This past weekend I went to the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield to research my newest family mysteries. As usual, I ran out of time before I found all the answers. I'm researching for the period when the town records for Hillsdale, NY, and Egremont, MA, burned. My family did not seem to be church goers and seldom appear in tombstone transcription records.
I did come back with one clue. Clarissa Brasin joined the First Congregational Church in Williamstown in 1819. It could be that the last name was transcribed incorrectly. I haven’t seen this surname in Berkshire County before, either. Her father Eliakim Winchell Sr. died in 1818. As was necessary in the 1800s, young Clarissa may have needed the shelter of an alliance with an older man. She was 12 at the time. The man who may have been her first husband, Andrew Brazie, was born in 1738 and died in 1826 at the age of 88, a year after his namesake son was born. However, I need to double check the information found/not found on Familysearch and look at the census records to see what other Andrew Brazies there may have been living in the area. I also need to check deeds and probate records.
I found this interesting passage in Captain Franklin Ellis’ history of Hillsdale.
Previous to the settlement by the whites this section was much frequented by the Indians. One family lived here for many years after the whites came in. About 1810 the last remnants of the aborigines, in the person of two of that race who were named Paul and Phoebe, removed to the western part of this State.
By now I’ve gotten used to finding in print offhand and inaccurate references to my relatives and those of my friends. My friend Jim Harrigan’s family lived in White Creek. They were Mohican and Chickasaw, moving there after the American Revolution. I think their surnames may have been Vischer/Fisher and Clark. They lived there up to the middle 1800s at least, traveling back and forth between New York State and Kansas. I found a Winchell family descended from the Mohican-Wappinger man John Van Gilder that lived and were buried in Hillsdale. If Clarissa did go to live with the elderly Andrew Brazie in Hillsdale, she would be another descendant living there. It’s a pity that the author of the history didn’t think enough of the Native people to think they deserved to find their histories printed, too. Then maybe I would really have some information.