Bidwell Lore – William Goodrich, Part VII

Welcome to Bidwell Lore number 107! This week we will finish our William Goodrich story with a little more about Ethan Allen and a quick foray into Shays’ Rebellion.

First, let’s look at the transcription of a Deed for a piece of land that Ethan Allen purchased in New Marlborough in 1789, which continues to show the connection that Ethan Allen had with the Berkshires, outside of his friendship with William Goodrich:

Moses Soul to Ethan Allen, Deed Book 14, Page 221 (1789) [1]
{Moses Soul to Ethan Allen}
KNOW ALL MEN by these presents that I Moses Soul of New Marlborough
in the County of Berkshire & Commonwealth of Massachusetts for & in consideration of the sum of Sixty Pounds Lawfull Money to me in hand before the ensealing hereof well and truly paid by Ethan Allen of Sunderland in the County of Bennington & State of Vermont, the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge & myself therewith fully Satisfied content & satisfied, I thereof & every part thereof do Exonerate acquit &Discharge him the said Ethan Allen his heirs
Executors & Administrators forever, have given, granted, bargained, sold, aliened conveyed & confirmed, & by these presents do freely, fully & absolutely give, grant, bargain, Sell, aliene, convey & confirm unto him the said Ethan Allen his heirs & assigns forever, one certain piece or parcel of Land hereafter mentioned Situate in said New Marlborough (Viz) contain-
ing three acres and twenty Rods together with a Dwelling house & Shop Standing on the same, Bounded as follows, beginning at a Stake & Stones, on the Southwest corner of a home lot formerly belonging to Phinehas Brown, the same being the corner of the Road leading from the Meeting house to Great Barrington, thence running North 24° West 61 Rods to Land formerly Deeded               

 by Ruben Brown to Joel Holcomb, thence Running Easterly, bounding Northerly on Land belonging to Joel Holcomb Eight Rods, thence South 24° East to the County Road, from thence to the first mentioned bounds TO HAVE & TO HOLD the above granted & bargained premises together with all their appurtenances free from all Encumberances, whatever, to him the said Ethan Allen to his heirs & assigns as an absolute estate of Inheritance in fee Simple forever
 to his & their [?] forever. [?] I the said Moses Souls, for my Self my heirs Executors and Administrators do hereby covenant to & with the said Ethan Allen his Executors & Administrators, that before the ensealing hereof I have full power good Right & Lawfull authority to give, grant, bargain, & Sell in a manner aforesaid the premises aforesaid, & to war-
 -rant & Defend the same [?] to him the said Ethan Allen his heirs & assigns forever, against the Lawfull Claims & Demands of all persons whatever.  In witness whereof I the said Moses Soul have hereunto set my hand & Seal This 25th Day of October A. D. 1789.
 Signed, Sealed & Delivered I presence                              MOSES SOUL and Seal
 of  Robert [Sw?]ain }
Josiah Smith}  Berkshire SS October 25th 1789.  Personally appeared Moses Soul  Signer & Sealer of the Foregoing Instrument & acknowledged the same to be his free act & Deed
 before me Danl  Brown Juste  Peace
 October 26th 1789. 

Image of a large stone marker in Sheffield, Massachusetts, in the middle of a green field surrounded by trees that says: Last Battle of Shays Rebellion was Here Feb 27 1787
Shays’ Rebellion marker in Sheffield. Image: Berkshire Eagle.

Goodrich also played a part in Shays’ Rebellion in 1886, fighting against the rebels on the side of the Massachusetts state government:

“It was not long before a band of rebels had collected at West Stockbridge under the command of Hubbard, amounting to between 150 and 200 men, and the number was continually increasing. The only way to prevent bloodshed was to disperse them as early as possible. The army at Stockbridge was duly authorized to act independently, government having requested the citizens to defend themselves as far as it could be done, without calling on the public force. Accordingly the whole body was formed into three divisions, and while the central took the direct route through Larawaugh, [2] and over the mountain, to the village, a second, under Capt. Goodrich, to the southern, and third, under Major Rowley of Richmond, took a northern route. As an advance party of the central division, consisting of 27 infantry, and 7 cavalry, approaching the insurgents, they were fired upon by the sentries, and the whole rebel force was at once formed in order of battle, and commanded to fire. But before this little band of their fellow citizens, they faltered; and Judge Sedgwick, taking advantage of the favorable moment, rode up in front of the ranks, and ordered them to lay down their arms. Many obeyed; others fled; a scattering fire occupied a few minutes, and two insurgents were wounded, but no one was killed. The other soldiers from the north and south came to aid in securing the prisoners, 84 in all, including their leader…..Still the spirit of discontent had not been laid, and quiet was not at all restored. A force collected at Adams, and on being dispersed by the approach of General Patterson (we wrote about him HERE), made attempt to collect at Williamstown. Many had assembled at Washington, and Berkshire County was in a state of open, biter civil war, with no human protection in the field or at the fireside, save the cowardice of the foe. On February 27, 1787 a party of men were seen marching through Larawaugh towards the village [of Stockbridge]. Halting at the public house, then kept by Mrs. Bingham, parties were formed for pillage, and sent in either direction. Esquire Jahleel Woodbridge lived in the house now owned by D.D. Field, Esq [3]. ‘My first recollection,’ says the Rev. Timothy Woodbridge, D.D. [4] ‘ is a belligerent. The first thing I remember, is waking in the night, and seeing a number of brutal soldiers, with their green boughs,’ (the insignia of rebellion,) ‘waving over my bed where my father and I lay. The dreadful gleam of their arms was reflected by the burning lights in the room. They demanded the surrender of my father, and I shrieked in terror, and my father passed me between the guns to the arms of my sister. This is the first memory of this poor world has left engraven upon my heart.’ They plundered the house most unsparingly.’” [5]

Charles William Jeffreys (1869-1951) Benedict Arnold’s Column in Fierce Street Fighting During the Battle of Quebec. Cover art for The Father of British Canada: A Chronicle of Carleton, Volume 12 by William Wood (Toronto: Glasgow, Brook, & Co, 1916), Public Domain.

William Goodrich was living in Vermont when the following was posted in the Western Star on March 30, 1790:

Notice is hereby given, that the Real Estate of William Goodrich, Esquire, and William Woodbridge, situate in Stockbridge, in the County of Berkshire, were assessed in the years in the years 1780, 1781, and 1782 in the following sums, viz…. The said William Goodrich, and William Woodbridge, having moved out of this Commonwealth, and the said taxes not being paid – Unless said taxes are paid by the first Monday in May next, so much of said real estate will be sold at Public Auction, at 2 o’Clock, P.M., in Stockbridge, at the dwelling house of Mrs. ANNA BINGHAM, in Stockbridge, as will be sufficient to discharge the same, with intervening charges – by IRA SEYMOUR, Collector [6]

By 1790, Goodrich was living in Vermont, possibly to escape debt he did not intend to pay. By 1780 his scheme, with Enoch Woodbridge, to dispossess the Mohicans of their unappropriated or common land in Stockbridge had ended with the Mohican Proprietors regaining control of the Proprietorship. By 1787, the Indian Proprietorship controlled only 13 tracts of land in Stockbridge and West Stockbridge. Between 1783 and 1786, 53 tracts of land had been dispossessed from the Mohicans as they began their trail of tears west, first to live among the Oneida in New York State.

Ethan Allen and William Goodrich were on parallel paths to both Ticonderoga and the Expedition to Canada. One wonders when their paths may have crossed there or even in Sheffield where both were residing there at the same time. Both led a somewhat nomadic life, possibly running away from the drudgery of domestic life or running to the pull of combat and the camaraderie of military life.

“Goodrich, William, Stockbridge. Captain of a company of Minute-men. John Paterson’s regt., which marched April 22, 1775 in response to the alarm of April 19, 1775 from Stockbridge and Glass Works to Cambridge; service 13 days; also Captain, Colonel John Paterson’s regt.; ordered in Provincial Congress May 27, 1775 that commissions be delivered officers of said Regiment; also Captain, Col. Paterson’s regt., muster roll dated Aug. I, 1775; engaged May 5, 1775; service 3 mos. 4 days; also pay roll of a detachment from said Goodrich’s co. of Minute-men, which marched from Stockbridge to Cambridge April 22, 1775, in response to the alarm of April 19, 1775, and was in camp in Col. Paterson’s regt. when Capt. Goodrich went to Quebec; also letter dated Ticonderoga June 8, 1777, signed by John Paterson, stating that the said Capt. Goodrich was taken prisoner at Quebec ‘winter before last’ and had subsequently been exchanged; that ‘since the first of March last’ he did duty as Major in the Brigade commanded by Patterson, but had not been commissioned, and asking that a commission be issued; ordered in Council June 26, 1777, that said Goodrich be commissioned as Major in Brig. John Paterson’s brigade; also, Major, in command of Capt. Enoch Nobles’s co.: entered service Oct. 23, 1780, discharged Nov. 7, 1780; service 16 days at the Northward; company marched to Bennington on alarm Oct. 23, 1780; roll sworn to at Sheffield.” [7]

I am extremely grateful to Josh Hall at the Stockbridge Library Museum & Archives for locating a large portion of the material that I used for this series of Bidwell Lore articles.

We will be taking a break from Bidwell Lore for the next couple of weeks while we work on our summer fundraiser Bidwell and Bloom. We will be back on August 9 with a re-run of one of our earliest articles about Adonijah for all of our new readers!

1.  The handwriting on the deed was particularly difficult to read and I am indebted to Rob Hoogs, former president of the Bidwell House Museum board, for his transcription of the deed.
2. Larawaugh is said to translate from Mohican as “Larry’s Place,” after Lawrence Lynch, who owned a large tract of land near what is now the Berkshire Botanical Gardens at Route 102 and Route 183 in Stockbridge.
3. Laurel Cottage at what is now Bidwell Park, 50 Main Street.
4. Rev. Woodbridge, born in 1784, later attended Williams College, lost his vision during his first year, finished college, and was a successful minister. Woodbridge, Timothy, The Autobiography of a Blind Minister; Including Sketches of the Men and Events of His Time, (Boston: John P. Jewett, 1856).
5. Jones, Electa. Stockbridge, Past and Present: Or, Records of an Old Mission Station (Springfield: S. Bowles & Co., 1854), pp. 189, 190, 191.
6. Houghton Library, Harvard.
7. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War: A compilation from the archives prepared and published by the Secretary of the Commonwealth in accordance with Chapter 100, Resolves of 1891 (Boston: Wright & Potter Printing Co., State Printers, 18 Post Office Square, 1896).