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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 School."




DEERFIELD.*

GEOGRAPHICAL.

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.

NATURAL FEATURES.

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.

SETTLEMENT.

DEDHAM GRANT.

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.

INDIAN PURCHASE.

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.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This 2-volume set about the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts gives 30 pages of information about the town of Deerfield. Local people wrote the information and they trace the history of the land first lived in by Native American people and the wars after the coming of the English. The landscape is described in detail. There is information about the schools, graveyards, and the factories built by English settler. The books include the contributions made by an immigrant population that arrived in the late-19th century.

 

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"History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts"

printer   J. B. Lippincott [Printer]
author   Louis Everts
date   1879
location   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
height   12.0"
width   9.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Books/Book
accession #   #L98.040


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See Also...

"Geographical, Statistical & Historical View of the Town of Deerfield"

"Ancient History of Pocomptuck or Deerfield...".by Stephen West Williams

"Deerfield Centre/South Deerfield"


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