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

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

On Thursday, June 13,  the Annual Meeting of the
Millbury Historical Society took place. The
program was very well attended and refreshments
were served.

Here is more about the program: 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.

Lynne McKenney Lydick and Thomas R. Lydick
shared the personal and poignant letters of this
Worcester couple.
This program was 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.
     The Museum of The
Millbury Historical Society
located in
The Asa Waters'
and houses an
extensive collection of Millbury
photos and displays.

Our next opening is
July 18th from 9-11AM.
Coming this fall: a new and exciting
event from the Millbury Historical

An "Historical Scavenger Hunt!"

A great way to learn about Millbury's
history while earning cash prizes. For
adults, parents, grandparents and kids

Everything takes place downtown.
Keep watching for further details.