Hardwick Historical Society

Hardwick Historical Society


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


Timothy Ruggles

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.

Post Revolution

Desk in the Hardwick Historical Society.
Like most towns during that time period the land was given as the crown as land grants. Because many families stayed in the area, the Hardwick Historical Society has a lot of artifacts.
bed from the 1800's at Hardwick Historical Socity
Early important families included the Ruggles, Mixter, and Gilbert families. The Gilbert family founded the mills in what is now Gilbertville.
The table in the center is a game table. No they did not play games on it, they cut up and prepared game animals (mainly birds) on it.











washing machine at Hardwick Historical Society
An old washing machine. Just add water, dirty clothing, soap and turn the handle. Personally I prefer my modern washing machine.
Butter churn at Hardwick Historical Society
A butter churn. Cream was manualy churned to cause the fats to separate and condense.
Desks and teacher at Hardwick Historical Socity
A lot of towns use to have lots of little school houses. This was in large part a issue about transportation, other times it was about ethnicity. For example their use to be an Italian school in Barre.









This old spinning wooden ballot box has found a new life. It is being used again to hold the tickets for raffles.
Part number I forget about why I like modern times: I just plug my kettle in to boil water
Every town use to have an official scale. Once a year the scales the merchants in town used would be tested against the official town scale.









Pixie use to be a factory in town. They produced toilet paper and tissues before they closed.
Hardwick had its own high school before regionalization. Now students in Hardwick go to Quabbin Regional High School, the same one I went to
WWI and WWII also supplied a lot of the artifacts at the Hardwick Historical Society. In this picture we can see a copy of “War Ration Book One” better known as the “Sugar book”.


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