The Hassanamesit Reservation is a special place for Indigenous people in Massachusetts, especially those belonging to the Nipmuc tribe and those with Nipmuc ancestry. It is the only place in Massachusetts that has never been owned or stewarded by anyone other than Indigenous people. In the Nipmuc language, or N & L-dialect Algonquin, Hassanamesit means “place of small stones” – named for its rocky soil. … Continue reading Hassanamesit

James the Printer

James was born Wawaus around 1640 in Hassanamesit, one of many Nipmuc villages that existed before contact with the English Puritans and still exists today. He was the son of Naoas, a leader at Hassanamisco during colonization. Even though Hassanamesit was a matriarchal society, the name of Wawaus’ mother was not recorded. At age 5, Wawaus went to live with an English family. In Indigenous … Continue reading James the Printer

What is Rematriation?

In what is now called New England, some centuries ago, European invaders disrupted our relationship with our homelands. They removed us from our lands, prevented access to crucial medicines, and eliminated and polluted our water sources. No longer living in relationship with the land, we lost its teachings. The invaders also reorganized our social systems into replicas of their patriarchal system. Our people lost knowledge, … Continue reading What is Rematriation?

Mary Jane (Scott) Smith and James Martin Smith

Mary Jane (Scott) Smith and her son, James Martin Smith.  William Bullard, Mary Jane and James Martin Smith, about 1900, courtesy of Frank Morrill and Clark University.   Mary Jane Scott was born on 13 Nov 1862 in West Boylston to Edward W. Scott and Catherine Annie Jackson. Edward and Catherine were former slaves who traveled from their birthplace in Warrenton, VA to Massachusetts with … Continue reading Mary Jane (Scott) Smith and James Martin Smith

Sarah (Scott) Shepard

Florence Shepard, Sarah Scott Shepard, and Eugene Shepard, Jr. circa 1900 in Worcester, MA William Bullard, Mrs. Shepard and Two Children, about 1900, courtesy of Frank Morrill, the Worcester Art Museum, and Clark University. Sarah Ann Scott is my 3rd great-aunt. She was the daughter of Edward Scott and Catherine Annie Jackson of Warrenton, VA. You can read more about Sarah’s parents and her younger brother, … Continue reading Sarah (Scott) Shepard

Gilbert Walker

Gilbert Walker was born into slavery in Maryland around 1817. He escaped and made his way to freedom in Worcester, MA. By 1850, he was living and working in the city. He was a barber and had his own shop on Main Street. While on his way to Massachusetts, Gilbert’s daughter Sarah E. Walker was born in New York. In Massachusetts, he married a Nipmuc … Continue reading Gilbert Walker