Easthampton, Mass.

From New England Magazine

Easthampton, Mass.

By L. S. Smith

      The town of Easthampton has a location for natural beauty scarcely equaled by any in the Connecticut Valley. An undulating fertile plain, it is guarded on the east by Mt. Tom and on the west by Pomeroy Mountain, both standing like sentinels overlooking the fair scene, and each sublimely adding its full share to the general picturesqueness.
      And in the sturdiness of this setting there is, as it were, reflected the industry, integrity and steadfastness of the early peoples who chose this spot for a home, and who from the first practiced in their daily lives the stern virtued of duty, loyalty and religion.
      The earliest records of the settlement of Easthampton are coincident with those of Northampton, since this town was included within the limits of Nonotuck, now Northampton, for more than a hundred years, and no record exists telling of the first appearance of white men in this locality. Settlements had begun down the river as early as 1635, and it was from these — Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford — that the settlers of Nonotuck came. Mr. Trumbull says the first substantiated record of the passage of Europeans through this region was in 1638. That, however, was neither an expedition of discovery nor for the purpose of opening traffic with natives. It was, instead, for the purpose of sustaining life, and on its results and the survival of the plantations.
      The lower towns had become impoverished by the war for exterminating the Pequod Indians, and in danger of starvation, they saw no way of relief but to apply to other Indians for provisions. Finally, when absolutely destitute of food, according to Mason's history, Captain John Mason and two companions were dispatched up the river in search of food in the spring of 1638.
      At Pocumtuck, now Deerfield, they found friendly Indians from whom they bought a supply of corn, which was delivered to them by the Indians with a fleet of fifty canoes, at Hartford and Windsor. Mr. Mason in his history says:

      "Forever to the credit of the red man, be it recorded that he responded liberally and generously to the appeal of the strangers, who came to drive him not only from the home of his fathers, but eventually from the face of the earth."*

      The plan for the settlement of Nonotuck began at Hartford. Possessed with the undaunted courage which had led these settlers to venture ocean perils, followed by the forbidiing hardships of dense wilderness, for the sake of worshipping God a they thought vest, they only naturally yielded to a predominating impulse to try something still fur-

      *"The year ending, the colony being in extreme want of provisions, many giving 12 shillings (or about $3.00) for one bushed of Indian corn, the court of Connecticut employed Capt. Mason, Mr. William Wadsworth and Deacon Stebbins to try what Providence would afford them in their great straight, who, notwithstanding some discouragements they met from some English, went to a place called Pocumtuck, where they procured so much corn at reasonable rates that the Indians brought down to Hartford and Windsor, fifty canoes laden with corn, at one time." — Mason's History of the Pequod War.

      * "There remained not a sannup nor a squaw, not a warrior or child of the Pequod race. A nation had disappeared from the family of man." — Bancroft's History of the United States.

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