The material identifying the insurgents in southwest Worcester County was produced in two judicial contexts and is presently held in four different archives. First, oaths of allegiance were administered to the rank and file of the movement by the justices of the peace in the towns, a few as early as December 1786 but the majority in February and March 1787. Oaths were located for all the towns considered here except Charlton and Sturbridge. The original lists returned by the local JPs are to be found in Massachusetts Archives (MA), 190: 80, 107, 131, 151, 165–66 & ¾, 169, 205, 216, 225B. Second, a body of material produced by the Supreme Judicial Court sitting in Worcester is located in three archives. Extensive testimony heard against a small number of insurgents in January, February, and March 1787 by justices in Worcester is located in folder 5, “Arrests and Trials of Several Insurgents, 1787,” Shays’s Rebellion Collection, American Antiquarian Society (A AS). This material was apparently part of a larger body of evidence brought before the Supreme Judicial Court at its special April 1787 session in Worcester. A set of notes and lists taken down by Robert Treat Paine and others at this April session is located in the “Box on Shays’ Rebellion,” Robert Treat Paine Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Finally, the indictments handed down at this session are located in the Suffolk Files Collection, file no. 155325 (throughout), Judicial Archives. MA vol. 189 contains a considerable amount of useful material from the months following the April session, including a letter about Josiah Walker of Sturbridge (163–66) and petitions from Caleb Curtis of Charlton (200, 237).
The evidence on the Friends of Government is drawn predominantly from the Massachusetts Archives. Muster rolls of the militia and volunteers raised to put down the rebellion are located in MA, 191:113, 113a, 157, 158, 175, 176, 180, 188, 211, 212, 220, 221, 275, 285 and 192:1–3, 17, 35, 37, 69, 75–79, 128, 157, 161, 176, 191. Unlike the insurgents, the militiamen are not identified by town, but generally each unit was drawn from a relatively small area of between one and four towns. These muster rolls were compared with the 1790 U.S. Census to link men with towns; names that did not appear in the census were located in the Vital Records. (In general, the relative short period of settlement [forty to fifty years] meant that clusters of family names did not predominate, as they did in the eastern towns, and thus the linking of various types of records is quite accurate.) Another important source for identifying Friends of Government is the list of ninety-six inhabitants who signed the Brookfield Protest against a pro-Regulator petition in January 1787, located in MA, 190:313. Other sources for the Friends of Government in southwest Worcester County are: Dwight Foster Journal, 1772–87, entries for Jan. 31–Feb. 3, 1787, Foster Family Papers, vol. 1, A AS; Ephraim Ward Diary, 1787, Jan. entries, misc. MSS, box W, A AS; Emory Washburn, Historical Sketches of the Town of Leicester, during the First Century from Its Settlement (Boston: John Wilson and Son, 1860), 239–329; Emory Washburn, “Topographical and Historical Sketch of the Town of Leicester,” Worcester Magazine and Historical Journal 2 (1826): 116–19; Josiah H. Temple, History of North Brookfield, Massachusetts (North Brookfield: Published by the town, 1887), 245–46.
The evidence on debtors and creditors is drawn from the Worcester County Court of Common Pleas Record Book, 13 (1785–86): 1–280, and from the appeals to the Supreme Judicial Court recorded in the Suffolk Files Collection, files no. 154708–155293. See also Supreme Judicial Court Docket Books, April and September 1786 sessions. The Worcester County Court of Common Pleas Record Books, formerly located at the Worcester County Court House, are now part of the Judicial Archives located at the Massachusetts State Archives building, Columbia Point, Boston.
Evidence on religious affiliation is drawn from a wide range of manuscript and printed sources. The manuscript sources include the membership Book, First Congregational Church of Spencer, Mass. (MSS, church vault); Greenville (Leicester, Mass.) Baptist Church Records, vol. 1, Andover-Newton Theological School, Newton, Mass.; the Records of the Baptist Church of Christ in Sturbridge, Mass., microfilm, Research Library, Old Sturbridge Village; and the Second Religious Society in Oxford and Adjacent Towns (Called Universalist), Record Book, 1785–1845, Andover Harvard Theological Library. Other dissenting affiliations in Leicester have been drawn from Washburn, Leicester. The records for Congregational churches in the three precincts of Brookfield are listed in The Confession of Faith and Covenant of the First Congregational Church in North Brookfield, Mass., with a Catalogue of Members (1752–1878) (West Brookfield, Mass.: Thomas Morey, 1878); Catalogue of the Members of the Congregational Church in West Brookfield, from 1758–1861 (West Brookfield, Mass.: Thomas Morey, 1861); Rules of Order and Discipline, Articles of Faith, and Covenant of the Evangelical Congregational Church in Brookfield, Mass., with Historical Notes (West Brookfield, Mass.: Thomas Morey, 1878). The membership of the Charlton Baptist church is listed in Holmes Ammidown, Historical Collections, 2d ed., 2 vols. (New York: n.p., 1877), 2:176–78. The Congregational attenders in Sturbridge and Leicester are identified on a 1783 pew list in the Sturbridge Town Records, vol. 3, Sturbridge Town Hall; and a 1783 pew list in Leicester General Records (1745–85), 338–40, Leicester Town Hall. Spencer attenders are identified in a 1771 pew list in James Draper, History of Spencer, Massachusetts . . . (Worcester, Mass.: H.J. Howland, 1860), 138–39. The Charlton and Oakham Congregational records are very fragmentary. For Charlton, see 1773 pew list in D. Hamilton Hurd., comp., History of Worcester County, Massachusetts . . . , 2 vols. (Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis, 1889), 1:750; 1782 church records recorded in the Stone Family Account Books, 1772–1830, folio vol. 2, AAS, and the 1798 Congregational proprietors’ list in Ammidown, Historical Collections 2:172. For Oakham, see the account of the church and a list of men working on the minister’s dwelling, Jan. 1786, in Henry B. Wright and Edwin D. Harvey, The Settlement and History of Oakham, Massachusetts (New Haven: n.p., 1947), 115–29. Using the Vital Records and numerous town and family genealogies, all of this evidence had been recorded on family reconstitution cards.