Settled in 1660 and incorporated in 1718, the town of Brookfield (Worcester County) straddles the Boston Post Road, one of the major arteries during the colonial period connecting Boston with the towns of the Connecticut River Valley and New York.
This assemblage of documents from Brookfield, Massachusetts, consists primarily of warrants for town meetings, many with agendas, that were issued to the Freeholders and Inhabitants through the constables. Concentrated in the 1770s, these warrants provide relatively detailed information on matters of local importance, including town finances, assessments, and the construction and maintenance of roadways and bridges. During the Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary years, however, issues of interest to the town were often wrapped up in regional or national politics. Town freeholders, for example, were called to consider requests to "come into any Vote or Resolve Respecting the East India Company Tea," the encouragement of manufacture of firearms, smallpox inoculation, and pay for the town's Minute Men or support for the families of servicemen.
The collection is open for research.
Background on Brookfield (Mass.), Selectmen
Settled in 1660 and incorporated in 1718, the town of Brookfield (Worcester County), Massachusetts, straddles the Boston Post Road, one of the major arteries during the colonial period connecting Boston with the towns of the Connecticut River Valley and New York.
The warrants issued by the selectmen of Brookfield, Massachusetts, to the constable in each precinct to warn the Freeholders and Inhabitants of the town about upcoming town meeting. Each contains a brief agenda of topics for that meeting. Most of these warrants concern the mundane matters of local governance such as authorizing funds for building and repairing roads and bridges, laying out or approving the course of new roads and compensating land owners for alienated property, support for the poor, and the election of town officers. During the 1770s and 1780s, however, the warrants reflect the heightening of Revolution zeal, with references to the Tea Act controversy of 1773, the formation of Committees of Correspondence and a Committee of Safety, pay for the Minute Men of 1775, support for soldiers' families, and military preparedness in town. Two warrants request the Town to vote upon inoculation for smallpox.
Regarding laying out route of public highway; keeping of a grammar school
Re supplying the town pulpit; amending bridge; preventing encroachment on highways and town land
Re: roads; women's schooling; repairing second parish church
Re: ratifying roads; sale of ministry lands
Includes list of taxable residents and amounts owed
Re: roads; bridge repair; poor relief; recompense for the local fulling mill in rebuilding a bridge
"To see if the Town will hear the several Letters from the Committee of Correspondence of the Town of Boston and make any order on them..."; "to see if the Town will Come into any Vote or Resolve; Respecting the East India Company's Tea, Lately sent to America, Subject to a Duty
"To choose a standing Committee of Correspondence"
"to see if the Town will allow the account of Jedediah Forster Esqr for his attending the [Continental] Congresses..."; "to see if the Town will Grant money to pay the Minute Men"
"To see if the Town will accept and act upon the Report of their Committee Chosen to Draught some plan to Incourage the manufacturing of firearms"; repair of Nichols bridge; permit inoculation for smallpox at Joseph Cutter's house
"to see if the town will chuse a Committee to supply thee families of thee non commissioned oficers and privit solders that are gone in to the Contanental servase"; building a roof on the powder house; storing town ammunition; smallpox inoculation; choose a Committee of Safety
"to see if the town will hear and act upon a petition... Relative to Breeches made upon the Resolves of the Convention lately held at Concord"; relief for soldiers' families; roads; act on new Constitution
Re: delegates to the Convention in Boston; bridges; roads; bounty for killing crows
Re: juror list; taxes; support of schools; roads and bridges
Provenance unknown 2010.
Processed by Dex Haven, February 2010.
Cite as: Brookfield (Mass.) Records (MS 595). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.