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Belchertown Sentinel

Belchertown Sentinel Collection
1915-2003

A weekly community newspaper from a small town in western Massachusetts, the Belchertown Sentinel began publication in 1915. Featuring a mix of news and features focusing on Belchertown and adjoining communities of Amherst and Granby, the Sentinel was edited and published by its founder, Lewis H. Blackmer, for fifty years. Since changing hands twice in the period 1965-1975, the Sentinel has been published by Turley Publications. In 2013, with the centennial of the paper drawing near, the publisher and the Belchertown Historical Society cooperated on a project to digitize 88 years of the Sentinel funded by a grant from the Community Preservation Committee.

The Sentinel collection consists of digital copies only of the newspaper from its founding through 2003.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Belchertown (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Granby (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Newspapers--Massachusetts--Belchertown

Boarding House (Swift River Valley, Mass.?)

Boarding House Register
1850
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 098

Twenty-four page register kept by unnamed person, possibly from a Quabbin town, listing boarders by name, payment received, and employee accounts. Payments noted in detail from February to October, 1850. Boarders included several doctors and L.S. Hills, possibly Leonard S. Hills of the Amherst, Massachusetts hat factory. Employee accounts list many women with Irish surnames, including Ellen O’Leary, Ellen Callahan, and Margaret Murphy.

Subjects
  • Boardinghouses--Massachusetts--19th century
  • Irish American women--History--19th century
Types of material
  • Account books

Boston & Albany Railroad Company. Engineering Department

Boston & Albany Railroad Engineering Department Map Collection
1833-1920
19 v.
Call no.: MS 130

The Boston and Albany Railroad was formed between 1867 and 1870 from the merger of three existing lines, the Boston and Worcester (chartered 1831), the Western (1833), and the Castleton and West Stockbridge (1834). The corporation was a primary east-west transit through the Commonwealth, with branches connecting towns including Athol, Ware, North Adams, and Hudson, N.Y.

The nineteen atlases comprising this collection include detailed plans documenting the location and ownership of rights of way, land-takings, and other land transfers to or from the railroad company. Dating from the early years of operation for the corporation to just after the turn of the century, the atlases include maps of predecessor lines (Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation and Western Rail-Road), as well as the Grand Junction Railway Company (Charlestown, Somerville, Everett, and Chelsea), the Ware River Railroad, and the Chester and Becket Railroad.

Subjects
  • Boston and Albany Railroad Co.--Maps
  • Boston and Worcester Railroad Corporation--Maps
  • Chester and Becket Railroad--Maps
  • Grand Junction Railway Company--Maps
  • Railroads--Massachusetts--Maps
  • Real property--Massachusetts--Maps
  • Ware River Railroad--Maps
  • Western Rail-Road Corporation--Maps
Contributors
  • Boston & Albany Railroad Company. Engineering Department
Types of material
  • Maps

Breck, John

John Breck Account Book
1801-1810
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 196 bd

A prominent storekeeper in Northampton, Mass., at the turn of the nineteenth century, John Breck was born on April 20, 1770. Starting in business with his father as Robert Breck and Son from their store at the corner of Main and King Streets, Breck thrived dealing in “English and Hardware Goods” and “crockery and Glass ware.” According to historian Nancy Goyne Evans, he was recorded working with blacksmith Seth Pomeroy in 1800 supplying chair makers with imported and domestic turning tools.

Labeled on the cover “Petty debts B, Iron Accounts,” this volume of accounts includes records of a substantial business in selling iron and steel at the turn of the nineteenth century. Although the owner of the book is nowhere recorded, it has very tentatively been assigned to John Breck based on his signature on p. 101 (and p. 49), settling an account with the clockmaker Nathan Storrs. Most of the entries are brief, often for petty sums and often cryptic in nature, however a significant number note the sale of iron or occasionally steel.

Subjects
  • Iron industry and trade--Massachusetts--Northampton
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Bridgewater (Mass.)

Bridgewater (Mass.) Merchant's Daybook
1837
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 222 bd

Perched at the western boundary of Plymouth County, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, grew rapidly during the antebellum period, spurred by the growth of its industry. During the mid-nineteenth century, the town’s most valuable products revolved around the local iron industry, with large manufacturers like Lazell, Perkins, and Co. producing iron and heavy machinery as early as 1810.

The daybook of this unidentified trader and merchant in Bridgewater, Mass., reveals the quickening pace of economic activity connected to the burgeoning Plymouth County iron industry. While many of the transactions at the store are small purchases of consumable goods such as flour, fabric, sugar, tobacco, meats, and molasses, more substantial purchases ae interspersed throughout for bar iron, nails, metal plates, and other manufactured metal items.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987
Subjects
  • Bridgewater (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Bridgewater
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Brookfield (Mass.). Selectmen

Brookfield (Mass.) Records
1736-1795
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 595

Settled in 1660 and incorporated in 1718, the town of Brookfield (Worcester County) straddles the Boston Post Road, one of the major arteries during the colonial period connecting Boston with the towns of the Connecticut River Valley and New York.

This assemblage of documents from the town of Brookfield consists primarily of warrants for town meetings, many with agendas, issued through the local constable. Concentrated in the 1770s, these warrants provide relatively detailed information on matters of local importance, including town finances, tax assessments, contributions to the poor house, roadways, and property disputes. During the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary years, however, issues of interest to the town were often wrapped up in regional or national political issues. Town freeholders, for example, were called to consider requests to “come into any Vote or Resolve Respecting the East India Company Tea,” the encouragement of manufacture of firearms, smallpox inoculation, and pay for the town’s Minute Men.

Subjects
  • Brookfield (Mass.)--History--18th century
  • Smallpox
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
Contributors
  • Forster, Jedediah
Types of material
  • Warrants

Brown & Brothers Livery Stable

Brown and Brothers Account Book
1862-1873
1 vol. (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 092

Freight haulers from Dana, Massachusetts. Includes information about products that were hauled (such as palm leaf hats, mats, lumber, railroad ties, and waste) and the companies for which they were carried. Also contains information about how Brown was paid (cash, barter, manure, chopped wood, stone) and the names of many people and places with whom Brown and Brothers conducted business.

Subjects
  • Dana (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Freight and freightage--Massachusetts
  • Furniture industry and trade--Massachusetts
  • Panama hat industry--Massachusetts
  • Swift River Valley (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Brown and Brothers
  • Brown, Harry
Types of material
  • Account books

Bullard Family

Bullard Family Scrapbook
1898-1901
1 item (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 112

The Bullard family were among the early settlers of New Salem, Massachusetts, a small, rural town incorporated in the western part of the state in 1753.

Assembled by a member of the Bullard family at the turn of the twentieth century, this scrapbook contains an apparently complete set of clippings from a local newspaper column containing community news from the three villages of New Salem, North New Salem, and Millington. The entries cover the usual community news, such as the comings and goings of local residents and visitors to town, community events, and other local news, and a number of well-established New Salem families are represented, including the Ballards, Bullards, Cogswells, Haskells, Paiges, Pierces, and Stowells. The first three pages consist of announcements of births, deaths, and weddings. The original volume has been retained by the family.

Subjects
  • Millington (Mass.)--History
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • New Salem (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • North New Salem (Mass.)--History
Types of material
  • Scrapbooks

Burnett, Bela, 1778-

Bela Burnett Account Book
1801-1842
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 385 bd

A storeowner, farmer, and citizen of Granby, Mass., Bela Burnett was born October 4, 1778, the second of seven children of Jonathan and Mehitabel (Dickinson) Burnett. Having relocated from Southampton, New York, to Battleboro, Vermont, in 1770, Jonathan and Mehitable settled in Granby in 1774, purchasing the farm of Aaron Nash where in 2010, Burnett descendants still live. Burnett had at least five children by two marriages, first to Clarissa Warner (1801) and second to Sally Allen (1808). Burnett died in Granby on April 16, 1846.

The Burnett account book includes careful records of goods sold, customers’ accounts, and the form and method of payment (cash, credit, or barter), as well as some information on family members and boarders, along with a handful of miscellaneous items laid in, such as calculations, notes, and a remedy for yellow jaundice.

Subjects
  • Agricultural laborers--Massachusetts--Granby
  • Barter--Massachusetts--Granby
  • Boardinghouses--Massachusetts--Granby--19th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Granby
  • Food prices--Massachusetts--Granby
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Granby
  • Granby (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Jaundice
  • Marsh, Tim A. P
  • Medicine--Formulae, receipts, prescriptions
  • Produce trade--Massachusetts--Granby--19th century
  • Robbins, Asa
  • Shopping--Massachusetts--Granby
  • Smith, David
Contributors
  • Burnett, Bela, 1778-
Types of material
  • Account books

Campbell, Sadie

Sadie Campbell Papers
1812-2002
19 boxes (10.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 439
Image of Sadie Campbell and sons Harold and Robert Leslie
Sadie Campbell and sons Harold and Robert Leslie

A housewife, mother and active community member, Sadie Campbell was born in 1881 and lived at 1 Depot Street in Cheshire, Massachusetts for most of her life until she died in 1971. Sadie was closely tied to the Cheshire community where she had a large circle of friends and acquaintances, and was active in a a number of organizations, such as: the Cheshire Ladies Reading Club, the Merry Wives of Cheshire Shakespeare Club, and the Cheshire Cash Tearoom.

The collection documents three generations of a western Massachusetts family. The variety and nature of the materials in this collection offer a good view into the local and social history of western Massachusetts through the lives of Sadie Campbell and her family.

Subjects
  • Cheshire (Mass.)--History
  • Cheshire Cash Tearoom
  • Family--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Family--Massachusetts--History--20th century
  • Housekeeping--Massachusetts--Cheshire
  • Housewives--Massachusetts--Cheshire
  • Massachusetts--Social life and customs--19th century
  • Merry Wives of Cheshire Shakespeare Club
  • Small business--Massachusetts
  • Tyrell, Augustus
  • Williams Manufacturing Company
  • Women--Societies and clubs--History--19th century
Contributors
  • Campbell, Sadie
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Invitations
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Pamphlets
  • Photographs
  • Recipes
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