What’s in a name? Some pronounce it Briddle, while others favor Brid-dell´, but no matter how a name might be said, its significance lies in what it is and what it represents.
For Briddletown, which was officially recognized this week by Worcester County, this neighborhood that encompasses part of Berlin and beyond is as much a community of the mind and spirit as it is a place.
As was said many times one way or the other during the recognition ceremony Tuesday afternoon, Briddletown represents hope and the promise of better lives in the early pre-Civil War era and in the years that followed.
None of us today can truly appreciate how Benjamin Pitts, an African-American and free man, must have felt when he became a landowner here in 1866. This represented a profound change in the societal system — an African-American man buying property just a year or so removed from a time when many of his contemporaries were treated as property.
This declaration of independence by Pitts and other former freed persons and ex-slaves who followed not long after, echoed throughout the coming decades, as the Briddell, Williams, Fitchett, Johnson, Purnell and Quillen families established themselves in what was then a growing community.
The creation of Briddletown, however informally it was viewed by government, was a huge first step by these people and others who aspired to make things right for themselves, their families and their descendants.
Hopefully, this official recognition will help preserve the facts and the spirit of Briddletown’s existence.