state] $750 clear; Debts re ? = Wrote for his estimate”

Poor farms

general materials on the history of poor farms/poorhouses in New England:

according to the “Wendall” 1885 town directory, supt of the Poor Farm that year was Frank W. Russell

Annual Report of the Selectmen, Overseers of the Poor, Treasurer and Town Clerk of the Town of Wendell for the Year Ending, Feb. 10th, 1899, together with the report of the School Committee and Sinking Fund Commissioners, and Auditor (Turners Falls, MA: Printed by Cecil T. Bagnall, Proprietor of Reporter, 1899)

month-by-month expenses show specific payments for individual paupers:
March 12:
– William G. Holden ($6 state aid- same below unless otherwise noted)
– Lucy A. Barrows ($4 state aid)
– Geo. H. Russell, ($4 state aid)
March 26:
– R.L. Sibley, board of Chas. Rogers, February and March ($25.97)
– Geo. H. Russell
– Wm. G. Holden
– Lucy A. Barrows
– Town of Orange, aid furnished J.H. Whitney ($36.85)
– E.D. Graves, groceries for Mrs. Begor ($6.75)
– E.S. Putnam, groceries and wood, Mrs. Lund ($60.51)
– John H. Wentworth, expenses in moving Polander to hospital ($7.79)
April 26:
– Chas. C. Blaney, treasurer Medfield Insane Asylum, on acct. Wyman ($18.72)
– Lewis F. Babbitt, treasurer Northampton Insane Asylum ($169.16)
– Wm. G. Holden
– Geo. H. Russell
– Lucy A. Barrows
– F.F. Johnson, M.D., servies and attendance State pauper ($11.75)
– Andrew Baker, aid to C.O. Lock ($8.64)
– Franklin County Hospital, board of State pauper ($21)
– N.D. Plumb, board of Chas. Rogers, month of April ($11.39)
– John H. Wentworth, expenses to Tewksbury with State pauper ($10.05)
May 28:
– Wm. G. Holden
– Lucy A. Barrows
– Geo. H. Russell
– Henry L. Hoyt, expense in selling town farm property ($4) **
– J.H. Sears, B.B.L. Flower, C.O. Lock ($5.50) – no reason given
– N.D> Plumb, board of Chas. Rogers month of May ($12.18)
June 25:
– Lucy A. Barrows
– Wm. G. Holden
– James B. Marsh, clothing for Chas. Rogers ($7)
– E.D. Graves, groceries to Mrs. Begore ($8)
– Andrew Baker, groceries and cash to C. O. Lock ($7.45)
July 1:
– Lewis F. Babbitt, treasurer Northampton Insane Asylum, bill ($169)
– Wm. G. Holden
– Geo. H. Russell
– Lucy A. Barrows
Aug. 4:
– N.D. Plumb, board of Chas. Rogers, month of July ($12.18)
Aug. 27:
– Nelson D. Plumb, board of Chas. Rogers ($12.18)
– Geo. H. Russell
– Lucy A. Barrows
– Wm. G. Holden
– S. J. TenBrook, M.D., professional services, Mrs. Begor ($10)
Sept. 9:
– Nelson D. Plumb, board of Chas. Rogers, September ($11.70)
– Andrew Baker, goods to C.O. Lock ($1)
– E.D. Graves, groceries and wood to Mrs. Begor ($18.98)
– Alburn Fiske, 1 3-16 cord wood to Wm. Johnson ($5.50)
– Alburn Fiske, shoes and stockings for Kezar children ($3.15)
– H.L. Hoyt, selling grass on town farm ($3) **
– Lewis F. Babbitt, treasurer Northampton Insane Asylum, bill ($170.84)
Oct. 29
– W.D. Strong, house rent for Boleo family ($24)
– Russell, Barrows, Holden, Plumb/Rogers
Nov. 26:
– Holden, Russell, Barrows, Plumb/Rogers
– Charles M. Ballou, keeping seven tramps overnight ($3.50)
Dec. 12:
– Mrs. L.P. Lewis, mileage of Mrs. Murry’s children (6.50)
Dec. 30:
– E.D. Graves, groceries, Mrs. Begor ($17.89)
– Holden, Russell, Barrows, Plumb/Rogers
Jan. 4:
– Babbitt/Noho ($170.84)
– Russell, Holden, Barrows, Plumb/Rogers
– Alburn Fiske, 4 1-6 cords wood to Wm. Johnson ($13.50)
– Andrew Baker and John H. Wentworth were paid $35 each for their “services as selectman and overseer of poor”
– F.E. Johnson, M.D., professional services to Boleo family ($4.40)
– Chas. M. Ballou, keeping four tramps overnight ($2)

Feb. 10, 1890 [sic – should be 1899] assets include $70.41 due from the state for state paupers (13)
and “Other Resources” on Feb. 10. 1899 include $800 from the Town Farm

Selectmen were Alburn Fiske, Andrew Baker, and John H. Wentworth – they were also the Overseers of the Poor

p. 15 notes that the Overseers of the Poor hired Charles Rogers, boarded by Nelson Plumb for $2.75/wk – he was the “one boarder that is fully supported” and was 78 years old
“Tramps lodged over night, 7.” (15)
four people were lodged in the Northampton Lunatic Hospital at $42.71 each per year, with the remainder ($687.43, noted on p. 16) being paid by the state (15)
the state paupers account brought in $176.78 (p. 16)
½ the cost of cattle inspection was $23.25 (16)
“Sale of personal property from town farm” brought in $88.53 (16)
sale of “Hay from town farm and common” brought $34 (16)
“G.A. Lewis, wood from town farm” brought in $22.50
“Use town farm pasture” brought $5
“Apples sold from town farm” brought $2

Note: a G.A. Lewis was also paid by the town for inspecting meat (eg. a $22.75 payment on Dec. 12)

“Copy of an Old Report” includes info from 1842-43, which the 1899 Selectboard thought would “prove both interesting and instructive” (pp. 21-22)
Support for the Poor cost the town $431.47 in 1841 and $535.09 in 1842, for a total of $966.56 (total expenses were $1975.46, so this was a very considerable part of the town’s financial burden)

the Wendell Town Report for 1967 notes $300 budgeted for “General Relief,” of which only $81 was spent ($6 for wood purchased from Robert Ballou and $75 for groceries at Donelan’s Supermarket) – however, nearly all of the $2000 budget for Aid to Dependent Children was spent – there’s a note on p. 15 about $786.40 in federal moneys expended for this – pp. 38-39 note the shift into Medicaid and that this will be the last year the town bears these expenses – has been part of Eastern Franklin Welfare District – there’s a budget on p. 42 showing various expenditures and receipts – looks like money was coming in via the state, perhaps shifting to federal programs at that point?


The status of this page is SOLIDIFYING.

Rev. Brainard Bradley Cutler gave the Welcome at the Congregational Church’s centennial celebration in 1874.

  • born March 4, 1803
  • parents were Obed Cutler, b. in Sturbridge, and Azuba (Shepherd) Cutler, b. in Greensboro, VT
  • according to the Cutler family genealogy, Obed was b. in Sturbridge in 1772 and “accompanied his father to Orleans county, Vt., in 1789, settling in Greensboro” (p. 390) – Obed’s first wife, Azuba, was the daughter of Ashbell Shepard, another 1789 Greensboro settler (presumably these were the first white settlers in the town – “They were among the members who organized the First Congregational church in the town and were influential members.” p. 390 – Obed’s second wife was Esther (Carlton) Johnson of Williston, Vt. – “He was engaged with his father on the farm and in the carding machine.” (p. 390) – Obed d. 1813
  • Obed’s children born in Greensboro:
  • Moses Chamberlain Cutler (1794-1856)
  • Marilla (1796-1861)
  • Susan (1798-?)
  • Maria (1800-1847)
  • Nathan (1801-1849)
  • Brainard (1803-1893)
  • Azuba (1806-at least 1899)
  • Orrin (1810-at least 1899)
  • Esther (1812-?)
  • Brainard married his second wife, Phoebe, in 1868 in Heath
  • Brainard d. of old age on March 16, 1893 at the age of 90 – he was living in Heath and was buried there, but died in Whatley
  • here’s the info from  The son of Obed & Azubah (Shephard) Cutler. Married Emma Hobart on 9/17/1827, (she died 7/7/1867. He married Mrs. Phoebe Harris on 1/1/1868. He had four children by his first wife:
    1. Edward Payson (10/3/1833 – 10/9/1833
    2. Edward Payson (11/5/1835 – 10/17/1847)
    3. Emma Tryphena (10/26/1838 – 4/16/1841)
    4. Charles Brainard (6/24/1842 – 2/29/1908)
    5. Emma Tryphena (3/3/1844 – 6/5/1881)

biographical sketch from The Congregational Quarterly, 1864, section on “Congregational Churches in Orleans County, Vt.” (p. 238):  “Rev. Brainerd Bradley Cutler, son of Obed and Azuba (Sheperd) Cutler, was born March 4, 1803.  His youth and early manhood were spent upon the farm, and he acquired only a common school education.  Becoming pious at the age of twenty-two, he turned his attention to the ministry, and having studied three years under the direction of his pastor, he was licensed by the Orleans Association, August 21, 1831.  He preached as a home missionary in Eden, Stowe, Wolcott, and Richmond;  and was ordained at Richmond as an Evangelist, August 21, 1835.  Rev. John Wheeler, D.D., preached the sermon.  His ministry at Richmond continued two or three years.  He preached at Essex more than three years, and nearly seventy were added to the church.  He had a short but successfully ministry at St. Albans Bay, where seventy were added to the church in a single year.  From that place he went to Lawrenceville, N.Y., where he was installed as pastor in June, 1845.  Rev. B.H. Burrage preached the sermon.  He was dismissed February 7, 1854.  Since then he has been stated supply in North Lawrence, Massena, Raymondville, So. Canton, Albion, and Moira

He married, Sept. 17, 1827, Emma A. Stevens, a native of Groton, Mass.”

here’s a link to A Cutler Memorial and Genealogical History – this was compiled by Nahum Sawin Cutler of Greenfield, Mass. in 1889, which suggests a possible connection with Wendell if Nahum was related to Thomas Sawin, Wendell’s self-appointed chronicler

from 1870 US Census, population and agricultural schedules:

  • Vermont-born B.B. Cutler is 67
  • wife is Phoebe C. Cutler, 59, b. in Mass.
  • children are Charles B. Cutler, 26, b. in Vermont, travel agent and Emma T. Cutler, 24, dressmaker, born in New York
  • also in household:  Mary Stevens, 80, b. in Mass. (mother of his first wife, Emma Stevens)
  • Cutler’s land was worth $1200 and his personal property $125
  • he has no agricultural equipment value listed and no agricultural wages paid
  • owned one horse and one milk cow, for a total value of $125 (on the low side for the town)
  • he grew 18 bushels of corn, 10 bushels of potatoes, and made one ton of hay, all very low compared with other farmers
  • total value of the farm’s produce was $42, also very low, suggesting he was farming mostly for his own household use and perhaps selling a little of what he grew
  • the household is listed right before the Poor Farm administered by Nicholas Laux (1871 Beers map shows parsonage and alms house next to each other on Montague Road)

charles-brainard-cutlerhere’s a photo of Rev. Cutler’s son Charles Brainard Cutler (the travel agent) and info from
“Birth: Jun. 24, 1842
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Feb. 29, 1908
Montgomery County
Ohio, USA
Charles was the son of Rev. Brainard Bradley Cutler of Heath, MA. He married Abbie Louise Dickinson (b.4/6/1848, d.12/8/1892) on 1/14/1875 in Heath, MA. They had six children: Arthur Howard, Emma Louisa, Frank Stevens, Obed Dickinson, Lelia May, and one un-named infant son, stillborn. After Abbie’s death, Charles married again, (probably on 1/1/1894), the second wife’s name is unknown.” [see below]

More on Charles B. Cutler:

In the 1860 U.S. Census he’s living with another 18-year-old in Worcester and working as a clerk (in a store? or office?).

his death record (1908) says he was a Civil War Veteran who enlisted Dec. 21, 1861 in Malone, NY with the 60th NY Infantry, where he remained a private – he was discharged Feb. 4, 1863 in Harpers Ferry, VA for reasons of “Disability”:  defective hearing, right ear, claims chronic rheumatism and occasional attacks of lumbago, chronic bronchitis, vaccinated.

In the 1865 Mass. Census he’s working as a clerk and living in Boston’s Ward 8 in what seems to be a boardinghouse, along with a number of other young clerks, seamstresses, dressmakers, and one “canvasser”

marriage records show Charles B. Cutler of Heath, Mass. “manufacturer,” married Emma E. Foster, “operative,” of Lowell, Mass. on Jan. 1, 1894 in Lowell – his second marriage, her first

In the 1900 U.S. Census he’s shown working as a house painter and living on West Adams Street in Lowell, Mass., with his wife Emma E. F. Cutler (52) and Charles’s youngest daughter Lelia (7)

from U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers records (Dayton, Central Branch):  “Contracted [i.e. for veterans pension/benefits?] Oct. 16, 1902, Lowell, Mass.” – he’s described as 5’6″, light complexion, gray eyes, gray hair, Protestant, occupation “painter,” and his “residence prior to discharge [from hospital?]” as Grand Junction, CO – his pension rate is listed as $12 and he was “admitted to C.B. Nov. 4, 1904” and “reported died at his residence Dayton Ohio A.W.O.L. from hospital,” looks like Feb. 27, 1905 (different from FindaGrave date above)

from the Cutler Memorial and Genealogical History:












Eastman’s Commercial College, which Charles attended, was founded in 1859 in Poughkeepsie, NY by George Washington Eastman, father of George Eastman who founded Eastman-Kokak (here’s a bit about the family).  The Eastmans owned a 10-acre farm in Waterville, NY from 1849 to 1860.

There were branches of Eastman’s Commercial College in various places, it seems.  Here’s a handbill for one in St. Louis (from the Duke University Library digital collections):




Congregational Church Centennial Celebration 1874

The status of this page is FRAGMENTARY

Centennial celebration of the Congregational Church, Wendell, Mass., Wednesday, December 2, 1874 (Amherst, Mass., H.M. McCloud, 1875)

“Address of Welcome”

by Rev. B.B. Cutler

We, residents of Wendell, cordially welcome you, visitors, each and all, to this feast of wit and flow of soul;  to these old hills and hollows, stone walls and cellars, built and dug by your fathers and ours;  to that which remains of what once was, and regret that we have not the privilege of making a better show.  But such as we have give we unto you, and cordially invite you to go with us in the past, so greatly superior to the present.  No doubt you will inquire: “Where are the forests, and the cattle upon the hills?”  Well, after you went away, enterprise came in, and we, like Esau, foolishly sold the birthright given us, and lost the blessing we might have had.  Commerce carried away the forests to build and beautify the cities and villages, paying us, it may be, honestly enough;  but vitiated appetites played the saddest game with us, so that what we might have become we are not, perhaps.  We see it, and those of us who think, regret it, but can’t help it now.  The consequence is sad enough, as you must see;  for those noble old forest trees are all fallen and gone, and in their places are ten thousand saplings that only remind us of our folly.  And the once extensive cattle-thronged fields and pastures on the hillsides, are overgrown with brush and wild weeds, and there is left about “one cattle upon the thousand hills, and nary a sheep to shear.”  But, like the prodigal, we are beginning to come to ourselves, and regret the past, and do hope that we shall soon be soundly converted, with no possibility of falling from grace, but of being kept, through faith, from the sins that have well nigh ruined our prospects.  As to the fathers and mothers, alas!  they are nearly all gone, around whose memory your thoughts cluster as you look upon the vision of other days.  Some of them have gone over the river, and the place of their sepulchres is with us unto this day.  The sacred trust we keep as well as we can, and have done it for what our scant means would allow;  and, were it suitable, we would go sorrowfully and view the place where we must shortly lie.  But many went out from us, carrying you away with them.


Wendell Old Home Day


a newspaper clipping from the files of Dick Chaisson in Athol suggests that Wendell’s OHD may not have been started until 1922 (it refers to the 1937 event as the 15th Wendell OHD, although it isn’t clear whether the tradition was continuous or there may have been breaks in it over those 15 years)

according to Ted Lewis, the event continued into the 1950s, and was generally run by the Grange and/or the Ladies Aid Society – it was revived in the late 1960s

according to Annie Diemand Bucci, Pat Judice was the person most responsible for starting the event again in the late 60s

video of late 1960s Old Home Day in Wendell by Lois Ellsworth, 2675 Simpson Mill Rd., Mt Airy, NC 27030 (see

comment by loisdedois (Lois Johnson Ellsworth), who posted it:

  • “This particular Old Home Day was the first of it’s specific kind, thought up and promoted by Pat Judice, others, and myself, brainstorming new directions for the town to go into, seeing as how we had so many new “creative back to the earth” folks who had moved into town. It certainly was a wonderful day, and seemed to bridge the gap between the old and new families, bringing a sense of understanding for all! GO WENDELL, a great little town.”+ “Looking to get this into the email boxes of all those families who are represented here, the Noyes, Fisher, Ellis, Lewis, Tenny, Wetherby, Burnett, Carey, Wilder, Pratt, Johnson, Ricketts, Diemand,Stebbins, Hildreth, and more, all these familiar wonderful families who make up this quaint, unforgettable and diverse home town of ours. Please forward this to anyone you might think would like it. Thanks, Loisdedois”

Wendell Post articles on Old Home Days:

1977 invitation to participate


founded by Frank W. Rollins (1860-1915), governor of NH, in the 1890s

  • on CowHampshire history blog, June 8, 2008:  background on the Rollins family – “Frank West Rollins, son of Edward H. & Ellen Elizabeth (West) Rollins was born 24 Feb 1860 in Concord NH and d. 27 October 1915 in Boston MA. He is buried at Blossom Hill Cemetery in Concord NH. He received his B.S. degree from MIT, and a degree of A.M. from Dartmouth College. He then studied law at Harvard University. He practiced law in Concord NH, and was head of the firm of E.H. Rollins & Sons, bankers of Boston MA, New York, and San Francisco. He was also a director of the Great Western Power Company. He was Adjutant General of NH from 1890-95; President of the State Senate from 1895-6, and from 1899-1901 he was Governor of New Hampshire. He was a trustee of St. Paul’s School in Concord NH, the Concord Public Library, the Orphan’s Home of Concord, and MIT. He was a former president of the New England Business Federation, and was President of the New Hampshire Good Roads League, the Church Settlement Society, and was a member of the Boston Chamber of Commerce. He belonged to many clubs including the University Union, Exchange, Authors, Dartmouth, Technology of Boston, the Wonolancet, Snow Shoe and Beaver Meadow Golf of Concord NH. He married 6 Dec 1882 to Katherine Wallace Pecker, dau of Frank H. & Anna H. (Wallace) Pecker. She b. 10 Aug 1861 in VT. He was an author of several books including “The Ring in the Cliff (1877), The Twin Hussars,” “Break-o-Da Tales” (1895), “The Lady of Violets,” (1898). Today the Governor Frank West House can be found at 135 N. State Street in Concord NH. His office was located at 19 Milk Street in Boston MA.
  • and piece by Janice Brown on “New Hampshire: The Origin of “Old Home Week” and the Rollins Family”
  • his obit in the NY Times mentions that he pleaded guilty to customs fraud after a 1910 incident after he returned from England on the Lusitania
  • New Hampshire’s Opportunity,” an essay by Rollins in The New England Magazine Volume 22 Issue 5 (July 1897) in which he sets out his vision for how NH should and could attract summer tourists as its next big economic opportunity



This is a page of data about the Lewis family who moved to Wendell, Massachusetts and bought an old farm in 1932.  The status of this page is FRAGMENTARY.

Ted Lewis’s parents:

Arthur Benjamin Lewis

  • b. Eastport, Maine, 1897
  • served in “USNRF” in WWI, according to his gravestone in Orange
  • m. Inez French in Kennebunk in 1921
  • living in West Hartford, CT in 1930
  • in Wendell by 1940
  • 1942: in the “old men’s draft,” he was working in Orange for the Union Tool Company (Union Twist Drill?), acc. to his WWII draft registration
  • d. in Rutland in 1962 @ age 64

Inez French

  • b. St. George, New Brunswick, 1903
  • still living at home in 1921, shortly before marrying Arthur in Maine, when she was 18 and he was 24
  • in West Hartford in 1930, Wendell by 1935
  • d. in Wendell in 1988 @ age 85

Arthur’s parents were George Edward Lewis (1856-1944) and Maude E. Rea (1871-1969)
Inez’s were Sidney French (1865-?) and Christie (Kit) Elizabeth Leavitt (1871-1920)

in 1940 U.S. Census, when the family is living in Wendell:

  • Arthur, 42, farmer, owns home, value $1000 (more than most others in immediate vicinity)
  • income $1200 that year (also more than others in neighborhood)
  • Inez, 36 (circled X next to her name and many others on pg. – not sure what that indicates)
  • Dale, 17?, b. in Maine
  • Ruth, 15, b. Rhode Island
  • Arthur Jr., 13, b. CT
  • Ralph, 12, b. CT
  • Theodore, 11, b. CT
  • Harry, 10, b. CT
  • Jeanette, 8 mos., b. MA
  • the Wirths were still across the street but no longer listed as farming


This is a page of data about the Austrian-born Wirth family who farmed in Wendell starting in the early 20th c.  The status of this page is FRAGMENTARY.


This is a page of data about the Hudson family of Wendell, Massachusetts.  The status of this page is SOLIDIFYING.

according to his death certificate, Nathan E. Hudson was b. in Hingham, Mass. – parents were Joseph Hudson (b. Cohasset) and Elizabeth Eldridge (b. Cohasset)

according to the Wood family tree in, Nathan Eldredge Hudson was born 12/19/1829, the third of six sons (which may explain his decision to move west in search of a farm)

from 1860 US Census:

  • Nathan is listed as “Elbridge Hudson,” living in Wendell with his mother, Elizabeth
  • right next door is Nathan Elbridge (49), Eliza (51), and Nathan L. (14) – uncle Nathan is listed as a “mariner”!  I’m guessing this is Elizabeth’s brother, presumably also from Hingham – his property is worth $1000, Elizabeth’s is worth $450 – in the 1850 US Census, uncle Nathan and family are living in Hingham, where he’s working as a fisherman, so they moved to Wendell sometime in the 1850s

from Mass. census:


  • Nathan E. Hudson (b. c.1830 in Hingham) and his mother Elizabeth (68) are living in Wendell – Nathan is still single at 35 – he was registered for the draft in July 1863


  • at 39, Nathan Hudson m. Melvina French, 33, of Ware (strangely, the record of their marriage is X’d out in the handwritten town record)

from US Census records:


  • Nathan (40) and Melvina (34, née French) Hudson and Nathan’s mother Elizabeth (72) are living on a modest farm worth $475 with personal property worth $160
  • they had 40 improved acres, 20 unimproved, 15 other, with equipment worth $50
  • also had one horse and two milk cows worth a total of $160
  • they produced 20 bushels of Indian corn, 65 bushels of potatoes, 100 lbs of butter, 9 tons of hay, and slaughtered animals worth $35, for a total of $298 farm income (definitely on the low end of the scale for Wendell farmers in that year)
  • uncle Nathan Eldridge and aunt Eliza are living next to Theodore Bemis in 1870 – their land is worth $1000, personal property $400 – they had 25 acres of improved land, 20 acres of woods, 80 “other,” and $100 worth of equipment – they also paid out $50 for farm labor – they had 1 horse, 4 milk cows, 2 other cattle, 2 sheep, and a pig, for a value of $595 – they produced 30 bushels of corn and 20 of oats, 10 pounds of tobacco (the only ones growing tobacco in Wendell that year!), 125 lbs. of potatoes, 250 lbs. of butter, and 12 tons of hay – they also seem to have made 10 lbs. of molasses, for a total farm income of $474 – so they were quite substantial and progressive farmers, unlike nephew Nathan

Calvin Cushman Hudson born in Wendell 1870

Cora Laurinda Hudson was born March 27, 1872 in Wendell


  • Nathan and Melvina still in Wendell, with son Calvin C. (9) and daughter Cora (8)
  • a 23-yr-old boarder, Charles Wyman [sp?], a laborer, is also living with them
  • ag census shows the following farm activities:
  • 25 tilled acres, 30 acres meadows/pastures, 20 acres woodland – incl. 22 mown and 3 unmown acres of grassland + 10 acres of hayfield
  • farm value hard to read ($100?  $800?) but definitely on low end of scale
  • farm equipment valued at just $10 (also comparatively very low) and livestock at $75 (mid-range)
  • no farm labor is shown as  being hired in that year – so was their boarder working on someone else’s farm?
  • value of farm products “sold, consumed, or on hand” was $175, which was above the average
  • just 1 horse, 2 milk cows, 1 “other” livestock
  • 2 calves dropped in 1879, 1 cow purchased, 1 sold living
  • the Hudsons made 100 lbs of butter (about average)
  • had 12 barnyard fowl which produced 40 doz. eggs
  • 1 acre of buckwheat produced 15 bushels
  • 10 bushels of Indian corn, 4 bushels of beans
  • 1 acre of potatoes produced 60 bushels
  • 12 apple trees produced 20 bushels
  • 2 pear trees produced 3 bushels
  • total value of orchard products was $25, fairly respectable for Wendell
  • also cut 20 cords of wood and “sold or consumed” $40 worth of forest products

1888:  Uncle Nathan Eldridge d. of heart disease at 77, leaving a widow – death record notes he was born in Harwich, Mass.

there’s quite an extensive bio of Nathan E. Hudson and his family in the 1895 Biographical review of Franklin County (pp. 372-75)


  • the same family grouping, minus the boarder, is still there in 1900
  • Calvin is now 29, Cora 28, both still unmarried and living at home
  • page is cut off so the annual farm income can’t be seen


Melvina died (according to cemetery listing for South Cemetery in Wendell)


  • Nathan died May 13 at 75 of tuberculosis – listed as widower


  • Calvin died on June 14 of pneumonia and bronchitis


  • Cora, now 38, is living by herself on the family farm, listed as a farmer on a “General Farm”


  • Cora, 47, still listed as a farmer on a “Home Farm”
  • the Wirth family is living next door by this time


  • Cora, 58, still living by herself on a “General Farm”
  • Wirths are on one side, Powlings (Ted Lewis’s wife’s family) on the other


  • Cora, 68, has left the farm and is rooming with the Clark family on West Street
  • Ray Clark is driving a school bus;  his wife Louise is a supervisor of old age pensions (a WPA job, perhaps?)
  • there is another boarder, 23-yr-old Harry Pratt of Wendell, who is working as a logger/lumberman

a Cora Hudson died in Montague in 1950 – not sure if it’s the same woman

cemetery listing shows Cora’s death date as 1950



This is a page of data about the Hager (sometimes spelled Hagar) family who lived in Wendell, Massachusetts in the early decades of the 19th century.  The status of this page is IN PROGRESS.

Ancestry overview page from Breidenbach family tree

  1. Martin b. in Marlborough in 1778 (father was William, mother ??)
  2. m. Hannah Fairbank in Sudbury in 1807
  3. d. in Deerfield @ 76 in 1855

six children:

  • Martin Hagar (1808 – 1880)
  • Charles Hager (1809 – 1890)
  • Otis Hagar (1811 – 1833)
  • Elizabeth Hagar (1814 – 1895)
  • Hannah Morse Hagar (1815 – 1849)
  • Lydia Caroline Hagar (1817-??)

Charles Hager overview from Ancestry

  • b. 1809 in Wendell
  • m. Myra Holden Felton in 1838
  • living in Deerfield by 1880
  • d. 1890 in Deerfield, @ 80

1810 US Census:

  • living in Wendell (Hampshire County at that point?), 7 people in household

1820 US Census:

  • living in Wendell, 8 people in household, 1 engaged in agriculture

1840 US Census:

  • living in Wendell, 6 people in household, 1 engaged in agriculture

1850 US Census, non-population schedule, shows Charles on the following farm in Wendell:

  • 45 improved acres, 20 unimproved, total value $1500 w/ $100 worth of equipment (acreage is on the low side for Wendell that year, value is closer to average, so he was presumably farming quite productively)
  • 1 horse, 4 dairy cows, 2 oxen, 2 other cattle, 1 pig, for a value of $320
  • grew 50 bushels of Indian corn, 5 bushels of oats, 2 bushels of peas/beans, 100 lbs. of potatoes, 23 bushels of barley, 100 lbs of butter, 20 tons of hay
  • sold $40 worth of “home-made manufactures” (was this things like palm-leaf hats?) and $52 worth of meat

1855 Mass. Census:

  • Martin Hager 77
  • Charles Hager 45
  • Myra Hager 44
  • Dexter Hager 16
  • Fanny Hager 13
  • Liddia Hager 10
  • Otis Hager 6
  • Martin Hager 4 (looks as though he may have come back to the hill towns – there’s a Martin C. Hager farming in New Salem in the 1880 census, although it doesn’t look as though he was actually growing very much)
  • Electa Hager 40

“tobacco sash”

on tobacco cultivation in the area:

tobacco had been raised for private use in Hadley since 1800, but was cultivated much more intensively after the Civil War when farmers “fell victim to competition and their own speculation” (p273) and shifted to larger-scale commercial crops (like tobacco) rather than their previously diversified farming (Hardin, “Poles and Puritans,” in Miller, ed., Cultivating a Past:  Essays on the History of Hadley, Massachusetts, 2009)

a number of unsuccessful early (colonial) attempts were made to grow tobacco in Mass. and Conn., as well as NY and Penn. – “As late as 1801 the entire New England crop was estimated at only twenty thousand pounds, or the amount which Virginia exported in 1620.” (p281) – Mass. colonial records for 1629 note that tobacco “doth hardly produce the freight and customs duty” (qtd p282) – there was also a Puritan prejudice against tobacco as a stimulant, but the climate and soils were the greater factor – dev’t of cigar wrapper industry in NE began about 1825, “subsequent to the introduction of cigars and cigar leaf” (p282) but even this has to be heavily fertilized in NE (Jacobstein, The Tobacco Industry in the United States, 1907)