Category Archives: Columns

Published pieces I’ve written, primarily in The Recorder, Greenfield, Mass.

Whately Squire Goes To Happy Hunting Ground

There’s a glaring void in Whately’s North Street/Whately Glen neighborhood. His name is Lyndon “Sonny” Scott, a humble Whately dairy farmer and proud descendant of the town’s founding families. He died at 88 a couple of months ago, removing yet another valuable historical source who knew the land surrounding his expansive farm like no other. […]

A Deer Story That Can Now Be Told

This is a tale that took place decades ago. I’ve told it many times in conversation but never written it. Now, with camouflaged bowhunters occupying local tree stands, why not, for posterity, put it in black and white? I’d estimate that it unfolded in the mid to late 1980s, when I was a young man […]

Deerfield’s North Meadows Sentry Passes

A proud, dignified Old Deerfield elder, tall and broad, taciturn to a fault, died peacefully with little notice in recent months, ironically during the planting and nesting season of birth and growth. Though few knew his name, it was Ulmus Americana, more commonly American Elm – a dying breed that once lined our streets and neighborhoods […]

Kids’ Stuff

Never too late to share a good story, this one occurred on a hot, humid July morning, before noon. Long ago, yes, but still relevant. It had been a typical morning. I had walked a couple of miles at daybreak, eaten a light breakfast, read, caught up on TV news, gone through emails, responding to […]

Great Beaver Tale Evolves

The ancient, indigenous Great Beaver Tale about the origin of Deerfield’s Pocumtuck Range has changed dramatically since 1890, when East Charlemont antiquarian Phinehas Field’s 105-word, 1871 description was published in Volume 1 of History and Proceedings of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (1870-79). Soon after that bare-bones account by a white Christian man of deep Puritan […]

Sugarloaf Beaver Tale All Began In 1871 With Phinehas Field And The PVMA

A venerable, solemn Phinehas Field is displayed in the formal, sketched portrait accompanying his online Find A Grave profile. A man who volunteered for Civil War service after his 60th birthday, Field had, by the time of this formal portrait, served many years as deacon of the Charlemont Congregational Church and lived a distinguished, pious life. Phinehas […]

Mishebeshu In Montague?

An underwater panther in Montague? Well, bear with me. An adventure, indeed. Credit Acton kayaker Al Peirce with the interesting May 20 discovery, made while killing time awaiting takeout following his maiden Deerfield River paddle. Launching from Montague, across from the Deerfield’s dangerous Connecticut River confluence located between the General Pierce and bicycle-path bridges, Peirce had maneuvered […]

Where Was Canterbury of Early Hatfield/Whately?

Canterbury came into existence as a place between places in early Hatfield-Deerfield lore, a perilous no-man’s land where only the brave dared linger, even then on high alert. Thus the confusion about the specifics of this place, named in the early days of Hatfield, that ultimately became the northeast corner of Whately. No one is […]

Looming Celebrations Stir Memories

Saturday, 6 a.m. Backyard brook rattling. Sparse, wispy-white clouds creeping eastward in the soothing, pale-blue sky. Perfect for pondering, allowing your mind to run free. Heavy overnight winds and rains have passed, leaving in their wake an ebullient-green yard, the rich, verdant base only enhancing ornamental trees and bushes to their happiest springtime splendor. There […]

Family Mattters

As Main Street merchants, vendors, restaurateurs and bar owners count their losses and struggle to stay afloat, the online genealogy companies must be riding high. A right-place, right-time scenario, they are the beneficiaries of a captive audience, housebound and bored silly, that’s searching for anything to break the tedium of COVID-19 quarantine. Count me among […]

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