Built in 1832, the Stone School was built through the generosity of local resident Ephraim Bradley. One history book suggests that the school’s origin actually goes back to the Revolutionary War. Ephraim and his brother William (owner of the Bradley Farm which continues to operate today as a store by that name on Route 7) were forced to house British officers as they marched with 2,000 soldiers from Schenectady to Boston. While the officers slept, their gold was stolen (read the article from 1943) and everyone suspected the Bradleys, who suddenly became more prosperous. Some years later, Ephraim Bradley donated the money to build the limestone school building, as well as a $1500 endowment to support the school.
The endowment enabled the school to operate during difficult economic times, when other schools in the area could not afford teachers or books. The endowment still produces income of about $75 per year, which now goes towards purchasing books for Lanesboro students. Originally, students of all ages attended the school (the notion of “grades” was not imported from Germany until the mid-19th century). In its final years, however, the school was used only for elementary school grades. While there were several one-room schoolhouses serving the children of Lanesboro, the Stone School was the only one made of stone. Others were made of wood, the material typically used for one-room schoolhouses. As a stone building, the schoolhouse will last forever. The outhouse still stands, one side marked “his” and the other “hers” (with sheet metal on the “his” side to prevent the boys from poking holes to spy on the girls). The building was restored during the past ten years by Lanesboro residents Bob and Prudy Barton and their family.
William Bradley was one of the early settlers of Lanesborough in Berkshires, Massachusetts, and is a direct descendant of the William Bradley who came from England to help settle New Haven, Connecticut. He married Lois Beach. WIlliam is buried in the Talcott Cemetery in Lanesborough, and his marker is a genealogy tracing his lineage from the early William Bradley.
“In Loving Memory of WILLIAM BRADLEY, who was born at New Haven, Con. Oct. 26th 1730, 93 years after the first settlement of New Haven; who came to this town (n.b. Lanesborough, Berkshire, Massachusetts, USA) June 23rd 1762 And Died Dec. 18th 1809 aged 79 years.
Who was the Son of Daniel Bradley, who died Feb. 16th 1773 in the 67th year of his age. Who was the Son of Daniel Bradley, who died Nov.2d 1723 in the 44th year of his age. Who was the Son of Abraham Bradley, who died Oct. 19th 1718 in the 68th year of his age. Who was the Son of William Bradley, who was one of the first settlers that came from England to New Haven July (n.b. looks like 1667, but should probably read 1637).”
Note: the grave also has a Revolutionary War marker with flag for Memorial Day.