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Greenwich, Town Lost to a Dam

Elizabeth Frye (1755-1815) and John Stevens (1753-1827)

A Generation Six Family

Elizabeth Frye was the second oldest child and oldest daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Frye) Frye. She is a sixth-generation descendant of George Abbott and Hannah Chandler (Elizabeth Frye Frye5, Elizabeth Osgood Frye4, Hannah Abbott Osgood3, George2, George1). In 1783, she married John Stevens of Sterling. The birth of their first child, John Frye Stevens, was recorded at Brookfield in 1785. The family then moved a little further west and settled in Greenwich in Hampshire County. They likely had six children although records have been located for four children. Cemetery records suggest there are two other unidentified children in this family. Census records from 1810 and 1820 suggest there were three daughters and three sons.

The family lived in Greenwich in Hampshire County which was incorporated in 1754, first known as Quabbin Parish. The area was mostly agricultural despite rocky terrain, and there were also small employers such as sawmills. The town ceased to exist on 27 April 1938 when it was flooded along with three other towns (Dana, Enfield, Prescott) with the damming of the Swift River and the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir. This dam was built to increase the water supply to Boston. This huge damming project required not only the relocation of the inhabitants of four towns but the exhumation and reburial of 7,613 bodies including seven members of the family of John and Elizabeth (Frye) Stevens. The bodies were reburied in the Quabbin Park Cemetery in Ware created specifically for these relocated graves.

ELIZABETH FRYE, b. at Andover, 2 Jun 1755; d. at Greenwich, MA, 16 Feb 1815; m. at Andover, 30 Apr 1783, JOHN STEVENS “of Sterling”, born about 1753 (based on age at time of death) whose parents are not yet determined; John d. at Greenwich, 11 Aug 1827.

Records have been located for four children who lived to adulthood. The cemetery records for Quabbin Park Cemetery note two “unknown” members of this family likely children.

1. JOHN FRYE STEVENS, b. at Brookfield, 16 Mar 1784; d. at Springfield, 24 Apr 1873; m. at Springfield, LUCY WILLIS b. about 1796. John F. Stevens was described as “of Greenwich” when he married Lucy Willis. He worked as a joiner.

2. ELIZABETH “BETSY” STEVENS, b. at Greenwich about 1786; d. at Greenwich, 6 Dec 1857; m. at Greenwich, 19 Mar 1822, as his second wife, ANSEL FOBES, b. about 1783 son of Benjamin and Lois (Ford) Fobes; Ansel d. at Enfield, 30 Jul 1853. Ansel was first married to Grace Harris. Ansel Fobes was a carpenter.

3. PHEBE STEVENS, b. at Greenwich, about 1793; d. at Greenwich, 16 Feb 1835. Phebe did not marry.

4. SAMUEL STEVENS, b. at Greenwich, 21 Jan 1798; d. at Greenwich, 11 Aug 1827. Samuel did not marry. He worked as a joiner.


Photo Credit:

Year: 1810; Census Place: Greenwich, Hampshire, Massachusetts; Roll: 19; Page: 157; Image: 00165; Family History Library Film: 0205627

1820 U S Census; Census Place: Greenwich, Hampshire, Massachusetts; Page: 173; NARA Roll: M33_50; Image: 184

Year: 1850; Census Place: Enfield, Hampshire, Massachusetts; Roll: M432_321; Page: 345A; Image: 210

Year: 1870; Census Place: Greenwich, Hampshire, Massachusetts; Roll: M593_620; Page: 189A; Family History Library Film: 552119, Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988

Greenwich (Mass.) Collection,

Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915

Massachusetts, State Census, 1855

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