Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Honors the First Organized Women’s Work Society in the United States. It is a Society to Which Willwork Has a Strong Historic Connection

Daughters of Liberty Weaving

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibitions service and event project management.

On the last day of August, on our Facebook page, we published a post about our client Benco Dental being named by the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE) to the “2018 NAFE Top 70 Companies for Executive Women.”

(This post followed the one we published the previous day on our Facebook page about the organization Great Places to Work FOR ALL selecting Benco Dental as one of the 30 companies on its list, “Best Workplaces for Health Care and Biopharma 2018.”)

In the post about Benco Dental receiving the NAFE honor, we mentioned that, “like Benco Dental,” Willwork strives “to make and always build on our company being a top workplace for women.”

We also included this quote from Denise Franzen, Administrative Director for Willwork:

“Like Benco Dental, Willwork is proactive in, and dedicates considerable resources to, providing opportunity for women … and supporting the advancement of women … throughout the company. And like at Benco Dental, every day at Willwork, women are making the important decisions … and handling the important projects and tasks.”

Today, we are staying with the subject and theme of strong and hard-working and high-achieving women in the workplace.

And we are going back a bit in history – about 250 years, actually.

Yes, Willwork is going back a quarter-of-a-millennium to recognize the first organized women’s work society in the United States: the Daughters of Liberty, a society that played a huge role and contributed vital labor to America winning its battle for independence.

Famous are the Sons of Liberty, a group of men in the English colonies in America who banded together in Boston in 1765 to oppose onerous taxes that Great Britain had imposed that very same year on the colonists.

Of course, what particularly riled and incensed the Americans was the tax created through the Stamp Act of 1765.

The Sons of Liberty disbanded when the Stamp Act was repealed in 1766, but the name Sons of Liberty was adopted by and assigned to other American revolutionary and separatist groups which arose in response to oppressive acts, including the Townshend Acts (enacted in 1766 and 1767), that the British parliament voted as way to exert control over the colonies, and to wring from them more revenue, and make residents of the colonies – who were still British subjects – dependent on the mother country for many goods and services.

In recent popular culture and imagination, the name Sons of Liberty is identified as the title of the History network’s TV miniseries that chronicles the efforts of Sam Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington, Ben Franklin … and others … who led America into declaring independence from England, and eventually taking up armed rebellion to launch a nation.

If you click here you will be taken to the Sons of Liberty TV series site.

Yes, the Sons of Liberty receive, and deservedly so, much reward and recognition for fomenting and overseeing and rallying a revolution.

Yet the efforts and contributions of the Sons of Liberty’s women teammates are owed more heralding and accolades than those which have yet come their way.

The Daughters of Liberty was also founded in 1765, in the colonies of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

These women patriots were motivated by the same laws and impositions as was the Sons of Liberty.

Members of the Daughters of Liberty  tasked themselves with the mission of making clothes, linens, yarn, wool … and other goods and fabrics … that America had previously purchased from England; these women, also, as war neared, and during the armed rebellion, melted down metal that was used for bullets.

And with British tea (almost all of which England obtained from China) an absolute no-no, Daughters of Liberty were out front and busy brewing “Liberty Tea” from herbs and other plants grown in America, including the leaves of mint, raspberry, strawberry, and catnip plants.

The Daughters of Liberty were all about self sufficiency.

Daughters of Liberty

Willwork has something of a direct and cosmic connection to Daughters of Liberty.

You see, Willwork’s corporate headquarters is in the Boston suburb of Easton, MA, a town incorporated in 1725, and which, in 1765, had a populace that was vibrant and energetic in opposition to how England was treating the colonies.

Easton formed militias that served in the conflict.  Men from Easton saw combat. Forges in Easton produced armaments employed in the fighting.

And you just know that Easton had its own faction of Daughters of Liberty.  It was a busy faction.

Here we share an excerpt from The History of the Town of Easton, Massachusetts (John Wilson and Son, Cambridge University Press, 1886) by Reverend William L. Chaffin:

“In order to make up for the deficiency of imported goods, associations of patriotic ladies were formed in many towns to spin and knit and weave. These associations called themselves ‘Daughters of Liberty.’ Sometimes they met at the house of the minister, working the entire day, and leaving the results of their labor as a gift to the minister’s wife. In the Boston papers of that period there were many accounts of such gatherings.  One can easily imagine how animated must have been the scene, where the busy hum of spinning-wheels and the lively sound of many voices made music the whole day long. At Bridgewater [a town near Easton] the Daughters of Liberty adopted the plan of doing the work at home, and carrying the results of their labor to the minister’s house afterwards. Easton had its association of these Daughters, and they adopted the same plan as that of their sisters of Bridgewater. In the ‘Boston Gazette’. of October 24, 1774, was published the following interesting account : —

” ‘We hear from Easton that on Thursday the 13th Instant 53 of the amiable Daughters of Liberty met at the House of the Rev. Mr. Campbell, about One O’clock in the Afternoon, and presented Mrs. Campbell with Two Hundred and Eighty Skeins of Cotton, Linnen, Worsted, Woolen, and Tow Yarn, likewise some pieces of Cloth, Stockings, 8zc. ; then they all Walked in Orderly Procession to the MeetingHouse, where a sermon was Preached suitable to the Occasion by their Rev. Pastor ; and after Divine Service they return’d in the same orderly Procession to the Rev. Mr. Campbell’s House, where they pleasantly regail’d themselves with Cakes, Cheese, and Wine, and then they seasonably retir’d to their respective Families. The whole was Conducted with the greatest Decency and good order ; every Countenance indicated a Noble Spirit for Liberty and the promotion of our own Manufactures.’”

Further along in The History of Easton, Reverend Chaffin describes how almost all able-bodied men, and some boys, in the town served in militias during the Revolutionary War – while also noting the contributions of other men in Easton, such as “Edward Williams, for instance, when too feeble to enlist in the active service, harnessed his team and took into the camp near Boston food, blankets, and many means of comfort, to procure which he stripped his house and received the most generous contributions from neighbors.”

Reverend Chaffin then shares that “Meantime the Daughters of Liberty were busy with their needles, and forwarded many things which they provided at a sacrifice to themselves. They were real even though unrecorded sufferers, often enduring privation, and always full of anxiety concerning the fate of those who were far away in camp and field, and whom they might never see again.”

Perhaps, in these times in which women and men in the U.S. Armed Forces serve together, including in combat zones, William L. Chaffin’s reference to women on the home front while the men are away in military service, might seem a bit chauvinistic.  Maybe.

We think, though, that Reverend Chaffin’s intention is to convey admiration and gratitude for all who sacrificed.

And it is the privilege of Willwork to trumpet and honor the immensely valuable … and absolutely esssential … contributions to the founding of the American republic of the Daughters of Liberty – that society of wholly remarkable, courageous, inspired, and indomitable women.

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For more information on the Daughters of Liberty, please click here to be taken to a Wikpedia entry about the society.

 

 

 

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