Discovering Family History

Ancestral Village in France

Have you ever wanted to know about your family history?  Where your ancestors lived, occupations or events that may have taken place during their lives?  If so, perhaps we can help you recapture the past.

Paul Godin, long-time Foxborough resident and member of the Foxborough Historical Society, says, “I’d like to share my experiences with you at our April meeting and take you on a journey to discover family history.”

“Once you get started, genealogy can be a motivating and satisfying hobby.  It is almost impossible to let it go.  Some people even find that they are related to well-known people.”
“There are many resources which are available now that were not forty years ago,” Godin reports. “If I knew in the elementary grades what I know now about certain events and ancestors, history would have meant much more to me as a student.”
“By the way, my name is Paul Godin, a.k.a. Chatillon, Beauséjour, Bellefontaine and Gaudin, all names that appear in my family history.”
So come spend some time with us at the next Foxborough Historical Society meeting which will be on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room (first floor) of the Boyden Library at the corner of Bird and Baker Streets in Foxboro center.
There is parking under the library, around the common and on nearby streets.  Do not park in the Aubuchon lot.
Those interested in joining the Foxborough Historical Society should ask for an application form at the meeting.  The annual fee is $8 for individuals, $10 for families.  For further information, call Patrick Lyons at 508-543-3728, or email [email protected].

FOXBOROUGH HISTORICAL SOCIETY TO OBSERVE THE IRISH EXPERIENCE

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The month of March in general, and the days around March 17 in particular, are usually a happy time for the Irish and their friends.  These days.
This was not always the case.  Popular lecturer Christopher Daley will speak about the Irish experience in America at the March meeting of the Foxborough Historical Society.
“No Irish Need Apply – A History of the Irish in Boston” is a 90-minute slide lecture in which the many facets of the early Irish experience in Boston are examined.
Daley begins with the story of the Irish who were brought over unwillingly as indentured servants in the mid-17th Century.  Then the first real migration of the Irish in 1718.  The arrival of the Scot-Irish or the “Ulster Irish” will be discussed.

Next, we will explore the slow pre-famine trickle (1820’s) of Irish Catholic immigrants coming into Boston as well as the corresponding increase in anti-Irish/Catholic sentiment within Boston beginning with the notorious Pope’s Day celebrations.  Then the discussion will turn to the burning of the Ursuline Convent in 1834 in Charlestown and the Broad Street Riot of 1837.
In the third quarter of the lecture, the massive wave of immigration into Boston after the “Great Potato Famine” will be examined, including the condition of the new arrivals, the neighborhoods they settled, how they banded together, the kinds of work they did to survive and their eventual assimilation into American culture.
Finally, there will be a discussion of the rise of the Irish within the sphere of Boston politics and the emergence of the “Ward Boss.”

Additionally, Daley will give short vignettes on famous Irish political leaders such as Patrick Collins, Hugh O’Brien, Martin Lomasney, Patrick J. Kennedy, John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, and of course, the old “Rascal King” himself, James Michael Curley.
The meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 22, at 7:30 pm in the lower level of the Boyden Library at the corner of Bird and Baker Streets in Foxboro center.There is parking under the library and on nearby streets. Please do not park in the Aubuchon lot.
Those interested in joining the Foxborough Historical Society should ask for an application form at the meeting.  The annual fee is $8 for individuals, $10 for families.  For further information, call Patrick Lyons at 508-543-3728, or email [email protected].

The FHS teams up with the Senior Center for this month’s program!

Best Mike Tougias headshot 9.2015 (2)

Author Michael Tougias will appear at the Foxborough Senior Center on Wednesday, February 17, at 2:30 pm to give a slide presentation on his new book “The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue.”
The Disney Corporation made a movie based on the book, which stars Chris Pine and Casey Affleck (released January 2016). This program is sponsored jointly by the Foxborough Historical Society and the Foxborough Senior Center.
Admission is free and everyone is welcome.
On February 18th, 1952 an astonishing maritime event began when a ferocious nor’easter split in half a 500-foot long oil tanker, the Pendleton, approximately one mile off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Incredibly, just twenty miles away, a second oil tanker, the Fort Mercer, also split in half. On both fractured tankers men were trapped on the severed bows and sterns, and all four sections were sinking in 60-foot seas.

Thus began a life and death drama of survival, heroism, and a series of tragic mistakes. Of the 84 seamen aboard the tankers, 70 would be rescued and 14 would lose their lives.
Michael Tougias, co-author of “The Finest Hours,” will use slides of the storm, the sinking tankers, the rescues, the victims, the survivors and the heroes to tell the story of this historic event. Tougias will describe the harrowing attempts to rescue the seamen, especially focusing on four young Coast Guardsmen who must overcome insurmountable odds to save the lives of 32 crewmen stranded aboard the stern of the Pendleton.
“I enjoy doing these programs,” says Tougias, “because I like to transport the audience into the heart of the storm so that they ask themselves ‘what would I have done.’  With a slide presentation, the viewer can visually relive the adventure.”
Tougias goes on to say, “This event was– and still is– the greatest and most daring sea rescue ever performed by the Coast Guard, and it happened right here off the New England coast. I felt this episode of heroism and tragedy needed to be told in its entirety because it’s an important piece of overlooked history.
A book signing will follow the program; the presentation is suitable for all ages. NY Times bestselling author James Brady (Flyboys and Flags of Our Fathers, says “The Finest Hours recounts incredible heroism…A Gripping Read.” “The Finest Hours” has been the #4 bestselling non-fiction book in New England according to the New England Booksellers Association.
This special event takes the place of the regular monthly meeting of the Foxborough Historical Society which generally meets elsewhere, on the 4th Tuesday of the month, and in the evening.
Those interested in joining the Foxborough Historical Society should ask for an application form at the meeting. The annual fee is $8 for individuals, $10 for families.
For further information, call Patrick Lyons at 508-543-3728

Dr. Gary Hylander speaks at tonight’s meeting

THE WORST DISASTER IN U.S. NAVY HISTORY – SINKING OF THE USS INDIANAPOLIS DURING WORLD WAR II.
The Foxborough Historical Society at its January meeting will feature popular lecturer Dr. Gary Hylander discussing the tragic sinking of the Navy cruiser, USS INDIANAPOLIS, which led to the greatest single loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy.

1280px-USS_Indianapolis_(CA-35)_underway_in_1939The U.S. Navy heavy cruiser USS INDIANAPOLIS (CA-35) underway in 1939.  Her sinking in the Pacific in 1945, as World War II approached its end, led to the greatest naval disaster in U.S. history.  (Source: Wikipedia and the National Archives and Records Administration; U.S. Navy photo)
At 12:14 am, in July 1945, after delivering parts for the first atomic bomb to the United States air base at Tinian, the INDIANAPOLIS was torpedoed by the Imperial Japanese Navy, sinking in twelve minutes.  Of the 1,196 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship.  The remaining 900 men faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and shark attacks while floating with few lifeboats and almost no food or water.  Since this was a secret mission, the Navy learned of the sinking when survivors were spotted four days later.  Only 317 survived.
The ship’s captain, Charles Butler McVay III, survived and was court-martialled and convicted of “hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag” despite overwhelming evidence that the Navy itself had placed the ship in harm’s way, despite testimony from the Japanese submarine commander that zigzagging would have made no difference, and despite that fact that, although over 350 U.S. Navy ships were lost in combat in World War II, McVay was the only captain to be court-martialled.  Materials declassified years later add to the evidence that McVay was a scapegoat for the mistakes of others.
In October of 2000, following years of effort by the survivors and their supporters, legislation was passed in Washington and signed by President Clinton expressing the sense of Congress, among other things, that Captain McVay’s record should now reflect that he is exonerated for the loss of the USS INDIANAPOLIS and for the death of her crew members who were lost.
In July of 2001 the Navy Department announced that Captain McVay’s record had been amended to exonerate him for the loss of the INDIANAPOLIS and the lives of those who perished as a result of her sinking.  The survivors are thankful that after so many years, the good name of their captain has been cleared, and the dead have been honored.

The Foxborough historical society will meet Tuesday evening, Jan. 26 at 7:30 pm at the Boyden Library in Foxboro center, first floor meeting room. Use the Baker Street entrance.
Parking is available at the library, on nearby streets and around the Common.  Do not park in the Aubuchon lot.  Admission is free and everyone is welcome.
Those interested in joining the Foxboro Historical Society should ask for an application form at the meeting.  The annual fee is $8 for individuals, $10 for families.
For further information, call Patrick Lyons at 508-543-3728

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“Clutter: Why do we buy so much?”

The evolution of marketing – and its influence on our buying behavior. The November meeting of the Foxborough Historical Society features member Dave Downs looking at the root causes of clutter in our lives. In an earlier program Dave focused on the consequences of clutter – and how clutter takes over our lives.

We rationalize:  “We might need it someday; it’s historically significant; we inherited the object from a loved one; it just needs a little repair… and so on.”  These are just a few reasons why we find it so hard to let go of our STUFF.

At the November meeting Dave will focus on where all that clutter comes from in the first place and why we allow it to enter our lives. He will talk about several additional BIG reasons why Americans have so much “stuff.” In this new program, the emphasis is on stopping the flow of stuff entering our homes! “We can’t resist bargains, sales, yard sales; we receive gifts we don’t really want.”

We are consuming twice as much as we did just forty years ago!

Americans spend four times as much time shopping as Western Europeans!

Dave’s purpose is to motivate the audience to acquire less, and therefore to be less burdened. Participants will learn how advertisers use techniques such as developing shopping habits, planned obsolescence, slogans, and the use of credit to motivate people to purchase ever more. He will use humor and amusing stories from his own experience to engage and inform the audience.We will be challenged to finish jingles and slogans, many of them decades old, to demonstrate the power subconscious advertising has over our actions.

“Don’t squeeze the ……”

“See the USA in your …….”

“What takes a licking and keeps on ticking?”

The audience will leave the presentation recognizing why they acquire certain items.  They (we) will hopefully reverse the tendency to bury ourselves in “treasures!”

The meeting will take place Tuesday evening, Nov. 24 at 7:30 pm at the Boyden Library in Foxboro center, first floor meeting room.  Use the Baker Street entrance.

Parking is available at the library, on nearby streets and around the Common.  Do not park in the Aubuchon lot. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Those interested in joining the Foxboro Historical Society should ask for an application form at the meeting.  The annual fee is $8 for individuals, $10 for families.

We hope to see you there!!

A Legendary Local speaks about Legendary Locals!

Legendary Locals

The Foxborough Historical Society’s October meeting welcomes veteran newspaperman Jeffrey Peterson, currently publisher of the Foxboro Reporter and the Sun Chronicle. Relying heavily on newspaper files and Foxborough Historical Commission archives, Peterson introduces readers not only to the movers and shakers who made headlines over the past two centuries but also to scores of common people with decidedly uncommon stories; E.H. and B.B. Bristol, brothers whose Foxboro Company ushered in decades of unprecedented prosperity. Peterson’s book includes outsized personalities like Betty Friedmann, Al Truax, and Herb Seltsam; lanky Gene Conley, Boston Red Sox pitcher and Boston Celtics center; Alex and Sonja Spier, who fled postwar Europe to establish a local real estate empire; beloved Deerfield Academy headmaster Frank Boyden.  Also, renowned educators John Ahern, Mabelle Burrill, and Steve Massey! Images and biographical text on these and other remarkable residents provide a delightful retrospective documenting the rich and spirited community of Foxborough over the years.

Jeffrey Peterson, longtime editor of the Foxboro Reporter, is now publisher of both the weekly Reporter and the daily Sun Chronicle in Attleboro.  A lifelong Foxborough resident, Peterson is pleased to offer this photographic history of his hometown. And, we can’t wait!

Join us Tuesday night – 7:30pm – at the Boyden Library Community Room!

 

Jack Authelet opens our 2015 – 2016 season!

Foxborough historical society opens the 2015 – 2016 season with World War II observance: Foxborough in World War II

What better time to look back at the most traumatic event in our history?  World War II officially ended in August of 1945, seventy years ago.

Our nation called, our community answered.

December 7, 1941. It is doubtful that anyone who heard the radio broadcast that morning of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ever forgot where they were, what they were doing, who they were with the moment they heard the news that American forces had been attacked.  The United States was going to war.

From that moment on, everything would be geared to the war effort.  No matter what you had been doing, regardless of what you had planned, whatever you had been dreaming about, it was put on hold.  Winning the war became the focus of the nation, and if it couldn’t be won over there, it would be fought over here.

The response of the people of Foxborough when their nation called was one of the most remarkable chapters in local history, and it will be told by Town Historian Jack Authelet as he shares the stories of ordinary people who rose to such extraordinary heights, many going off to war themselves, others flocking to defense plants to help make the implements of war, and virtually every man, woman and child doing something or going without something they believed would help the war effort.

Foxborough exceeded its quota in every War Bond drive, and enabled the nation to purchase two PT Boats as well as 10 fighter planes for the war effort.

The uncertainty of the draft, the reality of rationing, the loneliness of separation, prayers for the return of loved ones who served in every theatre of the war and a VTY newsletter (Very Truly Yours) to keep the troops abreast of what was going on at home while they were away became realities of daily life with the nation at war.

As Allied forces turned the tide of war, the Homecoming Parties began, much to the delight of everyone, and the town started working on its memorial to honor those who fought and died in the conflict.

The 5th War Bond drive went over the top, and members of the Foxboro War Finance Committee received a citation on the Common in front of the large sign promoting the drive. Members (from left) were Corodon Fuller, chairman; Earle Sullivan, publicity; David Forrest, community solicitation; George Dudley, signs; Wendell Dodge, display design; F. Monroe Perry, motion picture division; Albert Hutchins, merchants division; Louise Inman, women's division and Alfred Sheehy of the Treasury Dept. who presented the citation. (Foxborough Historical Commission archives)

The 5th War Bond drive went over the top, and members of the Foxboro War Finance Committee received a citation on the Common in front of the large sign promoting the drive. Members (from left) were Corodon Fuller, chairman; Earle Sullivan, publicity; David Forrest, community solicitation; George Dudley, signs; Wendell Dodge, display design; F. Monroe Perry, motion picture division; Albert Hutchins, merchants division; Louise Inman, women’s division and Alfred Sheehy of the Treasury Dept. who presented the citation. (Foxborough Historical Commission archives)

The program, with abundant illustrations, will be presented at the Foxborough Historical Society on Tuesday, September 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Boyden Library (lower level) at the corner of Bird and Baker Streets in Foxboro center.  Parking is available under the library, on nearby streets and against Foxboro common.  (Please do not park in the Aubuchon lot.)

Meetings of the historical society are free and all are welcome.  For further information, call Patrick Lyons, 508-543-3728.

 

The History and Mystery of Foxborough’s Lakes and Streams with Jack Authelet

The 2014/15 season of the Foxborough Historical Society will conclude on May 26 with a presentation by Town Historian Jack Authelet on the lakes and streams of Foxborough and how they affected our development. The first families to settle in this area which would become Foxborough were dependent upon finding an area where they could dig a well to provide for family needs and have sufficient water for cattle and crops. They found water ample to their needs in the small streams cutting through the countryside or flowing from the woodlands. They had no need to question the origin of the flow: they just had to know it would continue, and it did in quantities sufficient that they would one day move beyond their dependence upon the land into a new age of water-powered manufacturing and the prosperity it provided with hundreds of jobs. But how could a small stream rising from an area of no value as a homestead or pasture become the main supply of a series of lakes and ponds, provide water for two of the town’s pumping stations as well as cranberry bogs and power for several major manufacturing operations and cooling for another? The source of that stream, as well as the water coming down hill to greet visitors as they hike to the highest levels of the F. Gilbert Hills State Park and the locations in town where you can hear water running underground are some of the mysteries to be explored by Town Historian Jack Authelet for his presentation on Foxborough’s Lakes and Streams. “Anywhere people travel in Foxborough, they see lakes and streams, countless places where water passes under the road, and are generally unaware of the mystery and majesty of it all,” said Authelet. “It is an exciting history, a marvel of how much of it comes together, a mystery of one water source for which the depth has never been determined.” The program, with photos of each of the waterways discussed, will be presented at the Foxborough Historical Society on Tuesday, May 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Boyden Library (lower level) at the corner of Bird Street and Baker Street in Foxborough center.

Parking is available on nearby streets and against Foxborough common. Remember, do not park at Aubuchon Hardware as you may be towed.

Meetings of the historical society are free and all are invited. For further information, call Patrick Lyons, 508-543-3728.

October meeting of the Historical Society

The Watergate hotel in Washington, DC. This is where it all began in June 1972  With a “third rate burglary.” It ended with the resignation of a President.

The Watergate hotel in Washington, DC. This is where it all began in June 1972 with a “third rate burglary.” It ended with the resignation of a President.

        

“Watergate”

Guest Speaker: Dr. Gary Hylander

Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

at Boyden Library, 10 Bird Street, Foxborough, MA

The October meeting of the Foxborough historical society will feature popular lecturer Dr. Gary Hylander telling the story of the so-called Watergate crisis, which threw the country into tumult back in 1974 with the resignation of a President. It started in June 1972, when five burglars were arrested inside the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate hotel in Washington, D.C.The five suspects who were arrested by the police that night were carrying expensive cameras, sophisticated electronic equipment and a large amount of cash.  All five men gave false names to the police. When the suspects were arraigned the following morning, James McCord caught the attention of reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, and Judge Sirica, when he identified himself as a retired CIA officer and security coordinator for the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP). What followed was the gravest Constitutional crisis since the Civil War.

The meeting will be Tuesday evening October 22, at 7:30 pm, in the lower level meeting room of the Boyden Library. The public is welcome! (Please enter by the Baker Street entrance.)

 

 

Welcome!

Welcome the Foxborough Historical Society website! We are under construction, but please check back soon for more information including what historical happenings are in store for Founders Day weekend!