Framingham Blog Posts

October 21, 2021

Aaron Hill

Near the front entrance of the "Old Burying Ground Cemetery" is a gravestone that has a Revolutionary War marker. I thought it would be interesting to learn more about this gravestone.

Hills Framingham Desktop
Hills Framingham Mobile

Interesting Things I Learned

Aaron was born on April 27, 1752 in Sherborn, Massachusetts.

Joined the American Revolution, at age 25, with the Captain Buckminster's Company, Col. Bullard's Regt. This is the description in the Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the American Revolution:

HILL, AARON, Framingham. Descriptive list of men raised in Middlesex Co. for the term of 9 months from the time of their arrival at Fishkill, agreeable to resolve of April 20, 1778; Capt. Buckminster's co., Col. Bullard's regt.; age, 25 yrs.; stature, 5 ft. 6 in.; residence, Framingham; arrived at Fishkill June 21, 1778; also list of men returned received of Jonathan Warner, Commissioner, by Col. R. Putnam, July 20, 1778.

Fishkill Supply Depot was the site chosen by General George Washington as the principle supply depot for the Continental Army. The Depot is located in Fishkill, NY. (The site is 168 miles from Framingham.)

Married Katharine Hall on June 4, 1778. They had 3 children:

  • Abel Hill (1787 - 1874) - Buried in Cavendish Village Cemetery in Cavendish, Vermont
  • Sally Hill (1788 - 1879) - [ Sally Hill Chickering ] Buried in Edwards Church Cemetery in Framingham, Massachusetts
  • Nancy Hall Hill (1806 - 1867) - [ Nancy Hills Irving ] Buried in Walnut Street Cemetery in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Aaron Hill died by a "Disease if the heart" at 66 on May 4, 1818 in Brookline.

October 14, 2021

Corporal. John Ryan

Walking around the Saint Georges Cemetary in Framingham, you may encounter the gravestone of Corporal John Ryan. His gravestone is located in the middle of the graveyard.

Corprl John Brown Grave

GraveStone Text

This is the text on the gravestone:

Erected
By Edward Hannall Ryan.
In memory of dear beloved Son
Corprl. John Ryan
Of Com. C. 33 Regt. Mass. Cols.
Who was killed
In Battle on Lookout Mountain Tenn.
Oct. 29, 1863
AEt. 22

Far off, away from home, and on the field of battle/br> A youthful daring an unflinching soldier fell/br> No more to hear their clash of Arms or Cannon rattle/br> Soldiers we hope thou art in peace farewell, farewell

Interesting Facts about John Ryan

In August 1962, John Ryan joined the 33rd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry to support the Union Army in the American Civil War.

John Ryan was promoted to Full Corporal on September 11, 1863.

He was killed on October 29, 1863, at Raccoon Ridge, Tenn. during the battle of Wauhatchie. Eleven other soldiers died on that day from the 33rd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

The Battle of Wauhatchie was fought October 28-29, 1863, in Hamilton and Marion counties, Tennessee, and Dade County, Georgia, in the American Civil War.

The 33rd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry lost a total of 188 men during the 3-year service; 7 officers and 104 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded, 77 enlisted men died of disease.

During the United States Civil War only Generals, that died in battle, were returned home. Corporal. John Ryan isn't buried here. He is likely buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery. This is marker is known as a Cenotaph (a monument to someone buried elsewhere)

There was another John Ryans that served in the 33rd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Company C. The other John was from Grafton and was recorded as leaving service due to disability.

The Story of Wauhatchie

Andrew J. Boies kept a journal of the 33rd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. This a part of his description of the events around the Battle of Wauhatchie.

[October 29, 1863 ] -

About midnight we were awakened by the beating of the "long roll" and a cry made, "To arms." The enemy had attacked our pickets, and it was true a battle had commenced. It fell to the lot of the "Iron Brigade," as Hooker calls it, which was immediately ordered out, and before 1 o'clock was marching back with orders to carry and hold the ridge at all hazards. Upon their arrival it was found to be a steep declivity of nearly 200 feet, so thickly wooded and covered with underbrush as to almost render it impassable ; but it must be done before daylight, or the consequences would prove serious. To the 33d Massachusetts and 73d Ohio was assigned this perilous duty of charging up that steep mountain side and driving the enemy from the top, and how well it was done, the result will prove.

The 33d regiment had only seven companies present, the other three having gone on a secret expedition. At the word "Forward," the boys took as quick a step as the nature of the ground would permit, and slowly worked their way up the steep side of the ridge, not knowing what might be in store for them upon their arrival at the top, determined to do or die. The 33d was on the right, the 73d Ohio on the left. Arriving near the top and but a short distance from the pits, a few shots were fired by our men, when the "Rebs" commenced their old game, crying out, "Don't fire on your own men."

It being so very dark, our boys did not know but such might be the case, and the firing ceased. One of our officers inquired, "Is that the 73d?' "Yes," was the reply, "what regiment is that?" Upon being answered, "33d Massachusetts," they poured into us a terrible volley from right to left. Our men gave them shot for shot, but the loss in our regiment was fearful. Adjutant Mudge fell dead at the first fire, Col. Underwood fell, dangerously, and as we supposed, mortally, wounded.

It being impossible to advance the regiment further, in its disordered state, it fell back to the foot of the hill and quickly formed for the charge, and as they now knew what they had got to contend with on their way up, and the disposition of the occupants at the top, they started slowly and cautiously, with orders not to fire, but drive the enemy out entirely with the point of the bayonet.

Once more gaining their forfner position, they were received with a murderous fire. The men, with knapsacks on, kept pushing and climbing for the top, which was finally reached, and then commenced a scene of heroism and bravery seldom equalled in this war. Over the bank and into the pits, with the enemy, was but the work of an instant, and at it they went, charging with the bayonet, dealing each other blows over the head with the musket, slashing and cutting with swords, until the whole scene resembled a grand knock-down, our boys reaching over the pits and dragging out the "Rebs" by the collar.

This was too much for them, and they seemed amazed and confused, and finally gave way and started over the opposite side of the hill at a fast pace, our boys giving them the contents of their muskets as fast as possible, leaving the 33d in possession of the hill, about 100 prisoners, a large number of guns and all of their intrenching tools, which were speedily given into the hands of the pioneers, and in a short time we had a formidable line of pits thrown up on the other side of the ridge.

Then we had a little time to look over and see how much this gallant act had cost us in the loss of officers and men.

Out of 238 men and officers who went into action, the 33d regiment lost 87 killed, including eight commissioned officers, colonel, adjutant, two captains and four lieutenants.

The 73d Ohio did bravely and fought nobly, losing a number of good boys.

October 7, 2021

Lorenzo Gibbs

There a lot of notable people buried at the Old Burying Ground Cemetery and the St.George Catholic Church Cemetery in Framingham. Some are well known more than others.

Over the next few weeks, I'll highlight some headstones of people that have stories that would otherwise go unnoticed.

This week, its all about the Lorenzo Gibbs gravestone in the Old Burying Grounds. It's located near the back left of the cemetery. The writing on the gravestone is slowly disappearing.

Lorenzo Gibbs Grave

Interesting Things I Learned

Lorenzo Gibbs was born on November 10, 1828, in Framingham Massachusetts.

On September 17, 1862, he enlisted in the Forty-fifth Regiment, Massachusetts volunteer militia to help defend the Union in the Civil War. He was 38 when he enlisted. According to military records he was a married farmer when he joined the militia. He was with Company F in the Forty-fifth Regiment.

Military Listing:

Company F

GIBBS, LORENZO, Private. Farmer, age 33, married, Framingham; en. Sept. 17, 1862; m. i. Sept. 26, 1862; m. o. July 7, 1863. Died Feb. 19. 1892.

According to Massachusetts documents he married twice:

In 1857, he married Sarah Elizabeth Sutphen. (1838 - 1880) and they had 4 children.

On November 24, 1875, he married Catherine Elizabeth Bullard of Newton. (November 9, 1829 - February 13, 1900)

Lorenzo Gibbs died on February 19, 1892

Children

George Washington Gibbs - 1857 - 1929

Charles Henry Gibbs - 1860 - 1860

Alzena Frances Gibbs - 1861 - 1871

Hattie Isabell Gibbs - 1868 - 1881

George W. Gibbs is the only family member not buried in Framingham's Old Burying Ground Cemetery. He fought in the Spanish American War. He is buried in Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois,

Some Mystery Around Lorenzo Gibbs

There are some reports that he died on February 18 and other reports that he died on February 19, 1892. The discrepancy can be because of when the death reports arrived in different locations.

Military records show that he died on February 19th, and other records - including his gravestone shows it was February 18th.

Information from this research came from various online family tree websites.

September 30, 2021

Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance

In Massachusetts, 62 cities and towns have some type of restrictions on the availability of single-use plastic bags. This covers about 80% of the Massachusetts population.

Framingham is one of the cities with plastic bag restrictions. In 2021, they have gone a bit stricter and make consumers pay for bags. This is to encourage consumers to bring their own bags when shopping.

Framingham Bag Desktop
Framingham Bag Mobile

History of the Plastic Bag Ban

July 5, 2021 - Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance was updated - consumers now have to pay for bags on checkout.

January 1, 2018 - No plastic bags allowed at checkout in supermarkets and retail stores

May 12, 2016 - Framingham Town Meeting votes to ban plastic bags 78 to 34

Current Rules on Bags in Retail Stores

Here are the general rules for the bags in retail stores. The City of Framingham put out a PDF for retail establishments to display at the register for consumers. So far, only HobbyLobby printed out the flyer and posted them near the registers.

Stores are no longer allowed to offer any single-use plastic bags in retail or grocery stores.

You can purchase reusable checkout bags or 100% recycled paper checkout bags for at least $.10.

All fees collected for the bags will be retained by the store.

The $.10 fee is taxable and subject to the Massachusetts sales tax.

If a store offers reusable bags, they must have handles, be able to carry at least 25-pounds, and be able to be washed.

The Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance applies to all retail stores. They apply to pharmacies, convenience, and grocery stores, liquor stores, seasonal and temporary businesses, farmers markets, public markets, jewelry stores, and household goods stores. Oddly enough they do not apply to bazaars, fairs, and festivals. So the weekly farmer's market will charge a fee but the local church fair doesn't.

September 23, 2021

Street Signs of Framingham

Welcome to the Fall Season! Did you know that the city of Framingham has streets named after the four seasons?

There are xx streets in Framingham. Did you know that there is a street name after each of the four seasons?

Framingham Street Season

Finding The Streets

Winter Street - This street goes from Route 9 to Waverly Street near Framingham State. This is located between the villages of Salem End Road and the South Framingham area.

Spring Street - This short street is located off of Franklin Street near Mason Park in the South Framingham village area.

Summer Street - This street is located between Central Street and Concord Street near the Golden Triangle village area.

Autumn Lane - This is the shortest street of the four. This street is located off of Haleah Lane in the Saxonville village area.

Finding Steet Signs

In Framingham, the street signs are located at the start and the end of a street.

September 16, 2021

Sisitsky vs Spicer in November

This past Tuesday was the primary for the Mayor of Framingham. There were three candidates running Charlie Sisitsky, Carlos Valadares and incombant Mayor Yvonne Spicer.

Official results can be found on the Framingham Election Page.

Charlie Yvonne

Framingham Turning away from Spicer?

Sisitsky received 4,401 votes, and Spicer received 1938 votes. Only 6,727 registered voters voted. This represents a 16.98% turnout.

This is a big upset for Spicer. In 2017, she got nearly 6,000 votes in the primary and 9,000 in the November election.

Fun Facts about Mayor Yvonne Spicer

First Mayor of the City of Framingham

Previously she was the Vice President for Advocacy and Educational Partnerships at Boston's Museum of Science.

Was a Framingham Town Meeting Member representing precinct 6 and she served on the Ways and Means Committee

Mayor Spicer was instrumental in establishing the 2001 Massachusetts Technology/engineering curriculum framework and the first-ever Kindergarten through 12th-grade assessment for technology and engineering.

Lives in District 4

Fun Facts about Charlie Sisitsky

Current Occupation - Retired from 20-years of being the Director of Public Works in Natick MA.

Charlie served on the Town's Finance Committee and as a Town Meeting member from Precinct Two.

From 1998 ' 2018, Charlie was an elected member of the Framingham Board of Selectmen, where he served multiple terms as Chairman.

Lives in District 3

Election Day

Voters go to the polls on November 2nd.

To find out where to vote, go to the City of Framingham voting page.

September 9, 2021

September 11 Memorial

The 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is this coming Saturday. This week, I thought it would be interesting to look at the 9/11 memorial in Framingham's Cushing Memorial Park.

Framingham Cushing Park 911

Interesting Facts about the Memorial

The Living Memorial was dedicated on September 11, 2014 - the 13th anniversary of the attacks. The ceremony featured 3,000 American flags to remember the victims lost in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania that day.

Seventeen trees were planted for those that perished in the attacks who had ties to the city.

In front of the gazebo is a stone monument of the names of those that lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

The town of Framingham planted 3,000 American flags on the 10th anniversary. They will plant 3,000 flags this year on the 20th anniversary. The flags usually stay planted for 24-hours before they get removed.

During the remembrance in 2019, the city planted a Callery Pear 'Survivor Tree' across from the memorial.

There is a small stand to describe the memorial next to the memorial. The Parks and Recreation department is responsible for the care of the memorial and trees.

Framingham Victims

The names of the Framingham Victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, as they appear on the memorial:

  • Barbara Keating
  • Charlie Murphy
  • Christine Barbuto
  • Darin H. Pontell
  • Herbert W. Homer
  • John J. Wenckus
  • Judith Larocque
  • Laura Lee Morabito
  • Linda George
  • Lisa Fenn Gordenstein
  • Meta Fuller Waller
  • Neilie Hefferman Casey
  • Paige Farley Hackel
  • Robin Kaplan
  • Susan Mackay
  • Tara Shea Creamer
  • Tod Hill
September 2, 2021

Crispus Attucks Bridge

Crispus Attucks was a former slave in Framingham. He escaped and went missing. He "reappeared" in Boston and became part of history when he was killed at the Boston Massacre.

The Boston Massacre came about when a mob led by former slave Crispus Attucks began to assault soldiers on guard at the Royal Customs House (now the intersection of Congress and State Sts.) According to reports, "The soldiers fired into the crowd, and Attucks and four others were killed." Patriot spokesmen used the incident to have the soldiers withdrawn from the city (but not for long the soldiers were back in two years)

Crispus Attucks Bridge

Sign on the Bridge

Crispus Attucks Bridge

Crispus Attucks, a runaway slave, and patriot hero was born c. 1723 of an African father and a mother from Praying Indian Village of Natick. Crispus Attucks worked and lived near this bridge until he escaped in 1750 in search of his own freedom. On March 5, 1770, it became known that Crispus Attucks was the first person to die in the Boston Massacre, an event which initiated America's struggle for independence from British rule.

Framingham Historical Commission
Framingham Cultural Council
African American Heritage Committee
Framingham Historical Society.

Fun Facts about the Crispus Attucks Bridge

The Framingham Historical Society proposed naming the bridge in February 2000. Not all residents were favorited in naming the bridge. Many people felt that Crispus Attucks was more of a "thug" than a hero.

The bridge naming ceremony occurred on March 5, 2000 - exactly 230 years after the Boston Massacre.

March 5, 2000, was also announced as Crispus Attucks Day in Framingham.

The 20-foot bridge was last rebuilt in 1965. As you can see from the picture, the marker does have some wear and tear on it.

Crispus actually lived on what is Route 9, not far from where Route 30 and Route 9 intersects.

Location of the Crispus Attucks Bridge

The bridge is located at 670 Old Connecticut Path in Framingham. Massachusetts.

August 26, 2021

Framingham Centre Civil War Memorial Statue

If you drove around the Village Green at Framingham Center, chances have you probably seen a large status. This is located in front of the Edgell Memorial Library.

Framingham Civil War Statue

Eight Things I Learned About The Statue

Official Name of the statue is Framingham Centre Civil War Memorial Statue

Statue was built in 1872 as a special memorial for Framingham residences that gave their lives during the Civil War.

The sculptor was Martin Milmore. Some of his other works include The Soldiers and Sailor Monument in the Boston Commons, the Statue of John Glover on Commonwealth Avenue, and more. You can see Martin Milmore's signature on the back bottom of the statue.

It was made by Ames Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Massachusetts. On the bottom front right, you can see the company name etched in the statue. You can also see the year it was made: 1872.

It cost about $3,000 to build ($65,788.19 in 2020) and was completely funded by George Phipps

The statue was originally located inside the building but moved outside around the turn of the century. There is a tablet inside that lists the 27 names of the Framingham men who died in the Civil War. The statue was likely located in the center of the Edgell Memorial Library entrance hall.

The statue was dedicated at the same time as the Edgell Memorial Library: Saturday, February 22, 1873. (February 22, 2022, will be the 150 anniversary) George B. Brown, Esq. gave the dedication speech.

George B. Brown, Esq. was chosen as a speaker as he organized the fundraising and construction of the memorial library.

Names on the Monument

These are the names of the 27 Framingham Soldiers that died in the Civil War. Most of the people on this list are buried at the Edgell Grove Cemetery & Mausoleum.

David Brigham Eames, John Carpenter, Timothy S. Boynton, William C. Babcock, Nathan D. Hosmer, Alfred B. Moulton, William F. Norris, James A. Rice, Sylvanus Phipps, John Hickey, Oscar G. Brown, Heman F. Cheney, Daniel W. Parmenter, Hector Ingraham, Nelson H. Howe, Major T. Harmon, John Ryan, Henry M. Putney, Charles Wright, Jonas E. Melvin, William D. Hudson, Henry A. Barker, Summer A. Davis, William F. Bullard, Theodore F. Russell, Benjamin Wadsworth, J. Sully Dench

Dedication Address

Part of the Address Delivered by George B. Brown, Esq., at the Dedication of Memorial Hall and Library Building, Framingham, February 22, 1873

"Time and tide wait for no man;' but for the completion of this building, we are fully aware you have had to wait many a sun's circuit, and many a flood and ebbing tide. All the whys and wherefores of this delay may per mission, rest alone in the bosoms of those who are familiar with all the details. If the cost for the faithful and worthy completion of this structure may seem large, and taxation to fulfill the obligations its erection imposes seem onerous, let us be consoled by the thought, that in our day and generation, if we have not done all that we could, we have at least left one monument of our more generous impulses, around which our children may gather with feelings of honest pride for the memories of their fathers....

Friends, the building the completion of which we today celebrate will decay. Time's ceaseless, tireless agents are already at work for its destruction; and some future age shall look on its crumbled ruins. But there is a MEMORIAL HALL of vaster proportions, whose walls age shall not crumble, nor time deface; and in niche and nave, on wall and ceiling, as on columns that support its measure less dome, are tablets, whose chiseled letters are the names of earth's past nobility, of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. May their example in the past, blending with their soft cadences from above, whisper to us, 'Write your names also on the tablets of heaven!'

Work Cited:

Information about the Framingham Centre Civil War Memorial Statue was gathered from various news stories and published reports done at the time.

August 19, 2021

Gregory B Vilionitsky Bridge

Like many New England towns, Framingham has a lot of special monuments to remember various people and events. One sign that people may not notice is on a bridge on Route 9. The bridge over the Sudbury river is called the Gregory B Vilionitsky Memorial Bridge.

Gregory Vilidnitsky Bridge

Who was Gregory B Vilionitsky

Gregory B Vilionitsky was a MassDOT engineer that was killed when a drunk driver crashed into a construction site. This accident occurred on September 14, 2010, at 10:43 p.m. Gregory B Vilionitsky was 57 and a father of two.

Gregory B Vilionitsky was born and raised in Russia. He worked on various road projects in Israel. A few years ago he moved his family from Russia to America for a better life.

How the Bridge Dedication Came About

Representative Chris Walsh sponsored Bill H.3572 which dedicated the bride in Gregory B Vilionitsky memory. The bill was filed on June 27, 2011 - 286 days after the accident. It became active on December 28, 2012.

The bride dedication ceremony was on June 13, 2013.

The accident occurred on Rte. 9 near the Framingham/Southborough border - near the corner of California Ave and Route 9.

In 2009, Gregory B Vilionitsky actually helped construct the bridge that now bears his name.

Sign at the Bridge

In Memory of Civil Engineer,
Gregory B. Vilidnitsky

Who was unparalleled
in his spirit, charisma, and passion
in all aspects of life.

9/16/1952 to 9/14/2010

Drunk Driver

Maine resident Jeremy Gardner pleaded guilty to driving drunk and vehicular homicide charges stemming from the incident and in 2012 he was sentenced to eight years in prison.