Exploring the Berkshires: Pittsfield to Becket, Massachusetts in 2011

Philip Goss IV and his wife Mary (Kendall) Goss migrated to Becket, Massachusetts (called No. 4) leaving Granville somewhere between 1754 and 1758.  I made Pittsfield my base camp on my trip in 2011.  You can’t find lodging in Becket it is too small and a little remote.

I wanted to see Becket while in the Berkshires and see what may have drawn my ancestor Philip Goss IV to the area.  Here are some pictures and little about what I found when I visited in 2011.  Here is a little of my visit to the area from my blog Massachusetts Meanderings.

 “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….

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…

A little later after touring the Becket Athenaeum I wrote….

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  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 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….

Art Center in Becket

One of Several churches in Becket

Becket is another long township. There is North Becket and then 5.4 miles south is the police station and the Town Hall. The road, Hwy 8 is not straight. It curves around and is a narrow two lane road.

Becket Town Hall

Sometimes in little towns like Becket, it is a good thing to check out the Town Hall webpage. In this manner you get to know the town a little better.  http://townofbecket.org/Public_Documents/index

Becket MA

North Becket is where you will find the Becket Athenaeum which is a very excellent archive to do research at. I think that if I had to do it over again, I would make an appointment with the head librarian.  I just went there and I did find what I wanted but I wonder if there are more treasures there. http://www.becketathenaeum.org/

Rootsweb maps – Becket

Becket Athenaeum, the entry is in the back and there is a lot of parking

My goal was to see the area where Philip Goss and Mary migrated to and see if the Athenaeum had any further information on them. I did find the birth record of Ebenezer Goss in a large booklet done by a very diligent lady who collected the vitals records of the area. I will write about my visit to the library of Becket in the next post and the discovery of Ebenezer’s birth record.

It took me about 35 minutes to drive from Pittsfield to Becket. The air was cool.

There were two cemeteries I saw along Hwy 8. The Becket Center Cemetery and the North Becket Cemetery. I did not walk through them but they did look very interesting.

Becket Center Cemetery

Find A Grave has the Becket Center Cemetery with 860 interments and 86% photographed. No Kendall, Rose, Haskell or Goss listed at their online site. Established 1751 which is about right for our purposes.  I also consulted published records for these cemeteries to verifying my findings.

The North Becket Cemetery is also at Find A Grave with 1046 interments and 87% photographed. Again, no Kendall, Rose, Haskell or Goss names listed. Established 1854 which is a little late for our purposes.

North Becket Cemetery

Source: An Historic Tour of Becket, Massachusetts, Edited and Compiled by Beverly K. Lambert for the Becket Historical Commission, no publication date. The booklet has 4 maps with numbers identifying the various locations and historical buildings in Becket with descriptions.

Posted in Becket, Berkshire County, Ebenezer Goss, Philip Goss IV & Mary (Kendall) Goss, Pittsfield | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Berkshires: A visit to Pittsfield and the Berkshire Athenaeum – 2011

When I visited Connecticut in 2007, I drove up to Massachusetts to visit Granville. On my second trip in 2011, I wanted to visit the Berkshires and the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield. I decided to make the city of Pittsfield my base camp location. From Pittsfield I could go to archives to do research and drive to other areas in the Berkshires easily.  It meant I could visit Becket and explore the area where Philip Goss IV and Mary settled.  It was also not too far to Granville.

This plan was part of my Massachusetts Meanderings Trip that I did in 2011. I wrote a blog about that trip which included Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. That blog will eventually be removed from the internet but you will still be able to access it when I set up the PDF and table of content for the trip I took.  I have created a PAGE explaining what I am up to and I suggest you check it on occasion.

Western Massachusetts and the Berkshires – Becket’s location in the area

About the time I visited the Berkshire Athenaeum the National Archives was announcing that it would close their location in Pittsfield. My understanding was the Berkshire Athenaeum would inherit some of the records. http://www.pittsfieldlibrary.org/ 

At the Berkshire Athenaeum website click on Genealogy Resources and it gives a detailed description of what is available. Also you need to look at the Local History Department Collection. http://www.pittsfieldlibrary.org/policy_lh.html

The Berkshire Athenaeum is a must stop for genealogical research in western Massachusetts.  I was very impressed with the facilities. I also felt comfortable which is important when you need to do a lot of research.

Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield, MA

While there, I spent my time studying their cemetery collection. They have wonderful published cemetery transcription books with maps of where the cemeteries are located. I was on the hunt for many surnames in our family Goss, Kendall, Haskell, Rose, Gibbons and more.

The research room of the Berkshire Atheneaum in 2011. I do not know if they have rearranged since then.

I also studied their Master Index of Persons in the Berkshire Collection which covers Cemetery, Vital, Church, Veteran’s, tax and proprietors’ records in various volumes which is quite extensive.

You can use the Berkshire Athenaeum Library Catalog to do search before you visit the archive.  This really helped me to be efficient in my research. I do not know if things have changed at this archive, my trip there was back in 2011.

I stayed at the Comfort Inn in the southern part of Pittsfield. It was near the Dakota Restaurant and other places. I understand the Dakota is now closed so I guess the big Bear in the lobby will no longer greet you at dinner, HA!

The former Dakota Restaurant

There are so many things to see in the Berkshires that it would take a long time to explore. I managed to visit Wahconah Falls which was very pleasant and I was pleased to find a lovely falls that reminded me of home.

Wahconah Falls north of Pittsfield.

I tried to visit the Berkshire Historical Society but I didn’t get there at the correct time. They are not open till after Memorial Day but that may have changed.  So check the website before you visit. It is so difficult to schedule things and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. The buildings for this society are Arrowhead where Herman Melville lived. He is the man who wrote “Moby Dick.” Apparently, Mt. Greylock was his inspiration for the whale. https://www.mass.gov/locations/mount-greylock-state-reservation

We in the west like our mountains and celebrate them.  So I was a little curious about Mt. Greylock and read up on the highest mountain in Massachusetts.


Arrowhead – Home of Melville author of Moby Dick

Arrowhead in the Berkshires

Here is the link to the Berkshire Historical Societies website: http://berkshirehistory.org/

I liked Pittsfield. It was quiet, not too busy with traffic and easy to get around in and find parking in the main city area near the archives that I wanted to visit.

Posted in Becket, Berkshire County, Granville, Massachusetts, Philip Goss IV & Mary (Kendall) Goss, Pittsfield, TRIP - Massachusetts & Connecticut Genealogical Trip April 2011 (formerly Massachusetts Meanderings) | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Philip Goss and his brother Thomas Goss settle in Granville, MA.

Philip Goss did go to Granville, Massachusetts and he was there about six and one half months buying land and then selling it to his brother Thomas Goss.  I took photos of the Old Settlers – see map below.  It is much larger than what you see here.

I made an appointment with the special librarian of the Granville Public Library History room and she shared this map with me.  If you look closely Thomas and Philip Goss are right there in the middle of the map along with Samuel Church. They are under Samuel Pierce. Just click on the picture and it will open in another tab.

A portion of the Old Settlers Map of Granville, MA where Philip & Thomas Goss had their land

I have tried to study this map and determine where Philip and Thomas’ land was located in Granville.  Usually you see a lake or a river but this map is not real detailed making it hard to determine.

Philip purchased land from a Samuel Church and then later sold it to his brother, Thomas Goss.  Here are the deeds.

Granville Deed 1: Philip Goss buys from Samuel Church 7 June, 1754 in Granville, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts Bay…Book 10, page 213, Witnesses Ephraim How and Michael Church, Granville, Hampshire County deeds.

To all People to whom these prefents Shall Come, Know ye that I Samuel Church of Granville in the County of Hampshire and in the Province of the Mafsechufetts Bay in new England for and in Consideration of Sixty pounds to me in hand paid by Phillip Gofs of sd Granville, Do freely convey and confirm to the sd Philip Gofs his Heirs and afsignes forever a certain tract or parcel of Land containing fifty acres in Granville aforesaid bounded as followeth, viz., beginning at the Northwest corner of Six Hundred and forty acres of land laid out to Capt. James Church thence ______ East one hundred and fifty rods and to Extend South so as to Contain fifty acres; To Have and Hold the above granted and Demised fifty acres of land with all the Singular privileges and appurtenances to the Same belonging or in any wise appertaining to him the sd Phillip Gofs his Heirs and afsigns that at and until the Enfealing of this Instrument I am lawfully Sized of the premifses __ have good right of In heritance in fee simply and do hereby Promise and Engage the above Granted premifses to him the sd Phillip Gofs his Heirs __ afsignes forever to Warrant Secure and Defend against the Lawful Claims or Demands of any Perfons whatsoever: In Witnefs whereof I the sd Samuel Church have hereunto Set my hand & Seal this Seventh Day of June A.Do. 1754.

Signed Sealed and Delivered in Prefents of ) Samuel Church & Seal
Ephraim How Michael Church )

Hampshire fs: October 8, 1756 Then Samuel Church the subfcriber to this the within written Instrument Perfonally appeared and acknowledged the Same to be his act and Deed before me David Mofely Justice of the Peace.

Rec. March 5, 1771 I Registered from the Original &p Edward Pynchon Reg.

Philip Goss IV did not dally he kept the land in Granville and in six and half months he sold it to his brother Thomas Goss on 17 February, 1755. Remember that Philip was Thomas’s guardian after the death of their father. Thomas was now 21 years old. I will write about Thomas in future posts. It is a sad story.

Granville Deed 2: Philip Goss sells land to Thomas Goss both of Granville on 17 February, 1755, L64 12 shillings, Book 1, pg. 127-128, Granville, Hampshire Co. Mass Bay. The witnesses of this deed were Enos and Ebenezer Seward.

To all People to whom These Prefents Shall Com Greeting, Know ye that I Phillip Gofs of Granville in the County of Hampshire County and in the Province of the Mafsachufetts Bay in new England for and in Consideration of Sixty four pounds and twelve Shillings lawfull money to me in hand paid by Thomas Gofs of s. Granville Do freely give Grant Sell Convey and Confirm to the s’d Thomas Gofs his Heirs and afsigns forever a certain tract or parcel of land Containing fifty acres in spd Granville afores’d bounded as followeth viz, beginning at the Northwest Corner of Six Hundred and forty acres of land laid out to Cap’t James Church, thence running East one Hundred and fifty acres to Extend South so as to contain fifty acres: TO HAVE and TO HOLD the above Grants and Demised fifty acres of land with all the privileges and advantages to the Same belonging, or any ways appertaining to him the said Thomas Gofs his Heirs and afsigns Executors and adminiftratros I Covenant and I the s’d Phillip Gofs for my Self my Heirs and administrators Covenant and agree with the s’d Thomas Gofs his Heirs and afsigns that Untill the Enfealing and Delivery of thefe Prefents I am lawfull safistied of the aboves Premifses and have in my power good Right and full power to Sell the Same in manner and form as afores’d and that the s’d Thomas Gofs and his Heirs and afsigns may Enjoy the Same so Promise to Warrant and Defend the land from the lawfull Claims or Demans of and Perfon or Perfons whatsoever. As Witnefs my hand Dated in Granville February the Seventeeth anno domini one thousand Seven Hundred and fifty five. Signed Sealed and Delivered In Prefences of Enos Seaward Ebenezer Seaward: Phillip Gofs & Seal

Hampfs: May [___th] 1758 Then Phillip Gofs the subfcriber to the within written Inftrument appear’d and acknowledged the Same to be his act & Deed….foram Ifrael Afhley Juft. Paces. Rec’d May 26th 1758 and Recorded from the Original

Edw Pynchon Reg’

These two deeds above were obtained at the Courthouse in Springfield, Massachusetts which is Hampden County. Hampshire County was much larger back when Philip was buying and selling land in the area. Hampden Co. split from Hampshire in 1816. This Wikipedia article might help to get oriented with the county changes.


I visited the Springfield Courthouse and did quite a bit of deed research there in 2011. It was a very interesting experience.  Trying to figure out how to do research at the courthouse in deeds in Springfield was not easy.  Here is what I wrote about my visit there back in April of 2011 on my Massachusetts Meanderings Blog. (See PAGE at the top of this blog for more information.)

“…I headed to State Street and turned west and spotted 50 State Street which is the courthouse.  It is a modern looking building with straight lines and probably light brown or dark tan?  I entered and had to go through security giving up everything but my shoes.  Once through the line I had trouble figuring out where the elevators were and how to get to the fourth floor.  A nice lady helped me.  Once in the lobby go left into the hallway and they are there on the left a little recessed.  The building smelled. The people were very interesting but it was no worse than the King County Courthouse in Seattle.  One young girl was yelling in her cellphone about….a child?  I think they were fighting over custody??

The Registry of Deeds for Hampden County was a big room, tidy, and organized and there were rows of deed books. There was a receptionist and when I explained I needed old deeds in the 1700’s she told me to go to where the clock was (Administration) and they would help me find the Registry Annex.  

After a nice chat with the assistant in the Administration area I was taken downstairs to the basement and through some doors past the lunchroom and into a small door and I was in the deed annex.  A young man greeted me.  I think I scared him when I did ask him what to do? 

He headed for the computer and I knew that was not going to help me.  The deeds online go back to about 1954.  He didn’t find the names I had given him and was not happy with my lack of specific dates or an address???  Hmmm…I don’t think they had addresses in 1754 in Granville…? I asked if there were indexes and he took me to the grantor and grantee indexes that were part of this long table.  They were underneath.  We started with Book O at the end on the right for grantors if you are facing the back of the room the grantees are on the left. 

I set to work after he found Philip Goss in the book.  That seemed to calm him down some. Fortunately another young man came in and he was the official attendant.  He had been on break.  He was very nice, shook my hand and introduced himself.  I proceeded to take notes from both the Grantor and Grantee indexes for the names of Goss, Cooley, Gibbons, Haskell, Brown. 

The indexes were copies not the original deed index books. Apparently they used to allow access to the originals but not anymore.  

Once that was done I started to pull the books and search for the pages. I concentrated on Philip Goss, Thomas Goss and anyone who did business with either.  There were too many to look up so I had to focus on Philip Goss.  I will prepare a table of my findings and add that later.  There may be additional information from another source to add to it.

 The nice young attendant was helpful and made the copies.  He did a very good job and was genuinely interested in making the copies good so I could read them.  Photography was not allowed. I kept pulling books of the older records along the wall of the annex next to the copy machine.  They were charging a $1.00 a page.  So if a deed was on two pages you get my drift.  I made quite a few copies more than they were use to.  I was so excited to find Philip Goss’s name in the Hampton County deeds.  I moved fast and will have to study them more thoroughly but I think it is going to be really cool.  There was actually a deed involving a Comfort Goss?  The deeds were not the original clerk books but copies of the deeds.  

I paid my copy fees, thanked the assistant and headed out.  Now that I knew my way around it was easy to get out of the building.  The building actually faces east with the stairs descending into the southwest corner of the Court Park.  So I could have cut through if I had realized the locations.”

 NOTE: I apologize but the copying from one blog to another did not go well on the above quotation.

The Springfield Courthouse in Massachusetts

It looks liked you can research deeds at FamilySearches’ website for Hampden and Hampshire County. You will find all the older deeds at Hampden County Land records starting with Deed Index grantee and grantor at 1636 to 1800. Deeds start at 1638 in various volumes. Of course going to the courthouse was certainly an experience you might want to try. HA!

In the next post I will discuss Philip Goss IV’s next migration. He headed to Becket, Massachusetts which in those days was called No. 4.  In order to do research on Becket I decided to make Pittsfield my home base on my trip there in 2011.  I wanted to visit the Berkshire Athenaeum and the Becket Athenaeum so Pittsfield was the best area for me to find lodging and food.  In my next posts I will describe my visit to the Berkshires which really doesn’t give it justice. I find that going to travel websites for an area are very helpful in getting oriented before I visit:  http://berkshires.org/

Posted in Becket, Granville, Massachusetts, Philip Goss IV & Mary (Kendall) Goss, TRIP - Massachusetts & Connecticut Genealogical Trip April 2011 (formerly Massachusetts Meanderings) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment