the Hoosac River, between Williamstown and North Adams. It was built of logs, armed with a few old swivels, and surrounded by a stockade of pickets. Ephraim Williams immediately entered the service, with the commission of captain. In the desultory guerrilla warfare which followed, he is said to have shown himself an admirable fighter. He appears to have held only subordinate positions, until June 2, 1747, when he was put in command of the reconstructed Fort Massachusetts, which the enemy had captured and destroyed during the preceding summer. "You will not forget to keep a scout east and west" — so ran the order assigning him to the post— "which the men of your company are so well adapted for." The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle brought this war to a close in 1748, though a splutter of hostilities continued along the border for some time after the articles of peace had been signed. Williams lived mostly at Hatfield during the interval before the conflict revived again in 1755, when he took the field in command of a regiment, marched to Albany, joined the expedition against Crown Point under Sir William Johnson, and on the 8th of September was killed in a skirmish near Lake George.
While he was in Albany, before the expedition got under way, moved it may be by some presentiment of coming fate, Williams made his will, and devised the bulk of his property to the establishment of a free school in Williamstown. He became greatly interested in the hardy pioneers of northern Berkshire, and was anxious to do something to mitigate their lot. No man knew better than he the privations to which they were exposed. Cut off from the world, with the scantiest opportunities for education and culture, their condition appealed strongly to him. He seems to have talked with some of them on the subject, presumably when he was in command of Fort Massachusetts. At all events, they were not surprised by the contents of his will. As he had no family of his own — an early disappointment in love drove all thought of marriage from his mind — he made their children his own, and, so far as lay in his power, provided for their education.
Rev. Zephanish Swift Moore.
It was thirty years after the death of Col. Williams before any serious steps were taken to establish the free school. The proprietors of West Hoosuck, as Williamstown was then called, voted in May, 1765, to "choose Benjamin Simonds a committee to get a copy of the will"; but the document does not appear to have interested them so much as they expected. June 15 and again Oct. 8 they discussed in town meeting the question of appointing a committee in regard to "the affairs of Col. Williams willing land or money toward a free school in West Hoosuck"; and on both occasions they "voted this article dismissed."
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