592 HISTORY OF THE CONNECTICUT VALLEY.
In October, 1862, he was commissioned chaplain of the 52d Regiment of Massachusetts
Volunteers by Gov. Andrew, and served with the regiment under Gen. Banks till
it was mustered out, in August, 1863. In 1874 he served in the lower branch
of the State Legislature, and in 1877 in the upper branch.
Mr. Moors was for many years a member of the school committee in Deerfield,
and afterward in Greenfield. He was for several years president of the board
of trustees of Deerfield Academy, and the first president of the new board of
the consolidated corporation of "Deerfield Academy and Dickinson High
The Pocomptuck of two centuries ago lay upon the west bank of "ye Grate
River Quinneticot," its shore-line being about twenty miles long. Its south
line was the north bound of the Quonquot purchase by Hatfield, running from
the place where the Pocomptuck path crossed the Thee-ki-o-an-mick (or Sugar-Loaf
Brook), seven miles westward. The north and west bounds were each about thirteen
miles long, abutting against the unclaimed wilderness. This territory of about
one hundred and thirty square miles has been shorn of its fair proportions from
time to time by cutting off the towns of Greenfield, Gill, Conway, Shelburne,
and a part of Whately, until it now contains but about thirty-six square miles.
Its old boundary was territory now occupied by the towns of Coleraine, Leyden,
Bernardston, and Northfield, on the north; by Montague, Whately, and Williamsburg,
on the south; east, it was separated by the Connecticut River from Northfield,
Erving, Montague, and Sunderland; on the west lie Goshen, Ashfield, Buckland,
and Charlemont. The present bounds of the town are Greenfield, north; Whately
and Conway, south; Montague and Sunderland, east; Shelburne and Conway, west.
The topography of Pocomptuck is peculiar. Along the bank of the Connecticut
lies a fertile meadow, about a hundred rods wide, extending nearly the whole
length of the town; from this, to the west, rises a range of hills from one
to two miles in width, running from Wequamps (Sugar-Loaf) on the south to the
Greenfield line, rising about midway, at Pocomptuck Rock, to a height of seven
hundred and fifty feet. From the foot of this range a plain or valley spreads
westward, from one to two miles in width. Here the "Dedham Grant"
was laid out, and here are located the "Old Street," the principal
villages, and the famous "Deerfield meadows," a rich alluvial deposit
of late geological formation.
Still to the westward, the surface rises in swelling hills, one above the other,
to its western bounds, reaching, at "Arthurís Seat," an elevation
of one thousand feet. These were the "Sunsick Hills" of the Indians,
the "West Mountains" of to-day, and may be considered the foot-hills
of the Hoosack Mountains. These hills are nearly bare of forest, affording the
best of grazing land, while a few good farms are scattered in the valleys. The
town is well watered. The Connecticut is described elsewhere. The Pocomptuck
(Deerfield), rising on the east slope of the Green Mountains in Vermont, coming
into this town from the northwest, has channeled for itself a deep rocky bed
through the Sunsick Hills, and debouches upon the central valley at Stillwater;
then, turning to the northeast, continues a serpentine course across the meadows
and through a remarkable gorge at Cheapside, reaching the Connecticut about
eight miles from Stillwater. Among the numerous smaller streams the historic
Bloody Brook stands first; a few other brooks, which have afforded mill-sites,
are Bijahís, Roaring, Parsonsí, Taylorís, Carterís Land,
Sheldonís, Fieldís Hill, Hoytís Mill, and Turkey-Bin. Some of the ponds are
Broughtonís, Beamanís, Pine Hill, Round, and Old River.
To Christianize the natives, which was a prime object with the pious settlers,
the apostle Eliot was employed to teach them the doctrines of the Bible. He
soon found this impossible without an accompanying civilization, which involved
their giving up their roving habits of life. To this end Eliot asked grants
of land, on which he could gather them permanently and teach them the arts of
Ďcivility." In answer, the General Court, in 1651, authorized him to lay
out a tract of two thousand acres at Natick and there found a settlement of
Indians. This tract fell within the bounds of Dedham, and a long controversy
in the general and civil courts followed in regard to a compensation for that
town. At length, on the 2d of June, 1663, the General Court ordered that "for
a finall issue of the case between Dedham and Naticke, the Court judgeth meete
to graunt Dedham eight thousand acres of land in any convenient place or places,
not exceeding two, where it can be found free from graunts, provided Dedham
except this offer." The terms being satisfactory to Dedham, the General
Court, at the session in October, 1663, appointed Ens. John Everard and Jonathan
Danforth a committee to lay out the grant.
After several monthsí searching for a satisfactory location, on the 9th of
November, 1664, the selectmen of Dedham report that they had heard of an available
tract "about twelve or fourteen miles above Hadly," and recommend
that the grant be laid out there. A committee of eight men, four of whom could
act, was appointed to carry out the recommendation. Some trouble arising about
the matter, at a meeting March 20, 1665, it was finally arranged that Lieut.
Joshua Fisher, Edward Richards, Anthony Fisher, Jr., and Timothy Dwite should
lay out the grant, and should depart on that mission "the day after Election,
or the second day of the week following at the fartherest." This committee
came to Pocomptuck, located and surveyed the land, returning a detailed plan,
giving courses and distances, to the General Court at their session in May,
1665. "The Court allows and approoves of this returne, provided they make
a towne of it, to majntejne the orddnances of Christ there once within five
years, and that it interfere not with Maj'r-Genll Dennison and Hadly grant."
The unusually-accurate Hoyt, Holland, and others have constantly asserted that
the date of this grant was in 1669, instead of 1663; but the records are clear,
fully according with dates given above. Conveyance of land by the natives was
void by law without concurrent action by the colonial authorities, and Dedham
would hardly have paid "£96 10s." and been at the expense of
the survey on such a venture.
Having laid out the grant according to the direction of the court, Dedham proceeded
to perfect its title, according to the
*Prepared by Hon. George Sheldon.