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Frank Ardley Gurney and the Tousignant Family
Text submitted by Ann Tousignant
Photographs submitted by Ann Tousignant, Jane Gebeau, and Carol Beach

Click on the thumbnail images
to see full size pictures.

Right:  Three generations of Gurney men.


Right:  Ray and Eva Gurney

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Right:  Gurney General Store


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Right: Tousignant, Gebeau, and Beach Family Reunion 1979

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Frank Ardley Gurney

As proprietor of a general store for a quarter of a century and postmaster for nearly two decades, Frank Ardley Gurney is one of the well known men of Wilbraham. Mr. Gurney is a descendant of Richard Gurney of Braintree, Massachusetts, from whom descent is traced as follows:

The Gurney family was early represented in this country. Edward Gurney coming to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1636 and John Gurney, who was born September, 29, 1615, and died 1663, coming to Braintree. It is supposed that Richard Gurney, mentioned below, was a son of John Gurney.

(I) Richard Gurney, supposed son of John Gurney, was a resident of Weymouth, Massachusetts, and was admitted a freeman, October 12, 1681. He married (as indicated in the will of John Taylor and by the vital records of Weymouth), Rebecca Taylor, daughter of John and Rebecca Taylor of Weymouth, and they were the parents of Joseph: Mary; Zachariah, of whom further; and probably other children.

(II) Zechariah Gurney, so of Richard Gurney of Weymouth, Massachusetts, was a soldier in King Philip’s War in 1675. He married mary Benson, daughter of Joseph Benson, of Hull, Massachusetts, and they were the parents of the following children: 1. Zechariah, born November 19, 1695, married Sarah Jackson. 2. Joseph, of whom further mention. 3. Nathan. 4. Jacob. 5. Mary.

(III) Joseph Gurney, son of Zechariah and Mary (Benson) Gurney, was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, March 7, 1698. He married, at Weymouth, June 10, 1718, Mary Perkins, of Hingham, Massachusetts. Children, born in Abington: 1. Sarah, born January 15, 1721, married Samuel Tirrell. 2. Perkins, born in 1723, married Jane Darby. 3. Mary, born in 1726, married Isaac Hearsey. 4. Betty, born in 1728, married Whitcomb Pratt. 5. Lydia, born in 1730, married William Hearsey. 6. Joseph, of whom further. 7. Benoni, born in 1737, married Caroline Wilks. 8. Remember, born in 1742, married John Wilks.

(IV) Joseph Gurney, Jr., son of Joseph and Mary (Perkins) Gurney, was born in Abington, Massachusetts, February 4 1735, and resided there. He married in Abington, September 8, 1758, Sarah Shaw, who died in Abington, January 17, 1789, aged fifty-two years. Children: 1. Joseph, of whom further. 2. Molly, born in 1761, married Elisha Lincoln. 3. Gideon, born in 1763, married, in 1788, Rachel Gardner. 4. Daniel, born in 1765, married Deborah Ramsdal. 5. Zechariah, born 1766, married Anna Fullarton. 6. Sarah, married Asa Whitmarsh. 7. Deborah, born in 1775, married Elijah Shaw, Jr.

(V) Joseph Gurney, III, son of Joseph Jr. and Sarah (Shaw) Gurney, was born in Abington, Massachusetts, March 28, 1759. He married (first) in Abbington (intentions June 30, 1780) Mercy Smith. Child: Melvin, born April 22, 1782. Joseph Gurney III married (second) in Abington, June 10, 1783, Tamar Jackson, who was born in Abington, September 29, 1761, daughter of Edmond Jr., and Silence (Allen) Jackson. Children: 2. Joseph, of whom further. 3. Josiah, born November 23, 1786. 4. Selah, born February 20, 1795, died young. 5. Rachel, born May 1798.

(VI) Joseph (4) Gurney, son of Joseph and Tamar (Jackson) Gurney, was born in Abington, Massachusetts, April 29, 1785, and died in Plainfield, Massachusetts, January 4, 1862. He married Olive Torrey and had children: 1. Josiah. 2. Abner. 3. William T., of whom further. 4. Lydia. 5. Celia. 6. Gridley.

(VII) William Torrey Gurney, son of Joseph (4) and Olive (Torrey) Gurney, was born in Ashfield, Massachusetts, in 1809; and died in Plainfield, Massachusetts, July 19, 1878. In early life he was a spinner in the small town mills of Taunton and Plainfield, Massachusetts, and being energetic and ambitious he, finally purchased a mill privilege in Plainfield and engaged in the mill business for himself. Later he purchased in that town a farm and where the greater part of his life was spent. He took an active part in local public affairs serving in some town offices, and was also active in church affairs.

He married (first) Huldah White. She died in Plainfield, and he married (second) Philena Lydia Torrey, of Planfield, Massachusetts, daughter of Josiah and Abigail (Snow) Torrey. Children of the first marriage were: 1. Emma, died 1922, eighty-four years of age. 2. Charles, who was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. To the second marriage the following children were born: 1. Julia, who died at the age of five years. 2. Frank A., of further mention. 3. Julia, deceased, who married Joseph Warren Sears.

(VIII) Frank Ardley Gurney, son of William Torrey and Filene Lydia (Torrey) Gurney, was born in Plainfield, Massachusetts, October 18, 1853. He attended the schools of his native town, and assisted his father on the farm until the death of the latter. He then went to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he was employed in a knitting mill for two years. At the end of that time he removed to Russell, Massachusetts, where he conducted a store for about six years. In 1889 he again changed his place of residence, this time locating in Wilbraham. Here he established himself in the mercantile business, and for twenty-five years successfully operated a general store. Genial, friendly, and upright in his dealings, he steadily enlarged his patronage, and his establishment became one of the "land marks" of the county. In connection with his general store he also served as postmaster for sixteen years. In 1913 he retired from active business, but since that time he has served on the Board of Assessors, and as a member of the Library Board of Trustees. He has also during his long career held several town offices, the duties of which he has discharged with credit to himself and with satisfaction to his associates. Fraternally he is a member of Newton Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Wilbraham for 27 years; and he is affiliated with the Congregational Church.

Frank Ardley Gurney married (first) December, 1881, Gertrude Spaulding. She died in 1894, and he married (second) May 13, 1897, Mary Beebe, of Wilbraham, daughter of Marcus and Frances (Newell) Beebe (q.v.). To the first marriage on son, Raymond Francis, was born in Russell, Massachusetts, November 12, 1888. He received his early education in the public school, and then completed his studies in Worcester Academy, from which he graduated. His is now (1924) employed in the office of the Cutter Grain Company in North Wilbraham. Fraternally he is affiliated with Newton Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Wilbraham, Massachusetts, of whish he is Past Master. He married Eva Gebeau, and has a son Frank Ardley (2), who was born November 25, 1914.


Continued by Ann Tousignant

Frank Ardley Gurney II married Viola Vivian Valliere of the Indian Orchard section of Springfield, Massachusetts on May 30, 1942. Frank was a graduate of Wilbraham Academy and Mt. Hermon School before graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a chemical engineer. He was employed in that capacity by Monsanto Chemical Company’s Springfield Massachusetts plant, until being transferred to Marshall, Texas during World War II, where he worked as a supervisor in a T.N.T. plant for the government of the U.S.A. on “Project Know How”. Frank and Viola returned to Wilbraham at the end of the war, and Frank resumed his employment with Monsanto in Springfield. Frank became involved in the building of the present United Congregational Church. Frank Ardley Gurney II lived a full and useful life until his death on December 12, 1965 at 51 years of age, of cancer. He left his loving wife and two daughters. Jean Eva Gurney, born May 30, 1945 and Ann Era Gurney born July 25, 1948. Eva Gebeau Gurney died on July 13, 1972 at the age of 84, after suffering a stroke and spending a brief time in Mary Lyon’s Nursing Home in Hampden, Massachusetts. Raymond F. Gurney died of pneumonia on February 6, 1975 at the age of 86 in the Springfield Hospital. Viola V. Gurney died of lung cancer on December 27, 1979 at the age of 70 years, in Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Jean Eva Gurney graduated from Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham, Massachusetts in 1963. She was a member of the first four-year graduating class from that school. She was a member of the All State Chorus during her time in high school. She attended Hunter College before moving to Nevada where she lives to this date.

Ann Era Gurney graduated from Minnechaug in 1966 and was a classmate of her second husband's, John Pierre Tousignant. Ann married her first husband, Calvin Lorn Helgoe, Jr. in 1967 at the age of 19 years. They lived in California in the Los Angeles area of Arcadia until their return to Wilbraham in 1972. A son, Terence William Helgoe, was born to them on July 18, 1973. They divorced in September 1975. Ann married John Tousignant on June 5, 1976, they were both 27 years of age. In December 1976, Calvin Lorn Helgoe, Jr. granted his permission for John Pierre Tousignant to formally adopt the minor child, Terence William Helgoe, hereafter being named Terence William Tousignant. John and Ann Tousignant had three other children born to them. On May 18, 1977 a daughter, Nicole Lynn Tousignant, on June 29, 1980 a son, Daniel James Tousignant, and on April 25, 1984 a son, Steven Gurney Tousignant. On May 30, 1998, Terence married Elizabeth Anita Cleaves, of Manchester, Connecticut in the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Wilbraham. At the time of this writing, they reside at 458 Main Street, while the other members of the family occupy the other part of the house (456 Main Street). This house was given to Raymond F. and Eva G. Gurney as a wedding present in 1910 from Raymond's father, Frank Ardley Gurney I. This home (456/458 Main Street) has been continuously occupied by descendants of Raymond and Eva Gurney since 1910.

John Tousignant graduated from Minnechaug Regional High School in 1966 and then Springfield Technical Community College. He is at the time of this writing, an employee of the United Postal Service in the Wilbraham Post Office. He is employed as a postal clerk while his son Terence works at the same office as a postal carrier. The post office was relocated for the building in Crane Park in the center of Wilbraham to its Boston Road location in 1991. Prior to the Crane Park location , the post office was located where the Louis and Clark drugstore presently stands. It is at this (Main Street) site that Raymond F. Gurney was postmaster for more than thirty years.

Ann Tousignant is at the time of this writing working at Minnechaug Regional High School in the Career Center where she has instituted the Career Internship Program. Through the Internship Program Ann has placed several hundred student-interns at local businesses with mentors who will instruct them in various areas and career interests. Ann is also the Administrative Assistant to the Reverend Kenneth S. B. Campbell at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Wilbraham.

Terence William Tousignant graduated from Minnechaug Regional High School in 1991 and attended Western New England College where he met his wife Elizabeth. At the time of this writing he is continuing his studies at that same institution.

Nicole Lynn Tousignant graduated from Minnechaug Regional High School in 1995 and Bridgewater State College, in Bridgewater, Massachusetts in 1998. At the time of this writing she is a graduate student in Communication Disorders at The College of Saint Rose, in Albany, NY.

Daniel James Tousignant graduated from Minnechuag Regional High School in 1998 and is at the time of this writing a student at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Steven Gurney Tousignant is at the time of this writing a member of the class of 2002 at Minnechaug Regional High School.



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