Hi Ellen and Carol,
Thanks for your inputs. The jgsgb site has good information. It has a history of Jews in Massachusetts that elaborates on Ellen's comment. It also cites the book Water Street by Norma Feingold. I requested it from my library.
The synagogue list is useful because it points to where records may now exist. I hope not too much has changed since it was published. Athol does have a synagogue going back to the 1920's and I contacted them already.
Once again, many thanks for the leads,