Elizabeth Wilkinson and Henry S. Millard

Elizabeth Wilkinson and Henry S. Millard were ordinary people who lived an ordinary life but even ordinary people leave lasting marks on the town and the people around them.

Elizabeth Wilkinson was born on July 28, 1833, to William and Harriet Wilkinson. She and her brother William were likely twins, and they had eight younger siblings. One of her most well-known siblings, Edward Wilkinson, was twelve years younger and became one of North Adams’s mayors. Elizabeth’s husband Henry S. Millard was born May 9th, 1834, in Bennington, Vermont. After the Millard family moved to North Adams, Henry’s father, George, purchased an old shoe manufacturing building. He sold off the shoes relatively cheaply and used the old building’s space to open a dry goods store. Millard’s store was known for having the cheapest prices because he specialized in dry goods, which meant he could buy them in bulk. George was also known for being one of the spearheads of the Hoosac tunnel project. Henry started off working with his father at the dry goods store, and he later bought George’s shares when the old man retired. It’s unknown when exactly Henry and Elizabeth got married. However, they had their first child together in 1855, a daughter whom they named Mary. They had a second daughter in 1862 named Helen.

Henry’s business partner was Jerome B. Jackson. The two built a brick factory together on Union Street and were partners until 1867 when William H. Whitman bought out Jackson’s shares. Later in 1874, N. L. Millard bought out Henry’s shares.

During this time Henry was also a member of the Lafayette Lodge. The Lodge was first established in 1847 and in 1848 became an official chartered Masonry Lodge. In 1873 Henry became the Master of the Lafayette Lodge but then left it in 1874 to become a charter member of The Composite Chapter Royal Arch Masons. The second masonic lodge was created due to the increase in population in North Adams and the surrounding area.

Unfortunately, shortly after Henry joined the new lodge, Elizabeth passed away. She died on June 11, 1878, having just celebrated her forty-fifth birthday. Henry mourned but remarried within two years to Harriet Soper of New Britain, Connecticut. Henry’s new wife was 21 years his junior, and was the same age as his oldest daughter Mary. Henry himself died August 16th 1909 at the age of seventy-five. At the time he was still living in North Adams, having returned after living in various other locations including New Britain Connecticut. He outlived his new wife Harriet by two years. Henry was buried in the Hillside cemetery with Elizabeth.

Map Coordinates: 42.6994012, -73.1246010



Henry’s obituary ran in the Bennington Banner from Bennington, Vermont. An interesting contradiction appears in the obituary as it claims that Henry was born in Bennington however the 1880 census lists him as born in Massachusetts.
"Henry S. Millard: Native and longtime resident of North Adams dies at Melrose." Bennington Banner. Accessed November 11, 2017. file:///C:/Users/Lara/Documents/School/MCLA%2017%20Fall/Henry%20S%20Millard%20Obit.pdf
pdf / 613.13 kB Download