Ann Sylvester (1809)

Newspaper article about Anne Sylvester

Sometimes the things we find in our Local History Room are pretty sad. In one issue from 1809, there are a few paragraphs devoted to reporting significant deaths from around the world. In this particular issue, The Massachusetts Spy/Worcester Gazette reports the death of Haydn, the famous Austrian composer noted for his symphonies and developments…

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Luther Rice (1900’s)

LutherRice 3

George Calvin Rice donated the land and the money to build the Beaman Memorial Public Library in 1911. He was a direct descendant of town founder Ezra Beaman through Ezra’s daughter Betsy Beaman, who married Luther Rice of Northborough. Luther Rice served in the Ward Regiment during the Revolutionary War. We have Luther’s sword in…

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Beaman Family Chairs

EzraBeaman 1

The West Boylston Room at our library is full of all sorts of stuff accumulated over the last century. We have three chairs in our local history collection that were owned by town founder Maj. Ezra Beaman and gifted to us by his descendants. Pictured below, the chairs have since been reupholstered and the wood…

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Man’s Best Friend (1865)

Image of record of dog licenses from 1800s

 Do you love dogs? We sure do. Dogs are the best, and humanity’s friendship with dogs extends thousands of years into the past. We were excited to find a full registry of dogs in West Boylston from the 1860s in our historical records! A dog license in 1865 cost $2.00 for a male dog and…

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Ezra Beaman’s Birthday (1736-1811)

EzraBeamansBirthday, home portrait

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. Ezra Beaman was born in Bolton on October 16, 1736, to Jabez…

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David C. Murdock (1815-1886)

Image of David Murdock's Globe

West Boylston is a small town with a lot of history. From Colonial times to the Industrial Revolution to today, the town has seen numerous changes. A little-known West Boylston story is of the Murdock Globe, or the Murdock Orrery Planetarium. David C. Murdock (1815-1886), a West Boylston native, was an influential town figure at…

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Ruth Edwards’ Discovery (1950’s)


In the 1950s, West Boylston resident Ruth Edwards made a surprising discovery: a large stone in her front yard bore a hand-carved drawing of two figures among strange, rune-like lines (pictured below). She called in experts to examine this seemingly inane carving, and they dated it to between 3,000 and 5,000 years old. In an…

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Death Notice of Jabez Beaman (1812)

Jabez Beaman DeathNotice1812

 When looking through the old newspapers from our Local History Room, we sometimes stumble across the names of our “local celebrities.” In this case, it’s not for a good reason. The notice, pictured below, lists two names we’ve seen before: Jabez Beaman and Ezra Beaman. The notice is from June 1812, one year after town…

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Sgt. John Emerson Anderson (1860’s)

Image of Sgt.John Emerson Anderson

The history room at the Beaman Memorial Library houses a range of documents, including a series of letters and a memoir from Sgt. John Emerson Anderson, a West Boylston resident who served in the Civil War. John’s regiment marched to Washington, D.C. in mid-1861. In a letter from September 8, 1861, he hopefully told his…

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Arthur Taylor (1917)

Arthur Taylor 1

Arthur Taylor was a West Boylston resident one hundred years ago who escaped death while out of town in December 1917. He was unlucky enough to be in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on December 6, 1917, when one of the worst maritime disasters in history occurred: a ship carrying explosives and sailing to Halifax Harbor…

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