By Ann Marie Bellico
Every old town has its history. In most cases it is not a history of famous people or famous landmarks. It is a record of generation after generation of ordinary human lives. I have tried to capture that story with the Agawam Sampler.
The first samplers were simply apiece of cloth to practice stitches. Earlyexamples date back to the sixteenth century. This needlework continuedto be an important part of every young woman's education and it becamemore decorative throughout the nineteenth century.
When designing the Agawam Sampler, I included many hallmarks of the antique samplers found in museums. But most importantly, I wanted this sampler to be a record of early Agawam history. The church, so central to every New England town, takes a place of prominence. Pictured here is the early Congregational Church, built in the 1800s. This building was shared by the Baptists on alternating Sundays.
Two of our most treasured houses, the Captain Charles Leonard House circa 1805 and the Smith/Noble House circa 1757, share a place of honor. The Agawam Indians, the first to cultivate the land and fish the Agawam River, are an integral part of our past.
Herds of cattle grazed on the land as far west as the `feeding hil ". They were then driven across the countryside to the Boston marketplace by the first drovers thus giving our town the distinction of having the first cattle drive in America. This sampler would not be complete without recognizing our agricultural past and present. Farms growing an abundance of fruits and vegetables including strawberries and corn are a constant reminder that our rich past connects us to the prosperous present and a very bright future.
More Information About the Agawam Historical Association
For more information about the history of Agawam please visit the Agawam Historical Association. There you will find the Online Museum with over 2,100 Agawam Images. These images represent some of the free shows put on for townspeople. We are still putting on a free computer show every 2nd Sunday of each month.
The association also has an image museum containing thousands of historical images from cities and towns in Western Massachusetts. Agawam has over 1,000 images in this museum. Visit the image museum home page to view the Agawam gallery. All the 100 towns of Western Massachusetts are or will be represented. Visit and click on your hometown. If you have images we don’t and you are willing to share, please contact us. At the present time we are adding 100 images a week.