The first settlers in the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, area were members of the Mohican Native Americans made famous in the book and movies, The Last of the Mohicans. Pittsfield is located 138 miles east of Boston. The city has been named as one of the most secure places to live in a town with fewer than 150,000 residents, a top green city, and a best small place for business.By 1735, residents of Boston were complaining of high taxes and convinced the government to allow them to sell deeds to western Massachusetts to raise money. One of the buyers of that land was Colonel Jacob Wendell, who purchased 25,000 acres along with his brother-in-law, Philip Livingston. Those looking to buy property today should consult the Pittsfield, MA yellow pages. Wendell and Livingston called the area Pontoosuck and in 1743 hired men to start clearing the land and plotting out 60 lots. However, the attacks by the Mohican Indians drove the men to leave the area. By 1761, the town had been plotted and 200 people called Pontoosuck home. Many of these early settlers were from Westfield, Massachusetts. This original settlement was often known as Pontoosuck Plantation.
It was then that the town's name was changed to Pittsfield, being named after William Pitt, British Prime Minister, who supported the early colonists. The name of the town was chosen by Royal Governor, Sir Francis Bernard. The area prospered quickly and by 1776 the area had 2000 residents, most of which were farmers. Lumber, grist, paper, and textile mills were also popular in the area. In 1807, the Merino sheep was imported from Spain and became popular with farmers in the area, soon leading to wool production. The very first electrical transformers were first produced by Stanley Electrical Manufacturing Company in Pittsfield. Stanley Electrical Manufacturing Company was sold to GE Electrical, which used Pittsfield as their international headquarters for many years.Pittsfield has not always been the great place to live that it is today. In fact, it is where the first secret service agent, William Craig, was killed while protecting a president. On September 3, 1902, a trolley containing President Roosevelt, Governor Winthrop Murray Crane and the President's secretary George Cortel you were traveling on a tour of the New England area when they were hit head-on by a trolley driven by Euclid Madden. Craig was killed. President Roosevelt was thrown out of the trolley and sustained leg injuries and bruises to his face. Madden was convicted of manslaughter. He received six months in jail and a hefty fine. For more information about present day Pittsfield, consult the Pittsfield, MA business directory.
Written by Lyndsey Morgan