Erin Judge Papers

Woolen Mills In Middlefield, MA (1773-1901): The Vital Role of Rural Manufacture

“Not a single mill of any kind is left in Middlefield; there were already a dozen mills in Middlefield by 1800. In the hundred years which followed there must have been many more built, yet none remain. Many were destroyed by the very streams which gave them life, others by fire, and others by the simple wear of time. This happened across New England and the mills which were the lifeblood of many communities were lost to distant memories. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why these mills have been so neglected by historians; they have no physical presence to remind us of their existence. And yet the vital role which these mills played in supporting the economy and culture in towns like Middlefield should not be underestimated. Without the woolen mills there would be no Middlefield as I now know it, and to ignore the mills is to skip an important chapter in our history as a town, as a state and as a country.”

THE MIDDLEFIELD FAIR: A Case Study of the Agricultural Fair in New England
(Nineteenth Century)

“Through the venue of the agricultural fair, one can track the changes from the days of domestic manufacture of woolen cloth, to the decline of agriculture, and to the present trends for locally grown produce. The Middlefield Fair is just one example of the agricultural fair in New England but it offers a unique view of the history of the community and agriculture in the region. It is a proud tradition which the people of Middlefield are determined to carry on as a way to preserve the history of the town as well as to continue to educate the community.”