Berkshire county. This town is situated in a large and fertile valley, surrounded by romantic elevations and watered by Hoosack and Green rivers. These beautiful streams unite their hydraulic powers and fertilizing qualities, to render this remote valley a scene of competence and peace, and a delightful retreat for the muses.
Williamstown lies at the N.W. corner of the state, on the lines of Vermont and New York; 135 miles W. by N. from Boston, 27 N. from Lenox, and 36 E. by N. from Albany, N.Y. It was incorporated in 1765. Population, 1837, 1,981.
There are 1 cotton and 2 woolen mills in the town, and manufactures of potatoe starch, cabinet ware, chairs, palm-leaf hats, shovels, hats, leather, &c.: annual value about $75,000.
The number of sheep in this flourishing agricultural town, in the year 1837, was 8,000—viz: 2,000 Saxony, 5,800 Merino, and 200 common. The fleeces of these sheep weighed 23,200 lbs., and sold for $13,965.
The village in this town is delightfully situated on a gentle rise from the river. The buildings are generally tastefully constructed and command a great variety of superb scenery. This town contains a tepid spring, of some repute in cutaneous diseases.
Williams College, in this town, is handsomely located. It derived its name from Col. Ephraim Williams, a native of Newton, and a distinguished benefactor of Williamstown. Col. Williams was a man of talents, brave, witty, polite and popular. He commanded the line of forts on the west side of Connecticut river, in the French and Indian wars from 1740 to 1748. In 1755, he received the command of a regiment, and joined general Johnson. He fell at the head of 1,200 men, near lake George, on the 8th of September of that year. Col. Williams, being a bachelor, gave the most of his estate for the establishment of a free grammar school at this place. The school went into operation in 1791, and in 1793 the legislature vested it with college privileges.