Category: Local History

Alford: A Land Acknowledgment

A Land Acknowledgment As Alford’s Town Moderator, I took the occasion of our 2019 Annual Town Meeting on May 14 to introduce a new tradition. The idea did not originate with me; such land acknowledgments are becoming more widely used. I felt it would be an appropriate tribute to the indigenous people who cared for …

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Property One: The Mahican-Mohawk Trail

This post is a conglomeration of lecture notes, slides, and other information. I compiled all of this as part of my preparation for my OLLI course on Berkshire History, in which I talked about six different preserved properties that all have walking/hiking trails on them. An overview of the course can be found here. From …

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OLLI Nomination for Least Qualified Speaker

OLLI Spring 2019 Course TH104: A Walk Through Berkshire History Michael Forbes Wilcox is a Berkshire native, having been born in the House of Mercy in Pittsfield. His parents lived in Stockbridge, where he spent the first 17 years of his life. He currently resides in Alford, where he is the Town Moderator. Wilcox is …

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Word of the Day: Usufruct

Caveat: I’m not an attorney. My interest in this legal term derives from research I’ve been conducting relating to my upcoming (April/May 2019) OLLI course on Berkshire history. Specifically, I’ve been reading a wonderful 1983 book, recommended to me by two different people;¬†Changes in the Land, by William Cronon, who is now at the University …

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A Walk Through Berkshire History

A Walk Through Berkshire History An OLLI Course, Spring 2019 Kimball Farms, Lenox April 18 and 25, May 2, 9, 16, and 23 ¬†3:00 to 4:30 PM Here is a preliminary description of a lecture course I will give this Spring in Lenox. You can find registration information on my OLLI page. I’ll also be …

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Romances of Old Berkshire

Romances of Old Berkshire I own a book, written by Willard Douglas Coxey, from which the title of this post was taken, published in 1931 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts by the Berkshire Courier. The author, according to the Find A Grave website, was born (1861) and died (1943) in Egremont, Mass. My brother Rick tells …

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Hiking To and Beyond Laura’s Tower

Part Two in a Series on Laura’s Tower and Ice Glen This post is my first follow-up to the preliminary announcement of my planned 90-minute lecture and discussion, to be given sometime in April or May of 2019. In subsequent posts I will share more background material on some of the illustrious characters in the …

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Laura’s Tower in Stockbridge Massachusetts

In the Spring of 2019, I will be teaching an OLLI course on local (Berkshire County) history. There will be six lectures covering six different locations, surveying the history and present use of the land, tracing as far back as possible before European contact, and continuing to the present day. This post represents my initial …

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My Genealogy

I’m hoping, as is my wont, to get off the road to hell. Nearly five years ago, I placed this genealogy chart on my website, with the intention of following up with more information and commentary. So the paving had begun some time ago. Recently, a friend in town reminded me that he had discovered …

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Thoughts on the Mahican-Mohawk Trail

The Backstory Behind any account of the indigenous peoples in my part of the world lies a tragic tale of the end of a civilization that had flourished for thousands of years, and the near-extirpation of a population and its culture. My plan (at least hope) is to publish several future posts on specific topics, …

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