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Northampton (and Easthampton)

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Northampton was purchased from the Nonotucks by John Pynchon (1626-1703) in 1653 for 100 fathom of wampum, ten coats and a few trinkets. It was incorporated as a town in 1656 and became a city in 1883. In 1704, 500 Native Americans and French descended on Northampton but it was able to repel this force because there were forts in every neighborhood. From 1729 to 1750, it was home to Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), a controversial minister who was a primary figure in the religious revivals known as the "First Great Awakening". On August 29, 1786, Daniel Shays (c.1747-1825), a land owner in nearby Pelham, mustered 500 of his fellow farmers and marched on the Hampshire County Courthouse, located in Northampton. They successfully stopped the Court of Common Pleas from convening to seize property for non-payment of the new, land-based taxes that had been pushed through the Massachusetts legislature. This was the beginning of Shays' Rebellion. Northampton's location on the Connecticut River made it an attractive location for mills; by 1837 there were three woolen mills, 2 silk factories and a paper mill. The silk factories produced ribbon and sewing silk, employing mainly women. Northampton is home to Smith College and the Clarke School for the Deaf. Sylvester Graham (1795-1851), the 19th century health reformer and inventor of the Graham cracker lived here. President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) served as Northampton's mayor in 1910 and 1911. Northampton today is known for its vital downtown, dining and cultural opportunities.


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