Greetings! I am sure that you are visiting this website because you have family in Berkshire County or are interested in our great history. I grew up in Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts. I was one hour away from Pittsfield. Both of my parents were born in Berkshire County, and I have many family members still in residence throughout Berkshire County, including my brother who missed his place of birth and moved back there. The favorite times of my childhood were spent in Berkshire County visiting my relatives. I would be so excited that we were going up to Pittsfield because then I could ask my older relatives about the family history. My earliest memories of family picnics are of sitting near my great Aunt Ollie so I could ask her to tell me about her mother and the 21 children she had. I still get excited when I get on the highway going towards the Berkshires. There is no place like it on earth. I like to think that my ancestors are calling me home.
My father was the eighth generation of the Newton family born in Lanesboro. His brother still lives there, and retired as the fire chief for the town. We have nine and ten generations living there now and just held a reunion for the descendants of my G-Grandparents for their 100th anniversary at the Pittsfield State Forest. It was a great time. His mother was one of twenty-one children. Eleven of those children survived into adulthood. The Rosier family settled in Berkshire Village, a part of Lanesboro, in 1925. Many of the Rosier family still live in Lanesboro, Cheshire, and the surrounding towns.
My mother was the fourth generation of her Schnopp line that was born in the United States. She grew up in Hinsdale and the farmhouse that belonged to her parents is owned by her brother. Her grandfather sold part of the land where the Cleveland Reservoir is now, and one of the streets near it is named Frank Schnopp Rd. after him. I remember reading it for the first time and asking her why the road is named after her. Her mother was a Dupont. The Dupont’s lived in Adams between 1880-1920. Joseph Dupont owned a grocery store there. My mother’s maternal grandmother was a Hammond. The Hammonds came to Berkshire County in the early 1800s and their line goes back to Puritan England. Her g-grandfather, Daniel Wheelock Hammond, owned a teamster company that pulled the rocks to make the Allen Farm Arch that is still in Pittsfield today. Daniel’s mother was related to the Jesse Jenks family of Cheshire. She was descended through Jesse’s second wife, Abigail Sayles. Abigail is a direct descendant of Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island. I am a proud, card carrying member of the Roger Williams Family Association. Many of the early Cheshire families also came from Rhode Island.
When my youngest was a baby she would come with me to visit the Berkshire Athenaeum. I could never have learned all I did without the help of Ruth, one of the librarians at the library. She was retiring and was training someone else. I received a great crash course in genealogical research and learned a lot about the resources at the library. My oldest one now comes with me to take photographs of cemeteries. I have been blessed that through my genealogy research I have met, and my children have met, some wonderful members of our family. I hope the tradition continues with them. I currently live in CT and try to visit Pittsfield as often as I can. (Do not discount Connecticut history when you are researching Berkshire County. Many Berkshire towns were settled when landless sons sailed up the Connecticut River to be founding fathers of a town.)
The volunteers of Berkshire County have made this one of the best websites in the USGenWeb project. I know this will continue far into the future. Many thanks should go to Ray Brown who ran the website for the past few years and added a lot of information. Ray did this out of the kindness of his heart, without any of his family being of the Berkshires. He also runs Cincinnati Windshield Repair as well. Thanks to all the past webmasters who helped grow Berkshire County. Many thanks to Kelly Townsend who spent the summer of 2003 in Berkshire County and spent her time off from work photographing the cemeteries, even though she had no family from here either.
Together we can do great things for the history of our county!