Hardwick is a small town next to the one I grew up in. Made up of the villages of Hardwick, Gilbertville, Wheelwright, and Old Furnace. The town of Hardwick was settled in 1737 and incorporated in 1739. The Hardwick Historical Society was founded in 1961 and bought its current building from the town for one dollar. The building was the site of a school until the 1930’s. Latter it was used for engineers working on the Quabbin reservoir before becoming a meeting place for boy scoots and polling.
Located on the east side of the town common, in a brick building. The Hardwick Historical Society is open Sundays from 12 to 2 PM. In addition you can find them on Facebook.
Hardwick Historical Society
One of the most influential people from the early days was Brigadier General Timothy Ruggles. Ruggles had trained as a lawyer at Harvard and had become the highest ranked colonist in the French and Indian war. Coming home after the war he experimented with new farming methods and founded the Hardwick fair. The Hardwick Fair still runs today and is the oldest still running in the country.
Ruggles served for 24 years as a representative of the state of Massachusetts. He remained loyal to the crown and was one of the most predominate Tories (people that stayed loyal to Great Britain). He refused to sanction the stamp act congress dispute being its chairmen. His relationship with his neighborhoods deteriorated until they where done with having a long winded Harvard lawyer around. According to local history one morning a group of citizens woke him up, marched him to the bridge at the edge of town. Ruggles was then informed that if he came back they would shoot him. As a result Ruggles headed of to Boston where he could find more loyalists. The four pages to the right of Ruggles portraiture is a list of things he lost and demanded compensation for from the British Government.
After the war was lost Ruggles moved to Nova Scotia and spent the rest of his days. He left behind his children, so they became a important family in the region. In fact the elementary school I went to was called Ruggles Lane. One of his daughters had the distinction of being the first woman executed in the United States.