Grace Greylock Niles.

The Hoosac Valley, its legends and its history online

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Valley were enacted many romances during blossoming May,
while the frogs were piping and croaking near by in the
Ashawagh Swamps. Here the gallant Israel Jones courted
the minister's daughter, Alithea, and they were married in
1767 and began housekeeping in the Fort Tavern, until
their homestead was built on the site of Capt. Clement



East Hoosac Plantation and Adams 191

Harrison's Mansion, east of St. Francis Indian Ledge.
Esquire Israel Jones became deacon of the church and unlike
his Tory father was a Whig in politics.

Two years after Israel Jones arrived in East Hoosac he
had sold seventy-three settling-lots, and Capt. Charles
Baker prepared a Plan of the town and surveyed two hun-
dred farms, containing a hundred acres each. The Plan,
containing the numbers, the positions of farms, and the
names of proprietors, is found in the Town Clerk's Office of
North Adams to-day. The name of Nathan Jones appears
on lot 26, Col. Elisha Jones, Sr., on lot 24, Col. James Otis on
lot 12, and Col. John Murray on lot 10. Ephraim Williams's
mill-lot and settling-lot 24 are now occupied by the city
of North Adams.

A proprietors' meeting was held at the Bunch of Grapes
Tavern in Boston, February 5, 1768, and the General Court
recorded Baker's Plan of East Hoosac. Meanwhile, the
Ephraim Williams Fort Farm and Mills, purchased by Capt.
Elisha Chapin and Moses Graves in 1751 for £350, reverted
to the Williams estate after 1755. In 1770, Esquire Israel
Jones purchased the farm, and his Tory brother, Capt.
Elisha Jones, Jr., bought his mills, and agreed to maintain
them twenty years. Upon the approach of the Revolution
in 1773, however, Jedidiah Hurd purchased the mills and
Capt. Elisha Jones, Jr., joined his father, Col. Ehsha
Jones, Sr., in Canada.

His mill-lot 24 was subsequently advertised for sale as
abandoned land by Samuel Adams, President of the Senate,
John Warren, Speaker of the House, approved by John
Hancock. After a legal hearing, however, Jedidiah Hurd
obtained a deed for the mills from the General Court. His
grandson. Captain Blakeley of St. Paul, Minnesota, a son
of the pioneer settler, Justus Blakeley, of East Hoosac pro-
priety, informed the President of Fort Massachusetts His-



192 The Hoosac Valley

torical Society during 1895 that he held the certified bill
of sale of Ephraim Wilhams's Mills to Jedidiah Hurd from
Capt. Elisha Jones.

The South Village of Adams was settled by Quakers. It
contained ten times as many inhabitants as the North
Village, founded by Congregationalists and Baptists. Old
Pastor Stoughton, in his election sermon during 1688, said
that: "God sifted a whole Nation that he might send choice
grain into the wilderness." After the firing of the first guns
at Lexington, Parson Whitman Welch and his parishioners
of the First Congregational Church of Williamstown, headed
by Capt. Samuel Sloan, faced the British in the Battle of
Bunker Hill. Captain Sloan's subsequent company of
"Musket Men" were chosen from the Hoosac "Minute
Men," and marched with Gen. Benedict Arnold's troops
against Quebec. Captain Sloan's muster-roll ' included the
names of twelve men from East Hoosac, now Adams, and
North Adams; twenty-seven from Williamstown; six from
New Providence, now Stafford Hill, in Cheshire; nine from
Lanesboro and New Ashford; one from Windsor, one from
Sheffield, and a drummer from Boston.

The muster-roll of the first company of East Hoosac
militia contained fifty-one men commanded by Capt. Enos
Parker, son of Oliver Parker, Sr. The New Providence
Independents, residing on Stafford Hill, now Cheshire,
organized a company of forty-one men under Col. Joab
Stafford. They aided the "Fighting Parson," Thomas
Allen, and his Pittsfield parishioners in tumbling down Col-
onel Van Pfister's Tory breastworks and winning the Battle
of Bennington on August 16, 1777. Stafford Hill to-day^
like ancient Sarum of England, is deserted.

After the Americans' evacuation of Ticonderoga on July
5th, until the surrender of the Britishers at Old Saratoga in

' See note 14, at end of volume.



East Hoosac Plantation and Adams 193

October, 1777, a constant line of New England troopers
marched over Hoosac Mountain. The Old Brown Tavern
at Five Points on the side of Hoosac Mountain, and Oliver
Parker's Fort Tavern were crowded day and night. The
latter often had a captain's company to dinner, and it is re-
corded that he served five fat beeves weekly during August,
1777. His two sons, Enos and Didmus, and a nephew,
Giles Parker, all led companies against the British.

Josiah Holbrook, Jr., another East Hoosac patriot, resided
in a log dwelling near the Reuben Whitman homestead on
State Street. He captured a band of thirteen Hessians on
the Walloomsac battle-field, while they were drinking at a
spring. He seized their rifles, and bawled out to his
imaginary comrades: "Come on, here they are!" Thus he
drove them all like unresisting sheep ahead of him to the
American camp. Upon being questioned by General Stark
how he managed to capture such a herd, Holbrook replied:
" I surrounded 'em, Sir ! " ^ Holbrook Street in North Adams
bears his name to-day.

A year after the surrender of the British at Old Saratoga,
East Hoosac was incorporated Adams, in honor of Samuel
Adams, the "Father of the American Revolution," on Octo-
ber 15, 1778, and Jericho, south of Williamstown, was
incorporated Hancock, in honor of John Hancock.

The first town-meeting of Adams took place near the
First Church on the Cross Road, March 8, 1779. Nine-
tenths of the voters resided at the Quaker Village in the
south part of the town. The officers included: Capt. Philip
Mason, moderator; Isaac Arnold, clerk; Capt. Reuben Hin-
man, treasurer; and Capt. Philip Mason, Israel Jones, and
Reuben Hinman, selectmen. On March 22d, Luther Rich,
David Jewell, and Eleazar Brown were chosen assessors;
Elisha Jones, Elias Jones, Gideon Smith (superseded by

' Hamilton Morris, History of North Adams, 185 9-1 860.
13



194 The Hoosac Valley

Justus Blakeley, June 17th), Jonathan Russe, Stephen Smith,
PhiHp Mason, Ruluff White, OHver Parker, Jonathan Hale,
and Daniel Sherman, surveyors of highways; Lemuel
Leavenworth (superseded by Justus Holt, June 17th) and
William Barker, collectors of taxes; Edmund Jenks, Benja-
min Baker, William Smith, Jedidiah Hurd, and John Kilburn,
Committee of Public Safety. The business of the last named
was that of patrolling guard to thwart Tory, British, French,
and Indian spies of American liberty. After the organiza-
tion of Adams two military companies were formed, and the
Cross Road was adopted as the military line separating the
North from the South districts.

At the first town-meeting, the Baptist and Quaker vote
won the day and Parson Samuel Todd of the First Congrega-
tional Church received a minority. He was requested to
relinquish his rights to the minister's lot 48, granted to him
for life in 1766 by the General Court, and soon removed to
Oxford, N. H,, the third town above Hanover, the seat of
Dartmouth College. He did not relinquish his rights to
his farm, and this resulted in religious and political contro-
versies between the settlers of the South Village and the
North Village until the town was divided. North Adams
was incorporated in April, 1878, and the military line running
east and west on the Cross Road was adopted as the boun-
dary between the two towns.

The membership of the Congregational Church decreased
with constant shifting of population and the meeting-house
was abandoned in 1803. Deacon Israel Jones and his wife,
Alithea Todd- Jones, attended the Congregational Church
at Williamstown until the deacon's death in 1828, and he
was buried in the Hemlock Brook Cemetery in Williams-
town. The Second Congregational Church was built in 1827
on The Square in North Adams, opposite the First Baptist
Church. Parson Todd's lot 48 is now occupied by the North



East Hoosac Plantation and Adams 195

Adams Poor Farm, and the dividing line between the two
towns has recently been removed farther south, near the
Adams Poor Farm.

After Parson Todd's resignation in 1779 the people of
the Adams Valley were without a minister until 1782, when
it was voted to raise funds and build a frame meeting-
house, 30 X 38 feet in size, near the corner of Church and
Pleasant streets in the North Village. The building remained
unfinished until the arrival of the Rhode Island Baptists.
Capt. Jeremiah Colgrove from Providence, R. I., was road-
master in 1793, and headed by the Baptist Elder, Amos
Brownson, a millwright and carpenter, fifty men with fifty
yoke of oxen held a "moving-bee" and cleared the stumps
from Church and Main streets. The meeting-house was
hauled down Church Street and set on the northeast corner
of Main and Eagle streets, where it remained unfinished for
thirteen years. Its floor consisted of loose boards, five feet
above the ground, beneath which the pet lambs of the hamlet
assembled during service, and their tinkling bells served as
diversion for many listless young worshippers.

About 1806, the meeting-house was completed and the
Warren Society organized the Baptist Church. Elder Dyer
Stark was installed as first minister, and preached alternately
also at the First Baptist Church of Stamford Hollow on the
upper Mayoonsac in Vermont. Elder Amos Brownson
frequently preached at the Adams Baptist Church until his
removal from the valley in 18 16. His homestead stood
until 1858 on the comer of Eagle and River streets.

The First Baptist Church was not heated, and each family
carried a foot-stove for warmth during the winter. The
building faced south ; and stairways on each side of the porch
led up to the low gallery. The oblong pews were located
along three aisles leading to the pulpit, and seated about
five hundred people. The old meeting-house is still doing



196 The Hoosac Valley

duty as a furniture shop and tenement on North Church
Street, in the rear of the present edifice, now the fourth
Baptist Church on the site.

The oldest cemeteries in the Adams Valley besides the
' ' God 's Acre ' ' of Fort Massachusetts are First Congregational ,
First Baptist, and Old Quaker churchyards. The oldest
marked gravestone in Adams Intervale is that of Amos Hurd,
on a sand-hill near Hoosac Valley Park, bearing date No-
vember 29, 1759. He was a soldier and perished from cold
and hunger on his homeward march after the Fall of Quebec.

The oldest graves in the First Congregational churchyard
lie beneath the wild cherry trees, south of the gate of the
Hoosac Valley Park, marked by quartzite boulders without
inscription. The oldest marked tombstones are those of
"Capt. R. N. Died Jan. 25, 1793" and "Lydia and Ashael
Ives," who died a century later. Captain Colgrove founded
4 burial-field on Colgrove Hill in 1795, where the members of
the First Baptist Church were buried. A few years ago
their dust was removed to the new cemetery on South
Church Street near the City Poor Farm, in order to make
room for a public park on North Church Street, west of
Drury Academy.

The Society of Friends and their burial-field was organized
in 1 78 1, and a log meeting-house was built. The present
Quaker meeting-house was erected in 1786, a mile west of
McKinley Square in South Village, by the founders, David
Anthony and his son, Daniel Anthony (the father of the
late famous Suffragette, Susan B. Anthony), Isaac Kilby,
Isaac Upton, Joshua and George Lapham, Adam Harkness,
Rufus Hathaway, and others. The first speakers were Rob-
ert Nesbit, Mary Beatty, and David Aldridge.

The machinist, Hayden, of the Notch Valley organized
the First Methodist Episcopal Church about 1795, aided by
the famous revivalist, Lorenzo Dow, who was connected



East Hoosac Plantation and Adams 197

with the Petersburgh Circuit of New York. The Methodist
Church was built in the North Village several years later.

The District School System of Adams proved a serious
problem, and only £3 was voted toward the education of
the first proprietors' children. At the time the Massa-




Old Quaker Meeting-house built in iy86 on the site of the first log meeting-
house at base of Mount Creylock, Adams, Massachusetts. In the Burial-field
west of the meeting-house lie buried many of the pioneer founders of the Adams
Valley hamlets.



chusetts Legislature misappropriated Ephraim Williams's
Free School fund, the Adams citizens raised £150 and estab-
lished several schools. The town in 1793 was divided into
the North and South districts and subdivided later into
smaller districts.

Private tutors were engaged among the Quaker families.
Daniel Anthony taught the District School in the South
Village, and later his daughter, Susan B. Anthony, at the
age of fifteen years, taught the children of Bowen's Comer



198 The Hoosac Valley

at her grandfather's homestead for a dollar a week each.
In this way she earned money enough to complete her edu-
cation at the Friends' Seminary in Philadelphia. It was
little dreamed at the opening of 18 10 that a century later
the North District, now the city of North Adams, would
boast of the best equipped State Normal College in New
England.

With the advent of Samuel Day, Titus Harrison, Truman
Paul, Elisha Baker, and Samuel Kellogg several historic
buildings were built on the Hoosac Road between Williams-
town and Adams. Day built the Blockhouse Inn previous
to 1 780 in the North Village of Adams. At first it was used
as a storehouse for the settlers before the close of the Revo-
lution, and after 1783 it was converted into Block Tavern.
It stood on the southeast comer of Main and State streets,
on the site of Martin Block, and the building was one and
a half stories high, divided into two huge rooms. The first
was like a shed, with a large gate for the entrance of teams
and carry-alls.

According to a record preserved by the President of the
Fort Massachusetts Historical Society, Day's Blockhouse
Inn was built by Capt. Amos Shippee. After the passing
of the old border forts, it became a mid-way lodge for mi-
grating settlers. The bar-room proved a rallying place for
Elder Brownson and parishioners, where each partook of his
"toddy sticks of rock and rye" and discussed Federalism
and Democracy between Shays's Rebellion and the close of
the second revolution in 18 15. One of the most rousing
scenes associated with the inn took place after the election
of President Thomas Jefferson and Vice-President Aaron
Burr in 1801.

The Jeffersonian Democrat members of the Council of
Safety collected the pitch-pine stumps lying about the village
streets and stacked them in front of Block Tavern. They



East Hoosac Plantation and Adams 199

were lighted with a torch and produced a never-to-be-for-
gotten smoke which blackened the front of the inn, after
which the building was known as Black Tavern. The
Cheshire Democrats also expressed their enthusiasm by pro-
ducing the "Great Cheshire Cheese," which weighed 1235
pounds, made from the milk collected in one day from the
farm dairies. The cheese was moulded in a cider press and
required several yoke of oxen to haul it to Hudson ferry
to be expressed to President Jefferson, The Pittsfield
Democrats manifested their joy, too, by ringing "Fighting
Parson Allen's" church bell until they broke the rope.

There were only five other dwellings in "Slab City," now
North Adams, in 1780, including Samuel Day's Blockhouse
Inn and Giles Barnes's, Josiah Wright's, Ely Colton's, and
William Farrand's dwellings near Ephraim Williams's Mills,
at the foot of Main Street. Oliver Parker, Sr., owned a saw-
mill and grist-mill in "Upper Union" on the Alayoonsac,
although a freshet which occurred on April 17, 1780, known
as the "Parker Flood," swept away his mills and 50,000
feet of lumber. The millstone was rolled some distance
down the stream, where it remained visible to travellers for
many years. Later Oliver Parker, Sr., ran Kingsley Place
Tavern and store, where his son, Oliver Parker, Jr., was born
in 1784. All the bridges were destroyed during the great
flood and Landlord Parker brought grain on horseback from
Greenfield, and crossed over three fords to Kreigger Mills in
Williamstown to get it ground, Capt. Amos Shippee
brought salt on horseback also, paying $10 per bushel for
the rare article.

The period between 1783 and 1793 proved to be a trying
one for the settlers of Adams, owing to the heavy taxes.
Several patriots, including Josiah Holbrook, Jr., who fought
heroically for the American cause during 1777, joined Shays's
Rebellion in 1786. After the suppression of Shays's men.



Ilolbnx^k ivtiinitxi to North Adfiins ami it tix^^k fo\ir olVioers
to anvst him and bind him Ivin^ in his Ixxi. Tho Pown
K«.wi\is pn^vo that J^'^ah Ih^lbixx^k. Jr.. tix>k tho f tho Stat tax laid u^xmi tho Adams inhabitants in 1788.
Collootor Olivor Parkor. Sr.. was niimxi tinanoially and sont
to jail by his lx>ndsmon Ixvauso ho was xmablo to oolkx^t
tho apportionoii tax. In spito of his throadlx\n^ ok^thos and
thin-^^lod Kx>ts ho oi^ntiniuxi to occupy tho scat of honor
in the First Baptist Church imtil his death. Thnnigli tho
doprociativMi of tho Continental ''green-lxicks'* many a
wealthy fanner thrvnighout the IKxx>;io \'allov died in
pinorty. They wore rtx^uinxi to jx^y :>Jv> in Continental
sjxvie for a dinrior. Suw* for a siiit of clothes, and the pritv
of a fann for a cow.

The piv^grt^ssive era of Adams lx^gi\n about 1 703. njx^n tho
arrival of tho Rho«.io Island Biiptist manufacturers, including
Capt. Jeremiah Colgiwe and his brotlior-in-law, Elislia
Brv^wn. frv^m Prv^x^don^v. Tho fonner marrio*.! a daughter
of Col. William Watonnan of Williamstown. and ho pn-^^^ie-
siod in 1795 that "Slab City** would Kxx^mo a gxtwt manu-
facturing city. Only eleven dwellings stood in tho North
Village in 1 7v)4. at the time Colgrxn'o and Brown purchased
JodidivHh Hurvi's Mills, and seventy-five acres of land ex-
tending east to Colgrv.^ve Hill. They built a twv>-story
brick grist-mill on the east Ixmk of tho Ashawaghs;\c. now
the site of Pha^nix Mill, and a saw-mill on tho opposite
b:\nk. Daniel Harrington rebuilt Olix^er Parker's Mills
in the ''Upjx^r Union." and Elder Amos Bn^wnsv^n oper-
atovi a s;^w-mill and ^>laner on the Mayot.^ns:^c imtil he 1
removed West in i8i6. The blacksmith. Joseph Darby, ^
ojx^ned a shop on the Notch Road, iuid Da\*id Estes frv^m




j2 '-^ ^

Co ~ '"

2 •« *



^^ -^ J^



•i: f~-i 'J^



'" s - <



a ~ V






201



202 The Hoosac Valley

Connecticut opened a mill at the same time as Colgrove and
Brown.

Landlord David Darling during 1616 sold the Black
Tavern to Alphine Smith, who kept open hostelry during
the stage-coach days until 1836. He dispensed rye and
Indian corn-bread, baked beans, pumpkin pie, Cheshire
sage cheese, cider brandy, and sparkling water from the
hillside springs. He purchased the site of his North
Adams House of Capt. Jeremiah Colgrove in 1836. In
1838 Nathaniel Hawthorne mentions the place in his
American Note-Book as the "Whig Tavern." The site is
now occupied by the Wilson House.

During 1 815, Captain Colgrove induced his father-in-law.
Col. William Wrtemian of Williamstown, to build the
Waterman Tavern on the southwest comer of Alain and
State streets. In 1829, James Wilbur, son of Jeremiah
Wilbur, Sr., of the Notch Valley, purchased the place. He
repaired the house and added a front porch with pillars and
a fountain on the lawn facing Main Street. The inn was
in 1835 considered among the finest in Northern Berkshire.
About 1866, the Wilbur Tavern was purchased and re-
modelled by A. E. Richmond and is known to-day as the
Richmond House.

Greylock Tavern in the South Village was built by
Ephraim Bassett before the Revolution. It was later pur-
chased by the Harteau family, and became famous for its
social balls. During 1825, General La Fayette was a guest
at the Harteau Mansion on the Bluff, where it is reported
that he fell in love with a beautiful x\merican girl who
was engaged to an officer of Washington's army. The
Harteau Mansion and Greylock Tavern descended to Henry
Harteau and his \\-ife, who were know*n as "Lord and Lady
Bountiful." After the death of "Lord Bounriful" the
tavern was closed for manv vears. It has recentlv been



East Hoosac Plantation and Adams 203

reopened by "Lady Bountiful," who has returned from
Europe. Rufus Hathaway's homestead and several other
regulation houses that were used as inns still stand in the
shadow of Old Greylock on the Raven Rock trail leading
over the Ragged Mountains.

Fort Massachusetts Meadow is at present surrounded by
factory smoke-stacks, church-spires, and school-towers. As
early as 1770, Israel Jones began to plough down the mounds
' marking the site of the palisade of forest staddles set by
I Capt. Ephraim Williams and his men in 175 1. At the time
of Jones's death in 1828, all traces of the barracks and gar-
den had vanished, except for a few surviving horse-radish
plants.

Capt. Clement Harrison of Williamstown purchased the

Fort Meadow in 1829, and in 1852 Arthur Latham Perry

recovered the tombstone of Elisha Nims from the ploughed

field on the site of the "God's Acre," and it is now on exhi-

I bition at Clark Hall, Williamstown. In 1858, only a stone-

: heap and sheep-shed marked the site of the barracks where

' Albert Hopkins, Arthur Latham Perry, and Capt. Clement

Harrison located the fort well. It was covered with a flat

slate stone and contained brick, cooking utensils, and the

pole-hook of the ancient well-sweep.

A party of Williams students joined Professors Hopkins
and Perry in 1858 and planted a sapling elm, although it
died, as did the second elm planted in 1859. Professor
Perry later transplanted the present elm from the river
bank. It was christened "Perry Elm" by the Fort Massa-
chusetts Historical Society.



CHAPTER X

SAMUEL ROBINSON AND HISTORIC BENNINGTON

I749-I815

Time rolls his ceaseless course. The race of yore
Who danced our infancy upon their knee,

And told our marvelling childhood legend's store
Of their strange ventures happ'd by land and sea.
How arc they blotted from the things that be!

Isaac Jennings, Memorials of a Century.
Robinson Family-Surveys of Bennington and Pownal, 1749-1760-^,1,
tary Propnetors-Mills-Churches-Schools-Town-Mectings-Militi,
— Taverns -Safford Mills-Irish-Corncr- Little Rhode Island-
Haviland Mills-Sage City-Algiers-Burial-Fields of Walloomsac.

CAMUEL ROBINSON, the first settler of Bennington, was
^ captain of the Hardwick company in Colonel Ruggles's
Massachusetts regiment during the campaigns of 1755" and
1756. On his homeward march from Lake George during
the autumn of 1756, he lost the main Hoosac trail and turned
up the Walloomsac Pass. He and his men pitched their
tents near the site of the Old Red Bridge on the Manchester
Road, at the base of Bennington Hill, where the Battle
Monument now casts its shimmering reflection in the shallow
waters of the stream.

The Robinson family of New England descended from
Samuel Robinson, Sr., of Bristol, Eng., who located at Cam-
bridge, Mass., in 1680. His son, Samuel Robinson, Jr.,
was born in 1707, and after his marriage to Mary Leonard
settled in Hardwick, from which town he migrated to I
Bennington in 1761. He was a lineal descendant of the
Rev. John Robinson, the first minister of the Pilgrims'

204



i Samuel Robinson and Historic Bennington 205

i Ley den Church of Holland. The latter was foremost among
I the Separatists or Brownists, who met with Clyfton, Morton,
Bradford, Smith, and others in 1606 at Brewster's Manor-
house, the "Post of Scrooby," of the Archbishop of York,
near the junction of the river Ryton with the Idle, and
organized a Separate Church "estate in Ye felowship of
(Ye gospell."'

The first colonial settlements of New York and New
England were made by Protestant Dutch Boers, French
Walloons, and English Pilgrims from HoUand between 161 1
and 1624. Between 1749 and 1777, Captains Seth Hudson,
Gent., Samuel Robinson, Thomas Jewett, and other lineal
descendants of Henry Hudson's crew of the Half-Moon
and the Rev. John Robinson's Leyden Pilgrims of the ship
Mayflower, settled in Williamstown, Pownal, Bennington,
and Shaftsbury, bordering the Twenty-Mile Line of Dutch
Hoosac between New York, Massachusetts Bay, and New
Hampshire Grants.

The original founders of Bennington and Pownal were



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