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 Finding Aid 02

Chatham Historical Society

Genealogical and Personal Manuscript Collection

Virginia Harding McGrath Papers, 1920-1936


Virginia Harding McGrath (October 20, 1908-September 5, 1987) was born in Chatham and was the daughter of Heman Andrew Harding and Edith Farmer Harding. She attended Bradford Academy and Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School. Virginia was a writer, historian, genealogist, town official and descendent of 14 sea captains. Her long list of community activities included President and Secretary of the Chatham Woman’s Club; Matron, Order of Eastern Star; secretary for fifteen years of Visiting Nurse Association; member of the executive committee of American Red Cross for fifteen years; secretary of the Chatham Drama Guild; school committee member from 1938-1941 and secretary of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce. She was her father’s legal secretary from 1929-1934.  When her father died in 1936, she replaced him as President and Treasurer of the Eldredge Public Library. Virginia was the first woman to serve as Corporator and Director. Although she ran for selectman she did not win, blaming her loss on an overcrowded field and the fact that she was a woman. She was married briefly to Arthur J. Durkee and then married Thomas Joseph McGrath on October 11, 1951. Mr. McGrath was a printer and operated his business out of their home on Mill Pond Rd. The Chatham Historical Society has a collection Mr. McGrath’s business papers.(X.6004.020)


These papers include the settling of Heman Harding's estate and disposition of his outstanding legal affairs, genealogy of the Fay, Minot, Harding, Page and Crowell families along with an extensive collection of family letters, including many from Simeon Taylor to his wife Mehitable. There are also land court papers of many areas, Smith's Big Field, Mill Pond and Stage Neck among them.


BOX 79

A. Heman A. Harding
    Papers regarding desire to be appointed Justice of the Second
    District Court of Barnstable
B. 3 photos of Heman Harding's law office in
     Post card from Heman to wife Edith—1913
C. Newspaper clipping 1975--Book review of A Patriot Lad of Old
     Cape Cod by Russell Gordon Carter
     Essay by Virginia McGrath about Hiat Young and family
     Copy of Revolutionary War records of Hiat and Joseph Young
D. Star Spangled Banner
     Folder contains picture of Francis Scott Key and copy of words in
     his handwriting
E. Puritan Registry
F. Andrew Harding insurance policy and receipt
    Letter--Mary Littlefield to Richard Harding, 1905
        "      Roberta Taylor to Mrs. William Harding,1971
    Obituary -Joshua Taylor, 1971--son of Elizabeth Fay Taylor
    Letter to Mrs. Richard B. Harding from St. Martin's Lodge
    2 copies of letter to Mrs. Heman Harding re: membership in 
    National Society of Puritan Descendents
G. Genealogy notebook of Fay, Harding, Minot and Page families
     Shows Harding family --1623-1941
H. Mostly Fay family genealogy
     Letters, obituaries, wedding announcements, death certificates,
     sympathy letters, newspaper clippings, page from bible with list of
     births, 1801-1822, orders for Capt. Harding to go to Fort Sumter,
    Christmas poems booklet
    Application blank-National Society Daughters of Founders & 
    Patriots of America
    Printed letter from David Smith to sister Rebecca (taught in 
    Chatham schools, 1864)
I.  A book of Harding names since Civil War
J.  Minot and Fay family papers
    Joel Fay –obituary,1873
    Genealogy papers--Fay, Minot and Harding families
    Recipes for Mrs. Joel Fay's cakes
    Newspaper clipping-11/8/1957-shows location of Joel Fay’s house in Boston
    Outline--God's Plan of Redemption--Biblical notations  (a 

BOX 80

A. Avis A.M.Chase-land court papers
     Map of Cross St-Chase Park
     Map of cranberry bog-Morris Island Rd area
     Quitclaim deeds-Mill Pond and Cross St. areas
     Tracing title-Old Village
      Richard and Leander Gould
     Stephen Smith
     Joshua Nickerson
     Eliphalet Hamilton
     Mary Louise Horne
     Walter Ross
B. George Groves, land in Centerville --title search
C. Heman Harding legal papers
     Land court--names mentioned
     Eliphalet Hamilton
     Benjamin Jones
     Almira Young
     Town voting list, 1915
     Many hand drawn maps
     Mitchell River
     Little Mill Pond
     Water St
D. Heman Harding papers
     Misc. land court papers
     Sketch of Mill Pond-Main St. area
     Adoption papers, Avis Nickerson by Clarington and Anna 
E. Heman Harding legal papers
     Daniel Hamilton, 1738
     Thomas Hamilton, 1786
     Eliphalet Hamilton, 1802
     Land court records, Mill Pond area
F. Avis A. Eldridge, born 1913 to Ellsworth and Ida Nickerson and
    adopted by Clarington and Anna Eldridge,1922
    Estelle Lang v Avis Eldredge--land court case involving rights of
    way, Mill Pond area
    Letters and correspondence
    Heman Harding's guardian account
    Land, Main and Holway Streets--re: selling. Parker Nickerson
    house now owned by Avis Nickerson Eldridge
    Plan of land of Estelle Lang, Mill Pond area
    Surveyor's map of Mill Pond area
G. Ellsworth Nickerson
     Land sold to Arthur Cleveland Bent, Mill Pond area
     Surveyor's map
     James Quilty and Avis Eldridge, selling right of way

BOX 81

A. Emeline Harding Estate, Heman Harding, executor
    Probate papers
    Personal letter, HAH to wife, Edith
    Copy of will
    Bills, including those for funeral
    Legal notices
    Reg. mail receipt
    Letters and correspondence with bank and with family members who were 
    Legal agreement
B. Estate of Emeline C. Harding, Heman Harding, executor
    Disposal of wearing apparel to relatives
    Cemetery deposits, Union Cemetery
    Letters and cards
C. Estate of Emeline C. Harding, wife of Elijah H.
     Notices and letters as to probate of will from relatives
     Registered letter receipts
D. Estate of Emeline C. Harding, H.A. Harding, exec.
     3 copies of Mar. 11, l913 will proof and list of family members
     Memo of Emeline's wishes, Feb.13, 1913
 E. Emeline Harding
F.  Emeline C. Harding’s will, Heman Harding, executor
     Letters, correspondence re: taxes and bank deposit amounts
     Copy of will
G. 4 stock certificates, Chatham Railroad Co., Heman Harding, 
     2 receipts
H. Fire Kindler Shop lot, H.A.Harding to Walter W. Eldredge
     Copies of deeds Walter W. Eldredge to Ralph L. Kendrick 
     confirming right of way over east corner of same, Nov. 21, 1919
 I. Sandy Bottom Cranberry Bog, Pembroke, Mass. H.G. Gorham, agent
     R.B.Harding, shareholder
     Financial statements
     Constitution and bylaws
J.  Harding's Beach
    2 papers re: 1/16th of Harding's Beach Meadow
K. Gould Family
     2 copies of genealogy information compiled by Benjamin 
     Apthorpe Gould
L.  Heman A. Harding
     Papers re: purchase of land from J.W.R. Sprague, Admin.,
     Rebecca & Eddie Eldridge estates
     Little Mill Pond area
     Plan of land Great Hill area

BOX 82

A. Miscellaneous folder
    Newspaper clipping--Virginia wins school committee race, 1938
    Letter to Foster Brass Foundry re: public directional marker, 1930,
           written by HAH
    Genealogical info--Collins, Harding
    Probate papers--land searches--diagrams
    List of Mother's things
    Letter from Chatham Board of Trade, 1930
    Reg. P.O. receipts 1915
    Tax commissioner's dept. info
    Estate of Barzilla Harding, real estate tax receipt, 1865
    T.H. Crowell, Mount Vernon Fund receipt 1850
B. Family letters
     J.P. Farmer
     H. Fisher Eldridge re: death of Aunt Emma
     Andrew Harding
     Heman     “
     Edith        "
     Virginia    "
     Thomas Crowell
     Abigail        "
     Emma Allen
     Susanna Chenery
     Thomas Holway, article on dispute over Bridge St. property
C. Family letters of Agnes Richards Fuller
     Agnes to her brother Will in England
     Affidavit re: death of Agnes
     Letters to Agnes from nephew Will
     Letter from Heman Harding to Will's wife urging her to join her
     husband in Chatham while establishing him as sole heir to 
     Agnes' estate
     Affidavit of Heman Harding as executor of Agnes' estate

    See also-- Fuller folder in Family Boxes-contains
     ledger Heman Harding kept while settling estate.
D. Ebeneezer Bangs--land in Brewster, tracing title
E. Heman A. Harding
    Letter --Mass Bar Assoc
    Permit to install oil burner
    Biographical data--3 copies
F. Charter of F.D. Hammond Post, GAR, given to Eldredge Library
     Letters and correspondence
G. Oscar C. Nickerson Gavel
     Gavel presented to him for 22 years as Town Moderator 
     Description of gavel and history of each part
H. Chatham Visiting Nurses Assoc.
     Constitution and bylaws
     Newspaper clipping
     Annual report
I.   Kate Gould Estate
     E.E. Gray Corp. stock certificates
J.  Family papers
    Childhood cards and letter to Heman from Virginia
K. Family letters to Thomas H. Crowell in Cambridge, Mass.  Many
     are from brother David in Chatham
L. Papers relating to real estate sale from Virginia to Julius   
     Fleischmann, Main St. and Mill Pond Rd
     Letter from Cape Cod Five Savings Bank re: mortgage on Mill
     Pond Rd
     Leroy Anderson, lawyer, bills
     Letter re: payment for land on Monomoy Point by US Govt. 1955
M. 2 letters  (one a pocket letter) 1850, 1852
      John Farmer from San Francisco to his sister
      Susanna---describes gambling halls, drinking etc.

BOX 83

A. Newspaper clipping re: Indian names
    2 notes
B. Miscellaneous clippings
     Vineyard Gazette--World War II era
     3 clippings about death of Prof. George McLean Harper, summer resident
     Nickerson Monument
     Harold Dunbar re: Harrison Gould
C. Letter of thanks to School Building Committee
     Copy of Town Meeting article
     6 HAH business cards
D. Cut through--Morris Island before dyke
     Letters & correspondence, Heman Harding and waterways 
     Newspaper clipping, Yarmouth Register re: Monomoy
E. 3 pictures of presidents, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield,
      William McKinley
F. Divorce letters, Virginia Harding and Arthur J. Durkee
    Financial statement, deposit slips
G. Monomoy
     Newspaper clipping
     Hand drawn map of Monomoy Point
H. Cape Cod history
     Various newspaper clippings
I.  Letters to Heman A. Harding from his parents, Avis Ann Reynolds
     Harding and Andrew Harding
J.  Heman A. Harding Commissions
    Bar Exam
    Public Admin.
    Board of Harbors and Land Comm--letters of congratulations
    Justice of the Peace
    Town Counsel
    Spec. Justice District Court
    State Senator
    13 newspaper clippings re: death 1936
K. 3 wedding invitations Virginia to Thomas McGrath, Oct. 11, 1951
L. Letter and affidavit re: Thomas Crowell, great-grandfather of
M. Formation of Republican Club in Chatham organized by Virginia
     Telegram of congratulations
     List of members
N. Manuscript of book by Virginia Harding titled The Golden Beehive

Box 84

A.  Invitation to dedication of statue of Rear Admiral John Winslow
     Engraved thank you from Federal Reserve Bank
     Invitation to dedication statue of Ex Gov Nathaniel Banks
     Wedding announcement Edith Crowell Farmer to Heman 
     Harding 1907
     Marriage certificate Thomas H. Crowell and Amelia White, 1872
     Funeral bill for Abigail Crowell, 1898
B. Heman Harding papers
     Martha E. Young, statement of account
C. Reynolds family
     Nathaniel, wife Ella, son Frank, daughter Cherria Luceda
     Copy of will
     Tracing titles
D. Great Hill land bought by Heman Harding from Susie Kosak, 
     Title information
     Virginia Harding McGrath and John Farmer sold to John 
     Illingworth, 1959
E.  Cambridge land, legal papers
     John P. Farmer, Jr.
     Quitclaim deeds
     Letters re: payment of beach rent involving Bearse and Crowell
F.  Barzilla Harding, grandfather of Heman Harding
     Estate inventory
     Stock certificate Consolidated Weir Co.
G. Miscellaneous
     Trial list, Oct. sitting Barnstable Superior Court
     Receipts, estate of Abigail Crowell, T.H. Crowell, J.P. Farmer, Jr.
     Letter to Misses Crowell
     Insurance policy, John P. Farmer
     Stock certificate Mary Farmer, copper mine
     Poems, untitled
H. Port Fortune Restaurant and Lodge
     Deeds, The Little Tavern, Rogers Ice Cream
     Surveyors plan
     Acc # 4396, Gary Hackett, 1963
I. Thomas Crowell
    Post card Tia Juana, Mexico
    Receipt, Boston Wesleyan Assoc.
    Letters----thanks from Lodge, re: mining shares, Thomas to 
    Stock certificates
    Expense sheet
    Drawing of invention--exhaust fan
    1918 letter to sister from pharmacy in California saying Thomas 
    is ill and destitute
J. Prospect House, Heman and Edith Harding's property on Main 
    Papers relating to buying, title search, mortgage documents
K. Andrew Harding Homestead Title--details on envelope
     Line of title
     Horatio Howes, bills, doctor, funeral flowers, hospital, lawyer
     Deed, Samuel and Abigail Small to Tamsin Eldredge
     Papers re: Elizabeth Howes’ estate
     Memo: agreement Mary Farmer & Edwin Eldridge, 1915, land
     across from Eldredge garage
     Main St. map
L. Elijah H. Harding
     Emmeline C. Harding
     Wills of Elijah and Emmeline (one details Harding family
     Letters to banks from Virginia, 1956
     Papers settling both estates
M. Smith’s Big Field,Chathamport
     George Bearse and Heman Harding bought land from Lizzie and
     Alice Smith, originally owned by their father, Rufus
     Account book
    Old deeds
    Legal agreements
     Surveyer's plan showing right of way
     Agreement between RCA and Alice and Lizzie Smith; right to
     erect poles across Smith's Big Field, Chathamport, 450 acres
     Smiths conveyed land to George Bearse and Heman Harding
     3 blueprints
O. Copies of court records regarding land in Eastham, 1678, 1682,

Box 85

A. Abbie Luella Breidenbah
    Doctor's bill
    Financial statement
    Divorce decree
    Letter re: real estate
    Letters from lawyer re: money owed him
B. Heman A. Harding
     Land court case involving Mill Pond/Main St lot    #14395
     Examiner's report
C. Land court papers
     Land, N. Chatham, original owner Joseph Doane
D. Simeon Taylor letters to wife Mehitable
     from Hong Kong and Shanghai, Boston, New York, Dennis,
E. Simeon Taylor letters to wife Mehitable from Roxbury
F. Simeon Taylor letters from Poland Springs, Maine--"taking the
G. Simeon Taylor letters to wife Mittie from Ma, Ct, Ohio, Pa, NY, 
     WVa, Ky, NC, SC, Ga
H. Letters from Simeon Taylor to wife as he traveled around New 
     England on business
I. Taylor family letters
   Emma Taylor Munroe and husband George
   One to Emma from her friend Addie Holt ? giving Chatham news
J. Simeon Taylor letters--miscellaneous
    To and from various family members
     Newspaper clipping 1903 re: Capt. John Taylor family reunion
     Mailing label
C. Lease of pump site by Navy, Chatham Port
     Smith's Big Field
     Heman Harding and George Bearse, Tenants in common
     Former owners, Alice and Elizabeth Smith
D. Folder marked Genealogy
     Smith family
     Copy of letter to Stephen from brother, George and sister, 
     Barbara, 1766
E. Folder marked Probate
    Tracing of deeds, land court papers
    Names--John Atwood
                Joseph Ellis
                Samuel Osborn
                Joseph Eldredge
                Mercy Howes
                Nicholas Eldred
                Richard Sears
                J. Arthur Pierce
                Kimball Howes

BOX 86

A. American Legion
B. Deeds and maps
C. Smith’s Big Field, Navy lease
D. Genealogy, Smith family
E.  Probate folder (note re: Eldred-Eldredge)

Box 87

A. Crowell land deeds, tracing titles, map sketches
    Other names: Barzillai Harding, Isaiah Harding, Andrew Harding
     Inventory, estate of Herbert E. Crowell   
B. Uncle John Crowell's letters to brother and sister, mostly from 
     California, Baltimore and Hong Kong
     2 cough remedies, formula for ointment
     Thomas and Abigail Crowell, list of children
     Letter to Thomas from Abigail
     Misc. letters
C. Family letters
     Thomas H. Crowell from K.? Nickerson
             "                    "     “    S.H. Young
             "                    "      “   brother David telling of death of
      brother Joshua.1864 Buried at Ft. Monroe
     Chillingsworth Crosby addressed to Thos. Crowell and sister
D. Family letters to John Farmer regarding his mother, Mary
    2 copies of letter from Heman to John, 1930
    Edith Harding to her brother John re: their mother's finances
    Mary Farmer died June 9, 1936
E. Heman Harding legal papers
    Lawyer Harry Dunbar re: Whitney land
    Copies of 2 deeds 1877 and 1894 Taylor's Pond area
    Seymour and Arunah Eldridge
F. Letters
    Andrew Harding to his nephew Marcellus Eldredge
    J.G. Nickerson of Granville Seminary to Marcellus Eldredge 
    re: library fund raiser
G. Laurence O. Hawes
     Nausett Lodge, dues notices
     Ad for Youth's Companion, weekly paper
H. Letters from Aunt Susannah Crosman to her nephew John 
     Farmer and to Edith Farmer Harding her niece
     Letter from Nettie Hall to John Farmer
          "        "   Elizabeth S. Hosmer
     Genealogy list –Crosman
I. Papers regarding Brookfield Mining Co. Queen County, Nova 
   Scotia, Emmaline Harding, stockholder
   Correspondence, annual reports
   Newspaper clipping, New Bedford Standard Times 12/16/56
   describing flight to visit Nova Scotia mines
J. Regrets at death of Andrew Harding, Nov. 1911
    This is Heman Harding's father
K. Letters to Thomas H. Crowell of Cambridge from brother David 
    in Chatham Port
    One from nephew Jonah
L. Letters of John P. Farmer, Jr. to his mother, Mary and his 
    sister, Edith Harding
    Newspaper clipping re: "Freeman" a coal carrying craft, Capt.
    John P. Farmer, Jr.
M. Chenery family genealogy
     Letter from Mrs. G.L. Bryant
     6 stamps
     Coat of arms
N. Insurance, Union Mutual Life Ins. Co.
     Premium statements, John P. Farmer
     2 policies
O. Settling estate of Abigail Crowell, Thomas Crowell, executor
     Oscar Nickerson v Thomas Crowell re: estate of Abigail
     Letters from Louise Coon of San Diego re: death of Thomas H.
     Letters from Thomas to sister, Mary Farmer
     Mortgage papers
     Insurance policies 
P. Miscellaneous
     Family letters
     Newspaper clippings.  United Colorado Mine Co. 
     Condolence letters, death of John Farmer, 1919
     Notes on Navy Yard at Light House
     Brochure about Jericho, W. Dennis
     Virginia's notes
     Words to song, 1839, Barnstable Centennial
     Misc. verse
     Notes re: Andrew Harding's store
     Newspaper interview with Virginia 1970 and amusing letter from
     her to the editor

BOX 88

 A. Tracing title, starts with Ebenezer Bangs

 B. Barzillai Harding

     Probate papers and land court
     Descriptions of deeds to and from Ebenezer Bangs, Barzillai 
     Harding and Andrew Harding
C. Estate of Mary Farmer, mother of Edith Farmer Harding.  Heman
     Legal notices
     Date of death, June 9, 1936
 D. Papers settling estate of Heman A. Harding
     Tax correspondence
     Expense lists
E. Estate of Heman A. Harding
     Insurance lists
     Tax notes
     Ledger pages--list bills paid
F. Letters, correspondence and notes re: outstanding cases of
    Heman Harding.
G. Settling estate and leftover legal business of Heman A. Harding
     Bank statements
     Letter to Capt. John P. Farmer from Heman re: Mary Farmer,
     John's mother and Heman's mother-in-law
H. Settling estate of Heman Harding
     Letter from Board of Health re: cesspools
     Pistol shooting target
     Account cards-estate of Heman Harding, 1936-1942
     Letters re: settlement of estate
     List of cases outstanding
     Map of Andrew Harding's cranberry swamp 1941
I.  Stage Harbor and Harding's Beach
    5 maps 1915
    Correspondence re: dredging channel and constructing jetties
J. Stage Neck
    Folder that traces title. Names mentioned:
    Levi C. Wade
    Barzillai Harding
    Joshua Nickerson
    Francis Bacon Sears
    Letter to Francis Sears, 1906
K. Condolence letters on death of Heman A. Harding, 1936
L. Correspondence settling claim of Lillian M. Small, exec. E.
     Russell Greenhood, attorney
     Assessment of property of Mary Farmer, 1934 & 1936
     Bank statement
     Property inventory
M. Bearses at Monomoy Point
     Letter to George S. Bearse
     Notes on Fifield Bearse and descendents
     Mention of first lighthouse keeper--Fifield Bearse?

Virginia with Parents

































Virginia and Cousin














































Virginia at Desk















































Virginia's House











































































Virginia in Yard