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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011: Granville Revisited

April 18th was Patriot's Day in Massachusetts.  I had planned to go to Granville and visit their town hall on this day. Well, that did not happen.  Everything was closed.  There was no mail, no garbage pickup and all town halls and libraries were closed.  I usually check for holiday's but this I missed.  Granville's Town Hall only has town clerk hours on Monday.  So that makes things a little difficult to plan a visit. 

I had visited the Granville Public Library on Wednesday April 6th in the afternoon and did this side trip from Springfield because it had hours that didn't work with the town clerk.  I met with Rose Miller the Town Historian and she suggested that when I came back to Granville we could visit.  I called her to tell her my problem and she also had a problem too in her schedule.  We figured out that we could meet around 1 pm at the Granville Public Library.  The library was going to be closed but she had access. She was meeting with a man from New York who was researching his family.  So our plans were set and I would come down much later in the day rather than get their by 9 am.   This was good because I could take my time.

Meanwhile, I spent the morning busy with chores and I left the Comfort Inn about 11:30 am.

It takes about an hour, maybe a little less, to drive from Pittsfield to Granville. I used Hwy 20 and changed to Hwy 8 and then turned east on Hwy 57.  I had no problem at the intersection for I-90 and was able to keep on Hwy 20 south. 

This was going to be an interesting drive because so far I have only come to Granville from the east to the  west and now I was going from the west to the east.  This would give me a better idea of the distance and terrain.  The road was good in places but damaged and rough in others.  There was hardly any traffic which I love.  Going down Hwy 20 was easy.  The town of Lee was a lovely town and they even had a bookstore which was tempting but I did stop I kept going. 

Just before turning onto Hwy 57 there is a covered bridge just north of the town of New Boston.  It is bright red and over the Farmington River.  Since I didn't go to the one west of Winchester, NH, I decided to top and enjoy this one.  I parked the car and walked over to the bridge and stepped inside noting the big chunky floor boards with a little of the river peeking through.  There was a viewing window on the right side and I peered through it.  It had a plaque on it probably a dedication? 





Granville has an interesting history as Rose describes it.  The area where the library is located was East Granville. The Granville Center was Granville and then there is West Granville. Well, Tolland broke off because it was too far to travel and everything shifted.  There is no longer an East Granville although you will see it in the records.  It is where the Granville Library is located and the Granville Country Store.  So that means there is Granville, Granville Center and West Granville in today's world.  West Granville is not that close to the library area.  The town hall is in Granville Center.  The Main Cemetery is along the road north of Granville Center where the road dips and rises.   


Entering Granville established 1754 - Solomon Goss was born in that year?
The road to Granville is up and down, around and wiggling here and there.  I pondered what it would be like if there was snow and I am not sure I would be able to get around with all the hills and dales.  You come first to Tolland and that is when the New Boston Road becomes the W. Granville Rd.  Next is West Granville and it is about a few miles to Granville Center and then it becomes the Main Rd. 

I came upon the Main Road Cemetery and tried to find a place to park along the road.  They come fast on this road.  The Main Road Cemetery is on the north east side of the road and there is room to park there but I did not want to try doing a U turn for I was headed to the library.  The cemetery is hilly so you do have to step carefully because you could fall if you are backing up and not paying attention. Again it was mushy due to the rain so that made it slippery. In certain parts you can look down on other houses and lawns. One of the houses was just beautiful and the land around it was immaculate. This cemetery is in pretty good shape.  I saw evidence of repair of a few stones using metal rods to fix the cracked pieced knitting them back together.  They had tape with numbers written on some of the stones and stuck on the sides.  Others had orange tape tied on them??   You can see one of the orange ribbons in the photo below.

This stone has flaked off the inscription, not unusual

There is a stone wall parallel to the road and parking to the left

An iron gate to walk through, no driving in this cemetery 
I found who I was looking for?  Peter Gibbons and Sarah Green  Gibbons.  The parents of Lemuel Gibbons who married Marry Goss sister to my Solomon, Ebenezer and Nathaniel and the others.  Mary was a daughter of Philip and Mary Kendall Goss.  Peter and Sarah married in Hardwick and I believe they came with Zachariah Haskell and Keziah Goss Haskell to the Granville area?  I cannot seem to prove it? I found Roger Haskell the son buried at the Center Cemetery in Peru!  I have not been able to find any further information out about Lemuel in the Granville area.  He is truly a mysterious person.  Now Lemuel is not my ancestor.  He married into the Gosses.  I am interested in him because he married Mary and she is the ancestor of my cousin Ken Goss.  Lemuel was not in the deeds in Hampden County, however, his father Peter was.  I think  a probate file for Peter might be interesting to see.  Although he died after his son Lemuel many years later.

Find A Grave has a listing for the Main Road Cemetery and a listing for the Gibbons buried there.  Someone has posted a lot of information on this family with links to other memorials that do not have a stone. 



In Memory of Peter Gibbons who died Dec. 6, 1822, Age 92 and Sarah his wife who died Feb. 8, 1811 age 80. 

Sarah is at this link and Lemuel is listed as one of her children. As you can see the links are very long when you go to an individual listing. 

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Gibbons&GSiman=1&GScid=2364126&GRid=45468842&

I cannot find a grave for Lemuel Gibbons in the Granville area.  The Find A Grave listing for him also does not have any idea where he is buried but does mention the confusion over the information about his potential death place.  The Gibbons family were very prominent in Granville and had many descendants. 

The interesting thing is that Paul H. Goss didn't really acknowledge this Mary Goss, a sister.  I have seen her birth in the records of Granville on a Family History Film #185380.  There is also a book titled "Turning of Hearts:  William Davidson Gibbons Family History Family History Book 929.273 G352 that talks about the Gibbons family and its connection to the Goss family. 

No more dallying for it was a little after 1 pm and I headed to the Granville Public Library to meet Rose Miller the Historian.  She was waiting patiently in her car and fortunately it wasn't for me but for her appointment.  He was late!  He did appear as I was getting out of the car and had his three little girls with him. 

Rose took us into the library and the alarm went off so she disappeared quickly.  She opened the door to the Historical Room of the library and we settled in at the table.  She began helping him which was fine with me.  I needed to eat my lunch.  I asked where I could eat my sandwich.  Rose gave me permission.  I was content to listen to these two discuss his family research and try to find and figure people out.  He had come from New York to the library today for his appointment with Rose and she was willing to come in on a holiday.  The girls were told they could read books in the children's room but they had to put them back. So they were content for at least one hour and then the energy level increased. 


Granville Public Library

Timothy Mather Cooley kept very careful vital records of the Granville Church. 


She handed him cemetery records, histories of Granville and more.  She reviewed Timothy Mather Cooley's church records trying to find information to help him.  She had pulled the land cards that the surveyor had compiled and shared those with him. Rose explained that he would have to go to Westfield or Springfield to access the land records and deeds at the Registry of Deeds for Hampden County.  There are two offices for this Registry of Deeds but the websites don't tell you which is the one you need to go to.  So you will have to call to ask.

Unfortunately I did not catch his name but he had gone to the Granville Town Hall and the clerk had not been able to find any information for him on his people.  She had accessed her cards to find the information.  I listened intently at this point.  Cards, no original records....hmmmm....?

Rose and the young man worked on the research for a good hour and more before he packed up and headed out.  I just realized he probably ran into trouble because the government offices were closed for Patriot's Day. 

Rose and I headed back to the Main Road Cemetery.  She was going to help me by taking a picture of me with the graves.  I had not done that when I visited earlier that day.  She pulled her car over and we went into the Main Street Cemetery which does have a grassy area next to the cemetery but be careful for the ground is real soft and you could get stuck.  Having her take a picture or two meant I didn't have to set up my tripod and use the timer.  See the photo above.


More Main Road Cemetery in Granville


I pointed out the tape and ribbon on some of the stones and she puzzled over that.  We walked around a little and Rose remembered and commented on some of the bigger stones.  Rose's husband Hank had been the one who ran the Historical Room in the library and he was avid in his pursuit of genealogy and history.  He is the one responsible for a lot of the records in this library.  Before him there was another lady who was also devoted to the history of Granville.  There are a lot more records there than you think.  If they don't have original's they have copies.  Hank has been gone 11 years and Rose stepped in to help. 

We left the cemetery and I followed Rose up the road into West Granville. I had pondered which house she lived in but was not prepared for the Saltbox that I saw.  WOW!  It was built in 1730.  It was a brown color with a light blue door with a flag on it.  The yard area was lovely and wooded.  Her husband had wanted a lot of land something like 120 acres and they ended up with 30 acres???  She chatted happily and gave me permission to photograph anything I wanted but it was her home so I restrained myself.  The barn on the right which is somewhat shrouded was something like 150 years old. 



We entered the sun room and I was greeted with a delightful room filled with knickknacks but not overly done.  Rose quilts and braids the most wonderful oval rugs. She had them all around the house.  They were soft and wonderful on the feet.  The wide wood planked floors were amazing.  Rose is a "hooker" and no it isn't the other definition.  It is someone who hooks rugs and she has wonderful wall hanging rugs.  These are picture rugs that you can hang on the wall or place on the floor.  They are small maybe 3 ft by 2 ft?  She has them scattered her and there. This is fine rug making. The quilts she had made were hanging on a railing in the staircase were gorgeous.  All handmade. It was like stepping back in time.

The rooms in the home are all delightful and have either the white wall, or a wallpapered wall or the dark knotty pine I love or a dark wood beam.  The kitchen as she called it had this huge fireplace with this stone interior and a oven for baking on the side.  She had her rustic kitchen in the end area.  Around the fireplace was a sitting area.  Oh and books everywhere!

All the rooms were charming and filled with her treasures and collections.  Her bedroom on the second floor was to die for.  She had an office with the slanted roof and her husband had his office which looked like it had not been disturbed.  Her sewing room was next to the powder room on the first floor.  It was very tiny but charming.  Silly me was stroking the wood panelling and touching the stone around the fireplace.  Talk about heaven and seeing the real thing rather than a photograph in a decorating magazine.  I was truly in heaven. 

I usually book into old B&B's but this was my first time inside a Saltbox house that was an actual family's home.  Why she invited me, of all people, I don't know but I was very much touched by her kindness and generosity. 

She then served me tea in lovely fancy cups with a saucer, which reminded me of my Mom, and let me eat the homemade chocolate chip cookies that a friend had given her.  She doesn't like chocolate chips cookies so she wanted me too to finish them off.  I left one for her.  We chatted about life.  What a delightful and lovely day and what a wonderful surprise. 
She took me upstairs to her office and showed me this card file collection of the Granville surveyor's records and we studied them for Goss, Haskell, Gibbons, Davidson and more names. The surveyor had done a study of the deeds in the area and who bought what land and sold to another.  I took pictures of the ones that interested me.  I will compare his findings with my own research on the deeds and see what this will reveal.  

Deed Records by a former Granville Surveyor carefully preserved
My time was done and I needed to move on.  It was 4 pm.  I had another cemetery to visit and I had to go back to Peru.  I had misplaced my prescription glasses and I decided that the Center Cemetery was where I had lost them.  I needed to take a chance and retrieve them if I could.  This meant a little more driving than I had planned. 

I waived goodbye and thanked Rose for her kindness and help.  Off I went back onto Hwy 57 heading west back to New Boston and then up Hwy 8.  The sky was darkening and the rain was beginning by the time I got to Otis.  I was going in search of the Norton Cemetery in East Otis.  So I turned on Hwy 23 at Otis and drove about a mile or more to the Norton Road.  I entered a road with a sign that said "Closed MUD." 

I proceed cautiously but I went too far up this gravel road.  So I turned back and there was the cemetery on the right.  I parked the car and was greeted by a very unhappy dog belonging to the house across from the entrance to the cemetery.  The owner was trying to contain him.  I gathered my things and proceeded into the cemetery which is only about 1 block from the entrance onto Norton Rd.  I had been concentrating on the right side of the road and the houses so that is why I missed it as I drove in.  You park and walk into this cemetery. 


Norton Cemetery, East Otis, MA
The cemetery is on a slope and it is in an open area with a stone wall around it.  I easily found the Haskell family and there was Keziah Goss Haskell Rose's grave broken in half.  Fortunately I could see the inscription and it was really something to see that name "KEZIAH" across the top.  The stones are to the right as you enter the cemetery and along the road side near the stone wall and lined up together. 


It reads Keziah the widow of John Rose died Aug 17, 1815 age 87


Philip Haskell, June 6, 1756, d April 18, 1849. 
He served his country in the Revolution from its beginning to its close.
This Peter Haskell is a brother of Roger and therefore son of Keziah Rose (Keziah Goss Haskell Rose) and son of Zachariah.  There are more graves but seem to be more of his wives and it looks like he married several times?  I have some work to do. 

The real fun was seeing the name "Keziah" carved in a tombstone.  This Keziah caused quite a problem along with her mother back in the 1930's and 1940's when Paul H. Goss was trying to figure who was who and who married whom.  I just wish we could find her mother Keziah Cooley Goss Brown and where she is buried?  Someone on the internet said Timothy Brown headed to Winchester NH but he is not on the list in the Evergreen cemetery there and neither is Keziah? 

The doggie was still not happy with me as I climbed into my car but the man was kind and made sure his puppy was undercontrol and had put him on a leash.  Funny, this medium sized dog was wagging his tail as he barked at me!  I decided not to push my luck. 

Here is a very nice blog on this cemetery which was a great help to me in finding it:  http://stuofdoom.com/main/?p=808  They also have a video.

Here is a listing of the burials:  http://www.uscemeteryproj.com/massachusetts/berkshire/norton/norton.htm

Time to head back to Otis and then turn north onto Hwy 8 and head for Hinsdale.  I did go through Becket Center and North Becket again and this time I continued up Hwy 8 rather than drive the Washington Mountain Road and bounce myself around.  Hwy 8 is much better to drive. It was starting to rain heavier as I continued north.  I am so glad roads don't move around like the stairs at Hogworth in Harry Potter!!!!  I know I said that before, HA!

The drive took about half an hour.  I went through the town of Washington and back into Hinsdale and turned onto Hwy 148 and up the hill to Peru and right to Center Cemetery.  I put on my slicker and my tenny runners and turned and there I spotted my glasses on the ground in the puddle with the arms sticking up right where I had parked the car the day before. HURRAH!  Now I can see when I drive.  I mean, I can see things but they are a little fuzzy and I can't read some of the smaller signs.  They are transition lenses so it helps with the sun and glare.  No more 20/20.  Sigh!

Before I left I walked quickly up the hill and said goodbye to Roger, Mary and Zechariah Haskell turned and headed back from Peru to Dalton and into Pittsfield.  No he is not the Zechariah I seek but probably Roger and Mary Haskell's son.  Darn!  However, finding Philip and Roger Haskell the two brothers and the sons of Zechariah and Keziah Goss is pretty cool!  I had help for others are tracking these lines online and I thought I would help out a little with some better photos of these cemeteries. 

Again driving through Pittsfield was easy because of the holiday (Patriots Day).  I didn't realize that when I visited Pittsfield and the Berkshires that I was going to get a total view of the highways in the area.  As I was coming up the hill to the NARA turn off and getting close to the Comfort Inn I noted Mazzeo's Ristorante was open.  There were cars crowding the parking lot but I turned in anyway and parked. 

The wine I chose was wonderful - David Norman from Australia?  I had Fettucine Alfredo with broccoli and the plates was a perfect size.  Sometimes Fettucine can be a never ending bowl.  It was good I was hungry.  They had a great Caesar salad which I ate all of and usually don't.  It was definitely a people watching environment.  There was a waitress with very blonde hair in a ponytail and she was very intent on her job and zipping about with determination.  Their uniforms were black shirt and pants.  She was also very pretty. I think she was a budding future restaurant owner because of her determination?

It was a very slick restaurant and modern, my table was a dark wood coated to a gleam.  It was noisy but apparently it was popular!  I had been curious passing by it and so now I was content. 

Time to go get ready an move on tomorrow and head back to Connecticut.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sunday: April 17, 2011: A Change of Plans - Peru, MA & Wahconah Falls

It is Sunday in the Berkshires and everything is closed.  That is okay, I need a little time to recover.

The Dakota Restaurant had a brunch from 10 to 2 pm and I decided to try it.  I arrived about 1 pm and they had a full buffet.  It was very good and even better than Old Sturbridge Village.  The waiter who served me did everything:  take orders, tend the bar, bus the tables.  Next stop was feeding the car.  Gasoline was at $3.50 to $4+. Ouch!

I proceeded up Holmes St. to Arrowhead the museum and soon discovered that I completely misread the website and that they are not opened till after Memorial Day.  I just went back and revisited it and the information is at the very bottom of the website about opening times.  Here is the link away Herman Melville.

I ran into the Executive Director Betsy and she told me that Melville had been coming to the area since a child of 13.  Greylock Mountain was the inspiration for Moby Dick. Like everyone I read "Moby Dick," and new it by heart.  Of course, you have to see the Gregory Peck movie version. 

I learned that they give tours every hour at his home starting at 10 am when opened.  Betsy informed me that they have just received the paperwork to go ahead and repaint Arrowhead, which is really in need of some help and funds to do so.  The paint was peeling as I wandering around taking photos.  They have to proceed carefully because of the historical significance of the house.  No power washing here. 

The Movie Website gives some information about this movie:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049513/  It was done in 1956 and it was not bad.  I believe that Patrick Stewart was Capt Ahab and did a TV version in 1998 with Gregory Peck in another role.  Patrick Stewart was formerly Capt. Picard in Star Trek Next Generation.

There are other interesting things you can do in the Berkshires like the Hancock Shaker Village, The Berkshire Museum or the Museum of the Gilded age.  Betsy tried to entice me but I was more interested in the Center Cemetery in Peru, Massachusetts and decided to drive there and investigate. 

Well, I missed the turn to Hinsdale and ended up at Wahconah Falls State Park.  I had thought of stopping there on my way to Pittsfield on Friday but changed my mind.  Well there it was so I followed this other car onto the turn and gravel road and headed to the Falls.  A short walk after parking the car and I found something reminiscent of home! Awe this is more like it.  Raging water over rocks!! Enjoy!!


A short easy and pleasant walk. 


I have noticed that although there is forest which is mixed with deciduous and pine trees, there is no undergrowth like ferns and bushes in these forests and like back home.  It was very pretty and there are barbecues situated here and there, ready for a picnic. It looked like there were trails to follow.

A young couple was at the falls and I asked how to get to Hinsdale.  She corrected me and called it Hinnnsdale.  Oops!  I smiled.  Well she was right, I missed the sign. So from Hwy 9 you turn onto Hwy 8 which takes you to Hinsdale with a sharp turn left onto Hwy 143 and head up a very steep hill to Peru (formerly Partridgefield, officially changed to Peru in 1805.) 

My quest was to find Haskell's.  Roger Haskell the son of Zachariah (Zechariah) Haskell and Keziah Goss Haskell was buried in the Center Cemetery in Peru.  Now this cemetery might also be called "Hill Top."  My theory is they all came west together.  No one knows where Zachariah and Keziah Goss Haskell are buried.  I was hoping to find a sign.  I did find their son Roger and his wife Mary's tombstones. 

As I turned south to go to the cemetery  after reaching the center of Peru. I drove by a chained Doberman Pincher. Lots of the dogs that live in the country in Massachusetts do not like cars.  I had never witnessed this behavior.  He was chained but it seems dangerous for the animal??

The Center Cemetery was very wet.  There were puddles by some of the stones, mushy grass, mud and my shoes got really wet.  It was threatening rain even though the pictures doesn't seem to indicate it with the fluffy clouds.  The cemetery is sort of on a hill and slope.  It is a good size.  I tried to pull the Aveo in but she protested and spun her wheels so I carefully turned around so I could get out and didn't go any further which put me in a puddle.  Ugh!




I found Roger and his wife and other Haskell's.  One tombstone was toppled over and I could not budge it and the danger of hurting myself was imminent so I backed off.  It is a Zechariah Haskell but not the one I want to find.  Darn!

I am a little worried about this cemetery.  It is out in the open but it does seem to need to be cared for?  I worry about our heritage and see it slipping away.  The ground was so soft and the tombstones were leaning in all directions and lots of breakage.  I know it was a rough winter and there has not been a lot of time to get to repair, I hope they do.


Roger Haskell is on the left and Mary on the right 
 Roger Haskell died Apr 8, 1842 age 90 years (hard to read he was leaning over.  Next to him on the right, Mary Haskell died Dec. 13, AD 1849 aged 86 years and 23 days. 
More Haskells - Hannah Haskell wife of Cullen B. Watkins 1843 to 1931 on the left

Little Bertha, Precous Jewel on the left, George Haskell 1844 to 1914. 


It needs a shovel and several people to move it and flip it, not to mention fixed it.
The Berkshire Collection had a book titled Cemeteries of Hinsdale and Peru.  I took copies of the Center Cemetery but messed up some photos so I will have to revisit that book.  There was a handwritten notation that listed Haskell names in the collection but only gave page numbers.  I was going too fast and running out of time at the Berkshire Athenaeum.  The lesson, take photocopies as well of critical stuff.

Find A Grave has a listing for this cemetery but it is not complete.  I have more photos of this cemetery and will post them later when I get a chance. 

The Peru Church with two steeples!! The Library is to the left!
I returned on Hwy 148 to Hwy 8 to Hwy 9 to Dalton and then Pittsfield which was quiet today because it was Sunday so I was able to study the city of Pittsfield.  I missed a Rite Aid because it was housed in a building butted up to others.  If I could describe Pittsfield it is that the streets are wide in the downtown area. 

I really didn't want to eat at the Dakota for I had done that twice but the Italian ristorante was not opened so I had dinner in my room in the Comfort Inn. 

Before I had left for the day and went to brunch about 1 pm I called Rose Miller of the Granville Library and explained I had a problem.  The original plan was to go to the Granville Town Hall and view vital records with the town clerk who was there in the morning and afternoon on Mondays.  Well with Patriot's Day that was not going to happen.  Rose also had a conflict but an appointment at the library at 1 pm.  She had access for it was also closed.  So I would drive down to Granville and visit with her and see the Main Street Cemetery. 

Chores and dinner done, I settled in to bed.

Saturday: April 16, 2011: Becket Athenaeum and more!

The Becket Athenaeum is open from 10 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, otherwise the hours are every other day.  They do not have an online catalog to access that I can find? So I am going in a little blind. 

Becket was called No. 4 and Philip and Mary Goss of Brookfield (IV) came there to live for awhile until he was was again enticed by the lands offered in Pennsylvania near the Susquehanna River.  To get to Becket you can go through Pittsfield but I decided to try Holmes Road up to Williams St. and over to the Washington Mountain Road and down into Becket.  The road is paved but rough and me and my Aveo bounced around a lot.  We did some serious climbing up roads but basically had the road to ourselves.  There was one guy in a car who I tried to get to pass me but when he had the chance he just stayed on my bumper.  There was a truck in the road and I pulled out and in and then over and he finally went flying by me.  Go figure??? I have done well in Massachusetts regarding driving and have not had any problems so far.

I came to this crossroads and there was this little sign "Becket Village" pointing that away - left.  Soon there was another sign "Becket Village" and it had arrows pointing both ways. Hmmm...?? I am assuming it meant either North Becket or Becket Center. I jumped in and followed it out on Brooker Hill Road and that took me into Becket or rather North Becket. 


Becket Art Center, North Becket, MA

Becket Athenaeum, North Becket - park and enter in the back!


Becket is a combination of little communities.  The Becket Athenaeum is in North Becket on the southwest corner in a building that used to be a church.  It is in front of the Becket Art Center.  The sign is on Hwy 8.  You open the backdoor and there is a room filled with books and interesting things like a stuffed alligator. Like all small establishments the search for room is a problem. 

They had water damage so they moved the important documents upstairs.  I was greeted by Nancy the librarian.  She told me that you could not go upstairs without the director of the library to obtain documents.  What is there is your guess for it is not on the computer and cataloged.

Can you see the alligator?
You cannot access the catalog from beyond the library. You have to be there to look at what they have.  Nancy puts in the code and lets you search.  I took some time to do that to see what would come up and she is right the historical collection is not online. 

The Becket Athenaeum is a wonderful library with all kinds of books, a section for kids and more.  I did find some histories of Berkshire, topo maps, an atlas of Massachusetts.  While I was there two people brought in more books for the library.  I found a DVD reader verion of Brisinger the trilogy by Christopher Paolini. That was amazing to see a 5 set DVD talking book.  The trilogy will actually become 4 books which for fans like me is great news.  http://www.alagaesia.com/#/home  I was in an airport and was drawn to the picture of a dragon on the cover and the book was Eragon.  Funny what you might find in a out of the way place in a library!  I digress, HA!

Becket Athenaeum website: http://www.becketathenaeum.org/  I would suggest you read the History of the library and their About page. 

I mentioned to Nancy that Paul H. Goss had visited years ago and he was my cousin.  He knew about Cathaline Archer the author of several Becket histories and knew she was preparing them for publications.  He also knew Cecilia Snow who had done an unofficial list of Becket births, deaths and other vitals records.  Nancy knew what I was talking about and said they had photocopied this vital record compilation because the original was really fragile.  She pulled the copy for me to look at.  It was very large and she laid it on a table. She found the entry for Ebenezer Goss' birth. 


Mrs. Snow's compilation of Becket Vital Records
Nancy informed me that the director would be there in an hour and I tried to fill it up with seeing what I could find in this library while I waited.  I had not made an appointment. 

1.  I purchased two books.  The "Walking Tour of Becket," ($3.00) and the "Biecentennial History of Becket 1768-1965." by Cathaline Alford and Mitchell J. Mulholland Archer  ($15.00)  I have already seen this book but decided it was worth it.  This book has some good information on Philip and Mary Goss. 

2.  I found a copy of the book:  Pioneer Valley a Pictorial History, by Guy A. McLain.  It has a map of Springfield showing the land records for 1840.  The pioneer valley is the Connecticut River Valley and as I was driving along I was going in and out of it once I came from Winchester, NH. 

3.  Historical Atlas of Massachusetts, Edited by Richard W. Wilkie and Jack Tager, Univ. of Mass, did not get a date of publication.  It has of course maps showing the development of Massachusetts by townships and counties.  A map of the sites in King Philip's War of 1675 and of course Lancaster and Brookfield were involved.  The spread of settlement and town incorporation from 1620-1691.  A 1635 map of Boston "existing ways and owners."  This kind of book helps to get perspective on our ancestors lives.

4.  See above photographs.  The Genealogical Records of the Inhabitants Town of Becket.  According to Nancy this compilation was done by Ms. Snow herself.

I soon became restless and came to the conclusion that I needed to move on.  I had what I wanted the birth record of Ebenezer Goss as seen above.  So, I left my information and gave a brochure of my trip to Nancy.  My advise is to call in advance and make an appointment with the director if you want to look at anything in their collection.  Hopefully they will compile a finding aid to it and that would be wonderful.  I don't know if she will find anything on our family but it is worth a try. 

I decided to go down to Becket Center because the "Walking Tour Booklet of Becket" I purchased had the different historical sites in Becket really carefully identified.  It is a great booklet and helped me to figure out that Philip Goss probably lived in the Becket Center area which is south of North Becket on Hwy 5.  This booklet describes as the main area of settlement in Becket.  North Becket was not established till into the 1800's.  The whole history of the area of Becket and the other townships is part of a larger movement as people who needed more land. 

The area around Becket is rugged.  It takes a lot to prepare the land to grow anything for it is rocky and not fertile without some work.  I tried to put my head around why Philip Goss went there?  He had lot #56. It could be a real interesting exchange of what motivated g-great grandfather to move there? 

Here is an article about Becket:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Becket,_Massachusetts

I left the library and it was cold but it wasn't raining.  Brrrrr.....Hwy 8 was just out front and I headed south. Along the way I found the North Becket Cemetery which is situated on a hill.


North Becket Cemetery


Small road that goes up a little incline, look for the wood bear on the side of the road!


The sign for a town is usually well in advance of the town.  The concept that a town goes on for a long while in New England takes a little getting use to.  In the west we lean toward counties being the boundary. I was beginning to think I had not turned right but the sign came up as entering Becket Center a National Historic District. 




I spotted the church and went over to investigate and there was a cemetery right next to it called the Becket Center Cemetery.   


Becket Center Church



I continued down Hwy 8 and found the town hall.  Becket is spread out and still a very small town.  The land around the town hall is flat.

Becket Town Hall - What Treasures are there??
I did more exploring and returned north up Hwy 8 and turned left at North Becket heading back the way I came over the rough road to Pittsfield through Dalton.  My goal had been to get a feel for what the land was like in the Becket area. 

It was not that hard to find the Berkshire Athenaeum for it is on the corner of East Street and Wendell Ave.  It is a rather modern building looking like something modern in brick with cement trim.  Not what I had expected although there is a painting at the website?  Parking on Wendell Street was 4 hours.  So I had plenty of time to investigate the library.  It was cold and the wind was blowing...brrr...!



As I entered the Berkshire Athenaeum there was a notice on the door that they would be closed on Monday, April 18th for Patriot's Day.  WHAT?  Oh dear!!  I approached the Reference librarian and asked what Patriot's Day is all about:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriots'_Day  Sigh!!  I really try so hard to plan my trips around holidays but this one caught me by surprise.  Sigh!!!

Meanwhile, I walked into the Berkshire Athenaeum History Room and was very pleased to see a well designed, organized room.  They had the rolling electric stacks.  They do need resetting on occasion. File cabinets with genealogies, maps and more.  I signed in and set to work, tons of microfilm, finding aids and more.  I only had 4 hours now that I lost the coming Monday. Berkshire Athenaeum's Redesigned Local History Department flyer explained the layout and use of the area and information about their collection.  Study the website as well: http://www.pittsfieldlibrary.org/

Berkshire Athenaeum History Room only a portion..much bigger!
1.  National Archvies Northeast Region (Pittsfield) brochure was in a rack.  It is now a historical document with the closing of this archive in Septemeber.

2.  Print out - Colonial Plan of A Portion of Hampshire County now Berkshire County.  This map shows the Key to Small Grants and there is Township #4.  They have this map in a stand and let you copy them. 

3.  Another handout in a stand - Berkshire County and its Neighbors.  When I was touring Pennsylvania a few years ago it was suggested that I check out New York for that is where a lot of people went to.  So this handout features surrounding counties, Berkshire County, neighboring New York, Connecticut and Vermont.
These two maps are just simple drawings but they help to get a reference.

4.  The library catalog has a lot of information and you can pull printouts to review when you arrive.  I had about 24 things planned and began evaluating them.  Some were books, some were microfilm and some were parts of collections like the Berkshire Collection (the one with green tape over by the computers). They have a Master Index - Bibliography for this collection alphabetized Vols. 1-65++. I started with the stacks.  It was fun to push the button for the electronic stack.  I pulled histories of Becket, Otis, Peru and more.  I pulled cemetery records for Otis, Peru, and Becket.  I found a really great book that was a compilation of the cemeteries. I stumbled on it in the Berkshire Collection. 

Source:  A Guide to Berkshire County Massachusetts Cemeteries, compiled by the Berkshire Family History Association, 1988. This guide was very helpful.  It had maps of the townships and located where the cemeteries were and then a description and location of each cemetery identified.  I have not had time to find out if this type of compilation is also for other counties in Massachusetts and maybe Connecticut? 

5.  Family histories like the Davidson Family, and Descendants of Robert Rose of Wethersfield etc.

6.  Becket, Mass, records of the Congregation Church (township #4), transcribed by Rollin H. Cooke.  It mentions that on p. 518-532 there is a listing of the Becket Center Cemetery.  Of course I took pictures and our family of Philip Goss is mentioned frequently.  I need to review my findings.

7.  They had on the walls maps.  One was of Berkshire County showing mountains and the rivers.  The lecture I attended at the NERGC in Springfield a few weeks ago mentioned that people would travel on the rivers or near them and go way out of their way around mountains in order to migrate.  I had been noticing the rivers and they all had rapids in the Berkshires and were really not for traveling by boat?  So they much have traveled along side them?  I am very interested in the migration of settlers to the Wyoming Valley and where they would go when conflict occurred there.  So far I have not see anything describing this movement back and forth?

8.  They also had detailed topographical maps of Berkshire that were relief types.  Deeds describe things using the local mountains and streams and so far I have not found anything detailed enough to satisfy me.  These were great so I took some photos.  Now how to get copies?

They also had a copy of a book:  The Legend of Mt. Greylock, A History of a Mountain by Kirsten Demeo.  Greylock is the tallest mountain in the Massachusetts.  It comes in at 3489 feet...? http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/mtGreylock/  I wonder if my brother would like it?  He is such a snob when it comes to mountains and their elevation! However, if it is a mountain of note he knows about it.  I cannot fool him with a photo at a different angle.  He knows right away. He used to climb them but now he just Googles them. 

I was struggling a little with finding things and the librarian was engaged from the moment I had entered.  I managed to get a lot done and get a feel for where things were.  I explored their finding aids and filing cabinets.  The librarian had been helping other patrons and it looked like he was not going to be done soon.  After awhile I had to interrupt him and once he pointed me in the right direction I was off and running. 

It was time to leave and the librarian asked if I found what I needed and I told him I was confused about two cemeteries and that it was either Hinsdale or the one in Peru.  We took out the information and reviewed it and he discovered a notation in the information that indicated it was the Hill Top Cemetery in Peru, Massachusetts and he suggested that I tried that.  Hinsdale and Peru are very close to each other and northeast of Pittsfield an easy drive.  It would save time to only have to visit one cemetery.  I was on the hunt for Haskell's? 

I did enjoy my short time there at the Berkshire Athenaeum and highly recommend this archive as a source.  They will be inheriting some of the microfilm from the NARA that will be closing.  I have no idea where they will house it and it is possible you will have to order it and they will pull it. 

This was a very good day.  I had long wanted to visit the Becket and Berkshire Athenaeums.  Paul probably visited the more ornate building version when he traveled in Massachusetts.  See this article and picture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkshire_Athenaeum

Dakota Restaurant, Pittsfield right next to Lenox, MA

Notice the bear....!


Since the restaurant Dakota was right next door to the Comfort Inn, I decided it would be the choice for dinner and it was not too bad.  You are greeted by a giant Kodiak Bear when you enter that is on its hind legs and paws outstretched.  The walls are wood paneling (yeah I know knotty pine, I like it) and the decor is like a log cabin in the woods.  There are two fireplaces at each end. I had been cold a lot on this trip because I had left my windbreaker at the Dragonfly in West Brookfield and only had my velour jacket and sweaters.  So a fireplace looked comforting and inviting.  Very rustic and I liked it the restaurant felt comfortable. 

I noticed a flyer about brunch on Sunday and thought that sounded like a good idea.  The ending time was 2 pm for Sunday and that would work well.

Getting back to the Comfort Inn turned out to be easy.  I just slipped through the green chain linked box and curb and turned south into the driveway of the motel.  Yeah, it was that close.  Going out on the highway and then taking a quick sharp turn was not something I was eager to do. 

A good day and now it was time to get organized for the next.  Oh don't ask me to pronounce "Athenaeum" when I did the person didn't understand me so it is not as you expect.  It is an old term for library.  I have seen it spelled "Atheneum."