Biography of Harold Burnett Ketchen

HAROLD BURNETT KETCHEN, prominent in business circles in Belchertown, Massachusetts, and associated with worthwhile achievements for the betterment of the city, is of a family long established in New England.

(I) Andrew Ketches, the first American representative, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and died in Torrington, Connecticut, then called Wolcotville, in 1866. He came to America in 1822 to practice his trade of carpet weaving. After spending a short time in Seekonk, Rhode Island, he settled for the remainder of his life in Torrington.

(II) Andrew Gilmore Ketchen, son of Andrew Ketchen, was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, April 22, 1824, and died in Belchertown, Massachusetts, July 13, 1913. A carpet weaver like his father, he lived in Torrington and other New England towns. For fifteen years he had a business of his own in Torrington, weaving rag carpets. His last fifteen years were spent with his son, Arthur, in Springfield and Belchertown. He married (first) Caroline Mead, who died in May, 1867; (second) Eliza Hart.

(III) Arthur Robert Ketchen, son of Andrew Gilmore Ketchen, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, November 30, 1860. He was educated in the Torrington schools, and worked on neighboring farms as a boy. When he was twenty-three years old he became a fireman, later an engineer on the Boston & Albany Railroad, remaining thus employed for ten years. In West Springfield and later Springfield, he ran stores of his own for eleven years. After selling these advantageously he was foreman for a time in a brown stone quarry in Tariffville, Connecticut, and in 1908 he moved to Belchertown, Massachusetts, where he purchased the Crystal Spring farm and worked it for eight years. The railroad work called him back, and he was an engineer in the construction of the Hampden County Railroad, from which he was called by war work in the factory of the Scoville Manufacturing Company in Waterbury. Returning to Belchertown he has followed the trade of carpentering, having been engaged for three years on the State school at Belchertown, and has a small farm. Arthur R. Ketchen is a member of Harmony Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Waterbury, and has later joined the Vernon Lodge, of Belchertown. He is steward and secretary of the Methodist Church He married (first), April 23, 1890, Clara Burnett, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, who died February 26, 1916, daughter of Samuel and Clarinda (Young) Burnett. He married (second), June 8, 1922, Mrs. George Witt By his first wife he had a son, Harold Burnett, of further mention.

(IV) Harold Burnett Ketches, son of Arthur Robert and Clara (Burnett) Ketchen, was born in West Springfield, Massachusetts, January 27, 1891. He attended school in West Springfield and Springfield, Massachusetts, and in Simsbury, Connecticut. Being a man of independence and initiative, he early began business for himself, engaging in construction work, operating locomotives, well drilling, farming. In 1913 he engaged in the automobile business, specializing in trucking. In 1917 he bought his present garage, one of the best in Western Massachusetts. For a time he ran Crystal Spring farm, purchased from his father, but soon sold it. As a dealer in Dodge cars, who runs a service station, he is well equipped to repair those cars and supply accessories. In addition he operates a bus line to Holyoke and one to Springfield, with comfortable high-class busses running on regular trips. Mr. Ketchen also transports children to and from school in busses. He is a member of the Board of Water Commissioners, and with Mr. Bothwell and Mr. Witt designed and built the Belchertown Water System complete. He is a member of the Methodist Church.

On April 19, 1917, Mr. Ketchen married Frances Lilly Gould, daughter of Henry and Blanche Agnes (Bridgeman) Gould. She is the granddaughter of Joseph Raymond Smart and Sarah E. (Corbet) Gould, and greatgranddaughter of Joseph Gould, of England. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Ketchen are: Frances Elizabeth, born July 16, 1918; Gould, born July 14, 1919.


Lockwood, John H. (John Hoyt); Bagg, Ernest Newton; Carson, Walter S. (Walter Scott); Riley, Herbert E. (Herbert Elihu); Boltwood, Edward; Clark, Will L. (Will Leach); Western Massachusetts A History 1636-1925; New York and Chicago: Lewis historical publishing company, inc., 1926

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