THE TOWN OF BERKSHIRE.
THE proprietors of the historic Boston ten townships were very expeditious in
surveying, mapping, and making disposition of their vast tract of land in New York state, and were perhaps the
more active in their work by reason of the unfortunate delay in negotiating a treaty with the Indians occasioned
by the interference of James McMaster and Amos Draper. This alone cost them a full half township of the most desirable
portion of the purchase, and a repetition of the former experience might be equally expensive. The deeds of partition
among the proprietors were executed in 1789, and in that and the next year the tract was explored by surveyors,
speculators and prospective settlers, who sought to become acquainted with the character of the lands. These parties
represented to their friends in the east the desirable qualities of the region, and a favorable impression was
at once circulated all through old Berkshire county, Mass., and the result was that settlers from that reigon almost
wholly peopled this special part of the purchase previous to the year 1800.
As is well known in Tioga and Broome county history, Samuel Brown and fifty-nine associates became proprietors
of the Boston purchase, and nearly all these associates were residents of Berkshire county, Mass. In the settlement
of that part of the purchase which is now called Berkshire the worthy pioneers must have seen something to remind
them of the mother county and its surroundings. This is true in a measure, for there is a resemblance to the old
Berkshire hills in the land elevations found in this town, although unlike the mother region, our hills are neither
rugged nor in any place untifiable.
In one of the surveying and exploring parties which came to this region soon after the purchase was made was Elisha
Wilson, a native of course Of old Berkshire, who was so favorably impressed with the new country that at once upon
his return home, in the year 1790, he made a purchase of a good farm tract, and when he came to live in the town
he built a log house on his land. Mr. Wilson purchased from proprietor Elisha Blin. He made his first visit to
the region in 1790, and being well suited with the situation of lot 184, bought it. Nor did pioneer Wilson fail
to report to his friends the desirable qualities of the country in general in Tioga county, and the result was
that February 23, 1791, he, in company with Daniel Ball, who was the son of one of the proprietors, and Isaac and
Abraham Brown, who were nephews of Samuel Brown, the head of the proprietory, and also Daniel Ball, John Carpenter,
and two others named Dean and Norton, left Stockbridge, Mass., to make new homes on the western frontier. Their
goods were packed on two sleds and their teams were yokes of oxen. The route of travel was from their home to the
Hudson at Coxsackie; thence across the Catskills and through Harpersfield and Franklin to the SusquehanLna at the
mouth of the Ouleout. They then followed the Indian trail to Oquaga, where a quantity of their stores was left,
then crossed the river and journeyed over the highlands direct to the Chenango, at a ferrying place about a mile
above Binghamton, near which was a little settlement. Here the party was detained several days, as winter was just
turning into spring and the ice was breaking up. After the river became clear the goods were loaded in boats, the
cattle made to swim the stream and were put in charge of Elisha Wilson. In this way, the pioneers proceeded down
the Susquehanna to Oboconut, where Dean and Norton parted company with the others and made a settlement.
At Owego the company rested a few days and then began the task of cutting a road up the valley of Owego creek and
its eastern branch to a point about three miles above the present village of Newark Valley. The work was in good
time completed and on the first day of April, 1791, a camp was made on the homestead site of John Harmon and Rev.
Mr. Fivaz of later years. After two or three days, Abraham and Isaac Brown, John Carpenter, and Mr. Ball went back
to Oquaga for the goods left there, leaving Mr. Wilson alone in camp with no companion except his dog. However,
when the others had returned, eleven days later, Mr. Wilson had succeeded in making 150 pounds of maple sugar.
The spring opened early and our pioneers at once began to prepare the ground for wheat and other crops. Mr. Wilson
did not sow wheat but planted corn and vegetables. The Brown brothers made a clearing for wheat and had an abundant
Thus was established what has ever been known in local annals as "Brown's Settlement," the pioneers of
which were Isaac and Abraham Brown, Daniel Ball, and Elisha Wilson, although within the next few years other settlers
to the number of at least a score had, come and made homes in the vicinity; and it is of them that we must write
in the next few pages of this chapter. At the time the party of four pioneers came and made the first settlement
neither town nor county lines were known; it was Brown's settlement in the Boston purchase, and that alone. However,
at that time and for many years afterward the region was a settlement rather than a town, and when town lines were
established they so separated the pioneers that in the proper division of our subject into town histories we are
compelled to mention persons and families in the towns in which they were living after the division was made.
Isaac Brown was the acknowledged head of the pioneer party and also of the settlement. He was born at Stockbridge,
Mass., October 25, 1776, and died in the new settl&ment April 10, 1797, his being the first death. His wife
was Olarissa, the daughter of Josiah Ball. They had two children, the first of whom died when young. The other
was Isaac Brown, Jr., a well known man in the town in late years.
Daniel Ball, the pioneer, was born December 27, 1769, and was the son of Josiah Ball, who came to Berkshire in
1794 and settled on lot 337. Both had large families. In fact the Ball family has been prolific in the county,
and the name has always stood for respectability and integrity. Josiah's children were William, Daniel, William
(2d), Stephen, Clarissa, Samuel, Henry, Josiah, Isaac, Electa, Charles, Cynthia and Mary. Josiah Ball died July
Daniel Ball, the settler, was born Dec. 27, 17.69. He returned to Stockbridge in the fall of 1791, and at Lenox,
married with Lucia, the daughter of Col. William Wells. He came back to the settlement in 1794 and located. on
lot 336. In 1820 he removed with his family to Victor, N. Y., and thence to Michigan, where he died about 1833.
His ten children were Ann, William W., floratio, Henry, Hester, Sophia, Chester, Calvin, Davis and Myron Ball.
Stephen Ball, son of Josiah, came to Berkshire in 1793 to prepare for the coming of his father's family. He was
then 19 years old, but he made a clearing, built a log house, planted crops, sowed a field with wheat, and then
returned east. He' came again in February, 1794, driving a cow the entire distance, and lived alone until June,
when the family arrived. In later years Stephen Ball was equally thrifty and became associated with many of the
most important events of town history. His home was on lot 337 and here he built the hotel which for more than
three-quarters of a century has stood in Berkshire vifiage, and he also built the house on the opposite side of
the street. His wife was Polly Leonard, who bore him these children: Olive L., Mary, Harriet, Eliza, Ann, Richard
L., James W., Caroline, Levi, Anson, Asa, Mary, Robert Henry, and Frances Calista Ball.
Daniel, Jesse and Joseph Uleazen, Jr., came to Berkshire about 1794. They were sons of Joseph Gleazen, Sen., who
also came to the town, but at a later date. The other children of Joseph, Sen., were Caleb, Sarah, Ebenezer E.,
and Samuel Gleazen. all of whom were settlers in the town and identified with its early history.
John Brown, son of Capt. Abraham Brown, and Consider Lawrence came to the town in 1796. Mr. Brown was one of the
first justices of old Tioga town, and also was the builder of one of the first saw mills in the region. He had
six children, of whom John, the eldest, was a surveyor and 'millwright. Mr. Lawrence was a farmer on lot 338, and
died Feb. 20, 1857. His six children were Maria, Isaac P., Miles L., William, Betsey, and Josiah Lawrence.
Asa Leonard was a prominent person among the early settlers in Berkshire, and his tannery was of much benefit to
the community. He started for the town in 1793, but at Choconut the illness of his wife compelled his return to
Massachusetts, and it was not until 1797 that his permanent settlement was made. His was one of the largest families
in the town, the children numbering thirteen, viz: Polly, Solomon, Lucy, Anna, Levi, Nancy, Louis 0., Henry; George
W., Sabrina, Amanda, Chester and Leonard. Solomon, the eldest son, was partner with his father in the tannery and
he, too, had a large family.
Ebenezer Cook, who was brother-in-law to Asa Leonard and who was also his first partner in tanning and shoemaking,
came to Berkshire in 1797. He was justice of the peace many years and was dignified with the title of "Squire."
In his family were eight children.
Azel Hovey, and his' son Azel, and the families of both, came to the town in or about 1793. Both had children,
the father eleven and the son thirteen.
Jeremiah Campbell settled in the north part of the town, about 1798, and set up a blacksmith shop. Ephraim Cook,
Benjamin Olney, Josiah Howe and Josiah Seeley also came to Berkshire in the same year, as near as can be determined
at this time.
David Williams and his family came in June, 1800. He built both, saw and grist mifis on the village site, and was
a man of note in the locality. He died in 1867, aged 92 years. Judge Williams, as he was for many years known,
was elected associate judge of the Broome county common pleas and served until this town was restored to Tioga
in 1822, and thereafter in the same position in this county to 1826. He was supervisor nine years, and in 1827,
and again in 1831, was elected to the assembly. His children were Lucinda, John C., and George Williams.
Ransom and Heman Williams, brothers of Judge Williams, were also early residents in Berkshire, and are recalled,
Ransom as the singer of early days, while Heman met an accidental death in 1816, at a bridge raising.
Artemas Ward, Edward Paine, Elijah and John Saltmarsh and William Gardner came to the town as early as, or perhaps
before, the year 1800, and were identified with the subsequent history of the vicinity. Elijah Saltmarsh kept a
store near the Isaac Brown house and also made potash.
Dr. Joseph Waldo, who came to Berkshire in 1800, was in many respects one of the most prominent early settlers
of the north part of the county. He was not only a pioneer physician but his acquaintance was general in the country
east of Owego creek and even west of that stream. However, the record of Dr. Waldo's life and death are so fully
written in the medical chapter of this work that a repetition of its events at this time is unnecessary. His wife
was Ann Bliss, with whom he was married July 17, 1788. Their children were Mary, Nancy Ann and Joseph Talcott Waldo,
the latter also a physician of prominence half a century and more ago.
Colonel Absalom and Deacon Nathaniel Ford, brothers, and William Dudley, came to Berkshire in or about the year
1801, although the statement has been made that Colonel Ford did not settle here until 1820. The first wife of
Mr. Dudley, who was Abigail Hovey, is said to have been the first woman buried in Brown cemetery.
Joseph Freeman and Nathan Ide were settlers here in 1802. Mr. Freeman hanged himself while suffering from sickness.
He had a family of seven children.
Daniel Carpenter came in 1803, and as shown by Dr. Patterson's "Folk Book," was the only settler in that
year. He had a large family of eleven children.
Samuel Collins and Noah Lyman were the settlers of the year 1805, and were a desirable acquisition to the town.
Mr. Coffins had a family of seven children. He died July 4. 1840, on the very day previously foretold as the date
of his death. Mr. Lyman removed to Rawson Hollow in 1814 and died there in 1815. In his family were six children.
Captain Heman Smith, Henry Griffin and his brothers John and Osmyn Griffin, and also Peleg Randall, came to Berkshire
between the years 1803 and 1806, although not all remained permanent settlers. Captain Smith had a family of twelve
children. Henry Griffin had been a sailor, and after the war of 1812-15 returned to seafaring life. Osmyn Griffin
died in Canada, but Mr. Randall lived in Berkshire. He had four children.
Joseph and Elijah Beicher, both New Englanders, were added to the town population in 1805. Joseph then had a family
of nine children and three more were born here. In Elijah's family were five children.
Samuel Hutchinson came in 1805 or 1806, but after a few years removed to Wilson creek valley. Eight children comprised
Samuel Johnson and John Gregory came to Berkshire in 1806, and in the next year Ichabod Brainard and his family
also came. All were from Connecticut, and all had children.
Isaac Goodale and Captain Bill Torry came in 1808, and are believed to have been the first arrivals in the town
after Berkshire was separated from old Tioga. Mr. Goodale was, a substantial citizen, and the same was also true
of Captain Bill, though the latter was a great wag in the town. In Goodale's family were twelve children, and in
Torry's were nine.
In Berkshire, which town originally comprised all that is now the town so called and also the present towns of
Newark Valley and Richford, the several preserved records and publications give accurate information as to the
pioneers, but it is difficult to determine definitely when pioneership ceased. All past writers of local history
have given attention to the pioneers of the town, and one authority, concededly better than all other-the late
Dr. D. Williams Patterson, of Newark Valley 'has written exhaustively of the pioneers, and as well of the early
settlers on the Boston purchase within Tioga county. The results of Dr. Patterson's long and arduous work are published
and numerously distributed throughout the region, in view of which it seems unnecessary to refer at much length
to the personal history of settlers in the town after its civil organization unless the subject of mention was
in some manner prominently identified with the events of his time. However, it is appropriate in this connection
to at least recall by name the later settlers in the town down to the time when pioneership and early settlement
alike were known to have been lost in what may be termed modern local history.
In the year 1820 Chester Patterson, of Union, Broome county, made the census enumeration
of inhabitants and industries in the county. Through the thoughtfulness of Dr. Patterson this record has been preserved
to the use of future readers, and is of such value in recalling the names of old residents of Berkshire that we
produce here the list, giving full credit therefor to Dr. D. Williams Patterson, historian and genealogist.
In the year 1820 the heads of families in Berkshire, as now constituted, according to the census enumeration, were
Roswell H. Brown.
John W. Bessac.
Levi E. Barker.
Isaiah G. Barker.
Eleazer Lyman, Jr.
William S. Smith.
Ehenezer E. Gleazen.
John S. Thorp.
Ichobod Brainerd, Jr.
Luke B. Winship.
FIRST EVENTS.- Refering briefly to
some of the first events of local history, nearly all of which took place before the separate organization of the
town, there may be noted the fact that in 1795 Josiah Bail built a large double log house, in which he allowed
new arrivals to live while they were erecting cabins for themselves. To this extent Mr. Ball was the first tavern
1795-Isaac Brown was married with Clarissa Ball.
1797-Isaac Brown died, April 10.
1797-John Carpenter died, April 13.
1800-Ebenezer Cook. built a tannery on the site where in later years stood C. P. Johnson's store.
1800-This year also witnessed a law suit between Edward Edwards and Elijah Dewey.
1802-Thomas Paine set up a loom and began weaving.
1803-Captain Leonard began making boots and shoes.
1804-Large frame barns were built by Josiah Ball and Isaac Brown.
1806-Dr. Waldo and John Brown raised frame houses on the same day.
1806-A carding machine was put in operation by Elijah Beicher, Barnabas Manning, and Isaac Ball, and for the next
40 years it was an industry of the town.
1807-A distillery was built by Capt. Leonard, Ebenezer Cook and Stephen Ball, and was thereafter in operation for
20 years. An earlier distillery was over on the west creek.
1808-Ebenezer Cook and Stephen Ball established a blacksmith shop.
1812-Stephen B. Leonard brought the first mail to Berkshire; and at the same time Mr. Leonard also brought copies
of the Gazette to the people of the town.
1814-A tavern was opened by Josiah Ball.
1817-Samuel Ripley began making harnesses.
1827-Luke Winship began carrying the mail from Owego to Berkshire.
1827-Stephen Ball opened a brickyard on his farm.
Josiah Ball also enjoyed the distinction of being an excellent schoolmaster, but David McMaster is credited
with being the first teacher. Judge David Williams, built the first saw and grist mills on or near the village
site. Luke Winship began keeping tavern in 1816 and was landlord twenty-five years. Josiah Ball opened a house
for entertainment in 1814.
POPULATION,- Twice during the period of its history has the town of Berkshire suffered loss in population by reason
of the reduction of its territory. Westville was set off in 1823 and took from the mother town more than 1,200
of its inhabitants, and again, in 1831 Arlington was created and took nearly 800 more inhabitants. However, we
may refer to the census reports and note the changes in population, that being a fair index of growth or decrease
in the town's interests.
In 1810, two years after the town was erected, the inhabitants aumbered 792; 1814, 1,059; 1820, 1,502; 1825, 1,404;
1830, 1,711; 1835, 964; 1840, 956; 1845, 878; 1850, 1,049; 1855, 1,068; 1860, 1,151; 1865, 1,073; 1870, 1,240;
1875, 1,302; 1880, 1,304; 1890, 1,162; 1892, 1,157.
ORGANIZATION.- In 1791 the Legislature
passed an act erecting Tioga county and dividing its territory into towns. Under this act all that district known
as the Boston purchase, although not so described or designated, together with other territory, was erected into
a town by the name of Union, and so remained until 1800 when the present eastern boundary of this county was made
the eastern line of a new town created from Union and called Tioga. The region commonly called by the pioneers
Brown's settlement was of course within the tract referred to. In 1806 Tioga county was divided and Broome county
erected and included all the territory of old Tioga which lay east of Owego creek, and therefore the town of Tioga.
Again, on February 12, 1808, the town of Tioga, in Broome county, was divided, and all that now comprises Berkshire,
Newark Valley and Richford was set off as a separate town, and was called Berkshire. In 1822 these towns, and also
the town of Owego (for on 1813 the towns of Owego and Tioga exchanged names), were restored to Tioga county, and
from that time Berkshire has been ofice of the civil divisions of that county.
When created in 1808 Berkshire was a splendid jurisdiction and was one of the most important and well settled of
the civil divisions of the region. Within its original boundaries were more than 59,000 acres of land, or its equivalent
in square miles a little more than ninety-two. Taken altogether no more fertile region was to be found in the county
outside the rich bottom lands in the river valleys, and few indeed of the towns at that time were peopled by more
thrifty and prosperous settlers than were found within the broad limits of Brown's settlement or its successor,
In accordance with the creating act the first meeting of inhabitants of the new town for the. purpose of electing
local officers was held Tuesday, March 1, 1808, and was presided over by pioneer Ebenezer Cook in the capacity
of moderator. The officers chosen were as follows:
Supervisor, John Brown; town clerk, Artemas Ward; assessors, Ezbon Slosson, Ebenezer Cook; poorthasters, Henry
Moore, Elijah Beicher; commissioners of highways, Noah Lyman, Hart Newell, Samuel Haight; collector and poundmaster,
Peter Wilson; poundmaster, Elisha Jenks; fence viewers, Asa Bement, Nathaniel Ford, Asa Leonard, John Bement, Lyman
Rawson, Elisha Jenks; constables, Jesse Gleazen, Adolphus Dwight.
However, hardly more than a short half score of years had passed before the inhabitants of the south part of Berkshire
were clamorous for a new town, and the result was an act passed April 12, 1823, by which the legislature took from
the mother town 19,751 acres of her territory on the south side and erected a town by the name of Westville as
then called, but now known as Newark Valley. Again, in 1831, the inhabitants in the north part of the town had
recourse to the legislative power, and on April 13 another town was formed, and called Arlington, but changed in
name to Richford, in 1832. This last division of Berkshire took 21,835 acres of land, and there were left to the
old town 17,443 acres, considerably less than one-third of its original area.
From the time of its earliest settlement to the present, Berkshire has been distinctly and peculiarly an agricultural
town, and as such has always ranked among the best in the county. During the long period of its history little
attempt has been made to make the town a manufacturing centre, as its geographical position and its relation to
the railway lines of the region have been such as to preclude the possibility of success as the result of efforts
in that direction. True, the pioneers were nearly all lumbermen until their lands were cleared, after which the
peaceful arts of general agriculture engaged the almost entire attention of the town's people. Nature has dealt
generously in making this a farming town, for the principal streams, the east and west branches of Owego creek,
and their larger tributaries, thoroughly drain the land surface. The soil itself in the valleys is a rich gravelly
loam, while on the hills it is tough and hardy, with the average of hardpan. The highest elevations are from 1,200
to 1,600 feet above tide water.
Half and even three-quarters of a century has worked few changes in the town. The institutions of to-day are much
the same as seventy-five years ago; the old farms are - about as they were then, and what is agreeably noticeable
is the presence there of the descendants of the pioneer occupants. To be sure, for the last half score and more
of years agricultural pursuits in the east have been unprofitable, but the conditions in Berkshire are no worse,
in fact are better, than in the majority of towns similarly situated; and the statement has been made that there
are perhaps less mortgaged farms in this town than in the average of towns in this part of the state.
The first settlers in Berkshire were thrifty, energetic and determined men and women, and while a future comfortable
home was perhaps a prime object with them they were also watchful of both the educational and spiritual welfare
of their children and families; and at once after the completion of the family log house the settlers provided
a school and also a place for religious worship. At length, as the population increased the town was divided into
school districts and provision was made for schools in each. The first step in this direction was made while Berkshire
was apart of the older town from which it was formed, and after Newark and Richford were set off it became necessary
to re-form the districts in the remaining territory. While not important, it would be difficult to follow the numerous
changes in school districts during the last half century. We know that David McMaster taught the first school in
Josiah's Ball's shoe shop, and afterward in Josiah Wilson's humble house; and we also know that after the educational
system of the town was established the taxpayers always voted generously for the maintenance of the schools. In
this connection mention must also be made of the once famous Brookside seminary, which was founded in 1845 by Rev.
William Bradford, and which soon afterward passed into the hands of Rev. Frederick Judd and became a noted training
school for boys. This school was discontinued about 1859.
So far as the records disclose, the first action by the town in relation to public schools was taken in 1813, at
which time the districts were established. The first commissioners were Asa Leonard, William Henry Moore, and Edward
Edwards; the inspectors were Nathaniel Ford, Solomon Williams, Peter Wilson, and Joseph Waldo, 2d. In 1814 the
commissioners divided the town into twelve districts, and established a school in each.
As now constituted the town comprises eight districts, of which No. 3 is joint with Caroline and Ricbford, and
No. 7 with Caroline.During the school year ending July 31, 1896, the town received of public moneys, $985.45, and
raised by tax $1, 628.38. The amount paid to teachers was $1,961.35. School population, 294. The school property
is valued at $6, 600.
1808-9- John Brown.
1810- Edward Edwards.
1811- John Brown.
1812-17- Solomon Williams.
1818-20- David Williams.
1821-23- William H. Moore.
1824- David Williams.
1825- Gad Worthington.
1826-27- William H. Moore.
1828- Gad Worthington.
1829- Wm. H. Moore.
1830- David Williams.
1831- Joseph Beicher.
1832- David Williams.
1838- Wm. H. Moore.
1834-36- David Williams.
1837- Lyman P. Akins.
1838-42- Harris Jewett.
1843- Lyman P. Akins.
1844- Josiah Lawrence.
1845-46- John C. Williams.
1847- J. Talcot Waldo.
1848- John C. Williams.
1849- F. H. Gould
1850- Henry A. Payne.
1851- H. G. Leonard.
1852- Harris Jewett.
1853- James Chapin.
1854- Henry A. Payne.
1855- John F. Judd.
1856-57- Ezekiel D. Smith.
1858-59- John T. Kimball.
1860- Robert H. S. Hyde.
1861-65- J. W. Leonard.
1866-67- Ohas. S. Manning.
1868-73- Lucien Horton.
1874- Chas. Laning.
1875-79- Walter Jewett.
1880- Stephen Darbonnier.
1889-96- George A. Barr.
ECCLESIASTICAL.- The religious history
of Berkshire is equally interesting with its other institutions, and had a beginning as humble and as early. It
was a custom among the pioneers to meet for religious exercises before the itinerant ministers visited the region,
but the meetings then held were assembled in dweffing houses and barns. The first congregational church of Berkshire
dates back in its history to the early years of the century when that pioneer missionary laborer, Seth Williston,
visited the region and held religious meetings in the houses and barns of the settlers. In 1803, the inhabitants
set to work and erected a meeting house in the north part of what is now Newark Valley, but then about half way
between the settlement at Newark Valley village and Brown's settlement. This is said to have been the first house
for public worship erected in the county. In 1822 the congregationalists of Richford formed a church society, and
early in 1833 steps were taken to organize a new one in Berkshire. This was done at a meeting held at the schoolhouse
in Dist. 4 on July 24 of that year, and then fifty-six persons assented to the articles of faith and the covenant.
The society secured a lot in the. village on land of Stephen Ball, and in 1834 a brick church edifice was erected;
and was dedicated December 4 of that year. The old building stood the storths and wear of more than half a century
but at last its walls were deemed unsafe, and in 1889 it was torn down, and in its place was built the large attractive
brick structure which now adorns the old site. The new edifice was dedicated December 19, 1889. This church now
numbers 191 members, and in the Sunday school are nearly 200 attendants.
The society had no regular pastor until January, 1839, when Rev. William Bradford was ordained. The later pastors,
with the year in which each came to the church, have been as follows: Revs. P. Lockwood, 1843; O. P. Conklin, 1848;
C. F. Miles, 1856; William Bradford, 1859; O. P. Conklin, 1860; S. R. Griffith, 1866; E. S. Palmer, 1869; S. A.
Whitcomb, 1875; Frank H. Coifran, 1880; James W. White, 1881; Joel J. Hough, D. D., pastor since April 1, 1885.
Methodism in Berkshire was one of the primitive institutions of pioneer days and from the little devoted gatherings
of early years there have grown into prosperous life in the town two strong societies Of this faith. The first
class was formed soon after the town was organized but not until- 1825 was a society brought into existence. In
1827 a frame meeting house was erected, and was thereafter used until replaced with the substantial modern edifice
built in 1889. Its members number 150 persons. Auxiliary to the church at the village is the branch society at
East Berkshire which is under the pastorate of the mother church. The branch society was incorporated in 1888,
and in that year the present edifice there was built. In succession the pastors of the Berkshire churches have
been as follows; Revs. Gaylord Judd, 1828-29; David A. Shepard, 1830-31; Silas Comfort, 1832; Matthew Westcott,
1833; John B. Benham, 1834; David Holmes, 1835; Gaylord Judd, 1836; Selah Stocking, 1837; J. D. Warren, 1838; A.
Hamilton, 1839; E. G. Bush, 1840; P. S. Worden, 1842; Walter Hare, 1844; W. S. Titus, 1845 ; Mr. Young, P. S. Worden,
1848; A. C. Sperry, 1850. Asa Brooks, 1852 ; E. Breckenridge, 1854; W. B. Thomas, 1855; T. D. Walker, Thos. Burgess,
1856; C. W. Judd, 1857; Rodney Rose, 1858; W. W. Welch, 1861; R. Van Valkenburg, 1863; Nelson Rounds, 1864; Jas.
Madison, 1868; Chas. A. Ward, 1869; Geo. Peck, 1871 ; N. S. Reynolds, 1872 ; E. M. High, 1873; J. D. Bloodgood,
1874; W. B. Kinney, 1875; Richard Varcoe, 1878; Richard Hiorns, 1879 ; R. D. .Briggs, 1882 ; W. F. Wright, 1885;
G. 0. Beers, 1886 ; I. J. Smith, 1889; W. J. Cook, 1892-97.
'The hamlets in Berkshire, other than Berkshire village are of little importance in the history of the town. East
Berkshire no longer has a postoffice and the only public buildings are the M. E. church and the near-by district
school. The only industry is the creamery Owned by the Standard .Butter Co., of 0wego. Wilson Creek is also in
the east part of the town, and has only a postoffice ; postmaster, Norton Hart.
BERKSHIRE VILLAGE.- Although this
pretty and healthful little village has not been separated from the surrounding territory of the town for any purpose
whatever, there nevertheless seems to have been a general understanding on the part of the people of the village
that they will maintain their hamlet in the same manner is if it were in fact incorporated. The first step toward
the hamlet was taken when Josiah Ball in 1795 built the double log house for the accommodation of recently arrived
settlers, and when Ebenezer Cook built the tannery and Joseph Waldo opened a store the future of the hamlet was
assured. Then Stephen Ball built the large hotel, and Carlisle P. Johnson started a store on the corner, all of
which contributed to the early importance of the village.
Half a century or more ago William Henry Moore was in trade in a store just south of Dewey & Darbonnier's store,
and Mr. Johnson was doing business at the corner of Main and Elm streets as now known. He began about 1838 or '39,
and for many years was one of the best merchants in this part of the county. Stephen Ball built the old Berkshire
temperance house about 1820, and was in some manner connected with it till 1849. Mr. Johnson was in business here,
with certain exceptions of time, until his death, March 12, 1879. Aaron P. Belcher was his early partner. Mr. Johnson
was in the legislature in 1855.
The public institutions of the vifiage are the Congregational and Methodist churches, of which mention has been
made, and the district school, the latter one of the best of its class in the county. The stores of the village
are located in Main street, and are represented about as follows: Hardenberg & Brown, general store, successors
to E. 0. Eldredge & Co.; Eugene Freeland, general store; Frank Leonard, grocery and hardware; Horatio Clark,
general store; J. Wallace Holcomb, grocer and druggist; Dewey & Darbonnier, general merchants; F. A.. Witter
& Co., general merchants. The manufacturing industries are the saw mill and novelty works of Japhet & Son,
and the grist mill now operated by John Vite, but formerly the Sykes mill. The village has two hotels, the Crawford
house, the same built by Stephen Ball about 1820, and the Buffington house, built in 1896.
The Berkshire tannery, as it has long been known, is the chief industry of the town. It was built in 1849 by S.
& J. W. Leonard & Sons, and was at first operated by water power. It passed into the ownership of Davidge,
Horton & Co., May 12, 1865, stifi later was owned by James Davidge & Co., and has since been managed by
that firm and by the United States Leather company, by the latter since May, 1893.