Hawley Massachusetts, 1890

Hawley, situated on the highlands in the western part of Franklin County, has for its boundaries, Charlemont on the north, Buckland and Ashfield on the east, Plainfield on the south, and Savoy on the west.

Its assessed area is 17,895 acres. There are 6,416 acres of forest, consisting of maple, beech, birch, hemlock and spruce. The land is hilly, the scenery picturesque, and the climate cold and healthful. Among the minerals found here are massive iron pyrites, magnetic iron, and zoisite. Forge Hill, in the western centre, is one of the most prominent elevations. A large number of clear and sparkling brooks, well stored with trout, flow from the hills, and swell the waters of Deerfield River. The soil is good for grazing, and the growing of wool receives considerable attention. There are large quantities of maple sugar sent to market.

The product of the 133 farms in 1885 was valued at $102,639. There are three saw mills, also manufactories of broom-handles, and of straw and palm-leaf hats. The wooden and other goods made in 1885 had the value of $10,664. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $158,385, with a tax-rate of $23 on $1,000. The inhabitants numbered 545, and were sheltered in 119 dwelling-houses. There were 152 legal voters.

There are eight school buildings, valued at about $3,000. The two Sunday school libraries have some 600 volumes. There are two churches, both Congregational. This town sent 81 soldiers into the Union armies in the late war.

A branch railroad is needed for the increase and prosperity of this place. Its nearest station is Charlemont, at the north, on the opposite side of the Deerfield River, on the Fitchburg Railroad, 128 miles from Boston. There is a post-office at Hawley centre and one at West Hawley. The other villages are East and South Hawley.

This place was Number Seven Plantation, and was incorporated February 6, 1792. It was named in honor of Major Joseph Hawley, of Northampton. The first church was formed September 16, 1778; and the Rev. Jonathan Grout, ordained October 23, 1793, was the first settled pastor.

pp. 367-368 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890