As the first woman in Massachusetts to earn a college degree, and the first woman recorded to keep her own name after marriage, Lucy Stone gathered no moss.
She didn’t have time, what with speaking out (loudly, well, and often) for women’s rights and against slavery at a time when women were encouraged to paint a charming watercolor of a boat, not rock it.
But rock it she did. To spellbound crowds of three and four thousand, she gained mid-19th–century rock star status as the “morning star” of the new movement for women’s rights, her silvery voice an inspiration to others. Born in 1818 on a hillside farm in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, she rose from humble roots to become a lobbyist, political organizer, strategist, and publicist. Her career at the forefront of the movements for increased civil rights for women and blacks spanned almost half a century from 1847 to 1893.
Although her work took her out of the countryside and into a world of powerful elites, she never forgot her rural roots. As often as she could, she returned to her family farmhouse on Coy’s Hill, when family members needed “tending” or when she wanted to connect with nature – groves of birch and maple, the bubble of Coy’s Brook, or a view of the valley below.
Fast forward to over 150 years later, and The Lucy Stone Home Site has become one of the many special places The Trustees care for. The site itself is an intriguing mix of history and habitat. The structural skeletons on the property are important clues to the past lifestyles and habits of five generations of farm families; a springhouse well (turned vernal pool) and fiery red maple swamp may host rare amphibians. And of special note: much of this land has been designated as “Supporting Natural Landscape” by the state’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program because it is a continuous corridor and large block of forest habitat.
And Lucy Stone’s own history and habitat? A “modern woman” way before her time, she was as at home nurturing her marriage and daughter as she was in front of thousands of supporters on the main stage of the National Women’s Rights Convention. As for the confirmation of her “rockstar” status, it seems at least one venerable institution agrees with us: like Elvis and Sinatra, Lucy Stone was also honored with her own U.S. postage stamp.