Ware Massachusetts, 1890

Ware forms the southeasterly extremity of Hampshire County, and is 75 miles from Boston by the Massachusetts Central Railroad. The Ware River Railroad also runs along the eastern side of the town, following the course of the river, which enters the town at the northeast and flows southwest through a charming valley to the Chicopee River in Palmer. The principal seat of business and population is Ware Village, beautifully situated at the falls on this river, in the southeasterly section of the town.

West Ware (or West Parish) is on Flat Brook, and near the geographical centre of the territory. This stream flows south to Ware River, having a pretty pond bordered by delightful natural groves just north of the Ware River Railroad. The forests of this town -- consisting chiefly of chestnut and maple -- occupy 4,127 of the 16,740 acres of assessed area. The town is bounded on the north by Enfield and Hardwick, on the east by the latter and Brookfield, on the south by Palmer, and on the west by Belchertown. The divisional line on this side is marked by Swift River; and parallel to this, through the midst of the western half of the town, flows Beaver Brook, both affluents of Ware River. Several ranges of wooded hills extend across the town, north and south.

The laud is rough and rocky, and the soil sandy; yet many of the farms are quite productive. Their number in 1885 was 184, employing 317 men; and their aggregate product was valued at $191,680. The wood product was large. Two saw mills were operated a part of the year. The principal manufactures are cotton cloth (for which there is one establishment employing nearly 800 persons), woollen (2 establishments, employing nearly 500), hosiery (employing about 400), boots and shoes (employing about 50), bricks and wrought stone (employing about 30 men), paper and paper boxes (employing. about 20 persons), carriages, clothing, furniture, leather, wooden goods, soap, beverages and food preparations. The textiles made in 1885, as reported in the census, were valued at $2,886,934; metallic goods, $18,870; clothing, $366,937; building materials, including stone and brick, $53,245. The value of the entire manufactures was $3,430,620. The Ware River National Bank has a capital of $300,000; and the Ware Savings Bank, at the close of last year, held deposits to the amount of $2,702,563. The population was 6,003; of whom 969 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $4,012,326, with a tax-rate of $14.40. There were 782 taxed dwelling houses.

At Ware Village are a handsome town-hall and excellent water-works. The Young Men's Library Association has a fine library building, valued at $13,000, and containing a library of about 7,000 volumes. There are a high school and those of lower grades; which are provided with 12 school buildings, valued at some $40,000. The "Gazette" and the " Standard" are the weekly journals published here. The churches embrace two Congregationalist, a Methodist, a Unitarian, a French Protestant, and a French and an Irish Roman Catholic.

Ware was incorporated November 25, 1761; and was named from its principal stream. It was originally known as a Ware-river Parish;" and the first settlement was made on lands granted to Richard Hollingsworth in 1673, in consideration that his father was the first builder of vessels in the colonies. The place remained unsettles many years longer than the towns about, because the surface was so rough and the soil so hard that it was considered unfit for cultivation. At an early period, nearly the whole of its present territory was granted by the General Court to a military company from Narragansett as a reward for expelling the Indians from that vicinity. The new owners gladly sold it to John Reed, Esq., of Boston, for two "coppers" an acre; yet it is now one of the most flourishing towns in its section of the State. Capt. Jabez Olmstead, of Brookfield, erected mills on the falls of Ware River about the year 1729. A church was organized May 9, 1751; and the Rev. Grindall Rawson was ordained pastor. A church was organized on the eastern border of the town, April 12, 1826; and on the 21st of June of the same year the Rev. Parsons Cooke was ordained pastor. A plain granite shaft with a tablet is the memorial to the soldiers of the town lost in the war for the Union. The museum of Indian relics at Amherst College was established by Hon. George H. Gilbert, a citizen of this place. Ware has a large number of eminent natives and citizens.

pp. 658-659 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890