Easthampton Massachusetts, 1890

Easthampton is a delightful and prosperous manufacturing, educational and farming town in the southern part of Hampshire County, on the New Haven and Northampton Railroad, about 90 miles west from Boston, five miles from Northampton. It has Northampton on the north, a dissevered section of the same town (including Mount Tom) on the east, Holyoke and Southampton on the south, and the latter and Westhampton on the west. The territory is triangular in general form, with its base to the north. It has an assessed area of 7,325 acres, of which 1,304 acres are forest, principally of pine and chestnut. Along the well kept streets of the older villages, also, are great numbers of maple and elm, many having a growth of 75 years, and few less than 20 years.

The Manhan River flows northeasterly through the middle of the town, emptying into the Connecticut at a westward curve called "The Oxbow." Broad Branch, coming into the town from the south, and North Branch at the northwest angle, are tributaries of the Manhan River, and, with it, furnishing valuable motive-power. The formative rock is lower sandstone. The face of the town is undulating, with mountains rising about on almost every side. The most prominent of these is Mount Tom, at the southeastern border, which attains the altitude of 1,214 feet, forming a magnificent sky outline to the landscape on that side. The railway, which follows the valley of the Manhan River, affords excellent points of view for this mountain ridge.

The soil in this town is sandy loam, with much clay subsoil, and generally fertile; uniformly yielding good crops of hay, rye, oats, potatoes and tobacco. The greenhouse product in 1885 had a value of upwards of $3,000. The aggregate farm product was $154,038. The manufactures are numerous. The leading establishments are the "Williston Mills" (having two mills), the Nashawannick Manufacturing Company (three mills), the Glendale Company (three mills), the Easthampton Rubber Thread Company, Williston and Knight Company, George S. Colton, and the Valley Machine Company. The principal products are cotton prints, suspenders, buttons, elastic webs, rubber and silk goods, machinery, castings, whips, bricks, and food preparations. The value of the aggregate product of these and other manufactures in the census year of 1885 was $1,945,488. There is one national and one savings bank. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $2,397,279, with a tax-rate of $14 on $1,000. The population was 4,291; of whom 785 were voters. The dwelling-houses numbered 815. The postal villages are Easthampton and Mount Tom; and others are Factory Village and New City.

Easthampton has an excellent town-hall, which cost originally $65,000; also an elegant public library building, containing about 10,000 volumes. The grading of the public schools is complete; and fifteen buildings, valued at upwards of $25,000, are devoted to their use. The Williston Seminary has a library of about 2,000 volumes. This institution was founded by the Hen. Samuel Williston, and has cost upwards of $250,000. It was opened for students December 2, 1841, and has commodious buildings and a complete outfit for a school of its kind.

Mr. Williston was born in 1795, the son of an esteemed pastor; and after a youth of necessary economy married Miss Emily Graves. In their industrious home originated the manufacture of covered buttons in America; and this has proved the germ of the subsequent remarkable growth and prosperity of the town.

[Williston Seminary.]

From the first Easthampton has provided liberally for the education of her sons; and many of them, after the home, have received a college training; and in all the walks of life many are the children who have done her credit. The religions cultivation of the town is provided for by churches of the Congregationalists (First, and Payson Congregational), by the Methodist Episcopal, and the Roman Catholic. "The Easthampton News" is a bright and able local paper, issued weekly.

The Indian name of this place was Pasacomuck. It was detached from parts of Northampton and Southampton, and incorporated as a district June 17, 1785, and as a town June 16, 1809. The earliest white settler was John Webb, who built a log house at Nashawannuck. The first saw-mill here was erected in 1674 or 1675. The village of Pasacomuck was, on the 24th of May, 1704 destroyed by the Indians, when about 20 of the inhabitants were killed. The first church was organized November 17, 1785, at the house of Captain Joseph Clapp; and the Rev. Payson Williston (father of Hon. Samuel Williston) was settled over it August 13, 1789.

pp. 286-287  in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890