Dorchester Historical Society program, Sunday Feb. 19, 2017, 2 p.m.
The February program kicks off a series of talks on Dorchester history presented in the community by graduate students from the UMass Boston public history program. The first two presentations will open windows onto two strikingly different scenes of Dorchester's religious past. During the Fall 2016 semester, UMass graduate students conducted primary source research projects investigating a variety of topics on the history of Dorchester. Several students have offered to present their work to groups within the community. The idea behind this initiative is to create a connection between academic research and the community whose history is being written; and advance interest in expanding Dorchester's historiography. Further seminars are being arranged with community groups at diverse venues. Dorchester natives, residents and anyone interested are welcome to attend and participate with questions and discussion.
Dorchester's Only Witch: Shame, Sexuality, and Witchcraft in Colonial New England, by Sarah Black
Around the year 1650, Alice Lake was charged with witchcraft and sentenced to die on the gallows. With scant resources to reconstruct the case or even her life prior to her execution, Lake's story raises more questions than it provides answers. However, by examining the relationship between sexuality and witchcraft, one can better understand the components of sorcery in Puritan ideology, sexuality in New England society, and why the only witch of Dorchester may have solidified her identity as a “Handmaiden of the Devil.”
Fourteen Foundations: the Beginnings of the Catholic Parishes of Dorchester by Rev. George Evans
Over the course of a quarter-century, 1889-1914, the number of Dorchester's Catholic parishes grew from two to eleven, and later increased by another three by the time of the hundredth anniversary of the earliest parish in 1962. A surge in population clearly accounted for the quick upswing, but the growth developed both in some specific ways and in combination with more general factors. This presentation will identify major common threads and a few unique features that characterized the establishment of the various parishes.