• Upcoming Programs

    Fall 2016 Programs

    The Illustrious and Prolific Wheelock Family

    Monday, October 3
    7:30 pm
    First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
    26 North Street, Medfield

    Speaker Rick Sullivan.

    Speaker Rick Sullivan.

    Rick Sullivan of Northborough will be the principal speaker at the October 3 meeting. Rick has spent much of the last 20 years researching the Wheelock family and will share these stories with us.

    Medfield founder Ralph Wheelock (1600-1683) and Rebecca (d. 1680) had nine children who lived to adulthood. He attended Cambridge University while John Eliot and John Milton were students there. The Wheelocks fled England because of religious persecution; they came to Watertown in 1637 and then helped found Dedham in1638. In 1644 he was the first teacher at the new school in Dedham; he was probably the public school teacher in America. The general court passed a law in 1647 requiring all villages with more than 50 families to have tax-supported schools.

    Five years later Wheelock was chosen to lead a group to establish New Dedham, which was soon named Medfield. He founded Medfield’s first public school in 1655 and was the first schoolmaster. In both Dedham and Medfield he was a one of the leading figures and at different times held virtually all of the important leadership posts in the towns.

    Among Ralph Wheelock’s notable descendants are
    • Elezear Wheelock, founder of Dartmouth College
    • Benjamin Ide Wheeler, president of the University of California – Berkeley 1899-1919
    • Lucy Wheelock, founder of Wheelock College
    • Emily Dickinson, poet
    • Matt Damon, actor and filmmaker

    Rick Sullivan has been an avid genealogist for the last 20 years, concentrating on the family history of his mother, Betty Jean Wheelock. In 1997 Rick created the website WheelockGenealogy.com, and he has been enhancing and growing the Wheelock genealogy ever since. He has communicated with Wheelock family members all over the United States, and has had the good fortune to collect family stories from all branches of the Wheelock tree.

    He believes that family history belongs to all of us, and it should be openly shared without reservation. As a consequence, all of the Wheelock genealogy and family history that he has accumulated can be read and downloaded from WheelockGenealogy.com.

    Rick has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tufts University, and a master’s from the University of Illinois. He has been a software engineer for most of his professional life.

    Summer 2016 Programs

    Peak House Tours

    Peak House

    The Peak House. Credit: Medfield Historical Society.

    Sundays, 2 pm to 5 pm
    June 19 – Sept 18, 2016
    345 Main Street, Medfield

    The Peak House will be open Sunday afternoons, from 2-5 pm during the summer. Stop by to see our special exhibits or to take a tour of this historic property. Even in the heat of summer, the Peak House is really cool — literally!



    Discover Medfield Day


    Last year’s Discover Medfield Day. Photo courtesy MEMO.

    Saturday, Sept 17, 2016
    (Severe weather date Saturday, Sept 24)
    9:00 am to 3:00 pm
    Downtown Medfield

    Discover Medfield Day, MEMO’s premier event, consists of over 150 booths highlighting Medfield businesses and organizations. To add to the fun, there will be an entertainment stage and Kids’ alley filled with rides. This is the social event of the year for Medfield residents, now in its 37th year. Be sure to drop by the Medfield Historical Society booth directly across from the Dwight-Derby House.