Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Visit to an Old Family Home in Winchendon, Massachusetts

The following text is transcribed from a handwritten note in my grandmother's Goodhue Family Binder. The note is written in pencil, so I presume it was previously transcribed by my grandmother. In the upper right corner of the page it says "From Goodhue notes". Reverend Joseph Brown, mentioned in this note, is my sixth great-grandfather.

A visit to an old home at Winchendon Mass[achusetts]
On a bright day of July 1914 - as a quest of my cousin Mrs Frederick Holbrook, we motored from Brattleboro to visit the old home of my great grandfather the Rev[erend] Joseph Brown at Winchendon Mass[achusetts] where for 21 years he was minister of the old church.
     At Fitzwilliam we stopped at an antique shop which was in one of the 2 old large taverns each of them on the edge of the village common - the importance of the town in stage days was indicated by the size of these taverns.
     All that remains of the old church on the common on the hill is a stone marker - Here it was that our gr[eat] grandfather preached during those long years which ended in the famous controversy over possession of the Town records, in which he proved as a writer of the day has stated "too smart for them all."
     Here they suffered from the long cold winters & at one time from famine.
     Not far from the common stands a fine large square red house, the oldest in Winchendon which was owned by the Rev[erend] Jos. Brown - It stands well along the roadway overlooking a wide view, & is shaded by fine elms. Here grew up a large family of little Browns, one of whom, married Polly (Mary) who married Francis Goodhue living at Swanzy NH, Wethersfield VT & finally in 1811 moving down the Conn[ecticut] R[iver] to Brattleboro. No one knows where Rev[erend] Jos. Brown is buried but his wife lived w[ith] her daughter & family until her death. Here grave is in the old Goodhue lot (Mrs Sarah Brown) at Brattleboro.
     In the large red house at Winchendon doubtless stood the fine mahogany clock br[ou]ght from the Brown's home at Lexington wh[ich] was beloved by all the Goodhues in the 2 family homes on Main St[reet] in Brat[tleboro] & which is today in the home of the present senior Francis Goodhue at Church Lane Germantown Pa. (1924).  
Ellen B Van Kleeck

© 2011, copyright William C. Haskell


  1. Hi Will

    I love this !!!!

    Ellen B Van Kleek is my great great aunt, who built a summer home called Barberry Hill on Black Mountain Road in Brattleboro in 1914. She came back from Colorado every summer to spend time with her brother Francis Goodhue (my great grandfather) and his family until her death in the 1920s (?).

    I have many fond memories of Brattleboro from our family's time in Brattleboro from 1950- 2005 ,

    Thanks for sharing the family stories.


  2. Hi Sarah, Thank you for visiting and I'm glad you enjoy the stories. I remember visiting Barberry Hill once or twice, but I was quite young, so I don't remember much. It was your grandmother that wrote "A Tribute" to Ellen Brooks Van Kleeck, wasn't it? I have a copy that was in my grandmother's records. Do you have a copy?


  3. Hi Sarah,

    Any chance you can send me a direct email? I would like to email you some Goodhue information. You can email me at whaskgp[@]gmail[.]com (remove the square brackets).