Come plant with us on Arbor Day!

on the Sheffield-Egremont Rd. at the corner of Rebellion Rd.

The Sheffield Tree Project is excited to announce that for Arbor Day 2016, it will be adding to the community forest at one of Sheffield’s most famous historical sites—the Shays’ Rebellion Monument on Sheffield-Egremont Rd. on Sat., April 30. The group, now part of the Sheffield Land Trust, is coordinating with Adam Brown of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to celebrate Arbor Day at the Trail Conservancy’s Hubbard Brook kiosk, across from the monument. Starting at 9am, a total of six trees will be planted, 2 at the kiosk and 4 at the monument.

Tree plantings are fun and educational. Members of the Tree Project, including trained arborists and other plant professionals, are on hand, and volunteers of all ages are encouraged to join in as much or as little as you like. Come and help us correctly plant and mulch these new trees. Continue Sheffield’s long history of planting and caring for street trees that started in 1846 when members of the community planted 2,000 elm trees over a period of two weeks!

You may have noticed as you pass by that the Shays’ Rebellion commemorative stone has been atilt for some time. Several groups, including the Sheffield Land Trust and the Tree Project, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club and the National Park Service are working on setting the monument back in an upright position. Because the monument is on federal land, permissions and paperwork have to be collected before work can begin. As this issue went to press, it was unknown whether the stone righting would be able to coincide with the Arbor Day planting or would have to occur at another time.

The monument marks the spot of the last and bloodiest battle of Shays’ Rebellion, led by Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays to protest debt and tax inequities after the end of the war. Most of the skirmishing took place around Springfield, but on Feb. 27, 1787, some 120 rebels crossed into Massachusetts from New Lebanon, NY, and marched on Stockbridge, where they raided the shops and homes of merchants. According to Wikipedia, “This came to the attention of Brigadier John Ashley, who mustered a force of some 80 men, and caught up with the rebels in nearby Sheffield late in the day….30 rebels were wounded (one mortally), at least one government soldier was killed, and many were wounded.” Ashley—son of Col. John Ashley, builder of the oldest house still standing in town—reported taking many prisoners.

The rebellion brought Gen. George Washington out of retirement (he wasn’t president yet) and may have pushed the Constitutional Convention then meeting in Philadelphia to add language to the constitution concerning the ability of states to manage domestic violence. The military powers spelled out in the Constitution were soon put to use by President George Washington, who led federal and state militia to put down what is now known as the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania, a protest against the Whiskey Act taxes imposed by the new government to provide it a source of income.

For more information about the organization and the Arbor Day event, email If you’d like to help, donations can be sent to the Sheffield Tree Project, c/o the Sheffield Land Trust, P.O. Box 940, Sheffield, MA 01257 (checks should be made out to the Sheffield Land Trust with memo line “Sheffield Tree Project.”).