Gateway to the Blackstone Valley
The Millbury Historical Society
Incorporated 1972
Millbury, Massachusetts

Preserving Millbury's Past for its Future
Our Mission

"As a bridge from the past to the future, the Millbury
Historical Society is committed to preserve, protect,
present and promote the history of Millbury."
P.O. Box 367
Millbury, MA

The Millbury Historical Society hosted a presentation on the history of the Olive Branch Freemason Lodge Thursday
night, October 18th.

Ross Weaver went into great detail regarding the roots of the Olive Branch Lodge along with the connection with the
Masons organization. Assisted by Richard Townsend and several other Masons in attendance, he read some of the
history compiled by Randy Mogren Sr.

The group began with meetings held in 1796 at Campbell Hall, near Main Street in Oxford. They officially charted
September 14, 1797 and the charter was signed by Paul Revere, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts, and by Isaiah Thomas, Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge. The lodge was official named the
Olive Branch Lodge in 1799.

Their first hall was built in 1815 as an annex to an old tavern in West Sutton called Samuel Waters Tavern. In 1845 they
relocated to a building at the corner of Boston & Providence Road in Wilkinsonville.  In 1859 they moved to their first
Millbury location, the Old Arcade Building, located above the Methodist Church on Elm Street (presently the Elm’s
Draught house Theater).  In 1872 a new hall was constructed in the Rhodes-Simpson block on South Main St.  

On March 11, 1882 the lodge was completely destroyed by fire. The original charter and a few other items were the
other things saved. A new building was built in the same location, but out of brick this time and was ready in 1884.

The Olive Branch Lodge AF&AM merged with the Mumford River Lodge in Douglas and continues with their mission “to
make good men better”.  
Masons Donate Charter Replica (signed by Paul Revere) to The Millbury Historical
    The Millbury High School Class of 1958
recently held their 60th Year Reunion from
September 28-30 with two events held in Millbury:
a "Drop In" at A & D Restaurant and a talk and visit
to the Museum of the Millbury Historical Society in
the Asa Waters Mansion.

    In addition, there was a buffet lunch at J.
Anthony's Grille in Oxford and a breakfast brunch
at the Post Office Pub in Grafton. A great time was
had by all!

    Six classmates traveled from out-of-state:
Vermont, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina,
and Oklahoma. One of them even drove
cross-country from Seattle, Washington to attend!

    The class has met every five years since 1963,
and some local members continue to meet monthly
at Scales Restaurant in Millbury.
This photo is from Millbury's 150th Anniversary
Parade held in June of 1963. THUS this snow
"contraption" is fifty-six years old now!

This and many other photos are currently
displayed in the lobby at our Town Hall is an
exhibit of more of that parade and the other
festivities that accompanied the 150th
Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 7:00 PM
at The Asa Waters' Mansion

The HUGE Annual Meeting of the
Millbury Historical Society

Free admission, and refreshments will be served.
To My Dearest
The Civil War Letters of
George and Emily Ward

When the Civil War broke out in 1861,
George Ward was asked to raise the 15th
Massachusetts Regiment.

In August 1861, he left his wife, Emily, and
their two small children to go to war. They
wrote to each other frequently.

In all, 116 letters survive in the collection of
the Worcester Historical Museum. They
detail the pain of prolonged separation, the
challenges of single parenting and the
horrors of the battle front.

Join Lynne McKenney Lydick and Thomas
R. Lydick as they share the personal and
poignant letters of this Worcester couple.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Millbury Arts Council, a local agency
which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
We thank them for their support.

To My Dearest:
The Civil War Letters of George and Emily Ward

The letters presented herein, written by George Hull Ward and Emily Mayo Ward, are
remarkable for all that they communicate about the personal side of the Civil War. They detail
the pain of prolonged separation, the challenges of single parenting, the difficulties of
carrying on a farm and maintaining a household in the absence of the chief laborer and
breadwinner, and of course, the horrors of the battle front.

The letters have been edited for brevity and several have been combined if letters
overlapped. A few contain words and ideas which today are considered offensive but were
widely used as part of the vernacular and are stereotypic of the time. We strive to be
historically accurate even though we are uncomfortable with the language.
In all, the Worcester Historical Museum has 116 letters in the collection.


At the age of 21, George Hull Ward enlisted in the Worcester City Guards and in 5 years rose
to the rank of commander.  When the Civil War broke out in 1861, he was asked by
Massachusetts’ Governor John Andrews to raise a Worcester regiment.   
On July 12, 1861, the regiment was mustered into service for three years with Charles
Devens, Jr., 41, as Colonel and George as Lieutenant Colonel.

The regiment left for Washington D.C. on August 8th.  Two days later, George sends his first
letter to Emily and their two children, Georgie, 3 years old and baby Robbie 6 months old.

Join Lynne McKenney Lydick and Thomas R. Lydick as they share the personal and poignant
letters of this Worcester couple.
The real Emily Mayo Ward and her husband
George Hull Ward

Courtesy of the Worcester Historical

FIRST ROW: Louise (Lebel) Green; Harriet (Hamilton)
Ducharme; Susan (Stewart) Daley; Ann (Bradshaw)
Taylor; Carol (Scott) Ilic; Linda (Milliken) Masterman;
Betty McGee; Judith (Matthews) Modig; Cecile
(Salois) Hicks; Patricia (Claxton) Gonyea.

SECOND ROW: Ronald Army; Jean (Grenier) Stone;
Doris (Jackson) Wilczynski; Carolyn (Ellis) Moore;
Janet (Wahlstrom) Whittier; Carolyn (Quail) Bianchi;
Margaret (Faron) Boldrighinl; William Hayes.

THIRD ROW: Marc Arsenault; Claude Goodreau; Leo
Gravel; Wayne Modig; William Erickson; Conrad
Goodreau; Leonard Lawson; Paul Gauthier.