Steeples : Sketches of North Adams

The Berkshire Book

Adams and North Adams.

Adams and North Adams.

From New England Magazine

Adams & North Adams

By Clinton Q. Richmond.

The settlement of a new country always follows the lines of the least resistance. When the actual peopling of this country began, we find the first settlements on the shores of the best and most accessible harbors. Then the settlers began to creep up the waters of the most navigable rivers and to plant their homes along their banks. By this process there were often left large tracts of country, thickly settled to-day, which for many years lay unoccupied, while on either side might be found considerable populations.

Such was the state of affairs in the region which is now Berkshire County, in Massachusetts. Very early the English settlers appeared at the month of the Connecticut. Towns on its banks, such as Springfield, Northampton and Hatfield, were founded early in the seventeenth century. Old Hadley was settled, had its churches and schools and its struggles with Indians, scores of years before such a town as Adams, which is only fifty miles to the west in a direct line, was ever dreamed of. On the west the situation was much the same. The Dutch had early ascended the Hudson. Albany had been founded in 1623. The Van Rensselaers, the lords or patroons of Rensselaerwyck, had lived and received tribute for a hundred years or more before there was a white settler at the foot of Greylock, only fifty miles to the east.

Of course the geography of the country was responsible for this condition of things. So long as there were fertile river banks to be occupied, there was little inducement to cross the wild mountain ranges which protect Berkshire on either hand. To the Indians the country was well known. Their trail from the

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams.
By kindness of Foster Bros.

These pages are edited and adapted from the original publication
© Laurel O’Donnell, 2006, all rights reserved
Copying these pages without written permission for the purpose of
republishing in print or electronic format is strictly forbidden
This page was last updated on 09 May 2006