In 1998 Andrew Scheffey donated 13 acres of forested land to the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust for conservation. That land, the half-mile stretch of wooded hillside south of Shutesbury Road stretching to the Shutesbury town line, is enjoyed every day by travelers on the Shutesbury Road.
Deeds for the land that is now the Scheffey Conservation Area date back to Leverett’s early history. In 1850 the property was purchased by James and Mary Fitts (the “Fitts lot”). At that time the road to Shutesbury was farther south and their lot went to the “center of the stream” (Roaring Brook). In 1865, the Fitts sold the eastern part to Rodolphus Turner (his section became “the Turner lot”). Turner divided his property into two units. These divisions help explain the shape of the present southern property boundary.
Throughout the mid-1800’s, there was an active mill village in East Leverett with dams and mills built upstream along Roaring Brook for at least a half mile. However, there is nothing in the Fitts or Turner deeds to indicate that there was ever a dam, a mill, or a house on the present Scheffey Conservation Area. There is one stone wall which might mark the edge of the old road and a small stream flowing into Roaring Brook. The stream is approximately along the line between the Fitts and Turner lots.
Andrew Scheffey, a leader in land conservation, died in 2012. We thank his many friends, colleagues, and former students who donated to the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust in him memory. More about Andrew Scheffey’s life