My early years were spent around my mother's folks. I was called Willie back then. By listening to my elders, I learned much of that side of my family's history.

They were among the oldest families in Bershire County. They held from one of the oldest Dutch families there who were the Burghardts. Massachusetts's records show that a man named "Conrad Burghardt" and his family were the owners of a large part of land near Great Barrington.

He bought a slave boy named "Tom" from some Dutch slavers. Tom was born in Africa probably somewhere in the 1730's. Tom's wife was also born in West Africa.

They had several offspring. One of them was a boy named Jacob or Jack, born around 1760.

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