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Jane and George Cheney, 1916
TitleJane and George Cheney, 1916
Full Size Image
SubjectWilliamsburg (Mass.); Disasters--Massachusetts--Williamsburg; Disasters--Massachusetts--Northampton; Cheney, George, 1844-1918; Alvord, Jane Elizabeth, 1847-1922; Cheney, Phillip Donald, ?-1919; Graves, Charles Erastus, 1894-1988; Graves, Joseph Edwin, 1892-1969
DescriptionGeorge Cheney was one of the heroes of the May 16, 1874 Mill River Disaster that took many lives in Williamsburg and Northampton, Mass. Cheney, the caretaker of the huge reservoir dam that failed that morning, rode his horse bareback to the center of Williamsburg to spread word that the dam was crumbling, enabling many people to escape the resulting catastrophe. This little document, found among the papers of the Graves family, shows that his efforts were still remembered and appreciated many years later. Cheney and his wife Jane (Alvord) had stayed in Williamsburg into their old age, and young Charles Graves photographed them 42 years after the disaster. He and/or his brother Edwin evidently made up this page and added the accompanying notes, without which we wouldn't know who was in the picture or when the Cheneys left town. The Phillip Donald Cheney mentioned in the notes may have been the Cheneys' grandson. He is believed to have been employed as a hired hand on the Graves farm for a short time. The photograph is 2.75 x 4.5 inches and the black paper backing measures 6.25 x 10 inches.
CreatorCharles E. Graves, J. Edwin Graves
PublisherC/WMARS, Inc.
IdentifierWilliamsburg Historical Society--Graves Farm Documents Collection--WHS946 Jane and George Cheney, 1916
RelationPart of the Williamsburg, Mass., Historical Society, Graves Farm Documents Collection
RightsPermission to publish the image must be obtained from the Williamsburg Historical Society by writing to or The Williamsburg Historical Society, Williamsburg, Mass., must be credited as the original source of the item for all use.
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