Carl Hammer: Historical markers need to be revised for accuracy

Published: 9/10/2019 6:00:12 PM

It is a good thing that the old historical markers will be refurbished and relocated (“Historical markers get face-lift,” Aug. 29 Gazette), but they also need to be checked for accuracy and revised.

Aside from the native name, every statement on the Hadley sign is factually wrong. Hadley was first laid out in 1659, not 1650, and fully settled in 1660 with a spill over into what is now Hatfield. Although many settlers came from Hartford, a very large contingent came from Wethersfield and a couple from Windsor — better to say Connecticut.

The regicides Goffe and Whalley were, indeed, sheltered in Hadley, but we really don’t know where. They carried on some local trade in Hadley and probably lived in a variety of places. They arrived in October 1664. We know that Goffe was living alone in Hartford by September 1676. Whalley was probably dead and buried in Hadley.

Hadley has a very interesting early history which would be difficult to compress on to a marker, but whatever is there should be accurate.

All of these statements can be checked out in my recent book, “Pugnacious Puritans: Seventeenth-Century Hadley and New England.”

Carl Hammer


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