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19 My Father used frequently to say he had signed
and Pledged his Life and property before the contest
began, and that he was as sincere in it as in anything
he ever undertook that in his day he only expected
to fare the harder that is was for the good of Posterity
that he undertook I have every reason to think him
sincerer at the Lexington Alarm he went right
from his farm and young family and was gone some
time and was willing to stay but they told him it
was better for him to go home there was enough
willing to stay that head not so much to see to at
home Therefore he came home attended to his farm
and sacrifice his property by selling his Produce
to victual and clothe the Army and take Publick
securities for payment others were so fearful that
they would not be paid was unwilling to take
them and by that means they Decreased in Value
he by his zealous attachment to the cause would
do it my mother opposed him in doing it but he
said if Independence was gained public Debts
must be paid, if not he cared nothing about Life
or property- Capt. Ivory Holland who served
as Lieutenant and Captain through the war
had a Large Family of small children he
bought considerable of his wages Let his wife
have wool Flax and all kinds of provisions
which her family needed in the year 1775 he
sheared 70 good sheep which I suppose would
average more than 4 lbs. wool each, his Labour cost
a considerable share of his produce I was the
oldest child under 10 when the war began
but by taking public securities he never made
property faster. He once for a while almost
gave up the Idea of their ever being paid
the Congress was without power the

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

author   Sarah Howe (1766-1849)
date   1801-1811
location   Petersham, Massachusetts
height   12.0"
width   6.75"
process/materials   manuscript, paper, ink
item type   Personal Documents/Journal
accession #   #L07.055

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See Also...

Excerpt of Willard letter to E. B. Wilson on Shays' Insurrection of 1786

Journal of Sarah Howe on Shays' Rebellion

"Remarks and Observations" by Justin Hitchcock

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