Great Barrington

Geographic position

42.1958° N, 73.3625° W


General note

The town of Great Barrington, named after England's village of Great Barrington, is located in the southwest portion of Massachusetts near the Housatonic River. Mohican Indians travelled from the Hudson River into the Housatonic Valley and named the settlement in present-day Great Barrington Mahaiwe, meaning the place down stream, also the name of the Indian burial ground currently located there. The town was first settled by the British in 1726, and thrived due to its location along a path connecting Fort Orange in Albany, NY and Springfield, MA. Great Barrington was officially incorporated in 1761. In 1734, John Sergeant, a missionary who had recently graduated from Yale, opened a school in Great Barrington for Mohican children, with the goal of integrating English families with Christianized Indians in Berkshire County. Many Native Americans in the area were baptized into the Protestant faith by the mid-18th century. In a 1761 letter Samuel Hopkins wrote from Great Barrington, he expresses concern to Wheelock that Occom has grown unpopular among the Oneida tribe because Occom insists that the Oneidas adopt English customs in dress and manners.