Category Archives: archives

Stonehill, King Philip’s Cave and Native American History Month

Stonehill Excavations: Shown here reviewing the map plan for digging are, left to right, Dr. John P. Sullivan, of Easton, assistant professor of American history; Leo J. Kelly, 20, of Braintree; William Nowick; and John Donovan, 29, of Jamaica Plain; April 16,1957

Whenever I am asked why Native American history is important to me, I offer one anecdote in explanation. In 2009, I was working on my senior history thesis here at Stonehill. During a research visit to the Plimoth Plantation library, I was given the opportunity to walk through the Wampanoag Homesite, where I stopped to watch a mishoon (a type of Wampanog canoe) demonstration. Visitors bombarded the Wampanoag (yes, he was actually Wampanoag) interpreter with questions. One question in particular left a lasting impression on me: “Do Native Americans still exist?” In that moment I realized the “myth of the vanishing Indian” I read so often about in class was a reality. From that moment, I was determined to better understand the historical dynamics that lead to such beliefs.

As I set out on various research projects I always ended up returning to Stonehill’s Native American history. At the start of my senior thesis, I learned about King Philip’s Cave and the archaeological investigations that sought evidence of Native American settlements on Stonehill’s campus. Since 1948, several archaeological excavations took place on campus, but only one produced evidence supporting the belief that Native Americans once resided on parts of campus.

During the fall of 1956 and spring of 1957, an 8-person team consisting of Stonehill College students and faculty, as well as off-campus volunteers began archaeological excavations of King Philip’s Cave. The group initiated the project in order to ascertain evidence confirming King Philip occupied the cave atop Stone House Hill during the mid- to late-1670s. Under the guidance of Stonehill science professor Dr. James Reedy, William Nowick ‘57, Leo Kelly ‘57, Paul Flynn ‘57, and Timothy Maloney ’59 painstakingly excavated the cave floor and uncovered evidence of Native American habitation of the cave during pre-contact and colonial periods. Though the excavations proved successful, Stone House Hill’s Native American history remains shrouded in local legend and misinformation.

All that remains from those excavations is the final report, a couple news clippings, and several photographs. Objects are extremely valuable when interpreting the past, and the artifacts uncovered by Nowick and his fellow excavators could have helped interpret history to shake off myth and legend. Alas, the artifacts uncovered during the excavations vanished. Since the 1970s, Archives staff have made multiple attempts at locating the lost artifacts, but these searches all led to dead ends. To make matters worse, throughout the twentieth century looters stripped the site of much of its material culture. Much like other Native American historical sites, Stone House Hill’s former abundance of lithics (stone tools, such as arrowheads) attracted amateur archaeologists, collectors, and hobbyists.

Losing artifacts in many ways led to a loss of history, culture, and identity. With the missing and looted evidence, Stonehill Anthropology and History faculty along with Archives staff could conduct additional analyses of the material remains in order to better understand Stone House Hill’s Native American history. While the 1956-1957 digs produced no conclusive proof indicating King Philip camped on Stone House Hill, the name, King Philip’s Cave, endured. The lost artifacts in all likelihood could have corrected this misnomer and replaced myth with an evidence-based history.

As we observe Native American Heritage Month, it is important to reflect on the intermingling of history, culture, and myth. Though there is still much to learn about Stonehill’s Native American history, it must also be acknowledged that the past peoples we seek to learn about did not go extinct. They, like all extant cultures, struck—no, strike a unique balance of maintaining and transforming their cultural identities. As a historian, I know full well I cannot use a 600-year-old stone hand tool or 300-year-old earthenware pot to interpret how Wampaoag communities exist today. Why? First, because a Wampanoag tribal member can buy a hammer at Home Depot and purchase soup bowls at Ikea. Second, and most importantly, because I do not need artifacts to interpret how Wampanoag tribal members live today. All I need to do is ask.

Written by Jonathan Green ’10, Assistant Director of Archives and Digital Manager

New Display: Sign Up Now! Student Activities Through the Years

displayCheck out the new display in the library by the Archives called Sign Up Now! Student Activities Through the Years. The display is located in the lobby of the library. Designed by Raymond Addison ’16 and Amanda Berthold ’16, the latest archives display in the library aims to educate the Stonehill community about the importance and influence that Student Activities has had at Stonehill.

Into the Archives: Museum Studies Class Reception

In January, students in Erica Tucker’s Introduction to Museum studies class toured Stonehill’s Shovel Collection and were tasked to develop ways to “enhance the visitor experience.” Working with archives staff members, students brainstormed several ideas, including the need for additional signage, new displays in the storage area, a virtual tour and brochure. On May 1st, they unveiled their final projects at a reception attended by members of the Stonehill Community and two members of the Ames family.

Catherine Sheehan

Catherine Sheehan ’17 installs newly designed signage.


New brochures designed by Jaron Cote ’15 and Jessie Lebowitz ’15.

EmilyWiley and Handle Display

Emily Wiley ‘16 shows off her newly installed handle display.


Bill Ames explores Shovel Collection Virtual Tour with tour creator, Kasie Lyons ’17


Fred and Bill Ames look at WWI Shovel Display designed by Christopher DiElsi ‘16


Spring 2015 Museum Studies Class with Bill and Fred Ames

Stonehill’s First Woman Alumni – Luice Moncey ’53

1953Moncey by FarrarLuice Moncey ’53

A member of the Class of 1953, Luice Moncey has the distinction of being the first female graduate at Stonehill. Originally founded as an all-male institution, Stonehill became coed in the fall of 1951. A resident of Avon, MA at the time, she previously studied at UMass, but was unhappy. Her mother saw a small article in the Brockton Enterprise, and Luice fell in love with the College on her first visit.

The decision to transfer did not come without challenges. Moncey assumed coed meant a 50-50 split, but as it turned out she was one of only 19 women who enrolled that year. Women accounted for 7% of the total enrollment. She recalled in a 2003 oral history interview, how surprised she was to walk into a class with no girls. Most of the other coeds were freshman and as a junior she was not enrolled in similar classes. However, the experience taught her how to “accept men as friends.”

2003Luice MonceyEven though she was at Stonehill for just two short years, she left her mark, joining several groups including The Summit, Speech Arts Society, Acres, Rifle and Pistol Club, Jazz Club, Ring Committee, Radio Division and Dorm Committee. As a senior, she was the yearbook editor, a news editor for The Summit and President of the Speech Arts Society. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in the top 10% of her class.

After leaving Stonehill she received a fellowship at Emerson College and earned a PhD at Bridgewater State College and worked as a teacher. An active alum she continues to support the college.

Stone Hill House Tour


Dick Grant, left, talks to the group touring the Stone Hill House site.

In September 1948, Stonehill opened its doors.

In July 1935, the Congregation of Holy Cross purchased 350 acres of land from Edith Cutler.

In January 1905, Edward and Mary Hayward sold several parcels of land to Frederick Lothrop Ames.

These are three key moments in Stonehill College’s history. Besides their connection to Stonehill College, they all share one thing in common. To be more precise, they share one place in common: Stone House Hill. In many ways, this rocky promontory is the focal point of Stonehill’s history. Long before the Congregation and long before the Ames started making shovels in Easton, Stone House Hill was a prominent feature in southeastern Massachusetts’ geography and culture. Today, Stonehill’s history and identity are rooted to Stone House Hill, and if you look close enough it has a lot to tell.

This was the subject of a recent tour led by Associate Dean Emeritus Dick Grant and Assistant Archivist Jonathan Green. On October 17, Grant and Green met a group of Stonehill students, faculty, and staff in front of New Hall for the hour-long tour. The group trekked from the nearby mill stones to the summit of Stone House Hill. Along the way, the tour guides talked about Stonehill’s history starting in the late-17th century and stretching as far back as 500 A.D. This history included the formation of Stone House Hill during the last ice age, Wampanoag habitation of the Hill, and the creation of the mill stones in the eighteenth-century. With a bit of geology, a dash of archaeology, a touch of folklore, and a whole lot of history, Grant and Green used the landscape to bring the past to life.

While the tour focused on the campus’s early history, it also highlighted the important work of the Stone House Hill Restoration Project (SHHRP). Dick Grant started the project this past summer with one goal in mind: clean Stone House Hill. Since then, numerous individuals (including; Stephanie and Nate DesRosiers, Drew Fitzgibbon, Elveera Lacina, Fr. Denning and several people from Facilities Management) and groups from on- and off-campus dedicated time and effort to help Grant achieve his goal. These groups include the Stonehill men’s basketball team, Brockton High School’s boys’ cross country team, and a first-year student group joined the cause during Community Engagement Day. From raking leaves and picking up trash, to clearing fallen trees and removing graffiti, Grant and the SHRRP’s many volunteers made the project a success.

What next? Grant received this question numerous times during the tour, and the answer is open-ended. As the saying goes, “When you dig up the past, all you get is dirty.” In the case of the SHRRP, this saying is true. Literally. But we got a lot more than dirt too. To keep this success story going, Stone House Hill needs regular attention, elbow grease and ongoing research in long forgotten local archives. The goal at present is not just to dig up the past but also to bring it out into the present and celebrate it.

Massachusetts China is Now on Display

Massachusetts ChinaA selection of Massachusetts China is now on display in the South Entrance lobby of the Martin Institute.  This selection of china is part of the Joseph W. Martin Jr. Papers  and is believed to have been purchased sometime during the 1940s, during one of Martin’s terms as Minority Leader or his first term as the Speaker of the House in 1948.  The china would have been used for official functions hosted by Joseph Martin.

Massachusetts China on Display

For more information, please contact Nicole Casper, Director of Archives and Historical Collections at 508-565-1396


Author Maury Klein Speaks at Ames Family Dinner

On May 11th, members of the Ames family gathered at Stonehill for their annual family dinner.  After touring the renovation of the Ames Shovel Works (located 2 miles from the College), which is being repurposed into residential apartments, the family listened to a lecture by retired URI professor Maury Klein.  Dr. Klein’s works on the Union Pacific railroad and General Electric includes many references to the Ames family’s involvement in these companies.

Bauman Exhibit Opens

On April 25th, the Stonehill College Archives opened its first full scale exhibit of the Stanley Bauman Photograph Collection on what would have been Mr. Bauman’s 100th birthday.  The exhibit, titled, “A Lasting Legacy: Stanley Bauman and His Camera,” features 90 of the approximately 500,000 images captured by Mr. Bauman during his 70 plus years as a professional photographer.  Offering a small glimpse of the variety of images in the collection, the exhibit showcases photos of boxing heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano, nostalgic scenes of downtown Brockton and D.W. Field Park, shots of schools from Brockton and other Southeastern Massachusetts municipalities, and many more photos that convey the significance of Mr. Bauman’s lasting legacy. Located in the Archives gallery in the lobby of Cushing-Martin Hall, the exhibit is open to the public free of charge, between 8am and 6pm, Monday-Friday.