Historical Sketch of Hawley, MA
Source at bottom of page.



Historical Sketches
Franklin County
Hampden County
Hampshire County
Middlesex County
Norfolk County
Worcester County

New York


History at
Rays Place

Also see [ Railway
Officials in America


THIS town was incorporated in 1792. It has an elevated situation on the Green mountain range, and is well watered by several branches of Deerfield river. Rev. Jonathan Grout, the first Congregational minister, was settled here in. 1793; he died in 1835, aged 72. His successor was Rev. Tyler Thacher. No regular minister has yet been settled over the second parish. The names of some of the first settlers were Deacon Joseph Bangs, Adjutant Zebedee Wood, Daniel Burt, Samuel and Arthur Hitchcock, Timothy Baker, Reuben Cooley, Joseph Easton, Elisha Hunt, Abel Parker, Nathan West, Phineas Scott, Thomas King, Joseph Longley, William Mclntire, and James Percival. Part of the north part of the town is named from Bozrah, Con., from which place some of the first settlers came.

Old Mr. Hale, one of the first settlers of this town, located himself about half a mile from the South Hawley post-office. He is described as being a very singular sort of a man. He was never married, but lived by himself: with his own hands he cleared up land and raised a considerable quantity of grain. He used to talk much to himself, and was very much harassed by the appearance of “spirits.” which he said very much troubled him; he, however, like Fingal,” showed light” with his tormentors. He has been seen armed with a pitchfork, and to all appearance, as far as he was concerned, engaged in mortal combat with his enemies. He would violently thrust the fork into the air in various directions about him, furnishing a kind of representation of Fingal’s celebrated contest with the spirit of Loda, thus described in Carric Thura, a poem of Ossian:

“The flame was dim and distant: the moon hid her red face in the east. A blast came from the mountain; on its wings was the spirit of Loda. He came to his place in his terrors, and. shook his dusky spear. His eyes appear like flames in his dark face; his voice is like distant thunder. Fingal advanced his spear in night, and raised his voice on high.

“‘Son of night, retire: call thy winds, and fly! Why dost thou come to my presence with thy shadowy arms? Do I fear thy gloomy form, spirit of dismal Loda? Weak is thy shield of clouds; feeble is that meteor thy sword! The blast rolls them together; and thou thyself art lost. Fly from my presence, son of night! call thy winds and fly!’

“‘Dost thou force me from my place?’ replied the hollow voice. ‘The people bend before me. I turn the battle in the field of the brave. I look on the nations, and they vanish; my nostrils pour the blast of death. I come abroad on the winds; the tempests are before my face. But my dwelling is calm, above the clouds; the fields of my rest are pleasant.’

“ Dwell in thy pleasant fields,’ said the king. ‘Let Combai’s son be forgot. Do my steps ascend from my hills into thy peaceful plains! Do I meet thee with a speal on thy cloud, spirit of dismal Loda? Why then dost thou frown on me? why shake thine airy spear? Thou frownest in vain: I never fled from the mighty in war. And shall the sons of the wind frighten the king of Morven? No: he knows the weakness of their arms!'

"Fly to thy land,' replied the form; 'receive thy wind, and fly! The blasts are in the hollow of my hand; the course of the storm is mine. The king of Sora is my son; he bends at the stone of my power. His battle is around Carric-thura; and he will prevail! Fly to thy land, son of Combal, or feel my flaming wrath!'

"He lifted high his shadowy spear! He bent forward his dreadful height. Fingal, advancing, drew his sword; the blade of dark-brown Luno. The gleaming path of the steel winds through the gloomy ghost. The form fell shapeless into air, like a column of smoke, which the staff of the boy disturbs as it rises from the half-extinguished furnace."

In 1837, there were in this town 2,716 merino sheep, which produced 8,148 lbs. of wool, valued at $4,574. The value of leather tanned and curried was $13,000. Population, 985. Distance, 20 miles from Greenfield, 23 from Northampton, 53 to Albany, and about 120 from Boston.

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