Finding Aid 02

Chatham Historical Society
Genealogical and Personal Manuscript Collection
Virginia Harding McGrath Papers, 1920-1936

Biographical Note

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)

Scope and Content Note

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.

Container List

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 sermon?)

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, 1715

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?

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Atwood Museum
347 Stage Harbor Road
Chatham, MA 02633