Lion’s Club visits Society – Wed. Oct 23rd, 7 pm.

Update: The Grafton Historical Society hosted the Grafton Lion’s Club members for a brief business meeting with refreshments and a tour of the museum. Everything went well and visitors learned about town history.



Finding William Lewis, Sunday, November 17th

If you could go back in time to March 1836 would life be much simpler? Join the Grafton Historical Society at the Grafton Community Barn, 37 Wheeler Road, North Grafton on Sunday, November 17th at 2 pm for “Finding William Lewis” The diaries Mr. Lewis penned between March 1836, when he was 17 years old, and December of 1895, thirteen months before his death reveal his life as a tanner, currier, and farmer. Bruce Craven and Christie Higginbottom, employees of Old Sturbridge Village, will share the interesting stories using William’s own journals and over 200 account books and farm records. They will tell the tale of a young man born in Vermont on February 14, 1819, moving through New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut who took on numerous jobs along the way. By the 1850’s he was traveling throughout towns surrounding Barre, MA peddling books and Yankee Notions. In their Power point presentation we also meet his wife Abby who lived in North Grafton, MA. Thanks to William’s devoted friends, Mr. & Mrs. James N. Patterson along with their descendants these detailed documents have been preserved. Their research project is ongoing and they hope to publish William’s story. This event is free of charge. Refreshments will be served.



September 15th Book Signing for “Electricity”- Canceled

Due to an unfortunate accident where author Claire Gem has broken her arm the book signing will be rescheduled at a later date.


The History of Pies, 2 pm Sunday, October 13, 2019 Capacity for this event has been reached!

Come and sample a piece of pie with us.

This event has reached full capacity. On Sunday, October 13th at 2 pm, Mr. Robert Cox, author of “New England Pie: History Under a Crust” will be at the Grafton Community Barn, 37 Wheeler Road, North Grafton, MA. If its fall in New England perhaps its time for pie? He will share with the audience his unique look at New England through its baked goods. This free event will include taste testing of actual pies following the presentation. Coffee and water will also be available. Mr. Cox is the head of Special Collections and University Archives at W.E.B. Dubois Library, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Mr. Cox’s interest is in the history of the early national period and the 19th century. The Grafton Historical Society is a non-profit 501(c3) all volunteer organization. For more information about this show, or to reserve a spot please call 508- 839-0000 or email Reservations are suggested.


Women in the World of Frederick Douglass

“Rising Towards Unity … when not all voices were equal” presents Women in the World of Frederick Douglass on Sunday, June 2nd at 2:00 p.m. at the Grafton Community Barn in North Grafton.

Most people know about Frederick Douglass, the former slave, abolitionist, and freedom-fighter whose autobiography remains a monument in nineteenth-century American literature. But, what about the women behind the man who made his life and legacy possible?

Leigh Fought, author of the award-winning Women in the World of Frederick Douglass and professor of history a Le Moyne College, will tell the story of the important women who created and supported Frederick Douglass, including his mother and grandmother, slave-mistresses, two wives, and the many activist women who kept the movement for human right alive.

This is part of a series of events that seeks to raise awareness of the influential role our history of slavery continues to play in the United States as we struggle to achieve a more equal, just, and peaceful society.

Rising Toward Unity will culminate with the Friday, July 5th “Reading Frederick Douglass Together” on the meaning of the fourth of July to a slave.

The Grafton Historical Society, Grafton Public Library, and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Grafton and Upton are proud to present these fantastic programs.  For more information visit


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