BENNINGTON -- On Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m., the Bennington Historical Society (BHS) will hold its annual meeting immediately prior to their scheduled program. All members are encouraged to attend. The meeting will serve as the forum to elect officers and to approve changes to the Society’s by-laws. Held in the Ada Paresky Education Center of the Bennington Museum, the meeting and program are free, and the program is open to the public.
Following the brief meeting, BHS hosts Tom Goldscheider as he presents "Shays’ Rebellion: Reclaiming the Revolution." Shays’ Rebellion is the name given to a series of protests in 1786 and 1787 by American farmers against state and local enforcement of tax collections and judgments. Farmers from New Hampshire to South Carolina took up arms. However, the rebellion was most serious in Massachusetts, where bad harvests, economic depression, and high taxes threatened farmers with the loss of their farms. The rebellion took its name from its symbolic leader, Daniel Shays of Massachusetts, a former captain in the Continental army. As legend goes, Daniel Shays and some of his men, after fleeing arrest in Massachusetts, hid out in a cave located on Mount Anthony in Vermont. In 1787, Jonas Galusha, in one of his last acts as sheriff, dispersed a meeting of Shays’ men, who had gathered in Shaftsbury to plot a similar rebellion as that which had taken place in Massachusetts. Goldscheider focuses on the experiences of three men from a small frontier town in western Massachusetts imprisoned for debts they owed.
Originally from New York, Goldscheider is a ferrier who developed an interest in history. He received his Masters degree in History at University of Massachusetts with a concentration in the Colonial Period. His master’s thesis was Shays’ rebellion. The primary focus of his thesis was that the rebels were not dishonest ‘hooligans’ as portrayed by the government. They were actually, upper middle class farmers severely affected by the bad economy that got them into debt.
The Bennington Historical Society is an affiliate of the Bennington Museum, which is located at 75 Main Street (Route 9), Bennington. Individual membership to the Historical Society is $10 for a year, and a family membership is $15.