Location: Amherst Massachusetts

Biography of James E. Mack

James E. Mack, Public Administrator of San Bernardino County, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in November 1848, and resided there until twelve years of age. At the breaking out of the war in 1861 he enlisted in the Fourteenth Massachusetts Infantry, serving ninety days as drummer boy. On the expiration of his term he re-enlisted in the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry for three years, but his mother prevented him being mustered in. In the fervor of his youthful patriotism he determined to try again, and enlisted in the United States Naval Marine Corps, but was again prevented from entering the service by maternal interference. In March, 1865, he entered Mount Pleasant Institute at Amherst, Massachusetts; in September, 1867, he entered Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, remaining two years, when he left school and started out to engage in the battle of life. Possessing an innate love of travel, Mr. Mack gratified his desire to rove by visiting many of the principal places in the New England, Middle and Western States, during which time he was employed at various vocations, and learned three different trades, namely: shirt-cutting, butter-tub making, and making ladies’ hats and bonnet frames. He could apply himself with equal facility to either of these trades, and when in a section of the country where neither availed him he turned his attention to farming or some other business with true...

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Biography of Ernest Moore Bolles

ERNEST MOORE BOLLES, boot and shoe dealer, in Amherst, Massachusetts, was born in Amherst, March 12, 1876. He was the son of Lemuel Nelson Bolles. The Bolles (Bowles) family goes back to the Norman Conquest of England. One name “Bolls” is found on the Roll of the Butte Abbey, as given by Holl:ngshead. Duchesne, from a charter in that abbey, gives a list of the conquerors in England under William of Normandy, among them the name of “Bools.” The names, Boll, Bol, Bole and Bolle occur frequently in Domesday Book. One family named Bolles, of long standing in the county of Lincoln, was resident there as early as the reign of King Henry III, when Alaire, or Alaine Bolle, of Swineshead, was Lord of Swineshead, and Bolle Hall, in the county of Lincoln. Its principal seat seems to have been Bolle Hall, in Swineshead, until the close of the reign of Edward IV (A. D. 1483), when the elder branch of the Bolleses became settled at Hough, near Alford. in Lincolnshire, while a younger branch established itself at Goosberkirke, now Goosberton in the same county. From this younger generation came the baronets of Scampton, Lincolnshire; and the American Bolles families presumably, although there is no account of their English descent. (I) The first one of record in this country is Joseph Bolles, of Winter Harbor, at the mouth of...

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Biography of Gracia Maria Peirce

GRACIA MARIA PEIRCE-The Peirce family, at least that branch of it which has been indigenous to New England soil for nearly three centuries, is believed to have descended from John Pers, who came from Norwich, Norfolk County, England, to New England in 1637, being accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth and their four children. They made the voyage either on the “John and Dorothy” of Norwich or the “Rose” of Yarmouth. A register of certain emigrants to New England has the following item: “April the 8th, 1637. The examination of John Pers, of Norwich, weaver, aged 49 years, and his wife, Elizabeth, aged thirty-six years, and four children-John, Barbre, Elizabeth and Judith, and one servant, John Gedney, aged 19 years, are desirous to passe to Boston, New England, to inhabitt.” This John Pers is identified by Bond and Savage with the John Peirce, of Watertown, Massachusetts, who was a weaver and appears to have arrived in America in 1637, and whose wife was Elizabeth, and had children John,. Elizabeth and Judith. If this identification is thus established some of his children must have preceded him to New England, and the four named above were probably the youngest of the family. Elizabeth, without doubt, was ten years older than she here is represented. She is said in the county records to have been “aged about 79” at the time of her...

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Biography of Albert Parsons

ALBERT PARSONS, expert in agriculture, cattle raiser, and dairy farmer of North Amherst, Massachusetts, was born June 1, 1883, in North Amherst, the son ‘ of Howard Albert Parsons. The family name of Parsons is derived from the Latin word persona, a mask. In early times actors wore a mask of wood to project their voices, a suggestion of the speaking-trumpet and telephone of later years. The actor came to be called after the mask he wore dramatis personae. The word had a two-fold meaning. In ecclesiastical language it was referable to a man of dignity, and bestowed upon one who had a benefice or living, who committed the cure of souls to a vicar. Thus actors and parsons derived their names from the same root. The early form, the parson’s son, or the parson’s John, was finally abbreviated to Parsons. The heraldic designs of this family were: Arms-Gules, two chevronels ermine between three eagles displayed or. Crest-An eagle’s leg erased at the thigh or, standing on a leopard’s face, gules. Among those of the family in America most conspicuous for their attainments have been the learned Theophilus Parsons, Chief Justice of Massachusetts; Andrew Parsons, Governor of Michigan; Lewis P. Parsons, Governor of Alabama; and General Lewis B. Parsons. The oldest known Parsons of record, under the herald’s visitations, was John of Cuddington, A. D. 1284. In the roll...

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Biography of George Edward Reed

GEORGE EDWARD REED – Laundry interests in Western Massachusetts have a most satisfactory representative in the Amherst Laundry Company, of which George Edward Reed is the president, and whose prominent place in Amherst industry he was the means of securing, through a far-sighted and successful endeavor to establish an up-to-date plant. Mr. Reed is an expert man in his calling; he has spent practically all his career in the one line of business; and he is highly regarded by his associates and by the general public. He is of Vermont parentage and ancestry, his grandfather, David Swan Reed, a farmer, having spent his entire life in that State, and who had children: Frank; Fred; Clark; and Edward D., of whom further. Edward D. Reed, father of George Edward Reed, who was born in Dummerston, Vermont, kept a hotel for some time in West Gardner, Massachusetts, but he disappeared while Mr. Reed was a small boy, and his whereabouts had not since been reported. He married Ida S. Norcross, who was born in West Dummerston, Vermont; she married (second) Lorenzo McCrillis. Edward D. and Ida S. (Norcross) Reed had one son, George Edward, of whom further. George Edward Reed was born January 10, 1880, in Brattleboro, Vermont, and with the removal , of his parents to Massachusetts, he attended the public schools in West Gardner. For awhile he was employed...

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Biography of Frederick Bridgman Shaw

FREDERICK BRIDGMAN SHAW, farmer, of South Amherst, Massachusetts, was born April 16, 1876. The family to which he belongs is one of the oldest and most noted in New England. (I) The immigrant ancestor was Abraham Shaw, who came from Yorkshire, England, in 1636. He was admitted as a freeman, March 9, 1636-37, and at the time was a proprietor of Watertown. When his house there was burned down in October, 1636, he moved to Dedham. He signed the famous compact, and was elected, September 6, 1638, a constable of Dedham. Abraham Shaw moved to Cambridge, where he became a town officer. He received a grant of “Coal or iron ore which may be found in any common land in this country’s disposing.” The grant was dated November 2, 1637, and it is presumed he made a search for minerals at a time when the earth in New England was expected to yield great mineral wealth. He was permitted to erect a corn mill, February 12, 1636-37. He married Bridget Best. He died in 1638, and left a will bequeathing to his children, through his eldest son, Joseph. His son John, with Joseph, received his lot at Dedham. He also owned coal mines in Halifax, England. Edward Allen administered the estate. Children of Abraham Shaw: Joseph, who settled in Weymouth; John, of further mention; Mary, born about 1638; Martha,...

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Biography of Herbert Emerson Holden

HERBERT EMERSON HOLDEN, manufacturer of window frames and house finishings in North Amherst, Massachusetts, was born June 29, 1880, in Shutesbury, Massachusetts. The name he bears, Holden, Holdin, Holding, or Houlding, is of ancient and distinguished quality in England. It was a place name doubtless. Coats-of-arms are borne by various branches of the family. Richard Holden, immigrant ancestor of the family in America, was born in England in 1609, and came to this country in the ship “Francis,” sailing from Ipswich, England, April 30, 1634, and settling first at Ipswich, Massachusetts, where he owned land. Justinian, his brother, born in 1611, crossed the ocean a year later and settled in Watertown, whither Richard removed soon after. A family record in manuscript, written about 1800, says that the immigrants had brothers, named Adam and William; and an uncle, James Holden, “one of the Lords of England,” who secured their release by the sheriff who had arrested them for attending a “dissenting meeting,” on condition that they would not repeat the offense in that country. Richard Holden lived in Cambridge, adjoining Watertown, for a time; and Justinian also settled there. Richard Holden was a proprietor of the adjacent town of Woburn as early as 1658. He sold his property in Watertown in 1655 to J. Sherman. He was admitted a freeman, May 6, 1657; and in that year he removed to...

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Biography of Albion Brainard Allen

For more than three decades a resident of Amherst, Hampshire County, and one of this town’s most active and substantial business men, Mr. Allen’s operations as a builder have contributed very materially not only to the development of his own community, but to that of numerous other New England towns. On his father’s side he is a member of an old family whose name is very frequently met throughout the United States, where it is represented by many distinct and separate families. Its use arises from the Christian name Allen or Alan, which is very ancient and has many variations in spelling, a characteristic which the family name also possesses. There are no less than fifty-two coats-of-arms of separate and distinct families of Allen in the United Kingdom, besides twenty others of different spellings. There were more than a score of emigrants of this surname from almost as many different families who left England before 1650 to settle in New England and many of their early descendants have been identified with the formative period of New York history, from which region many able and worthy representatives of the family have come to many parts of the United States. Albion Brainard Allen is a representative of the eighth generation in descent from one William Allen, through the latter’s son William, the second William’s son John, and John’s son William. This...

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Biography of James Hale Newton

When a man’s manifold activities in the field of banking, building, and general business win for him the title of “Grand Old Man,” his place as leader is firmly established. Thus was James Hale Newton regarded in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He was of a long-established New England family, which originated in England. The pioneer ancestor was Richard Newton, who settled in Massachusetts in 1638, and afterward was admitted as freeman of the colony. For many years he lived in Sudbury, then settled in Marlborough, where with eight others he founded the township, and died’ there when nearly a hundred years old, August 24, 1701. By his wife, Anna (or Hannah) Newton, he was the father of nine children, among whom was Moses, born March 26, 1646, who became an active defender of Marlborough against the Indian attacks of King Philip’s War. He married (first), October 27, 1667, Joanna Larkin, by whom he had eleven children, including James Newton, born in Marlborough, January 15, 1683, who died in Southborough, November 29, 1762, having married, as his second wife, Rachel Greeley, who gave birth to Joseph Newton, July 15, 1728. Joseph Newton moved with his family to Hubbardstown, where he died, having married Experience Drury, of whom a son was born named Ebenezer Newton, in Southborough, December 8, 1770. He moved to Greenfield, where he was an honored and successful citizen, who...

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Biography of Frank Lyman Gold

FRANK LYMAN GOLD-A man of wide and varied activities, each of which he has carried on successfully after he had gained full knowledge of the field of business into which he was entering, the story of Frank Lyman Gold is full of interest. (I) He belongs to a notable old New England family, whose founder was Joseph Gold, born in London, England, who came to America when he was nineteen years old. According to family records, he served for seven years in the Revolutionary War, lived for a time in Northbury, Connecticut, and died in Roxbury, Vermont, in 1829. He married, in Northbury, Patience Goodenough, who died in 1826. One of his children, Joseph, is of further mention. (II) Joseph Gold, son of Joseph Gold, married, and his son, Miner, is of further mention. (III) Miner Gold, son of Joseph Gold, was born in Pelham, Massachusetts, in 1802, and died in Belchertown in May, 1882. He was a scholar, teacher, and good business man, and taught mathematics at Amherst College, besides writing an arithmetic text used in New England schools. Miner Gold married Olivia Conkey, who died in 1878, and among their children was a son, Theodore, of further mention. (IV) Theodore Gold, son of Miner and Olivia (Conkey) Gold, was born in Pelham, Massachusetts, in 1837, and died January 4, 1889. After his marriage he moved to Belchertown,...

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Biography of Melvil Dewey

MELVIL DEWEY AMONG the noted librarians of our country who have shown great efficiency, untiring devotion and unusual progressiveness in their calling, stands in the front rank Melvil Dewey, director of the state library and secretary of the University of the State of New York. Born December 10, 1851, in the rural village of Adams Center, Jefferson county, New York, he is the youngest son of Joel and Eliza Green Dewey. His love of books – a love which has never forsaken him – began as soon as he was able to read. His greatest delight was to be among books, arranging and classifying them to suit his juvenile ideas. He loved also to call them his own. Like Dr. Isaac Watts when a child, he would say when money was given to him: “A book, a book; buy a book.” When, in 1864, the present edition of Webster’s unabridged dictionary came out, this incipient librarian went ten miles to the book store in Watertown, and brought home the coveted volume for which he paid $12 of his own childish savings, the largest coin of which was a five-cent piece. In 1865, when the collegiate institute was opened at Adams, three miles away, our boy was, of course, there as a pupil on the day of opening, and in 1867 he was one of the last students to leave...

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Biography of Arthur Berkmere Richards

ARTHUR BERKMERE RICHARDS, inheritor of a vast meat trade, and in later years a dairy farmer at Amherst, Massachusetts, was born in Cummington, Connecticut, May 23, 1864. The name he bears is one of the names of Welsh origin widely known and prominent in the United States, which originated in making a surname from the possessive form of the father’s name. It signifies Richard’s son. At least seventeen different coats-of-arms belong to the different branches of the family. A manor at Caernwyck, Marioneth County, Wales, was inherited by Sir Richard Richards, president of the House of Lords, and Lord Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer. His ancestors possessed the estate in 1550. They claim the privilege of bearing the identical arms of Richard of East Bagborough, County Somerset. This was depicted on the tablet of the Hon. James Richards, of Hartford, who died in 1680, and may be seen in an ancient manuscript in the New England Historic Genealogical Society Library, halved with the arms of Governor Winthrop, whose daughter married a Richards in 1692. William Richards, immigrant ancestor of this branch of the family in America, appears to have crossed the ocean in company with his brother, John, and sister, Sarah, who married George Pidcocke. He was taxed at Plymouth in 1632-1633. He removed to Scituate, January 6, 1636-1637, and forfeited his land at Plymouth. It was...

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Biography of Dwight Morris Billings

DWIGHT MORRIS BILLINGS, of Amherst, Massachusetts, treasurer of The Hills Manufacturing Company, producers of hats, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, February 17, 1866. (I) His ancestry in America probably goes back to Richard Billings, who received a grant of six acres of land in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1640. In 1659 he signed a contract with Governor Webster and others to remove to and settle at Hadley. The removal was made in 1661, and he lived in that part of the town which became Hatfield. He died March 3, 1679. He married Margery, surname unknown, who died December 5, 1679. (II) Samuel Billings, son of Richard and Margery Billings, resided in Hatfield, and died there February 1, 1678. He married, in 1661, Sarah Fellows, daughter of Richard and Ursula Fellows. She married (second), October 9, 1678, Samuel Belden, Jr., and died February 5, 1713. Children: Samuel, of further mention; Ebenezer, born October 29, 1669; Sarah, died July s5, 1674; Richard, born April 7, 1672; John, born October 11, 1674, killed by Indians July 15 1698; Sarah, born October 18, 1676. (III) Samuel Billings, son of Samuel and Sarah (Fellows) Billings, was born in Hatfield, January 8, 1665. He married (first), November 18, 1686, Hannah Wright, who died November 18, 1687; (second), Rebecca] Miller, widow, born March 26, 1661, daughter of John and Sarah (Heald) Miller. Children: Samuel, Sarah, born March...

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Biography of Hon. Theodore L. Stiles

HON. THEODORE L. STILES. – Honorable Theodore L. Stiles was born at Medway, Clarke county, Ohio, July 12, 1848, and was the only child of Daniel J. and Marie S. Stiles. His mother’s maiden name was Lamme; and she, too, was a native of the same county as her son. Mr. Stiles’ father was born of German and English parents, in Danplin county, Pennsylvania. His mother’s family were emigrants from Virginia in 1809. Until the age of sixteen, he remained at his birthplace, which was a small interior farming village. But, his mother having died in 1863, his father removed in 1865 to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he entered into mercantile business; and the young man was for a few months an assistant of his father’s firm. But although his father had not had the advantages of education, he was one of those who to the keenest degree realized its future importance to the young; and he, therefore, at great sacrifice to himself, opened to his son the use of his lifetime earnings. The young man was fairly prepared for study, and chose at first to enter the Ohio University at Athens. There he spent two years, laying the foundation for admission to Amherst College, at Amherst, Massachusetts, where he entered as freshman September 10, 1867. After the usual college course of four years, he graduated in 1871, and at...

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