Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Monday, April 11, 2011

Well Done, Detective

Never underestimate the tenacity of someone from Central Mass that is is on a mission.  In my last post, "A Sturbridge Mystery", I posted an old photo collage of a Sturbridge family. I asked for help in identifying the family, and the locations in the photos.  Well, one long time reader took my request to heart.

Hi Wally,
Regarding your mystery photographs on Thinking Out Loud in Sturbridge:

Miss Hyde is likely related to the Hyde of the Joshua Hyde Library (a guess).

Page 170, Section 1014 of a book titled The Richardson Memorial, written by John Adams Vinton mentions the Minister in Sturbridge as Martin Luther Richardson from 1867 "to the present time."  "He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from Sturbridge in 1871. He has no children." Here's the link.

'Hope we are of some help. Marilyn

Hmmmm.  Time frame seems right, and he was a State Rep, too.

This web site seems to say that our Rev. Richardson did have a child, and his name was William Shed Richardson, born in 1860, which would make sense, as the Richardson wedding was said to have taken place in 1859.


Well, this would account for the young boy labeled "Will" in the collage.

The Reverend did have kids! Wait 'til you see their names on this 1870 census! (Okay, I'll tell. Hattie and William.)

The Cottage
And, now this record acknowledges who "Hattie" was!  So far, we've identified the family, and two of the children.  There was a comment in the original post questioning whether or not the house labled as "Our Cottage" was the yellow Brunell House just past the common on Main Street.  The photo to the left is not clear, but in the original photo it is much clearer.  Unlike the yellow house, the "cottage" doesn't seem to have the  second floor balcony, and to there is a also an "ell" to the right in the photo to the left that isn't part of the yellow house.

Now, all we need is to identify the other folks int he collage, and the location of the homes.

Sturbridge 1870  census, page 7, lines 27,28,29, you will find the Hyde women. They appear to be mother and 2 daughters. One of them must be the Miss Hyde in your photograph. More research would tell us if this is the family of Joshua Hyde. I suspect that it is.

Getting closer...

Hi Wally,
The photographs must include a spelling error, because the selectman mentioned as Whittmore, was actually Whittemore.

Whoops.  My fault.  Just wanted to shake up the research a little.
-- In 1880 Rev. Martin Luther Richardson and family had a black servant named Hannah Walker (age 17 from Virginia)

Here's info on the Hyde women (regarding Miss Hyde in your photo) listed in the same census as the Rev. martin Luther Richardson. They ARE part of the family of Joshua Hyde.
You have a great deal of Sturbridge history in your mystery photographs!

I wonder if there are any members of this family still in town?

Thank you for all your hard work, Marilyn, and for sharing it with all of us.  You learned a lot about our mystery family, now all we need to do is to identify the houses in the photo.   Maybe, old census data will show who lived where, and when...(hint, hint).


  1. Here's an article on "Will" from your collage

  2. Are you getting tired of hearing about these folks yet? I'm still finding stuff.
    Martin Luther Richardson [Parents] was born on 18 Apr 1830 in Winchester,Middlesex,Ma. He died in 1916. He married Angeletta Wilson.
    Angeletta Wilson [Parents] was born on 18 Jan 1831. She died in 1908. She married Martin Luther Richardson.

    They had the following children:

    M i William Shed Richardson M.D.
    William Shed Richardson M.D. [Parents] was born on 11 Jul 1860 in Woolich,Sagadahoc,Me. He died on 9 Feb 1912 in Marlborough,Middlesex,Ma. He married Mary Hubbard Morse.

    Mary Hubbard Morse [Parents] was born on 7 Jan 1865 in Marlborough,Middlesex,Ma. She died on 5 Aug 1949 in Montague,Franklin,Ma. She married William Shed Richardson M.D..

    They had the following children:

    M i Stephen Morse Richardson

  3. -- Wally, according to this article Martin Luther Richardson remained in Sturbridge until 1888 and then went into Brimfield, for about 3 years and later into Montague, MA. (1891)
    He was a trustee of Hitchcock Academy (Brimfield) for 17 years!

    Federated Church of Sturbridge - Fiskdale Parsonag Maple St Sturbridge 1869

    Wally, I wonder if the parsonage listed here might be "our cottage" as it is called on your collage?
    If you have a chance to get down to Maple Street or ask the right people, you may get some info on that.
    I'm sure I read somewhere today (Where did I read it????) that Martin Luther Richardson built a parsonage in 1868.
    Hopefully, I will find that reference again! 'Don't know how I managed to let it get away. Marilyn


Anonymous comments not accepted, and will be rejected. Please use your full name. Choose "Name / URL" and enter your name, and your name ONLY. Leave "URL" blank.