For Millbury and the United States, World War I lasted from 6 April 1917 until 11 November 1918-
approximately nineteen months.

Two-hundred and nineteen Millbury men served during this time, and seven paid the ultimate price.

President Frank Gagliardi began the World War I program at 1:00. He explained how
The Massachusetts World War I Centennial Commission contacted many organizations and
historical societies across the state over a year ago and encouraged them to mark this Centennial
Anniversary in some manner.

Millbury Historical Society took up the invitation and became one of the first towns,
if not the first in the state of Massachusetts, to commemorate its part in the “war to end wars.”

Indeed, State Senator Mike Moore was in attendance and presented The Millbury Historical Society
with a Certificate of Recognition for this accomplishment.

Next, Frank thanked journalist and Millbury-resident Chris Sinacola whose knowledge
of World War I and in-depth research contributed immensely to the presentation. In the future, Chris
intends to aid the Society in putting all this data into book form.

Society Board member Deb Pousland crafted a fabulous Americana rag table-runner for a door prize
and, just like old times, Board member-emeritus Dick Belisle passed out
the tickets. Dick Croteau was the lucky winner!

Next the Millbury Veterans provided a splendid patriotic ceremony of an honor guard and  firing squad
with John Rice’s playing “Taps.” All the veterans in attendance went out on the portico and saluted.

The featured speaker was Dan Leclerc, military expert and member of the
Massachusetts World War I Centennial Commission. Dan regaled the crowd with anecdotes gleaned
from his many trips overseas to the battlefields of France and Belgium.  

Next, President Gagliardi gave an account of the history of the World War I tablet that sits at the base
of the driveway to the Town Hall. What an amazing town Millbury is as the citizens acted so quickly to
recognize the young men returning, or not returning,
from war!

Two months after the war’s end, a committee was formed, and a mere nine months later on October
12th and 13th of 1919, Millbury held a “Welcome Home” Celebration
where a huge parade took place with floats and bands. Sermons, speeches and festivities abounded,
and the commemorative tablet, with all two-hundred and nineteen names engraved upon it, was
dedicated on the Common.

Next, Board member Jerilyn Stead detailed the history of the memorial flag found in the First
Congregational Church with stars representing those church members who served or died.

Four of the seven young men from Millbury who expired in World War I died from disease, and three
died in battle. These statistics were representative of all American boys’ experiences throughout the

Frank, Jeri and Sharon Anderson then went on to give thumbnail sketches of each of these seven.
Click on each name for a full account.

One was
Warren Harris of the Harris family on West Main Street by Singletary; another was Charles F.
Minney for whom the VFW was named. A third was Charles Demers, a weaver in the Millbury Mills
from Elm Street, and the fourth was
William Higginson.
Harris, Minney and Demers died from the influenza pandemic, and William Higginson, originally from
Belfast, Ireland, joined the British Army and was brought down by
cholera in India.

Three died in battle:
George Devoe, nicknamed “Jumbo” perhaps because of his diminutive stature,
died south of the Aisne River;
Donald McCaskill,
an eighteen year old native Scotsman died with the McClean Kilties out of Canada, and
Blanchard a carpenter from Colton’s Farm perished during the Aisne-Marne offensive. Blanchard’s
body was never found.

Afterwards, The Mansion was a swarm of activity! Refreshments of doughnuts for the Doughboys and
cider were in order as World War I period music wafted throughout.

The Society’s museum with its display of World War I memorabilia drew an appreciative audience.

In addition, John Popham, one of Millbury's veterans had set up his extensive collection of World War I
weapons and letters and photos. This lent a sobering air of military
reality for all to see.

The Millbury Historical Society wishes to thank the following groups for joining them in this endeavor
and making it a success:

The Millbury Veterans’ Council
Charles F. Minney VFW Post
Devoe-Taylor American Legion Post
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
Sunday, 5 November 2017:
Millbury in World War I
Charles F. Minney
George "Jumbo" Devoe

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 Society
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.

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

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

Our popular Millbury Historical Society
2019 Calendars are sill available!

Only $5 each.

Twelve fascinating and memorable Millbury
memories contained in one meaningful calendar!

The calendars may be purchased at
Service Desk
(508-865-9577)  or at Live Flea or
(508-865-5865) OR at Ray's Barbershop

In addition, you can call Frank Gagliardi to arrange
for pick-up or mail service (508-865-4192) OR call
Maureen Army at 508-826-6922.
This photo is from Millbury's 150th Anniversary
Parade held in June of 1963. THUS this snow
"contraption" is fifty-six years old now!

Coming soon to the lobby at our Town Hall is
an exhibit of more of that parade and the other
festivities that accompanied the 150th

Stay tuned! Courtesy of the Millbury Historical