Abbildungen der Seite

high reputation. There are seven churches in Pittsfield, and about 8,000 inhabitants.


Western View of Pittsfield. As seen from the bridge on the New Lebanon road, underneath which the Western Railroad passeg. The Western Railroad Depot, the Car House, the spire of the Catholic Church, and the American House, appear on the left. On the right, in the distance, is seen the ancient

elm of Pittsfield, standing

at its first settlement. The First Congregational and the Free Churches, appear eastward of the Berkshire and United States Hotel. The spires of the Baptist and Methodist Churches are seen in the central part.

The following inscriptions are copied from monuments in the graveyard:

Rev. Thomas ALLEN, first minister of Pittsfield. Born Jan. 17, 1747, ordained April 18, 1764, died Feb. 11, 1810, aged 67 years. When told he could not live, he said, " Live, I am going to live forever!"

Joshua DANFORTH, who died Jan. 30, 1837. An officer of the Revolution. He served under Washington throughout the War of Independence. Among the civil_Fathers of Berkshire, eminent for his virtues, Honored by the people, beloved by all. He was Post Master of Pittsfield 43 years. Faithful and laborious in every variety of official station, he nobly filled up the measure of duty to his country. With the patriarchs of the Revolution, and the dead in Christ, he now rests, having fully declared his faith for eternal Salvation in him who is the Resurrection and the Life.

In memory of WOODBRIDGE LITTLE, Esq., who died June 21, A. D. 1813, aged 72. Mr. Little had no issue; he gave liberally to his poor relations and friends. To the support of publie worship and to missionary exertions. Those educated at Williams' College, by his Charity, will, through future ages, celebrate his Christian benevolence. He whose wealth is spent in works from which all may derive some comfort in this world of woe, holds no mean rank in public estimation.

This monument, the avails of the steady industry and careful economy, of SAMUEL HARTFORD and Aunt Rose, his faithful wife, was raised to their memory by her Administrator. They were born in slavery, and became free by their honest carriage. "Act well your part, there all the honor lies.”

William Miller, the teacher of the ancient doctrines concerning the second personal appearance of Christ upon earth, known as Mil

lerism, was born in this town in 1771, and was educated as a farmer. Before his death, which took place in 1849, at the age of 78 years, he acknowledged his crror in predicting the time of the end.

"About the year 1826, almost simultaneously with Joe Smith's annunciation of his pretended visions, Mr. Miller began to promulgate his peculiar views concerning prophecy. It was not until 1833, that he commenced his public ministry on the subject of the approaching Millennium. Then he went forth, from place to place, throughout the northern and middle states, boldly proclaiming the new interpretation of Scripture, and declaring that Christ would descend in clouds, the true saints would be caught up into the air, and the earth would be purified by fire, in 1843. No doubt Mr. Miller was sincere. He labored with great fervor; and during the 10 years of his ministry, he averaged a sermon every two days. As the time for the predicted consummation of all prophecy approached, bis disciples rapidly increased. Large numbers embraced his doctrine, withdrew from church-fellowship, and banded together as The Church of the Latter Day Saints. Other preachers appeared in the field. The press was diligently employed; and an alarming paper, called The Midnight Chy, was published in New York, embellished, sometimes, with pictures of beasts, and the image seen by the Babylonian emperor in his dream; at others with representations of benignant angels. The office of that publication was the head-quarters of the sect, and the receptacle of a large amount of money continually and bountifully contributed by the disciples, even up to the very evening before the last day,' in the autumn of 1843. The excitement became intense. Many gave up business weeks before. Some gave away their property to the managers of the solemn drama. Families were beg. gared, and weak men and women were made insane by excitement, and became inmates of mad-houses. The appointed day passed by. The earth moved on in its accustomed course upon the great highway of the ecliptic. The faith of thousands gave way, and infidelity poured its slimy flood over the wrecks. And these were many-very many. Full 30,000 people embraced the doctrine of Miller, and had unbounded faith in his interpretation of all prophecy. In the course of a few veeks the excitement subsided, and soon the rushing torrent dwindled into an almost imperceptible rill.

The town of Williamstown, in Berkshire county, forms the northwest corner of Massachusetts. It is situated in a fertile valley, surrounded by lofty, mountainous elevations, and watered by the Hoosic and Green Rivers, which unite here and add much to the romantic beauty of the place. The village in the central part of the town consists of some 50 or 60 dwellings, and the buildings connected with Williams' College. It is situated about 20 miles N. from Pittsfield ; 45 from Northampton; 135 from Boston, and 34 from Troy, N. Y.

The town was first settled about 1751, and was called Hoosic by the Indians. Nehemiah Smedley, William and Josiah Hosford, and some other young men, came to prepare for themselves and families a settlement here, but were interrupted by the hostilities of the Indians. Returning to Connecticut, they enlisted in a company to protect the frontiers, and came again, with other settlers, to this place, and garrisoned a fort, which stood a few rods from the present meeting-house, and also a block-bouse, near the West College. The inhabitants were exposed to frequent alarms. In July, 1756, Capt. Chapin and two other persons were killed, and sev. eral carried into captivity. The dangers nearly ceased at the close of the French

Williams' College, founded in 1790, was incorporated in 1793, and held its first commencement in 1795, on the first Wednesday in September. It received its name in honor of Col. Ephraim Williams, who was afterward one of the first settlers of Stockbridge. He was born at Newton, in 1715, and in early life was a


sailor, and made various voyages to Europe. In 1740 his attention was turned to military life, and he served as captain of a company raised for service against Canada. On the breaking out of the war anew, in 1755, he had command of a regiment which was ordered to join the forces under Gen. Johnson, raised in New



Williams' College, Hilliamstown. The view shows the College buildings as they appear from the cast, on the North Adams road. Chapel is seen on the right, Jackson Hall and the Observatory on the left. York, to oppose the advance of the French from Canada. On his way to the army, in July, 1755, he made his will in Albany, by which he bequeathed a tract of land, in Massachusetts, as a foundation " for the support of a free school in a township west of Fort Massachusetts ; provided said township fall within Massachusetts after running the line between Massachusetts and New York, and provided the said township, when incorporated, be called Williamstown." The tract thus devised, consisted of about two hundred acres, in the town of Hoosic, anted him by the general court of Massachusetts for his military services.

Col. Williams, advancing with a large body of soldiers to attack the French advanced guard of Baron Dieskau's invading force, fell into an ambuscade in the neighborhood of Lake George, and was killed. By his will, his executors were directed to sell

his lands and apply the interest of the proceeds, with that of certain bonds and notes, for the purposes of a free school. In 1785, an act of the legislature was procured, incorporating a body of trustees" of the donation of Ephraim Williams, for maintaining a free school in Williamstown." William Williams was elected president, and Rev. Seth Smith, treasurer. “Additional funds were solicited ; a committee was appointed to erect a school-house, which, completed in 1790, is now the West College of the institution."

The school was opened in October, 1791, under Mr. Ebenezer, afterward Rev. Dr. Fitch, of Connecticut. It consisted of two departments—an academy or grammar school, and an English free school. A considerable number of students resorted to it, from Massachusetts and the neighboring states, and even from Canada. In 1793 the legislature erected the school into a college. The Eastern College, standing on the eastern eminence in the principal street, about 60 rods from the other, was erected in 1797 and 1798, from funds derived from lands granted by the legislature. The buildings now consist of A large brick edifices, for students, and an astronomical observatory, said to be the first in the United States.

Adams, a flourishing manufacturing town in Berkshire county, having a population of upward of 6,000, contains two villages, about six

miles apart, North and South Adams. Saddle mountain, the highest in the state, is near North Adams. Fort Massachusetts, built during the French and Indian war, stood in the vicinity.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES, ETC. Capt. Miles Standish, the fighting man of the Plymouth colonists—the Hero of New England-was diminutive in person, and ardent in disposition. Hubbard, the historian, said of him: "A little chimney is soon fired: so was the Plymouth captain-a man of very small stature, yet of a very hot and angry temper." He was a soldier by profession, and the colonists relied much on his military skill and personal bravery, in their difficulties with the Indians. He finally settled in Duxhury, where he died in 1656. A place near the site of his residence is called “Captain's Hill” to this day.

William Brewster, the first preacher to the Plymouth colonists, and, therefore, the first in New England, commonly called “ Elder Brewster," was born in Eng land, in 1560, and educated at Harvard. He eventually joined the society of Puri. tans, under the pastoral care of Rev. John Robinson, who made his house their place of Sabbath worship. He was imprisoned for his religious principles; but, being set at liberty, he emigrated to Leyden, in Holland, and was chosen elder in the church there over which his old pastor presided. Mr. Robinson remaining behind, Mr. Brewster accompanied his flock of Pilgrims to Plymouth, where for nine years he rendered services in their church, preaching twice every Sabbath; but never could be persuaded to administer the sacraments.

John Carver, the first Governor of Plymouth, and unanimously elected, administered the government with great skill one year, when he died. William Bradford succeeded him. In the beginning of 1622, while the colony was subjected to the horrors of a distressing famine, he received a threatening message from Canonicus, sachem of the Narragansetts, expressed by a bundle of arrows, tied with the skin of a snake. The governor sent back the skin, stuffed with powder and ball, which so terrified the Indians that they returned it without inspecting the contents. Mr. Bradford was, with a few exceptions, annually chosen governor until his death, in 1657, aged 68 years. Edward Winslow, one of the most accomplished men of the colony, was elected governor at times when Bradford declined serving. He acted as commercial agent of the colony, and finally returned to England, where he was so highly esteemed that public duties were thrust upon him, so that he never returned to America. He married Mrs. White, the widow of Wm. White, and only two months a widow. She gave birth to Peregrine White, the first white child born in New England, after her marriage to Mr. Winslow.

John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts under the charter, was bera in England, in 1587. Among the most wealthy of the Puritans, he converted his property into money, and emigrated to America in 1629, having been chosen gorernor before his departure. He held his first court under a large tree in Charlestown, at which time the subject for consideration was “a suitable provision for the support of the Gospel.” Benevolence was the great trait in his character, and he tempered the severity of the law with mercy to offenders. It was his custom to send his servants on trifling errands among the people at meal-time, that he might ascertain and then supply the wants of the needy from his own abundance. The benevolent disposition of this good man and upright magistrate, led him to bestow his charities so abundantly that he died quite poor at the age of 61 years.

John Eliot, commonly called "the Apostle to the Indians," was a native of England. He came to Massachusetts in 1631, and settled in the ministry at Rox. bury. About the year 1646, he began his labors among the Indians in his vicinity. Having, after great labor, learned their language, he translated the whole Bible into the Indian language. This Bible was printed in 1664, at Cambridge, and was the first Bible ever printed in America. He also translated the "Practice of Piety," "Baxter's Call to the Unconverted "-beside some other smaller works

into the Indian tongue. In the course of his labors, Mr. Eliot passed through many scenes of danger and endured many hardships. He died in 1690, aged 86 years.

Cotton Mather, D.D., F.R.S., a celebrated minister and writer, was born in Bos. ton, in 1663. He was distinguished for his early piety, unequaled industry, vast learning, and, to a certain extent, for credulity. He probably did more than any other man to promote the spread of that fearful delusion known as the Salem Witchcraft." No person in America had so large a library, or had read so many books, or retained so much of what he did read. His publications amounted in number to three hundred and eighty-two. His great work was his Magnali Christi Americana; or, Ecclesiastical History of New England from its founding to the year 1698. This work, though pedantic in style, has rescued many important facts from oblivion. He died in 1728, aged 65 years. His father, Increase Mather, was a celebrated divine, a bold asserter of freedom, and at one time president of Harvard University. Although he shared in the universal belief of the day in witchcraft, yet his tender heart revolted against the cruel persecutions of those accused, and, by pen and tongue, he was among the most efficient instruments in the final suppression of legal proceedings.

John Hancock, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was the son of a clergyman, and was born at Braintree, Mass., in 1737, and educated at Harvard.

He became the most wealthy merchant

in the prov

John Hancool


ince, and one of the most elegant and accomplished

of his time. He was renowned for

his liberality, hospitality and noble public spirit. He was consulted when it was contemplated to burn Boston to expel the enemy. He answered that, although a great part of his fortune consisted of buildings within it, yet if its destruction would be useful to his country, it should forth with be set on fire. As the presiding officer of a public body, he was unsurpassed. In 1775 he was considered such a great rebel that the British government offered a large reward for his person. In 1776 he had the honor of being president of that immortal assembly which signed the Declaration of Independence. When he affixed his name to that instrument, in that bold, noble hand so well known to every American, his heart was in the act, and he exclaimed, “The British Ministry can read that name without spectacleslet them double their reward!" In the year 1780 he was elected the first governor of Massachusetts under the new constitution. He died in 1793, in the 56th year of his age, and would have died poor, so entirely did he neglect his private affairs in his country's good, but for his originally large fortune.

Elbridge Gerry, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born at Marblehead, July, 1744. He graduated at Harvard College in 1762, and soon after

entered into commercial pursuits, in which he acquired a fortune. He was governor of Massachusetts, minister to France, and in 1811 he was elected vice president of the United States. He died at Washington,

Nov. 23, 1814. The term Gerrymander originated at the time he was governor of Massachugetts, and from the circumstance that one of the political parties, to give their own the ascendency in the legislature, made a political division of the senatorial districts in violation of geographical propriety.



« ZurückWeiter »