Palmer Massachusetts, 1890

Palmer is a populous and thriving town forming the north west extremity of Hampden County. It is 84 miles from Boston by the Boston and Albany Railroad, which here meets with the New London and Northern, the Ware River, and the Springfield and Athol railroads. The post-offices are Palmer (village and junction), Bond's Village, Thorndike and Three Rivers (village and junction). The other villages are Blanchardville, Duckville and Tennysonville.

The township is without regular form, but has certain suggestions of form, whence arose its original name of " The Elbows." It is bounded on the northwest by Belchertown, north by Ware, east by Warren and Brimfield, south by Monson, and west by a narrow northward projection of Wilbraham. The assessed area is 17,698 acres, including 4,984 acres of woodland. Ferruginous gneiss and sienite constitute the geological basis; and over its somewhat broken surface a soil strong and productive, especially along the streams and valleys. Colonel's Mountain rises to the height of 1,172 feet in the northeast; and west of this is Pattaquattic Hill, around which, from northeast to southwest, winds Ware River, with the Pattaquattic Ponds nearly between in the last direction. Chicopee River, in a wide sweep, forms the larger part of the eastern line and nearly all of the southern, then crosses the narrow western section of the town to "Three Rivers," where it receives the waters of the Ware and Swift rivers, the latter also having formed a part of the line of a northwestern angle. Few towns have such an affluence of river scenery and water-power; and as a result, pleasant manufacturing villages have sprung up in the different quarters of the town.

According to the census of 1885, there were 3 cotton mills, employing 1,214 persons; a carpet factory employing 56; and a woollen mill employing 23. The value of textiles made was $1,781,165 Other manufactures were wire cord, hollow and wrought ware and implements, coaches and other carriages, leather, clothing, lumber and wooden ware, and food preparations. The value of the metallic goods made was $257,223; and the aggregate of manufactures reached the sum of $2,755,582. The value of the aggregate product of the 142 farms was $161,572. The Palmer National Bank has a capital stock of $200,900; and the savings bank at the close of last year carried deposits to the amount of $901,915. The population was 5,923, of whom 1,069 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $2,590,579, with a tax-rate of $16.30 on $1,000. The taxed dwelling-houses numbered 861.

The schools are graded, including primary and grammar schools and a high school; and these occupy 12 buildings, valued at nearly $40,000. The town library contains upwards of 3,000 volumes. The "Journal," published here, has a large local circulation. There are here one Universalist church, and two Baptist, two Congregationalist, two Methodist and three Roman Catholic churches.

This town was settled by immigrants from Ireland in 1727; it was incorporated on January 30, 1752, and named in honor of Chief Justice Palmer. The Rev. Zephaniah Swift Moore, D.D. (1770-1823), first president of Amherst College, was a native of this town.

Pp. 528-529 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890