Elizabeth Freeman was the first enslaved African American to file and win a freedom suit in Massachusetts. You can learn more about her extraordinary story at historic Ashley House near Bartholomew’s Cobble, just a half hour south of Applegate Inn.
Elizabeth Freeman (c. 1744 – 1829), also known as “Mumbet,” was born into slavery around 1744 in Claverack, New York. At the age of 7, she was sent to Sheffield, MA and the house of John Ashley, who had married her master’s daughter.
In 1780, Freeman heard a reading of the newly ratified Massachusetts Constitution. Its statement that “all men are born free and equal” inspired her to fight for her freedom. In 1781, a Great Barrington jury agreed with her, making her the first African-American woman set free under the Massachusetts Constitution.
With a motion picture on Freeman’s life under development, her relatively unknown story is about to get a lot more notice. Until that time, one of the best ways to learn about her is to visit the Ashley House in Sheffield, MA.
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You’ve shopped for others, now shop for yourself.
The Massachusetts Berkshires are home to dozens of antique stores, some small and crammed with every kind of knickknack and collectible imaginable, others large, sparse, and elegant. Avid antiquers have spent months–no, years–perusing the shops and galleries that surround our Berkshires Inn. Regardless of what is found, the hunt itself is exciting.
Antiquing ignites passion.
The thrill of discovering something long sought makes hearts pump faster. The thrill of finally finding that perfect antique table, or a rare piece of china, can have the same effect. This is especially true when antiquing with someone you love.
Sheffield, Massachusetts, the “Antiques Capital of the Berkshires” is less than twenty miles south of our Berkshires B and B in Lee. After a leisurely breakfast at the inn, you’ll have plenty of energy for a day of browsing.
- Check out the great selection of old American clocks at Dovetail Antiques (440 Sheffield Plain).
- You’ll find amazing furniture at Susan Silver Antiques. Susan Silver is a woman who freely admits that antiques make her heart race; visit her store.
- Antiques are artfully placed throughout an 1815 colonial that is Painted Porch Country Antiques.
- Corner House Antiques specializes in American antique wicker furniture from 1870-1930.
- Cupboards and Roses is the best place in the Berkshires to find Swedish antiques and Scandinavian folk art.
These are just a few of the many antique stores in Sheffield and elsewhere in the Berkshires. But antiquing is a bit like wine tasting; you don’t want to do too much in one day. Instead, plan to return to our Berkshires Bed and Breakfast again and again.