1688 – Settlers prepared to abandon the town for the second time because of reports of Indian murders committed at Northfield. Abandonment was prevented by Major Pynchon who sent soldiers “ordering and requiring their continuance.” Fort Gilbert was erected to protect the new settlement.
On September 21, 1688, Captain Henry Gilbert, John Hitchcock, James Warner, Thomas Gilbert, Eben Parsons, and Samuel Parsons were sent by Major Pynchon to scout out and to make fortification for the inhabitants of Quaboag (Brookfield).
The fortification was built by Thomas Gilbert, a carpenter and brother of Captain Henry Gilbert. The “fortification” became known as Gilbert’s Fort. It stood on the old center school-house lot at the intersection of North Main and Maple Streets.
In 1702, the old fort was repaired and strengthened and later found to be still in serviceable condition during the French and Indian War.
From about 1708 thru 1711 the people were without a minister as there seems to be no record of any minister receiving grants from the Court. This leads us to believe that Sabbath services were held at Gilbert’s Fort until 1713.
The present Elementary School stands on land that was included within the stockade of the Old Fort.