The Westford Family included a doctor, nurse, lawyer, and artist, and there are connections to other places like Cape Cod and Florida. Lillian, Mary, and Sarah “Carrie” Atwood were lifelong Westford residents. Grace (Atwood) Millett was a nurse in Westford into the 1950s, and featured in the museum’s medical exhibit. Her son, William “Bill” Millett was a local artist, and last of the family to live in Westford. Bill died in 2007, and his estate, overseen by relative Deborah Stein Sharpe, donated a large portion of his possessions to the museum in 2008. Items exhibited are from this collection unless otherwise stated.
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4 Graniteville Road
Daniel Atwood (1822-1902) and Caroline (Carlton) Atwood (1821-1911) moved to Westford by the 1850s, running a farm off Concord Rd. By the 1880s, Daniel retired from farming, and built the family home on Graniteville Rd. His son, also Daniel (1850-1931), stayed on the family farm. William Atwood Millett (1922-2007) lived in the family home on and off throughout is life, often traveling for his art, and was the last of the family to live in Westford. The Atwood Collection were items found in this family home.
Photo 63/4 x 83/4″
Frame 10 x 13.75″
Oval photo 16 x 12″
Wooden frame 24 1/4 x 28″
Oval photo 16 x 12″
Wood frame 24 1/4 x 28″
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The Daguerreotype was invented in 1839 by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre. They are a positive image on a copper plate, which was polished, often with a silver coating. The technology was succeeded by the less expensive Ambrotype and Tintype.
The dating of this collage was aided by the two cent stamps on the reverse. From 1864 to 1866, the US Government taxed photographs. The two cent stamp was for photographs selling for less than twenty-five cents.
Twelve 2 x 2″
Nathan, whose platform shoe is visible, was the father of William Atwood Millett (1922 – 2008).
Photo 15.5 x 12″
Original wood frame 25.25 x 21.25″
Photo (curved) 19 x 13″
Oval frame 23 5/8 x 18″
Others identified are Mrs. Patterson (with her mother and daughter), Mrs. Ada Day, Mrs. Roudenbush, Miss Loker, Mrs Felch, Mrs. Janet Wright, Mrs. Zina Ingalls, and Mrs. Alice Lambert. Ada is related to Marilyn Day, who donated the picture. William Roudenbush served as a principal of the Westford Academy (high school) for twenty-five years. The high school now runs out of another building, but “his” building is now the town’s community center, which was named after him.
Taken before 1935
Black and white
Marilyn Day Collection
The organization began as the First Parish Church, and was founded prior to the 1729 founding of Westford, according to the organization’s website. The presently used meetinghouse, at the common, was built in 1794. The organization split into two after 1826, and the historic building pictured on the program was built in 1829 at the other side of the town common. The then two organizations started to come back together in the 1930s, and became the First Parish Church United of Westford by 1955. No longer needing two buildings, the 1829 building was purchased by the Westford Historical Society in December 1998, and leased by the Parish Center for the Arts.
12 x 11″
Wood with brown laminate
51 ½ x 20 ½ x 13 ¾”
3 ¼” x 5” (folded)
91 x 91″ (Unfolded)
Aprox. 2 ¾” diameter
27″ x 46 (flag)
60″ (Wood Pole)
The Bill Millet Art Gallery
The framed artwork are by William Atwood Millett (1922-2007). They are primarily watercolor, but one self-portrait is a charcoal sketch.
Bill Millett, born in Brockton, MA, was the last of the family to live in Westford. He was the son of Grace (1889-1971) and Nathan Walton Millett (1871-1955). Bill served during WWII in the US Navy, and professionally trained to be an artist in Paris after his honorable discharge in 1946. He lived in the family home in Westford on and off throughout his life, traveling to places such as Hampton Beach, NH, to paint. Much of his artwork was signed “WM” or “Millet,” the more traditional spelling of his surname. He did not sell his later works, but after their discovery in the family home after his death, many were exhibited by Westford’s Parish Center for the Arts and Guild of Boston Arts between 2012 and 2013.
The work depicting the artist’s studio at his house (undated), interior of his house (undated), and Town Common prior to 1970 are from the museum’s collection.
All other works, undated, are from the J.V. Fletcher Library, with permission.
Courtesy J.V. Fletcher Library