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Saturday, July 4, 2020

Benoni Chapin - Revolutionary War grave - Chicopee, Massachusetts

Old Burying Ground, Chicopee, Mass. - photo by JT Lynch

There was a village green in front of the first Meeting House in 1775. In Colonial times, every able-bodied man was required to attend training for the militia, and here is where they drilled. When the Revolution came, some 38 men of this village would fight in battles from the eastern part of the state to as far away as Fort Ticonderoga. The Chicopee Street Burying Ground, not too far from where they first drilled, is the final resting place of many of these men. 
In this photo we see the top of the headstone of Edward Chapin, Jr., who is buried with his father, Deacon Edward Chapin (who fought in the French and Indian War), and behind them, the grave of Benoni Chapin. We know little about Edward, Jr.'s service, but Benoni enlisted on Christmas Day 1776 as part of the Hampshire County Militia. He was 51 years old when he enlisted. 
In those days, there was no Hampden County; we were all part of Hampshire County then. Here is Benoni Chapin's service record: Private, Capt. Daniel Caldwell's co., Col. Timothy Robinson's detachment of Hampshire Co. militia; enlisted Dec. 25, 1776; discharged April 2, 1777; roll sworn to at Springfield; also, Capt. John Morgan's co.; enlisted Jan. 5, 1778; discharged July 1, 1778; service, 5 mos. 26 days; company detached from militia of Hampshire and Worcester counties to guard stores and magazines at Springfield and Brookfield; also, Capt. Joseph Browning's co., Col. Seth Murray's (Hampshire Co.) regt.; enlisted July 21, 1780; discharged Oct. 10, 1780; service 2 mos. 27 days; enlistment, 3 months; company raised to reinforce Continental Army; roll sworn to in Suffolk Co.; also, Corporal, same co. and regt.; order dated Springfield, March 22, 1782. for wages for 3 months service in 1780. Benoni, Private, Capt. Samuel Burt's co., Col. Elisha Porter's (Hampshire Co.) regt; enlisted July 22, 1779; discharged Aug. 25, 1779; service, 1 mo. 7 days, at New London, Conn. 
Source: Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution, 17 Vols., pp 304, 307.

He died in 1799 at the age of 73, at the dawning of the 19th century in a new country just 18 years old, that he helped to create.

Jaqueline T. Lynch is the author of States of Mind: New England; The Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts; Comedy and Tragedy on the Mountain - 70 Years of Summer Theatre on Mt. Tom, Holyoke, Massachusetts; and Beside the Still Waters, a novel of the making of the Quabbin Reservoir

Saturday, March 21, 2020

FREE eBook - Meet Me in Nuthatch

To help pass the time during the pandemic emergency  - please accept my offering of a FREE eBook:

Meet Me in Nuthatch - here's the story:

A whimsical, poignant tale about a practical joke-turned-publicity-stunt that fires up the small town of Nuthatch, Massachusetts, in a desperate attempt to attract tourists.

Christmas tree farmer Everett Campbell proposes turning the clock back to 1904 and reviving the town’s cozy past, an idea he gets from watching his young daughter’s favorite classic movie, Meet Me in St. Louis. She is thrilled at being allowed to dress up and pretend, but not everyone in town is enchanted with the nostalgic promotion—including Everett’s moody teenage son.

The media, and the tourists, do come, but the scheme also attracts a large theme park corporation that wants to buy Nuthatch 1904.

Everett now stands to lose his town in a way he never imagined, and his neighbors are divided on which alternate future to choose.

A local drug dealer, Everett’s boyhood enemy, may hold the future of the entire town in his hands unless Everett can pull off one of his most spectacular, and dangerous, practical jokes.

The eBook is FREE at Apple, Barnes & Noble, Scrbd, 24 Symbols, and Playster all at this link.

And it is FREE here at Kobo at this link.

Bless you all and best wishes for better months ahead.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Amherst Railway Society Train Show - West Springfield, Mass.

JTLynch photo (2019 event)

The Amherst Railway Society presents its annual model railroad hobby show this weekend on the fairgrounds of the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts.  It is a fantastic event not only for model train enthusiasts but a delightful outing even for anyone, as the eye-catching train layouts and villages are spread out over four separate buildings on the fairgrounds.  For more information, have a look at their website here.

JTLynch photo (2019 event)

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Sheraton-Stonehaven of Springfield, Mass.

An ad in the Springfield Daily News (Springfield, Mass) for holiday festivities at The Sheraton hotel.  The chain began with a hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1933, and a second one in 1937 in Springfield as the Stonehaven, originally an apartment building.  Here is a postcard image from that era.

The chain expanded through the decades with new locations all over the country and all over the world.

Happy New Year from New England Travels!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


My twin brother John and I will be selling and signing our books on Sunday, September 22nd from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the outdoor craft fair hosted by the Sisterhood of Temple Beth El at 979 Dickinson Street, Springfield, Massachusetts.

We will also be selling and signing our books at a craft fair hosted by the St. Joan of Arc School P.T.O. on Sunday, October 6th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus hall, 460 Granby Road, Chicopee, Mass.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

A novel of the Quabbin Reservoir - on sale!

This is to announce a SALE on the eBook version of my novel BESIDE THE STILL WATERS.  From now for the next two weeks until Friday, May 31st, you can get your copy for 99 cents!  Regular price is $5.99.

Four towns…dismantled as an entire valley is prepared to be flooded. The past is being wiped clean, the present threatens, the future belongs to the fearless.
Three generations weave a tapestry of isolation and stubborn independence, battling the forces of nature, the Commonwealth, and each other in this family saga. A courageous girl becomes the guardian of her family’s heritage, and ultimately, the one to determine what happens next.
Beside the Still Waters is based on actual events that displaced four entire towns in central Massachusetts in the 1920s and 1930s for the construction of the Quabbin Reservoir.  Families are torn apart, divided between those who protest the construction, those who give up and leave while they can, and those who help to build the dam that will flood the towns.
Return to the Swift River Valley, its charm and its pain, its mysteries and its lessons—to a community, a family, and a young woman in a race against time.

You can purchase your copy at these online retailers:


Barnes & Noble


Apple iTunes

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Movie music at the symphony - Springfield, Massachusetts

Watching a symphony orchestra at work is like watching a magic trick explained and yet still retain the mystery. One sees the component parts of the music put together, each musician’s contribution to the whole, and being able to see the machinery of it, if you will, is wonderfully dramatic. Music from classic films, removed from their films in the setting of a symphony performance, is revelatory.

I recently had the pleasure of attending an evening of theme music from the movies—mostly classic films—performed by the Springfield (Massachusetts) Symphony Orchestra, which is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary.  My thanks for the comp ticket to my friend Shera Cohen, whose company, In the Spotlight, reviews the arts in western New England.

Fans of classic films are usually extraordinarily well informed about pretty much every facet of filmmaking in the studio era, and the music—whether a sweeping theme or even incidental background music—is as important to them as a favorite actor or director. Unlike other elements of film, rather than intellectual analysis, the music evokes a purely emotional response.

So it was at Springfield Symphony Hall and “Music Night with Maestro Rhodes.”  Along the same lines as big-screen showings of classic films, this evening brought out not only symphony regulars, but clearly an enthusiastic audience who recognized the film scores.

Maestro Kevin Rhodes conducted and also interspersed between the selections a bit of background information on the composers.  His style of presentation was breezy, lighthearted, and quite funny at times.  When he introduced composer Alex North’s “Prelude” from Cleopatra (1963), he remarked of its suggestion of an exotic ancient world—and Elizabeth Taylor’s presence— “You can just see the blue eyeshadow when you hear this one.”

Other composers included Alfred Newman, who was represented not only by his music from Street Scene of 1931 (which found its way into other films), but the familiar “20th Century-Fox Fanfare,” which was a delightfully whimsical way to begin the show.

Max Steiner’s Warner Bros. fanfare, and theme from Gone with the Wind (1939)—of course—and Casablanca (1942) were favorites.  The latter was especially stirring for its intricate suggestion of Moroccan intrigue and the sudden swell of “La Marseillaise.”

Works from greats Bernard Hermann, Elmer Bernstein (the theme from The Magnificent Seven tends to raise people out of their seats by at least a foot, and his “Suite” from The Ten Commandments of 1956 concluded the program), and Miklos Rozsa—the percussionist’s lengthy solo on the chimes in the “Prelude” from Ben Hur (1959) is something I’ll remember the next time I see the film.  Likewise, the kettle drums from the music from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and a light sensation of dancing on the tambourine in Maurice Jarre’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962) kept our attention on the percussionists, whose effort we can see more vividly perhaps than the player of a woodwind instrument.  There’s a certain gallant dash about smashing a couple cymbals together.

Films from later decades included the “Love Theme” from The Godfather (1972), Titanic (1997)—which included a stunningly haunting refrain from the women of the Symphony Chorus first from up in the loge and then on stage (I had no idea the Irish penny whistle ever made its way into a symphony orchestra), and other modern hits, but probably the most charming was when the maestro played a piano solo of the “Ragtime Medley” from The Sting (1973) and then joined by a single clarinet, piccolo, trombone, and tuba to playfully embroider the delicate ragtime theme.  They were brought out to the apron of the stage as if to delightfully demonstrate that only these handful of musicians were required despite the complexity of the arrangement. They belonged on a gazebo in a park in summer.

It was an evening of tribute to these composers whose majestic music is so part and parcel of the films that one cannot be thought of without the other.  Watching people make the already fondly familiar music in front of you makes the experience still more intimate.

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