Tombstone Tuesday: Frank Octo

by Laurel | February 19th, 2013

A tombstone from Forestdale Cemetery, not quite so random as the proposed sale of a building, described at this earlier blog entry, piqued my interest in the name Octo and in his associated business, Octo Furniture.

30 April 1901

Frank Octo, died 29 Aptil 1901

Frank Octo, died 29 April 1901

From The Springfield Republican,” Frank Octo, 55, a well-known French business man of Holyoke, died yesterday morning at his home, 91 Lincoln Street. He was in the furniture business many years and had acquired considerable property, including the block on High Street that bears his name. He leaves a widow, but no children. The funeral will be held at the house on Lincoln Street tomorrow afternoon at 2:00, and the burial will be in Forestdale Cemetery.

According to the 1900 US Census, Ward 7, ED 552, Frank Octo  was born in French Canada in October 1844 and was married to Philomena (m.s. unknown), age 54, also born in French Canada.

The business was apparently successful since in 1900 Frank Octo is listed among Holyoke’s heaviest taxpayers.  Napoleaon Desrosiers, who had been Frank Octo’s partner from the start of the business, bought Frank Octo’s share upon his death, and is listed as proprietor of the business until he retired in 1922.

In 1931 Octo Furniture has J. A. Bourbonnair and Edward J. Lacombe listed as owners at 222 – 224 Main Street, Holyoke, with a separate entry beneath it of “Octo’s Block” 63 – 75 High Street. By 1935, 69 High Street is listed as “Octo Apartments” and there are city directory entries up to 1960.

Interesting that Philomene, Frank Octo’s spouse, has no inscription on the stone, if she is even buried there — and is only mentioned in passing as “his widow” though the obituary does say there was no issue.  I have not spent much time  searching for Philomene, so she may show up, but I have not yet found her.

From what I can see via online maps, it appears the apartment building at 63-75 High Street may still exist (Octo’s Block), I’ll check next time I am in Holyoke unless a reader wants to grab a photo and send it in. I thought it interesting to view Octo ads over time in the directories:

Frank Octo & Co., 1883.

Frank Octo & Co., 1883.

Frank Octo & Co., 1901.

Frank Octo & Co., 1901.

Octo Furniture, 1931

Octo Furniture, 1931

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