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HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
Gift of Ike PUBLISHER
ORIGIN AND GENERAL HISTORY, - - p.
John Winegar and the Indian, - - 4
The first fourteen Families and their Locations - 5
Nathan Foote and the Royal Oak, - - 5
Asahel Foote rode a Stringpiece, - - 6
THE FIVE GRANTS, - - - - 6
Hopland Grant, - - - - 6
Watson's Grant, - - - - 5
Williams' Grant, - - - - 8
Laraby's Grant, _ - - - 8
Glassworks Grant, - - - - 8
CHARTER, - - - - 9
First Town Meeting, - - - - 11
WARS, - - - - 11
Revolutionary War, - - - - 12
Shay's War, . - - 13
Mrs. Perry's Victory, - - - - 14
Scouting Parties, - - - - 15
War of 1812, . - - , 15
OIVIL HISTORY, - - - - 16
Table of Clerks, Selectmen, Representatives, and Votes for
Governor, - - - - 17
Senators from Lee, - - - - 20
PROFESSIONAL MEN, - - - - 21
Ministers, Justices, and Lawyers, - - 21
Physicians, . - - - 22
Post-Masters, - - - - 28
EDUCATION, - - - - 28
Origin of Hopland School Fund, - - 24
Hopland Charter, - - - - 26
College Graduates from Lee, ... 28
HEALTH, ... - 29
First Birth, Publishment, Marriage, and Death, - 29
1|)MANUFACTURES, * - - - - 29
Woolen Manufactures, - - . 80
Paper Manufactures, ... - 30
Lee Bank, .... 31
Stores and Shops, - . . . n
Public-Houses, . . . . 31
AGRICULTURE, - - . - p. »«
MINERAL RESOUECES, . . - ss
ECCLESIASTICAL, . 84
Early Religious History of the Town, - - 84
First Meeting-House, ... 85
Congregation al Church, . - - s^
Methodist Church at South Lee, - - - tO
Baptist Meeting at South Lee, - - - 89
Methodist Church in Lee Centre, - - - 41
Free-Will Baptist Church, - - - 41
Baptist Church in Lee, - _ - 42
Roman Catholics, ... 42
ASSOCIATIONS, - - - 4s
Freemasons, - - - 48
Odd Fellows, - - . 4^
Savings Bank, . _ _ 4g
Young Men's Association, . , _ 44
CONCLUSION, - , - 4Q
HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF LEE, MASS.
DELIVERED BEFORE THE YOUNG MEN'S ASSOCIATION, OF LEE,
MARCH 22d, 1854.
BY REV. AMORY GALE.
PRINTED BY FRENCH & BOYCE. 1854.
March 28, 1854.
Rev. Amory Gale:
Dear Sir, — In behalf of the Lee Young Men’s Association, I would respectfully solicit a copy of your interesting Lecture on the History of Lee, recently delivered before our Association, for publication.
Very respectfully yours,
James T. Leonard, Secy.
J. T. Leonard, Esq.:
Your kind note of the 28th inst., requesting for publication a copy of the Lecture which I had the pleasure of presenting before your useful Association, a few evenings since, lies before me. I cheerfully comply with your request, not because it is what I wish it was, but because it contains information relative to the early history of Lee, which can be handed down to posterity in no surer way than on the printed page.
That the perusal of this Address may incite the young men of Lee to imitate the unbending integrity and sterling virtues of our fathers, and that your Association may continue to exert its elevating and instructive influence upon the masses of our people, is the sincere wish of
March 24, 1854
HISTORY OF LEE.
In selecting a subject for a Lecture this evening, I could think of none that could interest and instruct the members of the Young Men's Association, more than a History of Lee, I cannot hope to present anything upon this subject but what is within the reach of you all. The want of time, however, has probably prevented the most of you from investigating this subject, and thereby making yourselves familiar with the history of our town. The fathers are dead, and their sons are rapidly passing away, and unless our history is
' soon written, it will be too late. The sources of my information have been the Records of the town, and the scraps of historic facts that have been handed down from father to son. The citizens generally have very kindly furnished me with what knowledge they respectively had upon the subject. Allow me, however, to acknowledge my special obligations to R. Hinman, F. Sturgis, H. Bartlett, and Lemuel Bassett, Esqrs., for valuable information presented in this Lecture, I propose to divide this subject into 1 Divisions.
I. ORIGIN AND GENERAL HISTORY.
Less than one hundred years since, the territory now included in this town was a howling wilderness. With the exception of a few families of the Stockbridge tribe of Indians, cultivating small patches upon the banks of the
Housatonic, "Nature in all her solemn wildness reigned supreme." No voice of the White man echoed through these native forests; no hum of business was heard; no skillful work of Art or Science was seen. The majestic oak and genteel spruce reared their lofty heads with fearless defiance. The wild turkey and fearful eagle found here their native home. The wolf and the wild cat roamed our mountains unseated; the savage bear and bounding deer had possession
4 The STORY OF LEE. of our mountain glens and alluvial valley unmolested, save by an occasional dart, necessary to bring the needed fare to the Indian wigwam. Our noble river, rich valley, and mountain peaks, rendered this a favored home for the romantic lived Man of the forest. Here he was " monarch of all he surveyed.
For twenty years the White man had lived in Tyringham, Stockbridge, New Marlborough, and Alford; and for thirty years he had been in Great Barrington, Sheffield, and Egremont.
Such was the state of things here in 1760, when Isaac Davis moved on to the farm now owned by John M'Allister, in the south part of the town, where he built the first frame house that was erected in Lee.
During the ten years from 176O to 1770, only thirteen families had moved into town. They lived in small log houses, mostly located upon our mountain sides. No roads or bridges had then been built. Marked trees served for the former, and a tree fallen across the river served for the latter.
In 1770, John Winegar, of German origin, grandfather of our citizen of that name, came into town, and built the first grist-mill in this region. It was located a few rods above Royce & Hulbert's paper mill. His log house, the eleventh log house in Lee, was built against a perpendicular rock on the east side of the road as we pass around the cove beyond the mill. That rock served as the back part of the house and chimney, which was so constructed that the wood could be drawn upon the hill in the rear and precipitated down the chimney to the place for the fire; This process saved the time and labor of cutting and splitting the wood. Mr. Winegar, five years afterwards, built another grist-mill, where Royce & M'Laflin's mills now are, and he also erected the dwelling-house in front of them, which is the oldest building in town. When Mr. Winegar built this house, the nearest place that he could find stone for the cellar was on the Pixley Mountain. The leaves and moss in the native forests probably concealed the stone from public view.
When John Winegar was living at Crow Hollow, he was persuaded by an Indian to accompany him upon the mountain to hunt deer. The Indian soon left Mr. Winegar alone, and for three days, in mid-winter, with the thermometer below
zero, he wandered without fire or food, unable to find his home. When found by his friends, his feet and other parts of his body were so badly frozen, as to cause him to be a cripple for life. He, however, recovered sufficiently to attend to his ordinary business. This was deemed a great event in the early history of the town. In 1770, Isaac Davis was living on his farm; Reuben Pixley lived where Dea. Henry
HISTORY OP LEE. 5
Bassett now does; John Goffe the Irishman lived where Kenas Clark now does; Hope Davis in the old orchard about forty-six rods east of May & Dean’s mills; near him lived Aaron Benedict and George Parker; William Chanter the Quaker, commonly known as " Friend William," lived on the Snow farm, next beyond Dea. Culver's; Mr. Atkins lived nearly opposite of the old Shailer tavern, in Cape street ; Lt. Crocker found a home where P. Shailer now resides ; Mr. Dodge pitched his tent on top of the mountain, one and a half miles east of P. Shailer's, which place was afterwards called Dodgetown, Mr. Stanley and others afterwards settled around him. This for many years was the centre of business. Here lived the blacksmith and shoemaker, tanner and currier; and here it was proposed to erect the church. Jonathan Foote occupied a rude structure where Lyman Foote now lives; and Elisha Freeman owned the farm where his grandson, John B. Freeman, now lives. Two rude log huts stood near H. Bartlett's, and in and around this village there were not five acres of cleared land. In one of these log huts lived Prince West. Kunkerpot occupied the Indian wigwam, standing in what is now the Park, and several other rude Indian huts were at the Quarry, occupied the hardy sons of the forest. A log tavern, sixteen feet square, was erected about this time, where Oliver Kellogg now lives, on Mr. Hinman's lot, kept for a time by an uncle of the late Mr. Abner Taylor. You recollect the couplet in the old Primer, "The Royal oak, it was the tree That saved his Royal Majesty." Nathan Foote, the grandfather of this Jonathan Foote, put Charles the Second, king of England, into the oak, to shield him from his enemies; and afterwards, when the king was in a situation to do so, he remembered his preserver, and granted him a tract of land in Connecticut. The Foote family has for their coat of arms, a design representing an oak and Charles the Second, and Nathan Foote endeavoring to assist Charles into the oak.
The men living in the Eastern part of the town were mostly from the Cape, and hence the principal road running through that part of Lee is called Cape street. Most of the others came from Connecticut; and a few families were from Germany.
To contrast the mode of travel then and now, I will state that Capt. Joseph Crocker, who settled on the William Cone farm, moved his family from Cape Cod in an ox cart. He and his aged mother came in advance of the rest of the family, both riding upon the same horse.
6 HISTORY OF LEE.
During the next ten years, from 1770 to '80, many valuable citizens of the town settled here, among whom were Nathaniel and Cornelius Bassett, Jesse Gifford, Jesse Bradley, William Ingersoll, Timothy Thatcher, Oliver and Prince West, Arthur Perry, Samuel Stanley, Amos Porter, Josiah Yale, Ebenezer Jenkins, Nathan Dillingbam, Job Hamblin, and other honored names, of whose memory their children may justly feel proud. They were generally men, intelligent, good, and true, actuated by religious principles, strangers to fear, inured to hardship, strong in body and native intellect. They were peculiarly adapted to pioneer life.
The story of riding a horse across the river upon a string piece of the bridge, I think I am able to state correctly. When Asahel Foote, father to Lyman Foote, left the Revolutionary army, at the proclamation of Peace, he was a young soldier of sixteen years old, of a daring spirit, and when he came to the river near Mr. Ballard's, he found the string pieces had been put into their places, but there was not a plank upon them. He determined to ride his horse upon one of them over the river, in which he was successful.
IL THE FIVE GRANTS.
The town of Lee is made up of five Grants, — Hopland, Watson's, Williams', Laraby's, and Glassworks.
1st. The Hopland Grant is a strip of land extending almost across the southern portion of the own. The northern line commences near the Stockbridge boundary, about half a mile north of William Blake's, running a little north
of J. C. Stephens', and thence nearly with the road to R. Hinman's, and John Baker's in Cape street; thence southerly to the Tyringham line. The name is derived from the great quantity of hops that formerly grew upon the banks of the river which flows down from Tyringham. This territory includes six School districts; the two at South Lee, the one near C. Hinckley's, the two in Water Street, and the one at East Lee. This tract belonged to the town of Great Barrington, in 1777, and was included in this town at the time of its incorporation.
William Ingersoll owned about one quarter of this grant, which was enough to furnish himself and each of his seven sons with Ti farm of no mean dimensions.
2d. The history of Watson's Grant is as follows. In 1757 and '8, Robert Watson of Sheffield, assisted by David Ingersoll, Esq., a Tory lawyer of Great Barrington, purchased of the Indians a tract of land now comprising the town of Lee.
HISTORY OF LEE. 7
Washington, and parts of the towns of Middlefield, Hinsdale, Lenox, and Lee. That portion included in the corporation of Lee was in the eastern and northern parts of the town. Its western line began at the south-east comer of Hopland, running northerly to John Baker's ; thence westerly to near B. Hinman's; and thence northerly following the old road from Mr. Hinman's to the Housatonic river. Mr. Watson purchased this land of Benjamin Konk-ke- we-nau-naut, John Pop-kne-hoil-au-wah, and Robert Nung-hau-wot, Chiefs of the Stockbridge tribe of Indians. What they paid for it I am not able to say, only so far as that a part of the consideration was to be in the "fire water" of that day. They called this territory Watsontown, after the name of its owner.
Soon after this purchase, Mr. Watson sold his title to this grant to a company of sixty men, the most of whom resided in Hartford, Ct. This company divided their land into sixty-three shares, one for each of the proprietors, one for schools, and two for their minister. They also changed the name to Greenock, for what reason I have not been able to learn.
These proprietors soon found that Watson had failed to fulfill the obligations to the Indians; and the Indians, therefore, retained their right to the township now called Greenock. The Greenock company re-purchased of the Indians the town, for which they paid £179 York money; and applied to the Governor of the colony to establish their title to the town.
On the 22d of Dec, 1760, the proprietors held a meeting in Hartford, Ct, and, among other votes passed at that meeting, was the following:—" Voted, That each proprietor shall clear three acres of land on each of his settling lots, girdle seven acres, and build a log house 16 feet square, on or before the 16th day of Oct. next. Barnard, captain-general and commander-in-chief of the province of Massachusetts Bay in N. E., the Honorable his Majesty's Councilors Action on the above petition was delayed till Sept 8, 1763, when "Francis, and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, Jan. 13th, 1762,"granted the petition, and again changed the name of the town to Hartwood. The more common name by which this part of the county was known was "Mount Ephraim." It had borne, therefore, following names — ^Watsontown, Greenock, Hartwood, and Mount Ephraim; by the last of which it was more widely known.
A year before the time of the above action, the Hartford company sold their right in the land to Samuel Brown, Jr. of Stockbridge, and Ephraim Kidder, of Yoakintown (now Lenox) ; and it is probable that Messrs. Brown & Kidder also sold soon after their purchase, as they are not included among the corporators. Nathaniel Hooker, John Townley, and Isaac Shelden, are only mentioned, ynih " their associates, heirs, and assigns." The conditions of this grant are, that they shall pay to the Province Treasurer, within one year, £300. 1-63 of the land shall be held for the use of a school, and 2-63 for a minister, who shall be a Protestant, and settled in town; and within five years they shall have at least sixty households, and each one must have a dwelling 24 by 18, 16 ft. posts, and have seven acres of land well cleared, fenced, and brought to English grass or plowed.
8 ' HISTORY OF LEE, *
The Records of Hartwood contain nothing out of the usual events of town affairs at that time, unless it be the building of a road from the south part of Hartwood to Pittsfield, eight rods wide. From 1762 to 1777, when Washington and Lee were incorporated into towns, Hartwood manifested a commendable interest in the erection of a church, settlement of a minister, and other things laying at the basis of good society.
3d. Williams' Grant, embracing about 650 acres, was Located in the north-west corner of the town. With the exception of 140 acres, the farm now owned by Jonathan Johnson, set off to Stockbridge, this grant was included within the territory of Lee, at the time of its incorporation. The annexation of the "Whelply farm," as it was formerly called, to Stockbridge, accounts for the irregularity of the line between these towns.
Col. Ephraim Williams, the founder .of Williams' college, was an efficient soldier in the second French war, and who fell in his country's service, as commander of a regiment, on the 8th of Sept, 1755, near the shores of Lake George, when only 41 years of age. As a testimony of the high estimation in which his services were held, the authorities granted him, before his death, this tract of land, for many years known as the Williams' grant.
4th. Laraby's Grant was another tract of land included in this town at the time it received its charter. It embraced about 1000 acres, and was located at and about Lenox
John Laraby, to whom this grant was made, was probably a Frenchman, and, in consideration of his valuable services in the Revolution, this land was given to him. For several years, the towns of Lenox and Lee both claimed this grant, when, about thirty years since, Lee voted that Lenox might have it; and thus the controversy was terminated.
5th. The Glassworks Grant is another and important part of Lee. It is located between the other grants, and is bounded by them. It is, therefore, in the central part of the town.
There existed in Boston a company for the manufacture of glass. The colony of Massachusetts Bay, to encourage them in their work, gave them this large tract of land as a bounty. Although it is now the most thickly settled, it was the last of the grants to be bought up by actual settlers. Our fathers loved the mountains, and reluctantly built their rude log huts in our beautiful valley till the skill of the mechanic subdued our river to be a servant of man.
HISTORY OF LEE. 9
Families continued to come on to these grants from Cape Cod, Connecticut, and a few from Ireland and Germany. Among those from the latter country was. Isaac Howk, who settled on the place now owned by John C. Stephens, whose large Dutch barn gave the name to his establishment of The Howie Barracks, and which was a sort of landmark in this region.
There are many incidents of thrilling interest told of these early settlers, which, of themselves, might constitute an interesting theme for an evening's entertainment, but which would swell this lecture to an unpardonable length.
In 1777, the inhabitants of these grants and parts of grants petitioned the General Court of Massachusetts Bay for a Charter of Incorporation, and, in answer to this petition, the following was received, viz.:
"State of Massachusetts Bay, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven. An Act to incorporate the south-westerly part of Washington, the north-easterly part of Great Barrington, or Hoplands so called, the Glassworks grant, and part of "Williams' grant, in the County of Berkshire, into a Town by the name of Lee.
"Whereas it has been made to appear to Court that, the incorporating the south-westerly part of Washington, the north-easterly part of Great Barrington, or Hoplands so called, the Glassworks grant, and part of Williams', into Town, will greatly contribute to the benefit of the inhabitants of the said lands,
"Be it therefore enacted by the Council and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, that the said south-westerly part of Washington, the north-easterly part of Great Barrington, or Hoplands so called, the Glassworks grant, and part of Williams' grant, beginning at the south-east corner of Stockbridge, thence running east 7 degrees south, 632 rods, thence running north 37 degrees east, 617 rods, thence running east 617 rods, thence running east 1204 rods on Tyringham line, thence running north 7 degrees east, 379 rods, thence running north 30 degrees west, 540 rods, thence running south 30 degrees west, 200 rods, thence running north 30 degrees west, 1236 rods, to Lenox line, thence running south 7 degrees east, 808 rods, thence running west 7 degrees north, 686 rods, to Stockbridge line, thence running south 7 degrees west, on Stockbridge line, 1550 rods, to the first-mentioned bounds, containing in the whole 14,237 acres, and they hereby are, incorporated into a town by the name of Lee. And the inhabitants be, and they hereby are, invested with all power, privileges, and immunities, which the inhabitants of other towns within this State enjoy.
10 HISTORY OF LEE.
"And be it further enacted. That Charles Goodrich, Esq., be, and he hereby is, empowered and directed to issue his warrant, directed to some principal inhabitant within the said town, having a free note therein to the value of 40 shillings in amount, or other estate to the value of £40, to meet at such time and place in said town as shall be therein directed, to choose all such officers as are required by law to manage the affairs of the said town. And the officers that may be chosen in consequence thereof, shall hold, and exercise the powers to their respective offices belonging, until the time that shall be appointed for the Town's annual meeting, in
"And be it further enacted. That the inhabitants of the ^aid lands be, and they hereby are, held and enjoined to pay a proportionable part of the State and County taxes of each of the towns to which if they have hitherto been annexed, belonged, or by which they have been taxed, till the further order of this Court.
"In Council, Oct. 17, 1777, This Bill having had two several readings, passed to be engrossed, sent down for concurrence.• John Avery, Secretary, "In the House of Representatives, Oct. 18, 1777, This Bill having been read in the House three several times, passed in concurrence to be engrossed and sent up for concurrence. J. Warren, Speaker, "Consented to by the major part of the Council. A true copy, Attest, J. Avery, Secretary
The name of "Lee" was given to this town in honor of Charles Lee, then a popular major-general in the Revolutionary army.
What the population of the town was at the time of its incorporation I am not able to state definitely. Seven years before, i. e. 1770, when John Winegar came into town, he found only thirteen families living in town, his own making fourteen. For ten years after the incorporation of the town the votes for Governor was from 14 to 24. I think that the number of families could not have exceeded thirty, and the number of voters was not probably over twenty-five. Allowing five persons to a family, Lee had, at the time of its incorporation, 150 souls.
HISTORY OF LEE. 11
According to the provisions of the Charter, the first Town Meeting was held on the 22d of Dec, 1777, about two months after the passage of the Act of Incorporation, at the house of Peter Wilcox, which was a log house, with only one room in it, and that not so large as some of our parlors. That dwelling occupied the place where now stands the house on Main street in which lives Mrs. Smith, the mother of Elizur Smith.
The following is the result of our first Town Meeting; and you will notice that there were 20 offices to be filled and 25 men to fill them:
Moderator — William IngersolL
Town Clerk — Prince West
Selectmen — William Ingersoll, Jesse Bradley, Oliver West,
Amos Porter, Prince West.
Treasurer — William Ingersoll.
Constables — Reuben Pixley and James Pegoner.
Highway Surveyors — Daniel Church, Job Hamblin, John Nye, William Ingersoll.
Tyihingmen — Abijah Tomblinson, Samuel Stanley.
Committee of Correspondence — William Ingersoll, Jes M Bradley, Oliver West.
Leather Sealer — Samuel Stanley.
Our fathers began the settlement of Lee in perilous times. From 1760, when Isaac Davis first settled in town, to 1783, when Peace with England was declared, they were constantly familiar with war and its associations. The second French war was carried on from 1754 to 1763 ; and from that time to 76, they were amidst scenes of defiance to English Rule. Those who came from the Cape had assisted in ducking the English Judge of their Courts in their own briny Bay, and knocking him down with their canes and old French firelocks ; and then again they surrounded the Court-House, and prevented the ministers of Justice from entering it. Those who came from Connecticut had fought the French and Indians. J Vidge Bacon, of Stockbridge, who also preached, and who was among the first that preached in Lee, was from Boston. He disliked the British so badly, that he moved among the B€^ trntMahOf thtft his eye might not fall upon the red coats.
13 HISTORY OF LEE.
Under the political, judicial, and clerical tuition of this man, our fathers were educated for the scenes that were opening upon them. With such an early experience, and adult training, as we might suppose, our fathers were not the men to shrink from their country's service, when it was wanted. Consequently, one of the first acts of the town was to vote seven men for Washington's army ; and at almost every subsequent meeting during the war, the town voted men, horses, money, sheep, clothing, and grain,— such things as were wanted for the army. On several occasions, the town voted a bounty to their soldiers. Thus, in 1779, £210 lawful money, was voted as bounty for this purpose. Lee furnished her full share of men and means for the Revolutionary war. The battle of Lexington was fought on the 19th of April, 1775, two and a half years before Lee was incorporated. The news reached Berkshire on the 20th, at noon. At sunrise the next morning, Col. Pattison, of Lenox, was at the head of his regiment, completely equipped and uniformed, marching to the field of battle. And Col. Fellows, of Sheffield, with equal promptitude, with his regiment, was on his way to Roxbury.
In these movements, the fathers of Lee were not idle spectators* I regret, that I am unable to give the names of all the Lee men who were out in the Revolutionary war. I am told that the following gentlemen were among the number: Jesse Bradley, Eli Bradley, Jesse Gifford, Fenner Foote, Ephraim Sheldon, Joseph Handy, — Tilden, — Totman, John Percival.
Perhaps the year 1780 is a good sample of other years during the war. Dec. 20, 1779, the town voted £210 lawful money, as a bounty to her soldiers in the army, and to such as should enter the service. "June 19, 1780, voted to raise, for a bounty for the same purpose, £108 hard money, and that each soldier should have £12." By this vote, it appears that Lee intended to have nine men in the Continental army. This would be one-quarter of her men. And then, in July, the town voted to give two other men the same that the others had. These eleven men appear to have been what was termed "three months' men, and six months' men." Their regular wages were forty shillings per month. In Nov, "Voted to raise £55 silver money, to be assessed immediately, to purchase beef for the use of the army;" and near the close of the year, we find the following, "Voted to raise seven men, to serve in the Continental army for three years, or during the war." Jan. 8, 1781, it was "voted to raise the sum of £6818, to be assessed immediately. Voted, that grain shall be received for pay, viz., Wheat at $72 per bushel; Rye, $48 per bushel; Indian Com at $26; Oats, $27."then thirty-five families, all of whom would now be considered poor, voting to send one-half of their able-bodied men into Washington's army, voluntarily taxing themselves $35,000 to support these soldiers and their families, and supplying the army with beef. About $2000 of it was to be in hard money, or its equivalent; whilst $33,000 was to be in continental money, or it$ equivalent. Verily our fathers were sincere, when, a year before, they passed the following vote: ** Voted, That we hold ourselves bound to support the civil authority of this State for the term of one year, and bound to obey the laws of this State."
Here we have a little town, three years old, with not much
HISTORY OF LEE. 13
As a specimen of the patriotism of our fathers, allow me to refer you to the acts of two men who came into town at the close of the war. Cornelius Bassett, father of Lemuel, took a lively interest in that contest For a time, he was engaged in privateering. He succeeded in capturing a prize which brought him £100^ and so desirous was he to keep up ' the credit of the State, that he invested the whole of this sum in the depreciating continental money. Afterwards, he exchanged it for a watch, which he gave for the place now owned by Sheriff Pease.
Capt. Amos Porter was a resolute man. He was in the French and Revolutionary wars. He devoted a large property in the support of his company; and when Peace was declared, he led his company of 64 men up to Toucey’s, and treated them each with a bowl of grog, at $60 a bowl, making a bill of $3840.
Jesse Bradley, then only 14 years of age, enlisted under Col. Brown, and was at the battle of Fort Stanwix. In the confusion of the defeat, an Indian chased Jesse for several miles, when the lad turned around, and fired in the direction of the Indian. Not being troubled any more with his pursuer, Mr. Bradley, through life, looked back to the event with some compunctions of conscience, fearing that he might have killed a man.
These, and many other incidents of a similar character, indicate the generous patriotism of these lovers of freedom and of their country.
At the close of the war, many valuable families moved into this town ; most of whom sleep among the thronged dead, but who have left to their children the best of all patrimony, a legacy of strict morality, stern integrity, and untiring industry. At this time, a minister, Mr. Parmeley, their first pastor, was settled. Mr. C. Bassett and Major Dillingham erected the Red Lion, on Mr. Pease's lot, which was used for a tavern for fifty years. This was the first two-story house built in Lee, and I am told that in it was the first store in Lee, kept in the buttery. Job Hamblin went to Boston to get
a k>ad of salt, and it required forty days to make the journey.
14 HISTORY OF USB.
At the close of the war, in 1783, the people found themselves overwhelmed in debt. Massachusetts came out of the war with a debt of £3,050,000, including her proportion of the national debt. This with private debts necessarily contracted by men engaged in the war, for the support of their families, and their own personal affairs having been for so long a time neglected, disaffected the minds of many. They were unwilling to embarrass themselves farther with enormous taxes. This originated what is called the Shay's war.
The people in this county were the first ^ to put a stop to Courts" at the commencement of the Revolution. No Probate courts were held here from 1774 to 1778, and during the last two of these years, no deeds were recorded. With this contempt of courts, as we might suppose, the people reluctantly consented to have Courts of Justice set within their bounds. In 1786, there were 800 of Shay's* men assembled in Great Barrington, under arms; and soon after, a company of 250 assembled in Lee, composed of men of Lee and vicinity. This company finally concentrated their finances on the Perry place, in Cape street, which Dea Culver now owns. Gen. Pattison, at the head of the Government forces, came from Stockbridge, and took his position on Mr. Hamblin's hill, upon the opposite side of the Greenwater River. This hero had engaged Dr. Sargent, with a company of assistants, as the surgeons of his army, who occupied Lyman Foote's house. And while the army was preparing for battle, the surgeons were tearing up sheets and other linen for bandages for the wounded, preparing tables, blocks, and other necessary things pertaining to their work. Gen. Pattison's men had cannon, but the Shay's men had none. To supply this deficiency, the Shay's men put Mrs. Pcny's yam- b^im upon a pair of wheels and drew it up back of the house. The rttxurod, and other appendages for cannon in actual service, were exhibited to their enemies in the most impressive way. The ignited tar-rope was freely swung in the air, and the men were running in every direction to put everything in order for battle; and when Peter Wilcox, their leader, with a stentorian voice, heard by their enemies, gave the order to Jire the valiant Pattison, with his men, fled for life before Mother Perry's old beam. Peter Wilcox and Austin were arrested for treason, and cast into our County prison, where they lay for several months. Their wives were allowed to visit them occasionally, carry to them articles of food. On one occasion, these women carried to their husbands a loaf of bread, in which was the saw used in: amputating the frozen feet of John
HISTORY OF LEE. 15 Winegar.
Early the next month, Wilcox and Austin, haying sawed off the irons upon their feet, passed out of prison habited in their wives' clothes. When the jailer canned in breakfast to his prisoners, the men were gone, and in their place were their wives, dressed in men's clothes, who were soon after released.
Peter Wilcox repaired to a cave on Henry Bowen's farm, in the rear of the Academy, where his friends fed him till the civil authorities withdrew the prosecution. The cave to this day is known as Peter's cave."
As another illustration of the patriotism of the women of Lee, I will allude to another incident, which, at that time, caused no little merriment The house now occupied by Lyman Foote was the headquarters of the Shay's party for some time after " Mother Perry's victory." The Court party concentrated their forces in Stockbridge. Most of our fathers and mothers sympathized with the Shay's party. Scouting parties from Stockbridge frequented the farm of Mr. Foote, for the purpose of arresting those who had driven them from Hamblin's hill. This became intolerable to the Shay's party, and they were determined to stop it.
Lovice Foote and Sarah Ellis, two young ladies of Lee, put on gentlemen's coats and hats, and, with guns in hand, sallied forth in the first of the evening; when they saw two gentlemen riding up on horseback. On their arrival, these girls ordered the men to dismount. They refused at first; but, on the presentation of the unloaded guns in the ladies' hands, with the assurance, that if they did not obey, they should receive the contents of their guns, the gallant fellows dismounted, and were ordered to enter the house, where it was ascertained that they were Ebenezer Jenkins, jun., and
Crocker Taylor, two young bucks of Lee, and intimate acquaintances of their captors. The Shay's men were molested but little after this event. Most of our fathers enlisted into this movement. Ira Parsons led 400 Berkshire men to Springfield, "to oppose the Courts;" but when some of our Lee men saw the rabble that composed the major part of that army, they were ashamed of their company, and immediately left for home.
WAR OF 1814.
While on this subject, it may be proper to allude to the part that Lee bore in the war of 1812.
At the commencement of the war, an order came for fourteen men. This number was accordingly drafted; but it was not till 1814 that they were called into service, when, I am told, that fourteen men of Lee joined a company formed in the south part of this county.
16 HISTORY OF LEE.
These men were John Nje, Thomas E. M. Bradley, John Olmsby, Samuel D. Sturgis, J. M. Remoley, Silas Garfield, John Norcort, £ben C. Bradley, Horace Treat, John Woolly, John Howk 3d, Benj. G. Osborn, John Allen, Arthur Perry, and — Keith.
Mr. Nye was elected captain of the company, and Mr. Garfield was 1st sergeant; and Gen. Whiton, of this town, was major-general of a division in that war. These good men and true fought valiantly at the heavy-loaded tables of Boston generosity, and returned home in six weeks without seeing the enemy.
V. CIVIL HISTORY.
The Town Meetings were held at first in Peter Wilcox's house and barn; afterwards at Major Dillingham's tavern; and then at the meeting-house. The warrants for these meetings were for many years posted upon the three gristmills, Mansfield's, Lee's, and Winegar's; and also upon the whipping posts and stocks, which were located near Joseph Bassett's front gate.
By the records of the town, and the statements of our .oldest citizens, it is evident that our town has ever been disposed to regard impartially the different interests of the town, which appropriately came within her jurisdiction. The election of Town, County, and State officers; the raising of funds for religious instruction and schools; the repairs of roads and bridges, of which we have seven spanning the Housatonic; are among the prominent objects attended to in these town meetings.
The following Table contains the names of all the Town Clerks, Selectmen, representatives to Boston, votes for Governor, and the total vote, for each year since our organization: By this Table, it appears that we have bad 12 Town Clerks, some of whom held their office for a long time. Nathan Dillingham was Town Clerk 13 years, Daniel Wilcox 12, Hubbard Bartlett 15, while Kansom Hinman is upon his 20th year.
20 HISTORY OF LEE.
Some of our fathers were on the Board of the Selectmen for a long time. Squire Yale filled that office for 20 years, John Nye, Sr, 22, Joseph Whiton 10; and yet the duties of that office have been performed by 72 different men.
Lee has represented herself in our General Court 66 years of the 71 since the adoption of our Constitution, leaving 1789, '93, '95, 1841, and '49, — ^five years, in which she has not been represented. We have sent to our Legislature 80 Representatives in the persons of 33 different citizens. Some of these were elected for several years. Mr. Jenkins held a seat in the Massachusetts Legislature 8 years, 'Squire Yale 6, Jared Bradley 7, while Joseph Whiton's term extended through 9 years. Five men, Jenkins, Yale, Jared Bradley, Joseph and James Whiton, represented the town for the first 33 years; since then, this office has been generally held by the same person for only one year.
The vote for Governor, usually the full vote of the town, has run from 14 to 541. At the close of the Revolutionary war, so many of our men were in the Army, that the vote for two years was only 14 ; and then again, in the Shay's war, the 17 votes cast for Governor indicates the absence of many of our voters, for the next year it increased to 38. For the first 10 years, the largest vote of the town never reached 25. For the last few years, our vote has rapidly increased, till the votes actually cast for Governor constitute us the third town in the County.
Lee has furnished the County with four Senators in our General Court- Joseph Whiton, for the years 1813 & 1814 William Porter, 1834 & 1835 Samuel A. Hulbert, 1846 & 1847 Asa G.Welch, 1851 years, from 1846 to 1852.
Allowing 30 families in town at the time of its incorporation, and five persons to a family, Lee had a population in 1777, when she received her Cluurter, of 150 souls. In 1791, the 1st Census, she had 1170and in 1854, we have not less than 8700
HISTORY OF LEE. 21
VI. PROFESSIONAL MEN.
Lee has had 56 settled Pastors, — 1 of the Congregational churchy 17 of the Methodist in Lee Centre, 3 of the Free* will Baptist, 1 of the Baptist, 4 of the Branch of the Baptist church in Tyringham, located at South Lee; and allowing for the Methodist Society at South Lee one preacher for two years, 24 more. I shall speak of them again at another time.
Lee has had 44 Justices of the Peace, of whom 21 are now living in town, — enough to keep us all just. Their names are — Ebenezer Jenkins, Wm. Ingersoll, Josiah Yale, Jared Bradley, John Nye, Sr., Jedediah Crocker, William Sturgis, John Freese, Abijah Merrell, jun., William Merrell, James Whiton, John B. Perry, John Nye, jun., Lemuel Bassett, Hubbard Bartlett, Alvan Coe, Augustus Collins, B. C. Dewey, William Porter, Stephen Thatcher, L. D. Bidwell, C. M. Owen, W. Laflin, Asa G. Welch, Leonard Church, N. Tremain, jun., Franklin Sturgis, Alden Werden, Lewis Beach, G. W. Platner, Harrison Garfield, Franklin Chamberlin, Thomas Greene, Ransom Hinman, Alexander Hyde, Caleb Belden, J. F. Cook, F. N. Lowrey, Albert M. Howk, L. D. Brown, G. H. Phelps, Wm. T. Fish, Marshall Wilcox, John Branning, and M. D. Field.
We have had 13 Lawyers in town, 6 of whom are now in Lee. Alvan Coe was the first lawyer in Lee. He was a native of Granville. Came into town in 1807, and left in 1809. He afterwards became a preacher in Sandusky, O. Augustus Collins was a native of Guilford, Ct. Moved to Westfield. Rollin C. Dewey was a native of Sheffield. Admitted to the Bar in 1813. Moved to Indiana. William Porter, native of Hadley, graduated at Williams' College in 1813. Admitted to the Bar in 1817. Died in 1853. Edward V. Whiton, native of Lee. Admitted to the Bar in 1831. Now Chief Justice of Wisconsin. L. D. BidweU, native of Tyringham, graduated at Williams' College in 1814. Admitted to the Bar in 1817. Now living in Stockbridge. Franklin Sturgis, native of Lee, admitted to the Bar in 1830. Jonathan F. Cook, native of Minisink, Orange Co., N. Y., admitted to the Bar in 1839. John Branning, native of Amenia, Duchess Co.| N. Y admitted to the Bar in 1845. Franklin Chamberlin, native of Dalton, admitted to the Bar in 1845. Now of Springfield. L. D, Brown, native of Lee, admitted to the Bar in 1841, Marshall Wilcox, native of Lanesborough, graduated at Williams' College in 1844. Admitted to the Bar in 1847. N. W. Ayer, native of Preston, Ct, graduated at Brown University in 1840. Admitted to the Bar in 1843.
22 HIST0RY OF LEE.
Lee has had 18 Physicians, 6 of whom remain with us. Gideon Thompson, a native of Goshen, Ct. was the first physician in Lee. He moved to Gralway, N. Y. Dr. Bathbum followed Dr. Thompson. Erastus Sargent, a native of Stockbridge, a graduate of DartpoLOuth College in 1792. Nathaniel Thayer, native of Boston, died at Westfield. Hubbard Bartlett, native of Richmond, received his honorary M. D. from Williams' College in 1835. Asa G. Welch, native of Norfolk, Ct, received his honorary M. D. in 1831, at Williams' College. Coriden Guiteau, native of Norfolk, Ct, graduated at Berkshire Medical College in 1830. James Welch, native of Norfolk, Ct. Now in. liphalet Wright, native of Hinsdale, Mass., graduated at Berkshire Medical College in 1841. H. S. Lucas, graduated at Berkshire Medical College in 1842. Now lives in Chester, Mass. Charles McAllister, practiced in South Lee. He £3 now in Stockbridge. Horatio S^* Cobb, native of Hawley, Mass., graduated at Berkshire Medical College in 1845. Died in California in 1850. Asariah Judson, graduated at Berkshire Medical College. Now in Califonia. L. R. Way, native of Meriden, Ct, Now in Portland, Ct. Received his Diploma from a Medical Institute at Hartford, Ct Samuel G. Harrington, native of North Brookfield, graduated at Berkshire Medical College in 1850. Now in North Brookfield. John B. Gifford, native of Lee, graduated at Berkshire Medical College in 1849. M.X). Lathrop, native of Tolland, Ct, graduated at Worcester Medical College in 1852. J. M. Leonard, native of Liverpool, England, graduated at Berkshire Medical College in 1851.
HISTORY OF LEE. 2S
Besides these, Di Heywood, Eb D, Gady, Mills, Fuller, and others, spent some time with us, but whose residence among us as physicians was of a short duration.
While on this subject of Professional Men in Lee, it will not do to omit so important a one as Post-Master, with whom we all have to do. We now have three Post-offices in town.
Jedediah Crocker was the first post-master in Lee. His office was in his public-house, now owned by John Baker, in Cape street He filled the office from 1803 to 1811, when Richard Brush assumed its duties. The barroom of the above house served the treble purpose of barroom, post office, and tailor's shop, Mr. Brush himself working at that business when his other engagements would allow.
Rollin C. Dewey, in 1816, received the appointment, and had the office in the old house next north of Eldridge's Block, then standing opposite to Dr. Bartlett's.
In 1817, J. B. Perry was appointed, who also held the office one year; when, in Jan. 1818, Hubbard Bartlett was appointed, who filled the office till 1845, 27 1-2 years ; when L. D; Brown took it, who was succeeded by Geo. H. Phelps, and Albert M. Howk, the present incumbent.
In 1848, a new post-office was created at East Lee, called East Lee Post-Office," and S. D. Sturges was appointed P- M., who held the office till Jan. 1, 1850; when Lyman Smith received his appointment for that office. April 12th, 1850, Wm. P. Hamblin became P. M., who was succeeded by the present incumbent, George R. Sturges, in October last post-office was opened at South Lee in 1826. Thomas Hurlbut was P. M. from Nov. 1826 to 1848; L. D. Bidwell, from 1848 to 1850; Wm. G. Merrell, from 1850 to 1853; A. B. Manley, from 1853, and is the present incumbent
The first public school in Lee was established in 1784, when the town appropriated £40 for schooling that year, and divided the town into four School Districts. The Ist District embraced all included in the roads running from the Park to Stockbridge and Tyringham. The 2d District embraced all that were left upon the west side of the river, except Ashbell Lee and James Penoyer. The 3d District included all east of the river not included in the 1st, as far east as Freeman's and Stanley's, and so on to the northern line. The 4th District included all that were left in the eastern part of the town.
24 THE HISTORY OF LEE
With School Districts covering such vast territories, it must have been impossible for many of the children to derive much advantage from their schools. These four Districts have been subdivided into twelve; and the 100 scholars in 1784 have increased to 758 in 1853.
I am satisfied that few towns in Western [Massachusetts have better advantages for education than Lee. In 1837, our Academy was erected, at a cost of $3500, which, for 15 years, exerted its elevating influence; but which is now merged into the town High School, where young gentlemen and misses can acquire as good an education as at any other school for all the practical duties of life. Young gentlemen can here fit for College, if they wish to. A school of an equal upgrade is sustained for a part of the year at South Lee.
We have also a good school for young misses, and a family boarding-school of too long standing to need condemnation.
The first appropriation of £40 has been increasing, till, the past year, it has reached $2650; and, if we add the annual interest of the Hopland fund, we shall have $2746 expended for schools. This is $3,055 per scholar. In the graduated scale in the last Report of the Board of Education, Lee is numbered 153 ; but if the Hoplands District had been included, we should stand No. 129, and, if I mistake not, we should then stand at the head of the Berkshire list of appropriations for scholars.
Add to the above for building new school-houses and repairing old ones, $1000; add also for private schools and schooling out of town, $800; and we find that we are expending for education annually not less than $4500.
In 1851, the citizens of Lee endowed a scholarship in Marietta College of $5000.
The origin of the Hopland School Fuad was as follows : — On the petition of 177 inhabitants of the Upper and Lower Housatonic townships, to the Great and General Court of Massachusetts Bay, for lots of land situated in their territory, a Committee was appointed to attend to that matter, and, in their instructions, which were adopted June 29, 1722, they say, that, "John Stoddard, Henry Dwight, Luke Hitchcock, John Ashley, and Samuel Porter, be a Committee to admit settlers, or inhabitants, to grant lots, and manage all the prudential affairs of the settlers, till this Court shall give further orders.
"The said Committee are hereby directed to settle said land in a compact, regular, and defensible manner. They are further required to admit 120 inhabitants, or settlers, in the two townships, giving preference to such of the petitioners as they shall judge most likely to bring forward the settlement, allowing none of them more than three years' time from the allotment of said lands, to bring forward a settlement by building a suitable house, and tilling such a quantity of land as the Committee shall appoint, in order to their being entitled to their grants ; reserving a convenient quantity of land for the first settled minister, ministry, and school. The Committee is further directed to demand and receive of each grantee the sum of thirty shillings for each hundred acres, and proportionable for a less quantity; out of which money they shall pay a reasonable sum to the Indians for the purchase of their rights, together with the charge of laying out the two townships, and of the Committee settling them, and the remainder be improved in building meeting-houses in said townships."
HISTORY OF LEE. 25
In the Upper township so called (Great Barrington), there were 40 shares — 37 for as many settlers, one for the first minister, one for the ministry, and one for the school. 400 acres were allowed to a share, on the first allotment; afterwards, the Hoplands so called were apportioned to the said 40 original recipients, at six different times, ranging from 10 to 40 acres at a time. The school portion from the Hoplands amounted in all to about 170 acres.
This land became the exclusive property of the inhabitants of the said Hoplands by the following vote, passed at a meeting of the original proprietors of the said Upper township, on the Housatonic, held Jan. 22, 1770, p. Ill of their Records : * ^
"Voted, That all the land belonging to the said proprietors that lies in the Hopland Division so called, that is, all the lands lying north of Stockbridge south line, continuing said Stockbridge south line east to the east line of Great Barrington, all the lands north of said line granted for the use and benefit of a school lying within said Great Barrington, be disposed of and improved, for keeping a school for the benefit of the persons that have or shall settle in said Hopland Division. "And Ensign Wm. Ingersoll, Mathew Van Deusen, and Jeremiah Wormer, are chosen and appointed to be a Committee for disposing said lands for said purpose."
This land was sold, and the proceeds invested for the above purpose. The fund is now $1608,33, yielding an income of $96,50 per annum. On March 18th, 1782, the town "voted to take care of the school land;" and, on the 28th of that month, the town "voted that the above land is voted to that part of the inhabitants belonging to the said Hoplands." In 1792, the Hoplands were incorporated under the name of "The Lee Hopland School District" It embraces six School Districts, — two at South Lee, the one near C. Hinckley's, the two in Water street, and the one at East Lee, embracing nearly 400 scholars, between 5 and 15 years of age.
The following is the Charter of the Hopland School District^ with the Amendments: An Act for incorporating a certain part of the town of Lee into a School District, called the Hopland School District, taken from vol. 1st, page 294, of Special Laws. Whereas it appears to this Court, that certain lands lying in that part of the town of Lee which formerly belonged to the town of Great Barrington, in the County of Berkshire, were appropriated for the use and support of schools, which lands, by Act of Incorporation of the said town of Lee, are reserved to said town of Lee: And whereas it also appears that the said town of Lee have, since their being incorporated as aforesaid, relinquished their right in said land (so &r as it respects the support of schools in the said town of Lee) to those persons who do now, and who may hereafter, reside on the same lands :
And whereas, in order to carry the good design of the appropriation. aforesaid into effect, it is found necessary that the persons residing on the said lands should be incorporated into a School District as aforesaid :
Sec. 1. Be it therefore enacted by Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, that all the inhabitants now living on the aforesaid lands, or that may hereafter live on the same, with all their estates, be, and they hereby are, incorporated into a School District, by the name of the Hopland School District, in the town of Lee as aforesaid.
Sec, 2. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the inhabitants of the said Hopland School District be, and they hereby are, vested with all the privileges, powers, and immunities, necessary for enabling them to use and improve all the monies that have or may arise in consequence of the aforesaid appropriation, for the support of a school or schools in the said Hopland School District ; but the said inhabitants are still to be considered as belonging to said town of Lee, in every respect, saving their being subject to be taxed to the support of schools in the other parts of said town.
See, 8. And be it further enacted b^ the authority aforesaid, that Ebenezer Jenkins, Esq. be, and he hereby is, empowered to issue his warrant, directed to outline one principal inhabitant of the District aforesaid, requiring filed by law to vote in District affairs, to assemble at some time and within the said Hopland School District, to be mentioned in the said warrant, for the purpose of choosing such officers as may be necessary for transacting the affairs of the District aforesaid, so fax as respects schools only, according to the power and authority given by this Act; and the said inhabitants qualified as aforesaid, being so assembled, shall be, and they hereby are, empowered to choose such officers as may be necessary for the purpose aforesaid.
Sec. 4. Provided always, that the inhabitants of the aforesaid Hopland School District Shall keep, maintain, and support, within the said District, their proportionable part of all schools by law hereafter required to be kept, maintained, and supported, within the aforesaid town of Lee. This Act passed March 7th, 1791. A true copy. Attest, John Wineqaik, Olerh Vol. 2d, page 154.
26 HISTORY OF LEE.
An Act in explanation of, and in addition to an Act, entitled "An Act for incorporating a certain part of the town of Lee into a School District, by the name of the Hopland School District**
Whereas doubts and difficulties have arisen upon the construction and operation of the said Act:
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, that the said Hopland School District shall be understood and construed to include all the lands situated in that part of the town of Lee which formerly belonged to the town of Great Barrinton, together with all the inhabitants and residents thereon, but not to include any land or real estate situate without the said limits, though owned by a resident or residents within said District.
HISTORY OF LEE. 27
See, 2. Be it further enacted, that the Assessors of said District, for the time being, or the Treasurer or the Clerks of said District, when were are no such Assessors, be, and they hereby are, respectively authorized and required to call District meetings for the purposes mentioned or intended in this and the former Act, in the same manner and under the same regulations and penalties as Selectmen of towns by law are.
Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, that the polls and estates belonging to the said District are, and shall be, exempted from being subject to be taxed by the said town of Lee, to the maintenance and support of schools, and from being liable to be prosecuted and punished^ or subject to the (Payment of any fines or costs with the rest of said town, for any neglect of said town in maintaining and supporting schools.
See, 4. Provided always, and be it further enacted, that the said District shall be liable to be prosecuted and punished, as a District, for neglecting to maintain and support their proportionable part of all schools by law required to be kept, maintained, or supported, by or within said town, in the same manner as a town is by law liable to be prosecuted and punished for neglect of schools. This Act passed March the 11th, 1797. A true copy. Attest, John WnniaAB, Cleri. Vol. 2d, page 238.
An Act in further explanation of, and addition to an Act, entitled "An Act for incorporating a certain part of the town of Lee into a School District, by the name of the Hopland School District."
Sec, 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, that whenever the rents and incomes of the schools lands, and other property belonging to the said District, shall be insufficient for the purpose, the said District may, at any District meeting regularly called and warned therefor, from time to time, grant such school taxes as may be necessary and sufficient, together with such rents and incomes, to build and repair a suitable school-house or school-houses for said District, and to provide and support a suitable school or schools within and for said District ; which taxes shall be assessed by the Assessors of said District, or by the Assessors of the said town of Lee. for the time being, upon application of said District, upon the polls and estates belonging to said District, and shall be collected by the Collectors of the said District, or by the Collectors of said town of Lee, for the time being, upon application of said District, in the same manner and under the same regulations and penalties as town school taxes l^ law are assessed and collected.
See, 2. Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the said District shall be understood and construed to be capable of suing and being sued, and of appearing in Court to prosecute or defend, and of possessing, improving, and leasing, from time to time, the school lands belonging to said District, by a Committee or Agents thereto duly appointed at any meeting regularly called and warned therefor.
Sec, 8. Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the said District shall have power to exchange any parts or parcels of the school lands belonging to said District, for other lands lying within said District, to be holden in the same manner and to the same uses as the lands so exchanged.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the said District shall be capable of taking any estate, real or personal, to the amount of five thousand dollars, which 'may hereafter voluntarily be bequeathed, granted, or given to said District^ for the use and support of a school or schools, and of holding the same for the use of schools within said District. This Act passed June 19th, 1798. A true copy. Attest, J. WnnLOAB, Clerk, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty.
An Act in addition to an Act, entitled An Act for incorporating a certain part of the town of Lee into a School District, by the name of the Hopland School District"
28 HISTORY OF LEE.
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same that the said District is hereby authorized and empowered, at any District meeting legally called for that purpose, to decide said District into as many School Districts as from time to time may be deemed necessary, and to determine and define the limits of said School Districts.
See, 2. Be it farther enacted, that the provisions of an Act entitled "An Act to provide for the instruction of Youth," passed on the tenth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, be, and the same are hereby extended and made applicable to the said Hopland School District, and to the several Districts into which the same may be hereafter divided, anything in the Acts to which this is an addition to the contrary notwithstanding. Provided, however, that the Committee chosen for the purpose of improving and leasing the school lands of the said Hopland School District, shall be authorized to do and perform the several acts and duties which the Selectmen of towns are authorized by the aforesaid Act to do and perform^ This Act passed February 12tn, 1880. A true copy. Attest, L. D. BrnwEix, Clerk,
Before leaving this subject, allow me to allude to another somewhat akin to it.
There have been at least 27 young gentlemen, natives of Lee, who have graduated at different Colleges, viz.: Solomon Foote, M. D., Rev. Cyrus Yale, Beza Hinckley, M. D., Wm. H. Dillingham, Esq., Charles Dillingham, Esq., John D. Crocker, Esq., Lawrence Warner, Esq., Isaac Howk, Esq., Jonathan Foote 3d, Esq., Rev. Alvan Hyde, Joseph Hyde, Esq., William Hyde, Esq., Alexander Hyde, Esq., Solomon Foote, Jun., M. C, Rev. Barnabas Phinney, Rev. Noah Sheldon, Rev. William Bradley, Rev. Thomas Scott Bradley, Rev. Elihu P. Ligersbll, Ehsha B. Bassett, Esq., Rev. Edward Taylor, Rev. William Porter, Rev. Charles B. Ball, Addison H. Laflin, Esq., Rev. Lavius Hyde, Asahel Foote, Esq., Rev. Stephen Peet.
Besides these men, many of whom distinguish themselves in their respective professions, other sons of Lee, who did not enjoy the advantages of a Collegiate education, are rendering themselves highly useful. Gen. Whiton had three sons, natives of Lee, who are. now Judges, — two of them in Ohio,and the other is Chief Justice of Wisconsin. This Chief Justice owes more to the old Social Library now merged into the library of the Young Men's Association, then to any other one thing, for his present position. Rev. Wm. Ross, Rev. Samuel Leonard, Rev. Samuel Leonard 2d, and Rev. Marvin LeflSngwell, have rendered themselves useful in' the work of the Christian ministry. Rev. John Cbadwick is also a native of Lee. Lester Keep, M. D., now living in Fairhaven, Ct., is a native of Lee. Alvan T. Cone, M. D., is also a native of Lee. He graduated at the Berkshire Medical College in 1845 and also at the College of Dental Surgery, Baltimore, Md. Dr. Cone died in 1849, in Kentucky. Biram Egberi Fuller, a native of Lee, graduated at the Berkshire Medical College in 1852. He is now practicing in Monterey.
HIST0RY OF LEE. 29
Others, in the Mechanical, Manufacturing, and oitker lucrative pursuits, have arisen to opulence and fame ; while many more of our long list of young aspirants, pushing themselves up through the various strata of society, will eventually find themselves among the First in their respective callings.
This town is considered a healthy town. For the past four years, about one-third of the deaths in this town have been of people over 50 years old. The average age in Massachusetts is 27.78, while in Lee, the average age, I think, is about 32 years. From 1792 to 1837, one in every fourteen persons that died in town was over 80 years of age.
The first death in town was probably that of a son of John Winegar, while living at Crow Hollow. It was before the purchase of our burying-ground. The child was buried on the west side of the river. The first person buried in our public burying-ground was Matty Handy, sister of the late Seth Handy. For several years, we have buried about 70 of our people per year.
The first publishment recorded upon our town books is between Mr. Noah Burdin, of Lee, and Miss Avis Their, of Chesterfield, and bears date of Dec 26, 1777.
The first marriage recorded upon the town Records is that of Capt. Josiah Yale and Ruth Tracy, Sept. 26, 1776.
The first birth recorded is that of a son of Daniel Church.
The peculiar advantages afforded by the Housatonic and its tributaries for manufacturing purposes, are seldom surpassed. Goose Pond, lying upon the Tyringham mountains, some six hundred feet above the Housatonic, containing sufficent water, when full, to run all the mills upon the stream running from it four months without rain, affords rare opportunities for a long series of mills upon its banks. Greenwatar Pond, situated in West Becket, of about the same height as Goose Pond, sends it surplus water into our river. This little stream is also fast being improved for useful purposes.
A complete history of the manufacturing interest of Lee would be a suitable theme for an evening's lecture.
80 HIST0RY OF LEE
At an early date, the gristmill, forge, furnace, and other shops were erected upon our streams. We now have four woolen and satinet mills, with nine sets of machinery, employing 150 hands, using 450,000 pounds of wool, and pro- ducing 528,000 yards of cloth, per year. The yearly value of these goods is $390,000. We have also a mill which produces annually 140,000 meal bags. We have two shops for the manufacture of paper machinery, to the amount of $37,000 annually, in which are employed about thirty hands. We have numerous establishments for the manufacture of various use Ail articles, such as leather, hats, boots and shoes, iron castings, axes, shovels, hoes, forks, tin ware, lime and brick. We have also a printing-office and book-bindery, (in which this document is printed and bound, the paper for which is also made in Lee, and which, in these respects, speaks for itself.)
But the leading business of the town is the manufacture of paper. In 1806, Samuel Church removed from East Hartford, Ct., to this town, and immediately commenced the erection of a paper-mill at South Lee, where Owen & Hurlbut's mills now stand. This was the first paper-mill built in town, and among the first built in the county.
In 1808, by the strong solicitation of gentlemen living in this part of the town, and the offer of liberal assistance in the erection of the building, Samuel Church as induced to put up a paper-mill near the spot where Platner & Smith's new stone mill stands.
Lee has now become one of the most important centres of this extensive branch of business. The following is the aggregate of the items furnished by the nine Companies engaged in this business:
No. of paper-mills in running order, 20
"engines in running order, 71
"lbs. of rags ground up daily, 27,270
"paper produced daily, 18,972
"hands employed, 972
Value of paper produced annually, $1,008,250
There are several other mills that will go into operation in a few months. 4 All the paper made in Massachusetts in 1840 was worth only $1,659,934, and all that was then made in the United States was worth in the market $5,641,495. After a few months, Lee will annually make more paper than was made in the entire State prior to 1840. The present prospect of this business among us is that it is very far from having arrived at its maturity.
HISTORY OF LEE. 31
The whole amount of goods manufactured in Lee during the year ending April 1, 1837, was $405,000, and for the single item of paper for that time $274,500. By comparison, we learn that one of our firms is making more paper now than was made in town at that time, and that another is producing nearly as much; while all of them are annually enlarging their business, and other new Companies are formed for the same business. The value of our manufactures and
marble per year now is about $1,630,000.
Not less than 1500 of our people are actually employed in our mills and shops.
With this amount of business, we are not surprised that the Lee Bank, incorporated in 1835, and which had now a capital of $200,000, should pay to its shareholders ten per cent, annually.
When John B. Perry opened his store, south of the Park, about the year 1807, he was the leading merchant of Lee. He went to New York twice a year, and brought home with him all the dry goods that he needed for six months in two trunks. Now, our 14 dry goods stores have to be replenished every month. Besides these dry goods stores, which will compare favorably with any in Western Massachusetts, we have about 30 stores and shops, making 44 stores and shops where goods are kept for sale of almost every description called for by our citizens. By the last Census, Lee is represented as having 140 shops and 27 stores.
Lee has had 13 public-houses, of which 5 remain. The first public-house was located where a house now stands, owned by R. Hinman, and occupied at present by Oliver Kellogg. It was a log house, 16 ft. square. The next one stood near La gram's mill, in Cape street. The third was the Red Lion. This was the first two-story house in Lee. It is the old building now known by that name, and stood till recently on Sheriff Pease's lot. It was built in 1778, by Major Dillingham and Cornelius Bassett, and it continued to be used for a public-house till 1833.
In 1803, and for several years after, the house occupied by John Baker was kept as a tavern. In 1809, the house now occupied by Jared Bradley was a public-house. Lyman Foote's house, for a time, was kept as a public-house. Then came the house at South Lee, for some time kept by Abijah Square. In 1815, the Shailer tavern was opened in Cape Street, where Isaac Gardner now lives. In 1820, the Sturges Tavern at East Lee was opened. In 1834, the Housatonic was erected. For many years, Mr. Merrell has kept a public-house at South Lee. John McNally for two years has kept a tavern on Centre street Last, but not least the Centre Hotel" was opened a few months since.
32. HIST0RY OF LEE
Thus far I have only spoken of what Lee has produced in men and manufactures. This sketch would be imperfect if I did not also speak of the productions of our soil. From the State Census of 1850, the following statistics are
gathered relative to Lee :
No. of acres of surface, • 16,056
tillage land, 928
pasture " 4630
wood " 2648
town and county roads, 385
tons of hay. 2984
bushels of rye cut in 1849, 1724
oats " 13,768
com " 894
barley " '' 236
horses in town. 309
The real estate taxed is. $698,169 00
The personal 282,994 00
Non-resident, 60,615 00 $1,041,778 00
This is considered quite low. Tax the present year is 77 cents on the one hundred dollars.
Present number of polls, 842
The original price of land in this town was one dollar per acre. Some of it has recently been sold at the rate of $10,700 per acre.
The following description of our land is from the pen of the Rev. Dr. Hyde:
" The town is six miles in length and ^ve in breadth, and presents a very diversified appearance. It forms a part of the interval which lies between the Taghconic and Green Mountain ranges. The Green Mountain range, which rises to a moderate elevation, runs partly within the eastern limits of the town, presenting a very picturesque appearance. These mountains are, for the most part, of gentle acclivity, and are cultivated in some places quite to their summits. From the base of these mountains, the surface of the earth
HISTORY OF LEE. 33
Its rather uneven, occasionally rising into hills of considerable height, but generally descending until it reaches the plain upon the banks of the Housatonic. West of this river, the land is everywhere undulating in its appearance, inclining towards the south."
So diversified is the scenery in and around our town, that you cannot change your position a rod without a change of scenery, and new objects of interest coming into view.
XL MINERAL RESOURCES.
Marble is the most valuable mineral in Lee. as yet discovered. The supply is inexhaustible. It is easy of access, and for a generation at least it will be comparatively easy of exportation, as some of this marble lies 120 feet above the river. This marble is of a superior quality. Prof. Hitchcock says that it "is a pure crystaline double carbonate of magnesia and lime.'* It is therefore dolomite marble. It is pure white, and is susceptible of a very fine polish. It will also work a perfectly square area. This renders it a desirable material for chimney-pieces, furniture, &c. Frost and heat effect scarcely no change in size or weight, and its strength will sustain 26,000 lbs. to the square inch, while Italian marble crushes at 13,000 lbs. to the square inch, and most of the American marble will crush at 12,000 lbs.
By some of the severest tests to which marble can be put by the chemist and architect, Lee marble was decided to be the best in the world for a building material; hence, a Congressional Committee decided that this should be the marble to be used for the enlargement of our national Capitol. The owners of our Quarry have contracted to furnish the marble for that vast enlargement for $1,000,000. -
The following statistics will give an idea of the extent of this branch of business. The Company work 100 men,* who get out 500 feet of marble per day. This will weigh 50 tons. The single item of freight is $800 per week, and the Company pay out about $300 per day. The value of marble annually produced is about $125,000,
This business adds wealth not only to the Company engaged in it, but to the town. It supports some 500 of our people.
Lime is another production of our mineral resources. Limestone is readily obtained in various parts of the town. 30,000 bushels of good lime are annually produced in Lee, and this business can be enlarged to any extent that enterprise and capital will admit
34 RAILROAD HISTORY OF LEE.
'Iron Ore is found in different parts of the town. The extensive beds of this ore that have been examined and tested, the specimens in our stone walls and fields, are conclusive evidence that the mineral resources of our town are
not yet fully understood. The time is not distant when this useful ore will be sought for, and be converted into iron within our own limits.
Brick Clay is found in several parts of the town, and at the south part it is worked to a considerable extent.
Potter's Clay is found in the south part of the town, and is said to be susceptible of producing excellent ware.
The religious privileges of our fathers were very few. This region was a howling wilderness. For many years, the inhabitants were few and scattered over a large territory.
Old Mr. Swift visited the Bassetts soon after their settlement here, and, as he looked around him, exclaimed to his friends, "I think that you are very highly favored in this town." When asked, why so, he replied, "I have always noticed that ministers and other good men always pray for the desolate parts of the earth, and I have no doubt but that you share in their prayers."
When David Baker left the Cape, in 1780, he was a young man, and so desolate this region was when considered, that his pious mother remarked, as he left her home, David is going to Mount Ephraim, and he will never hear another sermon.*'
These circumstances will, perhaps, illustrate the privation of religious privileges experienced by our fathers. And yet the tone of morals among them was such as should put us, their regenerate sons, to the blush. They were too near the Mayflower to tolerate error in doctrine or immorality in practice. The Town Treasurer's book indicates this high tone of morality. As early as 1780, Seth Handy paid for breach of the Sabbath, $2,00 Owen Swift for breach of the Sabbath, 2,00 Travellers on the Sabbath, 2,00 Job Hamblin for swearing, 1,00 A stranger for swearing, ,63.
For several years, our fathers had preaching from three to eight Sundays in a year, by such men as could for the time be obtained.
HISTORY OF LEE. 35
The Charter for the incorporation of the town was accepted Dec. 26th, 1777, and on the 8th of Jan., 1778, thirteen days after, the second Town Meeting was held, when the following vote was passed which was all that was done at that time, Voted, to raise the sum of £30 lawful money, to be laid out in preaching the gospel. Voted, to choose three men for a Committee, to employ a preacher, and to pay him the above money that is voted, Jesse Bradley, Oliver West, and Job Hamblin." Theirs sum of money which the town voted to raise was for preaching the gospel.
The first religious meeting was held in Dea Oliver West's barn, which stood where a barn now stands upon the oH Wakefield place, near the burying-ground. The hay-mow constituted the orchestra. That old barn echoed in the sweetest melody, with the divine songs sung by that choir in which the children of Jonathan Foote composed the most important part. In view of this latter fact, Nathan Dillingham, the prostrated the following: David and Ase sing bass, Jonathan and Foner sing tenor; Vice and Sol beat them mJ"*
The meeting afterwards was held in Peter Wilcox's barn, which stood in the rear of Mr. Linn's house, on Main Street. The meetings were held in Mr. Wilcox's barn, and in the unfinished chamber of Lyman Footers house, till 1780, when they were held in the first meeting-house.
On the 16th of Nov., 1778, the next year after the adoption of the Charter, it was "voted to build a meeting-house 48 by 36 ; and that £700 be raised to defray the expense. Voted, to set, the meeting-house where the last Committee set the stake," which, on inquiry, I find was in the east side of the Park, For several years, this house had no glass windows, no stationary seats, no door-step, and never was lathed or plastered. The rough, massive timbers were exposed from the floor to the ridgepole.
Conceive, if you can, of the place where our fathers worshipped God, as it appeared in 1792, when Dr. Hyde came to town. In the east side of the Park, directly in front of Joseph Bassett's house, stood a building fronting the south 36 by 48, with 30-fl. posts. There is no steeple nor tower. The sides are sheathed up with wide unpainted boards. There is an 8-foot projection in front, of one-third the width of the building. As we enter that sacred place, the frame, composed of timbers of enormous dimensions, rough as the woodman's axe left them, meets our eye all around and above. The square pews occupied the larger part of the floor. There are three galleries: in the front of each was one long seat, back of the side seats were four square pews, and in the rear of the front seat were three others. In that front seat stood the singers with Mr. Holister, their leader. On one side of the only door of entrance sat Daniel Santee, the negro, with his long cane in hand, and Betty his wife sat upon the other side of the door. Daniel faithfully kept the unruly dogs out ■ of the church, and became a terror to all roguish boys within.
86 HISTORY OF LEE.
In that plain pulpit, fastened to the north end of the house, midway from the floor to the plates, stood Rev. Alvan Hyde, then a young man. No cushions relieved the tedious hour, no stove quieted the chattering teeth 0!iring those cold Berkshire winters. Such was the place, in which, for twenty years, our fathers worshipped God.
Our fathers, recognized the liberty of conscience where readily than the most of their contemporaries, as the following vote will show. At a meeting of the town, for the purpose of inviting Rev. A. Fowler to become their Christian minister, held April 7th, 1780, it was " voted to exempt all the Churchmen, and Baptists, and the Quakers, from settling and supporting a Presbyterian minister in the town."
The next year, when the town passed a vote to raise money for Rev. Mr. Kirkland, it was "voted to exempt all Churchmen, Baptists, and Quakers, paying for preaching."
Here is a recognition of a religious freedom not common in those days.
In 1800, the old unfinished church gave place to this (Congregational), which was enlarged in 1848, by the addition of 22 feet. This house is now, by including the vestibule, 50 by 92 feet when this house was raised, in 1800, one hundred able-bodied men were selected from this and other towns to raise the frame; and when the frame of the steeple had been raised to its place, Roland Thatcher, the sailor, ascended to the top of the eight-inch stick upon which rests the brass ball, and, standing upon the top, swung a bottle around his head three times, and then threw it to the ground. This was deemed a great feat. In the erection of this house, in 1800, Josiah Yale, Esq., one of the early settlers of the town, took a lively interest. To His property, influence, credit, and personal efforts, more than that of any other man, was the erection of this edifice indebted.
When this house was dedicated, in 1800, the young people of Richmond and Pittsfield came on horseback, and hitched their horses to hemlock staddles standing in a hemlock swamp, situated where this church now stands. The original bed of our river is under this church, extending to Dr. Bartlett's, and thence down the Catholic lot.
The Congregational Church in this town was organized on the 25th of May, 1780, with thirty members. The same Articles of Faith and Covenant then adopted have remained unchanged to the present time. In 1790, the taum appointed Eben Jenkins, Joshua Wells, John Keep, Abijah Merrell, Seth Backus, and Edmund Hinckley, a Committee " to make some alterations in The Church Covenant ;" but no change was effected.
HISTORY OF LEE. 3Y
Several extensive revivals have been enjoyed by this church, and in some of them more than one hundred persons united at each season. In 1834, this church numbered 407 members ; and I am told that , in 1826 and 7, it could not have numbered less than 440 — a much larger number than what has been associated with this body at any one time, before or since.
This church embraces many members whose loyalty to Christ is unquestioned, and whose benevolence is worthy of commendation and many have gone out from this body who are filling honorable and useful stations in the world.
In 1811, the Congregational church in Dover, Ashtabula Co., O., was constituted in this town, the most of whose members were till then connected with this church. This emigrating church was then emphatically a "church in the wilderness. "The members of this Dover church, and congregation connected with it, emigrated from this and adjoining towns.
The Statistics of the Church Whole number, 1228
Present " 358
No. that have entered the Christian ministry from this church, 16
died while members, 354
been honorably dismissed, 475
This church has had seven Pastors, viz.:
Rev. Elisha Parmley, ordained July 8, 1 783, died 1784
Rev. Alvan Hyde, D.D., " June 6, 1792, " 1833
J. N. Damforth, installed Junel8, 1834, dismissd 1838
« W. B. Bond, ordained March, 1840, " 1845
^ Ralph Smith, installed Dec, 1845, « 1850
« S. D. Clark," June, 1851, « 1852
« Nahum Gale, " Sept. 1, 1853.
Mr. Gale is a native of Auburn, Mass. Graduated at Amherst College in 1837, and Windsor Theological Institution in 1840.
By these statistics, it appears that the Congregational church in Lee has a history of 74 years. It has had seven pastors. It has been destitute of a. pastor 16 years. And yet) since the dismissal of Mr. Damforth, their pulpit has not been vacant a single Sabbath when they have not had a pastor. Two of these pastors have died while sustaining that relation.
38 HISTORY OF LEE.
This sketch would be imperfect did I not particularly speak of the venerable Hyde. If any one man more than another is worthy of the name of "father of the town," that man was the Rev. Alvan Hyde, D. D. He came into Lee when it was new, and, for many years, he was the only minister in town. The people were few, and permanently located. They were a church-going people. Skepticism and immorality rarely manifested themselves. The fathers loved the Sabbath and its institutions, and their children never heard them speak aught against their religious teacher. The children grew up to maturity around the same pastor, and were wont to regard him more as a parent than one sustaining to them any other relation.
Such was the state of things here during most of the time that Dr. Hyde was the minister of Lee. For more than 41 years, he remained at his post A whole generation had grown up around him, who loved and revered him as their only pastor.
Mr. Hyde was a good man. The poor, afflicted, and distressed ever found in him a sympathetic friend. He buried the original settlers of the town, with many of their children, and children's children. He married the fathers and mothers of Lee, their children, and grandchildren. His memory is identified with much that was afflictive and joyous — with all the important interests of the people of this town, during that 40 years' pastorate. His deportment was dignified, exemplary, and devout; and when occasion offered, he was approachable and quite sociable. He was singularly methodical in all his labors. His time was so appropriated as to give ample time for every duty; hence, everything that he did was well done. He seldom indulged in anything that neutralized his public efforts. He knew every person in town, and, as a good shepherd, he called each of his own flock by name, even the youngest children. For more that forty years, Air. Hyde visited each of the common schools in town four times a year, and examined the scholars not only in their appropriate studies, but he invariably questioned the older pupils in the Assembly's Shorter Catechism."
No man has done more to train the rising generation, construct the conventional forms of society, and mould this community, than did Dr. Hyde. He considered the whole town as constituting his parish, and every individual in it had a claim upon his attention and sympathy. Intruders sometimes, however, caused him much anxiety. Had Mr. Hyde lived fifty years later, with the new elements introduced into this community, he would evidently have found it impossible to exert that controlling influence over our people which was universally felt during his useful career. Such a long and successful pastorate is a great blessing to any town.
HIST0RY OF LEE
This church has had 13 Deacons, of whom four are now filling this office:
Oliver West, Elected 1783 Died 1816
Jesse Bradley, 1783 - .1812
Levi Nye, 1792 - 1825
Edmund Hinckley,1804 - 1822
David Ingersoll, 1812 - 1839
John Thatcher, 1816 - 1828
Josiah Spencer, 1821 Removed 1833
Nathan Bassett, 1826 Died . 1842
Hubbard Bartlett, 1829
E. C. Bradley, 1833 Resigned 1846
Caleb Belden, 1842
Alexander Hyde, 1846
Samuel A. Hulbert, 1852
Oliver West was the first Clerk of this church and continued to perform the duties of that office till the settlement of Dr. Hyde, when he performed its duties till the time of his death; when Dea Bartlett was elected to the office, and is the present Clerk of the church.
The Methodist Church at South Lee has a history of 49 years.
In 1805, a Rev. Mr. Garrison, an Episcopal Methodist, began a religious meeting in the R>ed school-house, in the east end of the village, in the south part of the town, which has been continued to the present time. For several years, only one service was held upon the Sabbath. The preachers were generally itinerants, but most generally lived in town. The Rev. Wm. Ross, a native of Lee, was among the first that preached to this people. This church has had not less than 35 different preachers, among whom Rev. Messrs. Garrison, Ross, Woolsey, Cook, Rice, Herbberd, Jacobs, T. Clark, Horatio Smith, and Nathan Bangs, are affectionately spoken of. Since 1825, this church has had preaching every alternate Sunday. It was formerly a much larger society than at present. Their present number is 42. Much good has been accomplished by this body of Christians in times past. Rev. Richard Hiscox is their present preacher.
The Baptist Meeting at South Lee originated as follows. In 1825, Rev. Ira Hall, a Baptist minister, came to South Lee, and commenced a religious meeting in the old Bed school-house, and for eight years preached every alternate Sunday in that village. The other Sabbaths he spent in Tyringham. Mr. Hall was a good man. His Christian and ministerial influence is still felt by many families in this town.
40 HISTORY OF LEE.
The Baptist church of Tyringham and Lee was constituted August 22d, 1827, with twenty members. The members of this church lived in both of these towns. It has stated public, church meetings, and the observance of the church ordinances in both places. For nine years past, each meeting has had its own pastor; while the church organization remains as when first constituted. There is, therefore, one church organization, two societies, two meeting-houses, two meetings, and two ministers, one at Tyringham and the other at South Lee.
In 1828, a Baptist society was organized in connection with the meeting at South Lee, of which N. Tremain, Esq, was the first Clerk. Through the agency of this society, in part, the meeting-house at South Lee was erected as a "Union Church," owned by everybody and yet by nobody in particular. The people of Lee generally assisted in the erection of that house.
Several extensive revivals have been enjoyed in connection with their meetings. But the removals from town, and by death, and the change of the population, have greatly reduced the number of professed Christians in that village. The following table will indicate those who have been their pastors:
Rev. Ira Hall, settled 1825 resigned 1833
Rev. Isaac Child, “ 1836 " 1837
Rev. Alex. Bush, ordained Oct. 1838 died June 1844
Rev." Geo. Phippin, settled April 1844 resigned April 1846
ForrisMore, " 1846
The Deacons of the Tyringham and South Lee church are as follows:
Whole No. that have been members, 242
No. baptized, 132
honorably dismissed, 76
present members, 10^
elected 1832 died 1832 resigned 1847
HISTORY OF LEE, 41
The Methodist Church in Lee Centre dates its commencement as early as 1831. Prior to this time, Methodist meetings had been occasionally held in the school-house near Beach & Royce's, to which several local preachers ministered.
In 1831, the Rev. Messrs. Homer and Starks, two itinerant preachers, established stated meetings in Water Street. At this point, Lee Centre became known to the Conference as a missionary station. But it was not till 1838, that they had meetings every Sabbath. The htill in the Centre school-house was fitted up at that time, and served for a place of worship till Jan. 15, 1840, when their church was dedicated. This house was 40 by 56 ft. It was built principally by gentlemen that heretofore had not sympathized with that meeting.
In 1849, their house becoming too strait for them, was enlarged by the addition of 20 feet to its former length. They were encouraged to make this enlargement by a generous proposition from Wm. Taylor, Esq. In 1837, the society connected with this congregation was formed, of which Hosea Allen is the present Clerk.
I regret that I am unable to state the whole number that have been connected with this church. The present number, as last reported, is 135.
The preachers of this church are as follows :
1831 Homer and Starks 1843 Charles C. Keyea
1832 Julius Field 1844 John Sellick
1833 « " 1845 « "
1834 J. B. Wakeley 1846 James N. Shaffer
1835 " « 1847 " "
1836 Denton Keeler 1848 Peletiah Ward
1837 Keeler and Warner 1849 « "
1838 Van Deusen and Na^h 1850 J. Z. Nichols
1839 *' " Shaw 1851 Z. N. Lewis
1840 W».1&othard 1852 « "
1841 ". « 1853 L. W. Peck
1842 Charles C. Keyes
The Rev. L. W. Peck is a native of Luzern, Penn. He graduated at the New York University in 1845.
The Free-Will Baptist Church is the next in the order of time.
In 1844, Albert Marie came into town, and visited the colored people in this place. He met with them and preached to them in school-houses and private dwellings. He organized "The Free- Will Baptist Church in Lee" sometime during that year. It waa provided with the proper officers. On the death of Mr. Juba Stephenson, their last preacher, five years since, this little church lost their greatest support For several years they have had no church meetings.
42 HISTORY OF LEE.
The Baptist Church in Lee is the last ecclesiastical organization in this town.
On the 14th of July, 1850, a Baptist meeting was commenced in the Academy Hall, and was continued there till Nov. 23, 1852, when their church edifice was dedicated. Their house is 50 by 67 feet, with a spire 148 feet from the ground. There are 109 slips upon the floor of the church, 15 of which are free slips.
The church was organized Sept. 14, 1850, with between^ members. There have been 126 different members connected with this church, 56 of whom were added by baptism.
Few churches have been more united and energetic in the accomplishment of their appropriate work. I do not recollect of a single dissenting vote in any decision to which the body has arrived relative to any matter that has come before it. There is no society connected with this church; but the rent of pews is intended to meet the current expenses.
Rev. Amory Gale has been with this people from their commencement, who accepted of the pastorship Sept 14, 1850, the day of their organization. Mr. Gale is a native of Royalston, Mass. He graduated at Brown University in 1843, and at Newton Theological Institution in 1846. J. W. Mills was the first Clerk, and A. P. Werden fills that office at present
The following persons have been elected Deacons of this
Moses E, Culver, elected Sept, 1850 EU Tainter, « May, 1852 Hosea Codding, « May, 1852
The Roman Catholics, for a year past, have held occasional meetings in our village. They have purchased an eligible lot, and intend to erect a marble church in the course of another season.
These six and a half churches are sufficient to meet the present wants of this place; and if our people do not attend church, it cannot be for the want of suitable accommodations, or churches of their own preference.
HIST0RY OF LEE 4$
We have a number of Associations worthy of a place in this sketch of the town; some of the most prominent facts in the history of which have been kindly furnished by their respective officers.
Free masons. The Evening Star Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, was constituted by Charter from the Grand Lodge of the State of Massachusetts, October 10, 1795. Its first Master was William Walker, Esq., of Lenox. Its present Master is Eli Bradley, of Lee. The whole number who have been associated with this Lodge from its commencement is 163. Its present number is 64.
Odd Fellows. The Mahaiwe Lodge, No, 126, I. O. of O. F., was instituted in Lee, Mass., March 30, 1848, with ten Charter members. Since then, there have been initiated and admitted by Card, 114, making in all, 124 Dismissed, to unite with other Lodges, 11
Suspended or excluded for intemperance, and
other conduct unbecoming Odd Fellows, 17'
Present number, 94
The Lodge commenced with a debt of $400.
It has received for Contributions, Degrees, and
It has paid for extinguishing Debt, Sick Benefits, Funeral Benefits, Benefits to Widows, other Charitable purposes, 250 00
Lodge Expenses, 872 92 $3685 41 $400 00 923 42 160 00 81 25 687 59
Balance in Treasury, $997 82
The first Noble Grand was H. S. Cobb, M. D.
The present Lee Savings Bank was chartered March 5, 1852, and commenced business in June following^ This is an Institution of a benevolent character. It is intended to encourage the young and the poor to save the surplus of their earnings. The depositors are the shareholders. The officers have mere nominal salaries. The Institution is able, therefore, to give credit to the depositors six per cent. interest semi-annually. It receives any amount from $1 to $1000. Up to the 1st of June, 1854, the whole number of depositors was 316, and the number then was 250, who had on deposit S40,()00.
44 HISTORY OF LEE.
The Officers of the Lee Savings Bank are — Harrison Garfield, President,
Thomas Sedgwick, Vice-President E. A. Bliss, Secretary -Treasurer.
Board of Trustees,
Wm. Taylor, Increase Sumner, Gt. Barrington,
Eli Bradley, Kendall Baird, Becket,
S. A. Hulbert: Charles Leebner,
T. P. Eldridge, 11. Bidwell.
Wm. Williams, Stockbridge,
Young Men's Association. A meeting of the young men of Lee was held Dec. 15, 1852, to ibrm an Association for their moral and intellectual improvement. Such a Society was organized, to be known by the above name. By its order, a petition was presented to the Legislature of this State for a Charter, and the following was received, viz.:
An Act to Incorporate the Young Men’s Association of Lee, Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows :
Sect, 1. Alexander Hyde, Z. N. Lewis, Amory Gale, F. Sturgis, their associates and successors, are hereby made a Corporation, by the name of the Young Men's Association of Lee, in the County of Berkshire, for the purpose of improving the moral and intellectual condition of the young men of said town, by means of a library, reading-room, and lectures, with all the powers and privileges, and subject to all the duties, liabilities, and restrictions, set forth in the forty-fourth chapter of the Revised Statutes.
Sect, 2. Said Corporation may hold real arid personal estate, to an amount not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars. [Approved by the Governor, March 24, 1853.]
The Association was re-organized under the Charter, Sept. 1st, 1853, and the following Constitution, as amended at several times, is that under which their business is transacted, viz.:
L This Association shall be called the "Young Men's Association of Lee."
II. The officers of this Association shall be — a President, two Vice-Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, and Librarian, who shall together constitute an Executive Committee, and shall be elected annually by ballot. No officer of this Association shall be eligible to election to the same office for two successive terms, except the Secretary and Librarian, rn. The annual meeting of the Association for the choice of officers shall be holden on the first Wednesday of Sept. at which time the Executive Committee shall make a report of their doings.
HIST0RY OF LEE 46
IV. Any person may become a member of this Association by subscribing to this Constitution, and the annual payment of one dollar, if over 21 years of age, or half a dollar if under that age. And any person may become a member for life by the payment of ten dollars at any one time. The money received for life-membership shall constitute a permanent fund for the Association.
V. It shall be the duty of the Executive Committee to appropriate the funds, to make arrangements for an annual course of lectures and for debates, and such other means of improvement as shall seem to them expedient, subject for this Constitution and the By-Laws, and decisions of this Association.
VI. This Constitution may be altered and By-Laws established at any regular meeting, provided notice of such alteration and By-Laws be given to the Association at least one week previous to such meeting.
The Association has four departments, — Public Lectures, Debates, Reading- Room, and Library.
During the winter months, a course of Lectures is sustained, of an instructive and entertaining character. In connection with the Lectures, Debates are maintained These occur on the alternate weeks of the Lecture.
The Reading-Room, open at all hours of the day, is an inviting place for every young man. It has 25 different periodicals; — 4 of these are Dailies, 1 semi- Weekly, 8 are Weeklies, 8 are Monthlies, 4 are Quarterlies. The present number of books in the Library is about 400. Many of them are valuable, and some of them are of recent production. There have been 150 different persons, members of that body, and the present number of members is 79; life-members, 1.
This Association, which I have the honor of addressing this evening, is certainly worthy of the patronage of all our citizens. We have no Society that can accomplish more for our young people than this. John Branning, ) rr. n • ? ^ Tvf u II \%'i r y tee- Jr. Presidents. Marshall Wilcox, Jr., T. Lonard, Secretary, E. H. Saunders, Treasurer, Benjamin Dean, Librarian,
46 HIST0RY OF LEE
We have had other Societies for moral and intellectual purposes, such as Temperance Societies, Libraries, Reading Circles, but whose existence has ceased with the demand of the particular exigences which called them forth.
I have now accomplished my design. It has been my aim to present a sketch of our town as it was and as it is."
I regret that I have not been able to gather more facts relative to former times. Those who have never been engaged in such an undertaking as these are unprepared to appreciate the amount of time and labor required together and arrange what I have here presented. Most of what I have said of men and things in the early history of this town, has reached us in scraps of historic facts as they have been handed down from one generation to another.
I regret that, in the notices of the two Methodist churches, there were no records to which I could have access.
If there should be detected any mistakes in this Address, allow me to say that no time or labor have been spared to make it as perfect as possible. I have done what I could. If 1 have succeeded in presenting a fair description of Lee, my object is gained.
Lee, located territorially in the centre of Berkshire County, possessing the most healthy climate, and presenting the most enchanting scenery, cannot fail of eliciting the admiration of all. With our privileges, geographical, civil, educational, and religious, combined with our vast water power unimproved,
there is no reason why we should not continue to extend our business and increase our population to an indefinite extent K a general intelligence, high tone of morality, among a majority of our citizens, private enterprise, devotion to business, and a distribution of wealth, combined with a family pride, love of home and home scenes, and an unconquerable perseverance and industry will build up a place, then Lee,, at no distant day, must take her place side by side with the leading manufacturing cities of New England.
Let the stem integrity, unbending patriotism, the love of the good and the true of our fathers, be cherished, — ^let the principles of strict temperance and morality be observed, — let a generous public spirit become prevalent, and the recognition of political and religious rights and privileges be carefully acknowledged, and the Giver of all good will continue to smile upon our town.