Manuscript
Page: 14

The Reverend Samuel Willard Recalls "The Insurrection of 1786"

Page: 14 | 15 | 16
Date: c. 1790 - 1800
About this artifact

This is an excerpt from a letter from Reverend Samuel Willard to E.B. Wilson of Petersham. Willard was the minister in Deerfield from 1807 to 1829. Willard gradually went blind and probably wrote his recollections when he realized that he was losing his sight. He was 10 years old at the time of Shays' Rebellion. Willard remembers that his brother volunteered on the side of the government, but one of their neighbors was on the side of the Regulators. He describes the Regulators coming into Petersham and the subsequent arrival of the government troops. Government troops were quartered in homes for four days, and Willard comments that they "left our houses in such a state as would inspire a dread of armies in every bosom". Willard also describes the Regulators' lack of weapons, saying that there was panic and a want of military tactics during the retreat.

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Courtesy Petersham Historical Society, Petersham, MA