Monson Massachusetts, 1890

Monson is a very large and beautiful town in the southeasterly part of Hampden County, 80 miles west by southwest of Boston. The Boston and Albany Railroad follows the northern line, having its Palmer station at the middle point; while the New London and Northern Railroad runs conveniently through the midst of the town, north and south, having here three stations.

The boundaries are Palmer on the north, Brimfield and Wales on the east, Wilbraham on the west, and Stafford, in Connecticut, on the south. Its boundary lines are straight, except on the north, and its length north and south is about twice its width. It embraces 54 square miles; its assessed area being 25,504 acres. There are 7,181 acres of forest.

Moon Mountain, in the west, is a handsome eminence, and Peaked Mountain in the southwest rises to the height of 1,278 feet. A narrow valley abounding in rich meadows extends from north to south entirely through the township. Another valley in the southeast sends a tributary stream to the larger one in the main valley, which, gathering numerous rapid brooks from the crowding hills enters the Chicopee River, which forms two thirds of the northern line. In the northwest is another expanse of meadows whose streamlets unite and form Twelve-mile Brook, which flows northwest to the Chicopee. The principal rocks are dolerites and ferruginous gneiss.

Large quantities of clear gneiss are quarried here as "granite;" 67 men being employed in quarrying, and 41 in dressing the stone in 1885. The soil is sandy loam. The 187 farms, in the last census year, yielded products to the aggregate value of $200,854. A large variety of fruits and berries thrive here; apples huckleberries, mangoes [!] and strawberries leading in the value of their crop. There are three woollen mills, one making carpetings employing 367 persons, and having a product valued at $362,553; and two factories making straw hats, bonnets, etc., employing 198, and producing goods, to the value of $413,139. Lesser manufactures are food preparations, leather, lumber, carriages, artisans' tools, and other metallic goods. The value of the aggregate product in 1885 was $952,582. There is here a national bank having a capital of $150,000; and a savings bank whose deposits, at the opening of the present year, amounted to $598,156. The population in 1885 was 3,958, of whom 820 were legal voters. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $1,491,162, with a tax-rate of $16.40. The number of dwelling-houses taxed was 619.

Monson (centre village) is the post-office; and the other villages are North Monson, South Monson and Lyons Village. There is an excellent town-hall of granite; also a granite library building, having a free library of about 4,000 volumes. The Linophillian Library consists of some 800 volumes, the Monson Academy has upwards of 1,300, and the State Primary School upwards of 700. The town has 14 public-school buildings, valued at upwards of $12,000. The high school is taught in Monson Academy, an institution of excellent repute, incorporated in 1804. The State Primary School located here has a productive farm of 235 acres attached. It provided in 1888 for an average of 321 children, some taken from bad homes, others from no homes at all. Monson's newspaper is, the "Mirror," a weekly of good circulation.

[home of Phbe Brown, Monson.]

This town was settled as early as 1715, by Samuel King, John Keep, Robert Olds and others. It was incorporated April 25, 1760; and may have taken its name from Lord Monson, who succeeded to his title in 1748. It contained at that period 49 families; and a church was organized in 1762, the Rev. Abishai Sabin being ordained pastor. The Methodist church was organized in 1825. The churches at present are the Congregationalist, Methodist, Universalist and Roman Catholic.

Monson was a favorite resort of the Indians, and their relics, are frequently found. James Lyman Merrick (1803-1866), missionary and author, was a native of this town. Monson was the residence of the late Chief Justice Reuben A. Chapman (d. 1873), and of Mrs. Phbe Hinsdale Brown (d. 1861), author of several of our favorite hymns. A fine monument to Monson's fallen soldiers of the late war stands in Flynt Park. It is 43 feet in height, and was a gift to the Grand Army post by Cyrus W. Holmes, a wealthy citizen of this town.

pp. 471-473 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer