Heath Massachusetts, 1890

Heath, situated among the hills in the northwest section of Franklin County, 119 miles from Boston, has for its bounds, New Hampshire on the north, Colrain on the east, Charlemont on the south, and the latter and Rowe on the west. Its assessed area is, 14,942, which includes 3,478 acres of forests containing nearly all the New England varieties of trees. The actual area is probably 3,000 acres greater than these figures.

The land is broken and sparsely settled. The geological formation is the Quebec group and calciferous mica-schist. Pyrites and zoisite occur. There are several pretty ponds of small size. The streams are tributaries of the Deerfield River, and furnish motive power for several saw and grist and cider mills. Maple sugar, cider and vinegar are extensively produced, and lumber, bark and firewood are marketed in considerable quantities. Some articles of furniture and agricultural implements are made. The aggregate farm product in 1885 was valued at $110,279; and the manufactured products at $9,236. The valuation in 1888 was $163,305, with a tax of $17.50 on 1000. The town has 123 farms and 568 inhabitants, including 149 legal voters. There is a good town-house here. The eight public school-houses are valued at about $2,500. The two Sunday-school libraries contain some 600 volumes. The Congregationalists, the Methodists, and the American Episcopal Church have each a house of worship here. The post-office is at Heath (centre); the other village being North Heath. The nearest railroad stations are at Charlemont, on the south, and Shelburne Falls, at the southeast, on the Fitchburg Railroad.

This town was taken from Charlemont and incorporated February 14, 1785. It was named in honor of a well-known soldier of the Revolution, General William Heath. A church was organized April 15th of the year of the town's incorporation; and in 1790 the first minister, Rev. Joseph Strong, was settled. Fort Shirley was built here in 1744, as a defence against the Indians. At that period the red deer were still numerous in the region. Through the influence of Colonel Hugh Maxwell, who was wounded at Bunker Hill, and spent much time in this vicinity, the town had not a Tory inhabitant during the Revolutionary struggle.

pp. 368-369
in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

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