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Back when the King was (more or less) in charge hereabouts, the colonies of Massachusetts and New York struggled over the ownership of this area between the Connecticut River and their present-day boundary, including what we now call the Massachusetts Berkshires. The dispute got bloody, from time to time, and our kinfolk were there.

I’m not aware that any of our people took part in the violence, but their peaceable participation turned out decisive, when the issue was finally settled in 1789. Decades earlier, you see, they had moved their families to this frontier and submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of Massachusetts laws.

Our family’s story in the Berkshires seems to begin with my fourth great-grandparents, Lieutenant John and Rachel Robbins Stillman of Wethersfield, Connecticut.

The state of things when the Revolution broke out
(adapted with thanks from Bill Murray’s TimePage)
For reasons we think we’re coming to understand, they “removed from” their birthplace, apparently in their early thirties, and brought eight or so of their eventual nine children out into the woods of Housatonic Township No. 3, later named Sandisfield, the southernmost of three townships whose proprietors and citizens were seeking frontier opportunities and asserting Massachusetts’ claim to the region.
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