Chesterfield Massachusetts, 1890

Chesterfield
is a pleasant town in the northwestern part Hampshire County, about 100 miles west of Boston. It is noted for its great variety of minerals. It is bounded north by Cummington, northeast on a zigzag line by Goshen, east by the latter and Williamsburg, south by Westhampton and Huntington, and west by Worthington.

The nearest railroad stations are at Williamsburg, Goshen and Cummington, each about six miles from the centre of the town. The post-offices are Chesterfield and West Chesterfield, the latter being a considerable village. The population is 698, of whom 211 are voters. They are sheltered by 171 dwelling-houses, and till 110 farms. The largest products of these are from the dairy, the hay-field and the woods; the aggregate farm product being $105,502.

There are 18,250 acres of assessed land, which includes 5,375 acres of woodland. The valuation in 1888 was $293,666; with a tax-rate of $15.50 on $1,000. The town is generally mountainous, the ranges running north and south, with long and pleasant valleys intervening. Through these valleys flow Dresser Brook and East Brook in the east, and Westfield River here a noble stream in the west part of the town, affording motive power for driving several saw and grain mills and for making various small wooden articles.

In one place the water of the river has cut a channel more than thirty feet deep and sixty rods long, through the solid rock, as symmetrically as if done by art. It is a remarkable curiosity. The geological formation is granite in the east, and calciferous mica-schist in the west. In this there is found a vein of albite, associated with various other minerals, as blue, green and red tourmaline, smoky quartz, spodumene, kyanite, rose-beryl of large size, garnet, tin ore, columbite, and lithia-mica. The scholar can hardly find a better locality for studying the curious forms and combinations which the metamorphic rocks of the State present.

Chesterfield has a good town hall, a public library of upwards of 1,200 volumes, and seven good school-houses, this list making up the series of New England town educational institutions; to which, however, should be added the church, which here is Congregationalist. This place, as a plantation, bore the name of New Hingham. It was incorporated as the town of Chesterfield, June 11, 1762. The first church was organized October 30,1764; and the first pastor was Rev. Benjamin Mills, ordained the same year.

pp. 236-237 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890


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