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

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More Information About That Sturbridge Mystery

I want to share some information I received in an email yesterday as a follow up to the posting "A Sturbridge Mystery"  from April.  Great information, and to quote the author of the email, "Isn't Google great?".

"Rev. Martin Luther Richardson was my great-great grandfather on my mother's side (Richardson), via William Shedd and Stephen Morse. My mother still refers to them as "the doctor" and "the minister". We think of them in terms of Montague MA rather than Sturbridge. I was looking up something about MLR (who graduated from Amherst College) and came across this thread. Isn't Google great!

We know about William and Harriet, but have no information about Gilbert. Harriet married an Ayer, but we don't know the first name. I believe they lived in Sturbridge. They had a daughter named Harriet who married Ralph D. Whitmore and lived in Sunderland, MA, next door to Montague. William was a doctor in Marlborough, MA, but when he died relatively young, my grandfather and his sister Martha went to live with MLR in Montague. The interesting part (for me, I guess) is that Martha married Phillip Whitmore, brother of Ralph, who married Harriet (the daughter of Harriet in your picture). The common connection, I guess, is MLR living in Montague, MA.

My grandfather married a Wyman (daughter of a very successful market gardening family in Arlington, MA), but went into the market gardening business with Philip Whitmore, who owned land on the Connecticut River in North Sunderland, MA. It was called Richmore Farms. My mother has very fond memories of growing up on the farm by the river with all of the relatives nearby. My aunt still lives in a cottage on the river there. Also interesting, is that MLR’s wife Angeletta’s mother was also a Richardson who goes back to the another of the Richardson brothers who first settled Woburn, MA.

We have some pictures of MLR and William, but I don't recall anything about Sturbridge. When my uncle died a few years ago, we got 16 (!) boxes and chests of family history. I tried to catalogue it, although there are many pictures and documents I can't place. Unfortunately, many of the things are mixed together so that we can't really guess to which family they belonged. It could be that many of the MLR documents went to Harriet's side of the family. I will ask my mother and her sister what they know of the four children of Harriet Ayer and Ralph Whitmore.

I grew up in Rockville, CT, but, perhaps ironically, have never been to Sturbridge. I do remember the billboard for the Publick House on Rte 84.

Stephen Morse Hollister
Jamestown, RI"


  1. Job well done, Wally!

  2. Ralph D Whitmore and Harriet Ayer were my grandparents. They had four children: Ann, Clare, Fredrick, and my father, Ralph Jr (Harry). There are nine cousins. Ann and Harry died in 1987 within a month of each other, Clare died in 2005 (?) and Fred died around 2009-2010 (I think). Most of their children, including me, are geezer-age (60's and 70's) or pre-geezer (50's). Some of us have children, though not all.

    I do not recall ever meeting Phillip Whitmore - apparently there was a terrible disagreement between Ralph Sr and Phillip and they did not speak. The admin building at University of Massachusetts Amherst is named for him.

    Lisa Whitmore


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