A View into New England’s Rural Landscape during the 19th Century Life

Hidley_View-of-Poestenkill%2C-New-YorkWhat did Suffield look like during the mid nineteenth century? As we try to imagine what life was like for fugitive slaves traveling through the region, we often read about how they were carried in wagons or had to walk from one of point of refuge to another safe house. Note how there are so many different versions of transportation based on “horse” power here. Even though Joseph H. Hidley paints his rural landscapes during the budding railroad growth, his rural gaze echoes Charles Dickens in that both rarely depict the railroad in their art. Also note how close the houses are to the street, because horses are not as loud as today’s traffic. Each lot also as property extending back behind each house with several outbuildings and barns.

“View of Poestenkill, New York” oil on Canvas, location: Private collection.

About Bill Sullivan

I am an English teacher working with great students at Suffield Academy. I also teach seniors in various project-based learning environments. Some of the #PBL topics included global issues, such as Pandemics, Climate Change, and Water; more recently I have asked students to research and identify topics important to our school community and their generation. We curate these topics with a #StudentCenteredPBL. For the past eleven years, I also created a driving question for a class to research a local history mystery and present their findings in a community program partnering with our local historical society. These topics encompass researching the lives of enslaved individuals who were contributors to the foundation of our community.
This entry was posted in American Studies, HOT Log March, Underground Railroad. Bookmark the permalink.

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