Aug-Sept - BlackstoneDaily


Aug-Sept - BlackstoneDaily
Volume 4, Issue 4
Life in the Blackstone River Valley and Beyond
August-September 2007
A Little
Piece of
“Welcome to a little piece
of Heaven, sit back, relax
and enjoy the spirit of the
past.” Those words certainly
ring true for thousands of
listeners throughout the
Blackstone River Valley and
beyond who have been
thrilled by the talent, energy,
humor and skills of the popular Heritage String Band.
continued on page 8
Waters Farm Anniversary
No Longer Left Waiting At The Station
Prospects Brighten For
Passenger Rail In The
Blackstone Valley
by John LaPoint
Film Making in the Valley
Late Summer Festivals
Six nights each week, at virtually the
same time each evening, a Providence
and Worcester Railroad freight train
moves north from the freight classification yard in Valley Falls in
Cumberland, Rhode Island, and then
makes its way over the state line on up
through the Blackstone Valley towns of
Massachusetts to Worcester. Some
local residents of South Grafton, Sutton
and Millbury have been known to set
their watches each night as the train
blows its horn moving through the several grade crossings near the
Blackstone River. Except for rare occasions, that horn always sounds
between 9:45 PM and 10:45 PM.
And in the very
early morning hours,
again, almost like
clockwork, between
1:00 AM and 4:00
AM, a return train,
full of loaded freight
cars and increasingly
these days, empty
coal cars, heads south
over the same
Worcester to
Providence main railroad line to begin this
P & W train passing former Uxbridge depot. Photo courtesy of Ron Chouinard.
very efficient railalso means that there is plenty of dayroad’s work day in Rhode Island.
time capacity on this railroad line
As a veteran Providence and
between Providence and Worcester Worcester railroad observer noted at a
something that those interested in a
Passenger Rail Study meeting held at
resumption of passenger rail service
the Woonsocket City Hall on the
evening of July 9th, the Providence and may not have readily known.
The Woonsocket rail passenger study
Worcester railroad operates on a largeset out to determine if there was feasily nocturnal schedule.
bility to restore passenger rail
While train “whistles” in the night
may disturb some sleep patterns, the
continued on page 21
fact that freight moves largely at night
Page 2
A Taste of Summer
Jane’s Peach Cake,
Shortcake &
Peach Salad
Sherry Peach Salad
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
3 to 4 Tbsp sugar
1/4 c dry sherry (substitute cranberry
juice if desired)
3 medium peaches, peeled & sliced
(about 2 cups)
2 bananas, sliced 1/4" thick
1 c seedless grapes
In medium bowl, combine lemon juice,
sugar, & sherry and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add peaches and other fruit to
dressing & toss gently until well coated.
Cover & refrigerate until served.
"An apple is an excellent thing - until you have tried a peach."
Jane's Shortcake
2 c biscuit mix
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 c milk
1/4 c oil
(1/4 c pecans)-optional
Combine ingredients and mix just
until moist. Bake in ungreased cake
pan for 10 min (or until done).
Cover with prepared peach slices,
sugared to taste, & whipped topping of choice.
~ George du Maurier
Peach Cake
1/2 c butter or margarine
1 3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 (8 oz) container plain yogurt
1 lemon
2 c peach slices, sugared to taste
Grease & flour 13x9x2" baking pan. Cream butter & sugar; add eggs.
Blend completely. Combine dry ingredients & add above mixture alternately with yogurt. Grate rind of lemon & add 1 1/2 Tbsp to cake mix.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350º for 40 min or until done. Cool on
rack. Serve with sliced peaches & whipped cream.
Page 3
Upton’s Lady
Just imagine....a beloved
Hollywood star, dressed in her luscious pink gown from the “Shall
We Dance” scene in the second act
of Rogers and Hammerstein's magnificent and heralded King and I,
buried in her husband's family plot
in Lakeview Cemetery in Upton.
Overlooking Pratt Pond, this cemetery is the eternal home of Gertrude
Lawrence. Lawrence was the very
famous star in the 1930-40s, the
undisputed 'First Lady' of musical
comedy. She starred in best-selling
shows written by Noel Coward,
Rodgers and Hammerstein, Cole
Porter, and Kurt Weill. Respected
for over two decades for her star
quality, even
though her
voice was
unexceptional, her
status led to
$14 million,
Oscar nominated"Star"
in 1968.
won a Tony
Award in
1952 as well
as Harvard
Pudding award before dying quite
suddenly from liver cancer in 1952
while still starring with Yul Brynner
in New York.
After a New York funeral of 6000
attendees, her body was prepared
for burial by Sidney Williams of the
former Williams Funeral Home,
now recognized as Upton’s
Williams-Pederson Funeral Home.
Present funeral home director Ken
Pederson was gracious in sharing
many articles written about this
famous lady.
Lawrence, born in England and
performing by age ten, associated
with some of the most famous persons around the globe, including
British novelist Dame Daphe de
Maurier and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Other friends included Ike
Eisenhower, Tennessee Williams,
Winston Churchill and during the
nefarious days of Hitler, she entertained troops overseas.
Husband Richard Aldrich was an
Upton, Massachusetts blueblood
who became enamored with the theatre as a Harvard student. He
owned a theatre and produced many
plays, including Pygmalian, starring his wife. For many years, he
operated the Dennis Cape
Playhouse and co-managed the
National Theatre in Washington.
Aldrich wrote in his book,
“Gertrude Lawrence as Mrs A” as
“Halfway up the slope, we
stopped at the grass covered knoll
that since Revolutionary Days has
been set apart for the Aldriches.
Around us lay Aldrich wives of earlier generations: Zilpah, Patience,
Hannah and
to Aldrich,
his magnetic
wife had
that “there is
not a more
peaceful spot
in the
world” than
Upton. When
buried, a
amount of
soil from her
England, was
over her casket.
Every July
4th for over 25 years, an unknown
admirer placed a dozen yellow
roses on a memorial bench that
bears her name near her modest
headstone. For years, admirers from
all over the world came to pay tribute.
So in this peaceful Lakeview
Cemetery lies a person of the glittering past though she never lost
sight of her meager childhood.
One great lady lying in Upton.
Over the years, professional studies have highlighted
over 10,000 historical features in the Blackstone River
Valley and proffered that “tourism” could be or, in fact,
should be, a vibrant part, if not at the forefront of economic development within the Blackstone Valley. Initially, that
was the “evidence” needed to legislate a National Heritage
Corridor in 1986, yet to many residents, this concept is still
nebulous. The recent Bernat Mill fire is a devastating hit as
one of our historic shopping destinations, yet we need to
regroup and move forward by more fully understanding the
terrific events and assets, recreationally, historically and in
the arts, that the Valley has that could produce a viable and very compelling economy turning our assets into destinations for residents and people from afar.
However, locals need to work together to “brand” our unparalleled history (that goes
much deeper than just the American Industrial Revolution), the recreational components and itineraries that offer wonderful destinations and could motivate and spur dollars into the local economy. Much anecdotal information and a formal study still indicate “a disconnect” and lack of awareness of the general public to all the possible venues to embrace. For those who believe this doesn’t relate to them, then I would ask if
you care about preserving our historic buildings, our watershed or having fun destinations and open space right in our midst. Would you like to assure your children of
open space, paddling or biking nearby or still enjoy local, often unique and certainly
customer - friendly small businesses?
Would you like to honor and understand our ancestors who arrived to form
America’s true melting pot...from earliest native Americans or Anglos to FrenchCanadians who worked in the mills, Irish who built our Canal and stone walls, or the
Dutch who operated so many farms. Intact mill villages, renovated mills, scenic farmlands, an ancient cave, the pacifist Ballou, great golf and mini-golf with ice cream
right off the highway and down from Purgatory. Great festivals, almost monthly,
including Sutton’s Waters Farm 250th Anniversary on Aug 11-12th or Apple Pie Fair
on the quintessential Grafton Common. The list is almost endless.
Southwick Zoo, Vaillancourt, Breezy Waterslides, first class golf, unparalleled history... historic mansions, vibrant mills, and so much more...all adding to the quality,
intrigue and interest in visiting and spending dollars in the Valley while preserving our
communities. Time is precious.... to understand the potential now...before our losses,
like Bernat or Wild Bird Gardens become unsurmountable.
These and other issues need collaborative dialog from stakeholders in each Valley
community. Much can be discussed online...please join Blackstone Daily’s email
newsletter and/or its interactive community forums as we explore these opportunities.
Find more information online at or call- but please...we
want your voice for a broad, inclusive approach. Ellen Onorato
508-839-8885 [email protected] ~
Page 4
Remember To Breathe. . .
by Mary Romaniec
In my role as a mentor to families
who have children with autism, I often
am the shoulder to cry on, the patient
listener, the friend and even the marriage counselor at times. In these
roles, I am on the other side of that
long dark tunnel and very able to offer
sound advice based on our experiences
that led to my son's recovery (with my
marriage intact).
But the one area where I find it the
most difficult to offer "advice" is when
a parent who calls on the verge of
going over the edge from the day to
day stress of caring for a child with
special needs. Often I have gotten
those panic, tearful phone calls asking
me how to cope with what either lay
ahead or to remedy the current situation. Those calls are the most difficult
because my heart is heavy with understanding and my mind races back to
when I was exactly in the same spot as
the other parent. All I am able to offer
at that moment is a sincere "I get
where you are at." Truly I do. And
then I share with them the story of
what happened to me.
When my son received his diagnosis
of autism, and even beforehand, my
adrenaline levels were in high gear.
Somewhere within was a battle cry of
NOT MY SON. It was a drive like no
other in my quest to do all I could for
my son's well-being. The lack of
information from the medical community and even the tragic misinformation left me seriously disillusioned and
confused. Yet what was certain was
that my instincts to seek the answers
would drive my mind and body to levels of sustained endurance. . .only to
have it all come crashing down in
every way.
I must admit that my nature is to
push myself - perhaps in unhealthy
ways. When I worked for a large retail
chain, I often put in 16 hour days for
weeks on end. My health suffered
from the fatigue even though I swore
to get better habits eventually. But
faced with a never ending checklist
and a mind that raced with ideas my
healthy habits were sidelined. Thus
the stage was set when my son's health
was now at stake and the doctors were
of little help.
I began long hours late at night on
the computer searching for any tidbit
of use for my son. That led to not getting enough sleep, followed by a long
day of taking my children to preschool
and therapy appointments. Of course,
my home had to be immaculate for all
of the therapists in the house (at least
in my mind). Eating healthy seemed
to be only for my kids as I was good to
go on the easiest thing I could put in
my mouth. Exercise consisted of
pushing a vacuum or running up and
down the stairs with another load of
The angst I had for my son's future
was overwhelming. I would not give
in to the idea that he would not fully
recover but I did put extra pressure on
myself to make sure all the bases were
covered. The refrigerator had 25 bottles of supplements which I had to figure out how to get in my son every
day. The bath had Epsom salt, the
food was gluten/casein free and we
were mindful of cross contamination.
My typical daughter needed attention
and my husband would choose 10 p.m.
to have our budget discussions.
No doubt I was pretty one track
minded since my life was now consumed by autism. Did I even have a
life before that? If so, who was I then?
When did I not care about heavy metals, vaccines or food additives? When
did I not look at someone else's child
and figure out they were dealing with
"issues" too. When did I stop being so
superficial with my life and become
the mother of a child with autism?
Not one to be so ethereal, I had to
reason there was an ultimate purpose
to my son's autism and eventual full
recovery. When his doctor declared
he would fully recover, she asked me
why I thought we were blessed with
this while others were still struggling
in their child's journey. Truthfully I
knew the answer long before and that
was to begin reaching out to the next
parent, which I could not do if I was
still engrossed in my son's recovery.
But the price paid for this tunnelvision effort was my health. It began
first with a shortness of breath that
came and went. Then I would be lying
in bed with my heart racing. I caught
every cold and flu that came around
and had nine sinus infections in a year.
Finally I landed in the hospital after
developing chronic heart palpitations
and passing out in the ER. The doctors came in and announced I had
developed a heart condition associated
with stress. Bottom line - I had forgotten to even breathe right which shut
off the oxygen flow to my brain. My
constant adrenaline rush meant my
immune system was also in trouble as
my body told me it had no more to
give. The chronic fatigue I felt at this
time told me I needed to get a handle
on things.
The prescription for Topomax by
the cardiologist left me a zombie and
caused me great concern. Was I now
relegated to coping only with medication? So my next thought was to seek
alternative physicians and therapists to
ease my body's burden. I went to an
acupuncturist to help my adrenal
glands, immune system and open up
my diaphragm to breathe better. I
started regular massages to condition
my body back into relaxation and to
shift my rib cage away from my heart
(probably from the vacuuming). Easy
walks in a local park were next as well
as lunches with girlfriends who were
very willing
to listen and
remind me of
the value of
our friendship. The budget conversations at 10 p.m. had to stop and my
husband would remind me to get off
the computer earlier than midnight.
Actually stepping away was very difficult but necessary for my body to heal.
I also began taking supplements and
protein shakes, cut back on caffeine
and alcohol and tried to eat better in
All of these efforts paid off but it
took over a year to feel confident in
my body again. It also tells me more
quickly now when it is time to rest or
risk total shutdown.
Now in my talks with other parents
the first thing I say after telling my
story is "Please don't let it get this bad
with you." Take the time now to slow
down and breathe. The best advice I
got on this healing journey came from
the acupuncturist who related a story
from a man who had been in a Chinese
concentration camp for over a decade.
He said that the man found that those
who survived the camp were those
who did everything but they did it S-LO-W-E-R. So he told me to do the
same. Do it, just do it slower. Don't
be in a rush to get everything done all
at once. So the mantra that I adopted
and repeat to this day is "go slow" and
As I hung up the phone from yet one
more parent in the throws of anxiety, I
had repeated this story again and
hoped that something in the conversation would stick. I'm not sure how
much I would have listened had someone told me when my son was diagnosed. But perhaps something in this
story will jump out at a reader who
says "Sounds like me." My next
thought would be list the clichés of
needing to take care of ourselves. . .but
I'm the worst example. So I offer this
instead - PRAY for the strength to
endure, the wisdom to know when to
slow down and the wherewithal to
actually do it. Oh, and don't forget to
[email protected]
Page 5
Rogues on the Riverbank
A confluence of tight deadlines and a
family summer vacation prevents me
from presenting Part 6 of “Blood on
the Blackstone” this time around.
We’ll pick up the story again next
issue. In the meantime, here’s a tale
of old Blackstone from a file I call
“Rogues on the Riverbank.” The following dramatization is based on a
news item published in the Woonsocket
Patriot, December 23, 1853, back in
the days when Monument Square was
still known as Block Square.
Bennett, who liked to remind the public that hospitality was the order of the
day every day at the Union House, had
to admit that Madame C. Harris was
one of a kind.
The Madame and her husband had
arrived shortly after midday, inquiring
about rooms. Bennett made no pretense of checking for vacancies; he
determined in an instant that this
enchanting lady must stay at his hotel.
Proclaiming his happiness at being
able to accommodate them, Bennett
produced the hotel register and invited
her to sign. Later (when he could
think clearly), he would wonder why
Mister Harris hadn’t made the arrangements, as was customary. The husband, a spidery fellow, stood well to
the rear, dividing his gaze between the
front door and the front desk. He had
declined all offers of assistance with
his trunk.
The Madame informed Bennett that
No glass bauble ever exuded such fire,
no matter how skillfully cut.
Only after the Harrises had repaired
to their third floor quarters did Bennett
remember the omitted room deposit.
He shrugged, assuring himself that it
was all right. Obviously the Union’s
newest guests were wealthy, not unlike
some of the rascals who hopped off the
trains. Were they relations of Edward
Harris, the Woonsocket millionaire,
perhaps? He would have to ask. In
the meantime, he had yesterday’s
receipts to tabulate.
He opened the hotel ledger but found
it impossible to concentrate on business. Hadn’t the Harris woman said
something about business? Her husband’s business? Bennett struggled to
recall the exact words, but they
remained as faint and elusive as the
Madame’s cachet, which still lingered
about the foyer.
An hour or two later, Mr. Harris
With a whistle blast and a bellow of
smoke, the noonday train rumbled out
of the Blackstone railway depot on
December 13, 1853, leaving two peculiar visitors behind.
Husband and wife (or so they would
tell anyone who asked), the strangers
left the depot and followed Canal
Street to Block Square. She led the
way while her companion, a tall, thin
stick of a man, lagged several yards
behind, struggling with a bulky black
Saratoga trunk.
“Just a bit further,” she urged.
“Where?” he demanded.
She pointed to a handsome threestory, stone building on the east side of
the square. A tavern sign hung out
front, swinging in the crackling winter
wind: UNION HOUSE, Est. 1853, A.
Wheelock, Prop.
“It’ll do,” he grunted.
Shortly after midnight, in the midst
of an early snowfall, a shingle was
hung outside the Union House. The
wooden placard was the type used by
traveling physicians, photographers
and other professionals, but with a
marked difference: this one was
adorned with an array of exotic symbols and calligraphy.
Three inches of wet snow fell before
the storm moved east, a fact which
invited little comment the following
morn. Certainly it was not a topic
among those who crowded the Union
House verandah, chattering and laughing over the strange shingle.
“Christmas is a time for gifts,” chortled town physician Dr. William
Kimball, who had paused en route to
his office. “But the gift of prophecy?
The only unsmiling face belonged to
Darius Bennett. He stood apart from
the rest, but near enough to read and
read again the words gleaming in the
sharp December sunlight:
Sees All! Hears All! Tells All!
Inquire Within
Early photo of the Union House. Courtesy of Margaret Carroll.
Few hotels on the Providence-toWorcester line compared to the Union
House. Owned by Austin Wheelock
and managed by Darius Bennett (formerly of the Uxbridge Central House),
the Union had already earned a fine
reputation in the three short months
since opening. All of the guest rooms
were well appointed, and those facing
south enjoyed a panoramic overlook of
the Blackstone River and Waterford
village. The hotel’s dining room regularly drew praise from local gourmands, who returned time and again,
often arriving by train to sample the
chef’s latest creations.
The hotel’s proximity to the railroad
depot made it a popular stop for all
manner of travelers. But even Darius
enough to light the hallway lamps and
be off to the kitchen in preparation for
the dinner hour. He collected the cash
box and started upstairs, where already
shadows had begun to gather …
they would be needing a room for several days at least, depending on business. Bennett mumbled something
about a room deposit but forgot it
almost instantly, so fascinated was he
by the creature before him. Madame
had an ageless face, round and pale but
for dabs of rouge on her cheeks and
lips. She wore her hair pinned back
and tucked under her hat, but a few
ringlets hung loose, each as black and
glossy as a Morgan colt.
The hat itself was a milliner’s miracle, trimmed and brimmed with the
plumage of no less than eight exotic
birds. And the jeweled brooch at her
neck! Bennett knew nothing about
gemstones, but he had little doubt that
the rubies and diamonds were real.
slipped past the front desk, so quietly
that Bennett would have missed him
had he not felt a blast of cold air from
the door. The hotel keeper glanced up
from his calculations just in time to see
the tall man duck outside. As the door
closed behind him, a phrase popped
into Bennett’s mind: Will-o’-the-wisp.
But surely Mr. Harris was not trying
to be stealthy, Bennett decided. It’s
simply his nature – like a cat. Would
that all the Union’s lodgers were as
fleet and light of foot. It’d go easier
on the carpets, that’s a fact. Why, if
people treated the property of others
half as decently as they did their own
Darius Bennett closed the books. A
sliver of good daylight remained, time
And Bennett had inquired, oh yes
indeed – the instant the morning cook
called the shingle to his attention. He
bounded up the stairs – no easy task
for a man who liked a little tobacco at
night – and though sorely winded proceeded along the hall till he reached
the Madame’s door.
He trembled with indignation. He
felt deceived. How dare they turn his
– that is, Mr. Wheelock’s – fine new
hotel into a gypsy camp.
He rapped loudly, hoping to catch
them asleep. Experience had taught
him that guests were most vulnerable
when jolted awake. But it was
Bennett’s turn to be caught off guard,
for the door swung open and there she
was, Madame Harris, dressed to the
nines. Bennett noticed the bed was
neatly made and a copy of the
Woonsocket Patriot lay folded on the
She arched a delicate eyebrow. “May
I help you, Mr. Bennett?”
“I sincerely hope so, Madame.”
He requested an interview with
continued on page 16
Page 6
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KEY TO MAP for Shops
1. Whipple House, Westboro
3. Pepperberry Cottage, Westboro
4. Farmstand Antiques, N Smithfield, R.I.
5. Jefferson Antiques, Jefferson (Holden)
6. Brickyard Place, Worcester
7.Old Stone Mill Antiques, Chepachet, RI
8. Country Bumpkins, Upton
9. Generations, Oxford
11. Douglas Flea Market/Golf, Douglas
Page 7
Grafton’s Grasp Lost to City Life
intellectual lifestyle which eventually
led to new sights and possibilities,
especially after an enlightening experience in San Francisco as his Naval
career ended.
After returning home, he pursued an
English degree at Harvard in 1950 followed by his M.A. at University of
Michigan in 1951 before finding his
way to New York City.
casually, in his spare time.
O’Hara became a key figure in the
postwar New York School of poets and
Frank O’Hara, a pianist, an artist, a
painters which included such artists as
curator for New York’s Museum of
Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Jasper
Modern Art is perhaps most relished
Johns, Larry Rivers and poets such as
for his “deceptively straightforward”
John Ashbery and James Schuyler.
poetry which speaks to the reader in a
O’Hara loved the culture and the opentruly compelling manner.
ness to experiment with life unlike the
Posthumous winner of the National
strict parameters he felt living in
Book Award for Poetry in 1972, this
Grafton, especially in the
talented poet grew up from
early 1940s with a large,
the age of one in Grafton,
extended family close by.
MA when his parents
“So we are taking off our
returned home to care for the
masks, are we, and keeping
family farm after a short
our mouths shut? as if we'd
stint in Baltimore. Relatives
been pierced by a glance!”
of this most respected poet
was a line in one poem.
still live in Grafton.
O’Hara made his love for
In June, the Worcester
city life very clear, visiting
County Poetry Association
Grafton and his family as an
held a Reading of Frank
adult as little as possible. "I
O’Hara’s poetry at the Main
can't even enjoy a blade of
Grafton Library on the quingrass," he once wrote,
tessential Grafton Common.
"unless I know there's a subYet, his work and life indiway handy, or a record store
cates his disfavor with the
or some other sign that peoquiet, rural life he had in
ple do not totally regret life."
Grafton. It is clear that he
He so eloquently, yet seemdid not gravitate to the farm
ingly casually, wrote about
as his brother Phil did, but
the details of daily urban life.
instead felt at home in the
David Lehman’s analysis in
center of New York culture
his 1998 “The Last Avantin the late 1940s - mid 1960s
Garde: The Making of the
until he faced an untimely
New York School of Poets”
death when he was hit by a
stated “it could be said that if
dune buggy on Fire Island
all that survived of 1959 was
in 1966 at the age of 40.
"The Day Lady Died," then
historians a century hence
O’Hara never fully intecould piece together the New
grated into hometown life,
The 1830 house on North Street in Grafton is where O’Hara spent his
childhood filled with years of practicing piano, reading, and studying. He York of that moment in the
graduating from St. John’s
spent time often isolated in his upstairs room, vividly described in Brad
same way that archaeologists
High School when it was
Gooch’s 1993 Biography, City Poet:The Life and Times of Frank O’Hara. can reconstruct a whole
located on Temple Street,
The book also describes some of his friends, the George Jordan Garage,
extinct species of dinosaur
Worcester. He then studied
St. Philip’s Church, Kittville and other notes of interest. There is a plaque
piano at the New England
commemorating Frank O’Hara’s life as an “American Poet” on the home. from a single fossil bone.”
O’Hara is best known for
Conservatory for three years
O’Hara became curator of oil painthis I-do-this, I-do that poems, 'Why I
before becoming a sonarsman on the
ings at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art am Not a Painter', and 'The Day Lady
destroyer USS Nicholas during World
and never expected his poems to be
Died’ which is a 24 line poem with
War II in the South Pacific.
taken seriously. He was the first to
only the last four speaking in elegy to
He initially missed his parents and
the gifted Billie Holliday when she
younger brother and sister dearly while bring modern American art to Europe
died in 1957 at the age of forty-four.
separated but he maintained a cultured, for an exhibit and wrote poems only
by Ellen Onorato
His simple words create a compelling
and memorable tribute, with complex
analysis of its layers, to the drugaddicted singer as he recalls.
“ I am sweating a lot by now
and thinking of leaning on the john
door in the 5 SPOT (a nightclub)
while she whispered a song along the
keyboard to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing”
The Grafton library, only a few hundred yards from his former family
home on North Street, drew around 14
people to their poetry reading, but if
one were to read his poetry, it is a sure
bet that you would relate to his poetry
easily, especially if an understanding
of the complex references were to be
understood. His tasteful and academic
approach to details of his life, his sensitivity to his subjects, the arts and his
friendships express an understanding
of life’s daily routine while also realizing its unchartered course.
Though he might not have “adored
the rural, isolated Grafton” the way the
rest of his extended family did, city
life allowed him to blossom into the
talent that he became in the world of
poetry and literature.
May we all be thankful he found a
way to New York City, though we are
proud to claim him as one of the
Blackstone Valley’s most gifted artists.
Page 8
“Welcome To A Little Piece of Heaven”
continued from page one
This seven member Civil War Band is the initiative
of retired small business owner and Civil War reenactor Ed Quigley, aka phinius, the Commander, of
Whitinsville, who decided to take this beautiful
music from the campfires of long ago to thousands
of avid listeners at summer concerts, assisted living
centers, memorial dedications, private functions, historical societies and special events. In fact, their talent and large following has even led to the production of three successful CDs for sale since their
inception in 2000.
The Heritage String Band takes a step back in time
to provide a stirring and
joyful musical tour
through the 19th century, including popular
ditties such as the
Yellow Rose of Texas,
Old Kentucky Home,
Whiskey Before
Breakfast and many others whose names one
might not recognize, but
whose tune would probably be very familiar.
Each performance creates an experience of
Americana, including a
brief background of the
song so that the audience develops a rich perspective
of America’s past through its rich music.
It’s not only the songs that endear. The seven
musicians, all of very varying backgrounds, dress in
period clothing with flags, lanterns and other 1800s
memorabilia. Their repertoire of instruments form
incredible harmonies using guitars, banjos, tambourines, accordion, tin whistle, spoons, fiddle,
washboard, jaws harp, bass fiddle and drums.
So who makes up this “little piece of Heaven”?
Always with a sparkle in his eyes, mischievious Ed
Quigley, also known as Sgt Papa, plays percussion
using the bass drum, Irish Bodhran drum, wood
spoons, tambourine. Ed also vocalizes and narrates
the musical tour of Americana “hits.”
Leo Normandin, aka Old Dog, is in his mid 80s
and plays the “the best harmonica” that Ed Quigley
and most others have ever heard! Though handicapped by a serious lung problem from working with
asbestos in his earlier years, Leo uses the harmonica
as therapy for breathing. He also excels in blue grass
and gospel music though he cannot read music at all!
Dan Donovan, aka Sgt Danno for his former years
as a MA state Police
drill instructor, joined
the Band six years
ago. He plays banjo,
guitar, washboard and
loves singing all types
of music. He also
belongs to Worcester
Men of Song and the
Irish “Jug of Punch”
band and got hooked
while re-enacting
around a Civil War
Jim McCrohon, a
retired Licensed
Clinical Social
Worker, also belongs to the “Jug of Punch” band that
has played steadily for 36 years at Clinton’s Old
Timer restaurant. He plays the 5 string banjo, accordion, tin whistle, bass pedals and sets up the sound
system while also searching out great, old tunes and
helping with their musical arrangement.
Bud Savoie, a practicing attorney from R.I., is an
old-time musician who plays fiddle, banjo, mandolin,
jaws harp and much more along with singing vocals.
A member since 2002, he also helps tremendously
Blackstone Daily News, Inc.,
a locally owned and operated
company publishing
Journeys &,
is always looking for writers,
advocates, hobbyists or historians who have a story, news,
issue, event or idea about the
Blackstone Valley to share.
~ 508-839-8885 ~
[email protected]
Your Premier Resource
What is a Bodhran Drum?
The bodhran is a traditional Irish Drum. Made from a
round wooden frame, with an animal skin stretched
over it, the bodhran resembles a large tambourine
with a fairly deep, somber sound but without any jingling parts. Bodhran means “deaf” in Irish. It is a folk
instrument that was originally beaten with one hand,
but eventually a cipin, a small beater, was used to
play the bodhran.
with finding and arranging some of America’s past
Ken Taylor joined the String Band in 2004 as an
outstanding Bluegrass bass and guitar player after
hearing them on the Northbridge Common, yet he
also has his own band, “The Blackstone Valley
Bluegrass Band” which has its own great following.
Cherrie Westcott from Upton, aka “Minnie “Pearl”
with her own straw hat and long gown delivers great
enthusiasm and emotion playing bass for the Band
since 2006. Her beaux, John, helps sets up the sound
for each performance.
For young ones or adults, this Band should not be
missed! Some of their summer concerts include:
8/5 West Boylston, MA, Town Common Concert, 6-8PM
8/11 Bellingham, MA, C G Farm Campground, 8-10PM
8/24-26 Brooklyn, CT, Brooklyn State Fair, Times vary
9/15 Leicester, MA, Harvest Fall Festival, 2-4 PM,
9/15 Lincoln, RI., Chase Farm Civil War Re-enactment
Dance, 8 PM
Take a look at their schedule online for more
details and events at
Alternatives' Whitin Mill
Artisan/Restaurant Space Available
Alternatives seeks tenants for their newly renovated Whitin Mill abutting the
Mumford River and Ring Shop Dam. This is an exciting opportunity to become
part of an important new project in the Blackstone Valley.
Spaces include a riverside restaurant, artisan/retail space in the historic Brick Mill.
and the historic Forge, a space that would be perfect for a glass blower or blacksmith. Square footage varies from 330sf to approximately 900sf for artisan space.
Restaurant space is 1300sf. For rates, additional information and a tour contact:
Tom Saupe or Phil Ingersoll-Mahoney at Alternatives (508) 234-6232.
Page 9
Valentine Whitman House
A Blackstone River
Valley Site to Behold
By Diane Marie Mariani
A house of generations, of distinct
eras of time, stands resolutely amidst
the lilac bushes and the shade of the
trees in a neighborhood of Great Road,
truly "one of the most historic and scenic roads in America" in Lincoln,
Rhode Island. This historic and nostalgic home is one of the last remaining
17th century homes in Rhode Island.
A classic “stone ender,” this aesthetic
“treasure of the Blackstone Valley” is
the Valentine Whitman House, circa
1694. It’s also referred to as “the
house that love maintained!”
If an outside wall of a home can be
considered stunning and moving, then
the Valentine Whitman House has such
an outside wall. It is impressive to see
as you happen upon this saved and
preserved stone ender with its original
construction unchanged. A "stone
ender" is a house with a style of architecture originated from England. One
whole side of the home is a stone
chimney! But, the Whitman House is
full of sights to behold inside as well!
Pat Choiniere, a resident of the town
of Lincoln, Rhode Island and the chairperson for Friends of the Valentine
Whitman, Jr. House, is also the caretaker of this inviting living museum.
Pat, in her 17th century dress guided
me on a personal tour of the house. I
was engaged in the history of the
house as we toured through ten rooms
and the attic. From the Great Room to
the attic, the enchanting home offered
such an authentic feel and look of life
so long ago. Not only is the Valentine
Whitman House one of the most
unique and interesting historic homes
that I have ever visited in all of New
England, it is the most endearing.
"Significantly, the house is not like
99% of the other living museums. It's a
genuine article. It's the real deal!"
asserted Pat. With eyes wide and passion in her voice, Pat shared more of
the significance of the great stone
Her interpretation is a transport to
an extraordinary past, prodding the
realization that history of great depth is
alive in Lincoln, RI, in the form of the
Valentine Whitman House! "Long
before the Civil War, before the
Revolutionary War, and pre-birth of
our country, people who were here,
were subjects of the King of England,
not America. There was no America!
Valentine Whitman residents were
always under the rule of the King of
England!" Pat revealed.
Presently, the exterior and grounds
of the house are being renovated.
Work should be done by mid-August
which prepares the house for the
future and for the public. To Pat
Choiniere, the renovations will allow
the house to become “ageless, to be
there long after yourself" for our future
generations. That is her ideal.
And so, there it stands, three hundred
and thirteen years after Valentine
Whitman Sr. bought approximately one
hundred and twenty-six acres of land,
in the North Woods. (The North
Woods is now any land north of
Rhode Island)
Leonard Barnes in 1825. It is thought
that renovations were made, which
split the house into tenements, during
the period that Harris owned the
Whitman House. It's also believed that
employees of the Lime Rock Company
were tenants.
The next owners of the house and
forty acres of the land surrounding it,
after Harris, were Sylvester Mowry
2nd and his wife Dorcas. But, in 1862,
Patrick Whalen and family purchased
the Valentine Whitman House and
resided, yes, actually lived in the
house, until 1990!
An era of time that remains distinct
in the house today is the 1950's style
kitchen, a renovation made in one
apartment to accommodate a Whalen
family member. Yet, an authentic spinning wheel of the Whalen household,
dating back to the 1860-70s still graces
a kitchen of the
house. And,
displayed in a
But, who
bedroom is an
was the man
who originally
Whalen wedowned this
ding dress
great stone
handmade in
1898. (As I
said, distinct
Whitman Sr.
eras of time are
was an Indian
all safely
interpreter and
tucked under
an acquainone roof!)
tance of Roger
Choiniere and
founder of the
the Friends of
State of Rhode
the Valentine
Photos courtesy of Irene Blais of Woonsocket
Island and
Whitman Jr.
Providence Plantations. And, Whitman House saved the house from being sold
didn't live in the Lincoln home, but in
to housing developers. Yet, sixteen
a lean-to on the property when he vishomes will be built on a portion of the
ited. His main residence was in
original acreage that was “the meadWarwick, Rhode Island.
In his will in 1701, Whitman Sr. left
The development of such a historic
fifty acres, on which the house stood,
site is disturbing to many in the
to his son, Valentine Whitman, Jr.
Blackstone River Valley. But, Pat
Whitman Sr. also gave his son sixty
expressed a few wishes to the developadditional acres, along with a sixteen
ers and they will be granted!
acre meadow. Choiniere asserts that
Developers are going to implement
this had to be an important "meadow", a thirty foot buffer on the site and will
since it has always been documented
hopefully maintain the stone wall.
distinctively throughout history. In the Foremost in her wishes, Pat asked
year 2000, this land was listed as the
when naming the two roads that will
number one piece of property in R.I. to forge through “the meadow,” may they
be preserved.
be named after the “man who first
Samuel B. Harris purchased the
farmed the land”. She was assured that
house and land from heirs David
the name Valentine Whitman will be
Part of stone-ender wall and author Mariani
implemented and immortalized in "the
While on the tour, fascinating stories came alive through Pat. A highlight of the house is the Great Room,
where in 1731, the organizational
meeting for the Town of Smithfield
was held. Townspeople, whose names
are now renowned, gathered n the
Great Room: Mowry, Aldrich,
Sprague, Arnold, Sayles, Steer, and
Comstock to name several.
Yes, to truly understand the meaning of "the house that love maintained"
you will have to visit the Valentine
Whitman House yourself. It is fascinating to think that just seventeen years
ago, a family still lived in this historic
dwelling. Quite intriguing! The
Whalen's maintained the structure and
the spirit of a gift that the Friends of
the Valentine Whitman Jr. House have
now given to the people of the
Blackstone River Valley and to our
It’s hard not to agree with Pat
Choiniere when she asserts, "I think
that this house was very well loved"!
Valentine Whitman House is located
at 1147 Great Road, Lincoln, Rhode
Island. It is listed on the National
Register of Historic Places, the Lime
Rock "Great Road" Historic District,
and recognized by the Library of
Congress as a Historic American
For information and hours to visit,
please call Friends of the Valentine
Whitman Jr. House (401) 334-2182 or
(401)333-1100. This historic home is
not be missed and did I mention
there’s a “secret” in the attic?
Page 10
A Forgotten Chapter
by Bob Haigis
Just about a year ago, Journeys published an article I penned on a little
remembered chapter in Massachusetts
history. The event had a monumental
impact on American history: It is
known today as Shays Rebellion.
In the abbreviated period of just six
months, a very small segment of the
Massachusetts population - mostly
farmers - staged a protest in defiance of
the unjust court system in this state.
Their actions were rooted in frustration,
anger and loss of faith in the government that many of them had just fought
to create.
To me, the similarities to the French
Revolution - if on a smaller scale were very obvious. The entire matter
was really the “have-nots against the
Near the end of my previous article, I
mentioned that the last battle of the
“war” was fought out in the Berkshires,
in Sheffield near the Egremont town
line. However, my sources for the
story just glossed over the event, and I
didn’t spend any more time researching
just what had happened there, even
though I was very curious.
I suspected that if I searched local
libraries and historical societies, I
might find more information on the
episode: my hunch was right. I recently revisited the area and I discovered a
gold mine of information on what
occurred during the last 24 hours or so
of the rebellion.
Interestingly, a connecting thread led
in another direction, and described an
event that was instrumental in the abolition of slavery in this State. In my
research, I also discovered that Shays’
followers wore a “green branch”
emblem on their person, to identify
them as his disciples. In contrast, citizens who actively opposed them wore
a piece of white paper or cloth.
I do have to note here, that even dealing with local sources, there was a considerable amount of conflicting data.
However, most accounts seem reasonably agreeable as to just what happened.
So, if you enjoyed my previous article, read on, and as Paul Harvey would
say: you will know “the rest of the
Principal among the reasons of the
swift demise of Shays rebellion was a
lack of unified leadership and discipline. That, accompanied with poor
communications and the incredible
winter weather, made for a losing campaign almost from the very beginning.
The insurgents spent much of their
time living out in the open, and subsisting on whatever fare they could
acquire. Such was the case in February
of 1787, immediately previous to the
skirmish at Sheffield.
Also, as occurs in every war, there
was a certain number of "disorderly
rabble" and opportunists that joined in
the fracas purely for personal gain.
These undesirables created an attitude
of disgust in many citizens that might
otherwise have supported the rebels.
Early in 1787, a contingent of about
ninety Shaysites led by Captain Perez
Hamlin (Shays himself had already fled
to Vermont on February 4th with his
family following a battle in Petersham)
had been lurking just over the border
from the Great Barrington area in New
York. They were waiting for the right
opportunity to return to Massachusetts
and strike towns in the area. Around
February 25, 1787, they decided that
the time had come.
Shortly before morning on February
27, the group arrived through the snow
in Stockbridge. Dispersing into
groups, the men fanned out through the
central part of the town to carry out a
plan of pillage and kidnapping.
Primary on the list of items to confiscate, was liquor of any kind, and this
was done with great efficiency. Before
the mob left Stockbridge, the tally of
mayhem was incredible. Some of the
members were so drunk that they were
left behind.
Over a dozen homes of prominent
citizens were invaded; anything of
value looted, and all the male occupants of the homes that were caught
were taken as hostages. It is at this
juncture that the story takes a strange
A strong force of soldiers scatters weary Shay rebels
Please understand at this point that it
is just a story, and although much of
what follows is documented (court
records, military, etc.), much is conjecture on the part of past authors, some
based on legend and folklore: thus
must be interpreted by the reader.
Two of the would be captives in the
raid were Judge Theodore Sedgwick of
Stockbridge and General John Ashley.
Sedgwick was a former citizen of
Sheffield. Ashley had received a commission as Colonel during the French
and Indian War, and was promoted to
General during the Revolutionary War.
He was now in charge of the local militia.
In 1772, Sedgwick, together with the
then Colonel Ashley, had been instrumental in designing the "Sheffield
Resolves," which was a protest against
British tyranny. Passed at a town meeting there in January of 1773, the paper
was drafted in an upstairs room in
Ashley's house. Essentially, the declaration was the forerunner of the
Philadelphia Declaration of
Independence of three years later.
Ashley was a resident of what is now
Ashley Falls and where his home still
stands. For some unknown reason, he
happened to be in Stockbridge the
night of the attack. A decorated and
respected veteran, he was detained, but
later released due to his war record. It
was a mistake the Shaysites would live
to regret, as he then made his way to
Sheffield to take charge of the militia,
and the result was a calamity to the
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Evidently Judge Sedgwick was away
from home at the time, but his family
and servants escaped due to the loyalty
and efforts of a friend and servant he
employed named Elizabeth Freeman.
Elizabeth was more than just a servant; she (along with her sister Lizzie)
was a former slave of John Ashley.
She was known then as Mumbet, and
was instrumental in abolishing slavery
in Massachusetts.
A few years previously, (the time
frame was prior to 1781, during the
formation of the Massachusetts
Constitution & Bill of Rights)
Theodore Sedgwick (then a local
lawyer) and John Ashley were close
friends, as it appears they were their
entire lives.
Closely allied with the political environment of the times, John Ashley
hosted heated and pointed discussions
at his home in Sheffield, often attended
by Sedgwick and another prominent
lawyer, Tapping Reeve. Primary on
the agenda at many of these gatherings
was the issue of the “rights and liberties of the individua.”
The very intelligent and attentive
Mumbet was privy to listen to these
debates in the performance of her
duties, and thus was exposed to a first
class education and insight into the law
of the land, which she readily
continued on page 18
Page 11
Apple orchards, scenic drives, art galleries,
paddling tours, history & heritage, festivals,
races, trails, shops, attractions, golf, good eats...
Your Online Guide to the Blackstone Valley
Page 12
UniBank Blackstone River Valley
Greenway Challenge Course Set
Register Now for the Valley’s Premier
Adventure Race!
Adventure Race Like No Other!
“The course changes every year and
part of our goal is to introduce particiThe course is
pants to new
set! The Steering
and different
and Logistics
parts of the
Committees of
the UniBank
River Valley,”
Challenge to be
held on Saturday,
September 29,
2007, are pleased
to have the
course in place.
Starting at the
“Last year, for
Rhode Island
Department of
cyclists and
paddlers saw
Burrillville, on
our west side,
Blackstone River Glenn Pransky, of Liberty Mutual, at the Plummers Landing
has to offer.
State Park Visitor transition site, the first canoe put in on the 2006 Greenway
This year we
Center located on Challenge Course.
have seven
RT 295 in Lincoln, RI and ending at
segments – three running, two padthe beautifully scenic Waters Farm in
dling and two cycling. As for where
Sutton, MA. The course will wind its
they go, well, wait and see.”
way through the Blackstone Valley
Pleased that UniBank has become
along a route very different from the
the event’s Title sponsor and with the
years before. Where participants go
continued support of the John H.
between the start and finish will be
Chafee Blackstone River Valley
anyone’s guess and that is why the
National Heritage Corridor
Greenway Challenge is … An
Commission, organizers are working
hard to bring other Trail
Blazers, Pace Setters
and Friends together to
support the multi-sport
event with its mission
that highlights the outdoor recreational
opportunities available
throughout the
Blackstone River
Starting Line of the 2006 Greenway Challenge Course in Worcester, MA
Adventure race parweeks before the event at the Captains
ticipants can register to compete in a
variety of divisions for individuals and Meetings that will be held on
September 12th at River Bend Farm in
teams. The Championship level, for
Uxbridge, MA and again on September
example, is for teams hoping to beat
13th at the Whitin Community Center
the time of last year’s first place team
in Whitinsville, MA both starting at
– Great Canadian Canoe & Kayak
7:00 p.m. Team captains and
Company. This year’s UniBank
Ironmen/Ironwomen will then be
Greenway Challenge will end with a
briefed on any final adjustments to the
Finish Line Celebration that includes
route and other issues.
delicious food, beverages, music by
The UniBank Greenway Challenge
the band True Gin and prizes for
Challenge teams and participants. “We organizers urge those thinking of participating to register early as registraare excited about our partnership with
tion closes September 1st. Brochures
our friends at Waters Farm,” Barbara
and registration forms can be found at
Dixon, Event Coordinator, said. “The
information kiosks at tourist destinavolunteers are wonderful to work with
tions, visitor centers and sponsoring
and it will be such a delight to show
sites around the valley. Registration
off the Farm and its amazing view of
forms are also available on line at
Lake Manchaug to the participants, For more
their friends and families.”
information, please call Barbara Dixon
The other segments of the course
at 401-762-0250 x-30.
will be divulged approximately two
Page 13
A Smattering of Events
For more festivals, classes, workshops, art exhibits,
performances, races, fundraisers, programs, go to:
Blackstone Valley
Paddlers - 8/14/07 6:15 pm
Lackey Dam, Whitinsville
Training Session - 8/23/07
TBA - see
Film Making in the Blackstone Valley
Film making in the Valley...of course! Blissful Meadows Golf Club’s beautiful
setting stuck in the mind of Third Date script writer Tom Henrickson when he
was deciding where to shoot the “wedding scene” of his movie, The Third
Date. On July 8, about a hundred production professionals, extras and actors
gathered in the “Chestnut Room” in the clubhouse, an 1880’s restored Victorian
barn listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Scene extras were owner
Gordon Bliss, nephew Shawn Bliss and golf pro Matt Griffith, among others.
Blissful Meadows 16th Annual Golf Tournament Fundraiser 9/14/07
This event offers great fun while local companies compete against
each other for the title of the best company golf team or “Company
Open Champion.” The winning team’s name is engraved on the
Company Open trophy displayed in Blissful Meadow’s lovely
Meadowview Tavern. All proceeds go to local schools and or Mark/Shauna at 508-278-6110
Blackstone Daily’s Contests
Summer Concerts
BV Community
Concert Band - 8/30/07
6:30 p.m. Soldier’s
Mem. Park, Millville,
MA. Rain Date - 9/6/07
Beatles Tribute Band The Jukebox 8/11
250th Waters Farm FunFilled Anniversary 8/11-12.
Two days of activities, fun,
food. ~
Dragonboat Races 9/8/07
Pawtucket Pier, Pawtucket.
401-724-2200 or visit, the Blackstone Valley’s premier website
for daily news, events and a guide to the BlackstoneValley is
pleased to partner with local business to offer some amazing fun
experiences - throughout the Blackstone River Valley - for free!
1. A Cruise for Two on the Blackstone River - Cruise along an
American Heritage River aboard the 49-passenger riverboat
Explorer. THUNDERMIST TOUR out of Woonsocket, RI from August 26 October 28. One-hour public tours are offered on Sundays at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, and
2. Free Mini-Golf at West End Creamery, Northbridge, MA - a beautiful new
mini-golf course right off Rte 146 near Purgatory Chasm. Ice cream, beautiful
scenery, hayrides, large deck, electric mini-train, too! Two pairs of tickets for free
rounds of mini-golf! Deadline: June 30, 2007
3. A Round of Golf for Four with cart at Blissful Meadows Golf Course in
Uxbridge, MA - an absolutely gorgeous, historic setting! $184. Value! Truly blissful, this course offers an historic silvermine, a wonderful pro and a large variety of
events, including clinics for women, found online
For last issue’s winners, go to
Instruction for Entries:
1. Mark your entry with which contest you are entering. Email your name, phone #, address to
[email protected] ~or~ send name, address, phone # and contest # to: Blackstone Daily
News,23 Fay Mtn Rd, Grafton, MA 01519 All Entry Deadlines: Postmark/Email 8/30/07.
Basket Making Program
9/8/07 at Willard House
and Clock Museum,
11 Willard Street, North
Grafton, MA(508) 839-3500
Apple Pie Festival on
Grafton’s quintessential
N.E. Common. Sunday,
9/30/07 from 12:00 Noon to
4:00 pm Sponsored by Grafton
Evangelical Congregational
Page 14
Page 15
by Jane Keown Oliver
I have been donating my blood in
the brambles for most of my life, and I
don't intend to give up berry-picking
anytime soon. I've always enjoyed
messy pastimes, and it doesn't get
much messier on a hot July day than
picking ripe raspberries or blackberries
in the berry patch or on the edge of an
old stone wall. I am an equal-opportunity picker, and will tackle wild or
domesticated varieties. Like many
others, I tend to think the wild varieties
taste a little sweeter, but I will give up
a little flavor to have some of my skin
left at the end of the day: wild berry
plants have many more thorns than
their domesticated cousins. If you like
black caps [black raspberries], however, you are going to have to grin and
bear it... even the cultivated varieties
have thorns.
The first raspberries I remember harvesting were located in the farthest
western acres of the farm. There was a
long row of wild berries that divided a
field which we used for hay back then,
and is now our ‘Christmas tree lot'. [I
harvest all the greens I use in my
wreaths in that spot.] Apparently my
brother and sister did not share my
enthusiasm for raspberries, as quite
often I made the trek there by myself,
often with a small thermos of lemonade, and I picked in solitude. I personally quite like solitude, and was content to go all by myself. One day
while I was picking I heard a pack of
dogs coming from the top of the
hill...probably all the way from
Wilkinsonville, which was less than a
mile away to the north. While I was
fairly timid of dogs in general, I was
more or less terrified of dog packs,
which used to be a common occurrence in the days before leash laws. I
didn't panic: I could tell I had at least a
minute before they would come over
the hill, discover me and perhaps try to
dismember me or..... Well, I refused to
lose my berries, so I placed the basket
down in the shade of a low-hanging
berry branch. Then I did what any
able-bodied American girl would do to
save her life: I climbed into the center
of the bramble patch, just like Brer
Rabbit! A thundering herd of seven or
eight dogs came rushing past, not more
than five feet from my hiding place.
The leader was a beagle, with a couple
of German shepherds close behind, and
five or six assorted mixed-breeds
bringing up the rear. They never even
paused to look for me. My relief was
palpable, but was tempered by knowing that getting out of the brambles
would be a lot harder than getting in
had been. Once accomplished, I
picked up my berries and hurried back
to the house, where I would bathe my
wounds in cold barrel water and
recount my bravery to my mother. As
I remember, she was quite amused.
Even now, decades later, I remain as
alert as I can when I'm out picking
berries, as you never know what is
going to happen. Back in the days
before my brother sold his farm on
Dodge Road I used to pick a huge
blackberry patch for him. [I really am
a nut for picking berries.] Those did
have thorns [our current domesticated
blackberries are thornless], but I got
pretty adept at avoiding being stabbed.
One thing I could never seem to avoid
was finding the ground hornet
nests...or should I say, they would find
me! One minute I would be blissfully
picking, and the next, an excruciating
pain would be radiating from my thigh
to the very split ends on my hair. The
spot of the nest would be marked by a
dropped box of blackberries, and I
would head home to put a baking soda
salve on my sting, and wonder just
how many days the leg would be
swollen and aching this time. My
brother was in charge of dispatching
the nest. This year my son and I were
out picking on opposite sides of a rasp-
berry row when I spotted a paper wasp
nest about five feet up and right in the
middle of the row. I called him over
and showed it to him, but then we
were both on our own to remember
where it was located. At least in the
case of this nest, we only had one adult
to contend with, not an army of angry
hornets. But a word to the wise from
an old bramble picker: remain vigilant!
While raspberries and black caps
start in early July, blackberries don't
come along until late July and August,
so you really can spend a summer in
the sun with red or purple finger tips.
With the advent of the ever-bearing
raspberry varieties [Heritage being the
oldest and still the favorite of this type
of plant], you really can pick raspberries until the frost. While I like raspberries well enough to eat them at any
time of year, there is something about
popping one into your mouth on a hot
day in July that can't be beaten. Warm
fruit tastes the best, or so I think, and a
juicy berry is just about the best there
is [unless you're out picking peaches
and share a half, eaten inside out, with
your picking partner....but that's another story for another day!] Silly thing is,
once picked we rush the berries into
the refrigerator, as cooling them down
helps them keep longer. But no one
says you can't bring a box of berries
home and leave it on the counter until
it warms up to the temperature of the
day: a taste of summer.
It's raining right now, which is why
I'm writing this and not out picking
berries [store a wet berry and you'll
have a box of fuzz.] But as soon as the
plants dry tomorrow, I'll be back in the
brambles, probably alone, listening and
sampling, and enjoying a quintessential
summer experience. Can't wait!
Page 16
Mister Harris, indicating that the
woman’s husband should join him in
the hall. The Madame gently apologized, explaining that her husband had
embarked on an early morning business call. Might she be of help in his
The hotel keeper hesitated. He preferred not to be brusque with a woman.
“It’s about your … practice,” he began.
She smiled. “I know.”
“You do? Oh yes, of course,” he
said drolly. “Your ‘second sight’ alerted you, I suppose?”
“No,” she said. “The look on your
“Then I won’t mince words,”
Bennett snapped. “The Union House
is a first rate establishment. I cannot
stand by while you sully our good
name with your irreligious hoo-doo.”
“Do you mean my clairvoyance?”
“You misjudge me,” she said, lowering her eyes as though wounded. “My
‘talents’ are an innocent diversion. A
parlor game, really.”
“For which you accept money,” said
She shrugged. “A token sum.”
“But money nonetheless.”
“Yes, Mr. Bennett,” she said coolly.
“I accept contributions. It’s part of the
mystique. If my patrons wanted free
advice, they would seek out family
members, friends … In coming to me,
they are allowing themselves a personal indulgence – a guilty pleasure, if
you will. Paying for the experience
confirms that it is special.”
“It’s ungodly is what it is! And during the Christmas season!”
“Mr. Bennett,” she sighed. “We live
in enlightened times. No one truly
believes I can predict the future. Do
you believe I possess that power?”
“No,” he said staunchly. “I do not.”
“Then I am harmless,” she laughed,
“to both you and God.”
Bennett squirmed. Something had
gone woefully awry, for he couldn’t
refute her logic. His resolve fled, and
every instinct urged him to follow.
The battle was lost; time to retreat. He
backed away, stammering a garbled
excuse about the front desk being unattended.
Downstairs, he burst onto the verandah, infuriated to find a crowd still
milling about and making sport of the
fortune teller’s sign. The hypocrites!
Bennett knew he would see the same
faces later on, queued up outside the
I find a husband, Madame?’ ‘Will I
become rich?’ ‘Will I regain my
health?’ It’s pitiful, Doc. Some wait
better than an hour for an audience
with her. Bridey Johnson’s up there
right now.”
The physician lit his pipe and puffed
contentedly. The fragrant smoke wafted across the hotel foyer. “Soothsayers
are as old as the Bible, Darius. Did
Madame’s door, money in hand.
And there wasn’t a thing he could do
about it!
not Saul entreat the Witch of Endor to
raise the ghost of Samuel, so that he
might seek advice?”
“Aye,” said Bennett. “Saul did. But
he also ran all mediums and fortune
tellers out of the land.”
“I have oft wondered,” said the doctor, “why they are not called fortune
sellers. It seems more to the point,
don’t you think? Your guest, the
Madame, must be turning a hefty profit.”
“Oh yes,” Bennett exclaimed. “And
her stock in trade is false assurances!
Fantasies! Lies!”
Dr. Kimball glanced at the expectant
faces across the foyer, then leaned forward so that his words were restricted
“Really, Darius,” said Dr. Kimball,
tapping the bowl of his pipe on the
Union House’s front desk. “I don’t
understand why this Madame So-andSo makes you so upset. She’s a humbug. She told you so herself.”
“Not to them,” Bennett replied, gesturing at the people lined up like
acolytes in the hotel stairwell. “They
think she’s Fate’s own messenger.
‘How long will I live, Madame?’ ‘Will
to the hotel manager’s ears.
“Lower your voice, my friend. You
can’t deny that the Madame is drawing
people to the Union House, many of
whom might pass it by otherwise; certainly she’s more popular than that
traveling dentist who was here some
weeks ago.”
“What are you suggesting?”
“Only that you look to your own
future. Surely your employer must be
pleased by the free publicity his new
hotel is receiving.”
“Mr. Wheelock is in Hartford these
few weeks,” Bennett admitted, with a
note of gratitude in his voice. “The
Harrises will be just a memory by the
time he returns.”
“He’s bound to hear.”
“Yes, but from my lips first.”
The doctor tried to suppress a grin.
“Oh no!” Bennett gasped, horror
dawning on his face. “You can’t! We
are friends. Doc, please –“
“I have a civic obligation, Darius,”
Kimball said. “You know that.”
For some time now, Dr. Kimball had
been moonlighting as the Blackstone
correspondent for the Woonsocket
Patriot. His dispatches appeared each
week in the newspaper, reporting on
town matters from serious to sundry.
“Yes, yes, your sacred duty. But if
word of this is published in The
Patriot, what’s to prevent newspapers
in Providence, Boston or Hartford
from copying it? What’s to stop Mr.
Wheelock from seeing it?”
“Nothing, I suppose. But if it’s any
consolation, in my brief tenure with
The Patriot, I’ve yet to have a single
item of mine copied by an editor outside the Blackstone Valley.”
“Yet,” Bennett grumbled.
“Oh come now,” Dr. Kimball reassured him. “My mentioning Madame
Harris won’t amount to a hill of beans.
From what you’ve told me, her predictions are of an innocent character.
She hasn’t forecast death or ruin for
anyone, has she?”
“Thus far, no,” said Bennett, “unless,
of course, she has tried to divine my
fate, in which case both outcomes must
continued on page 22
Page 17
Get Started...You Can Do It!
by Ed Downes
1. Drink More Water
On September 5, 2007, at the
Blackstone National Golf Club, Sutton,
five leading Valley health, fitness and
personal care professionals will deliver
the seminar “How To Reclaim Your
Health Before the End of 2007” as a
community awareness and fundraising
event for the Make A Wish
2. Mind Your Carbs
Starting a weight management program can be overwhelming and frustrating. There are so many aspects to
consider. There are so many questions
running through your head. There are
so many myths that need busting.
Some people never get their program
off the ground because they just don't
know where to start. One of the reasons my clients are so successful, is
that we provide them with a Quick
Start Plan of Action. If you ask an
expert, what is the most challenging
part about starting a weight management program, nine times out of ten,
you will hear, "getting started". So,
let's look at some of these challenges.
First of all, you want to get fit. You
can remember a time in your life when
you were at your best fitness level
ever. It could be last year; it could be
10 years ago. But you long for that
feeling again. You have let yourself go,
maybe you were too busy, maybe you
had health problems, maybe you were
just plain lazy. What ever the reason,
here you are, reading my words.
So let's break things down into
smaller concepts, a 7 step list if you
will to weight management. I will
briefly touch on each topic to keep it
simple. These are the same concepts
that make our clients as successful as
seen by our numerous testimonials on
the RenuBody website, also giving
much more information on these topics, too.
3. Eat More Protein
4. Get Smart About Fat
about the size of a deck of cards.
Protein is the basic building block for
all of your muscles and vital to a
weight management. If are cutting
back on carbs, you have to make up
the calories somewhere, so that leaves
fat and protein. Protein is the better
5. Walk 30-40 Minutes 5-6 Days
Per Week
6. Work Your Muscles 3 Days
Per Week
7. Talk to an Expert
1. Drink More Water: Well you have
heard this one before. "Drink 8-10
glasses of water per day". This is so
very important for weight management. Water is the universal solvent.
Our bodies are made up of mostly
water. Our body is like a giant chemistry set, constantly producing all kinds
of chemicals to do everything from
thinking to walking to sleeping. So if
you do not drink enough water, your
body will not function properly. Did
you know that if you are properly
hydrated with water, you will lose
weight a lot quicker, yup!
2. Mind Your Carbs: Ok, the carb
thing… Where do I start! I know you
have heard the concept of cutting
carbs; it is the premise behind diets
like Zone or Atkins. Carb cutting is a
great concept but ONLY if you do it
right. For weight management you
need to understand that there are "good
carbs" and there are "bad carbs." Good
carbs are fibrous in nature, basically all
of the green stuff that you might put on
a salad. If it grew in the ground,
chances are it is going to be a "good
carb". The bad carbs are anything
processed. By processed, I mean it is
not in any kind of natural state, it has
been chemically modified, preserved,
enhanced, etc.
3. Eat More Lean Protein:
You should strive to eat 56 servings of "clean and
lean" protein each day.
When I say serving, I am
talking about a portion
4. Get Smart About Fat: Over the past
25 years, people have been trained to
hate fat. Because they were told that
fat will make them fat. So, why is
everybody fatter than ever? Fat is
essential to your body in many ways
and not all fats are created equal.
There are "good fats" and there are
"bad fats". Good fats include what are
called essential fatty acids or EFA.
These fats are vital to your body function, brain function, immune system,
and on and on. The only problem is
that your body cannot produce EFA's,
so they have to come from your diet.
Now, the "bad fats" are saturated or
hydrogenated fats, basically fats that
harden at room temperature or have
been chemically modified to stay hard
at room temperature. Here is an important concept for weight management:
did you know that you will drop body
fat faster if you include the right kinds
of fats into your diet?
5. Walk 30-40 Minutes 5-6 Days per
Week: People always ask me "Ed,
what is the best form of cardio to lose
weight?" I reply, "which ever one you
will stick to over time." What I mean
is that cardio has to be a regular part of
your fitness lifestyle. Now, there are
different ways to do cardio but that is a
lengthy topic in itself. I tell my clients,
just get out and walk. Put on some
comfortable shoes, and get off your
butt. I am a big believer in walking 40
minutes first thing in the morning 6
days a week. I truly believe that is the
most effective for weight management,
but do it whenever you can make the
6. Work Your Muscles 3 Days Per
Week: Your muscles are your metabolism. Meaning, in simple terms, that
when you move you burn calories and
calories burned equates to metabolism.
So, if you improve the quality of your
muscles, making them harder and
denser and in some cases larger, you
are improving your body's ability to
burn calories. The best way to exercise
your muscles is through resistance
training. We notice that the weight
management clients that make resistance training a regular part of their fitness lifestyle reach their goal significantly faster and in most cases have
gone further than their original goals.
7. Talk to an Expert: I think an important first step in kicking off a successful weight management program is to
talk to an expert or a personal trainer
"PT." This person should be able to
discuss your goals with you and talk
about your health and family history.
The next step should be a fitness
assessment by taking some important
baseline metrics, blood pressure, pulse,
weight, body composition, tape measurements, and an assessment of your
energy levels and sleep habits. These
metrics are vital to tracking progress
and success but also troubleshooting
and modifying a program as needed.
And that's just the beginning; your PT
will then guide you through the
process of getting fit. You will learn
how to eat, how to exercise for optimum results. You will learn to work
I hope that you found this information
useful. There is so much information
out there on each topic; it is impossible
to put it all into just one article. More
detailed articles for each of the topics
discussed are available online to read
and share with your friends and family.
If you have any questions or just need
a little motivation, feel free to call or
email me and I would love to help you
reach your weight management goals!
Yours in health,
Ed Downes - AFPA Certified Personal
Trainer, RenuBody Fitness & Personal
877-608-BODY [email protected]
Page 18
A Forgotten Chapter,
Not long after the Bill of Rights
was adopted, it appears that Mistress
Ashley, in a rage over something
Mumbet's sister had done, attempted
to strike the girl. Mumbet intervened
and suffered the blow herself. In fear
and anger, Mumbet left and went to
the home of Sedgwick, where she
sought asylum.
When things calmed down,
Mumbet approached then lawyer
Sedgwick, and pleaded with him to
seek her freedom under the recently
adopted Massachusetts Constitution
and Bill of Rights.
One can just imagine the look on
Mr. Sedgwick's face at the request,
and he evidently dismissed it without
much consideration. However, being
what must have been a most honest
and sympathetic man, he apparently
studied the wording of the documents
closely, and realized that the request
was not so far fetched after all.
It appears that the State, in using the
language it did in the Constitution,
had without realizing it, freed its
slaves. To that end, in August of
1781 Sedgwick - along with his friend
Tapping Reeve - petitioned the Great
Barrington County Court of Common
Pleas to free Mumbet and another
slave called Brom.
To the astonishment of the legal
community and all slave holders in
the state, not only did the court agree
with the petition, but ordered Mr.
Ashley to pay Mumbet wages from
her twenty-first birthday. Mr. Ashley
declined to appeal.
Mumbet, in everlasting gratitude,
moved to Sedgwick's residence where
she adopted the name of Elizabeth
Freeman, (also called Betty) and took
on the role of "beloved friend and
helper". She lived there for the rest of
her life, and was buried in the family
plot in Stockbridge. By 1790, all
slaves in Massachusetts had been set
And now, fast forward back to that
night of terror in February of 1787
along the Hartford/Albany Turnpike.
Word of the raid reached the residence of the now Judge Sedgwick,
and Elizabeth urged the family members into hiding. It appears her
thoughts were that not even a band of
drunken scoundrels would harm a
black female servant: her theory
proved true.
Before they arrived, she hid the
family silver in her own personal
chest, and other valuables and papers
throughout the house, and elsewhere.
On their arrival, evidently Betty went
between Stockbridge and Great
Barrington, a distance of around
seven miles.
On arrival, the first two places they
visited were the public house and the
town jail. The first to obtain additional refreshments to bolster their
courage: the second to see if it was
big enough to hold their prisoners.
They turned out all the present inhabitants of the jail, left some of their
own captives in their place, and headed south with the remainder and a few
more from Great Barrington.
There is some confusion in the
Sedgewick House
so far as to belittle the invaders, and
to threaten them if they so much as
touched anything in the house. They
did however steal a horse much loved
by the family.
By the time the now fairly intoxicated mob left Stockbridge and headed for Great Barrington, riders had
dispersed in all directions to warn surrounding towns of the coming threat.
Even so, it appears that no strategic
action had been taken south of
Stockbridge. It took time to assemble
the local militias.
Forcing the captives before them
(evidently the entire company was on
foot) the prisoners were forced to
carry much of the booty. Given the
time frames, it couldn't have taken the
"army" long to cover the ground
accounts of just what happened at this
point, but there seems no doubt that
by now, General Ashley having
arrived in Sheffield, had mobilized
the militia there, and was preparing to
encounter the mob. They headed
north on the highway, expecting to
intercept them coming south.
It appears that all participants in
the drama were initially using the
Turnpike, which is now Rte. 7. At
some point, Hamlin and his gang of
marauders left the roadway, and headed for Egremont, attempting to return
to New York.
Hearing that the Shaysites had
headed towards S. Egremont, and
fearing they would either escape to
New York or next invade Sheffield,
Ashley's militia turned west off the
turnpike, and cut over to the Old
Egremont Rd.
Just below the S. Egremont /
Sheffield town line, the dissenters
crossed the bridge over the Goodale
Brook, and coming around a curve in
the snow-covered road, were confronted by Ashley's militia.
The group, reinforced with a contingent of forty men from G. Barrington,
had expropriated enough sleighs to
quickly transport the group of some
ninety members of wide-awake and
determined militia.
Accounts of the battle indicate that
it was short lived: it isn't hard to
understand why. Both the militia and
the insurgents were of roughly the
same number, but Hamlin's men, having been up all night marching,
marauding and imbibing were in no
shape to fight a battle.
Historians indicate that in around
six minutes the fight was over, and
two men on both sides had drawn
their last breaths, with a third rebel to
follow shortly. It seems that around
fifty of the mutineers were captured
(accounts vary) with the rest escaping
into the snow-covered countryside.
Among those seized was Captain
Hamlin, who was also wounded.
Ironically, the prisoners were taken to
the jail in Great Barrington. It is
recorded that the entourage of sleighs
and marching men was a mile long.
Based on what the insurgents had
done in the previous twenty-four or so
hours, it seems logical to assume that
they wouldn't get much sympathy
from the residents in the area. It isn't
difficult to imagine what a painful
and lonely end many of them must
have experienced in the bitter cold
and snow, with no food or shelter.
From descriptions in some of the
information referenced, it appears that
the landscape today resembles pretty
much what it looked like two hundred
and twenty years ago, although one
has to remember that it WAS two
hundred and twenty years ago.
continued on page 20
Flexible Hours, Moms and Retirees welcome.
Community oriented, good communication skills.
Journeys Advertising Dept.
Call Ellen 508-839-8885 or email
[email protected]
For a BIG Event
Coming to the Valley
in early October...
check online in early
September or the
next issue of
Page 19
Patriots Take An Aggressive Stance
The NFL offseason has been
extraordinarily busy for the Patriots'
Head Coach Bill Belichick and the
Vice President of Player Personnel
Scott Pioli. In years past, these men
have normally been advocates of a
patient "wait and see approach" with
free agents and other available players,
so this offseason has to be considered
unique. The Patriots addressed all
needs in an unusually aggressive manner.
Wide Receiver Wes Welker has for
years been a favorite of many pro
scouts despite being largely overlooked by the media. This is a player
who holds multiple NCAA Division 1
receiving records for what he accomplished at Texas Tech. Tech does play
the spread offense and seems to be
able to "plug players into the system"
and succeed, but no players have ever
accomplished quite what Wes was able
to in that spot. His ability to run precise routes and get open using his
intelligence makes him a truly special
addition to the team. Expect Welker to
find a role as the inside slot receiver,
where he can be effective using his
agility, quickness and hands in tight
areas. Another extremely valuable
asset that he brings is that he is also a
very solid kick and punt returner, often
using his superior "vision" to find the
seam in the defense.
Wide Receiver Donte Stallworth is a
different kind of player from what you
may be used to seeing. You want
speed? This kid has got it for you. An
explosive receiver drafted out of the
University of Tennessee, Stallworth
has had a somewhat inconsistent NFL
career. Still though, Patriots' brass
thought he was worth the 6 year, $33
million deal they gave him. Although
he has never eclipsed 1000 yards in
any of his first 5 seasons, he has rarely
had a legitimate quarterback due to his
time with the Saints. Last season, he
had over 700 yards in the 12 games in
which he was active. He averaged an
astounding 19.1 yards per catch and he
will truly bring a dimension to the
Patriots' offense that didn't exist last
The Patriots also signed WR Kelley
Washington to a 5 year deal. This deal
The Boston Celtics: A Step Forward
The Boston Celtics suffered through
one of their worst seasons in team history last year when they had a dreadful
record of 24 wins and 58 losses, but
Celtics Captain Paul Pierce is ready to
team up with new shooting guard Ray
Allen and potential all star, big man Al
Jefferson to make a push for the playoffs. The Celtics have the most storied
franchise in NBA history with 16 NBA
Championships in the rafters.
With the passing of Arnold "Red"
Auerbach and Dennis Johnson, things
couldn’t have been any worse for the
Celtics this year. Season ending
injuries to Paul Pierce, Wally
Szczerbiak, and Tony Allen shut down
the Celtics hopes of a playoff run in
the 2006-2007 season. Celtics fans
tried to stay positive as they were
hopeful to get a top pick in the June
player entry draft. The draft featured
two surefire future superstars in Ohio
State’s 7’0 Center Greg Oden and
University of Texas freshman NCAA
player of the year Kevin Durant.
Somehow, the Celtics ended up
with the 5th pick and would have to
focus on a new strategy for the draft as
Greg Oden made his way to Portland
to join the Trailblazers with the first
pick and Kevin Durant made his way
to Seattle with the second pick.
With Paul Pierce urging management to get him immediate help, the
Celtics GM Danny Ainge worked the
phones for weeks leading up to the
draft as he tried to trade for Kevin
Garnett and Shawn Marion. Neither of
the discussed deals were finalized and
time was running out before the
Celtics had to make their pick on June
28th. When Seattle came calling, the
Celtics listened eagerly. The proposed
deal that was offered to Danny Ainge
was Robert Swift, a center recovering
from an ACL injury which he had suffered in the first game of last season,
Ray Allen, and the 35th pick in the
draft for Rajon Rondo, Theo Ratliff
and the number 5 pick. Danny Ainge
showed some brilliance by instead
sending Delonte West, Wally
Szczerbiak and the number 5 pick for
Ray Allen and the 35th pick which
turned in to Glen "Big Baby" Davis
from LSU.
This was quite possibly the best
trade Danny Ainge has made while
working for the Celtics. He was able
to unload Wally Szczerbiak’s contract
and hang on to young point guard
Rajon Rondo who is expected to start
this season for the Celtics. By throwing Szczerbiak into the deal instead of
Theo Ratliff, the Celtics have a valuable trading asset with Ratliff’s expiring contract and the ability to have
some cap relief next season. Ainge also
addressed Paul Pierce’s request of having another veteran to play with. This
will keep Pierce in Boston for years to
come and the former University of
Connecticut star Ray Allen has been
waiting for his turn to wear Celtic
green and white. The Celtics also
added Gabriel Pruitt from USC to the
team when they selected him 32nd
The Boston Celtics have a team
with a strong nucleus that needs some
front court help and some veteran leadership at the point guard position. If Al
Jefferson, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen
can stay healthy and develop good
chemistry early in the season then the
Celtics could win 40-45 games in an
extremely weak Eastern Conference.
The starting five will also include
Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo
with the key bench players being Ryan
Gomes, Gerald Green and Sebastian
Telfair. Leon Powe and Glen Davis
by Chris Onorato
is worth a maximum of $22 million if
he plays the full 5 years in New
England. Washington, who left the
University of Tennessee early to enter
the NFL, has been injury prone in his 4
year NFL career, but in college he was
called "The Future" because he has
Terrell Owens-like size and speed.
That said, he has some "character"
questions that he'll have to improve
upon. It’s a good signing with a minimal risk in my view.
To add even more help for Tom
Brady, the Patriots picked up potential
all-pro WR Randy Moss. Moss is
blessed with exceptional physical
attributes that are among the best in
the history of the league. Early in his
continued on page 20
by Dan Onorato
impressed in the Las Vegas summer
league, but their roles for the upcoming season are uncertain as of now.
Expect one more big move by all
star break from Danny Ainge as he has
continued exploring trade possibilities
and could bring in a quality veteran
player in exchange for Theo Ratliff’s
expiring contract and a valuable young
talent like Gerald Green. The Celtics
aren’t where fans would hope they
would be when they started the
rebuilding process. But with the addition of Ray Allen, they made the right
step forward. Ray Allen is a leader and
a true professional. Allen possesses
perhaps the most deadly jumpshot in
the league today and will help the
younger players learn the game and
News just came forward of the
superb Kevin Garnett’s pending trade.
For updates, check our sports forum.
What are your thoughts for local or
pro sports teams? Share your comments on Blackstone daily’s sports
forums. Go to and click on
forums. Read or post daily.....
For All Your Business or Sporting
Page 20
A Forgotten Chapter,
What is considered factual is that the
wording of the U.S. Constitution and
Bill of Rights was rephrased due to the
blood lost here on Feb. 27th, 1787, and
at the other clashes during Shays
Rebellion, particularly at the
Springfield Armory.
As a footnote to all this turmoil,
many of those involved went on to
become renowned citizens of their
State and Country. For example,
Theodore Sedgwick became a member
of the Continental Congress; the first
Federal House of Representatives and
the fifth Speaker of that body in 1799;
and he served in the U.S. Senate. In
addition, in 1802 he was appointed to
the bench of the Mass. Supreme
Court. And of course another principal
in all this eighteenth century drama
was Mumbet. She must have been a
most remarkable and certainly influential person; so outstanding that on her
four-foot high grave marker a special
epitaph was placed. It was authored
by a member of the Sedgwick family,
Charles Sedgwick.
She is interred in Stockbridge not
twenty feet from the man who set her
free and whom she served so loyally.
Below her name and date of death
The Pats,
(Dec. 28, 1829) it reads:
"Her supposed age was 85 Years.
She was born a slave and remained a
slave for nearly thirty years. She
could neither read nor write; yet in her
own sphere she had no superior or
equal. She neither wasted time nor
property. She never violated a trust,
nor failed to perform a duty. In every
situation of domestic trial, she was the
most efficient helper, and the tenderest
friend. Good Mother, farewell."
Bibliography for this article includes
the following.
The Berkshire Eagle
Stockbridge - Past & Present
by Electa Jones
Sheffield - Frontier Town
by Lillian E. Treiss
Various articles provided by the
S. Egremont Library and the
Stockbridge Library Association.
Select on line sites.
I also wish to thank personnel at these
two above facilities that assisted me in
procuring information for this article.
[email protected]
continued from page 19
career, many talent evaluators even felt
that if he kept out of trouble, he could
become one of the best receivers in the
history of the game. Unfortunately, the
past two seasons in Oakland have been
rough as Randy struggled on and off
the field in the losing environment.
The Patriots believe that a winning
environment will help Randy return to
pro-bowl form. Moss agrees. In his
first conference call as a Patriot, the
"Freak", as he is often referred to, proclaimed that "The Moss of old is
Outside Linebacker Adalius Thomas
is a great player, and he was arguably
the #1 available free agent. He should
fit into this defensive scheme perfectly
with his outstanding versatility. A 6’4”
270 pound beast who can move with
the best of them, he will be like a more
athletic Willie McGinest. Willie was
never great in coverage and that is
where Adalius truly shines. In the NFL
(on the Ravens), the 29 year old had
basically played every position in the
front 7, and he actually lined up at
defensive back against a few of the top
receivers of the NFL (he lined up in
front of Bengals star Chad Johnson
before he drove Johnson 15 yards into
the sidelines).
Other offseason changes that deserve
mention are the pickups of CB Tory
James from the Bengals, who is important if Asante Samuel misses time due
to contract disputes. The Patriots were
also lucky enough to draft Miami
Hurricane Safety Brandon
Merriweather with their first round
pick. Merriweather should provide
insurance if Rodney Harrison can't stay
healthy, and he also provides value
because he can play any position in the
defensive backfield.
Please support our advertisers. They not only support
Journeys but also have fresh &
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wonderful customer service.
Overall, it has been a refreshing
offseason for the Patriots and their
fans. They got so far last season only
to be disappointed in the final
moments of the AFC Championship
game. If there was anyone questioning
the desire to win by the front office
and ownership, their questions should
be answered by the unusually aggressive offseason.
With all the new additions, and only
a few departures (Daniel Graham), the
Patriots have to be considered frontrunners to take home the Lombardi
trophy after February's Superbowl.
Page 21
Finding a Kayak Guide,
Itinerary or Rental
Nearly everyone who has experienced the unparalleled kayaking or
canoeing adventures on the rivers
(Blackstone, Mumford, West) or ponds
in the Blackstone River Valley mention
its surprises and incredible intrigue.
Many others have an interest but are
not quite sure how to get started or
whom to ask for advice.
There are three main local vendors
that rent kayaks and canoes and can
also offer itinerary and access advice
or even guide you on a tour and point
out areas of caution as well as areas to
Two of these experts are located in
the MA side of the Valley and the
third, who graciously led one of
Journeys writers on a fascinating tour
in early July (see page 23) is from
Blackstone Valley Outfitters in
Cumberland, R.I. All have long had
the interest and passion for the river
and can certainly steer a novice in the
right direction.
The three shops, all with related
gear as well as rentals are:
Hans Berg and staff at Great Canadian,
Rte 146, Sutton, MA 508-865-0010 Great
Canadian provides classes, tours and
many rentals, including kayaks for the
Blackstone Valley Paddling club,
another great resource for group paddling and novice training sessions held
throughout the Blackstone Valley.
Another longtime resource is Fin and
Feather Sports who also provides
kayak rentals at Upton’s town beach
and hosts the Annual Fishing Derby for
Youth. Owner Jeff Leclaire can direct
you to access points along the river as
well as area ponds, too. 508-529-3901
Train Service,
service to and from Woonsocket.
Three different routes were studied.
Woonsocket to Boston, Woonsocket to
Providence, and Woonsocket to
Worcester. The $50,000 study, funded
by State of Rhode Island Statewide
Planning Program grant monies, was a
year in the works. Three public study
meetings drew a surprising number of
participants from the Blackstone
Valley towns in Massachusetts - the
result of a superior outreach and public
information program conducted by the
Woonsocket City Planner, Catherine
Ady. Douglas Selectmen Paula
Brouillette represented the “Four Town
Selectmen’s” working group of Sutton,
Uxbridge, Douglas and Northbridge.
The towns of Grafton, Blackstone and
Millville, along with staff from the
Blackstone River Valley National
Heritage Corridor and the Central
Massachusetts Regional Planning
Commission (CMRPC) were represented at public sessions held during
the study.
Consultant David Nelson from
Jacobs Edwards and Kelcey in
Providence recommended that a direct
Woonsocket to Boston connection to
the existing MBTA passenger line at
Franklin not be considered because of
the projected cost of rebuilding the rail
line and environmental and property
ownership concerns. The study did
find an alternative to get Woonsocket
residents to Boston - by upgrading the
Providence and Worcester rail line
from Woonsocket to Pawtucket, where
studies are ongoing about establishing
an MBTA train stop at or near the historic Central Falls - Pawtucket railroad
The P & W line goes directly underneath the old New Haven railroad passenger station and would allow
southerly bound Woonsocket passengers a convenient, one stop connection
to the northbound trains to Boston - on
what is considered the fastest of the
Last but not least
is Blackstone
Valley Outfitters in
Cumberland, R.I.
Approximately ten
years ago, two Blackstone River Valley
men Mark Pawlitschek and Don
Martin had a vision. Yet, the time
never felt right and various locations
just weren't a good fit. Then, the
Blackstone River began to be promoted. The bike path was built along the
river and 2 Mendon Road in
Cumberland, Rhode Island was available and prime! Hence, Blackstone
Valley Outfitters (BVO) was opened
on August 19, 2006!
BVO is now offering entry level
kayak paddling courses taught by a
certified instructor. The three hour
course is designed for the beginner or
recreational paddler. Students will be
instructed in the basics that all paddlers need to start with. Saturday,
August 11, 8:00 am, will be the final
class of the season. The cost is $5.00
for the three hour class. The class size
is limited to six paddlers. To participate and for more pertinent information, call BVO at: (401) 312-0369. You
can also visit
Festivities will be held to celebrate
their first anniversary, so check online
for more details.
MBTA passenger rail lines - currently
operating between Providence and
South Station in Boston.
Most encouraging from the meetings in Woonsocket was the report
that the officials of the Providence and
Worcester Railroad were very cooperative with sharing information with the
study consultants and are willing to
discuss possible use of their railroad
line for some type of passenger service.
The study results also gave some
renewed hope to those who have
favored the renewal of passenger rail
service between Worcester and
Providence. Based on the future population projections from the northern
most Blackstone Valley towns of
Grafton, Millbury and Sutton, consultants say that there may be cause for
further study to see if there is some
level of demand for service from the
Blackstone Valley connecting into
Worcester. Preliminary ridership projections for service north into
Worcester were between 546 and 624
passengers per day. Recent population
projections from CMRPC show that by
2030, several Blackstone Valley towns,
Upton, Grafton and Douglas in particular, will be among the leaders in population growth and number of households in Worcester County.
There is already additional anecdotal information about morning traffic
congestion on Route 146 - beginning
at Boston Road in Sutton and heading
on up into Worcester.
In answer to several questions at the
study meeting, Mr. Nelson said passenger service using the P & W rail line
need not be on a full sized train nor
need it be on a system actually operated by the MBTA, such as is presently
done between Providence and Boston,
and Worcester and Boston. One option
may be to use new self-propelled rail
cars, called DMU’s, or Diesel Multiple
Units, similar in principle to the old
Budd built self propelled rail
passenger cars. These modern,
fuel efficient units seat up to 90
people and can pull a second unit
for an additional 90 people as
Although regularly scheduled
commuter rail service between
Woonsocket and Worcester is
unlikely, local rail and economic
development interests in the
Blackstone Valley towns of
Massachusetts are working
toward convening a meeting this
fall with the help of the Central
Massachusetts Regional Planning
Commission, and inviting in
local town planners, town officials, and area state senators and
representatives to discuss railA young passenger exits from the Polar Express train
road service in the Blackstone
that operates each November by the Northern RI
Tourism Council.
As far back as 1990, the
Massachusetts State Legislature passed
legislation to have a passenger rail
History of Woonsocket's Railroads - go
study made of the Worcester to
Providence route - the study however,
Providence & Worcester Railroad was never done by the MBTA. Now,
with the knowledge that population
growth continues to flow into the
Ron Chouinard's Railroad Picture
Blackstone Valley, a study could take a
Archives http://rpc1244.rrpicmuch longer view of the feasibility of
passenger rail.
The Woonsocket study consultants
Providence & Worcester Railroad Yahoo
also said that there may already be a
Group market for a regularly scheduled
ProvidenceandWorcesterRR-subtourist excursion train in the
[email protected]
Blackstone Valley - something more
Newport Dinner Train
formal than the handful of runs that the
P & W RR excursion train now handles for private organizations such as
Old Colony & Newport Railway
the Kiwanis Club and the Blackstone
Valley Tourism Council. Such a tourist
train - once dubbed the “Blackstone
N RI Tourism Train Events - www.tourValley Flyer” was recommended as a
family based tourism attraction in the
March, 2001 Blackstone Valley
Want to voice your opinion, go to and click on
Tourism Strategic Plan prepared for the
FORUMS to voice your thoughts or
John H. Chafee Blackstone River
read other comments.
Valley Heritage Corridor.
Page 22
Around the Valley...
On July 23rd, tv crews from New
York city were in Blackstone, MA and
Uxbridge at River Bend Farm to film
an episode (to air October 2007) of
Kids By The Dozen, a show seen on
The Learning Channel. It’s premise is
to showcase families with 12 children!
The Gonyea family of Blackstone, MA
has a dozen children ranging in ages of
1-18. They enjoyed a canoe ride during
filming as well as viewing the Farm to
Factory exhibit.
On the following day, the filming
crews were taping the family enjoying
Southwick Zoo, New England’s largest
zoo right in Mendon.
Upton Woman’s Club invites crafters
and vendors to sell products and services at our 2007 Fall Fair, Saturday,
October 20, 9:00AM - 2:00PM.
This is the biggest and best fair in
Upton, and a prime sales opportunity
for you to tap into the pre-holiday
shopping crowd. We will fill the entire
cafetorium and gymnasium of
Memorial School, Route 140, Upton,
MA, and have exceeded 500 patrons at
past Fairs. Call Ann for details at 508529-6065.
Internationally popular Beatles tribute band The Jukebox will perform an
outdoor concert at Waters Farm on
Saturday, August 11, 2007, starting at
6:00 p.m. at the historic farm property
on Waters Road in West Sutton,
The four young musicians hailing
from Puerto Rico have built an international following who recognize their
talents and their passion for the music
that defined generations.
Sutton’s own Phil Berube of the
Traveling Beatleburys arranged for
The Jukebox to play Waters Farm in
celebration of its 250th anniversary. He
played with them at the Abbey Road
on The River Beatles Festival in
Louisville, Kentucky earlier this year
and he will also open for the concert at
4:00 p.m. with his band 3 Guys
Plumbing (classic rock and roll).
The 250th Anniversary will be filled
with many other family friendly events
on August 11-12th. For more info, go
A special dinner event is being
planned to recognize the relatives of
those who have family members on
active duty in the military. This nonpolitical event is to simply say “Thank
You” for your sacrifices. The dinner
will be held at the Myriad Ballroom in
Mendon, Massachusetts on Tuesday
evening September 11, 2007. In order
to extend a formal invitation, we need
help locating families from the greater
Milford area who have a loved one on
active duty. If you are a family that
has a loved one on active duty or know
of a family that we
should invite,
please send that
contact information
to Michael Shain,
15 Virginia Drive
01757 or email at
The Gonyea family being filmed at River Bend Farm
[email protected].
Douglas Flea Market will be having
a wonderful Field Auction on
September 9 with first View at 9 and
Auction at 10 a.m. where deals will be
flying and there are surprises a minute
along with great fun. This beautiful
property also is home to the historic
Dutch hoop barn filled with collectibles and flea items and nine hole
golf is right up the street.
A new historic, full length documentary, “Burrillville Celebrates 200
Years of History” will premiere at the
historic Assembly building in
Harrisville (Burrillville) on Sat Sept
8th at 7:00 pm and Sun Sept 9th at
2:00 pm. The video is 1 hr and 52
minutes in length. It was written and
produced by Betty and Carlo Mencucci
of Log Cabin Studios in Glendale,
(Burrillville) in association with the
Burrillville Historical & Preservation
Society as part of the bicentennial celebration.
A devastating loss, far beyond its
staggering financial impact and emotional stress, is the depth of history
also gone forever when the Bernat
Mill burnt to the ground on July 21.
This mill was filled with a strong sense
of sharing and community. Small success stories, many still struggling as
new entrepreneurs, gifted artists or
artisans but working hard to make a
But the Bernat Mill also had committed owners investing in the community and their tenants while planning
new visions of housing and mixed use
for the future.
But what was the historical past of
the mill? Check it out, along with photos at
have a donation, please contact
[email protected] or Joe
Deliso at the Chamber 508-234-9090.
continued from page 16
have figured prominently.”
Dr. Kimball laughed so spiritedly he
began to cough. “Oh, Darius,” he
gasped, “you haven’t lost your sense of
humor. Thank the stars for that.”
Friday afternoon found Darius
Bennett back at the Union House desk,
daydreaming. He had just closed and
folded the weekly edition of the
Woonsocket Patriot. It contained not a
single reference to Madame Harris.
Bennett felt elated. At last, good
news all around. The previous
evening, before dinner, Madame Harris
had descended from her chambers to
inform him that she and her husband
would be taking their leave on
Saturday, or Sunday at the latest. She
clasped Bennett’s hands in hers, thanking him profusely for his patience.
Only after she retreated did he realize
that she had pressed $50 into his palm.
It was the largest gratuity he had
ever received. Later, alone and with
the aid of some Old Jamaica, Bennett
had drunk a health (actually several
healths) to the Madame’s patrons.
To Emily Thornton – may you find
the kettle of silver coins Madame says
is buried on your 37 acres. To poor,
sad Philip Inman – may you receive a
letter from your long-lost son, as the
Madame predicts. To Maggie MacNeil
– may your days of spinsterhood finally draw to a close …
And that’s when he’d had a revelation – an insight, even. It was so
blessedly simple. And it silenced all of
his qualms about the doings in
Madame’s room.
She sells hope.
“Why didn’t I see it before?”
Bennett murmured, repeating a question he’d asked himself several times
in the hours since. From his seat
behind the hotel desk he regarded the
ever-present people on the stairwell.
They would have told me, he thought.
If only I had asked.
Outside, Block Square was bustling,
people traveling to and fro, visiting the
post office, the cobbler shop, the
stores. It was Bennett’s habit to watch
through the front windows, trying to
pick out faces he knew.
He noticed two burly men in overcoats making a beeline for the hotel.
One wore eyeglasses. They stamped
their feet on the wooden porch and
opened the front door.
“Good afternoon, gentlemen,” said
Bennett, rising. “May I help you?”
“Yes, thank you,” said the bespectacled one. “I’m looking for a Mister
Harris. Is he a guest here?”
“Harris? Have you come for a fortune?”
The man grimaced. “In a manner of
speaking. I’m Inspector Holcomb.
This is Constable Morse. We’re from
the Boston Fifth Precinct. We need to
see this Harris fellow immediately. Is
he here?”
“Y-yes,” said Bennett. “I mean, I
think so. He comes and goes so suddenly.”
Images flooded Bennett’s mind,
images of Mr. Harris clutching his
black trunk at check-in, his eyes darting between the front desk and front
door, front desk, front door. Mr. Harris
slipping in and out of the hotel, so
quickly, so quietly …
“Room 3C,” Bennett stammered,
growing faint.
“Are you all right, sir?”
“Yes, I’ll just sit down,” said
Half an hour later, the Boston policemen led Mister Harris through the
foyer and across Block Square in
shackles. Bennett was still reeling, but
not quite so indisposed that he failed to
spot his friend, Dr. Kimball, physician
and part-time news stringer, chasing
across the square after them.
From the Woonsocket Patriot,
December 23, 1853:
“Blackstone. – An affair of quite a
merry character occurred here on
Friday last. A few days since a lady
fortune teller, calling herself Madame
C. Harris, with one whom she represented to be her husband, took up
quarters at the ‘Union.’
“Madame H. hung out her shingle as
‘Independent Clairvoyant,’ giving the
people to understand that she would
not only tell them all the important
events of their past lives; what they
had eaten for dinner, &c., but would
reveal to them their future destiny;
would tell young ladies the thing of all
others under the sun they most desire
to know; how long they must wait for
the happy hour, and what they might
do to hasten it.
“More than this, she gave intimations that she could go down into their
stomachs, and lower even, and prescribe remedies. Her revelations were
altogether of a benevolent character,
intended for the good of others. Had
it been otherwise, she might have seen
with her keen spiritual eye, two police
officers on their way from Boston,
bearing no welcome message to her
“The officers called at their room,
and requested an interview with Mons.
Harris, alias Welch, alias Harrington.
They also made another modest
request that they might search his
trunks, with a view of finding certain
fancy goods, jewelry, &c., which they
suspected him of having stolen from
jewelers’ shops in Boston and
Providence. Some of the stolen property having been found in his possession, he was hurried off to Boston and
safely jugged.
“On the following morning, the poor,
disconsolate forsaken Madame Harris
rushed in a fit to the [Blackstone] river
and threw – not herself – but a portion
of the stolen goods to the bottom, and
then prepared to decamp. She was
detained at the hotel until the return of
the officers, and then taken to Boston
to share the glory of her husband.”
AFTERWORD: This story was a
dramatization; that is, a fictional treatment of factual events. However, the
news clipping above is 100% authentic
and reliable. The events described
therein did happen.
The Union House continued to
attract colorful characters over the
years. Around 1860, a “thieving
clock-mender” escaped from the second story of the hotel “on a clock line
under cover of night.” Two years later,
“a buxom Irish woman” was arrested
for drunkenness and confined to the
third story of the hotel to await trial. A
short time after, she was spotted hanging from the windowsill outside her
room. She plummeted to the ground,
receiving a broken arm, dislocated
shoulder and many bruises.
© 1995, 2007 by Joe Doherty
PO Box 31
South Salem, NY 10590-0031
[email protected]
Page 23
Experiencing the Blackstone
by Diane Marie Mariani
A blue heron glides through the sky;
tree limbs suspend over pools of
swirling water as we gently guide our
kayaks through this surreal, yet splendid imagery which is actually very
real. All of my senses were touched,
from the woodsy fragrance mingling in
the air to the occasional splash of
water on my knees.
Spellbound might be an appropriate
adjective that comes to mind as I had
never experienced kayaking or any
water sport before. But you, too, can
experience this beauty and an adventure in history on a guided kayak tour
of the Blackstone River.
In early July, after an introduction
to paddling and feeling safe with hav-
ing my life vest on, my two guides
showed me and several paddlers
another world, hidden right in our own
Blackstone River Valley.
Do you realize the history and nature
of the Blackstone River as you drift
along so carefree? Definitely, yes!
Besides the blue heron, we spotted
frogs and a painted turtle peeking its
head out of the water.
Portage into the river began at the
Albion Dam, Lincoln, Rhode Island.
At one point of the journey, we
kayaked what was once the Blackstone
Canal. The canal was a forty-five mile
route of an inland navigational waterway from Salt Cove of Providence,
Rhode Island to Thomas Street in
Worcester, Massachusetts. The canal
was built between the years 1825 and
1828. In 1848, the
Providence and Worcester
Railroad opened and the
Great Canadian
Canoe & Kayak Co.
Family Owned since 1969
Sales • Rentals • Tours • Instruction
• Friendly expert advice
from people who care.
• Hundreds of kayaks
and canoes in stock,
as low as $299.
Huge Sav
ings now
Route 146 South • Sutton, MA
508.865.0010 •
canal became obsolete. Yet, the guide
explained that the "continued expansion of the textile industry in the
Blackstone River Valley, upstream, in
the late 1820's and 1840's, can be
directly linked to the existence of the
A canal lock remnant is stoically
engraved with the year 1902. (The
original lock was upgraded in 1902 to
control water power to mills in
Lincoln.) On the banks of the river, the
grand Ashton Mills of Cumberland,
Rhode Island still stand, renovated into
attractive housing. On this particular
trip, we paddled past the Capt. Wilbur
Kelly House Museum located in the
Blackstone River State Park. This
transportation museum is a great destination for visitors wanting to understand the early stages of industrialization or recreationally, for access to the
Blackstone River Bikeway.
Yes, history is alive and well preserved on the Blackstone River and
comes alive through the narrations of
our guides.
Experiences kayaking in the valley
can vary tremendously - from peaceful
and lazy to more challenging and
physical. A guided tour can help identify your interests and capabilities
while also pointing out “surprises,”
such as the king finches darting
through the trees and diving into the
water, or the man made image of two
roadways built in different eras, side
by side in direct contrast to each other.
For first time paddlers, the sense of
accomplishment you feel when you
reach your destination is awesome!
You did it! You kayaked on a moving
body of water and you know you will
kayak again and again……..!
Page 24
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