Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Quabbin Chronology: 1700 - 1799

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1722 June 18 - Rutland is incorporated as a town.

1723 August 14 - A man and two boys are slain, and two other boys are taken hostage when five Indians raid the town of Rutland.

1731 July - First settlement in Belchertown, known then as Cold Spring. By 1740, 20 families called the area home.

1734 December 31 - A land grant is issued by the Massachusetts General Court allowing for the creation of the Township of New Salem, which was founded in 1735 and settled in 1737. A fire in 1856 destroyed all town records up to that time.

1736 January 14 - A land grant of 1,000 acres for the creation of the Quabbin territory is approved by the Massachusetts General Court.

1736 November 17 - The first church is established in Hardwick, with the Rev. David White serving as minister.

1737 January 10 - The Town of Hardwick settled. Formerly known as Lambstown after John Lamb, one of the men who bought the land from the Indians for twenty English pounds in 1686, the Indian name was "Wombemesisecook." Hardwick was incorporated in 1739.

1738 December - The first Church is organized in Petersham. The Rev. Aaron Whitney was the original Minister.

1739 January 27 - The Town of Hardwick, comprised of the villages of Wheelwright, Gilbertville, Old Furnace and the Center, is incorporated. The Town of Holden is also incorporated on this day.

1743 January 15 - The Town of Pelham is incorporated.

1747 - Daniel Shays is born, probably in Hopkinton. Shays, mostly remembered for his part in what became known as "Shays's Rebellion," was a Captain in the 5th Massachusetts regiment during the Revolutionary War. He fought at Bunker Hill, Ticonderoga and Saratoga. He received a ceremonial sword from the Marquis de Lafayette at the end of the war in recognition of his bravery and dedication. Shays would later be forced to sell the sword as a result of the dire financial circumstances that he and many other farmers and citizens faced at the end of the war.

1749 June 29 - The Parish of Quabbin is incorporated.

1751 January 31 - The Town of New Braintree is incorporated. The Indian name for the area was "Winimisset." It was originally known to settlers as Braintree Farms.

1754 April 20 - The Towns of Petersham and Greenwich are incorporated. Greenwich was originally referred to as Narragansett Township #4 and was first established by settlers from Northern Ireland. Early Petersham residents were reported to have been bothered by the numerous rattlesnakes and wolves they encountered in their new environ.

1754 August 15 - Greenwich holds its first town meeting.

1755 April 14 - Four year-old Lucy Keyes mysteriously disappears in the Princeton woods while on her way to Wachusett Lake with her sisters. It's said that Lucy's mother Martha wandered the forest every night fruitlessly calling Lucy's name until her death in 1786. A reclusive neighbor later admitted to the killing in a pang of death-bed conscience. Legend has it that if the conditions are just right, you can still hear the heartbroken Martha Keyes calling plaintively for her lost little girl in the Mount Wachusett woods after dark.

1759 October 20 - Princeton is established as a district.

1761 June 30 - The Town of Shutesbury, named for Governor Samuel Shute, is incorporated. Belchertown was also incorporated on this day, but was known then as Belcher's Town in honor of Governor Jonathan Belcher. Before that it had been called Cold Spring.

1761 November 25 - The Town of Ware is incorporated.

1762 June 11 - The Town of Oakham is incorporated.

1763 October 4 - James Fisk is born in Greenwich. Fisk was elected to the Massachusetts Legislature at the young age of 21. He later moved to Vermont, where he continued his political career. He served in several capacities including as Justice of the Supreme Court of Vermont and as a U.S. Senator. He died on November 17, 1844 at the age of 81. He is buried at Church Street Cemetery in Swanton, VT.

1767 June 13 - Hubbardston is incorporated as a town.

1771 April 24 - The Town of Princeton is incorporated.

1771 June 22 - Part of Belchertown annexed to the town of Greenwich.

1775 August 23 - The Town of New Salem is incorporated.

1777 October 25 - One-thousand Hessian soldiers, captured at Saratoga, NY, pass through the village of North New Salem on their way to Boston during the Revolutionary War.

1781 May 8 - The Town of Wendell is incorporated.

1786 August 29 - "Shays's Rebellion" begins. The Northampton courthouse is taken over by 1,500 men bearing arms, led by Daniel Shays of Pelham. A similar scene unfolds at the courthouse in Worcester a month later. The writing of the United States Constitution was a direct result of these acts of civil disobedience.

1787 January 25 - The battle at the Springfield Armory during "Shays's Rebellion," led by Pelham resident and distinguished Revolutionary War Captain Daniel Shays, is fought. Three of Shays's men are killed.

1787 January 28 - Daniel Shays' army sets up camp in Pelham on their retreat from the Massachusetts militia in the final days of "Shays's Rebellion."

1787 February 4 - "Shays's Rebellion" ends with Pelham resident Daniel Shays' and his mens' defeat in Petersham by General Benjamin Lincoln's militia, who manage to surprise the group while they are preparing breakfast. Shays and some of his men escaped to Vermont, and were assisted by the patriot Ethan Allen, among others. Shays was later pardoned by Governor John Hancock.

1787 June 20 - South Parish of Greenwich incorporated.

1788 June 13 - Daniel Shays is pardoned for his part in "Shays's Rebellion" by Governor John Hancock. The Pelham resident later moves to New York where he resides until his death on September 29, 1825. He is buried in Springwater, NY.

1788 June 16 - Part of Belchertown annexed to the town of Pelham.

1789 December 2 - Rev. Joshua Crosby settles in Enfield, the town's first minister.

1795 February 25 - New Salem Academy is established by legislative act. The school closes its doors in 1968.

1799 June 22 - The Sixth Massachusetts Turnpike Corporation is established by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature. The road began in Amherst and ended in Shrewsbury.

1799 September 10 - First meeting of The Sixth Massachusetts Turnpike Corporation held in Hardwick at the home of Jonathan Warner.

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The Quabbin Chronology Index:

Quabbin History by the Month - Same text in a January to December format.

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