Encyclopedia of New England



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

This town was incorporated in 1753, previous to which it was a part or precinct of Northampton. The first persons who took up their residence in this plantation were Judah Hutchinson and Thomas Porter, in 1732; the next year fourteen other settlers came into the place. Some families had resided in the north part of the town, in Pomeroy’s meadow; they belonged however to the old town till after a meeting-house was built in the south precinct. Between 1733 and 1740, fourteen families removed to the place. The first meeting of freeholders qualified to vote in precinct affairs was held in 1741. On the 8th of June, 1743, the first church was organized, and Rev. Jonathan Judd was ordained pastor at the same time; and on the same day Waitstill Strong and John. Clark were chosen deacons. The clergymen at his ordination were Messrs. Edwards of Northampton, Hopkins of West Springfield, Woodbridge of South Hadley, Parsons of East Hadley, Williams of Hadley, Woodbridge of Hatfield, and Ballantine of Westfield. “It was requested that each should bring a messenger with him.” Mr. Edwards preached the sermon, which was afterwards published. Mr. Judd had for settlement 200 acres of land, 100 pounds old tenor, and 125 pounds, old tenor, to be expended in work on his house. His salary for the first three years was 130 pounds, old tenor, per annum, and five pounds a year to be added till it reached 170 pounds. At the next meeting it was voted to give him his wood; “and we will give him more according to our ability.” His house during the Indian troubles was fortified.1 Mr. Judd died in 1803, aged 83. Rev. Vinson Gould, his successor, was ordained colleague pastor in 1801, and resigned in 1832. His successor, Rev. Morris E. White, was settled the same year.

The Manhan River, which rises in Westhampton, passes twice through this town, first from north to south, into Westfield, and then, returning, passes north-east, into Easthampton, affording water privileges. There is a small village in the central part of the town, containing a Congregational church and an academy. The New Haven and Northampton canal passes through this place. Agriculture is the principal business of the inhabitants. Population, 1,216. Distance, 8 miles from Northampton, and 97 from Boston. Several interesting minerals arc found here; and indications of a rich lead mine, so promising that a company was incorporated, with a capital of $200,000, in order to work it. The success of the undertaking however did not equal the expectation of the projectors. At this time, this mine, which is situated in the northern part of the town, is not worked.

1 During this period a number of soldiers were stationed in this town, for the defense of the inhabitants. In August, 1747, Elisha Clark was killed by the Indians, when he was thrashing in his barn. Noah Pixley was also killed in this town during the French and Indian wars.

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