People of the Wachusett: Greater New England in History and Memory, 1630-1860

People of the Wachusett: Greater New England in History and Memory, 1630-1860

by David P. Jaffee


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Nashaway became Lancaster, Wachusett became Princeton, and all of Nipmuck County became the county of Worcester. Town by town, New England grew—Watertown, Sudbury, Turkey Hills, Fitchburg, Westminster, Walpole—and with each new community the myth of America flourished.

In People of the Wachusett the history of the New England town becomes the cultural history of America's first frontier. Integral to this history are the firsthand narratives of town founders and citizens, English, French, and Native American, whose accounts of trading and warring, relocating and putting down roots proved essential to the building of these communities. Town plans, local records, broadside ballads, vernacular house forms and furniture, festivals—all come into play in this innovative book, giving a rich picture of early Americans creating towns and crafting historical memory.

Beginning with the Wachusett, in northern Worcester County, Massachusetts, David Jaffee traces the founding of towns through inland New England and Nova Scotia, from the mid-seventeenth century through the Revolutionary Era. His history of New England's settlement is one in which the replication of towns across the landscape is inextricable from the creation of a regional and national culture, with stories about colonization giving shape and meaning to New England life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801436109
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 07/06/1999
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

David Jaffee is Associate Professor of History, City College of the City University of New York.

What People are Saying About This

Robert Blair St. George

"With a rare combination of cultural insight and a gift for sweeping narrative, David Jaffee offers a new vision of early New England society and culture. People of the Wachusett shifts the familiar ground of colonial Massachusetts in provocative ways: Jaffee locates the business of colonization inland, and penetrates with clarity and depth the exchanges between planters and native peoples as communities and material landscapes changed in the eighteenth century. And through detailed discussions of Chester in Nova Scotia and Walpole, New Hampshire, he helps us see the divergent legacies of social order that derived from New England's ongoing tradition of colonial plantation and cultural diaspora in the early nineteenth century. A major accomplishment."

Louis Leonard Tucker

"An artful blend of social and cultural history, People of the Wachusett constitutes a significant study of town formation in New England."

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