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Colonial Day returns to Wilder Homestead

  • Nancy Parland of the Buckland Historical Society, dressed as Thankful Wilder, will demonstrate open hearth cooking Oct. 7 at the Wilder Homestead. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO—

  • A Morris team dances in the fields of the Wilder Homestead Colonial Day in Buckland. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO—

  • Peggy Hart of Buckland, author of "Wool," weaves on the barn loom at the Wilder Homestead. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO—

Staff Writer
Published: 9/29/2018 7:01:56 PM

BUCKLAND — In 1771, Gardner Wilder bought 200 acres in a place called “No Town,” which was later to become “Buckland” in 1779.

After marrying Thankful Carter in 1775, Wilder began building a saltbox home with five fireplaces, which is still known as the Wilder Homestead to this day. The home remained in the Wilder family until 1977, when Loren Wilder of Texas donated it to the Buckland Historical Society.

On Sunday, Oct. 7, the Wilder Homestead comes alive with Colonial activities, from 2 to 5 p.m. Those who visit the home at 129 Ashfield Road (Route 112) can watch as Nancy Parland — dressed as Thankful Wilder — prepares food on an open hearth. In the parlor, there will be intricately executed needlework samplers of the late 1700s and early 1800s. You’ll also see Morris Dancers and hear live music from the 18th century. The program is presented by the Buckland Historical Society.

After the last direct descendant of Gardner Wilder, Edmund Gardner, died, his niece, Eleanor Clark of Worthington, came to live in the house with Edmund’s widow, Bertha. Eleanor Clark became Buckland’s postmaster from 1944 to 1958, and she also taught weaving classes in town. About 20 women became active, avid weavers, using antique equipment found in the homestead’s attic, along with modern looms. They published a monthly paper called “The Shuttle” and founded a weavers’ seminar at the University of Massachusetts.

A huge barn loom is housed in the 218-year-old English barn, and there will be weaving demonstrations, spinning, quilting, folk painting, cider pressings, oxen, basket weaving and Morris dancing.

Admission to this event is $3 for adults, $1 for children.

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