With no clues reported, Berkshire County found itself today with its first horse theft in more than 40 years.

If Bess had been a winged steed from the classic world, she could not have vanished more completely than did the work mare of Daniel Tremblay of Merrill Road, which yesterday was publicly reported as lost, strayed or stolen.

A week ago today she was seen for the last time. She was in pasture with her mate, Chubby, at the Brookman farm on Partridge Road. After that it was noticed that Chubby was grazing and wandering around alone. No clue has come and no questions have been asked as a result of the advertising, police report and news stories.

Mr. Tremblay is rather out on a limb, he said this afternoon. He has one horse left, but all his equipment, harness, wagons and so on, is for a pair. The team was purchased last October in Charlemont and are natives. Bess, a bay, white star on forehead, is about 10 years old, weighs 1700 pounds and is valued at $200. Almost invariably she has been driven double. If the horse was not stolen, it is argued that long since she would have been seen wandering over the countryside. Amateur detectives are reminded of the Sherlock Holmes story of "Silver Blaze."

It is, as indicated, more than 40 years since a horse has been stolen in Berkshire though at one time 50 years ago such stealing was a thriving industry in the Western Massachusetts highlands.

It was one week ago yesterday Mr. Tremblay went to the pasture to get his horses. He had a garden to plow at the Junction and was to use them. It was then he discovered Bess was among the missing. He looked around from day to day, but there was no trace. The bars were not down and the fence seemed rather high to leap. Yet Bess is lively and the owner wouldn't put past her a frolic that involved jumping a barrier.

On Sunday afternoon at 5 he made his report to the police who put in action the usual inquiries. It seemed unreasonable to suppose that if a horse were loose in the hills nobody would report it, hence the conclusion this is a genuine theft.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.