An early and Founding History of Clarksburg 1636 to 1925
536 WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS
And peace and happiness abides, Rest Berkshire Hills and Homes.
From any of the numerous hills may be seen old Greylock, king of the mountains. Also appear Mount Adams, a spur of the Green Mountain range and the beautiful curves of the Taconics.
This town has the form of a parallelogram, seven miles long and two and a half miles in width. It is 120 miles distant from Boston and twenty-five from Pittsfield, the seat of justice for Berkshire county. It contains eighteen square miles of territory, nearly one hundred good farms; one hundred and forty good dwellings. As long ago as 1885 there were two good stores at Briggsville, several factories, a town library there ; 720 population. While the land is quite rough it is fairly productive. The great mountain in the western part of the town was an important station in the coast survey. Its latitude is forty-two degrees, forty-four minutes north, and longitude seventy-three degrees, nine minutes west.
The settlement was commenced in Clarksburg m 1769 by Captain Matthew Ketchum, Nicholas Clark and others. It is related when Colonel William Bullock measured out the grant which bears his name he was compelled, in order to complete his complement of 23,000, to extend it around Bernardston's grant. He intended to reach to the Vermont line, but not knowing exactly where it was, and careful not to lose any part of his grant by going into that state, he stopped a mile short of the line, and proceeded westward four or five miles along the north line of Bernardston's grant and Adams. The part of Bullock's grant which lies north of this grant and town and west of Monroe, together with the gore which separates it from Williamstown and Vermont, originally constituted Clarksburg. A part of it was annexed to Florida May 2, 1848.
The town was named from one of its leading families. Nicholas Clark, and his brothers Aaron, Stephen, and Silas, came in at the same period, from Cumberland, R. I. A man named Hudson is believed to have been the first white man to invade this territory for the purpose of making a permanent settlement. He felled a tree
in the town, hence the name Hudson's Brook which passes under the natural bridge soon after its entrance into Adams. It was designed to name the Town after Hudson, but for some unknown reason it was changed. Originally, the Town contained 10,400 acres. As early as 1829 there were four mills running all the year around. Briggsville where the earliest post office in the town was established, had A. A. Lee for its postmaster. When H. B. Briggs built his brick woolen mills the office, in 1866, was taken there. Later this concern was styled "The Linwood Woolen Company," of which H. P. Briggs was treasurer. There was located the great Clarksburg reservoir, which furnishes Hoosac water to several mills below. A goodly number of houses were built near the mill site where about one hundred and fifty hands were employed about forty years ago.
The straight line of the Pittsfield & North Adams Railroad cuts the southern Valley just below Clarksburg in twain ; the Troy & Boston line bisects the western valley, while the two branches of the Hoosac-^the north branch of which flows the entire length of Clarksburg — unite at North Adams and flow on westward through the other valley that divides Greylock from Mount Adams. It has been well said that these three deep valleys with the village at the point of their junction and the magnificent mountain walls that shut them in, give the beholder a picture the beauty of which cannot be eclipsed by any scene that New England can furnish. One writer said : "It is good to be here; let us make tabernacles and abide; for surely there shall never rest upon our souls a purer benediction."
Churches and schools appear here and there over the territory of this town. Farming and milling have produced an intelligent, contented class of thrifty citizens. Numerous religious revivals occurred in this part of Berkshire county, resulting in the establishment of several churches of different denominations, some of
which exist today. No better or more faithful communicants are found on the church books of Adams and Stamford than those whose names are there written as belonging to the little mountain town of Clarksburg. In an account written of this town forty years ago by George B. Griffith, occur these words: "In addition to the industries mentioned as conducted on the principal streams is the planning mill of George Hall. The manufacture of bricks was once a lucrative business, and a wool-carding mill used to flourish here. During and prior to the Civil War and up to 1869, there were three powder mills located here. Powder to the value of $36,000 was there made annually and lumber cut to the value of over $4,000 a year. Though the soil of Clarksburg is hard and stony, there are many thrifty farmers and agriculture is necessarily the chief business of the people. Lumber is carried on to a considerable extent, stock-raising also, and there are not a few fine horses and choice flocks of sheep. Lumber consists mostly of oak, chestnut, spruce, and hemlock, and that upon the East Mountain, is regarded (1885) as most valuable. Between the soil and the milling interests the people have been able to become quite independent financially, with the passing decades."
The town books show that the first town treasurer and collector was Nicholas Clark and that the office has remained in the Clark family until the death of the last member in the eighties.
The population of the town of Clarksburg in 1920 was placed at 1,136.
The present (1925) town officers are as follows: Town clerk, John Miller; selectmen, chairman. Dexter S. Bishop; selectmen, Charles S. McBride, Edward H. Gleason ; treasurer, John Henderson; collector, John Henderson; assessors, chairman, Ralph M. Tanner, E. H. Brown, Louis N. Coty ; board of health, chairman,
George W. Hall, George Carson, David Witte ; school committee : chairman, William Carson, Grace Bishop, Hector M. Eraser; auditor, Edward W. Gleason ; chief of police, George W. Hall ; fire warden, A. G. Caswell ; moth inspector, A. G. Caswell ; cattle inspector, E. H. Brown; meat inspector, Fred Canedy; tree warden,
Benjamin F. Eddy.
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