Historical Sketch of Conway, MA
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THIS town was incorporated in 1767. The first minister of the place was Rev. John Emerson, who settled here in 1769. At this time the town contained but 400 or 500 inhabitants. Mr. Emerson afterwards shrewdly remarked, that when he came “it was literally John preaching in the wilderness.” He lived to see a population of about 2000 souls. Mr. Emerson was eminently a prayerful and devoted minister of the gospel. “For several of his last years he had an impediment in his speech; it was, however, scarcely perceptible in his devotional exercises, showing it was more notural for him to pray than to cnverse." Rav. Edward Hitchcock was settled as colleague with Mr. Emerson in 1821. Mr. Emerson died in 1826, aged 80. Mr. Hitchcock was succeeded by Rev. Daniel Crosby, in 1827.

The following is a southern view of the central part of Conway, as it appears from the road passing over the elevated ground south from the village. The village, which consists of about thirty dwelling houses and other buildings, lies principally in a narrow valley between two elevated hills, the one westward called Beal’s Hill, the one eastward Billings’ Hill. South river, a mill stream, passing into Deerfield river, divides the village into two parts. There are two churches in the village, one a Congregational, the other a Baptist church. The Congregational church is seen in the engraving in the southern part of the village. The Baptist church is without a spire, and stands in the northern part, on elevated ground. Distance, 7 miles S. W. from Greenfleld, and 100 from Boston. Population, 1,445.

In 1837, there was one cotton mill, 924 spindles; cotton consumed, 10,045 lbs.; cotton goods manufactured, 151,140 yards, valued at $16,625; males employed, 8; females, 20; capital invested, $10,000. One woollen mill, which manufactured 3,500 yards of cloth, which employed 18 hands. There were in the town 2,415 merino sheep; other kinds of sheep, 2,415; merino wool produced, 7,245 lbs.; other kinds of wool, 7,245; average weight of fleece, 3 lbs.; value of wool, $5,071; capital invested, $7,245.

The following votes, passed during the "Revolutionary times," are copied from the records of this town. They will serve to show the process used against those who were disaffected towards the American cause, and who dared, like freemen, to let their sentiments he known. The orthography is retained.

At a legal meeting, held. June 25, 1777, Voted to try the minds of the town with regird to the enemical persons that the selectmen have entered in a list and laid before !he town as such sepcrately.

Voted, the following persons are dangerously enemical to the American States, viz. Joseph Catlin, Elias Dickinson, Joseph Brunson, Elijah Wells, Elijah Billings, James Dickinson, Wrn. Billings, John Hamilton. Jonathan Oaks, Capt. Consider Arms Eben'r Bedfield, and David Field. Voted, that Capt. Alexander Oliver be the person to collect the evidence, and lay it before the court, against the above enemical persons.

At a legal meeting, held August 27th, 1777, Voted, that we proceed in some measures to secure the enemical persons called Tories among us. Then the question was put, whether we would draw a line between the Continent and Great Britain; voted in the affirmative. Voted that all those persons that stand on the side of the Contanant take up arms and go hand in hand with us in carrying on the war against our unnatural enemies; such we receive as friends, and all others treet as enemies. Voted, that the broad ally be a line, and the south end of the meeting house be the Continant side, and. the north end the British side; then moved for trial, and found 6 persons to stand on the British side, viz. Elijah Billings, Jonathan Oaks, Wm. Billings, Joseph Catlin, Joel Dickinson, and Elias Dickinson. Voted to set a gard over those enemical persons. Voted the town clerk emmediately desire Judge Mather to issue out his warrants against those enimical persons returned to him in a list heretofore.

Historical Collections Relating to the
History and Antiquities of
Every town in Massachusetts with
Geographical Descriptions.
By John Warner Barber.
Published by Warren Lazell.