The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Bates Family

Marcia Grover Church Bates Family Papers

11 boxes 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 424

Generations of the Bates and Church families based in North Amherst and Ashfield, Massachusetts. Papers include deeds, a will, correspondence, account books (recording day-to-day expenditures on food, clothing, postage, housekeeping supplies, and laborer’s wages), diaries, an oral history, photographs, genealogical notes, and memorabilia related to the family.

Biographical Note

Nancy Alden Bassett Guilford, 8th generation descendant of
John and Priscilla Alden, lived her entire life in Ashfield,
Massachusetts. At the time of her death in 1931, she was the
oldest resident of Franklin County at the age of 102. Nancy’s
brother John died as an infant in 1825 and her other brother
William moved to Hammonton, New Jersey and operated a nursery

Lucy Guilford Church married George Church. They had two
daughters Helen and Isabel and a son Frederick.

George B. Church, a native of Buckland, ran a farm in the
Baptist Corner section of Ashfield. He served as President of
the Board of Trustees of the Belding Memorial Library from
1918-1930 and was also a Selectman in the town in 1908.

Helen Church was a librarian at the South Ashfield
Library. Together with her sister Isabel she took care of her
parents, her grandmother Nancy, and her aunt Mary.

Isabel Church was also a librarian at the South Ashfield
Library. Together with her sister Helen she took care of her
parents, her grandmother Nancy, and her aunt Mary.

Frederick Church grew up on a farm in Ashfield,
Massachusetts and graduated from the Massachusetts
Agricultural School in June 1902. From 1902-1905 he worked at
the School in the Agricultural Department of the Experiment
Station conducting experiments dealing with fertilizers. From
April 1906-November 1907 he worked as head farmer at the
Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. He left
employment there in 1907 due to a change in farm plans made
necessary by the taking of land by New York City for an
aqueduct. He later worked as a traveling salesman for Lucius
Sanderson Fertilizer Company. He was killed in March 1910 in
an accident at a train station on Long Island, New York.

Lucia Grover Church was born in Prescott, Massachusetts on
December 16, 1877. She worked as a secretary at the
Massachusetts Agricultural School from 1897-1904 and then as
secretary to the director of the experiment station at the
School from 1911 until her death in 1943. She and her three
daughters lived at 33 Pine Street in North Amherst.

Cora Grover, sister of Lucia Church, lived with Lucia and
her daughters in North Amherst. She was employed as a
secretary at the West Experiment Station of the Massachusetts
State College from 1913-1957.

Cornelia Church was born on July 21, 1906 in New Paltz,
New York, graduated from Amherst High in 1924 and from
Massachusetts State College in 1928. She worked at the
Worcester Free Library, Greenfield Regional Library, and
later was director of the Western Massachusetts Regional
Library with an office in Springfield.

Gertrude Church Salter was born in Ashfield on November
12, 1910 and graduated from Amherst High School and
Massachusetts State College in 1932. She married Leonard
Austin Salter (also class of 1932) on June 23, 1934. Gertrude
and Leonard lived in Eaglesville, CT while Leonard taught and
pursued his Masters degree at Connecticut Agricultural
College. They later lived in Wisconsin when Leonard taught in
the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of
Wisconsin. Gertrude, Leonard, and their son Leonard 3rd were
killed on June 5, 1946 in the LaSalle Hotel Fire in

Marcia Church Bates was born on April 17, 1908. She
graduated from Amherst High School and North Adams State
College and taught in Sunderland and Buckland before her
marriage to Raymond Bates in 1930. She and her husband ran
the Bates store on the corner of Meadow and North Pleasant
Streets in North Amherst from 1928-1960.

William Luther Bates, father-in-law of Marcia Bates, was a
motorman for the Amherst and Springfield Railway and later
for the Holyoke Street Railway Company. He and his wife
Esther operated the Bates Inn at the corner of North Pleasant
and Pine Streets in North Amherst from 1925-1944.

Genealogy Charts of Families attached.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Marcia Church Bates Family Papers, 1712-1999,
collected by family members over two centuries, is a
collection rich in the local history of North Amherst and
Ashfield, Massachusetts.

The Bates family ran two of the businesses in North
Amherst: William Bates and his wife Esther operated the Bates
Inn from 1925-1944, and Raymond Bates and his wife Marcia
operated the Bates Store from 1928-1960. Marcia Bates’
letters reveal the difficulties of keeping a business running
during the Great Depression and later during the war years of
the 1940s. Her letters also indicate some of the daily tasks
involved with running the store and the lengths to which she
and her husband went in order to maintain financial

The Church family ran a farm in Ashfield, also subject to
economic fluctuations. Clearly, the financial constraints
that families had to endure during the 1920s-1940s are
evident in the materials in this collection. Money is a
frequent topic, whether it is discussed in the
correspondence, legal documents, account books, or

This collection also depicts details in the lives of
several generations of women, many of whom were
college-educated, who worked, lived long and endured family
tragedy. In a letter to her aunts, Marcia Bates writes,
“Mother rejoices that we were brought up poor and with the
knowledge that if we wanted anything done we would have to do
it ourselves.” Lucia Church, a single mother after her
husband Frederick was killed, raised her three daughters in
North Amherst and ensured that each of them went to

Lucia’s daughter Cornelia became a librarian and worked at
the Worcester Free Library in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Cornelia’s letters to her mother often discuss her work at
the library. Cornelia’s aunts, Helen and Isabel Church, were
librarians at the South Ashfield Library, and her
grandfather, George, served as President of the Board of
Trustees of the Belding Memorial Library from 1918-1930.
Therefore, libraries and librarianship are topics of note in
this collection.

The local weather is also mentioned frequently. The
effects of the March 1936 flood on the local communities are
detailed as well as the devastation of the September 1938
Hurricane. In addition, the Church family diaries describe
the daily weather conditions in Ashfield.

The collection is organized into seven series, including:
I. Correspondence, II. Legal Documents, III. Account Books,
IV. Diaries, V. Oral History and genealogical material, VI.
Photographs, and VII. Memorabilia.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Marcia Grover Church Bates Family Papers (MS 424). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

History of the Collection

Acquired from William and Nancy Bates, 2001

Processing Information

Processed by Sara F. Hagenbuch, 2002.

Additional Information

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon


Series Descriptions

1837-1967; n.d.

Since most of the correspondents were related by birth
or marriage, the letters in this series are often about
family members or mutual acquaintances. The letters also
often talk about life in Amherst, Ashfield, and
Worcester, Massachusetts.

Folder 8 holds letters of reference written for
Frederick Church by William Brooks, James Paige, and J.B.
Lindsay of the Massachusetts Agricultural School and
Albert Smiley of Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New

Letters to Lucia Church represent a large segment of
this series. Most of the letters are from her daughter
Cornelia during the years 1932-1937 when Cornelia worked
as a librarian at the Worcester Free Library. These
letters discuss Cornelia’s work at the library and life
in Worcester. Many of the other letters sent to Lucia
Church are from her husband’s family in Ashfield.

Folder 25 contains letters of sympathy written to
Gertrude Church Salter’s husband’s parents upon the death
of Gertrude, Leonard, and Leonard 3rd in the LaSalle
Hotel Fire in Chicago, in June 1946. The majority of
these letters are from Leonard’s colleagues at the
University of Wisconsin and the University of

This series is arranged alphabetically by recipient of
the letters and within each folder the letters are
arranged chronologically.

1712-1867; n.d.

This series contains deeds, a will, a map and mortgage
forms relating to the migration of various members of the
Bassett Family from Cape Cod to Ashfield, Massachusetts
and the subsequent settlement of different generations of
the family in Ashfield.

The folders are arranged alphabetically by subject and
material is arranged chronologically within each


The account books record day-to-day expenditures of
the various family members. Among the subjects recorded
are amounts spent on food, clothing, postage,
housekeeping supplies and laborer’s wages.

Folder 21 holds an account book kept by George Church
of orders from his nursery in Ashfield for the years

The folders in this series are arranged alphabetically
by the name of the individual who kept the account book
and chronologically by date.


The majority of these diaries depict details of the
lives of the members of the Church Family of Ashfield,
Massachusetts. On several occasions, writing in the diary
was taken over by another family member if circumstances
prevented the diarist from writing. For example, a note
on March 12, 1921 in the diary summaries of George and
Isabel Church indicates that Isabel takes over the diary
from her father. Also, while Isabel is in the hospital in
1936, her sister Helen records entries in her diary.
Finally, after Isabel’s death in 1951, Helen continues to
write in Isabel’s 5 year diary of 1848-1952.

Topics covered include the weather, gardening, family
news, and letters sent and received.

The diary summaries in this series consist of matters
of interest that were copied from George Church’s diaries
by his daughter Isabel.

This series also contains several diaries of William
Luther Bates who was a motorman for the Amherst and
Springfield Railway and later for the Holyoke Street
Railway Company. His 1913 diary contains timetables for
the local schedules that he ran.

Also included is a transcription by Bernice Allen
MacDonald of a diary kept by her grandfather Henry Grover
(Lucia Church’s father) in Montague, Massachusetts in

The diaries are arranged alphabetically by the name of
the diarist and then chronologically by date.

1999; n.d.

An oral history conducted with Marcia Church Bates and
family genealogical material make up Series 5. The oral
history was conducted in 1999 as part of the Amherst Oral
History Project which was sponsored by the Amherst
Historical Society. Folder 78 contains an audio tape of
the interview along with an information sheet and notes.
On the audio tape, Marcia speaks about growing up in
Amherst, frequently visiting family in Ashfield, teaching
in a one room schoolhouse and running the Bates Store
with her husband.

The genealogical material in Folder 79 includes
obituary notices of various family members and
handwritten family genealogical notes.


Series 6, Photographs, is arranged into two folders.
Folder 80 includes photographs of various members of the
Church family. Photographs of note are: George Church in
his peach wagon at the 150th anniversary celebration of
Ashfield, Fred Church’s high school portrait, Lucia
Church in Prescott, and Lucia Church in front of Thompson
House on the campus of the Massachusetts Agricultural
School. Folder 81 consists of photographs of family
members other than the Churches.

1849-1967 (bulk 1905-1967)

Folder 82 holds miscellaneous memorabilia related to
the family, including: a brochure for the Mohonk Mountain
House, a leaflet from the dedicatory ceremony at the
Belding Library in Ashfield and a reunion notice from
Sanderson Academy.

Folder 83 contains memorabilia relating to
Massachusetts Agricultural College (later, University of
Massachustts). Included are commencement programs for the
Class of 1902 (Frederick Church) and the Class of 1932
(Gertrude Church Salter). The folder also contains a poem
which was written (ca. 1948) for the seventieth birthday
of Alexander MacKimmie, a professor at the School and a
neighbor of the Churches on Pine Street.

Folder 84 contains writings by various family members.
Included in this folder are stories about Prescott,
Massachusetts (one of the towns that was taken for the
Quabbin Reservoir) and several issues of a fictional
newspaper that was created by the Church children.

This series is arranged in folders by type of material
and then chronologically by date within folders.

Contents List
Series 1. Correspondence
1837-1967; n.d.
Bassett, Issac, Letters
Box 1:1
Bassett, Mary, Cards
Box 1:2
Bassett, Mary, Letters
Box 1:3
Bassett, Mary, Letters
Box 1:4
Bassett, Mary, Postcards
1908-1948; n.d.
Box 1:5
Bates, Marcia Church, Letters
1920-1937; n.d.
Box 1:6
Church, Cornelia, Letters
1924-1937; n.d.
Box 1:7
Church, Frederick, Letters
Box 2:8
Church, George, Letters
Box 2:9
Church, Helen & Isabel, Letters
Box 2:10
Church, Lucia, Letters
Box 2:11
Church, Lucia, Letters
Box 2:12
Church, Lucia, Letters
Box 2:13
Church, Lucia, Letters
Box 2:14
Church, Lucia, Letters
1936-1938; 1942
Box 3:15
Church, Lucia, Letters
Box 3:16
Grover, Cora Letters
Box 3:17
Guilford, Nancy, Letters
Box 4:18
Lilly, Hattie, Letters
Box 4:19
Lilly, Hattie Postcards
1910-1932; n.d.
Box 4:20
Miscellaneous family cards
Box 4:21
Miscellaneous family letters
1837-1967; n.d.
Box 4:22
Miscellaneous family postcards
1906-1959; n.d.
Box 4:23
Salter, Gertrude Church, Letters
1927-1934; n.d.
Box 4:24
Salter, Leonard Sr., Letters
Box 4:25

Series 2: Legal Documents
1712-1867; n.d.
Bassett Family Deeds
Box 4:26
Guilford, Mary, Will
1916, 1917
Box 4:27
Map of Dennis, Massachusetts area
Box 4:28
Mortgage forms
1813-1858; n.d.
Box 4:29

Series 3: Account Books
Bassett, Mary
Box 4:30
Church, George
Box 4:31
Church, Helen
Box 4:32
Church, Helen
Box 4:33
Church, Isabel & Helen
Box 5:34
Church, Isabel & Helen
Box 5:35
Lilly, Henry Samuel
Box 5:36
Shaw, Charles
Box 5:37

Series 4: Diaries
Bates, William Luther
Box 5:38
Bates, William Luther
Box 5:39
Bates, William Luther
Box 5:40
Bates, William Luther
Box 5:41
Bates, William Luther
Box 6:42
Church, George
Box 6:43
Church, George
Box 6:44
Church, George
Box 6:45
Church, George
Box 6:46
Church, George
Box 6:47
Church, George
Box 6:48
Church, George
Box 7:49
Church, George
Box 7:50
Church, George
Box 7:51
Church, George
Box 7:52
Church, George
Box 7:53
Church, George
Box 7:54
Church, George
Box 7:55
Church, George & Church, Isabel
Box 8:56
Church, George, Diary Summaries
Box 8:57
Church, George & Church, Isabel, Diary
Box 8:58
Church, Helen
Box 8:59
Church, Helen
Box 8:60
Church, Helen
Box 8:61
Church, Helen
Box 8:62
Church, Helen
Box 8:63
Church, Isabel Diary Summaries
Box 8:64
Church, Isabel
Box 9:65
Church, Isabel
Box 9:66
Church, Isabel
Box 9:67
Church, Isabel
Box 9:68
Church, Isabel
Box 9:69
Church, Isabel
Box 9:70
Church, Isabel
Box 10:71
Church, Isabel
Box 10:72
Church, Isabel & Church, Helen
Box 10:73
Grover, Henry, Diary Transcription
Box 11:74
Lilly, Hattie
Box 11:75
Unidentified diary
Box 11:76
Unidentified diary fragments
1874, 1877, 1923
Box 11:77

Series 5: Oral History and genealogical material
1999; n.d.
Marcia Bates Oral History
Box 11:78
Genealogical material
Box 11:79

Series 6: Photographs
Church family photographs
Box 11:80
Other family photographs
Box 11:81

Series 7: Memorabilia
1849-1967 (bulk 1905-1967)
Miscellaneous memorabilia
1905-1930; n.d.
Box 11:82
University of Massachusetts related
1906-1966; n.d.
Box 11:83
Box 11:84
Christian Register (single issue)
Box 11:85


Ashfield (Mass.)--HistoryBates familyChurch familyFarmers--Massachusetts--AshfieldHotelkeepers--Massachusetts--North AmherstLibraries--Massachusetts--BostonMassachusetts Agricultural College--Alumni and alumnaeMerchants--Massachusetts--North AmherstNorth Amherst (Mass.)--HistoryPrescott (Mass.)--HistoryPublic librarians--MassachusettsStreet-railroads--Massachusetts--EmployeesWeather--Massachusetts--AshfieldWomen--Massachusetts--HistoryWorcester (Mass.)--History


Bates, Marcia Church, 1908-2000Church, Cornelia, 1906-1978Church, Lucia Grover, 1877-1943

Types of material

Account booksDeedsDiariesGeneaologiesPhotographsWills