Egremont Massachusetts, 1890
Egremont is situated on the eastern slope of the Taconic section of Berkshire County, 140 miles south by southwest of Boston. Its nearest railroad stations are Great Barrington and Sheffield, on the Housatonic Railroad, eastward, — and Hillsdale, in New York, on the Harlem Railroad. It is bounded on the north by Alford, east by Great Barrington and Sheffield, south by the latter and the town of Mount Washington., and west by Copake and Hillsdale, in New York. The area is 11,437 acres; of which 2,421 acres are woodland.
Green River winds through the northeast section, receiving on its way the outflow of Winchell Pond; while Joyner Marsh Pond is the principal reservoir for Rainer River, which winds through the southern part; both flowing southeastward, in their general course, to the Housatonic River. On these two streams are two flouring and three saw mills.
Except a section in the southern part and a small area in the west, the surface of the town is either level or undulating. The geological formation is Levis limestone and Lauzon schists. Coarse marble is found at several points. The soil is gravelly; but good crops of the usual kinds are raised by careful cultivation.
The town is generally well adapted for grazing; and in 1885 the stock of neat cattle was 854, and of sheep and lambs, 1,121. The crop of cereals was comparatively large, being valued at $16,037. The value of the aggregate farm product was $134,694. The principal manufacturing establishment is the Dalzell Axle Works, whose product, in the year mentioned, was $77,051. Other principal manufactures are carriages, glue, boots and shoes, food preparations, and lumber. The aggregate value of the manufactures was $118,826. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $422,624, with a tax-rate of $9.50 on $1,000. The population is 826 (voters, 228), who are sheltered by 194 dwelling-houses.
Three school buildings, valued at some $4,000, are provided for educational purposes. The churches are the Congregationalist, Methodist and Baptist.
A part of the present town of Egremont was included in the Indian reservation made at the period of the purchase of the Lower Housatonic township; and a large section of this was leased by the Stockbridge tribe of Indians to Andrew Karner, October 20, 1740. Associated with him as first settlers were, among others, Robert, Nicholas and Jacob Karner; John, Isaac, Jacob and Cornelius Spoor; Ebenezer Baldwin, Elias Hopkins, Robert Joyner, Abraham Andrews and John Fuller. The place was incorporated as a town February 13, 1760; and, quite probably, may have received its name from Charles Wyndham, Earl of Egremont, who in 1761 was made English secretary of state.
The oldest house in the town stands near the south village; and the figures, "1761," with a square and compass, are well defined upon one of its massive brick walls. In 1667 [sic], the first house for public worship was erected; and the Rev. Eliphalet Steele was ordained June 28, 1770, as the first settled minister. The Congregational church at South Egremont was organized November 22, 1816. The Baptist church edifice was erected in the north part of the town in 1817.
During the Revolutionary War the citizens of this town exhibited an active patriotism; and not a single Tory was permitted to remain amongst them. On a certain night during Shays' Rebellion, with which the minister, Rev. Mr. Steele, did not sympathize, some of the people entered his house, and, after treating him with many indignities, stole his watch and several articles of clothing. The disaffected part of his congregation thus stigmatized themselves, and the worthy pastor remained with the church until 1794.
Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890, pp. 291-292