Category: Local History

High Points in New England

The New England Historical Society (NEHS) has provided a somewhat light-hearted survey of the highest points in each of the New England states. The entry for Massachusetts, however, contains at least a couple of errors. One has to do with Herman Melville: The snow-covered mountain reminded Herman Melville of a great white sperm whale, which …

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Populating the Americas

Scientific American published an important article in the May 2021 issue (pages 26-33) entitled “Journey into the Americas: Genetic and archaeological discoveries tell a new story about how the continents were populated” — although not much of the story is “new” to those of us who have been following developments in academic research. See the …

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Mohican History Walking Tour of Stockbridge

This post is an abbreviated version of a longer page on “Native American Heritage in the Upper Housatonic River Valley” by the Housatonic Heritage organization. Here, I cover only the portion that relates to a walking tour of Main Street in Stockbridge Massachusetts called “Footprints of Our Ancestors” – providing links to 12 short videos. …

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Resources for OLLI Course: “A Walk Through Berkshire History” Spring 2019

Here is a list of links to the slides I used in my classes, as well as various blog posts, articles, and other resources that have been referenced during my lectures, or mentioned in my emails to the OLLI students, or that came to mind as I was preparing this list. Background Here is a …

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An Evening of Abenaki Stories, Music, Language

Thanks to a heads-up from BEAT, I was able to enjoy a session of Abenaki culture, with well over 100 people in attendance. Jesse Bruchac put on quite a show, and I learned many things. I also came away with 4 books and 4 CDs, so I expect to learn even more as I have …

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Alford: A Land Acknowledgment

A Land Acknowledgment As Alford’s Town Moderator, I took the occasion of our 2019 Annual Town Meeting on May 14 to introduce a new tradition. The idea did not originate with me; such land acknowledgments are becoming more widely used. I felt it would be an appropriate tribute to the indigenous people who cared for …

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Property One: The Mahican-Mohawk Trail

This post is a conglomeration of lecture notes, slides, and other information. I compiled all of this as part of my preparation for my OLLI course on Berkshire History, in which I talked about six different preserved properties that all have walking/hiking trails on them. An overview of the course can be found here. From …

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OLLI Nomination for Least Qualified Speaker

OLLI Spring 2019 Course TH104: A Walk Through Berkshire History Michael Forbes Wilcox is a Berkshire native, having been born in the House of Mercy in Pittsfield. His parents lived in Stockbridge, where he spent the first 17 years of his life. He currently resides in Alford, where he is the Town Moderator. Wilcox is …

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Word of the Day: Usufruct

Caveat: I’m not an attorney. My interest in this legal term derives from research I’ve been conducting relating to my upcoming (April/May 2019) OLLI course on Berkshire history. Specifically, I’ve been reading a wonderful 1983 book, recommended to me by two different people;¬†Changes in the Land, by William Cronon, who is now at the University …

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A Walk Through Berkshire History

A Walk Through Berkshire History An OLLI Course, Spring 2019 Kimball Farms, Lenox April 18 and 25, May 2, 9, 16, and 23 ¬†3:00 to 4:30 PM Here is a preliminary description of a lecture course I will give this Spring in Lenox. You can find registration information on my OLLI page. I’ll also be …

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