Sunday, July 10, 2016

Personal History

Ten minutes north of Pittsfield is the tiny town of Lanesborough, Massachusetts. When we were searching for places to stay last night, that name rang a bell, and a quick search of our online family tree reminded me that my four times great-grandfather Lewis moved his family there from Adams, MA. in 1831. His grandson, Charles, was actually the first of our line to make his way to Little Falls, NY, the town where my dad, his seven siblings, and myriad cousins all grew up.

I have seen pictures of the small cemetery where Lewis, his son Marshall, and Charles are all buried, and being so close, I wanted to visit the site myself. The Berkshires were foggy this morning as we headed up Route 7, and I examined the houses along the way, wondering which may have been standing 150 years ago.

Lanesborough is built on the shores of Pontoosuc Lake at the foot of Mount Rockwell, the highest peak in the state. Despite its lovely setting, there are really only a few businesses and houses lining Route 7, which is Main Street through the town. The cemetery was small, and unmarked, with no parking to speak of. Since it was Sunday, we pulled into the lot of the closed realtors next door and cut across the damp lawn into the burial ground.

Built on a hill, the grass was freshly cut, but there was nothing else to indicate that anyone head visited recently. Many stones were too old to read, some were sunken, and others tipped this way and that at crazy angles. There was no directory, but I had a picture of our family marker. It still took some time to find the tall obelisk about half-way up the hill. Just as I reached it, the gray skies opened and rain poured down on me so hard that I was worried my phone would be damaged as I snapped a few quick pictures and dashed back to the car.

It was time to go, but I felt like I had some unfinished business in Lanesborough. That sense only grew when the sun came out for the first time in days not 5 minutes later. Our route took us east and up through the hills past some little farms that I imagined might resemble the farm my ancestors had. It was awfully beautiful, and I had the feeling that I would be back.

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