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E. B. (Eli Benedict) Clark.

Chicopee illustrated 1896 online

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UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS
AT AMHERST




UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

Special Collections & Rare Books





ILLUSTRATED

1896



TRANSCRIPT PUBLISHING COMPANY,

PRINTERS,

HOLYOKE, MASS.




J. STEVENS ARMS AND TOOL COMPANY, CHICOPtE FALLS.



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



Ames, James T., ....

Ames, Nathan P., .

Ames Manufacturinc Co., 1828,

Ames Residence

Eaii.ey, Henry A. (Residence of).
Belcher & Taylor Co.'s Works, .

Bellamy, Edward

Blaisdell, Mrs. Samuel (Residence of),

BoYNTON, David,

Carter, Judge, Place,

Carter, T. W., Place,

Casino Auditorium, .

Casino, Ver.\nus,

Chapin Homestead, .

Ch.apin Inn,

Chapin, "Uncle" Aitstin,

Chase, John (Residence of), .

Chicopee (Along The), .

Chicopee Cemetery, maple Grove,

Chicopee Centre, Front Street, .

Chicopee City Hali



66 Chicopee City H.\ll M.\ix Entrance,

64 Chicopee Falls, Main vStreet,

65 Chicopee, Front Street,
113 Chicopee Meadows,

57 Chicopee River and Bridge, .

128 Chicopee River, Looking South,

109 Chicopee Street and Farm House,

59 Chi'rch, Baptist, Centre,
112 Church, B.\pti.st, Chicopee F.^lls,

41 Church, Beul.ah, Willim.\nsett,

45 Church, Episcopal, .

51 Church, First Congreg.\tional,

50 Church, French Catholic, .

60 Church, Holy N.amp: of Jesus,

18 Church, M. f;., Centre;, .

19 Church, M. E., Chicopee Falls,

67 Church, Old Presbyterian, .
90 Church, Old Unit.ari.^n,

115 Church, Third Congregational,

25 Club, Boys, ....

84 Cumnock Residence,



86
43
25
13
16
108
89

39
3S
79
32
20

40
40
31
31
17
30
29

.119-120
117



"DEESTRICT SCHOOl.MARM,"

Fire Department (Members of),

Front Street (Group on),

Front Street, Looking to Blaisdell's

Gavi.ord, Emerson

Havens, J. C

Hoi.i.ow, Johnnv-Cake, Old Hovse,
Hoi.i.ow, Johnnv-Cake, Sinrise, .
Home (A "Skip" ) . . . .

Home, Pendleton

House, The Judge Wells,
Inshaw, Richard B.,
Inshaw, Richard B. ( Residence of),
"Knuckle Down," ....
Lamb Mfg. Co.'s Works,
LooKiNc; Up Hill at Depot, .

JLain Street,

Munger, Hiram. ....
Neallv, Mrs. JLargaret ( Residence

Overm.vn, a. H

OvERM.\N Wheel Co. (Works of),
P.\GE, T. C. (Residence of), .
PvNCHON, William, ....
Robinson, ex-Gov. George D.,
Robinson, ex-Gov. George D. ( Reside
Rollins, Secret.arv, ...



Cornf;r



of),



P.\G E .

71



88

104
92

II
II
93
74
37
62

63
33
131
54
72

52

48
124
122

47
9

98

99
118



School, .\lvorii

School, ("tRape Street, ...
School House, First, Willimansett,

School, Old High

Smith, Ou-ARTus JUDD, ...
Sp.aulding & Pepper Co.'s Works,
Springfield and Fairview Avenue,

Ste.\rns, George; M

Ste-\rns, Georgic M. ( Residence of),
Stebbins, Kra.stus, Place,
Stevens, J., -\kms and Tool Co., .

STR.\ri'ON, J. B.,

Stratton. J. B. (Residence of), .

Snow, Dexter

Snow, Dexter, Place,

Tavlor, George: S., .

Taylor, George S. (Residence of),

TOWNE, O. C

Triumph of Immortality Over Death
TuTTLE, F. E. (Residence of),
Village, North of River,
Whittemore Place,

Willimansett

Willimansett JLain Stref;t, .
Willimansett Station, .
WooDWiirth, a. C .



PAGE.

26

24
71

22

83
134

55

lOI

46

53

Frontispiece
105

70
106
107

96

35
81

125
no

87
49
69

72

73

103



The publisher feels indebted to Chicopee residents who have assisted in furnishing data for this sketch of

the city. The historical papers are especially appreciated. Mr. John White, city clerk, has been most courteous in

giving information, and the support of the manufacturers of Chicopee Falls has made the production of this fully

illustrated book possible. Though millions of dollars are represented in the manufacturing interests of Chicopee

Centre, none of the officials had any interest in assisting in the publication of a book showing the influence of the

city in the past and present development of industrial or artistic labor. The absence of any "Centre" manufacturers,

therefore, is not that they were overlooked. The fine photos furnished are by W. J. Wood, of Exchange street,

Chicopee Centre. The engraving is by the Boston Engraving and Mclndoe Printing Company, and Springfield

Photo Engraving.

L. L. JOHNSON.



OLD CHICOPEE.

fHICKKUPPY" RIVER, known and loved by the Indians, found favor with the first white settlers, also, and on
the banks of this stream was started the permanent settlement in what was then a part of Springfield.
William Pynchon may be called the father of the town as a whole, for in 1636 he removed from Roxbury, and from
that time left his impress on the growth and life of the young settlement,
(leographically, the present city of Chicopee occupies the north-
western portion of Hampden County lying west of the Connecticut
river, and is separated from West Springfield by the same" Long river."
Hadley and Granby are on the north, Ludlow on the east, Springfield
on the south. The Chicopee river enters at the southeast angle, flows
westerly through the city and enters the Connecticut river at the south-
east angle. The fall of this river is 70 feet, furnishing at Chicopee Falls
and at the Centre vast water power, used for manufacturing purposes.
The mills at Chicopee appropriate 36 feet of the entire fall, and at the
Falls 27 feet. The remainder of the 70 feet is above the village. The
soil is chiefly a sandy loam, suitable for fruit growing. There is to day
a background of New England customs and ideas which force the re-
tention of a part of the city as a strictly Yankee possession, where the
thoughts of the fathers have taken such firm hold that the influ.x of for-
eign elements has been powerless to dislodge them. A walk through
the lower streets of the old town forces the idea upon a casual visitor
that it is modern in all its details and entirely given up to manufacturing
enterprise. Go up some of the hills, or take the "Springfield road," and
every trace of crudeness is effaced. These houses were built to stay,
and they have carried out the intention of their builders. Honest they are from roof to cellar. Good reliable tim-
ber forms the frame work of some which have stood the storms of a century at least, and others bear the marks of




WILLIAM PYNCHON,



much longer service. The oldest of the old is the house in "Johnny Cake Hollow," which has been in the Snow
family for many years. Sturdy wooden hinges are used for the doors. Nothing frivolous or unstable was put into
this antiquely respectable construction. The wavy lines of the roof mean not weakness, but forced submission, a
graceful yielding to the inevitable march of years, not to say centuries. Deeds which have been in the possession of
the occupants show dates of two hundred years ago, and these do not reach back to its very early history ; it had a
youthful day before that. It seems fitting that such an historical dwelling should lead a quiet, retired existence, and
so it does. It is located in one of the easily missed, but beautiful places of picturesque Chicopee, or, more exactly
speaking, in the tenth or eleventh ward of that city. ISecause you have been lucky and have found " Johnny Cake
Hollow" once, it is no sign that vou will ever be able to repeat the agreeable experience. It is like an oasis dropped
down in the midst of that barren tract known locally as " the plains," the distinctive features of which are common to
all parts of this unsettled territory, one place resembling another to the perfection of duplication. If Mr. Snow is not
on .some of his out-lying acres he will show you over the house, where all is as sedate and proper as it should be in a
building so historically beyond reproach. Mr. Snow lives alone and apparently enjoys it. After showing the house,
with an air of humble apology he takes you to the shed. This, he feels, has no right to be there, for it is not more
than a hundred years old and was built as a concession to modern demands, rather than an improvement to the
original house. Within this shelter stands a large barrel of corn meal, and this suggests the wish to know why this
charming place should have been given so prosaic a name. The host laughs and tells you it was because " Johnny
Cake " was a staple article of diet, and also because corn in its various forms was the food best suited to the purses of
the first inhabitants. Even now popping corn, the best, is part of the crop from which Mr. Snow realizes a neat sum
yearly. The " Hollow " is a delightful surprise. It comes when one is tired of the monotony of level ground, and in
comparison is like a piece of paradise with its clear flowing stream and pleasant fields. " .Sweet fields beyond the
swelling flood stand dressed in living green," quotes the poet as he ascends the next hill.

This old house might have been standing when Deacon Samuel Chapin bought and gave to two of his boys,
Joseph and Henry, a large tract of land in what is now Chicopee, in the year 1646, and let the youngsters go to
work clearing up what was then an unbroken wilderness. In the good Deacon's family were four sons and three
daughters, and this was increased when the sons married and brought home wives. Henry, the eldest, married
Bethia Cooley, daughter of ISenjamin and Sarah Cooley, of f.ongmeadow, and their marriage festivities were cele-
brated Dec. 5, 1664.



Previous to his marriage Henry Chapin had entered into this contract with John Pynchon, of Springfield :

" March 9, 1659, sold to Henry Chapin 200 acres of land on ye Chickkuppy river, to run fro ye hills on ye
east side to the Great river on ye west, and on the south it is to be bounded by and to join the Chickkuppy river : only
one twenty-five acres, or thirty, being by Chickkuppy river, about the place which shall be judged best for a ware-
house, is to be taken out and excepted out of the parcel ; yet so as to be 200 acres is to be made up there together.
Also, Henry is to have half of ye upper Island, which is to be as equally divided as can be ; and, also, he is to have
five acres of its mowable meadow at the lower end of the Mux meadow.

" For all which he is to pay and allow me the sum of 20 pounds, in wheat at current prices, at four several
payments, viz. : five pounds by the first of March, 1661, and another five pounds in 1662, and the last five pounds ye
first of March, 1663 — all payments to be in wheat, at prices current at the several times of payment. This is the
joint agreement betwixt us this 9th day of March, 1659, as witness our hands. Henrv (jh.apix,

John Pynchon.

" Atemorandiivi — I ])romised Henry that if I did part with the 25 acres, or 30 acres, or with the Islands, he
should have the offer of them."

This same Henry was present at the great battle with the Indians at Turner's Falls in May, 1676, and this
memorandum of the event was in an old account book :

" I went out Voluntere against ingens the 17 of May, 1676, and we ingaged battle the 19th of May, in the
morning before sunrise, and made great spoil upon the enemy, and came off the same day with the Los of 37 men and
the Captain Turner, and came home the 20th of May."

Thomas Chapin, son of Japhet, was one of the original grantees of the large tract of land allotted in 1736 to
the officers and soldiers concerned in this battle and to their descendants. This tract is now the town of Bernardston.

Though Henry Chapin purchased land on the north side of the Chicopee river, he built his house on the south
side, on the north side of what is now Ferry street, at its junction with West street, in the village of Chicopee, near
the large elm. This house was burned in 1762. The house formerly owned and occupied by William Chapin, one
of Henry's descendants, was on nearly the same ground. He was a prominent man connected with town alfairs, and
representative to the General Court in 1689.

12




CHICOPEE MEADOVVo.



An old story has it that he was impressed into the liritish service on board a man-of-war, and there remained
seven years, during this time engaging with the 1 Jutch in naval combat.

He afterward commanded a merchantman, and made several voyages between Boston and London, and finally
settled in the former city. From there he went to Springfield in 1659, or near that time, and then purchased land in
Chicopee.

Following these two main lines of the Chapin family we find that Henry died .Uigust 15, 1718, Bethia his
wife on December 11, 1711. Their children were Henry, born June i, 1666, died April 29, 1667; Sarah, born

March 3, 1670, died November 6, 173:;, never married: Bethia, born February 19, 1672, died ; Henry,

born March 9, 1679, died September 15, 1754 ; and Benjamin, born February 2, i6S2,died March 27, 1756. Japhet
was born in 1642, the same year his parents removed to Springfield. July 22, 1664, he married Abilenah, daughter
of Samuel Conley, of Milford. She died November 17, 1710, and was buried in the old burying ground at Spring-
field, where a stone marks her grave. He afterwards married Dorothy Root of Enfield, Conn., who survived him.
He died February 20, 1712, and was buried beside his first wife. March 9, 1666, Deacon Samuel Chapin purchased
of lohn Pynchon a tract of land which included most of the river flats lying between the '' Chickuppee " river and
" Willimansick " brooks ; and April 16, 1693, his father conveyed to Henry a large part of the land so purchased. He
probably removed from Milford as early as 1666, and joined his brother in the wilderness. He built a house at what
is the end of Chicopee street, a little north and west of the house owned by Joel Baker, where is had a charming \iew
of the great river and hills beyond.

Japhet had nine children, the eight sons of Japhet and Henry each had large families aggregating eighty-
seven grandchildren, and the eight men died at an average of eighty years. The times in which the Chapins settled
in the wilderness tried men's souls and only the sturdy material of which the pioneers were made, animated by brave
hearts, could have withstood the trying days and nights of fear. At the time Japhet and Henry settled here, the
Indians had become hostile and were a constant source of alarm. The white men continually carried arms, even
when they attended divine service in the "meeting house." To reach this building there was no royal road, but a
track through the wilderness where streams which had to be forded were frequent incidents, for the nearest church
was si.x miles distant. The massacre at Deerfield in 1704 was the culminating point, the natural outcome of the
hostile feeling indulged by the Indians, until, no longer capable of the semblance of control, it burst into fearful
atrocities at Deerfield. It is related of Hannah, second daughter of Japhet Chapin, and who married John Sheldon

14



in December, 1703, that on the night of that memorable attack at Deeriield, she jumped from a window for safety,
but having sprained an ankle was captured and with eleven other captives, among them John Williams and family,
she was taken to Canada and after two years redeemed.

An illustration of the fervent religious spirit of this time is found in a letter written by Josiah to Japhet Chapin
at the time of Hannah's capture :

" Mendon, April 8, 1 704.

" Deare Brother : — I cannot with my pen express the concernedness of sperit that is in me for you and my
dere cusen that is led captive by the barbarous heathen. God is by such dispensation trying the faith and patience
of His children ; it is therefore my dayly request that God will support her in body and sperit, and her bodely
captivity may prove to her speretual enlargement, and that God will please give you comfort in hope, knowing that
God is able to find out a way for escape, tho no way appears to us." The letter closes with assurances of love and
sympathy, but not a word of complaint at the dealings of Providence.

The first cultivation of the land was begun in 1645, o" '^^ south side of the river, and in 1750, the first parish of
Springfield being about to build a new meeting house, the peo]jle in the north side of the town on both sides of the
Connecticut river were incorporated into a separate parish, called Fifth Parish or Chicopee. The general boundary
on the east side of the Connecticut river was the Chicopee river.

The settlement of " Skipmuck," about a mile east of Chicopee Falls, began first in 1660 and for the most part
was on the south side of Chicopee river. The most prominent settlers in this part of the town wtre Stephen Horton,
Gad Horton, Phineas Steadman, Ariel Cooley, Dudley Wade and a few others, whose names are not recorded. They
were often annoyed by the Indians and were frequently driven to the old fort at Springfield for refuge. Several
inhabitants were at one time captured but no trace of them could be found. It was a favorite pastime of the red
men to ambush on " Sand Hill " and pick off the white settlers as they appeared on the opposite bank. Ariel Cooley,
a man of considerable worth and notable characteristics, settled first on the north side of the river. He was a con-
tractor on the Fairmount water works, Philadelphia, and the original proprietor of the lock and canals at South
Hadley Falls. Caleb Wright is said to have built a house upon the upper terrace at Skipmuck in or near the year
1704. A story told of the time says that the Indians surrounded the place one night, took Mrs. Wright prisoner and
scalped or partly scalped a child lying in the cradle. Moreover, that this child, Hannah, recovered and lived to a
good old age. Mr. Wright then moved to Chicopee street, where the Chapins had settled, and put up a cabin first

15



south of the old cemeter)-. In Dr. Holland's version of the Wright difficulties of 1708 he says that Indians attacked

the house of Lieutenant Wright at Skipmuck, killed "old Mr. Wright," took Henry Wright's wife captive and

probablv killeil her In 1665 Rowland Thomas and Nathaniel l-',lv laid out a highway at what is now the centre of

_ _ ^ Chicopee, they having owned land on the

south side of the river as early as 1664, as
shown by documents in the possession of
the \'an Horn family. The ford was at that
part of the river where the I) wight mills and
grist mill of Edward Wood afterward stood,
liorn Van Horn setttled in Springfield
as early as 1713, probably some time before.
Because of a highway dividing his land, the
same having been opened since his acquire-
ment of the property, the " Proprietors of
ye Inward Commons," granted him, " March
22, 1713-14" another such piece in e.\-
change as " would for conveniency bring his
land together." They subse(|uently granted
him, " [anuary 22, .\no l)om., 171S-19, one
or two acres of land lying between Thomas
Tery's Home Lot and the Hill for a home
lot." On the back of this instrument is
written this curious prescription : " dive a
portian of the Reeti Root every morning
for 3 mornings going ; every night going to
bed give him 2 or 3 spoonfuls of black water according as he can bear ; on or about 11 or 12 o'clock, in the day,
give him a portian of Tumeric, about as much as will ly one a Shilling at a Time, and wash it down with a Decoction
of agrimony, Elder-blooming, or Hysop." How many li\es were preserved by using this formula is not recorded.

16




RIDGE ACROSS CHICOPEE RIVER.



The family of Born Van Horn probably settled at what is now designated as Chicopee Falls as early as i 739-40.
Summer \'an Horn has carefully preserved an original document, 4x8 inches, which reads thus :

"Springfield, March 17th, 1742-3.
"Of the Proprietors Pursuent to a Grant of the common land in Springfield, IVIarch iSth, 1739-40, laid out to
Born Van Horn, of Springfield, 27 acres & 1-2 of Land in the East Precinct in said town, equil in value to 8 acres of
the land at (loose Pond, as mentioned in said Grant,
Lying in two Pieces; one contains 2 1-2 acres, & is
bounded, as follows :"

'Phe document then gives the boundary lines,
and is signed by the committee— Eben Hitchcock,
Josiah Day and John Munn.

Azariah Van Horn was a surveyor of highways
in the town of Springfield in 1770. His district em-
braced the territory south of Chicopee river, including
the present sites of Chicopee and Chicopee Falls.

Ariel Cooley, Sr., settled near Chicopee Falls
before 1786. In this year he conveyed lands to
Byers and Smith. He owned large tracts within the
town, and had numerous descendants. " Cooley
Brook" derives its name from this family, but few
descendants bearing the name of Cooley live in this
vicinity. 'Phe first dwelling of which any account
remains was that erected by Henry Chapin, and the tavern left no positive evidence of its origin. The inn described
as standing at the north end of Chicopee street and that occupied by Japhet Chapin on Springfield street were both
of uncertain origin. It is safe to divide honors between them.

Many and very pleasant are the reminiscences of the Chapin Inn, for many remember "Uncle Austin" and
his kindly hospitality, and who finally took in his sign when the typhus fever raged in the village. There were several




OLD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.



17







!







■jIm



ry




II I






X^fV







HII



?T?Tfir»-*" -"




THE CHAPIN INN, "TODDY ROAD'
l8



hungry



members of the Chapin family ill when Captain Moore came up the street with his men fresh from rafting and

as pirates, and fairly longing for the hospitable welcome which

was a part of " Uncle Austin's " mission as innkeeper. From

the open door came a voice, for the first time, discouraging

the wanderers. They were not to enjoy the old inn's comforts

that night. " If you knew how sick my family were, you

would not ask it. Captain Moore," said Mr. Chapin. " We

cannot entertain you to-day, nor to-morrow, unless there is

a change for the better." In vain the men urged that they

would be satisfied with bread and milk. They finally left,

and returned next morning to find the house closed, the sign

taken down, and " Uncle Austin's " days of tavern keeping

were over. After the death of one of the daughters Mr.

Chapin had no heart in his work, and during the last years

of his life was unable to keep open house. The picture

presented was taken when he was in failing health, but is

considered a very faithful portrait. The hotel was burned

in 1S72, when unoccuijied, the fire i)robably originating in

one of the sheds.

All through the history of Chicopee are found friendly
allusions to the old hotel and the good times enjoyed there.
It is recollected that great feasts were served on July 4th, and
so fervent was the celebration one year that the glass was
broken and shaken from the window frames by the force of
the cannon salutes fired in honor of the day.

Japhet Chapin, born in 1750, married Lorena Wright,
and their family was made up often children, Olive Whitfield, "uncle" Austin chapin.

Japhet, Atlas, Pliny, Francis, Austin, Veranus, Sidney and Milton. Olive, the only daughter, died at the




'9



age of 2iS years. Whitfield was the father of eight children, among them the late Charles (). Chapin, a man much
respected in Springfield, where he lived, and Elizabeth, beloved wife of the late J. (1. Holland. Japhet died early in
life. Atlas Chapin had three children; one only survived, Mrs. Chandler, of Springfield, Mass. Pliny had six
children, one only li\ing. Francis Chapin had several children, none living. Austin Chapin 2d was born in 1798,
and died in 1S63. He was instrumental in building up that ])ortion of the town known as Cabotville. He held
many important offices, viz. : School Commissioner, Selectman, Highway Surveyor, 'I'ax Collector, and at 37 years of

age, when the village was part of Springfield, he was
^ent as Representati\e to Boston. This was the year
when Edward P^verett was (iovernor of Massachusetts.
.Many cases were tried by the late Judge John Wells
liefore Austin Chapin as Justice of the Peace, at the
house where the latter made his home for nearly sixty
years. He was the father of six children, three living :
Margaret M. Nealley, residing on a part of the home-
stead. Spruce street ; Henry M., li\ ing in ISoston, Mass.,
and Elizabeth M. Denison, of Springfield.

Veranus Chapin lived on land opposite Austin,
where now is a prosjierous settlement built up by Tukle
and Humphrey. Dea. Sidney Chapin was the father
of four children, one only li\ing at the old home in
Chicopee street. Milton had three children. A son in
Brooklyn, N. V., and Mrs. Ellen Flagg, in \\'ashington,

FIRST CONGREGAT 0:;AL C'-_..:,!. |). C.,SUrvive.

In connection with the schools of the town the following paper has been kindly furnished by Miss .\deline Iv
Howard. It is fair to say that it was not written for this sketch of Chii.opee, but was read in the Third Congrega-


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Online LibraryE. B. (Eli Benedict) ClarkChicopee illustrated 1896 → online text (page 1 of 9)