World War I (1918)

WWI, newspaper article

World War I is perhaps best known for its trench warfare. Soldiers were stuffed into often muddy, cramped dugouts. In July 1918, one West Boylston resident, Emily Richardson, received a letter from her brother, Herbert, serving with the Canadians in France. His testimony is as follows: “I am writing this letter in a hole, dug…

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Wartime Agriculture (1917)

WartimeAgriculture, newspaper article

West Boylston’s soldiers left for training in the few weeks following Congress’ declaration of war on April 6, and, at home, the town prepared to contribute to the war effort. World War I had raged already for three years in Europe. America’s allies, including Britain and France, faced starvation. To support our allies and our…

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Service Flag 1917

ServiceFlag, photograpg of flag

World War I changed daily life in West Boylston. Patriotism resonated throughout the town. On November 11, 1917, exactly one year before the Armistice and the end of WWI, the citizens of West Boylston raised a service flag on the common in honor of all those serving overseas. Service flags are still flown today to…

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Risk of War 1808

Riskofwar news article photograph

West Boylston gained its independence from Boylston in 1808, and we’re lucky enough to have some yellowed, fragile newspapers from that year down in our Local History Room. The newspaper is the Massachusetts Spy, or Worcester Gazette. In those days, some S’s were written to look like fancy lowercase F’s, so the title of the…

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WWI Postcards (1917)

Postcards, photograph of postcards wwi

Postcards allow us to share our experiences with family and friends through visuals and words. Below are two postcards sent home by a WWI soldier. One features a drawing of Weigel Boulevard at Camp Devens along with a few soldiers milling about. The other postcard features a sight which overseas soldiers might have seen in…

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Honor Roll (1917)

HonorRoll, photograph of honor roll

One hundred years ago today, April 6th, 1917, Congress formally declared war on the German Empire, and the United States joined the Allies in the Great War. The nation prepared for war; within a month, dozens of West Boylston men had enlisted in the military and a surge of patriotism rallied townspeople to ration food,…

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Fundraiser (1917)

Fundraising, news article

While war raged across the world, American civilians at home contributed their time and resources to supporting troops overseas. West Boylston’s citizens staged social events to raise money for the troops and their families. In November 1917, several families hosted a chain of social events at which each attendee brought 25 cents and any knitted…

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Diaries (1917)

Diaries, three diary excerpts

Some of the most valuable historical documents are letters and diary entries. Through these personal accounts, we can watch history unfold through another’s eyes. We are thankful to have several letters from a West Boylston soldier who served in World War I. George Buck, who was stationed in France in 1917, wrote to his parents…

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Civil War Currency (1913)

Currency, photograph of currency

The Civil War was America’s darkest moment; the nation’s politicians and people became so divided over the institution of slavery and numerous other factors that we eventually fractured into two separate nations: the United States of America and the Confederate States of America. In its few years, the Confederacy printed its own money. In 1913,…

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War Time

Image of a wartime newspaper masthead

  Risk of War     Diaries                 Civil War Currency     World War I Postcards                 Service Flag     Fundraiser                   Honor Roll     Wartime Agriculture      …

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