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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst


Title:drawing: Rice Farm in Charlemont
Date Made:1860-1890
Type:Drawing, painting
Materials:charcoal, sandpaper
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Charlemont
Measurements:framed: 19 1/2 x 21 7/8 in.; 49.53 x 55.5625 cm
Accession Number:  HD 87.062
Credit Line:Estate of Margaret M. Patch

Black, grey, and white charcoal on sandpaper drawing of the Rice Farm in Charlemont with its historic buttonball tree. The same scene is depicted on an anonymous oil on canvas, "Victorian Dairy Farm," done around 1875 in the collection of the New York State Historical Association at Cooperstown, New York. In 1735, the General Court granted three townships to Boston. One of these, originally known as Boston Township No. 1, was referred to as Charlemont by 1740 and was incorporated as a town in 1765. The first settlers were Captain Moses Rice (1764-1755) and his wife, Sarah King Rice (1695-c.1788) who married in 1719; Moses Rice bought 2200 acres in Charlemont in 1741, where he cleared lands and built a house in 1743. At the time, the nearest town was Deerfield, 22 miles away. In August of 1746, the Rices had to leave because of an Indian raid, but returned in 1749 and settled permanently along with other settlers; by 1752, there were about a dozen families in Charlemont. Because Charlemont was a frontier settlement and vulnerable to attack, a series of fortifications were built for protection inculidng "mounts," a diminutive kind of blockhouse, and stockaded dwelling houses. In June of 1755, a group of people working in a meadow in the upper part of Charlemont near Rice's fort were attacked by a party of Indians; Captain Moses Rice and Phineas Arms (1731-1755) of Deerfield, a garrison soldier who was guarding the workers, were killed. Moses' grandson, Asa Rice (1747-1833) and another young boy, Titus King, were captured and taken to Canada; Asa Rice was ransomed six years later and returned to Charlemont. The scene depicts a river (Deerfield River) with three men in a boat in the lower left corner in the foreground; a road (now Rt. 2) lined with a low fence; a large white house with grey outbuildings in the mid-ground; and cows, trees and fencing on the rolling hillside in the background. The scene is dominated by a large tree in the center left, which was a very old buttonwood tree destroyed by fire in 1949. According to town legend, the tree was said to have been set to mark a stream and that Moses Rice used to sleep under the tree.

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