Collection: Biography and Genealogy of Western Massachusetts

Biography of Charles Fuller Mosher

CHARLES FULLER MOSHER, a leading business executive and engineer of Western Massachusetts, who holds a responsible position with the Turners Falls Power and Electric Company, and is prominently identified with worthy lines of useful and progressive activity, is a man of high achievement, whose work is his principal interest and whose attitude toward life and its responsibilities is that of the serious but ever forward looking spirit. He is a son of William D. and Lillian A. (Fuller) Mosher, both parents residents of North Adams for many years. Charles Fuller Mosher was born in North Adams, Massachusetts, October 16, 1879. His education was begun in the public schools of North Adams, and pursuing courses of advanced study, he entered the electrical field. Gaining practical experience in the power plants of the Hoosac Valley and Berkshire Street railroad, he became identified with the Greenfield Electric Light and Power Company in 1906. He was placed in charge of the generating plants of this concern and was active thus for a period of eight years, and has since 1914 served the company in consultant and supervisory capacities, still being thus affiliated. Since 1912 Mr. Mosher has served as superintendent of stations in charge of operation, maintenance and new construction of generating and sub-stations for the Turners Falls Power and Electric Company. In addition to his other affiliations, he furnishes consultant and supervisory...

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Biography of Carlton E. Nay

CARLTON E. NAY, treasurer, secretary and a director of the Monarch Accident Insurance Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, was born in Westford, Vermont, January 11, 1881. His father was Elisha A. Nay, a farmer; and his mother, Lucy (Maxfield) Nay. He attended the public and high schools of Milton, Vermont, and at an early age engaged in business with Swift & Company at Burlington as bookkeeper, where he continued for eight years. He followed this with a period in the mercantile business in Underhill, Vermont, where he was engaged for six years. Afterwards he came to Springfield in 1916, and was bookkeeper for the Nayasset Club for four years. He became bookkeeper for the Monarch Accident Insurance Company at No. 14 Maple Street, Springfield. He was advanced to assistant treasurer in 1923; and two years later, in the spring of 1925, he was made treasurer and secretary of the company, and he continues to discharge the duties of those posts. He was elected a director of the company soon after his last promotion. Mr. Nay is a member of McDonald Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, at Jericho, Vermont: of Burlington Chapter Royal Arch Masons, Burlington, and of the Faith Congregational Church, Springfield. Mr. Nay married, in Jericho, Vermont, Clara E. Brown; daughter of Burke G., and Elizabeth Flowers Brown. They are the parents of Russell B., born at Burlington, January...

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Biography of Denis Andrew Sullivan

DENIS ANDREW SULLIVAN-The name Denis Andrew Sullivan has become familiarized throughout the western part of the State to the proprietors of business generally, to the heads of various institutions, and to home-makers for the large and substantial share that Mr. Sullivan has had in modern construction in both city and country since 1898, when he founded his present contracting firm at Northampton. Mr. Sullivan, who was born’ and bred here, has a thorough understanding of the residential and business requirements in the builder’s calling, and his workmanship invariably has upon it the stamp of reliability and completeness his work everywhere in the townships of this section being recognized both for durableness and for general attractiveness. A leader in Northampton’s business and civic interests, Mr. Sullivan is an influence for progress both in city and county. He is the son of Cornelius Sullivan, who was born about 1842 in County Kerry, Ireland, and died in 1887, in Northampton, aged forty-five years ; he had a brother Matthew and a sister Helen, both of whom, now deceased, came to the United States. Cornelius Sullivan, coming to America at an early date, located at Northampton, where he engaged in basket making, and died a comparatively young man. He married, in this country, Mary Dunn, who was born in County Kerry, Ireland, and who in 1925 is still living, the daughter of James...

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Biography of Orin J. Nevins

ORIN J. NEVINS-Of the old guard in the lumbering industry in the western part of the State, Mr. Nevins, who for some years has been retired from active participation in his former calling, was a promoter of the manufacture of that product at a time when many similar industries were helping to make history in their field. He witnessed the progress of lumber at its best, both at Holyoke and Turners Falls, and in the prime of his life he was associated with some of its outstanding successes, sharing, too, in the progress of invention that brought the processes to their present high standard. Veteran of the Union Army in the Civil War, he shared, then and later, in the practical advancement of every patriotic cause. A saying has been passed down in his family that since 1620 there has never been a criminal, a millionaire or a pauper in the family. He is the son of Dexter Nevins, a farmer and cattle dealer, of Maine, and of Cordelia Hillman, daughter of Uriah Hillman, a Martha’s Vineyard whaling captain. Orin J. Nevins, was born at Farmington, Maine, December 28, 1842, and received his education in the local district schools. He was employed on his father’s farm until the Civil War, when he entered the service of the United States Government. In 1871 he went to Holyoke, where he became...

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Biographical Sketch of Clement L. Lawley

CLEMENT L. LAWLEY-A noteworthy figure in the present-day advance of Florence, Massachusetts, is Clement L. Lawley, who has been active in this community for many years, and, in fact, has spent his entire career thus far in the local postal service. Mr. Lawley is interested in various branches of fraternal and community advance, and commands the esteem and confidence of all. He is a son of George M. and Silvia M. (Stockwell) Lawley. Clement L Lawley was born in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, February 21, 1887. The family removing to Florence in his childhood, he first attended the local schools, then covered a high school course in the Northampton High School, his graduation occurring in the year 1905. As a young man Mr. Lawley entered the Florence Post Office and has now for upwards of two decades been active in this connection. This record is the more remarkable for the fact that changes of political administration have taken place in the National capital, and thus Mr. Lawley’s life is appraised by his long service in this office. During the World War he was active on the various Liberty Loan committees and other branches of the home endeavors of the period. Fraternally, he is affiliated with Jerusalem Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; Lodge No. 61, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of which he has been secretary for nine years, also the Encampment,...

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Biographical Sketch of James T. Brown

JAMES T. BROWN, manager of the Hotel Worthy, Springfield, Massachusetts, was born in Luzeme, New York, February 24, 1885. His father was William E. Brown, and his mother Jennie I. (Taylor) Brown. The father was engaged in the mill business at Norwich, and also conducted a tannery. The family removed from the New York village where the early years of Mr. Brown were passed, to Norwich, Connecticut, when he was twelve years old. There the boy attended the public schools. He completed his studies to become a hotel employe, and his chosen occupation he has followed steadily through life. After many successful ventures he became manager of the Hotel Worthy, Springfield, in 1922, and has continued in that capacity ever since. He is also manager and director of the Worthy Inn, at Manchester, Vermont, a place he has filled since 1919. In October, 1924, Mr. Brown became the lessee of the Hotel Draper, at Northampton, Massachusetts, adding that noted resort to his other properties. Mr. Brown is a member of the Oxford Country Club; and of the Masonic Club. His fraternal affiliations are with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Masonic fraternity, in which he has received the thirty-second degree, Scottish Rite. He is a member of Melha Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; and of Bela Grotto, Springfield, Massachusetts. Mr. Brown married, in...

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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 Charles S. Potter

CHARLES S. POTTER, treasurer and manager of the Hampden Lumber Company of Springfield, and prominent in the civic life of Springfield and vicinity, is a man who holds a high place in the regard of his fellow citizens. Influential in business and social spheres he has been called also to accept the responsibilities of public office, and as president of the City Council of Springfield won general recognition for his efficient and public-spirited administration. He can be counted upon to search out and consistently follow a businesslike, constructive policy in any matter of public welfare to which he gives his support. He is the son of Timothy D. and Laura (Morgan) Potter, the father a lumber merchant of high standing, with whom his son was long associated in business. The elder Mr. Potter was born at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, April 12, 1840, into an old and respected New England family. Up until his death in 1922, he was president of the Hampden Lumber Company and played an active and influential part in the life of Springfield, which will long be remembered by his many friends and acquaintances. Charles S. Potter was born at Palmer, March 24, 1872, and received his education in the public schools, Wilbraham Academy, and Springfield High School. After leaving school he found his first employment in the Home Agency Office of the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance...

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Biography of Augustus Keefer Boom, M.D.

AUGUSTUS KEEFER BOOM, M. D., holding a noteworthy position in Western Massachusetts, has done much both along private lines of practice and in the public service and as a leading physician of Adams he is considered one of the foremost men in his profession in this section. Giving to the world his highest endeavors, his progress governed by lofty ideals, and his ever forward looking attitude, Dr. Boom has made his influence strongly felt in various lines of current endeavor, as well as in his professional work. He is a member of an old and honored family of America, originally from the Netherlands, Matthews and Johannes Boom having come to this country early in the eighteenth century. Dr. Boom is a great-grandson of Nicholas Boom, who was a member of Captain Nicholas Van Rensselaer’s company in the Revolutionary War. James Boom, the doctor’s father, was a prominent man of his day, and his mother, Lucy (Selby) Boom, was also a member of a prominent family. Augustus Keefer Boom was born in Albany, New York, May 13, 1866. Receiving his early education in the public schools of his birthplace, Dr. Boom later attended the medical department of Wooster University, Cleveland, Ohio, which was later absorbed by the Western Reserve University. His graduation from this institution occurred in 1888, and on November 9, 1888, he opened his office at Adams. From...

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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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Biographical Sketch of John Wesley Ewing

JOHN WESLEY EWING, well known in the vicinity of Northampton, is a successful farmer, carrying on the home farm on which his father and grandfather lived and worked for so many years. He is the son of Alexander Mathew and Esther Ann (McCandless) Ewing, and brother of Harold Butler Ewing (q. v.), in connection with whose sketch a full account of Mr. Ewing’s father and grandfather are given. John Wesley Ewing was born in the town of Northampton, December 22, 1887, and was educated in the local public schools. He early became familiar with the duties and responsibilities of farm life, and until the death of his father, December 11, 1912, worked in close association with his father on the home farm. Since that time he has carried on the undertaking for himself, and as his father did before him, he collects milk for the Easthampton Cooperative Milk Association. He is an active member of the Grange and of the Methodist Church. and is highly regarded in the community. He married, June 22, 1916, Vera Kingsley Stimson, of Northampton, daughter of Albert Henry Warren and Sadie (Kingsley) Stimson; and they have one son: David Wesley, born October 9,...

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Biography of Harold Butler Ewing

HAROLD BUTLER EWING, proprietor of a successful automobile repair business and sub-agent for the Hudson, Essex, and Dodge automobiles in Easthampton, Massachusetts, is well known and liked in Easthampton. His family is of Scotch-Irish extraction, the Ewings having come originally from Scotland into Northern Ireland in the time of Cromwell. (I) John Ewing, the great-grandfather of Harold Butler Ewing, lived and died in Northern Ireland. (II) Alexander Ewing, son of John Ewing, was born in Northern Ireland, April 23, 1822, and died in Easthampton, June 23, 1910, at the age of eighty-nine. He was a well educated man and a civil engineer in his native land. In 1848 he came to the United States and settled immediately in Easthampton, where he lived to the time of his death. For many years he worked at the Williston Mills in Easthampton, first as teamster and later as watchman, holding this last position over a long period. He bought a farm in the township of Northampton before the Civil War, and lived there, taking an active part in local affairs, particularly in the Methodist Church, where he was a member of the board of trustees and superintendent of the Sunday School. He married, in Ireland, Mary Ann Butler, born August 14, 1807, died September 4, 1885, and they had three children: John B., born in Ireland; Thomas; Alexander Mathew, of whom further....

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Biography of Edward F. Groark

EDWARD F. GROARK-Insurance has for many years held the attention of Edward F. Groark, whose usefulness in this realm in Western Massachusetts is widely recognized. With interests centering in North Adams he covers a considerable territory in this immediate section and his work is contributing definitely to the progress of the community. Mr. Groark’s practical ability and progressive attitude are constructive influences in the local progress as well as in his own success. He is a son of Patrick and Margaret (Feign) Groark, esteemed citizens of New Haven, Connecticut. Edward F. Groark was born in New Haven, September 11, 1878. Receiving his early education in the local public schools he was graduated from the New Haven High School in the class of 1896. Upon the completion of his studies he secured a position in the accounting department of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad offices, in New Haven, and there gained valuable experience in the business affairs. He was still a young man when he entered the employ of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company as their agent in New Haven, then later became assistant manager of their interest at Lowell, Massachusetts. From that point he was transferred to Burlington, Vermont, where he also served as assistant manager, until October of Ig22, when he was placed in charge of the North Adams agency in the capacity of manager....

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Biography of James Rathbone

JAMES RATHBONE, prominent citizen of Palmer, Massachusetts, is associated with his brothers in the enterprise known as A. B. & J. Rathbone, manufacturers of pinion rod and pinion wire. He was born in Warrington, England, August 24, 1887. His education was acquired in the public schools of his native town, and after leaving school he served an apprenticeship at a mechanical trade. He came to the United States in 1905 and located immediately at Palmer, and in association with his brother, Andrew B. Rathbone, he started manufacturing pinion wire and special cold-drawn shapes. This manufacture began in a barn in the rear of his residence, but the business grew amazingly, and the firm moved to the old broom factory on Park Street, near the Boston & Albany Railroad freight house. Later the expansion of patronage forced the firm to build, and they erected a concrete building about three hundred feet long by eighty wide for their purpose. As business increased, in 1918, Thomas P. Rathbone and Frank P. Rathbone were asked to join the firm in order to keep up with the demand for the product. All the brothers had passed through a mechanical training under their father, and all were born in England. Andrew B. was the originator of the small business of A. B. & J. Rathbone that has grown so notably. James Rathbone is a Mason,...

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