Ploughed Hill / Mount Benedict

Ploughed Hill / Mount Benedict Ploughed Hill is an old American place that has been the site of a lot of history. Please join us in learning more about this all but forgotten place.

Ploughed Hill is an old American place with a storied history. Named in colonial times this ancient drumlin played a prominent role in the siege of Boston, when it was furiously bombarded by the British in August of 1775. It is also the site of the infamous convent arson of 1834, when it was known as Mount Benedict. Much of the hill was razed for landfill to make Assembly Square (which was once swampland); but a rump still exists.

Operating as usual

1834 convent arson mentioned in this article by Howie Carr
09/24/2020
Howie Carr: Brace for Democrats to knock Catholics, again

1834 convent arson mentioned in this article by Howie Carr

How much do Democrats hate Roman Catholics? We’re about to find out, once President Trump nominates, most likely, Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the US Supreme Court.

Thanks to Denise Provost for this.
08/14/2019
Charlestown Convent Lies in Ruins

Thanks to Denise Provost for this.

On this day in 1834, the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown lay in ruins. The night before, a Protestant mob sacked it and burned it to the ground. The nuns who lived in the elegant building and their students at the female academy they ran were forced to flee for their lives. The rioters were mostly p...

06/18/2019

Extract printed in Benjamin Vaughan, ed., Political, Miscellaneous, and Philosophical Pieces . . . Written by Benj. Franklin . . . (London, 1779), pp. 365–6.
Philadelphia, 3d Octob. 1775.Dear Sir,
I am to set out to-morrow for the camp,4 and having but just heard of this opportunity, can only write a line to say that I am well and hearty. Tell our dear good friend . . .,5 who sometimes has his doubts and despondencies about our firmness, that America is determined and unanimous; a very few tories and placemen excepted, who will probably soon export themselves. Britain, at the expence of three millions, has killed 150 Yankies this campaign, which is £20,000 a head; and at Bunker’s Hill she gained a mile of ground, half of which she lost again by our taking post on Ploughed Hill.6 During the same time 60,000 children have been born in America. From these data his mathematical head will easily calculate the time and expence necessary to kill us all, and conquer our whole territory.7 My sincere respects to . . ., and to the club of honest whigs at.. . .8 Adieu. I am ever Yours most affectionately,

B. F.

06/18/2019

Happy Bunker Hill Day for all you patriots out there!

05/27/2019

Just a shout out on Memorial Day for all the veterans who served to defend our country. And special mention must be made here for AUGUSTUS MUMFORD who fell in defense of Ploughed in August, 1775. He was beheaded by a British cannon ball - the first Rhode Island man to die in the American Revolution.

03/19/2019
Somerville / Massport Noise Complaint Page

Somerville / Massport Noise Complaint Page

The last week has been off the charts in terms constant noise and flyovers and loudness and early timed and late times of day and night. During dinner hours and early evening the pace is relentless and the noise unending. MASSPORT has ruined this area from a residential point of view and they have assaulted the health of the residents who reside underneath this highway in the sky.

I have noticed that the wikipedia page on the Mount Benedict convent arson has been substantially added to with a pletho...
02/12/2019
Ursuline Convent riots - Wikipedia

I have noticed that the wikipedia page on the Mount Benedict convent arson has been substantially added to with a plethora of details. It's a very interesting story.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursuline_Convent_riots#cite_ref-LHS237_38-1

The Ursuline Convent riots occurred August 11 and 12, 1834, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, near Boston, in what is now Somerville, Massachusetts. During the riot, a convent of Roman Catholic Ursuline nuns was burned down by a Protestant mob. The event was triggered by reported abuse of a member of t...

Seeing that this is Veterans Day I want to call on the City of Somerville to commemorate the sacrifice of Augustus Mumfo...
11/10/2018
Rhode Island: A History (States and the Nation)

Seeing that this is Veterans Day I want to call on the City of Somerville to commemorate the sacrifice of Augustus Mumford, who lost his head to a British cannonball on Ploughed Hill in 1775.

https://books.google.com/books?id=r5Z3UNxHdT0C&pg=PA93&lpg=PA93&dq=%22Augustus+Mumford%22+American+army+1775&source=bl&ots=T90Slpedi3&sig=ONvhYgyPwN-TegJZeNCEXdKWZmc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiHgvX8-MreAhXwRd8KHd9BDzIQ6AEwCHoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Augustus%20Mumford%22%20American%20army%201775&f=false

With a Historical Guide prepared by the editors of the American Association for State and Local History. High atop the Rhode Island capitol in Providence, a bronze likeness of "The Independent Man" keeps watch over a state that historically has put the ideal of individual liberty before all others.....

On a terrible day like today - when the synagogue in Pittsburgh came under attack and innocent people were killed in a p...
10/28/2018

On a terrible day like today - when the synagogue in Pittsburgh came under attack and innocent people were killed in a place of worship - we should recall that such vicious bigotry has been a regrettable part of American history and it has touched our city of Somerville, then Charlestown.

https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2018/10/27/heavy-police-presence-near-synagogue-in-squirrel-hill/

Our sympathy extends to our fellow citizens in Pittsburgh who wish only to exercise their freedom to worship in peace.

04/05/2018

To Joseph Priestley3

Extract printed in Benjamin Vaughan, ed., Political, Miscellaneous, and Philosophical Pieces . . . Written by Benj. Franklin . . . (London, 1779), pp. 365–6.

Philadelphia, 3d Octob. 1775.

Dear Sir,

I am to set out to-morrow for the camp,4 and having but just heard of this opportunity, can only write a line to say that I am well and hearty. Tell our dear good friend . . .,5 who sometimes has his doubts and despondencies about our firmness, that America is determined and unanimous; a very few tories and placemen excepted, who will probably soon export themselves. Britain, at the expence of three millions, has killed 150 Yankies this campaign, which is £20,000 a head; and at Bunker’s Hill she gained a mile of ground, half of which she lost again by our taking post on Ploughed Hill.6 During the same time 60,000 children have been born in America. From these data his mathematical head will easily calculate the time and expence necessary to kill us all, and conquer our whole territory.7 My sincere respects to . . ., and to the club of honest whigs at.. . .8 Adieu. I am ever Yours most affectionately,

B. F.
[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3. WTF again identified the recipient, as in the letters to Priestley above of May 16 and July 7, in a MS note on a proof sheet of Philosophical Pieces, Library of Congress.

4. Vaughan here added a note to explain BF’s visit to Washington, for which see the minutes of the conference below under Oct. 18, 1775.

5. Here WTF, in another MS note, identified the friend as Dr. Price.

6. In August the British were supposedly preparing to occupy Ploughed Hill in order to control the low ground between it and Bunker. On the 26th the Americans forestalled them, and erected a battery that could dispute the ground with the enemy: Freeman, Washington, III, 519.

7. For a variation on these data, also intended for Richard Price, see the extract of BF’s letter to a friend in London above, under Oct. 3.

8. The London Coffeehouse: above, XI, 98 n.

03/18/2018

I am happy to announce that my friend Champ Zumbrun has finished his book in which the events on Ploughed Hill in 1775 figure prominently: "Cresap's Rifles: the Untold Story of the Riflemen who Helped Save George Washington's Army". The book is about a captain of a Maryland rifle company that marched to Charlestown from Cumberland county Maryland. General Washington placed them on Ploughed Hill just in time for the British welcoming committee of a "furious bombardment". Champ will visit us here in Somerville to promote his book some time in May....I will keep you all posted!

12/02/2017
The Middlesex canal ran right past the convent in 1830.
09/19/2017

The Middlesex canal ran right past the convent in 1830.

Ploughed Hill / Mount Benedict
08/16/2017

Ploughed Hill / Mount Benedict

August 11 was the anniversary of the riot and arson of the Mount Benedict Convent of Ursuline nuns in 1834. The building was full of children and an account was left by Louise Goddard Whitney. Her eye witness account, written years after the event, makes for gripping reading. In light of recent events this history must be remembered and pondered.

August 11 was the anniversary of the riot and arson of the Mount Benedict Convent of Ursuline nuns in 1834.  The buildin...
08/16/2017

August 11 was the anniversary of the riot and arson of the Mount Benedict Convent of Ursuline nuns in 1834. The building was full of children and an account was left by Louise Goddard Whitney. Her eye witness account, written years after the event, makes for gripping reading. In light of recent events this history must be remembered and pondered.

Another image of the Ursuline Convent on Mount Benedict (a.k.a. Ploughed Hill).
07/19/2017

Another image of the Ursuline Convent on Mount Benedict (a.k.a. Ploughed Hill).

So here on the 1889 map is the exact line and shape of the trench dug by "the fatigue party" of 1,000 men on orders of g...
06/24/2017

So here on the 1889 map is the exact line and shape of the trench dug by "the fatigue party" of 1,000 men on orders of gen. Washington in August of 1775; they were protected by 1,200 sharpshooters including the famed contingent from Virginia, who looked with contempt on hard labor but "courted danger". The line happens to be exactly on the spot where they stopped digging when most of the the hill was razed for landfill (though not all of it, pace the official Somerville landmark in 7 Hills Park).

Some of the lines during the siege of Boston over a street map of 1889.
06/17/2017

Some of the lines during the siege of Boston over a street map of 1889.

This map has on it all the trenches and forts built and maintained and manned and bombarded during the siege of Boston 1...
06/16/2017

This map has on it all the trenches and forts built and maintained and manned and bombarded during the siege of Boston 1775-1776. On it we find exactly where the trench line was on Ploughed Hill....more to come....stay tuned!

Paul Revere's unintended detour brought him along the southern edge of Ploughed Hill along Broadway.
06/05/2017

Paul Revere's unintended detour brought him along the southern edge of Ploughed Hill along Broadway.

Was in the Somerville Library the other day; what a treasure trove of information in the research room.
05/19/2017

Was in the Somerville Library the other day; what a treasure trove of information in the research room.

Ye old Sullivan Square Terminal, built 1900, Charlestown Neck, at the foot of Ploughed Hill.
05/13/2017

Ye old Sullivan Square Terminal, built 1900, Charlestown Neck, at the foot of Ploughed Hill.

Mount Benedict Nunnery and Girls' Academy 1826-1834
04/20/2017

Mount Benedict Nunnery and Girls' Academy 1826-1834

This map is on Long Warf in Boston.  It clearly marks "Plowed Hill" along with the trench line that was constructed ther...
04/17/2017

This map is on Long Warf in Boston. It clearly marks "Plowed Hill" along with the trench line that was constructed there to block the British from coming across Charlestown Neck.

Timeline Photos
04/14/2017

Timeline Photos

For the best study to date on the Charlestown convent arson and riot, see Nancy Lusignan Schultz, "Fire and Roses: The B...
04/07/2017

For the best study to date on the Charlestown convent arson and riot, see Nancy Lusignan Schultz, "Fire and Roses: The Burning of the Charlestown Convent, 1834", The Free Press, 2000. This book is an excellent read, very compelling.

04/03/2017

Purpose of this page

Ploughed Hill / Mount Benedict
04/03/2017

Ploughed Hill / Mount Benedict

04/03/2017

This page is for those interested in the history of Ploughed Hill, also known as Mount Benedict, a historical hill located in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Ploughed Hill / Mount Benedict's cover photo
04/03/2017

Ploughed Hill / Mount Benedict's cover photo

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11 Austin Street
Somerville, MA
02145

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Comments

My Great Great Great Great Grandfather wrote about Ploughed Hill in his diary. Caleb Haskell's Diary [1775, Siege of Boston] August 26th, Saturday. This day we are getting in readiness to go down to Ploughed Hill to entrenching at night. About 2000 went down, a part to work, and a part for a covering party; no stir tonight. August 27th, Sunday. At sunrise the covering party marched off; the fatigue men were relieved. Continue entrenching, and not in the least disturbed till 3 o'clock, when the enemy began to cannonade us from Bunker Hill and floating batteries, which continued all day. The sentry engaged with small arms most of the day. We had three men killed and one wounded by cannon balls on Ploughed Hill today. We sunk a floating battery belonging to the enemy and disabled another with our cannon at Temple's wharf. Our sentries, riflemen and Indians, killed and wounded a number of the enemy today. August 28th, Monday. No firing this morning on either side. Our men keep at work on Ploughed Hill. In the forenoon we were alarmed; marched up to the fort; grounded our arms; soon after were ordered to go back and refresh ourselves, and then parade on the hill again which we did, and lay by our arms until sunset, then marched back; ninety-seven men were drawn out of our regiment to go on fatigue at Ploughed Hill tonight. We had one man killed at Ploughed Hill and one of our company wounded by a musket at the lower sentry. August 29th, Tuesday. This morning I was ordered to Ploughed Hill, on fatigue; it being rainy we did no work. Kept a guard in the Fort. We had five shells and a number of cannon balls thrown among us today, but hurt none of us; at night were relieved. August 30th, Wednesday. This morning is thick weather and rainy. The storm continued all day. None of the men hurt at Ploughed Hill today. August 31st, Thursday. Continues thick and rainy today, which is uncomfortable weather for us in our tents. The enemy all still. [Caleb was a fifer in Captain Ezra Lunt's Company, part of Colonel Moses Little's Regiment (designated 28th Massachusetts Regiment of Foot at this time) from Newburyport until he signed up for detached duty with Captain Ward's Company to march to Quebec with Colonel Arnold on September 11.]
Didn't realize the history of Mount Benedict until I found this article: