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THIS town was originally a part of Brimfield. About one ninth of the proprietors of that town settled in this
part of the township. The first house east of Springfield was erected more than 140 years ago within the present
limits of this town. The name of the man who first planted himself here was Fellis. The general court granted him
200 acres of land, on condition that he would erect and keep a house of entertainment for travellers passing between
Springfield and Brookfield. The man continued awhile, but soon returned to Springfield on account of alarm from
the Indians. Although he did not entirely fulfil the conditions of the grant, yet he held and sold the land. It
afterwards came into the possession of Governor Hutchinson's family. Of the above mentioned proprietors who settled
within the present limits of Monson, were Robert Olds, (as early as 1715,) Ezra and Samuel King, Benjamin Munn,
John Keep, John Atchenson, Mark Ferry, Daniel Killam, Obadiah Cooley, and Samuel Kilborn. On petition to the general
court, this part of Brimfield was incorporated as a district in the spring of 1760. Previous to this, the name
of Monson was given to it by Gov. Pownal.
When the act of incorporation was obtained, there were only 49 families in the limits of the district. In the month
of August following, the first district meeting was held, at which all necessary officers were chosen. They immediately
proceeded to make preparation for the public worship of God. In 1762, about 2 years from the incorporation, land
had been procured and a meetinghouse erected. During this period they had preaching in private houses, by candidates.
The first who supplied them was Simeon Strong, afterwards judge of the supreme court. Rev. Abishai Sabin was the
first pastor, ordained in 1762. His relation to the church continued about 10 years, when he was dismissed. The
second pastor was Rev. Jesse Ives, a native of Meriden, Con., and graduate of Yale college in 1758. He was installed
in 1773, and continued with the people till his death, in 1805. The present pastor, Rev. Alfred Ely, D. D., a native
of West Springfield, was ordained in 1806. The amount of settlement and salary which the people offered Mr. Sabin
is not known, though it is evident he had. a settlement. Mr. Ives had a settlement of £100, and £65
and 30 cords of wood as an annual salary; and the present pastor $500. The first meeting-house was taken down in
1803, having stood 41 years, and the same year the present one was built. There is no notice of the existence of
any organized society of another denomination till 1798, when "persons composing the first Baptist society
were set off."
The above is a representation of the centra part of Monson, as seen from the bridge, at the south-eastern extremity
of the village. The academy is seen on the left, surmounted with a cupola; the Congregational church is seen in
the central part of the engraving; the building standing northerly from the church, with a small tower, is the
vestry. Monson Academy is well endowed, and is a very respectable institution.
This town is about 8 miles in length, from N. to S.. and about 6 miles in breadth. A narrow vale, interspersed
with some small gravelly hills, runs from south to north through the center, bounded on each side by ranges of
hills of moderate height. Through this vale flows for a considerable distance a small stream, which flows into
the Chicopee river on the north. On this brook, within about 1 mile of the center, are 4 factories, 2 cotton and
2 woollen. The public buildings are a Congregational meeting house, a vestry, an academy building and laboratory
in the center, a Baptist meeting house on the west border, and a Methodist chapel about 2 miles south of the center.
Distance, 13 miles E. from Springfield, and 73 S. W. by W. of Boston. Population, 2,179.
In 1837, there were in this town 3 cotton mills, 3,636 cotton spindies; 605,071 yards of cotton goods were manufactured,
valued at $67,500; males employed, 47; females, 73; capital invested, $39,000. There were two woollen mills and
5 sets of machinery; wool consumed, 130,000 lbs.; cloth manufactured, 170,000 yards; valued at $117,000; males
employed, 43; females, 37; capital invested, $29,250. There were 2,712 merino, and 349 other kinds of sheep in
the town; value of wool produced was $4,892; value of boots and shoes manufactured, $5,600; value of spectacles
manufactured, $7,060; straw braid, $2,100.
Historical Collections Relating to the
History and Antiquities of
Every town in Massachusetts with
By John Warner Barber.
Published by Warren Lazell.