Steeples : Sketches of North Adams

Master Genealogist Gold

History of North Adams.

Berkshire American. It was a weekly paper, neutral, and edited by Dr. Asa Green, who issued the first number early in the winter, of 1826 or ’27. The enterprise was not a success, and after a sickly struggle of two years died a natural death. At the same time a paper called the Socialist was also published, being merely the matter of the Berkshire American, reprinted on a smaller sheet without the advertisements. About a year after the paper had ceased its issue, Atwell & Turner were induced to take hold of it, and began the publication in 1830. With the same old Rampage press, but with some additions to the type, they issued a very respectable sheet for those days, and served some 500 subscribers for two years. Herman Atwell was the editor. William Mitchell next purchased the press, type and furniture, publishing what was called the Adams Gazette and Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Magazine. This was a neutral paper, and lasted about one and one-half years with 450 subscribers.

In 1833 A. H. Wells appeared in the field, and, with the aid of some enterprising citizens, a new press and modern styles of type were added to the old concern, and a paper appeared advocating Whig doctrines under the head of the Berkshire Advocate. It had 400 subscribers, and lived about one year.

William M. Mitchell again put his shoulder to the wheel and brought out the Greylock Mirror, with 400 subscribers, which was published about six months. For several years after this none could be found bold enough to undertake the revival of a press here, the want of which was sadly felt by all classes of the community.

The North Adams Transcript — This paper was established as a Whig journal, under the title of the Adams Transcript, September 7, 1843, by John R. Briggs, with 600 subscribers. In April, 1844, Mr. Briggs associated with him Henry Chickering, and in the following year retired from the firm. Later, Messrs. Burton & Winton purchased the paper, merging it into the Free American. They in turn disposed of the concern to William S. George, and it then became the property of William H. Phillips, who united it with the Hoosac Valley News, and took into partnership Francis S. Parker. Parker subsequently withdrew, and in 1866 Phillips sold to Hon. James T. Robinson, who, in company with his son Arthur, still conducts the paper. When the News was united with the Transcript the title was changed to the Transcript and News, and soon after Mr. Robinson took the paper the name was changed to the Adams Transcript, which was retained until the division of the town, when the title was again changed to The North Adams Transcript, which title it now bears. It is a large ten-column paper, published every Wednesday.

February 15, 1851, the Greylock Sentinel was started as a Free Soiler, with A. J. Aiken as editor. In February 1852, Mr. Aiken retired, and his chair was filled by A. D. Brock. The Sentinel had a circulation of 650, and in the autumn of 1852 was changed to the Free American. In 1853 it was sold to Burton & Winton, who subsequently united it with the Transcript.

The Hoosac Valley News was originally established by Clark & Phillips, in 1857, Mr. Phillips subsequently becoming sole owner, who united it with the Transcript, as above stated. In January, 1867, Mr. Phillips, in company with John Mandeville, re-established the News. Mr. Phillips soon sold his interest to James C. Angell, the firm becoming Angell & Mandeville, which firm was continued three or four years, when James L. Bowen purchased Mandeville’s interest, and about a year after this Angell became sole proprietor. In 1877 his son, E. D. Angell, became publisher, the father still acting as editor. July 1, 1879, Charles T. Evans became a partner. October 1st, 1882, the office was leased to H. T. & W. J. Oatman, who failed in a little less than one year, and the office was than run by Mr. Hardman, Mr. Angell’s son-in-law. October 1st, 1884, E. A. McMillin purchased an interest, and the paper is now conducted with Hardman & McMillin as editors and proprietors. The News is a bright, lively and reliable eight-page paper of fifty-six columns, being enlarged in October of the present year, from a nine column to four page paper.


At a very early day in the history of the town, the need of libraries of some kind, became very apparent. Ezra D. Whitaker in 1830 kept a circulating library in his store, in the building now occupied by L. Childs. This library he continued for a good many years. In 1844 Edwin Rogers had a circulating library of some 800 volumes in his store at the corner of Main and Eagle streets. About 1856 Edward Spaulding, then superintendent for Ingalls a Tyler, was the means of starting a library, which was placed in the store connected with that mill. In 1859 Frank Shephard, Frank Stever and Charles H. Williams, began agitating the question of a public library. Their efforts were finally crowned with success for in the next year the North Adams Library Association was formed. The first meeting was held in the stone office, corner Main and Bank streets, then occupied by Dawes & Porter.

Edited and adapted from the original by Laurel O’Donnell
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