Waltham Families

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Brown | Chlapowski | Doyle | Fahey | Farnsworth | Gill | Hill | Joy | Kitterage | Howard | Minihan | Parker | Petrie | Siano | Smith | Storer | Strom | Tinker | Yamamoto

Edward Howard's Burial Site (menu)

Edward Howard was born in 1813 and in 1849 he helped Aaron Dennison start what later was known as the Waltham Watch Company. When Dennison lost control of the Waltham Watch Company in 1857, Howard started the Howard Watch Company in Boston which also made clocks.

The last remnants of Howard's business is on Charles Street and is about to leave Waltham. Howard, who died in 1904 is buried on Sorrel Path at the Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, lot 1613.

Yamamoto in Waltham (menu)

Recently, Andrew Driscoll of Waltham showed the Waltham Museum a picture from a 1977 book put out by Time-Life and on page 188 it shows: Yamamoto in front of the Waltham Watch Company in 1926. The caption reads,

"Most Americans Yamamoto met in the United States took to him as readily as did these smiling children of Waltham, MA who were photographed with him in front of the watch factory while he was a student at Harvard in 1926." [Time-Life World War II Book entitled The Rising Sun.]

As most of you recall Admiral Yamamoto led the Japanese naval attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In early 1943 Admiral Yamamoto was killed when a squadron of P-38s took off from Guadalcanal and shot his plane down.

Note: In the 1926 picture six young girls from Waltham (10 to 15 years old) were in the picture. One of the girls had a skate key hung around her neck. Today these girls would be around 85 or 90 years old if still living. Do any of our readers know any of these girls?

101 Year Old Thomas "Bill" Petrie (menu)

Thomas "Bill" Petrie was born in 1897 and started working at the Waltham Watch Company finishing room in 1913. In 1917 he became a medic during World War I and served in France. After the war he went back to the watch factory until 1962 (except for the times he served in World War I and II). A list of his foreman in the finishing room over these years were as follows: Charles Tuthrie, Ray Vicknel, Phil Ham, Cy Kendrick, Paul Everett and Gerry Bauman. The long time assistant foreman was George Hopkins.

The function of the finishing dept. was to put the last pieces onto the movement. The movement was then sent to the assembly dept. on the top floor which was all women. They made the final preparations before the watches were shipped out. The new women in this department went to what they called "Kindergarten" where they would be trained on what to do.

Petrie married Hope Lincoln who graduated from Waltham High School in 1921.

During World War II, Petrie served in the U.S. Army again as a drill sergeant. One of few men from Waltham to serve in both World War I and II. His older brother George Petrie was in Company F of the Waltham National Guard and he served in France during World War I as part of the Yankee Division. George also had worked in the finishing department from 1915 to 1948, along with a younger brother Baden Petrie.

On December 10, 1998, members of the Waltham Museum visited Mr. & Mrs. Petrie at their home in Waltham. Mrs. Petrie identified eight members of the 1921 class. They were: Edwin Hansen, the class president; Patrica Colligan, the vice president; Alvah Wheeler; Cora Chase; Constance Arnold; Hillman Fallon; Evelyn Shepard; and herself, Hope Lincoln. Others we knew in the picture were: John Collins who became a lawyer; Paul Curry who became a teacher; Miriam Peirce who recently passed away (her brother Walter is a member of the museum), Thomas Phillips was also a member of this class. His daughter Marie, a museum member, donated this 1921 class picture.

Finally, Petrie told us that a Mr. Butler was a longtime foreman of the plate department and most of these departments at the Waltham Watch Company held their annual outings at the Clark Farm in Waltham.

Leslie Neskie of Sudbury arranged the visit to the Petrie home. She also continues to provide the Waltham Museum with numerous copies of publications and VCR tapes of the Waltham Watch Company in past years, which adds greatly to our research material on this once great company.

T. William Petrie Passed Away

T. William Petrie, who we wrote about in our January 1999 newsletter, passed away on August 8, 1999 at the age of 101 years. He is believed to be the last World War I veteran from Waltham. Petrie also served in World War II. A watchmaker by trade, he worked at the Waltham Watch Company for 49 years. He leaves his wife Hope (Lincoln) Petrie and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He will be missed.

Letter to the Editor (menu)

We received a letter from John Augustine of W. Farmington, Ohio, a museum member. The letter concerns Dr. Thomas Hill who most residents of Waltham know about from the old Thomas Hill School on Main Street. Elizabeth Castner mentions him several times in her new book on the First Parish Church, and he has been a member of the Waltham Museum Hall-of-Fame for many years.

Dr. Hill became pastor of the First Parish Church in Waltham. In 1862 he became president of Harvard College, a post he held for six years until his health forced him to resign.

In the late 1800's Dr. Hill was considered a man for all seasons. He wrote numerous articles and books ranging from mathematics to religion to poetry and was an inventor of several mathematical and navigational machines. Ausustine writes,

"His son, Henry Barker, was a professor of chemistry at Harvard and his daughter, Mrs. Alfred Worcester was a Waltham resident...."

"Some historical research I'm doing involves looking for a possible diary or journal of Thomas Hill. If anyone knows if such an item/items exist I would appreciate hearing from you."

Signed John Augustine, 17670 Farmington Road, W. Farmington, Ohio 44491.

[Editor's note to John: This newsletter goes to members of the Waltham Library and the Waltham Historical Society. The Waltham Museum will check its archives.]

Franz O. Strom and the Banks House (menu)

Franz O. Strom came to America in 1888 from Stockholm, Sweden and lived in Brooklyn. On or about 1906 he came to Waltham and built the house at 180 Prospect Hill Road, where he lived and raised a family. Strom also bought the old Nathaniel Banks house. Mary Banks, Nathaniel Banks' widow had lived here until she died on January 31, 1901. Being a carpenter, Strom converted the Banks house into a two-family home. On the remaining land, at the corner of Main and Banks Streets, he built a three decker that we all can see today. He used both these houses as rental property.

(Note: Most of the above information was provided by Kathleen Chisholm, the granddaughter of Strom, as a correction to an item in our last newsletter on page 2, Section 3. Chisholm, who is a member of the Friends of the Waltham Museum, also told us that nearby Prentice Street was named after Nathaniel Banks' middle name, and that Jennings Road was named after Banks' servant who was named Jennings.)

George Doyle Passed Away (menu)

George "Scorpy" Doyle died on July 18, 1998, in Nevada. He knew more movie stars personally than any other Waltham native. Doyle was born in Waltham on August 26, 1912, and at the age of ten he caddied at the Weston Golf Club. He left Waltham when he was 17 and got a job as a caddie at Lakeside in N. Hollywood, California where stars of the entertainment world dominated the scene.

Some of the top personalities he caddied for were Don Ameche, Clark Gable, Crosby and Hope, Gene Autry, Howard Hughes, Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra and many others. As years went by he became the golf starter at the Tamarish Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. He was invited to many of the parties put on by his movie star friends and even had bit parts in two of Bob Hope's movies. One was the "Facts of Life" which also starred Lucille Ball. Doyle plays Hope's caddie.

Elmer Meade who told us about George Doyle, knew him before he moved to California in 1929. Through the years Meade would go to California to visit him.

Berenice W. Storer (menu)

Included in the Meade donation was a post card showing a woman playing an accordion. The caption reads,

"Berenice W. Storer of Waltham, Mass. available for concerts or social musical engagements. Miss Storer became interested in the accordion while studying violin with Emmanuel Ondricek, teacher of Ruth Posselt and other famous violinists.

She studied with Alfred Sillari, accordion virtuosos and author of methods, to whom she eventually became an assistant in teaching. In 1938 she opened her own accordion studio in Waltham and has proven a popular teacher as well as a splendid concert artist."

Ninety-year-old Elmer Meade tells the museum that Berenice Storer is his sister-in-law and she still plays the accordion. The post card will be placed in the museum's collection of Waltham post cards.

 Joseph J. Siano Passed Away (menu)

Joseph J. Siano, a member of the Friends of the Waltham Museum, passed away on August 16, 1995, at the age of 86. Joseph joined the Waltham National Guard in the late 1920's and devoted 37 years to the Guard, most as a Master Sergeant.

Joseph loved the Guard, he loved his country, and he loved the American flag. He was one of the most patriotic men anywhere.

He was the founder and coach of the Waltham High School Rifle Club which won many league and state championships. Pictures of this club can be found in the Waltham High School yearbooks of 1950's to 1970's.

During his retirement years he started the State Guard Veteran's group in Waltham and published monthly newsletters about veterans which was well received by its members. A collection of these informative and historical newsletters are in the Museum's archives.

Born in Waltham, Joseph was a lifelong resident who was buried at Calvalry Cemetery. His love of America was shown after the funeral Mass when his casket was being moved along the aisle of St. Mary's Church. He had arranged for the organist to play and the soloist sing the Star Spangle Banner. It was a very moving and emotional time to those in attendance. The Waltham Museum salutes Joseph Siano and says Well Done.

 Thomas Page Smith of Waltham (menu)

In 1949, John P. Smith wrote a book entitled, "My Father Was a Printer." His father, Thomas P. Smith, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis P. Smith. He was born on November 13, 1838 in a Waltham house where he lived all his life. In 1858 he became interested in astronomy while working for the Rumford Institute at the corner of Main and Elm Streets as a librarian. In 1860 he became a member of the printing firm of Smith and Porter in Boston.

During the Civil War he served in Co. G., Mass. 45th Volunteer regiment but returned to the printing business most of his life. He also kept up his interest in astronomy and frequently came in touch with Professor Pickering at the Harvard Observatory.

In 1901 his house was moved from School Street to Summer Street so that the new high school could be built. He died on April 28, 1919 at the age of 81.

Note: The above info was sent to the museum by John G. Augustine of West Farmington, Ohio. Augustine has the telescope used by Smith in 1861. He believes that the telescope was manufactured by Alvin Clark and Sons of Cambridgeport. If members of the Waltham Museum have any knowledge of the telescope Augustine is researching please contact him by writing to F 17670 Farmington Road, West Farmington, Ohio 44491.

 George M. Tinker and His Son Harold (menu)

George M. Tinker was a machinist and inventor in Waltham. In 1895 he designed the three-ball-bearing hub for a Comet bicycle. A Comet bicycle can be seen in the Waltham Museum. In 1899 he joined the Waltham Automobile Company on Newton Street which made several steam cars before they went out of business in 1902.

Tinker had four sons and one, Harold, was born in 1897. Last month Inge Uhlir, one of our members sent along an obituary on Harold L. Tinker, 99, of Martha's Vineyard. Harold was an English master at Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut. One of his students was John F. Kennedy.

 Notes on the Kitterage Family (menu)

In 1832, Dr. Theodore Kitterage, an 1823 graduate of Harvard Medical School, set up a large medical practice in Waltham. He married Harriet Winslow. He died in 1879.

Dr. Frank R.C. Kitterage graduated from Harvard in 1853 and also had a practice in Waltham until 1888 when he died. Both these men come from a long line of Kitterage doctors emanating back to England in the 17th century. Then there was Dr. Raymond Kitterage, an optometrist whose office was at 234 Charles Street in Waltham before World War I. His son, Albert won the Croix de Guerre medal in France as an ambulance driver.

The Gill Family (menu)

More and more people these days are becoming interested in their genealogy, or family tree. Some collect their family's history, and put it out in book form. One such family is the Gill family of Waltham. Recently, the Waltham Museum received a book on the Gill Family Tree. It is too long unfortunately to reprint in this newsletter, but here are a few highlights: Robert M. Gill was born in Ireland in 1830 and learned the sculpturing trade. He migrated to Waltham before the Civil War, and started one of the first monument businesses in the United States at 15 Clinton Street in Waltham. Clinton Street is in the south side, where the old Lowell School on Newton Street was once located.

The work of Robert Gill was well known. He, along with the assistance of his brother Peter B. Gill, carved the lion's head located on the upper left side of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Later, both did carvings at Union, and Grand Central Stations in New York. Robert died in 1902, but the Gill Monument Company operated on Clinton Street for over 100 years, until they went out of business in the early 1960's. The Gill Family Tree was first compiled by Mary Gill Travers. Mary was born in Waltham on October 21, 1886, and attended the Waltham Training School for Nurses, graduating around 1910. She served as an Army, and Red Cross nurse during World War I. Her husband was Thomas J. Travers. Mary died on August 6, 1966.

James Fahey and the Parker Family (menu)

Last month we received a letter from Adele Fahey whose late husband, James Fahey, wrote Pacific War Diary. She had read the Parker family story, in our last newsletter, and told us about the connection she and Jim had with the Parker's. It gave us more insight into the kind of man James Fahey was. In 1970, the Fahey's married and settled down in Adele's home in Westford, MA. In one corner of the large lot, Jim found a little family cemetery. It was covered with bushes and branches, and had been neglected and forgotten for years.

Jim, assisted by Adele, began cleaning this area out. Here, they found six natural gravestones. Two years of extensive research was done by Jim and Adele Fahey. Finally, they discovered the original deerskin deed, and the land's original owner, Aaron Parker. They also discovered that Indians were buried on this lot in unmarked graves.

In 1972, a dedication ceremony of The Old Pioneer Burying Ground was conducted by the town of Westford. A year later, Indian organizations from all over New England had their own Mourning Ceremony for the Indians buried there. In 1979, the Fahey's sold their house and donated the little cemetery to the town of Westford. Today it is a historical landmark. Visitors can see this landmark by going to 66 Carlisle Road in Westford. Twelve Parker men from Westford served in the Revolutionary War. Another member of the Parker family, Captain John Parker, was living in Lexington. On April 19, 1775, it was he who spoke those immortal words to his Minutemen at Lexington, "Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have war, let it begin here."

As indicated in our last newsletter, Theodore Parker, the grandson of Captain John Parker was born in Waltham on August 24, 1810.

The John M. Fahey Family Visits the Waltham Museum

On November 29, 1996, John M. Fahey, the older brother of James J. Fahey who wrote Pacific War Diary, visited the Waltham Museum with his wife Alice Sweeney Fahey and her sister Patricia Sweeney Kyle. They were accompanied by James Fahey, the son of John and the nephew of the late James J. Fahey as well as other family members.

John M. Fahey was on the USS Gamble at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 during the Japanese attack. He was an inspiration to his younger brother, James J. Fahey, to join the Navy in 1942.

On November 24, 1943, during the battle for the Marshall Islands, John M. Fahey was on board the USS Liscome Bay, an escort carrier. A torpedo from a Japanese submarine struck the carrier which simply blew apart as the blast set off her stored aircraft bombs. Of her crew of 900, nearly 650 were killed. John M. Fahey was severely wounded but managed to be saved.

 Stanley J. Chlapowski Passed Away (menu)

The Waltham Museum was saddened last January when its newest member, Stanley J. Chlapowski of Waltham died of an apparent heart attack. He was 51 years old. After receiving his law degree from Suffolk University in Boston, Attorney Chlapowski served as a captain in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

In 1972 members of the Waltham Museum, led by art director, Pat Arena, started the Waltham Community Chess Club. Here we first met Stanley, who soon became president of the club. During the next eight years, the Waltham Chess Club, under the direction of Stan, became one of the finest chess clubs in Massachusetts. One chess club member became a Grand Master and two others became Masters. The Waltham Chess Club that now meets at the IBM building at 400 Wyman Street will hold the Stanley J. Chlapowski Memorial Chess Tournament on Friday, March 31, 1995 at 7:00 P.M. The public is invited to participate.

Stanley also enjoyed running, and often could be seen jogging on the streets of Waltham. He ran in the Boston Marathon and completed the run at least eight times.

Chlapowski leaves his wife and three children, his parents, who live in Dudley, and many friends. He will be missed.

 Minihan ~ Living at the Davis and Farnum Foundry (menu)

In 1870 the Davis and Farnum Foundry started operating on Foundry Avenue off of Willow Street in Waltham. For over 50 years it provided much needed gas and water pipes to cities and towns as these systems were being installed. In the 1920s business was poor and in 1928 they went out of business.

Last month Margaret Minihan visited the Waltham Museum and told us that her family lived at the foundry on the second floor of a two-family house at 51 Foundry Avenue. The first floor was the foundry's office. Her father, John Minihan, worked as a fireman in the foundry's boiler room. This house also bordered Central Park and Margaret told us that when the circus was in town she could see the elephants and other animals just outside her bedroom window.

In 1946 her father was living at 357 Moody Street by himself. This was the old Ventura Block. On December 29, 1946, a three-alarm fire forced him out of the building and the building was completely destroyed.

The Brown Family (menu)

When the Puritans, led by John Winthrop, came to Salem in 1629 they soon migrated to the Boston/Watertown area. Abraham Brown was one of the earliest settlers of Watertown. He was a land surveyor and many of the old property lines in Waltham were established by him. His grandson, Deacon William Brown, an ancestor of the Waltham Brown family, was very active in the incorporation of Waltham in 1738. One of his sons was Isaac Brown, a tailor, who married Mary Balch in 1736. Their home was at the northwest corner of Charles and Harvard Streets. Today, Browns Avenue is near this location; it is also one block from the Waltham Museum.

The Eunice Brown Sampler

Eunice Brown was one of the daughters of Isaac and Mary Brown. In 1758 Eunice Brown made a beautiful sampler while only 14 years old. That sampler is in good condition and it exist today. It is owned by Pam Schmidt who sent a colored xerox copy of the sampler to the Waltham Museum with the following request:

"I am looking to find out about the schooling Eunice received. I was also wondering if there were ever any receipts, books, or journals of the expenses of her father, Isaac, who was a tailor and a businessman. Finally, I'd like to know how she met her husband Stephen Farrar."

On November 29, 1764, Stephen Farrar married Eunice Brown and they moved to New Ipswich.

[Editor's note: The Waltham Museum has not been able to find out any of this information. If any of the members of the Friends of the Waltham Museum can help Pam, it would be appreciated. Her address is: Pam Schmidt, 2206 Hanover Ct., Lincoln, NE 68512.]

 Gettysburg and the Brown Brothers (menu)

The popularity of the movie on Gettysburg continues to grow. It is now being shown on cable TV and it can be purchased at your local video store. The Brown brothers of Waltham were both killed at Gettysburg and they are buried at Mt. Feake Cemetery. Their deaths occurred on July 2, 1863, the second day of fighting at Gettysburg. General Lee was trying to have his Confederate troops capture Little Round Top and outflank the Union Army. Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and his 20th Maine Regiment got the credit for pushing the Confederates back, but nearby was the 16th Massachusetts Regiment with many Waltham men including 1st Lt. George F. Brown and his brother Sgt. Charles L. Brown. George was shot in the head and foot and died immediately. Charles was wounded three times and was expected to live, but nine days later he passed away. The Brown brothers had a younger brother name Laroy Brown. The grandson of Laroy Brown was Charles Chick McGahan who was a football star for Waltham High in 1916 and later became the gym instructor at the South Junior High School for many years.

 The Brown & Farnsworth Family (menu)

One of Deacon William Brown's great-grandson was Nathaniel Brown who was born on March 6, 1771 in Waltham. He married Sarah Sterns and they had a large family. On October 1834 their daughter Catherine Brown married Jessie Edson Farnsworth who was from Lowell. They had a son, Henry Albert Farnsworth, who was born on July 3, 1844. Henry would later become a businessman and operated a boots and shoe store on Moody Street for many years. The location was in the vicinity of Tom McGan's shoe store (a former shoe store most of us remember). The Waltham Museum has a Farnsworth Shoe sign on exhibit.

Donald M. Farnsworth

George Otis Farnsworth was a son of Henry Farnsworth and he worked for Rufus Warren Shoe Store at 39 Moody Street. Donald Farnsworth the son of George was born on October 21, 1916. During World War II he spent over three years with the 8th Air Force. Twenty-eight months were spent overseas in England in the Chemical Warfare Division. After the war he married Phyllis Bowman and they had three sons. Donald worked at the Walter E. Fernald School's engineering department for 23 years. He has extensive knowledge on Waltham's history and is the historian at the Methodist Church where he is also a sexton. Donald is one of only a few members of the Friends of the Waltham Museum who can trace his ancestors back to Waltham's founding. The October 13, 1988 News-Tribune carried a story about his life.

Phyllis Farnsworth, Donald's wife, worked for the Waltham Watch Company during the war. She was in the Hairspring Department where her job was to put the hairspring of a watch onto its stud. During a recent visit to the Waltham Museum, Phyllis was able to identify fellow employees in several of the museum's pictures. Jack Schwartz was the boss of the Hairspring Department as was Edward Mahan.

 U.S.S. Daniel A. Joy, A Destroyer Escort (menu)

In 1943 the United States Navy named a destroyer escort after Daniel A. Joy of Waltham. Joy was born in Waltham on October 11, 1918 and joined the Navy on February 8, 1937. On October 9, 1942, as a pharmacist mate 2/c, he was killed on Guadalcanal while going to the aid of a wounded comrade. This story was the main headline of the Waltham News-Tribune on January 10, 1944.


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