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Officials in America
MONTAGUE was incorporated as a town in 1753. Before that time, the southern part belonged to the town of Sunderland,
and the northern part belonged to the state. It is about 6 miles square. The general face of the town is uneven,
the soil various; a range of highlands in the easterly part of the town, the parts of which are designated by different
names, Harvey’s Hill, Chesnut Hill, Bald Hill, Pine Hill, Quarry Hill, &c. South westerly from the present
center of the town there is a hill called Taylor Hill. The northerly part consists of pine plains; on the west
of the town, bordering upon the Connecticut. there is quite an extensive tract of meadow land, of a good quality
for cultivation. There is aJso upon the Saw mill river, which takes its rise from Lock’s Pond, Shuteshury, considerable
meadow land. This river enters the town of Montague near the south east corner, and winds its way in a north-westerly
direction, passing northerly of the center of the town, and empties itself into the Connecticut, about one mile
from the south-west corner of the town. The town affords many excellent water privileges. Timber, clay, granite
and other stone of a good quality for building, are abundant.
The above is a view from the north-west of the central part of the town, on the bank of Saw mill river, showing
the two churches, and some other buildings in the vicinity. In 1837, there was $6,000’s worth of scythe snaiths
and $3,000’s worth of palm leaf hats manufactured. Population, 1,260. Distance, 7 miles from Greenfield, and 80
In the north westerly part of the town there is a canal 3 miles long, commencing at the head of Turner's falls,
descent 70 feet, through which lumber and goods are conveyed in great abundance annually. There is a post-office
at this place, called Montague Canal post office. From time to time many traces of savage men are here discovered,
such as points of arrows, stone chisels, &c. The first ordained minister was the Rev. Judah Nash, as appears
upon a slab of slate-stone over his grave; was settled Nov. 17, 1752, died Feb. 19, 1805, having continued with
his people 53 years. And it is engraven upon said slab, that
"He was faithful to his God, a lover of the church, a friend to mankind.
Ever ready to hear affliction's cry,
And traee his Maker's will with a curious eye,
He tried each art, reproved each (lull delay,
Allured to brighter worlds and led the way.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His look adorned the venerable place."
The names of some of the first settlers are Ellis, Harvey, Root, Gunn, Taylor, Clapp. &.c. The celebrated
Capt. Jonathan Carver had his residence in this town for many years. One of his daughters married a Mr. Moses Gunn,
who is still living in this place, and through the descent of his children by Capt. Carver's daughter claims an
interest in what is called the Carver lands, granted him by the western indians, situated in the Wisconsin Territory.
The following was transcribed from a grave-stone in said Montague, about one mile from the present center: - "In
memory of Mrs. Olive, wife of Mr. Moses Gumm, and daughter of Capt. Jonathan Carver of Montague, who died April
21, 1789, aged 30 years, leaving 4 children."
That part of the town taken from Sunderland in early times was called Hunting-hill Fields. Tradition says that
it was thickly inhabited by animals of the forest, such as bears, wolves, deer, and moose. From the many stories
of hunters, one only is selected. "A Mr. Ebenezer Tuttle and his father, of this place, at the time of its
first settlement, went out on a hunting expedition, agreeing to continue out over night, designating the spot,
about 3 miles from any house, in the easterly part of the town, in a gloomy forest. They separated for the objects
of their pursuit. The son returned first to the place of encampment; he had not been there long before he heard
a noise, saw the bushes move, and, being somewhat frightened, he thought he saw a bear, levelled his piece and
fired; his father replied, 'You have killed me!' and soon expired. It was then almost dark. He took his father
in his arms, with what emotions nor pen nor tongue can describe, and continued with him till day, and then went
and gave information of what had taken place." In the grave-yard in said Montague there is the following mscnption:
"In memory of Mr. Elijah Bordwell, who died Jane, 26, 1786, in ye 27th year of his age, having but a few days
survived ye fatal night when he was flung from his horse and drawn by ye sturrup 26 rods along ye path, as appeared
by ye place where his hat was found, and here he had spent ye whole of the following severe cold night treading
down the snow in a small circle. The Family he left was an aged Father, a wife and three small children."
Historical Collections Relating to the
History and Antiquities of
Every town in Massachusetts with
By John Warner Barber.
Published by Warren Lazell.