Tablet honoring Jonathan Hinsdale, 1st white man in Lenox, put in place


LENOX — The site of the Hinsdale cabin, the home of the first white settler in this town, was marked today by a bronze tablet through the interest of Cortlandt Field Bishop. The site of the cabin is on the east side of Stockbridge Street, the old county road, about 50 rods south of Court House hill. The property is now owned by Lenox school and was once a part of the G. G. Haven estate.

The marker is at the western end of the athletic field.

The marker is 10 by 14 inches, placed on a boulder from Berkshire Estates, Inc., has the following inscription: Jonathan Hinsdale, First white man to settle in Lenox, Erected a house here in 1750, His grave is in the churchyard on the hill.

Not much is known about Jonathan Hinsdale, the first white man in town. Histories contain only meager accounts of him. The history of Lenox and Richmond written by the Rev. C. J. Palmer of Lanesboro contains a few facts about him.

Jonathan Hinsdale was born in Hartford, Conn., on St. Patrick’s day, March 17, 1724, the son of Isaac and Lydia (Loomis) Hinsdale. He was the youngest of four children. His father was one of the early pioneers and an Indian fighter of prominence, holding a rank in the militia. He was later killed at Hatfield in one of the King Philip wars. Jonathan married Sarah Bernard of Hartford in December 1749.

The youngest Hinsdale was a man of quiet nature and the hustle and bustle of the urban settlement of Hartford disturbed him. About a year after his marriage, he and his wife decided to get away from the din and noise of the growing Connecticut town and they set out in a northerly direction into the wilderness. Crossing the state boundary line into Massachusetts, they proceeded up into the Berkshires. No doubt attracted by the beauty of the hills and the surrounding country viewed from the mountains in the vicinity of Stockbridge bowl, the couple halted their journey and Jonathan broke ground for his house.

The Hinsdales were not to remain the only settlers of this territory alone for long and within a year there were several families grouped together. In 1755, the Indians from New York state discovered the white settlers and after repeated attacks, succeeded in forcing them back toward Connecticut. The Hinsdales were among those who fled.

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