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THE Indian name of Northampton was Nonotuck. It formerly included Southampton, Westhampton, and Easthampton,
since incorporated as towns. The fertility, extent, and beauty of the fine intervals in this region attracted the
attention of settlers at an early period. The township was purchased in 1653, and conveyed to John Pynchon, Esq.,
for the planters, by Wawhillowa, Nenessahalant, Nassicohee, and four others, (one of whom was a married woman,)
styled “the chief and proper owners,” for one hundred fathom of wampum by tale, and ten coats, besides some small
gifts, in hand paid to the sachems and owners, and also for ploughing up sixteen acres of land. on the east side
of Quonnecticut river the ensuing summer. These “all bargained for themselves, and the other owners by their consent.”
The original planters were twenty-one in number, and the legal grant was made to them in 1654, by “John Pynchon,
Elizur Holyoke, and Samuel Chapin, commissioners for laying out Nonotuck, by the general court,” and the settlement
of the town commenced the same year. In 1656, “towns men” (or selectmen) were chosen, and in 1657 three commissioners
were chosen at a town meeting "as a court to end small causes.” The same year, the town employed an agent
“to obtain a minister, and to devise means to prevent the excess of liquors and cider from coming to the town.”
In 1662, at the formation of the county of Hampshire, consisting of the three towns of Springfield, Northampton,
and. Hadley, Northampton was made a half shire, and in 1794 was made the county town.
The village of Northampton is situated about a mile from Connecticut river, a little elevated above the surrounding
meadows. These meadows are some of the best land in New England, and are in the highest state of cultivation. rrhe
village, although very irregularly laid. out, is one of the most beautiful and best built villages in New England.
Situated in the delightful valley of the Connecticut, surrounded with beautiful and variegated prospects on every
side, with the magnificent front of Mount Holyoke, rising to the height of 830 feet, on the opposite side of the
river, the scenery of this place presents a specimen of the "sublime and beautiful." A fine stream passes
the center of the town, possessing a good water power, on which are mills and factories of various kinds. This
place has considerable river and inland commerce, which will probably be increased by the New Haven and Northampton
canal, which terminates a little north of the village.
The above is a representation of Round Hill, an elevation which rises immediately back of the court-house and the
central part of the village. It is very regular in its form. and the summit is crowned by a noble grove. A number
of elegant residences stand on the side of this elevation, overlooking the village; and from this spot there is
a fine prospect of Mount Holyoke and the delightful valley of the Connecticut. The view from which the above engraving
was made, was taken standing on the western side of the first Congregational church. The building appearing on
the left is the Town &/wol; the Gothic structure on the right is the young Ladies' &minarv. Round Hill
is seen beyond. There arc 5 churches, 3 Congregational, (1 of which is Unitarian.) 1 Episcopal, and 1 Baptist.
There is 1 bank, the "Northampton Bank," with a capital of $200,000. Population, 3,576. Northampton is
91 miles W. of Boston. 72 E. of Albany, 40 N. of Hartford, 22 S. of Greenfield, 17 northerly of Springfield, and
376 from Washington. In 1837, there were 3 woollen mills, 7 sets of machinery; 70,000 yards of cloth were manufactured,
valued at $230,000; males employed, 64; females, 60; capital invested, $100,000. There are 2 silk manufactories;
value of ribbon and sewing silk manufactured, $40,000; males employed, 20; females, 40; capital invested, $100,000.
There is a paper-mill, an air and cupola furnace, and other manufactories of various kinds.
The inhabitants of Northampton appeared to have lived in great harmony with the Indians. In 1664, the Indians requested
leave of the people to build themselves a fort within the town; leave was granted, and their fort was erected perhaps
about thirty rods from the most populous street. The conditions on which leave was obtained for building their
fort were, that they should not work or game within the town on the Sabbath, nor powaw here or any where else:
they should not get liquor, nor cider, nor get drunk; nor admit Indians from without the town; nor break down fences,
&c. The Indians," says Dr. Dwight, "were always considered as having a right to dwell and to hunt
within the lands which they had sold." Although the Indians lived in such close contact with the whites, there
is not even a tradition ary story of any quarrel between them and the people of Northampton. But after Philip's
war commenced, the inhabitants were in continual danger. in 1675, a guard was kept continually; several of the
inhabitants had their houses burnt. In King William's war, in 1690, a fortification was ordered to be run quite
round the town. In 1704 a body of French and Indians, numbering, it is supposed, about five hundred, invaded the
town, but it appears that the inhabitants were so vigilant and well fortified, that t.hey made no serious attempt
upon the place. It appears that one house was fortified in every little neighborhood, so that all the inhabitants
might have a place of refuge near, in case of an attack. "These fortifications must have been expensive. Those
which were erected around the town, were palisadoes set up in the earth, thrown out of a trench; and must from
their great extent have involved an expense scarcely supportable." The first road to Windsor, their only passage
to market, was laid in 1664. The first bridge over Manhan river, a mill stream three miles south M their church,
was voted in 1668. At the same time, they paid their taxes at Charlestown first, and afterwards at Boston, in wheat.
This was conveyed to Hartford in carts and wagons, and there shipped for Boston. There is one account, only, of
their expense in a transaction of this nature recorded. In this instance, they were obliged to pay one third of
the cargo for the transportation from Hartford to Charlestown.
During Shays' insurrection in 17S6, after the insurgents had concerted their measures at Hatfield, they assembled
to the numher of about 1,500, under arms, at Northampton, took possession of the court-house, and effectually prevented
the sitting of the courts as prescribed by law. Upon this violence being committed, the governor issued his proclamation
in a feeling and spirited manner upon the officers and citizens, to suppress such. treasonable proceedings, but
such was the state of things in the commonwealth at this time, that the ill-disposed paid but little attention
to this timely measure.
The first minister of Northampton was Eleazer Mather, son of the Rev. Richard Mather, of Dorchester. He was ordained
in 1661, and died in 1669, aged 32. Mr. Mather's health having declined, Rev. Joseph Elliot, in 1662, was invited
to settle in the ministry here; he was the second son of Rev. John Elliot, of Roxbury, the celebrated apostle to
the Indians; he afterwards settled at Guilford, Con. Rev. Solomon Stoddard was the next minister, was ordained
in 1672, and died in 1729. His successor was Jonathan Edwards, the celebrated divine, who was invited in 1726 to
assist Mr. Stoddard in the ministry. Mr. Stoddard "possessed probably more influence than any other clergyman
in the province, during a period of thirty years. Here he was regarded with a reverence which will scarcely he
rendered to any other man. The very savages are said to have felt towards him a peculiar awe. Once, when riding
from Northampton to Hatfield, and passing a place called Dewey's Hole, an ambush of savages lined the road. It
is said that a Frenchman, directing his gun towards him, was warned by one of the Indians, who some time before
had been among the English, not to fire, because that man was Englishman's God.' A similar adventure is said to
have befallen him while meditating in an orchard, immediately behind the church in Deerfield, a sermon he was about
to preach. These stories, told in Canada, are traditionally asserted to have been brought back by English captives.
It was customary for the Canadian savages, after they returned from their excursions, to report their adventures,
by way of triumph, to the captives taken in the English colonies. Among the wnrks which Mr. Stoddard published
his Guide to Christ, and his Safety of appearing in the Righteousness of christ, have ever been held in respectful
estimation." "He published the Doctrine of Instituted Churches, London, 4th, 1700, in which he advanced
some sentiments that were not very well received in this country, such as the following: that the Lord's table
should be accessible to all persons not immoral in their lives, that the power of receiving and censuring members
is vested exclusively in the elders of the church, and that synods have power to excommunicate and deliver from
The Rev. Jonathan Edwards continued in Northampton more than twenty-three years, till he was dismissed in 1750.
The causes which led to his dismissal were his endeavors to enforce what he considered to he his duty in regard
to the discipline of the church, and likewise the opposition he made to the sentiment supported by his colleague
and grandfather, Rev. Mr. Stoddard, that unconverted persons ought to be allowed to come to the sacrament of the
Lord's supper. In 1751, he was settled at Stockbridge as missionary to the Indians, where he continued six years,
preaching to the Indians and white people. Here he found leisure to prosecute his theological and metaphysical
studies, and produced those works which will probably hand down his name to the latest posterity. In January, 1758,
he reluctantly accepted the presidency of the college at Princeton, New Jersey. The small-pox prevailing, President
Edwards was induced to be inoculated, which was the cause of his death, March 22, 1758, in the 55th year of his
David Brainerd, the celebrated missionary, died at the house of Jonathan Edwards, in this place, Oct. 9, 1747,
in the thirtieth year of his age. His life was wiitten by Mr. Edwards. "His life and diary," says a celebrated
English divine, "exhibits a perfect pattern of the qualities which should distinguish the instructor of rude
and barbarous tribes; the most invincible patience and selfdenial, the profoundest humility, exquisite prudence,
indefatigable industry, and such a devotedness to God, or rather such an absorption of the whole soul in zeal for
the divine glory and the salvation of men, as is scarcely paralleled since the age of the apostles. His constitutional
melancholy, though it must be regarded as a physical imperfection, imparts an additional interest and pathos to
the narrative, since we more easily sympathize with the emotion of sorrow than of joy. There is a monotony in his
feelings, it must be acknowledged, and consequently a frequent repetition of the same ideas, which will disgust
a fastidious or superficial reader, but it is the monotony of subimilty."
[From the Massachusetts Spy, June 25, 1806.]
"Springfield, June 10.
EXECUTION OF DALEY AND HALLIGAN. On Thursday last, pursuant to their sentence, Dominick Daley and James Halligan
were executed at Northampton. At half past 10 o'clock, they were conducted to the meeting-house, by the high sheriff
and his deputies, with a guard, composed of a company of artillery and a detachment of the militia. An appropriate
and eloquent discourse was there delivered to a very crowded auditory, by the Rav. Mr. Cheverus, of Boston, from
1 John, 3.13 : "Whoever huleth his brother is a murderer. After the sermon, the criminals were constantly
attended by Mr. Cheverus, with whom, during the greater part of the time, they appeared to be engaged in prayer.
At 3 o'clock, sentence was executed by Major-General Mattoon, sheriff of the county. Notwithstanding their protestations
of innocence, in which they persisted in to the last, it is believed that of the 15,000 persons supposed to be
present, scarcely one had a doubt of their guilt. Daley and Halligan were natives of Ireland. Daley was about 34
years of age, and has been in this country two years; he has left a wife, a mother, and brother in Boston. Halligan
was about 27 years of age; and we believe has no connections in this country; in which he has resided for four
The following inscriptions are copied from monuments in the Northampton grave-yard:
Here is inter'd the body of the Revd. Mr. SOLOMON STODDARD, A. M., sometime Fellow of Harvard College, pastor of
ye church in Northampton, N.E., for near 60 years; who departed this life Feb. 11, 1729, and in the 86 year of
his age. A man of God, an able minister of the N. Testament; singularly qualified for that sacred office, and faithful
therein, sealed by the H: Spirit in numerous converts to Christ, by his solid, powerful, and most searching ministry.
A light to the churches in general, a peculiar blessing to this; eminent for the holiness of his life, as remarkable
for his peace at death.
Sacred to the memory of the Revd DAVID BRAINARD, a faithful & laborious missionary to the Stockbridge, the
Delaware, & the Susquehannah tribes of Indians, who died in this town, Oct. 10, 1747, aged 30.
A tabular monument of free-stone is placed over the grave of this celebrated missionary. The inscription at first
w is on an inlet of schistus. which many years since was destroyed by the frost, and the inscription at present
is said to be unknown. An inlet of marble with the above inscription now supplies the place of the former one in
the horizontal slab over his remains.
Here lies the Revd. JOHN HOOKER, who died of ye small pox, Feb. 6th, 1777, in the 49th year of his age & 23d
of his ministry. In him an excellent & highly cultivated
Genius, a graceful elocution, engaging manners, & the temper of the Gospel united to form an able and faithful
minister, & to render him examplary and beloved in all the relations of life. The affectionate people of his
charge, in remembrance of his many amiable & christian virtues, erected this monument to his memory.
SOLOMON WILLIAMS, born July 25, 1752, lived as a pastor of the church of Christ in Northampton 56 years and 5 months.
His spirit ASCENDED in sweet peace to the upper Sanctuary on the morning of the Sabbath, Nov. 9, 1834.
In memory of CALEB STRONG late Governor of Massachusetts, who, after a life emi nent for piety and devotion to
the public service, died November 7th, 1819, in the 75th year of his age.
John Breck, Esq., died Feb. 26, 1827, AE 56 years.
Great day of dread decision and despair,
At thought of thee, each sublunary wish
Lets go its eager grasp, and drops the world,
And catches at each reed of hope in heaven.
In memory of Rev. Henry Lyman, son of Theodore and Susan W. Lyman, a missionary of the American Board, who. with
his associate, Rev. Samuel Munson, suffered a violent death from the Battahs, in Sumatra, June 28th 1834, aged
We are more than conquerors.
Historical Collections Relating to the
History and Antiquities of
Every town in Massachusetts with
By John Warner Barber.
Published by Warren Lazell.