This week in New England history: March 28-April 4

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A list of significant dates in New England history:

March 28

1774: Britain passes The Coercive Acts against Massachusetts: These four acts punish Boston colonists for the Boston Tea Party, an act of resistance in which colonist dumped hundreds of crates of British tea (worth almost $1 million in today’s money) into Boston harbor. The Coercive Acts include the infamous Quartering Act, which require Massachusetts colonists to quarter British soldiers upon demand, sometimes in their private homes. Rather than sacrifice Boston and its people to British martial law, the other colonies rally to provide supplies and aid to their fellow colonists.

An old washing machine

An old washing machine

1797: Nathanial Briggs of New Hampshire patents the washing machine. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the records of the machine, leaving many questions regarding its design.

March 31

1774: Great Britain orders Boston’s port to close after the passage of the Boston Port Act, one of the Coercive Acts mentioned above.

April 1

Robert the Hermit

Robert the Hermit

1832: Robert the Hermit, a former slave and hermit, dies in Massachusetts. After tumultuous early years of slavery, marriage, betrayal, and unsuccessful escape attempts, Robert escaped from slavery and began working on ships traveling to India and Europe. On hearing that the wife of his youth and their two children had died, Robert became a recluse in Massachusetts. A subject of curiosity, Henry Trumbull interviewed Robert and wrote a book titled, “Life and Adventures of Robert, the Hermit of Massachusetts.”