Cheshire Massachusetts, 1890


Cheshire
is a fine grazing town in the northerly part of Berkshire County, about 150 miles west, slightly north, of Boston. At Cheshire, Cheshire Harbor and Farnum's are railroad stations on a branch of the Boston and Albany Railroad connecting Pittsfield with the Fitchburg Railroad at North Adams. The town is bounded by New Ashford and Adams on the north; Savoy, Windsor and Dalton on the east; the latter and Lanesborough on the south; and the last, with New Ashford, on the west. The form of the township is very irregular, its lines taking not less than 21 different courses. The western, southern and eastern parts are very hilly, but the northern, and the middle from northeast to southwest, have fine valleys, with clayey and fertile soil. Stafford's Hill is in the northeast; and " Round's Rocks " situated at the northwest, was a station of the Topographical Survey of the State. The geological formation consists of calcareous gneiss, Levis limestone, Lauzon schist and the Potsdam group. Much flint exists here, and large quantities of sand are found free from iron rust, and in other respects suitable for glass-making. The Hoosac River, which runs here northeasterly, and its affluents Dry, South and West Brooks, which come dashing down from the mountains furnish valuable water-power, used for lumber, cotton and sand-mills. There are ore beds in the southern part of the town which supply a smelting furnace. There are also a shoe factory, cooper shop, lime and cement works, various food and other establishments. The aggregate product of the manufactures in 1885 was $169,010.

On the 1st of January, 1802, Cheshire presented to President Thomas Jefferson a mammoth cheese, weighing 1,450 pounds; which gave a wide reputation to the dairies of that town. In 1885, the product of these amounted to $47,378; and the aggregate product of the 115 farms was $174,343. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $719,883, with a tax-rate of $15 on $1,000. The population is 1,448, and the number of dwellings 324. The town has six school buildings, valued at $11,100. The Cheshire Library Association has a collection of about 2,500 volumes. The Baptists, Methodists, Universalists and Roman Catholics each have a church here.

Cheshire was settled by Joseph Bennett, Colonel Joab Stafford, John Buckland, and others, from Rhode Island, as early as 1767, They were mostly Baptists, and formed the first church at Stafford's Hill in 1769, Elder Peter Werden being chosen pastor. Rev. John Leland and Captain Daniel Brown were eminent citizens at a later period.

pp. 234-235 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer