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The Hockanum Ferry ran from Hadley, Massachusetts, on the East to Northampton on the West, providing a vital connection for farmers and merchants needing to sell their wares and for travelers going to Northampton to visit friends, family or to shop. There was a long rope stretched from bank to bank. The ferryman would load up his barge with goods, people, and wagons, and pull it across using this rope. The word "Hockanum" means hook or hook-shaped in the Algonquian language group. The river "hooks" at the point where the ferry ran.