Mollison – Harold Tompkins

This post is both the easiest and hardest for me to write. Harold Tompkins Mollison is my grandfather, and I miss him to this day. He taught me what it means to truly be rich in family, and how that outweighs being rich in money. He was far from a perfect man, including but not limited to his stubbornness! And one definitely didn’t want to be on his bad side. But he loved my grandmother so much, and his love for his children, grandchildren, and extended family was plain to see.

He was born in 1921, the 4th child and 3rd son to Stewart and Emeline Tompkins Mollison. He lived almost his whole live in Goshen, attending Goshen Center School and Williamsburg High School. He did not graduate from high school.

He moved to Barre to for work and it is there he met his future wife, Phyllis May Thompson. They were married there and moved back to Goshen after the birth of the first of their three children. They would remain in Goshen for the remainder of their lives.

Harold and Phyllis Thompson Mollison engagement photo
Harold and Phyllis Thompson Mollison engagement photo
Harold and Phyllis Mollison 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration
Harold and Phyllis Mollison 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They did live in several homes, one in Florence, one on Route 9, one on South Main Street, the Spencer Tilton farm on Wing Hill Road, and finally their own home at the top of Wing Hill Road where it meets East Street.

US Census:

  • 1930: Goshen: 8 years old, living with parents and 4 siblings, a farm laborer, and a boarder.
  • 1940: Goshen: 18 years old, living with parents and 6 siblings. Shows completed 3 years of high school, and working as a chauffeur.
Harold Mollison, abt 1938
Harold Mollison, abt 1938
  • The primary occupation for him was as farmer and machinist.  He built a tool sharpening business that thrived upon his retirement from farming. It occupied 1/2 of his garage and allowed him to have an income while still being at home with Phyllis.
Harold Mollison
Harold Mollison

Community Service:

This is a strong thread in the Mollison family and their ties with Goshen. It is actually common for many families in the area to be involved, one might say making it a stereotypical New England town.

Harold Mollison served as a baseball coach, school bus driver, ambulance driver, Board of Selectman for 12 years, Board of Health for 29 years, Conservation Commission, 4-H Club leader, Goshen Historical Society member, and a Hampshire County Commissioner.

One just had to look at his key ring to know that he was involved in the community. I remember my grandmother telling me that he tended to the boiler at the Center School, and even had his picture made when the annual school pictures were taken.

My memories:

While he was Grandpa to six of us, he was Uncle Harold to his many nieces and nephews, and Mr Mollison to many children in town.

I lived with my grandparents in the summer of 1981 due to my grandfather’s back surgery. This was during their time on the Tilton Town Farm. They raised chickens on the farm as it was owned by the town. They also had their own separate garden, pigs, and chickens. I quickly learned an appreciation for what my grandfather did in the barns tending to the chickens. He was very fastidious about how well they were doing and tracking their output and making sure they were not treated poorly. Many local children had their first jobs working with my grandfather on the farm. It struck me how many came to pay their respects when he passed.

I knew my place was not in the barns with him, but with my grandmother tending to the eggs – cleaning, sorting and packing them. Along with that I learned how to run the cash register and interact with the public that came to purchase eggs. And no time to sleep in on Saturdays! That was dump day – and the town dump was town the road from the farm so it was very busy from opening until close.

Phyllis and Harold at the Tilton Town Farm
Phyllis and Harold at the Tilton Town Farm
Harold Mollsion, this picture came from an article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, date unknown
Harold Mollison, this picture came from an article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, 1981; most likely February per his Kathleen Korza

 

 

 

 

 

 

A benefit to spending a week at the farm each summer was to go along for the deliveries on Wednesday and Friday. The routes were different, but he knew everyone along the way. And they knew we were coming with him. Sometimes there were lollipops or sodas, sometimes they just wanted to see how big we had gotten since our last trip. He was proud of us and it showed that his clients knew about us and our accomplishments.

He taught me the value of fixing things instead of buying something new.  Time spend fixing the egg machines or some other appliance on the farm was I also remember the first time as an adult taking them out to dinner on my dime. He was very upset that I had a credit card. He was concerned that I was living beyond my means.

Thanksgivings were, and continue to be, an important gathering time for this family. The farm house allowed for many to join in the festivities. These gatherings are some of the happiest memories I have with my grandparents. But the happiest I ever remember being able to make my grandfather was the Thanksgiving of 1989. My sister and I had moved away when we were teenagers and Thanksgivings were no longer spent with our grandparents. We were of age and had the means to join the family that year. I remember my grandfather standing against the door frame between the kitchen and the living room. He was looking over the family gathered there and I asked him if he was happy. The look in his eyes said it all, he was so happy to have all of his grandchildren there together. I would try again many years later to have us all in one place. As it turned out I was the only one not to make it due to a sinus infection that kept me from flying. He was still thrilled that we had attempted to get everyone there.

My other memories of my grandfather center around his pets. The one dog I remember was Roxie Star, a boston bulldog. That dog adored him, and just him. She would snap at the rest of us – just try and sit in her chair or in her spot in the truck.  But it worked for them.

And then there was Henry, the crow. Henry was found in the back field having been abandoned by his mother. His new home became the front porch, when seasonally appropriate. My grandfather had a routine – for lunch each day he had a bologna and cheese sandwich with mustard on rye bread and a Coca Cola in the glass bottle (pre New Coke and 2 liter bottle days). The top of that Coca Cola was given to Henry has a toy. Henry would drop them out of the cage onto the porch floor. Clang. Clang…..Clang. And then you’d pick them up and he’d get all excited about them. But nothing excited him more than Grandpa giving him his new one each day. I’m not sure how long Henry lived but you didn’t aggravate Henry, you played with Henry.

Henry The Crow Page 2 Article

In the evenings, after the chores were done, we would sit on the front porch and listen to music. My parents had some extra speakers and one year they were installed on the front porch so that the music could be played in both the living room and outdoors. There was a big console with the record player built in for the albums that were played. Perry Como, Andy Williams, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and  traditional gospel hymns come to mind. It soothed him. We would sit on the porch and swing and just listen to the birds, look for the fox in the lower field, or talk.

Then there were those evenings when we were told we were going visiting. We, my sister and me or some semblance of cousins, would get the backseat of their car and traipse off to some relative or friend’s home for short visit. I wish now I had paid attention to who those relatives truly were. I imagine it was mostly his cousins and friends. If it had been to his siblings, I would have remembered as I knew them better.

As I said, he was not a perfect man. Most grandchildren have far different views of their grandparents than do their parents. It is normal for people to grown and change thru time. I am grateful that I knew the man I called Grandpa. I am thankful he was at my college graduation. I am grateful he lived to see 2 of his grandchildren married. He was so proud of all of us.  Each of us had our own separate experience with him, because we were not the same to him. We were individuals and he loved us all.

1968 - Phyllis, Harold, and Koreen
1968 – Phyllis, Harold, and Koreen

Mollison – James Stewart

For the first time, I am writing about an ancestor that was alive (1892-1972) when I was born. There is an actual picture of me with my Great Grandpa Stewart Mollison (will save that for the multiple generations page).

He was born in Goshen and attended school at the Goshen Center School. His life as a child was spent with his brother Harry, almost 5 year younger than he was. He also had two first cousins – Frank Rice was close in age and Leon Shumway was closer in age to Harry.

Baby photo of Stewart Mollison; circa 1892
Baby photo of Stewart Mollison; circa 1892
John and Richard Burt of Dedham MA; Stewart and Harry Mollison of Goshen, taken 1902
John and Richard Burt of Dedham MA; Stewart and Harry Mollison of Goshen, taken 1902

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stewart Mollison
Stewart Mollison

He married the former Emeline Francis Tompkins in 1913. She came to Goshen to be the school teacher at the Goshen Center School. They bought a farm on South Main Street. The farm has since been divided up but mostly remains in the family.

Together they had 8 children, with only 1 not reaching adulthood. Lena Elizabeth Mollison, their first born child, passed from complications of tetanus after being kicked by a horse. (Per conversation with her sister, Ruth Dresser, on July 22, 2014 while visiting after trips to cemeteries in Worthington and Goshen)

Of the 7 children that reached adulthood, all would marry and remain married for over 50 years; a milestone worth mentioning for certain!

Lena Elizabeth Mollison aged 7 months
Lena Elizabeth Mollison aged 7 months
Emeline, George, Jimmy, Elizabeth, and Stewart abt 1920
Emeline, George, Jimmy, Elizabeth, and Stewart abt 1920

 

 

Stewart and Emeline Mollison, 1942
Jamie, Elizabeth, and George Mollison, abt 1920
Jamie, Elizabeth, and George Mollison, abt 1920

Census:

  • 1900 Goshen, living with parents and brother Harry; 8 years old in school
  • 1910 Goshen, living with parents, brother Harry, and border Eleanor Weber whose occupation is listed as public school teacher (assumed to be at Goshen Center School).
    • Stewart is listed as 18 and did not attend school in 1910. Unsure why he didn’t finished high school (see 1940 Census) possibly stopped attending to work on the family farm which was very common at the time.
  • 1920 Goshen, living with Emeline, Lena, George, Jimmy, and mother Lizzie; occupation farmer.
  • 1930 Goshen, living with Emeline and 5 children. Occupation is farmer.
    • Also listed are 2 other non-family members. Charles Williams (42) who is listed as a servant with occupation of Laborer / General Farming and Joseph Hathaway (80) who is listed as a border and its noted he is a widower.
  • 1940 Goshen, living with Emeline and all 7 of their living children. The kids ranged in age from 23 to 6. This census is the 1st to include education levels. It notes Stewart having completed H3 and Emeline at C2.
    • Notable neighbors are listed as the Packards and the Warners – Joseph and Josephine. My curiosity is peaked here – are these Warners members of the same family in the picture with James Robinson Mollison in Scotland?

Stewart was known to do many jobs outside of just farming.  He was town constable, drove the first school bus (including one version with horses) in Goshen, chauffeur, deliveries, librarian, and mail carrier to name a few. Many of these jobs are detailed in the diaries of Emeline Mollison that are in possession of different family members and the book “A Bicentennial History Goshen, Massachusetts 1781-1981” by Anne Sabo Warner.

Stewart Mollison, Red Cross Truck
Stewart Mollison, Red Cross Truck
Article about J. Stewart Mollison, Daily Hampshire Gazette, date early 1950s
Article about J. Stewart Mollison, Daily Hampshire Gazette, date unknown

Mollison – John Stewart

John Stewart Mollison, or Grandpa John as I’ve most commonly heard him referenced, was the eldest child of James Robinson and Orintha Chilson Weller. He was born in Goshen, MA on January 16, 1865. He would go on to marry Lizzie Girvin, an Irish Immigrant, on March 31, 1891.

They had 3 children: James Stewart and twins Harold Jenkins and Harry Warnock. Harold died one month after he was born due to complications from pneumonia.

Harry, Lizzie, John, and Stewart Mollison
Harry, Lizzie, John, and Stewart Mollison, date unknown but estimated 1905-1910
John and Richard Burt of Dedham MA; Stewart and Harry Mollison of Goshen, taken 1902
John and Richard Burt of Dedham MA; Stewart and Harry Mollison of Goshen, taken 1902
Stewart and his father John Mollison, date unknown
Stewart and his father John Mollison, date unknown

The family would live their life mostly in Goshen with Lizzie passing in 1923 and John Stewart in 1950. John would go on to marry Mabel Allen who passed in 1947. I have little to no information on Mabel Allen. John Stewart and Lizzie are buried in Goshen Cemetery, as is their infant son Harold. Harry would raise his family in nearby Worthington, MA.

Residences – John Stewart purchased a farm on South Main Street near the intersection of South Chesterfield Road. His son would later purchase a farm on South Main Street closer to Route 9. The below picture is incorrectly noted by Phyllis Mollison as being Orintha – it is in fact Elizabeth, or Lizzie Mollison. She is Stewart’s mother and John Stewart’s wife. I note the date as about 1895, Stewart would be 3 years old with his brothers not being born until Sept 1896.

John, Stewart, and Lizzie Mollison abt 1895
John, Stewart, and Lizzie Mollison abt 1895

Census Information:

  • 1870 Census – Goshen, MA Student; with parents and sister Mary
  • 1880 Census – Goshen, MA Student; with parents and both siblings
  • 1900 Census – Goshen, MA Farmer, with Lizzie, James, and Harry
  • 1910 Census – Goshen, MA Farmer with Lizzie, “Stuart J”, and Harry.
  • 1913 City Directory – Goshen, MA city directory; lists John S with Lizzie, and lists his occupation as “sherif”. It also posts James R with Orintha
  • 1920 Census – unknown yet for John Stewart. Lizzie was residing with Stewart, Emeline, Lena, George, and James in Goshen.
  • 1923 City Directory – Mrs Lizzie Mollison was residing at 36 Hinkley Street Bay State, Northampton, MA; no mention of John Stewart
  • 1930 Census – Enfield St, Enfield, CT; Carpet Mill employee; with Mabel
  • 1940 Census – 4 1/2 Pierce Ave, Beverly, MA; no occupation, with Mabel; also have a boarder – Betty Schoberth who did “odd jobs” and was born in Germany. Also states lived in Springfield, MA in 1935 (this was the first time a census asked where someone had lived previously).

John Stewart and Lizzie had obviously separated between 1910 and 1920. Uncertain if they ever divorced, or if he waited until after she passed to marry Mabel. I have not yet found him in 1920 US Census either.

John Stewart Mollison abt 1944
John Stewart Mollison abt 1944
Grampa John Mollison
Grampa John Mollison
Grandpa John Mollison
Grandpa John Mollison

Mollison Family – Maternal Line

This branch of my tree goes back to Scotland. It is a source of a brick wall as I’ve not been able to identify a family connection for my immigrant ancestor.

My immigrant ancestor is James Robinson Mollison. He was born in 1835 and immigrated to the USA. He settled in Northampton, MA where he met and married Orintha Chilson Weller.

They settled in Goshen, MA and had 3 children.  Their original farm was located on what is now know as Mollison Hill Road, adjacent to the Goshen Cemetery.

This line retains a strong presence in Goshen, MA today, 7 generations later. The family has a strong history of civic involvement from Town Selectman, Treasurers, Fire Chief, and Historical Society to name a few.

Now this is my personal impression – a family known for being both stubborn but also willing to lend a hand. This is the family name that I most closely connect with personally due to the amount of time I have spent; and continue to spend; in Goshen.

I spent time each summer and at Thanksgiving in Goshen with my grandparents and had the pleasure to get to know many of Mollison relatives. I’ve been to town meetings, parades, church services, weddings, funerals, and celebrations in Goshen. To me it personifies the typical small New England town. But I also know it from a distance – I am not a resident, so I definitely have an incomplete picture of the town and its residents.

This town also triggered my genealogical research activity. My grandmother helped compile the Mollison genealogy for “A Bicentennial History, Goshen, Massachusetts, 1781-1981” by Anne Sabo Warner.  I then joined my grandmother in maintaining and expanding this research.
The deceased descendants of James Robinson and Orintha Weller Mollison can be found here:

James Robinson Mollison Descendants on Find A Grave

Please remember this is ongoing research. I welcome corrections and missing information.

 

Mollison – James Robinson

James Robinson Mollison was born in Fettercairn, Scotland and emigrated to the USA in 1855 per the 1910 and 1920 US Census. I have not yet located his immigration paperwork but believe he entered via Boston, but he became a naturalized citizen in 1878 (have index but in process of requesting copy of actual court documentation from National Archives in Waltham, MA).

3x Great Grandfather James Robinson Mollison
3x Great Grandfather James Robinson Mollison

He married Orintha Weller Chilson on Oct 21, 1861. Per the vital records of their marriage, his parents are listed as John & Elizabeth Mollison and his occupation is listed as Farmer.

Their marriage would produce 3 children: John Stewart Mollison, Mary Belle Mollison (Rice), and Anne Francis Mollison (Shumway). John Stewart is my Great-Great Grandfather. All three children lived to be adults. John Stewart and Mary Belle are buried in Goshen, with Annie buried in Williamsburg.

The US Census has them in Goshen from 1865 forward. They first purchased a farm near Route 9 and Hwy 112 and the town cemetery. The road is called Mollison Hill to this day. This farm was not to be their forever home. The farm included land that is now part of Camp Howe (per an interview with Douglas Mollison published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette on 7/9/2012). They would then purchase a farm on Main Street across from the Goshen Church.

James Mollison's home across from Goshen Church, taken 1916
James Mollison’s home across from Goshen Church, taken 1916

The last US census with James Robinson was in 1920 when he was living with Annie Shumway and her family in Williamsburg. He died in 1923 and is buried in Goshen Cemetery with Orintha.

There is a connection to the Warner family but am not sure if they were friends or somehow related. There are pictures with James Mollison and the Warners in Scotland.

I also believe, but have no documentation, that he lived on the property behind JFK school in Northampton when he first moved to this country.

The following pictures are of Orintha, Mary Belle Rice and Annie Shumway.  I will reserve the pictures of John Stewart for his page. At present I am only preparing pages of my direct ancestors, so pictures of children/siblings will be included on the parental page. Digital copies are available to family members upon asking. If you wish to share pictures, I am happy to post those here with proper sourcing included.

 

James Mollison and Joe Warner in Scotland
James Mollison and Joe Warner in Scotland
3x Great Grandmother Orintha Chilson Mollison
Orintha Weller Chilson Mollison, 3x Great Grandmother
James Mollison Sr. +Mary Mollison Rice(daughter
James Robinson Mollison and Mary Mollison Rice (daughter); 2nd child of James Robinson and Orintha Mollison
Annie Mollison Shumway
Annie Mollison Shumway, 3rd child, 2nd daughter of James Robinson and Orintha Mollison