Pioneer Valley Reader


Extracted and edited from “History And Antiquities of Every Town In Massachusetts” by John Warner Barber, 1848.

This town was originally a section of what was termed the Equivalent Lands, granted by Massachusetts to Connecticut. The tract comprising the town was sold to Col. Stoddard of Northampton, and was denominated Stoddard’s Town. The township was afterwards sold by Col. Stoddard to a number of settlers from Worcester, and was incorporated into a town by the name of Pelham in 1742. The ancestors of the first settlers of this town were Presbyterian emigrants from the north of Ireland. The first minister of the place was Rev. Robert Abercrombie, from Edinburgh, Scotland; he was ordained here in 1744. His successors were Richard C. Graham, Nathaniel Merrill, Thomas F. Oliver, Elijah Brainerd, Winthrop Baily. Mr. Baily died in 1835, in Greenfield. In the second church Matthias Cazier and Sebastian C. Cabot have been ministers.

The soil of this township is good, but the situation is elevated and the surface is uneven. Swift River, a principal branch of the Chicopee, waters the eastern border, and Fort river, which falls into the Connecticut, waters the western part of this town. In 1837 there were 18,000 palm-leaf hats manufactured in this town, valued at $3,000. Population, 957. Distance, 13 miles from Northampton, 7 from Amherst, and 80 from Boston.

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This page was last updated on
28 Apr 2006