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.
The collection is open for research.
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 there.
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 Chicago.
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 stability.
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 diaries.
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 college.
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.
This collection is organized into seven series:
Acquired from William and Nancy Bates, 2001
Processed by Sara F. Hagenbuch, 2002.
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Cite as: Marcia Grover Church Bates Family Papers (MS 424). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.