Posted by: history591seventeen | June 8, 2007

Visiting Deerfield


Going to Deerfield, Mass  is like walking back in time.  I have read material on the area and what occurred there, but it  just didn’t seem to hit home, so to speak, until I was actually there.  Visiting Deerfield gave me a little feel to how the people who had settled there in say 1674, might have felt after the Indian attacks began in 1675. 

The lecture we had with Dr. Sweeney was very informative, and walking the 17th Century Landscape was enlightening.  Memorial Hall Museum had great displays of artifacts.  However the most impressive for me was the Wells-Thorn House (time period house).

This display is a home that is set up into four different time periods-1725-1835.  The first period shows how the people living there put little into the home because of lack of funds and the fear of an attack by the natives.  The thought was that what ever you had, you had to be able to pick it up and run away with.  It was also interesting to know that the family would have allowed squatters to live with them.  In this one small room, some 20 people may live.  I guess they felt there was safety in numbers. 

The next room showed a time change of I believe ten years.  Now only the family lived in the home.  At the same time, they were starting to add material possessions to the home.  There was a table, which, because of expense, only one chair a year would be added.  A brass candle holder was added, as well as a bed, where up to four people would sleep, and one piece of pottery. 

The third room was quite a move up.  Here the family now had a bed with matching linens were used and now it was a bed for just two.  The family also had a corner cabinet for their few glassware pieces where the pieces could be displayed and stored.  The walls on the inside and out were now painted.  Prior to this the house was plain unpainted wood.  The idea was to just blend in with the forest, but by this third time period, the family was comfortable with being seen; the fear of attacks was over. 

The four and last room was finally just a bedroom, no more a multi-purpose room.  Additional things that were added to this room were curtains on the windows and floor coverings.  By going through that house with a guide, I understand more how a historian would look at the artifacts found at a home-site.


  1. Dana, some of your thoughts were much the same as mine. I was fascinated with the furnishings of the house, or lack of them, and it was neat seeing how they progressed over the years. It seems it took many years before the bedrooms became a separate room. Makes me have an appreciation of having privacy in our own homes now.


  2. Dana, you had discussed how you liked the walk through time in the blue house . I thought that this was neat also, but I would have rather seen the entire house as it would have been when it was constructed. The older the better for me. I love your pictures by the way, I’m a computer reject. DBuckallew

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