Historical Commission

Mailing Address: 325 Main Road, Gill, MA 01354

Email: ghc@gillmass.org

Visit us on FaceBook @GillHistoricalCommission

Commission: 7 members (currently 5 are filled with 2 vacancies) plus 2 Alternates - 3 yr. terms

Volunteer Opportunities: If you are interested in GHC membership or want to volunteer, please contact a member.

Meeting Schedule: The Commission generally meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 3:00 p.m. at the Riverside Municipal Building, 54 French King Highway, Gill. Please contact the Chair to confirm the meeting time and to be included on the agenda.

Next 6 meetings:

Members

5 of 7 seats. 3 years each seat.

  • Kit Carpenter, Chair. June, 2023. Gill, MA 01354 - 413-863-2505
  • Pam Shoemaker. June, 2022. Gill, MA 01354 - 413-863-4170
  • Robert Perry. June, 2022.
  • Charlene Currie. June, 2024.
  • Terri Rice. June, 2024.
  • VACANT
  • VACANT

Alternate Members:

Bev Demars

Lynda Hodsdon Mayo

Previous meetings:

REMEMBRANCE OF THE FALLS MASSACRE IN KING PHILIP’S WAR – 19 MAY 1676

Imagine tribal peoples from hundreds of miles around converging at the Falls of Peskeompskut to camp as they had for many generations. Nipmuc, Wampanoag, and Massachusetts paddle down the Paquoag (Millers River). Abenaki, Sukoki, and Pennacook stream south down the Quinneticook. Mohican arrive from the west, Narragansetts from the south east, extended families from the Pocumtuck Confederation of Woronoco Norwottock. Nonotuc move upriver to the Falls. Greetings are shouted through the village, where hundreds of wetus and wigwams dot the fertile shores above the roaring Falls.

The homeland of the Falls is a deeply spiritual place. It is a place of abundance, a place of ceremony, a place to greet old friends, to replenish food supplies, perhaps to find a spouse, to perform ceremony. It is a place of sanctuary and peace as told for years in tribal oral accounts. So it came to be that the Indian clans and families who settled permanently on the site clearly chose the place for the pauwau energies that are found here, manifested in the abundant resources, the power of the landscape, and the proliferation of medicinal plants and herbs.

Planting and harvesting cycles set the rhythm of village life. The migrating fish provided fresh food in the warm weather and smoked dried fish for the cold winter. From the fish also came fertilizer for crops like the interdependent Three Sisters of corn, beans, and squash. The seasons provided an ebb and flow, a rhythm, and a harmony. This balance was forever shattered by the arrival of the Europeans who saw a different potential in the land. With the new settlers came disease that reduced the tribal populations and a view of the land as a treasure trove for the taking, selling, and profiting. Those who remained at the Falls for sanctuary and nourishment were killed on May 19, 1676, when Captain Turner led his troops north up the Valley to raid the encampment of women, children, and elderly at the Falls. The earlier echoes of joyous greetings and shouts of welcome and reunion from the villages were silenced as a different vision of life and system of values took over.

Edited from David Brule and Joe Graveline. “Gathering at Peskeompskut,” Riverside: Life Along the Connecticut River. P.L. Shoemaker, ed.

Save the Date! Country Prints - Guest Speaker Peter Mars

Peter Mars, Wert Collector & Design Historian

Saturday, May 21, 1PM - 3PM

(2nd Floor, Gill Town Hall)

Join us for a presentation and discussion of the life and work of Gill artist Robert Darr Wert and his studio Country Prints, which operated from 1948-1970.

This past year, GHC members undertook a project of documenting and inventorying Wert's colorful designs. We are excited that Peter Mars accepted our invitation to share his extensive knowledge of Country Prints. Wert's joyful, optimistic art pieces celebrate rural life, and were produced by local friends, family, and neighbors employed in his barn studio on River Road. How did he come to live in Gill? Learn about his life and his artistic influences. A selection of Wert's Country Prints products will be on display.

Wert collection display at the RMB Gill Historical Museum.

Wert collector and researcher Peter Mars is trained in interior design and worked extensively in that field designing retail and residential spaces, furniture, and home products. He was assistant chair of Interior Design at Parsons School of Design, and Homekeeping Editor and photo stylist at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in New York City. As board member and curator at The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms in New Jersey, he curated the museum's collection of Gustav Stickley furniture and home products, producing numerous exhibitions. Currently living in Providence, RI, he is working on several books, including one on Robert Darr Wert and Country Prints.

Please join us for this public event on Saturday, May 21, 1PM - 3PM at the Gill Town Hall, second floor.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Gill Cultural Council, a local agency that is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

Armored Mud Balls

Armored Mud Ball

Gill is one of the few locations in the world where armored mud balls are found. Embedded in sandstone, they date from the Jurassic Period, Mesozoic Era. Details of their formation may be found in GHC’s Riverside book on page 7.

Given their rarity, GHC is supporting the recognition of the armored mud balls as an official Massachusetts State Geological Symbol. If you would like to sign a supporting petition to recognize the mud balls, or want further information click here which is part of a lobbying effort organized by Richard Little, GCC Professor Emeritus.

Additional Links:

Archaeological Accountability Policy Click here to read more.

Historical Research on Roswell Field, Gill Farmer (1804-1882) To view the complete paper click here. (Used by permission of, and many thanks to Robert Herbert.)

Calendar of Events
Thu, May 19, 2022, 6:30 pm
Fire Station
Posted to: Fire Dept
Fri, May 20, 2022, All Day
Posted to: Town Hall
Sat, May 21, 2022, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
2nd Floor Town Hall
Selectboard Meeting -- SCHEDULED
Mon, May 23, 2022, 4:30 pm
2nd Floor Town Hall
Mon, May 23, 2022, 6:30 pm
2nd Floor Town Hall
Wed, May 25, 2022, 6:00 pm
Town Common