Sandisfield Massachusetts, 1890
Sandisfield is a large agricultural town forming the southeastern extremity of Berkshire County. On the north are Monterey and Otis, on the east the latter and Tolland, on the west New Marlborough and Monterey, and on the south Norfolk and Colebrook, in Connecticut.
The area is about 30,000 acres; of which 29,626 are assessed. From 10,000 to 15,000 acres are forest, consisting of maple, beech, birch, hemlock, pine and other woods. The leading rock is felspathic gneiss. The soil is gravelly in the east, and sandy loam in the west. Seymour Mountain, near the southern line, has an altitude of 1,698 feet. Hanging Mountain, on the west bank of the Farmington River, presents a perpendicular front of rock 300 feet in height, from which fragments of stone, loosened by the rain and frost, sometimes come crashing down with tremendous violence. Farmington River, running southward, and forming the eastern line of the town, affords much power at its numerous descents. Spectacle Ponds, in the northern section, contain about 190 acres; and the outlet, Clam River, with Sandy, Silver and Buck-hill brooks, flows southeast to the Farmington. On these smaller conjoined streams are the villages of East and West New Boston. New Boston, with Sandisfield (centre), Montville and South Sandisfield, are the post-offices; and other villages are Beech Plain and Free Quarter. The nearest railroad stations are those of the Housatonic in Sheffield, and the Naugatuck, in Connecticut, each 15 miles distant.
Apple trees are numerous and productive. Large quantities of maple sugar and molasses are made. The aggregate product of the 194 farms, in 1885, was reported as $157,846. There is here a school-furniture factory, two saw mills and a tannery, employing altogether about 25 persons. Besides the product of these, there are made agricultural implements, boots and shoes, carriages, clothing, and food preparations; the value of the aggregate product being $24,647. The population was 1,019, including 286 legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $388,192, with a tax-rate of $18.60 on $1,000. The number of taxed dwelling-houses was 260.
The public schools are provided with 12 school-houses, valued at some $3,000. The churches are Congregationalist and Baptist.
This town includes the original township No.3, and a tract of land established in 1797 as the district of Southfield. It was incorporated March 6, 1762, and named in honor of Lord Sandys, the first lord of trade and the plantations. The first settler was Thomas Brown, who came here in 1750. The Rev. Cornelius Jones, ordained in l756, was the first minister. Barnes Sears, D.D., LL.D. first agent of the Peabody Educational Fund, was born here November 19, 1802. Edmund H Sears, D.D., born in this town in 1810, is the author of the fine lyric on the Nativity, commencing,
"Calm on the listening ear of night."
Pp. 580-581 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890