Historical Sketch of Greenfield, MA
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THIS town was formerly a part of Deerfield. It was incorporated as a town in 1753. Rev. Edward Billings, the first minister of the first Congregational church in this town, was a native of Sunderland; he settled here in 1754. He was succeeded by Rev. Roger Newton, D. D., in 1761. Rev. Gamaliel S. Olds was settled as colleague in 1813; he resigned in 1816, and became professor of mathematics and natural philosophy in the University of Vermont and in Amherst college. His successor was Rev. Sylvester Woodbridge, who was succeeded by Rev. Amariah Chandler in 1832. Rev. Titus Strong, D. D., the present rector of the Episcopal church, was instituted by Rt. Rev. Bishop Griswold, in 1814. The first pastor of the second church was Rev. Charles Jenkins, who was settled in 1820; his successors have been Rev. Wm. C. Fowler, Rev. C. S. Henry, Rev. Th. Bellows, and. Rev. Saml. Washburn. The first minister of the Unitarian Congregational church was the Rev. Winthrop Bailey, who was installed in 1825, and died in 1835. He was succeeded by Rev. John Parkman Jr., in 1837.

The principal part of Greenfield is composed of an extensive plain; on the eastern part of the township runs a succession of eminences, of moderate height, which are a continuation of Deerfield mountain. The soil on and near these eminences is, for some extent, light and sandy; that of the plain is moderately good; and that along Green river, near the western border, is excellent. Greenfield is the shire town of Franklin county. The village is beautifully situated on an elevated plain, rising above the interval on Green river, and built on two intersecting streets. The village consists of 100 well built dwelling houses, 4 churches, 2 Congregational, one of which is Unitarian, 1 Episcopal, and 1 Methodist, a court house, jail, a bank, the "Greenfield Bank," with a capital of $150,000, 2 printing offices, with quite a number of mercantile stores and mechanic shops. The "Greenfield High School for young Ladies" has a high reputation, and the buildings connected with it are large, extensive, and elegant, and add very much to the fine appearance of the village. The following statement of distances was taken from a guide board, (or a kind of pilaster,) standing near the elegant hotel in the center of the place: 20 miles to Northampton; 3 to Deerfield; 7 to Bernardston; 9 to Coleraine; 40 to Springfield; 54 to Worcester; 20 to Brattleboro', Vt.; 118 to Haverhill; 66 to Hartford, Con.; 255 to Montreal, U. C.; and 88 miles to Boston. Population of the town, 1,840.

In 1837, there was in the town 1 woollen mill, 4 sets of machinery; 36,000 lbs. of cotton and 150,000 lbs. of wool were consumed, and 180,000 yards of satinet were manufactured, the value of which was $110,000; males employed, 26; females, 63; capital invested, $80,000. Merino sheep, 1,000; other kinds of sheep, 1,153; rnerino wool produced, 2,730 lbs.; other kinds of wool, 3,459 lbs.

This town during the Indian and French wars was made the theater for some of the horrors of Indian warfare. The fall fight so called, took place near the eastern border of this town. (See account of Gill.) The most fatal part of the action to the English took place within the limits of this town. The following case of individual suffering deserves notice: it is extracted from Hoyes Indian Wars.

Mr. Jonathan Wells, of Hatfield. one of the twenty who remained in the rear when Turner began his march from the falls, soon after mourning his horse received a shot in one of his thighs, which had previously been fractured and badly healed, and another shot wounded his horse. With much difficulty he kept his saddle, and, after several narrow escapes, joined the main body just at the time it separated into several parties, as has been related. Attaching himself to one that was making towards the swamp on the left, and, perceiving the enemy in that direction, he altered his route, and joined another party flying in a different direction. Unable to keep up with the party, he was soon left alone, and not long after fell in with one Jones, who was also wounded. The woods being thick and the day cloudy, they soon got bewildered, and 'Wells lost his companion and after wandering in various directions, accidentally struck Green river, and proceeding upthe stream, arrived at a place, since called the country farms, in the northerly part of Greenficid. Passing the river, and attempting to ascend an abrupt hill, bordering the interval west, he fell from his horse exhausted. After lying senseless some time, he revived and found his faithful animal standing by him; making him fast to a tree, he again lay down to rest himself, but finding he should, not be able to remount, he turned the horse loose, and making use of his gun as a crutch hobbled up the river, directly opposite to the course he ought to have taken. His progress was slow and painful, and being much annoyed by musquetoes, towards night he struck up a fire, which soon spread in all directions, and with some difficulty he avoided the flames. New fears now arose; the fire, he conjectured, might guide the Indians to the spot, and he should be sacrificed to their fury. Under these impres sions he divested himself of his ammunition, that it might not fall into their hands bound up his thigh with a handkerchief, and staunched the blood, and composing himself as much as possible, soon fell into a sleep. Probably before this he had conjectured that he was pursuing a wrong course, for in a dream he imagined himself bewildered, and was impressed with the idea that he must turn down the stream to find his home. The rising of the sun the next morning convinced him that his sleeping impressions were correct that he had travelled from, instead of towards Hatfield, and that he was then further from that place than the falls, 'where the action took place. He was now some distance up Green river, where the high lands closed down to the stream. Reversing his course, he at length regained the level interval in the upper part of Greenfield, and soon found a foot path which led him to the trail of his retreating comrades; this be pursued to fleerfield river, which, with much difficulty, he forded by the aid of his gun; ascending the bank, he laid himself down to rest, and being overcome with fatigue, he fell asleep; but soon awaking, he discovered an Indian making directly towards him, in a canoe. Unable to flee, and finding his situation desperate, he presented his gun, then wet and filled with sand and gravel, as if in the act of firing the Indian, leaving his own gun, instantly leaped from his canoe into the water, escaped to the opposite shore, and disappeared. Wells now concluded he should be sacrificed by others, who he knew were but a small distance down the river; but determining if possible to elude them, he gained an adjacent swamp. and secreted himself under a pile of drift wood. The Indians were soon heard in search of him, traversing the swamp in all directions, and passing over the drift wood; but lying close, he fortunately avoided discovery, and after they had given up the search and left the place, he continued his painful march through Deerfield meadows. Hunger now began to prey upon him, and looking about he accidentally discOvered the skeleton of a horse, from the bones of which he gathered some animal matter, which he eagerly devoured, and soon after found a few birds' eggs, and some decayed beans, which in some measure allayed the cravings of nature, and added to his strength. Passing the ruins of Deerfield at dusk, he arrived the next morning at Lathrop's battle. ground, at Bloody Brook, in the south part of Deerfield, where he found himself so exhausted that he concluded he must give up further efferts, lie down, and die. But after resting a short time and recollecting that he was within about eight miles of Hatfield, his resolution returned, and he resumed his march over pine woods, then smoking with a recent fire; here he found himself in great distress from a want of water to quench his thirst, and almost despaired of reaching his approximated home. But once more rousing himself, he continued his route, and about mid day on Sunday reached Hatfield, to the inexpressible joy of his friends, who had supposed him dead. After a long confinement, Mr. Wells' wound was healed, and he lived to an advanced age, a worthy member of the town.

After the sacking of Deerfield, Rouville, the commander of the French and Indians, after the destruction of the town, after a march of about four miles, encamped in the meadows on the bank of the river. The second day's march was slow. At the upper part of Greenfield meadow it was necessary to pass Green river, a small stream, then open, in which Mrs. Williams, the wife of the Rev. John Williams, plunged under water, but, recovering herself, she with difficulty reached the shore, and continued her route. An abrupt hill was now to be surmounted, and Mr. Williams entreated his Indian master for leave to return and help forward his distressed wife; he was refused, and she left to struggle with difficulties beyond her power. Her cruel and bloody master, finding her a hurthen, sunk his hatchet in her head, and left her dead at the foot of the hill. Her body was soon afterwards taken up and interred in the burial ground in Deerfield.

On the twelfth of August, 1766, a party of Indians attacked five men at labor at a place called the County farms, in the northerly part of Greenfield. The Indians had secreted themselves on an adjacent eminence, and observed the people deposit their arms before they commenced their labor, and by a cautious approach placed themselves between them and the men, and rushing furiously on, gave their fire; but it proved harmless. Destitute of the means of defence, the people fled in different directions; Shubal Atherton leaped into a ravine, among thick brush, where he was discovered, shot, and scalped; Benjamin Hastings and John Graves, dashing through Green river, outstripped the Indians, and escaped; but Daniel Graves and Nathaniel Brooks were captured. The former being in years, and unable to travel with the speed of the Indians, was killed a small distance from the place of capture; Brooks was earned offl and never returned; whether he suffered the fate of his fellow prisoner, is not known. A party of people from Greenfield village hurried onto the spot, and followed the trail of the enemy some distance, and were soon joined by Major Williams with a party from Deerfield, but the enemy eluded their pursuers.

The following is copied from a monument in the grave yard in this place:

Sacred to the memory of Thomas Chapman, Esq., a native of Barforth, in York. shire, Great Britain; and many years a resident at Cossim-buzar, in the East Indies. He departed this transitory life May 25th, A. D. 1819, aged 73; and was a Gentleman of inviolable integrity, of great urbanity of manners, and a generous example of good old English hospitality. He was also an affectionate Father, an indulgent husband, a zealous friend of the primitive church; and a sincere follower of Jesus Christ. Hence be lived beloved, and died lamented, by a large circle of friends and acquaintance, and the few sorrowing relatives who have erected this marble to perpetuate his remembrance.


FROM:
Historical Collections Relating to the
History and Antiquities of
Every town in Massachusetts with
Geographical Descriptions.
By John Warner Barber.
Worcester
Published by Warren Lazell.
1848

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