Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson
Showing posts with label Great Barrington MA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Great Barrington MA. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thursday Morning Club, the Sequel

When I wrote about the Thursday Morning Club in Great Barrington, I included quotes from a book that clearly showed this was a interesting active club of women.  One of my readers, Margaret Fortier, a fellow Massachusetts Society of Genealogists (MSOG) member, got to wondering about the Thursday Morning Club.  Margaret did some more searching on HathiTrust Digital Library and found a wonderful article about the club, "Serving the Community, The Work of a Women's Club in a Western Massachusetts Town," in the Town & County edition of The American City, volume 12, pages 483-486, 1915.

Since there never was a copyright, I'm reprinting the article.
The magazine had altruistic motives -- "make available to the largest possible number of persons the ideals of thinkers and the practical experience of workers for the betterment of urban life."

Not only does the magazine have altruistic goals, so does the club.  All it took was a small membership fee (yet no one was turned away), a willingness to work, and sympathy to its goals and you could attend the meetings.  The programs described sound fascinating -- plays, musicals, talks on current events, talks on interesting topics along with service to the community.

The club also helped other local groups with low rent of their facilities and cash donations when needed.

The club gave honorary memberships to teaches and ministers' wives and had a reception to welcome teachers in September.  They also invite school children to programs of interest.  They worked on projects to help the schools when they saw a need.  They tell about the year that the schools were closed for several weeks during the winter due to a measles epidemic.  There were 30 students who had not caught up by the end of the school year -- they raised the funds to hire a teacher, borrowed classroom space and books, the result: 29 students were caught up by the fall.  They have offered classes that were eventually adopted by the school system -- continuing their financial support of the household arts and sciences and carpentry classes in the transition.

They saw themselves as a clearinghouse for ideas in the community -- their endorsement would "mean something" to community acceptance.

They used an annual rummage sale of "good stuff cheap" as their major fundraiser -- it started to raise money for a money-losing event and continued annually since.

They had various community service activities including picking up rubbish, hiring a tree doctor to care for the elm trees when they were attacked by the elm tree beetle, money saving programs for town children, building floats for the 150th anniversary town parade, and opening a mother's nursing & rest tent (with nurses and doctors available to educate and examine the babies) at the Cattle Show and Fair.

This article was written just before Elizabeth Radford Evans died.  Since Elizabeth lived in Great Barrington from the late 1890s until her death in 1915,  this is describing the Thursday Morning Club that Elizabeth new and participated in their meetings and activities.

We can better imagine what Elizabeth and the women in Great Barrington were doing beyond the everyday housework!

The link to this post is
©2014, Erica Dakin Voolich

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Thursday Morning Club

Elizabeth Radford Evans and her husband Charles Evans moved to Great Barrington, MA in the 1890s.  The article below profiles some of the long-lived couples in town.

The Courier (vol. LXIX, page 1, 3 September 1903) extolled "the Berkshire Hills region being especially favorable to longevity and conducive to dispositions" before individual profiles of couples.

One sentence caught my attention:

She  is the 
possessor of a vigorous mind and 
takes an active interest in the Thurs-
days Morning Club meetings and in 
current affairs generally. 

Charles only lived a few months after this article was published, but Elizabeth lived another dozen years -- plenty of time to attend the Thursday Morning Club meetings.  Which raised a question:
What is the Thursday Morning Club?

Looking in the book on the history of Great Barrington that I bought from the town historical society (Bernard A Drew, Great Barrington:  Great Town, Great History, Great Barrington Historical Society, 1999):

page 548
Thursday Morning Club
Nineteen women met at the home of Sarah Sheldon Collins in March 1892 to orga-
nize the Thursday Morning Club.  The hostess, born in New Marlborough but a resident
of Great Barrington from 1881 on, graduated from the town’s high school, taught in local
schools for several years and attended Wellesley College for one year.  She taught in 
several other communities, but returned to Great Barrington upon marrying A. Chalkey
Collins, an attorney.  They lived in the stone dwelling now home to the Christian Science
Collins (1859-1918) became the first Thursday Morning Club president and served 
for four years.    Through her efforts cooking and sewing classes began; they were later
taken over by the town.  Maria Church was first vice president and suffragist Julia Ward
Howe was first honorary member.  “Self culture” and “to be of use to the community”
were the organization’s stated aims. Early meetings were held in the old Courier build-
The club joined the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1893 and entertained
some 150 delegates from the State Federation in 1897.  In 1902 the club helped William
Stanley entertain a convention of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and
received a silver loving cup in appreciation—-a signed Gorham piece decorated with the 
club’s daisy medallion and the AIEE’s seal.
The club understood a number of significant civic projects over the years, and its
members heard a number of interesting lectures.  Educator Dr. Charles Eastman, who
had married Mount Washington poet Elain Goodale, spoke on “The Original Indian” 
in July 1912.  Summer resident James Weldon Johnson, whose book Black Manhattan
came out in July 1930, spoke of American Negro poets in October that year.  Also speak-
ing before the club were author Walter Prichard Eaton, Congressman Allen T. Treadway,
dancer Ted Shawn and poet Richard Watson Gilder.

page 190
The Thursday Morning
Club in August 1904
dedicated a stone
marker west of the 
Bridge Street bridge:
Twenty rods north of this
stone was the old Indian
Fordway on the Middle
trail from Westfield to
the Hudson River.
Nearby was the site of
the Great Wigwam
were Major John
Talcott overtook and
dispersed a party of 
Indians, August, 1676.
The marker’s deterio-
rated wording was
reproduced on a bronze
tablet which was 
mounted nearby in 

page 237  (in the Social section for early 1900s)
“Booker T. Washington, coming to speak at
Laurel Hill Association in Stockbridge in fall 1904,
was not unknown here; he had previously spoken
at the Great Barrington library.  Naturalist Ralph
Hoffman lectured before the Thursday Morning
Club in April 1909. …” 

The club had interesting speakers and also had a stated mission of service to the community.

I wondered if there were any records of the early Thursday Morning Club still available.  The Great Barrington Historical Society put me in touch with the current club historian.  She didn't have many records beyond a membership book in their safe deposit box.  It had membership records from 1912 through 1925.  She found four Evans women involved:  "Elizabeth Evans and Aurilla Evans were members of the Thursday Morning Club. Helen H. Evans was a Director 1924-1925 and Kathleen S. Evans was also a member."

Elizabeth Evans was a member, as was her daughter-in-law, Aurilla Wooster Evans and her granddaughter-in-law Kathleen Smith Evans.  By 1912 when these membership rolls were recorded, Elizabeth's daughter Caroline Evans Helsten, has moved back to Gaylordsville CT to help with her in-laws, then their estate, and then to take over the Helsten's business.  We don't know if Caroline was involved when she was there in the 1890s.

We can only imagine them attending some of these talks by local authorities and traveling dignitaries and then discussing the pressing issues of the day that they were reading about in the newspapers.

The link to this post is
©2014, Erica Dakin Voolich

Monday, May 12, 2014

Elizabeth and Charles Evans' Aniversaries

As I've been sharing information on Elizabeth Radford Evans (her newspaper profile, recipient of letters from her cousin Louise, author of poetry & letters), keep in mind that she married Charles Evans in January 1850.  The actual date of the marriage, seems to be a bit fuzzy.  The vital record I received from the Middlebury Town Clerk say 15 January 1850 which is a xerox of the page of the minister's journal.  Mount Holyoke Seminary's alum records say she was married on the 16th.  Her story below, says the 16th.  The published vital records for Middlebury Connecticut where they married, says they were married on the 14th or 15th.  How they ever met, has yet to be discovered, she lived in Middlebury and he lived in Sherman, 26 miles away.

The gem below she wrote describing their 40th anniversary celebrations, 16 January 1890 -- both the one they planned and the surprise one:

Written by Elizabeth Evans at the time 
of her 40th wedding anniversary-
Gaylordsville Jan. 16th 1890
    And it came to pass when Zachery 
Taylor ruled over the land, there dwelt 
in the east country one Elizabeth of 
the family of Beers.  And there came to 
that place one Charles whose surname 
was Evans, and he took Elizabeth for 
his wife and she went with him to 
his home in the land beyond the 
river even the Housatonic and they 
dwelt there-  And sons and daughters 
were born unto them.  The sons took 
to themselves wives and dwelt in the 
north country and the daughter 
dwelt in the south.  And when two 
score years were past, Elizabeth said 
to her husband, “Lo this forty years 
have we dwelt together, let us make 
a feast and invite our children and 
grand children that we may rejoice 
together” and the saying pleased him 
and he said “Do even as thou wilt.”  
And they sent this message to their 
sons who dwelt in the north “Come 
to us on the sixteenth day of they first 
month and bring with you your 
wife and your children” and they 
answered “We will come” and to the 
daughter was sent a like message and 
she said “we will come.”
     Now there was in the land one Susan 
who had dwelt there many years and  
had known Charles from his birth.  She 
was also one of the first to welcome 
Elizabeth when she was a stranger 
in the land.  When she heard of the feast 
she called her children and neighbors 
together and said to them “Lo these many 
years have this couple have dwelt in 
our midst, let us go in a company 
to their house and surprise them and 
let us carry a present to them and thus 
saying pleased her friends and they 
said “We will do so.”

    Now when the day had come the 
children and grand children assembled 
together and one Julia (who was at the 
marriage) and Henry her son and he 
that ministered to this people and his 
wife and children and twenty and 
one did dine there and all enjoyed 
themselves and one Nelson brought 
verses that the minister read before 
them.  And when the evening was 
come and they who could not spend 
the night had departed and the 
children were in bed there was a 
knocking at the door.  When Elizabeth 
opened the door it, there was Susan 
and some of her neighbors who had 
come on foot and with oxen and 
had brought with them baskets of 
things to eat that none might say 
“Where shall we get food for this great 
company” and they spake pleasant 
words to Charles and Elizabeth and 
wished them many days even a 
golden wedding.
    And Anna the daughter of Susan 
made coffee and prepared supper 
and when all was ready a small 
table was placed before Charles and 
Elizabeth and John whose sur-
name was Duncan put a lighted 
lamp there-on and he made a 
nice speech, saying the lamp was 
a present from the neighbors given 
with love and good wishes and 
hoping as age dimmed their eyes
the light of the lamp would remind 
them of the love that would be a 
comfort to them as they pass on 
toward the end of life’s journey.  
They were so astonished they could 
only say “Thank you” but in their 
hearts they will remember the 
kindness of the neighbors and bless 
them for their friendship.  
And at midnight they departed 
every one to his own home.  

     Now the rest of the acts of the company. 
How they raced for potatoes and 
attached a candle appendage to 
the donkey and other things they did 
are they not written in chronicles of 
Giddings St?

Sounds like they had quite the party that night in Sherman with their neighbors  after their family who couldn't stay over went home.  The Evans home on Evans Hill Road was in Sherman, as were the Evans homes on Giddings St, so I'm not sure why it is called Gaylordsville here and in the next article.

Fast forward 13 more years, where their long marriage was celebrated in The Great Barrington Courier (where they had moved in their old age to be nearer their sons, Charles H and Edward).

This article appeared just 3 months before Charles died at age 83.
The Courier (vol. LXIX, page 1, 3 September 1903) extolled "the Berkshire Hills region being especially favorable to longevity and conducive to dispositions"


   Mr. and Mrs. Evans are an adopted 
son and daughter of Great  Barring-
ton, having been residents here for 
the past four years.    Prior  to that 
they lived here for several winters.  
The celebration of their fiftieth 
wedding anniversary occurred at 
their home on Rosseter street Tues
-day, January 23, 1900, a few days 
later than it naturally would have  
been because of illness on the part 
of Mr. Evans.  The event was no-
-table  in that for the second time 
there was a reunion of all the chil-
dren and  grandchildren, of the latter 
of whom there were four more to 
participate  in the second than in the 
first family gathering.   
     Charles Evans and Elizabeth Brad-
ford [Radford] were married in  Middlebury,
Conn., May 16, 1850 [January], the ceremony 
occurring at the  early hour of six 
o'clock in the morning.  Neither the 
clergyman or anyone present at the 
ceremony, the bride and groom ex-
cepted, is now  alive.  Most of the 
married life of Mr. and Mrs. Evans 
was lived at  Gaylordsville, Conn.; 
where Mr. Evans followed the  occu-
pation of a farmer, and also did more 
or less work as a carpenter. 
    He was the youngest and is the 
only survivor of a family of nine  
children, while his wife is also the only 
survivor in a family of four children.  
Both are in fairly good health, Mrs. 
Evans in particular.  She  is the 
possessor of a vigorous mind and 
takes an active interest in the Thurs-
days Morning Club meetings and in 
current affairs generally.  Mr.  and 
Mrs. Evans have sons and daughters 
as follows:  Messrs. Charles H.  and 
Edward Evans, the well known con-
tractors of this village; Mrs. Samuel  
G. Bristol, Milford, Conn.; Mrs. 
Edward Olmsted, Danbury, Conn.; 
Mrs. D.  H. Bronson, Beacon Falls, 
Conn., and Mrs. Charles Edwards, 
Seymour Conn.   Besides these they 
have 13 grandchildren."  

I think the month of their wedding listed above is a typo.  Here it is listed as MAY 16th instead of January.  The family celebrated in January, delayed a few days because of the health of Charles Evans.  I'm not sure what the first celebration referred to actually was; maybe their 40th anniversary party.
We know that Mrs Evans [Elizabeth] is in particularly good health, is busy with the Thursday Morning Club and current affairs.  He would die in three months, she in a dozen years hence.

This story raises a question:  why would anyone get married at 6 AM?
Any ideas?

Beers Radford (1784-1876)

After their wedding in January 1850, it appears that Elizabeth continued to live with her elderly father, Beers Radford and is listed as "Elizabeth Radford" not "Elizabeth Evans" in the census.  When the US Census was taken in September 1850, she is listed living with her widowed father in Middlebury CT, and Charles is listed as living with his older sister Lydia Evans in Sherman CT.  Since their first child was born in October 1851, they did move together after that census was taken.

©Erica Dakin Voolich, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A News Clipping -- Surprise!

Charles and Elizabeth Radford Evans in front of the home that Charles' parents
built about 1801 in Sherman, Connecticut.  This picture was taken before they "retired" to
Great Barrington, Massachusetts to be closer to their two sons.
In the late 1890s, Elizabeth and  her husband Charles moved a few miles north to Great Barrington to be closer to their sons who had moved their Evans Bros. construction company north to become the Barrington Builders.

Elizabeth Radford Evans is the woman who was corresponding with her cousin Louise (in the 1840s) who wrote the two letters that I shared in blog posts: Dear Cousins Elizabeth and Augusta and Dear Cousin ... 2 1/2 years later.  If  you recall in the first letter, Louise was talking about her "light reading" of novels by Sir Walter Scott, that her cousin would probably be criticizing her for not reading and keeping up with more important things -- then later in the same letter, she was discussing the evils of slavery and declaring herself an abolitionist.  Louise was keeping up with the world far beyond Madison County New York in the mid-1840s.  Fast forward a few decades, now Elizabeth is an 88  year-old widow, living in Great Barrington, and the local paper interviews her.

“The Berkshire Courier, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Thursday 20 March 1913, volume
LXXIX, no. 12, pages 1, 8

One of Great Barrington’ Old
Ladies and Some of the Things
She Has Witnessed During Her
Long Life. ---Memory Excellent and
and Interest  Keen for Current

     Mrs Evans, mother of E. B. Evans
 of the Barrington Building Co., is
one of those ladies of an old school type
that is fast passing away.  In her
88th year she retains her mental fac-
ulties to a remarkable degree, and
her stories of the days when the na-
tion was young are wonderfully in-
teresting.  She has lived under the
administration of 22 presidents of
the United States, and in the dawn
of the administration of the 23d 
president, Woodrow Wilson.  She
was a young girl during the adminis-
tration of John Quincy Adams, and
witnessed some of the exciting inci-
dents attending the canvass of An-
drew Jackson.  On incident she re-
lates was of an ardent admirer of
Jackson crowing over a group of the
adherents of Henry Clay.  He was
riding along in the stage coach when
they stopped near a group of men
digging in the ditch.
     “Hurray for Jackson!”  souted the
stalwart Jackson supporter.  Each 
man in the ditch grabbed up a hand-
ful of sticky clay and hurled it at the
Jacksonian and shouted in unison:
     “Hurray for Clay!”
     She has witnessed the campaigns
of Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison,
Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Fillmore, PIerce,
Buchanan, Lincoln, Johnson, Grant,
Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland,
Harrison, McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft
and Wilson.
     Mrs. Evans graduated from Mt.
Holyoke college in the class of 1845,
and is one of the few members of 
that class alive today.  She entered
Mt. Holyoke eight years after its or-
ganization, and when the noted Mary
Lyon, was its president.

   She has seen 23 states admitted to
the union in the period of her long
and active life, namely:  Arkansas in
1836, Michigan, seven months later
in 1837, Florida in 1845, Iowa in 1846,
Wisconsin in 1847, California in 1850,
Minnesota in 1858, Oregon in 1859,
Kansas in 1861, West Virginia in 
1863, Nevada in 1864, Nebraska in 
1867, Colorado in 1876, North Dako-
ta in 1889, South Dakota has the same
year, Montana six days later of that
year, followed by Washington three
days after, Idaho in 1890, Wyoming
eight days later of the same year,
Utah in 1896, Oklahoma in 1907, and
more recently the territories of New
Mexico, organized in 1850 and Ari-
zona, organized in 1863, admitted fi-
nally into statehood, as well as the
organization of the district of Alas-
ka as a territory in 1868 and Hawaii
in 1900.  She has seen the acquisition
of the Phillippine Islands and of 
Porto Rico and the Isthmian Canal
zone pass into United States posses-
     Among the stories she tell was one
related to her by her mother, of an
oratoron the political platform who
made this prophecy:
     “We now have a confederation of
13 states, but, gentlemen there ex-
tends beyond us territory sufficient
for 13 additional states, even to the
far west, to the banks of the Missis-
sippi river.”
     Mrs. Evans has live the see that
oratorical prophecy, then so improb-
able, fully verified, and to see this
to the Pacific ocean, and extend its
power to the far islands of the sea.
She remembers well the early stage
coaches, which in their day were re-
garded as a wonderfully rapid means
of transportation.  She has seen
them superseded by the railway
trains and witnessed the advent of
the trolley cars, the aeroplane and 
wireless telegraphy, the telegraph
and telephone, and the era of talk-
in movie pictures.
     Through all these years time has
dealt leniently with her and her con-
versational powers are wonderfully
interesting, and her interest in cur-
rent event continues unabated.”

Clearly for decades, Elizabeth was not "just" a mother of four and a housewife busy with all her chores on a farm in rural Connecticut, she was continuing to keep up with current events as she had learned from her mother (Harriet Higgins Radford 1785-1846) who had also done that.

The big surprise, to me in the newspaper was
     Mrs. Evans graduated from Mt.
Holyoke college in the class of 1845,
and is one of the few members of 
that class alive today.  She entered
Mt. Holyoke eight years after its or-
ganization, and when the noted Mary
Lyon, was its president.

She attended college!!!  I never knew that anyone in my family had gone to Mt Holyoke Seminary, or that any woman in the family had been to college that early.  I contacted the school archives, and she never graduated, but she did attend college, 1844-1845.

Thanks to my 2nd cousin once removed who mailed me a copy of this newspaper and made this discovery and blog post possible.  Thanks Craig!

©Erica Dakin Voolich, 2014
The link to this blog post is