WHS Journal

Welcome to our free online publication WHS Journal – please choose from our list of articles below.

The Benevolent Women of Worthington in the Kitchen. Kate Bavelock explores the food customs of over a century ago as revealed in the Worthington Cook Book, published around 1911 by the Women’s Benevolent Society, a group within the Congregational Church. You can download the whole book for time-honored guidance on cornstarch pie, pork cake, and mountain dew pudding.


Guy Thrasher: A Worthington Legend Who Lived Off the Land. Sapping in spring and trapping in the fall, Thrasher (1900-1985) lived almost his entire life in South Worthington. For decades his eccentric store was a roadside fixture. “In any season you would surely find Guy there, sitting by his small stove, almost as if he were waiting for you.”


A Home at Last: The Origins and Construction of the WHS Building. A chronicle of the extraordinary, town-wide effort to build a home for WHS at the Corners, culminating in a 1999 grand opening ceremony.


Night of the Living Dead V at Center Cemetery. In 2014 several ghosts along Sam Hill Road started a trend by inviting the earthbound public to their gravesites for a chat. Other graveyard residents were envious, but five years later had their moment in the spotlight.    


The Worthington 250 Interviews, Part Nine: Brad Fisk, Singer and Icon of Corners Grocery. With his wife, Judy, the late Bradford Fisk owned and ran the Corners Grocery for 25 years. One of his steaks was dispatched to Washington to serve a sitting US president. Locally he was renowned for his tenor voice.


“Just Let It All Out”: Remembering Frankie’s Place. From the 1950s to the early 1970s, Frank Brooks ran a free-spirited local joint on a back road in West Worthington. In 2019, locals gathered to reminisce.


The Worthington 250 Interviews, Part Eight: Paul Strasburg and the Pull to Worthington. Strasburg moved here in his late thirties and still spends half the year in California. But after rebuilding his house, raising a barn, and tending his land alongside his neighbors year after year, his Worthington roots run deep.

Postcards of Bygone Worthington. Our fourth and final exhibit of postcards from the WHS collection, annotated by Evan Spring. Subjects range from waterfalls and carriage rides to golf, historic houses, and an old stone chimney.  


The Worthington 250 Interviews, Part Seven: Norm Stafford Finds His Place. Stafford, a relative newcomer, bonded with Worthington on the night he moved in, thanks to a warm welcome at Liston’s. Now he golfs, grows grapes, and writes picturesque novellas based on local history.


The Worthington 250 Interviews, Part Six: Ed Lewis, Birder, Skier, and All-purpose Treasurer. Everyone in town has seen Lewis cruising the roads on his roller skis. He freelances in consulting for environmental compliance, but without his services as treasurer, every nonprofit in town would fall apart. Bonus gallery: Ed’s local bird sightings.   


The Worthington 250 Interviews, Part Five: Why Carol Labonte Likes Living in Worthington. In 1979, Labonte and her husband built a house in Worthington at the end of a dirt road. For six years the road was useless in mud season, but Guy Thrasher’s housewarming gift – a wild azalea bush – still blossoms in profusion.  


The Worthington 250 Interviews, Part Four: Kevin Porter, Worthington Native. At 12 years old, Porter harvested potatoes for Ben Albert. Now he belongs to our Highway and Fire Departments, with an alpaca farm to boot. He particularly recommends the alpaca socks.   


The Worthington 250 Interviews, Part Three: Clarence Witter, Extrovert. Witter, who moved to Worthington in 1957, recalls the old days, his famous pig roasts, and town legends Emmy Davis, Henry Snyder, Ben Albert, and Bob Cudworth.   


The Worthington 250 Interviews, Part Two: Representative Steve Kulik. From 1993 to 2019, Worthington was privileged to have a town resident representing the 1st Franklin District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Kulik recounts his 1976 move to Worthington and conversion to Hilltown ways.


The Worthington 250 Interviews, Part One: Kristin Majkowski Jay, Bicentennial Queen. Jay recounts growing up in Worthington and serving as the town’s official “Queen” during the Bicentennial celebrations of 1968. Added bonus: behind-the-scenes documentation of the Queen competition.


Afternoon of the Living Dead. On September 22, 2018, five residents of Benjamin Graveyard – one of Worthington’s most beautiful and secluded cemeteries – departed from ghost protocol to tell their stories in broad daylight.


Postcards from Worthington Center. The best postcards of Worthington Center from the WHS collection, annotated by Evan Spring.


Moses Sash: Black Worthingtonian of Shays’ Rebellion. Everything we know about this African American resident of Worthington who fought in both the Revolutionary War and an anti-government insurrection in 1787.


  Arthur Capen and the Worthington Library. A discussion and exhibit on Worthington’s beloved longtime librarian and vital citizen Arthur Capen (1881-1981).


Ben Albert and Potato Farming in Worthington. In 2016 Worthingtonians gathered at the WHS building to recount our town’s potato farming heyday, and its potato kingpin, Ben Albert.


Night of the Living Dead III at Ringville Cemetery.  On September 16, 2016, the resident wraiths of Ringville Cemetery in southern Worthington greeted visitors in a chatty humor.



Dramatis Personae at the Kinne Brook Cemetery  George Bresnick explores a dramatic letter recounting a graveyard confrontation in Chester in 1866.


Worthington’s 1968 Bicentennial Celebrations.  Evan Spring recounts the grandest party of Worthington’s history: the eight-day bicentennial celebrations of 1968.


Florence Berry Bates and the Worthington Health Center.  An in-depth exhibit on Worthington’s beloved town nurse and the history of our health center.


Worthington and the Civil War.  An extensive exhibit on Worthington’s role in the Civil War, by Diane Brenner with help from Pat Kennedy and Mark Clinton. Includes complete lists of Worthingtonians who served, and some of their letters home.


Night of the Living Dead II at North Cemetery.  On August 29, 2015, the residents of Worthington’s North Cemetery woke from their eternal slumber, and their memorable words are chronicled here.


The Ruins of Ringville.  Dave and Cath Whitcomb led a walk through the industrial ruins of Ringville, a Worthington hamlet at two intersecting streams.


Night of the Living Dead at Center Cemetery.  On August 9, 2014, under the full moon, the residents of Center Cemetery on Sam Hill Road rose from the dead to tell their stories.


The Brown Family Bottles.  Diane Brenner catalogs Ben Brown’s collection of old bottles excavated from Worthington soil, with photographs by Kate Ewald.



Shays’ Rebellion: Trouble in the Hills.  Richard Mansfield explores the armed rebellion led by Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays in 1786 and 1787.


Postcards from South Worthington.  Evan Spring annotates the best postcards of South Worthington from the WHS collection.



Postcards from the Corners.  Evan Spring annotates the best postcards of Worthington Corners from the WHS collection.



Lyder Frederickson, Hilltown Artist.  Jim Dodge pays tribute to Lyder Frederickson (1905-1990), an accomplished artist with a house and studio by the Middle Branch of the Westfield River.



18th-century Virginia Court Documents Found in Worthington Attic: Stolen by Union Troops in 1862?  George Bresnick investigates a remarkable find.


Recollections of Emerson Davis.  Emerson (“Emmy”) Jewett Davis was an eccentric and beloved figure who served as caretaker for Town Hall and presided over the dump – ahem, disposal area – among other important town functions.


Bandana Dan (1965–2013) Remembered.  Daniel Steer, better known as “Bandana Dan,” died tragically young in 2013.



The Kitty O’Shea Stone.  Sean Barry investigates the provenance of a stone found on his property, inscribed “Oct 6 1891” – the death date of Irish nationalist Charles Parnell.



The Chair at the Corners.  Diane Brenner tells the background story of Jacob’s Ladder, the chair-like metal sculpture on the WHS lawn. Created by Peter McLean and Christopher Horton, the sculpture memorializes victims of the Salem Witch Trials.

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