About Us
P.O... Box 367
Millbury, MA
01527


The Millbury Historical Society is a
membership organization.

Become a member and help to
preserve Millbury's past for its
future.

Types of memberships:
Individual $10
Couple $15
Family $25
Business $25
Lifetime (Individual) $100
Lifetime (Couple) $150

Make Checks payable to:

The Millbury Historical Society

Mail to:
P.O.Box 367
Millbury, MA 01527
The Millbury Historical Society

Incorporated 1972
Millbury, Massachusetts
The Old Common
P.O... Box 367
Millbury, MA
01527
Click below for printable membership
application
Why not consider
becoming a member and
help us preserve the
history of our town?

As a member you will receive an
open invitation to all of our
events, and your dues will be
used to continue the
preservation of Millbury's
history.

At $10 for an individual
membership and $25 for a
family, it is one of the best
deals in town!

The annual membership runs
from June to June.
Memberships make
wonderful gifts.

A Tale of Two Gavels

On January 29, 1971, the Millbury Town Hall was
destroyed by fire.

Warren Baldwin, Chartering President of the
Millbury
Historical Society,
and his father, former Selectman
and Town Moderator Fred Baldwin, received
permission from Fire Chief Kenneth Army to enter the
building.

Knowing that the Town Hall was a total loss, the pair
was determined to save a part of the building for
posterity. Fire hoses were still running as they used a
chainsaw to cut out a section of the beautiful
mahogany handrail of the staircase on the right side of
the lobby.

Later, Fred Baldwin took the railing to his home in
Sutton where he handcrafted two identical gavels in
his shop.

At the next Annual Town Meeting following the fire,
Warren Baldwin, on behalf of his father, presented the
Town Moderator Paul Dempsey with one of the
historically-significant gavels to be used to conduct
Millbury’s future Town Meetings.

The other gavel, Warren Baldwin, now a resident of
Myrtle Beach, SC, has just recently donated to the
Millbury Historical Society for safe-keeping and
preservation.
The Millbury Historical Society's "General
Store" is also on display in the foyer of the
Town Hall.

Be sure to stop in and view the many useful,
entertaining, and lovely articles for sale.

Please contact President Frank Gagliardi, if
you are interested in purchasing any of them.
(508-865-4192)
What We Do

We work to meet these objectives in various ways.

Some of them are:

  • Solicit and collect historical property, both real and
    personal
  • Manage the Millbury History Museum
  • Provide tours of historical landmarks
  • Coordinate town-wide celebrations to honor
    historical eventsHold lectures

What We Are

The Millbury Historical Society is a non-profit organization
dedicated
  • to promote research and learning of the history of
    Millbury, Massachusetts;
  • to acquire, protect and preserve property, both real
    and personal, having historical significance,
  • to establish a museum to preserve and display
    historical documents, relics, and objects, and
  • to promote the celebration of patriotic and historical
    anniversaries and events.
Above Dynamite Photo Courtesy of:

Brian Lahue /
MillingMillbury.com
The Old Town Hall
By 1873 “A. Wood and Sons” employed seventy-three
people from Millbury and the surrounding towns in his
West Millbury business. Shoes bearing the name “A.
Woods & Son” were looked upon as “the best of the best”.

Captain Wood’s mansion has disappeared although we do
have a photo of it. Asa Waters II and Caleb Burbank were
wealthy enough to have their portraits painted by John
Blunt so we’ve always know what they looked like.  
Throughout Millbury’s history we had never seen a John
Blunt portrait of Captain Amasa Wood and his wife Sarah
Foristall  Wood-until last fall!












Millbury Historical Society Board Member Jerilyn Stead
found a 1980 magazine on the mantle in the Millbury
Historical Society and inside it had portraits of the Waters,
the Burbanks, and the Woods! Captain Wood also had
portraits painted of four of his children!

The magazine was published by the Folk Art Museum in
New York City.
Jeri contacted them and requested photos of the portraits
as the Wood family was so prominent in Millbury’s past,
but was told the portraits were in a private collection.

The curator at the museum said she would tell the
collector of our inquiry concerning the portraits and they
would contact us if interested.

Jeri Stead soon received an e-mail which began with “Hi,
neighbor”!  
Sue and Dexter Pond, who live in Grafton, have collected
many of the   John Blunt portraits. Their collection
included prominent people who lived in Millbury and
Sutton during the 1800’s.  Out of all of America, the Ponds
lived right in Grafton!

The Ponds invited Jeri to come to Grafton to view the
portraits and Edd Cote, our Millbury photographer, was
also invited to come and take photos of their treasures.
The Ponds even took the portraits outside so that Edd
would have perfect lighting!  













(
L to R): Driver Sharon Anderson, Dexter Pond, Sue Pond,
Historical Sleuth Jeri Stead All pictured with the Amasa Wood
Family

All photos courtesy of Edd Cote


The Millbury Historical Society certainly appreciates the
generosity of the Pond Family which has allowed us to
bring to life the long-forgotten shoe manufacturer of West
Millbury.



In Millbury’s early days, streams and rivers produced
the water power that turned it into a flourishing
manufacturing town. Two well-known pillars of the town,
Asa Waters II used the Blackstone River to run his
Armory, and General Caleb Burbank produced paper
using the water of Singletary Stream. They both built
mansions which we can view today.   

We are also able to see what these forefathers looked
like as there are copies of portraits of Asa Waters II and
his wife Susan Holman Waters hanging in the Waters’
Mansion, and the original portraits of General Caleb
Burbank and his wife Hannah Smith Burbank are
hanging in the
Museum of The Millbury Historical
Society
. These portraits were painted by John Blunt, a
traveling artist from Portsmouth N.H.









Another pillar of our town harnessed the water of
Ramshorne Brook. His name was Captain Amasa Wood.
He came to Millbury in 1808, bought land from
Johnathan Waters in West Millbury and opened up a
shoe shop. Initially he transported his shoes in leather
bags on horseback to sell in Providence and Boston.

Amasa would carry money for other businesses and
stop and sit by the old log fires in many taverns along
the way. When he returned home, all the neighbors and
friends would gather to hear news from along the route.

Amasa Wood was a captain in the militia during his early
life and held many positions of honor. He was a Millbury
selectman for many years and a member of the
Massachusetts Legislature.
He liberally gave to his church, and his spirit of
generosity was instilled in his children.

There is a memorial window given in memory of his son
John Wood in the Millbury First Congregational Church,
and his son William left a Trust Fund to the church in his
will in 1895
.















Amasa Wood’s business expanded rapidly and he built a
mansion with a shoe manufacturing business behind it.
He later expanded and manufactured shoes in
Connecticut, Georgia, and California. He undoubtedly
supplied shoes and boots to both the Union and
Confederate Soldiers during the Civil War.
Amasa Wood, A Forgotten Pillar
of Millbury is Found!
Ninety-Two Year Old Beverly
McLean Sees Half-Brother for the
First Time!

Bob Rochon, owner of Creative SignWorks here in
Millbury, recently found a polished nickel cigarette
case in a barn in Sutton.
Inside the case there was a photo of a cute little boy
and his dog.
On the back of the picture there was the inscription:

“My Dear Little Boy-
William H. McLean.
Gone but not forgotten
James McLean
Millbury, MA.”

Bob Rochon presented it to the
Millbury Historical
Society
with hopes that they could solve the mystery
of the deceased little boy.
Immediately,
Millbury Historical Society board
member and old-fashioned sleuth Jerilyn Stead
associated the name McLean with her friend Beverly
McLean Cambridge!
Beverly McLean Cambridge was the author of a book
called,
The Bramanville Girls.
In 2011, The Millbury Historical Society had invited
Beverly to present a book signing at the Asa Waters'
Mansion. (Click
here for more on Beverly’s book.)
Jeri Stead contacted Beverly to see if the inscription
on the photo meant anything to her.
She said, “Jeri, I’m going to cry! That is my half-
brother whom I have never seen!”
Beverly’s dad, James McLean, had two families. He
and his first wife Elizabeth had Baden (born 1900) and
William, the mystery boy, (born 1912).        
Sadly, William succumbed to meningitis when he was
seven (4-21-19). William is buried in Central Cemetery
with the same inscription on his grave as is on the
photo!
Tragically, Elizabeth Brown McLean died a mere
eighteen months after her son (11-13-20) of heart
disease. She was only forty-two.
James’ second wife Edith then bore him Raymond
(1922) and Beverly (1924). Thus it was that Beverly
had never seen her half-brother nor the photo in the
cigarette case. However, she remembered going to
Central Cemetery as a child on Memorial Day and
watching her dad cry at the boy’s gravesite.
Jerilyn had the photo enlarged and recently presented
it to Beverly at her lovely assisted living facility in
Beverly, MA. She is now ninety-one years old.       
From now on, Beverly will treasure the opportunity to
view her little brother daily.

See how it paid for Bob Rochon to put his faith in
The
Millbury Historical Society!
Seven-year old William McLean's Gravesite in
Millbury's Central Cemetery
Ninety-one-year old Beverly
McLean Cambridge,
half-sister of the stricken
lad, William.
Bob Rochon, owner of Creative Signworks here in Millbury. Bob's
discovery made this "reunion" possible!
Millbury's Uncommon Old Common

On September 24th, a gorgeous fall afternoon, approximately one
hundred twenty-five people attended our "Uncommon Old Common"
program in which we unveiled a sign noting the historical significance
of the original center of Millbury.

President Frank Gagliardi introduced the program and Jerilyn Stead,
portraying Thankful Singletary, led the audience through the history
of the establishment of  "The Lord's Barn" and thus the Town of
Millbury.         
She had paced off the size and position of the original church (on
Mike & Scott Remuck's present property) and had the "parishioners"
line up along it for instruction.
After that there were more stories from Carole Chiras and Frank
Gagliardi and then the exciting unveiling of "The Sign"!
Refreshments, courtesy of
Goretti's, were served. Sign by Creative
Signworks
.
Board of the Millbury Historical
Society and the New Sign:

(Standing) L to R: Jeff Dore, Mary Lou
Mulhane, Richard Hamilton, Frank
Gagliardi, President, Ken Dumas,
Jerilyn Stead, & Carole Chiras

(Kneeling) L to R: Sharon Anderson,
Maureen Army, Debbie Pousland, &
Janet Dumas
Thankful Singletary Instructs the
Parishioners Gathered in The Lord's
Barn
The Millbury Historical Society
Holds Exciting Program

Michael Graves' painting of The
Grass Hill School was raffled off
during the program and was taken
home by Maura Kenary Barbato.
Lynne McKenney Lydick and
Thomas Lydick as Abby and
Stephen Foster

Photo Courtesy of Worcester
Telegram & Gazette Tom Rettig.
On Thursday, October 13th The Millbury Historical
Society
sponsored a fund-raiser for The Grass Hill School
called
Family Letters of Abby Kelley and Stephen Foster.

Abby Kelley’s family lived in Millbury from 1835-1842.
While in Millbury Abby decided to become an Anti-
Slavery lecturer. That decision changed her life and the
country’s history forever.She married fellow radical
abolitionist lecturer, Stephen S. Foster, in 1847. When
they traveled separately, their letters bound them
together.

Professional actors Lynne McKenney Lydick and
Thomas Lydick brought Abby and Stephen to life before
a capacity crowd at The Asa Waters' Mansion. Everyone
agreed that the program was most interesting and
worthwhile.