A Little History

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Petersham, an unusually beautiful New England hill town was a gift in 1732 from the General Court for services in the Indian wars. First known as Nichewaug, it became Volunteerstown or Voluntown, until incorporated April 29, 1754 and named after an English town. Buttons, wool, bonnets and 130,525 palm-leaf hats were woven in one year   during the 1830's when Barber sketched the southern section.

History was made the night of February 3, 1787, when Gen. Benjamin Lincoln led militia in a howling snowstorm through local woods to fall upon and track down the ragged remnants of Shay's Rebellion.

The Rev. Aaron, a rugged Tory, developed without grafting, a tree with sweet apples on one side and sour ones on the other. He took the curious secret with him.

Solomon Willard invented the hot-air furnace, designed Bunker Hill Monument and was superintendent -- without pay.

William A. Burt designed an early typewriter. Asa Hapgood puzzled out the elbow hinge which led to the upper berth of sleeping cars. Petersham contains Harvard Forest, a 2,300 tract, part of Harvard University School of Forestry, and the 1,000-acre state forest of the Massachusetts Federation of Women's Clubs.

From: Massachusetts Towns -- an 1840 View
By Ivan Sandrof
c 1963 Barre Publishers