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Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

People, Pictures and News From the Past

Where is Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA? 

Southbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
The area was initially inhabited by the Nipmuck and Mohegan tribes, with the Quinebaug River dividing their territories. As early as 1638, John Winthrop, Jr. purchased a tract for mining lead at what is now Leadmine Road in Sturbridge (it was thought at the time that where there was lead, there should be silver nearby).

Southbridge was first settled by Europeans in 1730 and incorporated in 1816; among the first settlers was Moses Marcy, who owned a home on the site of what is now Notre Dame church and was elected to Congress, and the Dennison family. Water power from the Quinebaug River made Southbridge a good location for sawmills and gristmills in the 18th century, and textile mills in the 19th century. After the Civil War, many immigrants of Irish and French Canadian descent came to work and live there; by the 1930s they had been joined by Poles, Greeks, Italians and others.
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Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - 
Charles Anger's blacksmith shop in the Westville section of Southbridge
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA


Charles Anger's blacksmith shop in the Westville section of Southbridge
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - C. C. C.
Connecticut Clothing Co.
Bates & Lindsey
Putnam, Conn.
Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

C. C. C.
Connecticut Clothing Co.
Bates & Lindsey
Putnam, Conn.
Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - 1882 ad
J. & W. Booth
Furniture & Coffin Warerooms
Paints of all kinds
paper Hangings, Curtain Fixtures, Frames, &c.
Alden's Block, Globe Village

1882 Massachusetts City Directory - Webster and Southbridge (MA)
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

1882 ad
J. & W. Booth
Furniture & Coffin Warerooms
Paints of all kinds
paper Hangings, Curtain Fixtures, Frames, &c.
Alden's Block, Globe... Read MORE...
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - The Journal, Southbridge, MA, Thurs. June 7, 1888
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

The Journal, Southbridge, MA, Thurs. June 7, 1888
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - Westville section of Southbridge
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

Westville section of Southbridge
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - Main Street, looking W. Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

Main Street, looking W. Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - Marcy Street School
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

Marcy Street School
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - Southbridge, Mass., Post Office Square, looking West - 1907
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

Southbridge, Mass., Post Office Square, looking West - 1907
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - American Optical Co. Works, Southbridge, Mass. - 1909
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

American Optical Co. Works, Southbridge, Mass. - 1909
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - American Optical Co. - 1910
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

American Optical Co. - 1910
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - St. Mary's Church
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

St. Mary's Church
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - Residence of J.C. Wells
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

Residence of J.C. Wells
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - High School
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

High School
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - Main American Optical Co. Factory, Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

Main American Optical Co. Factory, Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - Southbridge Tool Company, Charlton Street, Southbridge, MA - 1941 - Edgar Tremblay, Archie Gagnon, Joseph Seremet
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

Southbridge Tool Company, Charlton Street, Southbridge, MA - 1941 - Edgar Tremblay, Archie Gagnon, Joseph Seremet
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - A Portion of the American Optical Company Plant, Lensdale, Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

A Portion of the American Optical Company Plant, Lensdale, Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - American Optical Company, Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

American Optical Company, Southbridge, Mass.
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - Southbridge Tool Company, Curtis Street, Southbridge, MA - 1949 (approx. 5,000 sq ft of space)
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

Southbridge Tool Company, Curtis Street, Southbridge, MA - 1949 (approx. 5,000 sq ft of space)
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - Ad for Southbridge Tool Company
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

Ad for Southbridge Tool Company
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - American Optical Company
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

American Optical Company
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - Gregoire's
Hamilton Street, Southbridge
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

Gregoire's
Hamilton Street, Southbridge
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - United Lens Company
Worcester Street, Southbridge
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

United Lens Company
Worcester Street, Southbridge
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA - Bicentennial celebration, May 14, 2016
Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

Bicentennial celebration, May 14, 2016

History / News

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Old Photos of Southbridge
Great old photos of Southbridge can be found here:
Digital Treasures
John Winthrop, Jr. purchased a tract of land around 1638 in what was to become Southbridge. It was purchased for mining ore for graphic deposits.

Street Corners of Southbridge, "The Way We Were" by Joe Capillo, 1996
In 1732 (Southbridge), Moses Marcy built a saw mil and a few years later, a grist mill.

Street Corners of Southbridge, "The Way We Were" by Joe Capillo, 1996
By 1775, small businesses like coopering and carpentry were started in Southbridge. The town reached a population of about 400 inhabitants and a school and a meeting house were erected.

Street Corners of Southbridge, "The Way We Were" by Joe Capillo, 1996
By 1814, some textile mills were built in the Globe section of Southbridge, and downstream, in an area known as Centre Village, the business district began to establish itself.

Street Corners of Southbridge, "The Way We Were" by Joe Capillo, 1996
February 15, 1816, Southbridge was officially recognized as a town. Population 830.
The first town meeting was held several weeks later, March 6, 1816, which included the election of...Read MORE...

1826 - William Beecher comes to Southbridge
In 1826 William Beecher, a jeweler and watchmaker, settles in Southbridge, a small town on the...Read MORE...

News  1830 - Water Snakes
Mr. Ephraim Wheelock, of Southbridge, Mass. while mowing, came in contact with a large water...Read MORE...

1833 - Manufacturing of Spectacles Begins
Within seven years of his arrival in Southbridge, William Beecher opens a shop above his jewelry...Read MORE...

1845 - SOUTHBRIDGE. [Pop. 2,031.Inc. 1816.]
Southbridge was composed of portions of Sturbridge, Charlton, and Dudley.

The Quinebaug...Read MORE...

1848 - Southbridge
SOUTHBRIDGE was originally a part of Sturbridge, Chariton, and Dudley. It was incorporated as a...Read MORE...

French Canadian Emigration to the United States 1840-1930
Source:
Marianopolis College
faculty.marianopolis.edu/ c.belanger/ quebechistory/ readings/ ...Read MORE...

1862 - Robert Cole Takes Over
Southbridge, Massachusetts - William Beecher, prominent spectacle maker, retires in 1862 and Robert ...Read MORE...

News  1863 - Fire
A fire in Southbridge, Mass., on Saturday morning, destroyed the Baptist church, the Tammany Hall...Read MORE...

1869 - American Optical is Formed
Southbridge, Massachusetts - The merging of two competing spectacle making companies results in the ...Read MORE...

Blacksmith Shop in Westville
"The Blacksmith shop, located between the bridge and the river bend, was operated by Mr. Charles...Read MORE...

1879 - George Wells accumulates AO stock
George Wells has accumulates a majority share in the stock of the American Optical Company. Wells...Read MORE...

News  1883 - Bound to Get Away
BOSTON, June 22. - J. P. Olds was arrested at Southbridge to-day on a charge of stealing large...Read MORE...

News  1884 - FIRE RECORD. AT SOUTHBRIDGE.
Worcester, August 9. - The Columbian mill at Southbridge, with a boarding house and tenement,...Read MORE...

News  1889 - Largest Spectacle Factory in the World
Southbridge, Mass., has the largest spectacle factory in the world. More than 3/ 4 of the gold...Read MORE...

News  1889 - Early to Bed
Southbridge goes to bed early as a rule. A stranger in town always notices how quiet the streets...Read MORE...

Southbridge, Massachusetts 1890
Southbridge is a prosperous and important manufacturing town lying in the southwesterly part of...Read MORE...

1894 - Gedeon Gregoire establishes a shoe repairing shop in Southbridge
Gedeon Gregoire... came to Southbridge and started a shoe repair shop. In 1923, business had grown. ...Read MORE...

News  1894 - DEADLY RAILROAD CROSSING. TWO KILLED OUTRIGHT AND MANY ARE INJURED.
WORCESTER HAS ANOTHER ARGUMENT AGAINST THE GRADE CROSSING.

Worcester, Mass., Nov. 30. - The most ...Read MORE...

News  1899 - $2,000,000 for Southbridge People?
SOUTHBRIDGE, MASS., March 17. - It is believed here that the family of Mrs Lucier, mother of...Read MORE...

By 1900, Southbridge had a population of 10,000, with an estimated 6,000 of French-Canadian ancestry.

Street Corners of Southbridge, "The Way We Were" by Joe Capillo, 1996
News  1904 - Town Stricken With Diphtheria
Southbridge, Mass., Oct. 24. - An epidemic of diphtheria prevails in Southbridge to an extent that...Read MORE...

1906
Southbridge, a banking post-village in Southbridge township (town), Worcester co., Mass on the...Read MORE...

News  1910 - BANK TREASURER NOT FOUND.; Shortage in Southbridge Savings Bank Believed to be About $100,000.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass, Jan. 22. - John A Hall, the Treasurer of the Southbridge Sayings Bank, which was...Read MORE...

News  1913 - REVIVE GRAND TRUNK WORK. Construction of Southern New England Line to be Resumed.
Special to the New York Times.

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 22 - Work is to be resumed immediately...Read MORE...

News  1918 - Help Wanted
Help Wanted - Help Wanted in Southbridge, Mass., to work in Hamilton Woolen Co., established...Read MORE...

News  1934 - SOUTHBRIDGE DIRECTORS VOTE TO LIQUIDATE MILL
MEANS THAT 1,000 WOOLEN WORKERS MUST FIND JOBS ELSEWHERE

Boston, Dec. 19 - (AP) - The board of...Read MORE...

News  1938 - New Mask Invented - His Face Is Dirty
His Face Is Dirty - Seeking to combat silicosis, lung malady suffered by those who work in dust,...Read MORE...

1939 - When World War II broke out, Southbridge had a population of 16,801.

Street Corners of Southbridge, "The Way We Were" by Joe Capillo, 1996
News  1945 - Maker of Bomb Very Depressed
Maker of Bomb Very Depressed - Southbridge, Mass. August 17 (UP) - A scientist who helped develop...Read MORE...

1945 - Radio Phone for Pocket Use to Be On Market Soon
"Radio Phone for Pocket Use to Be On Market Soon -- Southbridge, Mass., August 23 (UP) - A...Read MORE...

News  1946 - Women See Colors Better
Women See Colors Better - Southbridge, Mass (UP) - The American Optical Co., studying the incidence ...Read MORE...

News  1951 - New Goggles
American Optical Co. of Southbridge, Mass. has a new airtight industrial goggle for use in working...Read MORE...

News  1951 - New Machine Take Blood Directly from Veins for Red Cross
New Machine Take Blood Directly from Veins for Red Cross - Southbridge, Mass. - (UP) - A new...Read MORE...

1955 - WESO On the Air
March 20 - Radio Station WESO goes on the air for a first time. Announcers and newscasters are Bob...Read MORE...

1958 - Ames Worsted Textile Company
Milton and Irving Gilman open their first store in the Ames Worsted Textile Co. mill in...Read MORE...

News  1961 - Keeping Out Noise
Southbridge, Mass. (UPI) - A new plastic, anti-noise ear plug for military and commercial aviation...Read MORE...

News  1975 - Ames Has Grand Opening At New Amenia Store
From a humble beginning in an old factory building in 1958 to a modern new store in Amenia to serve ...Read MORE...

News  1980 - Making Eyes
In the days of old, someone who lost an eye wore an eye patch. That was replaced by getting a glass ...Read MORE...

THE BACK ROAD (About the AO Tunnel) by Joe Capillo
Over the years, hundreds of thousands have walked its darken underground paths across the Quinebaug ...Read MORE...

2002 - Out of Business
Ames Department stores, which began in Southbridge in 1958, goes out of business

Ancestors Who Were Born Here

We currently have information about 486 ancestors who were born in Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA.
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Ancestors Who Died Here

We currently have information about 451 ancestors who died in Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA.
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Ancestors Who Were Married Here

We currently have information about 218 ancestors who were married in Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA.  View Them Now

Cemeteries in Southbridge, Massachusetts, USA

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