This Small Berkshire Town Has Some Big Presidential History Behind It!
I’ve lived in Berkshire County the majority of my life, and I always like finding interesting facts that I (or maybe you) didn’t know about.
For example, did you know that New Ashford used to cast the first vote in United States Presidential Elections?
First off, if you’re new to Berkshire County, or are unfamiliar with northern Berkshire County, New Ashford is a small town of around 240 people that borders Williamstown, Adams, Cheshire, Lanesborough and Hancock.
As early as 1912, New Ashford, which had a population of around thirty people, was trying to become the first town in the nation to cast the first vote in the Presidential Election. In 1916, they *thought* they would be first, and had polls open from 6am to 10am. However, one resident decided to show up a few minutes before polls closed and ruined the whole thing, because by 10am other towns had already finished their voting.
1920 is when things all came together for New Ashford, and they were able to be the town with the first votes in a Presidential Election from 1920 through 1932. It brought some fame both nationally and internationally to the small Berkshire County town.
Why did they stop being the first in the mid 1930’s though? Well…there was a small town of 12 people in New Hampshire that had a new piece of technology. The telephone. The New Hampshire town could just phone in their votes, where New Ashford still had to drive the results in.
And, speaking of New Ashford and voting, did you know the first woman to ever vote in a Presidential Election was from New Ashford? Her name is Phoebe Jordan, who moved to New Ashford as a child in 1871, and cast her historic vote in that 1920 election.
It’s pretty cool that such a small Berkshire County town has such a big history attached to it!