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Pages from the second Journal of Sarah Howe on Shays' Rebellion

Page 19
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Sarah Howe, of Petersham, Massachusetts, wrote a journal with her reminiscences of the time of the American Revolution and the years following. In the excerpt, she relates how her father accepted government securities as payment when others would not and eventually made quite a bit of money for doing so. She also tells of the boom times at the end of the war, when people had no fear of contracting debt and they spent too freely. And then came the bust, when there was no money, and goods brought much lower prices. Her father was fortunate to be able to pay his taxes with the securities from either the town or the state. She says that people could buy securities for half price and pay their tax, but that many did not and had their property sold instead. Her view is definitely pro-government, most likely because her father and family did not suffer because of the tremendous deflation that occurred after the war. She writes about the court closings and then that General Sheppard killed two or three men at the arsenal in Springfield. Her family was affected by the retreat of the regulators to Petersham and the subsequent arrival of General Lincoln's men. Her comment was that there was a lot of animosity at the time, but it immediately subsided. She also links the insurrection with the framing of the Constitution of the United States.


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