Author Archives: GraftonGreen


2023 Volunteer of the Year Awards

The Grafton Historical Society’s Volunteer of the Year award will be presented to two dedicated volunteers on Friday, May 5th at our Annual meeting at the Post Office Pub. Join us to celebrate their commitment and dedication to keeping Grafton’s history alive for future generations. Call 508-839-0000 or email for more information.

Kristen Remillard: When we met, she was an acting scout leader and made a request for us to share our knowledge of the history of Grafton Common. I developed a scavenger hunt for the scouts and leaders to find clues to identify each building, and the fun began, but that wasn’t the end of their research, she set up a visit to the museum. I was very happy to give them a tour and share some stories. Other troops followed her lead and soon we were doing more of what we love best, sharing our town’s rich history. Kristen joined our board a few years later and we saw her eagerness to be involved in something that would promote a unified community spirit. Observing and listening she soon found there were lots of places for her to help. Her knowledge of tech played a huge part in the success of last year’s Annual Antique show. You need constant updates to social media to have an impact and not everyone does that well, Kricky is a wiz at it. On the big day, Kristen was very busy. She filled in for many different people so they could take a break, there were also many errands and small details that she would observe and then volunteer for. You never had to ask, she saw the need and took action. Getting to know more about her and seeing the ease at which she shares her thoughts in words along with actions, I realized she could be the perfect candidate to represent the society by writing short stories for The Community Advocate. She didn’t hesitate and has done some wonderfully informative articles. A part of our First Friday tea, Kristen is there to help with all the details, and she learned quickly how easy it was to just sit and converse with ladies of all ages. She and daughter Chloe took charge of an event for young children at Grafton Celebrates the Holidays in 2019 and this year assisted with the Holiday Tea that has become a favorite.

Pam Hollander: You would think that as Chair of the Education Department at Worcester State University, time to engage with outside commitments could be limited, but since 2018 she has volunteered to help with our yearly programs, looking for a way to engage the youth of our community. I first met Pam at our History in Bloom 2017, when she and her daughter came to see our wonderful collection of wedding gowns. Upon learning we were moving, she and Megan Webber helped me pack the museum. Pam understands the value of retaining our town’s history. For our 2018 – 2019 events schedule, she came up with an idea to invite a Steam Punk group to come to the museum. What a fun night it was. We were able to clear a space, allowing tables to be set in an atmosphere similar to a small nightclub. Our presenters were dressed in their finest Stem Punk as well as our many guests. Another program highlighted Grafton’s diverse culture by engaging the Cultural Club at Grafton High School. I remember the first meeting with the students who had no understanding of the work it takes to curate and present items with enough detail to make an enjoyable experience for the viewer. Pam set up several additional meetings and on April 27th & 28th the museum hosted several students as they proudly offered a peek into each one’s culture, not only with a display, but some traditional food from each participant. The event, although not as well attended as we had hoped, led the kids to request a second chance to do that program again the following year, but due to Covid protocol it never happened. She has participated in third grade enrichment for the past few years covering subjects like our shoe industry that made Grafton the second largest shoe manufacturer in Worcester County in the mid 1800’s, and the textile mills that brought workers from Europe to our little town. Pam has helped organize many other programs, like this year’s Retro Fashion program called, “Pretty Powerful: 100 Years of Voting & Style. Our guests were encouraged to participate by wearing clothing that could tell their own personal history through style. Everyone attending got a chance to share a little piece of their past. What fun! Pam has proven that history does not have to be boring!


Genealogists: Check Out the Museum!

Marc Leuenberger recently completed research on the family history and relations of Graftonite Jonathan Warren and had it published in the MASSOG Journal of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists. At one time Warren was the richest person in Grafton, responsible for construction of the town house on the Common, a.k.a., the Warren Block.

Marc kindly sent the Society a copy of his paper, you can read it here:

Come to the museum and dig up your own roots! Marc’s work is a great example of what can be accomplished with the myriad resources available in the museum – you can do it too. Beginning with Pierce’s “History of Grafton”, and is citation 1 in Leuenberger’s journal article. From there you can branch out into tabular records, newspapers, and photos. Yearbooks in the library are good resources for studies of more recent family histories. Musuem volunteers are constantly finding new information and adding to the index.

The museum also holds information beyond geneology, including houses, buildings, business, farms, and maps. We’re open Sundays from 2-4 and by appointment – see the About page or our Facebook page for the latest information.

Happy researching!


52nd Annual Antiques and Arts Show – Saturday June 15, 2019

Saturday, June 15, 2019 the Grafton Historical Society is holding its major fundraiser on the picturesque Grafton Common. Our 52nd Annual Antique and Arts Show will offer a wide variety of vendors selling unique Antiques and Art. Each year we have a few booths demonstrating their craft.

Booths abound with demonstrations and antiques for sale

You can stop by and see Elaine Koleskis canning her chairs or visit with Joanne Beller to watch her weave a beautiful Nantucket Basket. Ken Klapproth will be back with his amazing wooden shaker boxes. There will be hot dogs, chips, pastries, coffee and drinks for you to satisfy your appetite. The Kelly Clark Trio is always a favorite source of leisure music as you stroll along the paths looking for that just right item to take home. The show will run from 9 am – 3 pm and will be held rain or shine. If the weather prediction is for heavy rain we will move our location to the Millbury Street Elementary School, 105 Millbury Street.

Your $5.00 admission fee helps the Society bring you great programs throughout the year.


“Sarah Sartell Prentice: The Immortalist” April 5, 2019 1-3 pm

Join us at the First Friday Tea April 5, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the South Grafton Community House at 25 Main St in South Grafton to hear author Amy Belding Brown tell the story of Sarah Sartell of Grafton.

Illustration of colonial life in New England

Sarah Sartell Prentice was quite a character. According to F.W. Pierce’s History of Grafton, when her future husband Solomon Prentice “courted” her, they sat on the trunk of a tree in the woods, and he proposed to her in the language of Naomi to Ruth, and she accepted him with Ruth’s reply. Never a dull moment in Sarah’s life. The Historical Society holds a piece of her wedding dress as well, woven in the late 1600’s, one of the oldest artifacts at the museum.

The author of the presentation, Amy Belding Brown, lived in Grafton from 1994 to 2011, and wrote her first historical novel, Mr. Emerson’s Wife, there as well as doing the research and early drafts for her 2014 novel, Flight of the Sparrow.  She became interested in the story of Sarah Sartell Prentice while doing work with the historical records of the Grafton Congregational Church.  Sarah lived at a time of great religious ferment and was an important figure in the Separate Congregational Movement in Massachusetts at the time of the Great Awakening.  Hers is the remarkable story of an independent woman who defied her religious traditions and lived a radical life that scandalized her neighbors.

Irish breakfast tea, pastries, fruit, cheese, and gluten free items will be provided, along with fancy teas served in beautiful antique porcelain teacups – it’s a tea after all!

$5.00 and RSVP: make a reservation by calling 508-839-0000 or email Brought to you by the Grafton Historical Society.


RESCHEDULED: Rising Towards Justice – Abbey Kelley Foster, Sunday March 24, 2019

Sunday, March 24, 2019, 2 pm at One Grafton Common Great Hall, actress and activist Lynne McKenney Lydick will bring abolitionist Abby Kelley Foster to life in her inspiring one-woman play, “Yours for Humanity — Abby”.  NOTE: the snow date of Sunday, March 24th has been triggered due to the snow on the original date.

The play is based on the letters and speeches of Foster in 1854, during a time of many social and political differences in our country. Hear Foster  deliver her powerful orations against slavery and prejudice, which helped to change the views of many.

Early Abolitionist

Abby Kelley Foster (1811-1887) was a radical abolitionist, women’s rights activist. Her first National Woman’s Rights Convention in Oct of 1850 was held in Worcester, MA where she lived along with her husband Stephen and their daughter Alla.

A member of the Western Anti-Slavery Society, she dedicated her life to social justice, spending nearly 20 years traveling across the nation as a lecturer for the American Anti-Slavery Society. It was through the membership of this society that Foster knew Sarah and Ridgeway Haines, of Alliance, OH who were also dues paying members of the Western Anti-Slavery Society. She and her husband, Stephen S. Foster, also an abolitionist, would stay at the Haines House in OH when they were speakers.

The society’s annual meeting in the 1850s was held alternately in Salem, OH and Alliance, OH. The Haines land would temporarily house a tent that accommodated large crowds. A report from the Anti-Slavery Bugle said that 3,000 attended over a three-day weekend. 

See how one person can effect extraordinary changes in society by sheer determination, perseverance, and hard work. Abby’s House, a shelter for women opened in Worcester, MA in 1976 is named after this influential woman.

First of Four Programs in the “Rising Towards Unity” Series

The first in a four part series, “Yours for Humanity – Abby” has been funded by Mass Cultural Council. The sponsors of this four part series are: The Grafton Historical Society, The Grafton Public Library, and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Grafton & Upton. The Grafton Public Library will coordinate this spring’s Community read with related books from March through April.

For further information please call 508-839-0000 or email us at Look for future information about our additional “Rising Towards Unity” programs in 2019:

  • April 28 (Sunday) – The Life of Frederick Douglas
  • June 2 (Sunday) – Women in the World of Frederick Douglas
  • July 5 (Sunday) – Reading Frederick Douglas Together

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Grafton Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.





New Museum Grand Opening August 18, 2018

Saturday, August 18th the society invites you to visit from 12 – 4 pm at our new museum location, 71 Main Street, South Grafton for our Grand Opening. As well as viewing our great collection of artifacts there will be plenty to do. Mr. Ken Ethier will be out on the front lawn with a vast array of vintage tools. Just a short walk away, at the Mill Villages Park you’ll find Antique cars, vintage State Police vehicles, a story walk for the children, a scavenger hunt for families and adults along with Mrs. Joanne Beller making her wonderful Nantucket Baskets. The society will have a table of interesting items as well as “Images of Grafton” books and our bandstand ornaments. Stop by and join in the fun.

Here is a peek inside the new museum:


Annual Meeting, Friday April 27, 2018

The Grafton Historical Society would like to invite you to be part of our Annual Meeting on Friday, April 27, 2018. We will gather for a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres at 5:30 at the Post Office Pub, 1 Ray Street, North Grafton. A buffet of Bourbon Glazed Beef Tips with Caramelized Onions, Holiday Stuffed Chicken, Assorted Vegetables, and Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes will be served. An assorted Dessert Platter along with coffee and tea will follow dinner. Price per person is $37.50. Gluten free options are available. 


  • 5:30 — hors d’oeuvres and cash bar
  • 6:00 (-ish) –buffet dinner begins
  • 7:00 — Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony
  • 8:00 — Guest Speaker, Ranger Chuck Arning (emeritus)

Business Meeting and Awards

At 7:00 pm we will have our business meeting and election of new officers followed by the awards presentation. This year’s Grafton History Awards will be awarded to:

  • The Grafton Lion’s Club for organizing, setting up, and hosting the beautiful Wine Tasting event that raised most of the funds needed to pay for moving the museum
  • David L. Therrien for his colossal achievement at the South Grafton Public Library where he demo-ed, dried out, re-designed, re-floored, repaired, and led dozens of volunteers plus movers through the logistics of prepping, painting, and finally safely moving Grafton’s precious historical artifacts from the town house to the new museum. Non-stop, for months on end. Good thing he’s still young! 

… and a special award as well for the best crew ever of volunteers who made the move happen:  Dave Therrien, Don Clark, Rob Aberg, Scott Rossiter, Reid Blute, Kevin Powers, Dan Jones, Bernie Gardzina, Larry Berg, Barry Smith, Rob Fraser, Corinne Tortai, Evelyn Guillette, Pam Hollander, Julie Delong, Megan Webber, Rita Whiting, and two men from the American Legion, Stephen Gosselin, and Seth Mansur (hopefully not missing any!). Thanks to all of these wonderful folks, our museum will once again be a proud source of Grafton’s history.

Guest Speaker

Then at 8:00 pm our guest speaker, the much-loved local legend Ranger Chuck Arning will present “Development of Women’s Right to Vote”. For 25 years Ranger Chuck served with the Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park. During his career as National Park Service Ranger, he researched and brought to life many stories of the Blackstone Valley. Ranger Arning is one of the best storytellers around. You won’t be disappointed.


For information on attending the annual meeting please call 508-839- 0000 or send us an email at


Grafton Celebrates the Holidays, Sunday December 3, 2017

The spruced-up museum hosts Grafton Celebrates the Holidays on Sunday December 3, 2017 from 12 to 4 p.m. with TWO Frosty Stops

  • 1 Grafton Common – the main museum
  • 37 Wheeler Road – the Community Barn with a satellite display of popular artifacts


Cookies, punch, and coffee are served. Find out more about your town’s history, and see and touch real artifacts, textiles, shoes, and other items from Grafton’s past. Examine the thousands of vintage photographs taken in Grafton. If you’re interested, you can also look into helping out with research and other society activities aimed at preserving Grafton’s past.

Here are some photos of the event, click a picture and use arrow keys, or else start the auto-advance slideshow:


50th Annual Antiques and Arts Fair, Saturday June 17, 2017

50th Annual Antiques and Arts Fair

On Grafton Common, Saturday June 17th, 2017, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  (Rain or Shine**) — a full day of antiques, music, food, and much more!

The Grafton Historical Society announces the 50th annual Antiques and Arts Fair, to be held Saturday, June 17th, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Grafton Common. There will be dozens of antiques and collectibles booths, music, food concessions, and artisans demonstrating their crafts, among numerous other attractions.

“We are very pleased to be hosting the 50th Antiques and Arts Fair in Grafton this year. We invite everyone to come and share in this wonderful annual tradition,” said Nancy Therrien, Grafton Historical Society President. “Whether you’re searching for treasures, learning about crafts, or enjoying some food and music, it’s sure to be a fun day.”

In addition to the many vendors displaying their antiques and wares, there will be an appraisal table where, for a small fee, visitors can learn the value of their antiques and family heirlooms. Artisans also will be on hand providing demonstrations on basket making and other traditional crafts. As a backdrop to the festivities, Kelly Clark and his band will entertain the crowd with live music on the bandstand.

Admission is $5 for adults. Children 12 and under are free. Look for discount coupons in local businesses and The Grafton News. For more information, call 508-839-0000 or drop us an email at

** RAIN DATE: in case of rain, the fair will be held at the Millbury Street Elementary School, 105 Millbury St, Grafton, MA.


Grafton History Day and Plant Sale, Saturday May 13, 2017

The Grafton Historical Society and Grafton Garden Club are hosting the annual Grafton History Day and Plant Sale even on Grafton Common Saturday May 13, 2017 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Demonstrations and items on display at the Common will include:
  • Vintage Cars and State Police vehicles
  • Massachusetts State Police Museum artifacts
  • Grafton Historical Society Museum artifacts
  • The Willard Clock Museum artifacts
  • A storybook walk by the Grafton Public Library
  • Vintage tools and demonstrations
  • Basket weaving display and demonstrations
  • Pony rides
  • Live music
  • Grafton Garden Club’s large selection plant sale
Additionally, the Historical Society Museum will be open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. 
Each year, visitors come to enjoy the displays, live music, pony rides, vendors, and plant selections under the Grafton Common’s spring canopy. Join the fun!