Location: Greenfield Massachusetts

Biography of William Edward Benson

WILLIAM EDWARD BENSON, who is at the head of a flourishing real estate and insurance business in Greenfield, is the descendant of a family originally settled in Vermont. His grandfather, John Ellis Benson, was born in 1809, in Brookline, Vermont, and died in 1892 in Brattleboro, Vermont. He lived in different places in Vermont and for a time lived in Quebec. He was engaged in the milling trade and before his death had settled in Brattleboro, Vermont, where he lived with his son George. William A. Benson, son of John E. Benson, was born May 14, 1842, in Windham, Vermont, and died March 27, 1911, in Greenfield. He was educated in the public schools of Townsend, Vermont, enlisted in the Civil War in Company “A,” 7th Vermont Volunteers, and served during the latter part of the war on guard duty in New Orleans. Soon after the conclusion of the war he settled in Greenfield, and worked for a time in a manufacturing plant in Montague, and later entered the employ of the manufacturing firm Cutler, Lyons & Field. In his later years he was engaged with his son William Edward in the wood and coal business. He was an expert checker player, was a member of the Grand Army, of the Sons of the American Revolution, and an attendant of the Baptist Church. He married Julia Ann Cooley, of...

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Biography of John Wilson

JOHN WILSON-The family of Wilson, of Greenfield, is of Scotch Origin, Robert Wilson, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, having been the father of Mr. John Wilson, who is the founder and senior partner of the firm of John Wilson & Company, of Greenfield Robert Wilson was born in Glasgow in 1839, and died in New Cummock, Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1870, in the part of the country that Robert Burns, at the early age of thirty-one years, made famous the world over. He was general manager of the Bank Colliery at New Cummock, was a hard worker and had to apply his managing skill under difficult circumstances, having a hard set of men to deal with. As a boy he grew up in the collieries, was first a foreman and later became general manager, and as such had the management of some five or six large mines. He took a deep interest in all things that would lead to the betterment of conditions for the miners, and was instrumental in furnishing entertainments for their benefit, possessing himself a fine tenor voice and being a musician of note. At these gatherings Burns’ poems were read to the men, and there were other kinds of entertainment for them. He took no interest in politics, and in religion was a member of the established church of Scotland. He was married to Mary Martin...

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Biography of Albert Arthur Jarvis

ALBERT ARTHUR JARVIS-Among the Western Massachusetts men who have provided by means of commodious garages and repair stations of the most upto-date type for the great demands of the automobile business of the present hour, and who are also thus looking out for the future increase of the business, Mr. Jarvis has made a wise selection for the enterprise on these lines that he has established at Greenfield. He has business attainments of a first-class order, and has had a training and experience as a machinist with concerns of long establishment in this part of the State, and is eminently capable, as he has well proven himself to be. to direct the affairs of his thoroughly equipped garage. The name Jarvis was originally Gervais; and Pierre Gervais, from whom this family descended, came from Bordeaux, France, in 1645, and died in Quebec, Canada, in 1665. Joseph Gervais, son of Pierre Gervais, lived and died in Canada, and married Marie Plauffe. Their son Robert grandfather of Albert A. Jarvis, was born in Canada in 1826, and died April 3, 1900, in Holyoke, Massachusetts. By trade he was a mason, but he later worked at farming. He came to the United States during the Civil War, and for a time he lived in Vermont, afterwards removing to Greenfield, Massachusetts, where he worked as a farmer for a Mr. Nims; he went...

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Biography of William John Liston

WILLIAM JOHN LISTON-Descended from Scottish ancestors, whose children took root in Ireland, and a number of whom emigrated to the United States, where they have played their part well in the building of a strong foundation of the republic, William John Liston, junior member of the firm of Cunningham (Patrick F.) & Liston, of Greenfield, himself has earned the tribute together with his partner, of being “an honest builder”-the firm itself being one of the most widely known in the mason builders’ and contracting line in the town of Greenfield and the district coming within the influence of the capital of Franklin County. Their business and reputation have grown so remarkably in the comparatively few years of the partnership’s existence, that their services in the building line now are in demand from points within a radius of twenty-five miles of Greenfield. John Liston, the grandfather of William John Liston, was born in Limerick, Ireland, of Scotch ancestry, in 1841, and died an accidental death in Turners Falls June 30. 1897. His father died when he was a young child. His mother married (second) Patrick Hayes, and they came to America about 1849, bringing her children, Richard, James and John, with her. John lived in Deerfield until about 1882, when he removed to Turners Falls, where he worked as a teamster, and it was in the performance of this work...

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Biography of Patrick Francis Cunningham

PATRICK FRANCIS CUNNINGHAM-Son of a father whose worthy name he bears, and whom he has emulated in the trade of masonbuilder, Patrick F. Cunningham has come to be one of the most important of the contractor-builders in the Greenfield region. As senior member of the well-known firm of Cunningham & Liston (William J. Liston), he has, together with his partner, left the impress of skill and excellence of workmanship upon many public, quasi-public and private buildings in the capital town of Franklin County, and in towns within a radius of twenty-five miles of Greenfield. Mr. Cunningham’s firm has made an enviable reputation for itself and seeks consistently to maintain it, honesty of material, durability of construction and attractiveness of design being the elements that have spelled success for their numerous business enterprises. Patrick Francis Cunningham, Sr., father of Patrick Francis Cunningham, was born in County Cork, Ireland, in 1845, and died in Turners Falls, in 1910, at the age of sixty-five years. At the age of eighteen years he came to America, landing in Boston. Perhaps his most notable work as a stone mason and builder was his part in the construction of the Hoosac Tunnel on the Fitchburg Railroad, now a feeder of the Boston & Maine system. From Boston he came to live in Turners Falls, and in that town he followed his chosen trade, always as...

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Biography of Gordon Rollin Joslyn

No name is more prominently and actively associated with the automobile mercantile industry in Western Massachusetts than that of Mr. Joslyn, who is the executive head of the Franklin County Dealers’ Exchange, and who within a very few years has expanded the garage and agency interests of which he has charge throughout a territory that is not bounded by the county. Mr. Joslyn performs the business in which he has made himself a leader thoroughly and well, and centralizing his forces as president of the Joslyn Motor Company at Greenfield, he has found therein the rewards of a lifelong career in which he has mastered the one vocation to which he has always devoted himself. Veteran of the World War, Mr. Joslyn received therein due honors for expert ordnance service; and deeply interested in the progress of Greenfield in all civic, business and social matters, he possesses the soldier’s and the loyal civilian’s zeal in all movement towards the community’s prosperity. He is of an old race of valiant and renowned ancestors of the name Joslyn, of the following of William of Normandy, in England, and of those who came overseas as American colonists, and all bearing the stamp of aggressive and accomplished leaders in every stage. The known history of the Josselyn (Joslin, Josslyn) family antedates the time of Charlemagne, whose daughter married Count Joceline. One of the...

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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 Harry Lee Williams

HARRY LEE WILLIAMS – The family name of Williams is of great antiquity in England and Wales and is derived from the ancient personal name William. Like many other possessive names, it arose from the Welsh custom of adding to a man’s name the name of his father in the possessive form as William John’s, from which quickly came Jones, David Diehard’s, Thomas David’s (Davie’s, Davis) and kindred forms. Sir Robert Williams, ninth baronet of the house of Williams of Penrhyn, was a lineal descendant of Marchudd ap Cynan, Lord of Aberqeleu in Denbighshire, of one of the fifteen tribes of North Wales that lived in the time of Roderick the Great, King of the Britons, about A. D. 849. The seat of the family was in Flint, Wales, and in Lincolnshire, England. Oliver Cromwell, the Protector, was a Williams by right of descent, and was related to Richard Williams, who settled in Taunton, Massachusetts. Alden de Cromwell lived in the time of William the Conqueror, and from him descended in succession ten Ralphs de Cromwell, the last dying without issue. The seventh Ralph de Cromwell married Amicia, daughter of Robert Berer, member of Parliament. Robert Cromwell was a Lancasterian, killed in the wars of 1461. His son, William Cromwell, left a daughter, Margaret, who was ancestor of both Cromwell and Williams. John Cromwell, son of William Cromwell, married...

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Biography of Charles Frederick Minott

CHARLES FREDERICK MINOTT – The Minotts are an old Massachusetts family who, however unlike most of the original New England settlers, are of predominating Dutch and French origin. To mention only the immediate ancestry we know that the grandfather of Mr. C. F. Minott, of Greenfield, was of French origin, while the grandmother was of Dutch descent. Their children were: 1. Henry. 2. Aaron. 3. Charles. 4. William H. 5. Frank. The grandfather was engaged in the time-honored and old-fashioned trade of welldigging. William Horatio Minott, father of Charles F. Minott, was a native of Jamestown, New York, born in 1826, and died in Springfield in 1902. As a boy William H. Minott lived in a log cabin with a dirt floor and had to cut logs to bum in the fireplace. As a young man he came to Massachusetts and enlisted in the Civil War in Company F, Twenty-second Connecticut Regiment, for nine months’ service. He drove an eight-mule team, was injured and spent some time in the hospital. He married, in Connecticut, and for a time worked in the carpet mills in Thompsonville, Massachusetts. Later he located in Springfield and accepted work in the United States Armory, at the same time taking up house painting. He followed that trade up to the time of his death. He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic....

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Biography of John Wesley Riddell

JOHN WESLEY RIDDELL, whose death occurred on April 27, 1910, took from the community of Greenfield a worthy citizen and one who had contributed much towards its development and upbuilding. He was born in Charlemont, Massachusetts, a nineteenth century representative of a family of prominence. The Riddell family is of Scotch origin, the name having been variously spelled as Ridel, Riddle, Riddel, Riddell, Ridley, and Ridlum, but all of the names were derived from the same source, the dale or valley of the River Rye, or Ryedale, whence the family first took their name, that being the place of residence of the stock at the time the name was assumed as a surname. A picture of the ancient Riddell Castle, which was located at Ryedale, is all that is now extant. A branch of this original Scotch family settled in the North of Ireland. About the year 1704 four brothers of the name of Riddel came to America from Edinburgh, Scotland, and settled in Charlemont, Massachusetts, where their burial place is shown. (I) Captain Samuel Riddell, a descendant of one of these brothers, served in the Revolutionary War. He married, the Christian name of his wife being Gene, and they were the parents of seven children: William, of whom further; Curtis, Cordelia, Fannie, Park, Samuel, and Thomas. All of these children, with the exception of Samuel, went West, locating...

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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 Charles Fairhurst

CHARLES FAIRHURST – One of the most promising of the younger men of the legal profession in Massachusetts is Charles Fairhurst, of Greenfield, junior partner of the law firm of Davenport & Fairhurst. Although a young man Mr. Fairhurst has presented cases before the Supreme Court of the State, before the District Court, and the Federal Court, and is associated with one of the ablest lawyers in Western Massachusetts. Thomas Fairhurst, father of Mr. Fairhurst, was born in Bolton, England, in 1861, and died in Somerville, Massachusetts, November 15, 1920. He received his schooling in his native town, and when he was twenty-one years of age came to Canada. Soon after his arrival in the New World he left Canada and came to the States, where he entered the employ of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, which was at that time engaged in the construction of the road. Later he was identified with the Old Colony Road, and he ultimately went with the Boston & Maine Railroad, which connection he maintained to the time of his death, serving as chief clerk and accountant in the freight department, where he rendered faithful and efficient service. He was an exceptionally well read man and possessed a remarkable aptitude for mathematics. He made his home in Somerville, Massachusetts, in the eighties, and lived there to the time of his death. He...

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Biography of Azel A. Packard

While it is unreservedly declared by his host of friends and acquaintances that Azel A. Packard’s life commanded a far-reaching business influence and respect because of the comprehensive knowledge that he possessed concerning the lines of practical enterprise that he had mapped out for successful procedure, he also won and maintained an even greater degree of public good-will and esteem and the friendship of more intimate circles due entirely to his benign and kindly personality. His whole-hearted and well-poised system permeated all his dealings, and progressively regulated and directed his plans and work. A leader in the mercantile activities of Springfield, Massachusetts, he had won his right to that position by proven ability to perform with completeness the duties of every position even from that of errand boy to the executive head of the firm of Meekins, Packard & Wheat. It was by means of the exemplification of such qualities as these that Mr. Packard attained honored place as one of the leading business men of New England, and made the firm -which he represented a peerless one in its field. He was a son of Bradley and Mary (Webster) Packard, his paternal ancestry being among the first-comers to New England. The Packard family in America dates from early Colonial times, tracing its descent from Samuel Packard, immigrant ancestor, who came to New England with his wife and one...

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Biography of Marc Joseph Tetreault

MARC JOSEPH TETREAULT – The main interest that centers in the industrious career of Mr. Tetreault is the dominating quality of perseverance, most exemplary throughout his life, whose success from the start was absolutely dependent upon his own efforts. His belief in performing well the work at hand is paramount, and his record of industry is one that exhibits a wholesome readiness to assume the task and the burden of many trades in order eventually to arrive at a hoped-for goal. When twenty-six years ago, he discovered the road to his vocation, it proved the beginning of a lucrative venture that should emerge in the present extensive horse mart at Greenfield, that has a repute for excellence that is not limited to the western part of the State. His square dealing with the public in all his business activities has brought the desired result of his independent and progressive establishment. He is a son of Isaac and Honorine (Lefebre) Tetreault, both of Canada, the genealogy of three generations of the paternal line being as follows (I) John Baptiste Tetreault, who was born in Quebec, Canada, spent his entire life there as a farmer, and died in the town of Ely, Quebec, at the age of eighty-five years. His children were: John B.; Isaac, of further mention; Marcelle; Timothy; Joseph, and Salime. (II) Isaac Tetreault, son of John Baptiste Tetreault,...

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Biography of Frank Leslie Foss

FRANK LESLIE FOSS – Among the well known men in the industrial, civic, fraternal and social life of Greenfield, Frank Leslie Foss holds a notable position, serving in official capacity in various organizations of advancement, and taking active part in the development of the section. He comes of old American ancestry that traces back to an even earlier lineage of Norway. The Foss family in America belonged to the nobility of Norway, bearing a coat-of-arms, the chief figure in both arms and crest being that of a fox. The name was originally Vos, which signifies fox, and was pronounced foss. The line comes through Denmark and England to America, and the first of whom any knowledge has been traced was a man named Lauritz, nothing further being known of him at this time. According to the custom of the age in that country, the name of the son was adopted from the baptismal name of the father. David Lauritzen Foss, born in Norway in 1604, removed to Denmark when a young man, and died at Ribe, in that country, August 31, 1659. He was a minister of the gospel and was pastor of St. Catherine’s Church at Ribe, in 1648; he was also a magistrate and afterwards provost at Ribe. He married there, September 10, 1636, Jansdatter Hundevard, born February 15, 1620 died September 16, 1684, daughter of Jens...

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