Extracted and edited from “History And Antiquities of Every Town In Massachusetts” by John Warner Barber, 1848.
This town, formerly the second parish in South Hadley, was incorporated as a town in 1768. The original Congregational church in the place was organized in 1762, and Rev. Simon Backus was settled as pastor the same year. He continued here till 1784. His successor, Rev. Benjamin Chapman, was settled in 1790, and died in 1804; he was succeeded by Rev. Elijah Gridley. In 1821, the church was divided, and two churches constituted, called the East and West churches. The division grew out of a difficulty respecting the location of a meeting-house. ”At the time of division, the West church had 130 members, and the East 144. An attempt was made, in the spring of 1836, to unite the churches. By this effort, a portion of the West church, with their minister, were transferred to the East. A portion still remain. The West church has, perhaps, about 40 members. The East church has 281 members.”
This town is watered on the north by a small stream, which originates in a pond in Belchertown, and runs westward along the foot of mount Holyoke, and passes into the Connecticut in South Hadley. On this stream there is a number of manufacturing establishments. In 1837, there were two woolen mills; 26,200 yards of cloth were manufactured, valued at $20,200; ten males and ten females were employed. There were 1,900 merino, and 167 other kinds of sheep. The average weight of fleece was 3 lbs.; value of wool produced, $3,670. Population, 922. Distance, 9 miles from Northampton, 12 from Springfield, and 90 from Boston.
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