River Days


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

This town was incorporated in 1778. The first settlement of this town began about the year 1767. Lemuel Strong, the oldest son of Noah Strong, (in 1817 the oldest man in the town,) is supposed to have been the first child born in this town. In 1779 there were about sixty families and three hundred souls in the town. The first minister, Rev. Enoch Hale, was settled here in 1779; he died 1837, aged 83. Mr. Hale was the brother of Capt. Nathan Hale of Connecticut, the martyr to American liberty, who was executed as a spy in 1775, aged 22. The successor of Mr. Hale in the ministry was Rev. Horace B. Chapin, who settled here in 1829, and resigned in 1837; his successor was Rev. Amos Drury, who was installed pastor the same year.

This is principally an agricultural town. In 1837, there were 170 Saxony, 944 merino, and 1,404 other kinds of sheep; average weight of fleece, 2 ½ lbs.; value of wool, $3,205; capital invested, $7,204. Population, 818. Distance, 8 miles from Northampton, 8 from Williamsburg, and 100 from Boston.

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