Robert Livingston, a Scot who had married into the wealthy Van Rennselear family, established
Livingston Manor in the Hudson River Valley in 1682. He expanded his claims to cover a large portion
of Southern Berkshire under the Patent of Westenhook of 1705. His holdings totalled over 175,000
acres from the Hudson Valley eastward. Thus, when the first English settlers arrived, they found six
Dutch families living west of Sheffield, one of whom cultivated his land since 1692. Livingston charged
many of the English settlers rent for use of lands that were granted as free towns by the
Massachusetts Colonial Legislature. This disagreement resulted in the killing of William Race by a
group of Livingston's agents in 1755. In an effort to gain legal right to the land, a syndicate of forty
proprietors purchased a plantation on Taghconic Mountain (Mount Washington) in 1757. Livingston's
agents retaliated by burning six farms. It took 17 years to resettle the area , and gain title to the land.
It was finally incorporated as the Town of Mount Washington in 1779.