Essick family (Lawrence, MA)

30-32 Chelmsford St., Lawrence, MA 1920s

The material in this collection centers around Raymond Louis Essick and documents his life and his family’s life from his first years of employment in the 1930s until his death in 1999.  Much of the material focuses on his years in the military during World War II and his career with the US Postal Service.

The collection includes papers that cover his family life: buying his homes, legal papers referring to a number of relatives, rent books, baptismal records and passports of family members, rosters of the Merrimack Valley Massachusetts Mothers of twins, postcards from a variety of people, a picture of the original family home and other family photos.  Almost everything else related to Mr. Essick: employment before the army, Diploma from The McIntosh School, a picture of a guitar/banjo group, Civil Service Exam, and artifacts like membership cards (American Legion, Knights of Columbus, social security, Library cards, and financial id).  Everything else is divided into Essick’s service in the military and his years with the Postal Service.  There is one letter about registering enemy aliens.

His army material includes and honorable discharge, material and artifacts about the 69th Division, enlistment record, application for officers candidate school, prayer books, physical examinations, dealing with the VA, artifacts (good conduct medal, dog tag, service bars, pin and badge from his division, and a St. Christopher’s medal), many photographs of Essick and his buddies, and a wonderful scrapbook that documents his days at Fort Devens, Mass.

The post office period of Essick’s life is represented by correspondence concerning Essick’s change of assignments, suggestions for improvement at the PO.  There are flyers about social events, employee directories, printed material and one photograph from the Mass. Federation of Postal Clerks, retirement info, artifacts (tie clip, badge, and medal), two photographs of personnel employed in processing the Alien Registration Act of 1940, and stamp posters.

Raymond Louis Essick was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts July 4, 1915 the son of Edward and Louise (Jerzyk) Essick. Both parents were immigrants from Poland and Louise Essick was a founding member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Lawrence.  Edward changed his name from Jurzyk (or Jurszak) to Essick.  Raymond was one of six children, the others being Frank, Mary Noble, Joseph, Amelia Leach, and Anna Johnson.  He graduated from Lawrence High School with the class of 1933 and then the McIntosh Business School. Employment before the war included: the A & P, Acadia Mills, Pacific Mills, Arlington Mills, US Post Office (including a period when he was involved in the registration of aliens in 1940), Lawrence Lumber Company, and the US Dept. of Justice.  He served as a staff sergeant during World War II with 69th Division Artillery Medical Detachment stationed at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, Camp Shelby, Mississippi, Medical Headquarter, New York City, and, later, was sent to Germany.  He was honorably discharged October 26, 1945 back at Fort Devens.  He worked for the United State Postal Service both in Lawrence and Methuen.  He retired from the Postal Service in 1975.  He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Federal, State and Municipal Employees Association, and The Methuen American Legion.  He was a treasurer for the Postal Workers’ Credit Union in Lawrence.

He married Joan Reardon.  Twins, Raymond and Nancy, were born April 1, 1962 and Paula was born March 9, 1967.  The family home was at 30-32 Chelmsford Street until it was damaged by fire at which point they moved to 1126 Essex Street, both homes in Lawrence.  Essick died in 1999.

7 Responses

  1. essicks moved to essex address sounds strange 2 me

    • Essicks moved to Essex St. – it is accurate and required us to spell out not only our last name, but the street name whenever asked 🙂

      • Hi Paula,
        I do not know if you remember me, but we lived on the corner of Center and Chelmsford streets, Dube’s Market and I taught with Ms. Putney and Ms Ryan at St Mary’s, when you were there.

        That is a great photo of the house. It brings back a lot of memories of the old neighborhood. I always wonder about what horrid diseases we should be getting as a result of playing on the grounds of the Lee Chemical Plant!

        I have been researching the Howard Playstead and came across a book and blog by Richard Noble who says he lived at 32 Chelmsford St. From your notes here I assume he would be a cousin, perhaps? He wrote fondly of “hanging around the Wall” at the Howard.

        Thank you for sharing this.
        Best wishes

  2. This is a very interesting article. There is value in saving those little slips of papers and documents, to historically chronologise a person’s life which I find very intriguing. Now, I would love to know the thought process and story behind the family name change from Jurzyk to Essick. The stories behind immigrants wanting to “Americanize” as much as possible as they embraced their new country while still preserving their ethnic heritage hopefully are being captured somewhere for the future generations.

  3. Ms. Maloof – of course I remember you 🙂 Richard is my cousin and has written several wonderful books. Richard is my Dad’s sister’s son. Please google me and send me an email at

  4. […] to the veterans of the 2nd World War, Jean Kochman‘s USO scrapbooks, photographs in the Essick family papers, Alphonse Napolitano photos, photographs and scrapbooks from George Garside, and a […]

  5. […] One of the more than 8,000 files the library has concerning WWII veterans This dog tag comes from a collection donated to the Library by the Essick family […]

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