Ezra Beaman's Homestead

Why is this Library called the *Beaman* Memorial Library? The Beaman Memorial Library is named after EZRA BEAMAN, known as the "Town Father" for his critical role in West Boylston's foundation...

Ezra Beaman's family stretched back far into Massachusetts' past; his ancestor Gamaliel Beaman came to the new colony from England in 1635. He originally settled in Dorchester but moved to Lancaster about thirty years later. The family made its mark on the land.

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EzraBeamanJrEzra Beaman, Jr. was born in December 1770, the youngest son of Ezra Beaman and Persis Keyes Beaman. He lived to be 92 years old, managing the Beaman Tavern until he died in 1863. Ezra Jr. was an eccentric man known to townspeople as "Uncle Ezra." He even had his own expression: "Faith, I vow, we can't all eat grass."

Uncle Ezra served as a town selectman for four years and town treasurer for seven years. At the same time, he ran Beaman Tavern and its inn alongside his housekeeper, Aunt Dolly Hunt. He was a straightforward and literal man. One anecdote describes the arrival of a man and a woman at the Beaman Inn: the man introduced the two of them as "Mr. Burnside and a lady," so Uncle Ezra placed them in separate rooms. Mr. Burnside was frustrated since the "lady" was actually his wife, but Ezra Jr. reminded him that Mr. Burnside introduced her as "a lady" and therefore could Uncle Ezra could not determine who exactly she was.

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Dedication of the Beaman OakThe Beaman Oak is a symbol of West Boylston featured on our town seal. Its origins date back to pre-Revolutionary War times, when West Boylston was part of the larger town of Shrewsbury. The Beaman Oak was a tree on town founder Ezra Beaman's property beside his family's cemetery. According to legend, Ezra filled the Beaman Oak with large iron spikes to ward off vandals.

The original tree no longer exists, as it was cut down during construction of the reservoir.

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Sesquicentennial Parade from Central StreetSome photos of floats and marchers in West Boylston's Sesquicentennial Parade in 1958! Everyone in town came out for this: local businesses, the Boy Scouts, and several Churches. West Boylston owes much of its 1808 foundation to Ezra Beaman, who advocated for his town. Initially, West Boylston was part of Shrewsbury. With help from Beaman and his supporters, the town of Boylston separated from Shrewsbury in 1786.

Eventually, the townspeople in western Boylston became tired of having to travel farther distances

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headoftable2In 1958, West Boylston celebrated its Sesquicentennial (150th) Anniversary! Here are some photos from the festivities. Tag or let us know if you know anyone in a photo!

See more photos by clicking the link below.

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