On February 4, 1787, Daniel Shays and his rebel army of beleaguered farmers were defeated by a hired army in the town of Petersham, Massachusetts. A small granite monument, critical of Shays, marks the spot of the final battle. Shays' Rebellion was defeated, though it helped to scare into being a new Constitution for the United States.
Two hundred years later, the country was experiencing recession and agricultural bankruptcies. My Lincoln-Sudbury colleague Thom Thacker and I decided that Petersham needed an alternative monument. On the bi-centennial anniversary of the very day that the rebels were routed, we presented one to the town. On the freezing cold morning of February 4, 1987, after a brief ceremony, which featured comments by the only full-time farmer left in Petersham, the alternative monument was gratefully accepted by members of the town's historical society.
This moment was marked by a song specially written for the occasion and sung by a friend and two Lincoln-Sudbury students.
It took two centuries, but the good guys were finally acknowledged in Petersham's "Battle Of The Monuments."