Sunday, April 19, 2009

South Hadley invited to Hadley Founder's Day

Gerry:

Thank you for the invitation.

As you requested, I have forwarded your invitation to the other Selectboard members. I have also forwarded it to the officers and the webmaster of the South Hadley Historical Society, asking that you receive the information that you requested about the Society.

I look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

Bob Judge

S. Hadley Selectboard

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Date: April 13, 2009
To: Board of Selectmen, Town of South Hadley
From: Gerry Devine, Chairman, Founders Day Committee
Re: Founders Day, April 13, 2009
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On Saturday April 18, 2009 there will be a Founders Day celebration at 1 pm at Hadley Town Hall. We would like to cordially invite the South Hadley Board of Selectmen to attend the celebration.

We anticipate the event to last about 1-1 ½ hour, we have extended this invitation to all descendants of the founding families. We have received over 30 inquiries from many surrounding towns and states. One of the goals of this celebration is to provide as much information as possible to the descendants so they may further research their roots in our communities.

It would help us if you could provide contact names, numbers and emails for the South Hadley Historical Society so we may include this information in the printed program.

Thank you for your help and hope to see you on Saturday.

Gerry Devine
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Hadley honors first settlers

Sunday, April 12, 2009

By DIANE LEDERMAN

dlederman@repub.com

HADLEY - On April 18, 1659, a group of settlers in Wethersfield and Hartford, unhappy with some of the changes taking place at their churches, signed an agreement to leave their homes and head north.

On Saturday, the town will celebrate those families who moved into the wilds of Massachusetts to settle what was then called Norwottuck or New Plantation with Founding Day festivities.

Fifty-nine men signed that day, but 18 either never moved to town or only stayed for a little while. Many descendants of those families who stayed, who still live here or in neighboring towns, will return to help Hadley celebrate its 350th birthday.

Town officials are hoping more will come, including people who might be descendants of John Webster, William Goodwin, John Crow or Nathaniel Ward, for example.

The event begins at 12:30 p.m. on the south side of the Town Common, with a procession at 1 p.m. to the Town Hall.

State Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg, D-Amherst, and Rep. John W. Scibak are scheduled to rededicate their gift of founding papers to the town. There will be a 350th birthday cake and refreshments at the First Congregational Church, the founding church.

The cake is being prepared by descendant Linda B. Stark, who lives in Amherst.

Her ancestors include Daniel Warner, Nathaniel Dickinson, John Hubbard and Samuel Smith.

"When you have 59 (founding) families you end up marrying each other," she said. Her family stayed in the Hadley area until the mid-1800s, then moved to Providence, R.I., for manufacturing jobs.

Stark said she didn't know this family history when she moved here in 1971 with her former husband William Patterson, who taught at the University of Massachusetts.

Stark said her sister Susan Vincent decided to research their grandmother Helen Blodgett, who died young. They traced their family to Hadley and said they are descendants of John and Priscilla Alden, original settlers in Plymouth. "It was like a shock," Stark said of discovering her family connections.

Stark plans to dress up for Founders Day. Vincent, who lives in Connecticut, said she loves old things and made a lot of costumes.

Stark was delighted to be asked to make the cake.

"I feel like a transplanted person who came here in 1971. With them asking me to do this, I feel like part of the area," she said.

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