The History of Pittsfield, (Berkshire County), Massachusetts

VOLUME I

At a town meeting held in the Town Hall, in Pittsfield, Aug. 25, 1866, Mr. Thomas Allen rose, and stated, that on the Centennial of the First Congregational Church and Parish, viz., April 18, 1864, he had been requested by a vote of the parish to prepare an historical memoir of that parish and church, embodying substantially, but extending, the remarks he made at that meeting. He stated, that, in looking over the records of the town and parish, he found them intimately connected, so that a history of the one would be also a history of the other; and he had found the history of the town highly interesting, and honorable to its inhabitants. True, there were no classic fields in Pittsfield, consecrated by patriotic blood spilled in battle in defence of the country, as in Lexington and Concord, simply because no foreign foe in arms had ever invaded its soil: but it was not the less true that Pittsfield had always promptly performed her part, and furnished her quota of men and means, in every war waged in defence of the country and the Union; and that in the intellectual contests through which the just principles of republican government, and civil and religious freedom, have been established in this country, the men of Pittsfield, on their own ground and elsewhere, have ever home a part creditable alike to their wisdom, their sagacity, and their patriotism. Pittsfield, therefore, had a history which deserved to be written. The first settlers had all passed away; and their immediate descendants, witnesses of the earlier struggles, were whitening with the frosts of age, and were also rapidly disappearing. If the records of their history were to be gathered together, and preserved in a durable form, it was time that the duty be undertaken. He was satisfied that an honorable record would appear, and worthy of the place to which God had given so much that is beautiful in nature.

 

Table of Contents

TOPOGRAPHY

PART I. - BERKSHIRE 3
PART II. - PITTSFIELD 22
HISTORY

CHAPTER I.
ABORIGINAL OCCUPATION 43

CHAPTER II.
GRANTS. - SURVEYS. - SALES. - (1620-1741) 55

CHAPTER III.
FIRST ATTEMPT TO SETTLE THE TOWNSHIP. - (1741-1749) 69

CHAPTER IV.
PERMANENT SETTLEMENT. - (1749-1754) 85

CHAPTER V.
SECOND FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR. - (1754-1759) 97

CHAPTER VI.
THE PLANTATION ORGANIZATION RESUMED. - (1759-1761) 119

CHAPTER VII.
PITTSFIELD INCORPORATED. - (1761-1774) 130

CHAPTER VIII.
FIRST MEETING-HOUSE AND MINISTER. - (1760-1768) 150

CHAPTER IX.
ANTE-REVOLUTIONARY POLITICS. (1761-JUNE, 1774) 169

CHAPTER X.
RESISTANCE TO PARLIAMENTARY AGGRESSION. - (MARCH-OCTOBER, 1774) 187

CHAPTER XI.
A SEASON OF PREPARATION. - (SEPTEMBER, 1774 - MAY 1775) 200

CHAPTER XII.
PITTSFIELD IN ETHAN ALLEN'S TICONDEROGA CAPTURE - (DECEMBER - JUNE, 1775) 211

CHAPTER XIII.
PITTSFIELD IN THE FIRST NORTHERN CAMPAIGN, AND AT THE SIEGE OF BOSTON. (MAY-NOVEMBER, 1775) 226

CHAPTER XIV.
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. - THE TORIES. - BATTLES OF WHITE PLAINS AND THE DELAWARE. - (1776-1777) 243

CHAPTER XV.
PITTSFIELD IN THE SECOND CANADA CAMPAIGN. - ARNOL'S PERSECUTION OF BROWN AND EASTON. - (SEPTEMBER, 1775-1778) 255
CHAPTER XVI.
THE INVASTION OF BURGOYNE, AND BATTLE OF BENNINGTON. - (1777) 278

CHAPTER XVII.
LAST YEARS OF THE REVOLUTION. - (1777-1783) 309

CHAPTER XVIII.
THE BERKSHIRE CONSTITUTIONALISTS. - (1775-1780) 324

CHAPTER XIX.
THE BERKSHIRE CONSTITUTIONALISTS (CONTINUED). - (1775-1780) 350

CHAPTER XX.
THE BERKSHIRE CONSTITUTIONALISTS. - COMMITTEE GOVERNMENT OF THE INTERREGNUM. - (1774-1780) 374

CHAPTER XXI.
THE SHAYS REBELLION. - (1781-1786) 389

CHAPTER XXII.
PITTSFIELD IN THE SHAYS REBELLION. - PAROCHIAL DIFFICULTIES. - (1786-1789) 408

CHAPTER XXIII.
COUNTY COURTS IN PITTSFIELD. (1761-1787) 423

CHAPTER XXIV.
THE MEETING-HOUSE OF 1790. - (1789-1793) 434

CHAPTER XXV.
STRUGGLE FOR THE EQUALITY OF RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS. (1722-1811) 450

APPENDIX

 

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In presenting the second volume of the History of the Town to the citizens of Pittsfield, we have to apologize for some vexatious delay, which, however, finds its compensation in the fact that some important portions of the work have been made correct, where it would have been impossible to do so had the story been finished at a much earlier date.

Our intention has been to give prominence to those events, enterprises, and institutions which have had an essential bearing upon the town's prosperity. We have also desired to do some justice to the men who have given it character, and labored for its good. In some instances, lack of material has rendered it impossible to accomplish this as fully as we could wish; and possibly we may have sometimes erred in judgment; but we have sincerely aimed to be impartial, and believe that substantial justice has been done.

The original plan of the work was to make the earlier portions more full than the later: indeed, to give but a brief skeleton of recent affairs; it being exceedingly difficult to make contemporary history satisfactory to those who have taken part in it. We have in a few instances departed from this course, for reasons which will suggest themselves to the reader. And now, in order that the size of the book may. not exceed reasonable limits, we have been obliged to omit accounts of several gentlemen, and of enterprises of recent date which had already been prepared.

For the same reason we make this presentation of our work very brief, trusting that the charity of our fellow- citizens will suggest to them an excuse for such faults as they may discover, and for what may appear to them unfortunate omissions. We may, however, claim that the Record here contained is one of which any town may be proud; and one which will show that few towns have contributed so much to the general history of the country, in all its departments.

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I.
PITTSFIELD, A.D. 1800 3

CHAPTER II.
POPULATION EMIGRATION NEWSPAPERS POST-OFFICES [1787-1800.] 20

CHAPTER III.
AGRICULTURE MANUFACTURES MERCANTILE AFFAIRS [1787-1805.] 30

CHAPTER IV.
DOMESTIC AND SOCIAL LIFE MANNERS AND MORALS [1790-1810.] 49

CHAPTER V.
SOME LEADING CITIZENS [1800-1810.] 68

CHAPTER VI.
POLITICAL FEUDS, AND DIVISION OF THE FIRST PARISH 90

CHAPTER VII.
THE METHODIST AND BAPTIST CHURCHES CONGREGATIONAL ZEAL FOR THE RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION OF THE YOUNG [1800-1812.] 135

CHAPTER VIII.
EARLY - WOOLEN MANUFACTURES - [1800-1812.] 158

CHAPTER IX.
BEFORE THE WAR [1800-1812.] 181

CHAPTER X.
WAR OF 1812 CANTONMENT AND DEPOT FOR PRISONERS OF WAR [1811-1815.] 192

CHAPTER XI.
THE WAR OF 1812 POLITICAL EVENTS CONCERNING IT THE MILITIA PEACE [1812-1815.] 226

CHAPTER XII.
THE DIVIDED PARISH PASTORATES OF REV. WILLIAM ALLEN AND REV. THOMAS PUNDERSON REUNION [1810-1817.] 262

CHAPTER XIII.
PASTORATE OF REV. DR. HUMPHREY [1817-1823.] 281

CHAPTER XIV.
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1820 AMENDMENT TO THE THIBD ARTICLE OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS ABOLITION OF SEATING THE MEETING-HOUSE [1820-1836.] 305

CHAPTER XV.
THE BERKSHIRE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY FOR THE PROMOTION OF AGRICULTURE AND MANUFACTURES [1807-1830.] 316

CHAPTER XVI.
MEDICAL COLLEGE AND MEDICAL SOCIETIES [1784-1875.] 352

CHAPTER XVII.
DETACHED SUBJECTS [1820-1840.] 377

CHAPTER XVIII.
PROMINENT CITIZENS [1812-1860.] 398

CHAPTER XIX.
CONGREGATIONAL CHURCHES - [1824-1875.] 416

CHAPTER XX.
CHURCHES AND TOWN-HALL [1812-1875.] 435

CHAPTER XXI.
WOOLEN, DUCK, COTTON, PAPER AND FLOURING MILLS [1808-1875.] 465

CHAPTER XXII.
TURNPIKES AUD RAILROADS [1797-1875.] 507

CHAPTER XXIII.
FIRE-DISTRICT AND WATER-WORKS [1795-1875.] 548

CHAPTER XXIV.
BERKSHIRE JUBILEE [1844.] 573

CHAPTER XXV.
BURIAL-PLACES AND CEMETERIES [1754-1876.] 597

CHAPTER XXVI.
THE CIVIL WAR THE SOLDIERS' MONUMENT AND IMPROVEMENT OF THE PARK [1861-1872.] 609

CHAPTER XXVII.
LIBRARIES AND ATHENAEUM 640

CHAPTER XXVIII.
[MISCELLANEOUS [1800-1876.] 662

VOLUME II

 

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The fourteen counties into which Massachusetts is divided are, most of them, distinguished by physical peculiarities, which shape the occupations of their inhabitants, and mould their habits of life and thought; and among these subdivisions of the Commonwealth, in forming which the statute has, often with nicety, followed the demarcations of Nature, not oven the sandy Capo or metropolitan Suffolk hardly even insular Nantucket is marked by features so unlike those of its sister shires as are those which characterize the county of Berkshire.