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Rockport Women Smash Liquor Barrels

July 8, 1856
July 8, 1856

Rockport Women Smash Liquor Barrels

On this day in 1856, 200 women, some of them wielding hatchets and ranging in age from 37 to 75, rampaged through the town of Rockport destroying every container of alcohol they could find. One...

Henry David Thoreau Spends Night in Jail

July 23, 1846
July 23, 1846

Henry David Thoreau Spends Night in Jail

On this day in 1846, Henry David Thoreau left his cabin at Walden Pond for a brief walk into town and ended up in the Concord jail for refusing to pay his poll tax. A...

Free Love Supporters Protest at Faneuil Hall

August 1, 1878
August 1, 1878

Free Love Supporters Protest at Faneuil Hall

On this day in 1878, several thousand supporters of Ezra Heywood held an "Indignation Meeting" at Boston's Faneuil Hall. They were protesting his conviction and imprisonment on obscenity charges. Educated for the ministry, he had...

John Quincy Adams Returns to Paris

August 9, 1783
August 9, 1783

John Quincy Adams Returns to Paris

On this day in 1783 John Quincy Adams traveled from Holland to Paris with his father, John Adams. The senior Adams was involved in negotiating a peace treaty with Great Britain. On September 3rd, the...

Boston Doctors Appeal for Mental Hospital

August 10, 1810
August 10, 1810

Boston Doctors Appeal for Mental Hospital

On August 20, 1810, two Boston doctors circulated an appeal for "a hospital for the reception of lunatics and other sick persons." (Some sources, including, until recently, Mass Moments, erroneously date the letter to August...

Frederick Douglass First Addresses White Audience

August 11, 1841
August 11, 1841

Frederick Douglass First Addresses White Audience

On this day in 1841, Frederick Douglass, a fugitive slave, addressed a white audience for the first time when he spoke to a gathering of abolitionists on Nantucket. "It was with the utmost difficulty that...

Woman's Rights Pioneer Lucy Stone Born

August 13, 1818
August 13, 1818

Woman's Rights Pioneer Lucy Stone Born

On this day in 1818, woman's rights pioneer Lucy Stone was born on a farm in West Brookfield. Her mother greeted the news that her sixth child was a girl by exclaiming, "Oh Dear! I...

Jury Decides in Favor of Elizabeth "Mum Bett" Freeman

August 22, 1781
August 22, 1781

Jury Decides in Favor of Elizabeth "Mum Bett" Freeman

On this day in 1781, a jury in Great Barrington found in favor of "Mum Bett," a black woman who had been a slave in the home of Colonel John Ashley for at least 30...

Massachusetts General Hospital Admits First Patient

September 3, 1821
September 3, 1821

Massachusetts General Hospital Admits First Patient

On this day in 1821, the Massachusetts General Hospital admitted its first patient, a 30-year-old sailor. More than a decade earlier, two Boston doctors had appealed to the city's "wealthiest and most influential citizens" to...

John Greenleaf Whittier Dies

September 7, 1892
September 7, 1892

John Greenleaf Whittier Dies

On this day in 1892, the poet John Greenleaf Whittier died at the age of 85. He had come a long way from his Quaker boyhood on a struggling farm in Haverhill. He began writing...