Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Mass History Alliance Advocates for State, Local History


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Mass History AllianceOn June 4, 2018, I attended the annual Massachusetts History Conference. For the second year in row, the event was hosted by the Massachusetts History Alliance. This new and still-forming group drew my attention because of its mission: to advocate on behalf of state and local history.

To read about the efforts of this group go to Who Advocates for State and Local History?: The Massachusetts History Alliance Experience.

Tis’ Death to Counterfeit: New England Counterfeiters in NY


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Albany County District Lines courtesy earlyamericancrime.comWhile an ongoing border dispute took place between the governments of New York and Massachusetts, Ichabod Miller eked out a living on his farm in West Stockbridge, Mass. On December 20, 1772, his pastoral life was turned upside down.

Miller was awoken to the commotion of an angry mob at his door. In a moment they had broken in the door and he faced the business end of a loaded musket. He was accused of counterfeiting. This crime could be heart stopping. If proven, the sentence was death.

Counterfeiting was fairly prevalent in the colonies at this time. It was relatively easy to do, it was extremely profitable, hard to discover, and even harder to prosecute. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Bostons in the 17th Century


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ben_franklins_worldThe City Upon a Hill. The Athens of America. The Cradle of Liberty.

Boston has many names because it has played important roles in the history of North America. But how did Boston, or “The Hub,” come to be?

Why did the Puritans who sailed from England in 1630, choose to settle in Massachusetts Bay on the Shawmut Peninsula?

What were their early days like?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore answers to those questions by exploring the history of the two Bostons—Boston, England & Boston, New England— during the 17th century with Rose Doherty, President of the Partnership of Historic Bostons. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/095

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Understanding Shays’ Rebellion


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ben_franklins_worldAfter achieving independence from Great Britain, the new United States and its member states had to pay war debts. As the national government lacked the power to tax its citizens, the problem of paying war debts fell to the states.

Many states tried to solve the post-war debt problem by paying state debts before national debts. But Massachusetts tried to pay both. Its strategy created hardship for many Bay Staters and ultimately sparked a rebellion.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Sean Condon, a Professor of History at Merrimack College, joins us to investigate the rebellion, which we remember today as Shays’ Rebellion. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/087

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How Archives Work: Massachusetts Historical Society


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ben_franklins_worldHistorians research history in archives.

But how do you gain access to one? And how do you use an archive once you find that it likely contains the information you seek?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we investigate how archives work with Peter Drummey, an archivist and the Stephen T. Riley Librarian at the Massachusetts Historical Society. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/075

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The Whitehill Prize in Early American History


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Colonial Massachussesttes SocietyThe Colonial Society of Massachusetts has announced the 2014 Walter Muir Whitehill Prize in Early American History.

This prize of $2,500, established in memory of Walter Muir Whitehill, for many years Editor of Publications for the Colonial Society and the moving force behind the organization, will be awarded for a distinguished essay on early American history (up to 1825), not previously published, with preference being given to New England subjects. The Society hopes that the prize may be awarded annually. Continue reading

Shaker Exhibition Opening At NYS Museum


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ModeofWorshipThe New York State Museum will open a new major exhibition about the history and culture of the Shakers on November 15, 2014. The Shakers: America’s Quiet Revolutionaries will feature over 150 historic images and nearly 200 Shaker artifacts, including artifacts from three Shaker historical sites: the Shaker Heritage Society, Hancock Shaker Village and the Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon.

In the late 1700s, the Shakers sought religious freedom in America, but their unique culture and spiritual practices set them apart from society. Their devotional routines as well as their product innovations and views towards gender equality seemed revolutionary. Continue reading

American Revolution:
Trouble at Poughkeepsie and Peekskill


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American Revolution ShipsA loyalist is a man with his head in England, his body in America, and a neck that needs to be stretched.  – an anonymous patriot.

Late in June of 1776, the New York Provincial Convention (NYPC) received a troubling report from the Dutchess County Committee of Safety. It said that Poughkeepsie officials and patriot warships were being threatened by loyalists, so-called Tories. Continue reading

The Misnamed Columbia County ‘Battle of Egremont’


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MilitiamenA small, but important part of the American Revolutionary War took place during 1777 at Livingston Manor, Albany County (now Columbia County), New York. The few historical references about this event identify the event as the Battle of Egremont, implying that it happened in Massachusetts.

While it was customary to name a battle after its location, participants or some other feature, these conventions were overlooked in this case and the involvement of Egremont, Massachusetts militiamen seems to be the primary reason for the naming of the battle. However, many participants were from New York militia units, and the battle actually took place in New York. The battle was actually a series of four skirmishes that occurred over two-days. Continue reading