Payson Williston Lyman.

History of Easthampton: its settlement and growth; online

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by


in the Clerk's office, of the District Court of the District of




To write the history of one's native town would be a work of
peculiar interest to any loyal son. And yet it is a work requiring
more research than the limited field would lead one at first thought
to suppose. The examination of early town records and manuscripts,
and the collection of material which has never been written or
recorded, upon various subjects, and from more various sources, has
been attended with no little difficulty.

It was to our advantage to have entered, in some degree, into the
labors of earlier historians ; but their work, though ably performed,
did not cover a field so comprehensive as our own. In regard to the
settlement and early history of Town and Church, we are glad to
acknowledge our large indebtedness to the Semi-Centennial Sermon
of Rev, Payson Williston, and to the Historical Sketch of the town,
prepared by Rev. Luther Wright, as well as to the researches of the
late Sylvester Judd, Esq. The papers of the late Ezekiel White, to
which the author was kindly allowed access, were of essential service
to him in the preparation of the Genealogical Register, while, con-
cerning dates and events which have occurred during the last half
century, no source of information has been so prolific as the memory
of his father, Daniel F. Lyman.

While we thus acknowledge our indebtedness to these, we desire
to tender our sincex-est thanks to the many others, who, in one way or
another, have rendered us aid.

Where our plan has led us to speak of individuals, particularly in
the Genealogical Register, our estimate of character, in cases of men
to whom our memory does not extend, has been based upon the
judgment of others. Because we have in some instances spoken in
commendatory terms of certain persons, it should not therefore be in-
ferred that they were the only good and worthy men, or indeed perhaps,


the best. We have judged it advisable, even at the risk of some
charge of unfairness, to relieve the tedium of a bare recital of the
facts ordinarily detailed in a genealogical record, by the narration of
incidents, bits of personal history, and the occasional mention of
prominent characteristics.

We desire to bespeak for this sketch, freedom from harsh criticism
and hasty judgment. We do not claim for it infallibility, but enter-
tain the hope that it will be found essentially correct.

Such as it is, we send it forth in the hope that it may contribute
its share to the maintenance of a firm attachment to the institutions
of our fathers, from an appreciation of their worth, and to the per-
petuation of the names of "those who founded and those who have
thus far built up the town, as well as of those who have upheld its
honor, and that of the nation, on the varied fields of conflict and toil
to which the providence of God has called them.

P. W. L.

Easthampton, October, 1866.



Introduction. — Settlement. — Indian Difficulties.— Incorporation. 5

Churches.— Organization of First Church. — Its Pastors. — Payson
Church.— Methodist Church 25

Public Schools.— Williston Seminary 41

Early Civil and Military History.— Shay's Rebellion.— War of
1812 49

Manufactures 54

Agriculture. — Mercantile Interest. — Mills. — Trades 66

Physicians. — Casualties. — Cemeteries 76


Library Associations. — Public Houses. — Post Office. — Population.
Internal Revenue. — Town Officers. — Representatives. — Justi-
ces. — Quarter Century Retrospect. — Miscellanies. — Deed of
School Meadow

The Civil War.— Service of Our Soldiers.— Record of Our Dead. 109

Genealogical Register of the Families of Clark, Clapp, Lyman,
"Wright, Janes, Williston, Knight, Parsons, Ferry, White,
Chapman, Pomeroy, Hannum, Phelps, Ludden, Wood,
Hendrick 141




This thriving town is beautifully situated. It is ,such
a spot as a lover of nature might select for a residence.
Its streams, flowing down from the mountains which
encircle it, bearing fertility on their bosoms, the mountains
themselves standing like watch-towers guarding it, its
variation of hill and dale and plain, its beautiful trees
and streets, all combine to render it a delightful retreat
from the cares and turmoils of city life. Its steeples,
educational institutions, factories, and well-cultivated farms,
tell that it is inhabited by an intelligent, enterprising, and
industrious people, and that here education and religion
have not been forgotten.

The town was settled by a race of sober, industrious
men, who instilled into the minds of their children the
great truths of the Bible, who frowned upon vice wherever
seen, who sought not popularity and ease, who endeavored
to walk in the path of duty, and as a consequence, vice
and crime have never flourished within its limits. The
sterner virtues here found a strong foothold. Cradled in
the lap of agriculture, inured to toil, privation and danger,
they and their children grew up a hardy, healthy people.


That they loved the Bible and the sanctuary, and that
they reverenced the Sabbath, is seen in the sacrifices they
willingly made to attend the stated preaching of the Word.
Before any church was built here, they went to Northamp-
ton or Southampton every Sabbath, unless something ex-
traordinary prevented. They did not, as is becoming
somewhat fashionable, go to meeting in the forenoon and
stay at home in the afternoon. Neither were they wearied
with a sermon of an hour's length. That they did not
consult ease, we may conclude from the fact that all, old
and young, male and female, could rise and stand while
God's blessing was being invoked. If any one sat during
the prayer, it was justly concluded that they were sick or
infirm. If, on a particular Sabbath, any one was noticed
to sit, it was not strange if the person were the subject of
anxious solicitude during the week. A law once existed
subjecting persons to a fine for absenting themselves from
public worship for three months. In one or two instances
in town this law was enforced.

Their Sabbath commenced at sunset, or dusk, Saturday
night. Before this, in many instances, the father had
finished his work and shaved himself, the mother had
prepared the food for the next day as far as possible, all
work had ceased, and to quote the language of another,
" Both parents, with their children, and the book of God
open before them, were often waiting ere the setting of
the sun, to cross together the sacred threshold of the
Sabbath." Would that their children of the present day
had more regard for the sacred day. They were patriotic
also. In no town were the inhabitants more universally
loyal. Venerable men ! It was yours to lay the foun-
dations of society broad and deep, to stamp upon it a
respect and love for the institutions of religion, to plant
high its standard of morals ; and nobly have you fulfilled


your mission. Your record is on high ; and not only there,
but it is seen in the character and reputation your children
have held. The influence which you have exerted and do
exert through your sons, who are scattered all the way
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the great lakes to
the Gulf of Mexico, will forever endure. It is deathless
as the sun ; aye, when that luminary himself has faded, it
will live on and on.


Easthampton was originally a part of a tract of land
called Nonotuck, signifying *' in the midst of the river,"
embracing the four Hamptons and a part of Montgomery
and Hatfield. It was purchased of the Indians in 1653,
for one hundred fathoms of Wampum, ten coats, plowing
sixteen acres of land in Hadleigh, and some small gifts.
It was a sum small in itself and intrinsically of no great
value, but, as they reserved the right of hunting and
fishing on them, and as the articles were of great
exchangeable value among the Indians, they received
ample remuneration for the land. It was conveyed to the
settlers by a deed of Chick wallop and six others. It
appears that after the purchase. Sachem Umpanchela
complained that he had not received his portion of the
purchase price. The planters immediately satisfied him.
They represented in their petition to the General Court
for liberty to settle here, that it was a place suitable to
erect a town for the public weal and for the propagation of
the Gospel.

Without doubt, John Webb was the first inhabitant of
Easthampton. The time and place of his settlement is
not quite certain. Previous histories concur in giving him
a residence in Nashawannuck, with no definite date. In
the town records of Northampton, under date of Dec. 13,


1664, we find that the town granted John Webb a piece of
land at Pascommuck, to build a house upon. In February
of the same year we find the following : — " I, John Webb,
Sen., of Pascommuck, doe engage, &c." He was a citizen
of Northampton as early as 1657, for in July of that year
we find a deed of land sold to Northampton by Sachem
Umpanchela and Lampanoho. They received the pay of
" John Webb of Northampton." Whether or not he then
resided within the present limits of Easthampton is un-
certain. In 1663 or '4 it was recorded by the town clerk
that John Webb brought several wolves' heads, probably
to receive the bounty offered by the town or colony. He
died in 1670. Families by the name of Webb continued
to reside in Nashawannuck for more than 75 years. After
the death of Mr. Webb, Robert Banks married his
widow, and families of this name resided here until after

The next portion of what is now Easthampton which
was settled, was on the north side of the Manhan river,
near the present center of the town. Probably the first
building erected there was a saw-mill, situated near the
house of Joel Bassett, on Sawmill Brook. In 1674, the
town gave " David Wilton, Medad Pumry and Joseph
Taylor liberty to erect a saw-mill on the brook, on the
right hand of the cartway going over Manhan river." In
1686-7, Northampton gave Samuel Bartlett liberty to set
up a corn-mill " on the falls below the cartway on the
river." The mill was doubtless built soon after, but how
soon a house was erected and a settlement made is not
certainly known, probably not, however, till some years
after 1 705, owing to the French and Indian war. But this
much is certain, that Joseph Bartlett, son of Samuel, made
the first permanent settlement here. The mill and land
about it was given him by his father in 1705. He kept


the first public house in town and had charge of it fo^
more than twenty years.

He died in 1755, leaving most of his property to his
relatives, the Clapps, one of whom, Jonathan, afterwards
Major, who will be spoken of in the history of the Clapp
family, resided with him for some years. He gave some
land, however, to three of his brothers, on condition that
they should give £100 old tenor, equal in value to =£13
6s. 8d. lawful money, to the first church of Christ that
should be erected and celebrate divine ordinances within
half a mile of his house. This payment was afterwards
made with the proceeds of land disposed of at Pogue's
Hole. This bequest shows the interest he felt in the
institutions of the Gospel, and the hope, very likely the
expectation, he cherished, that at some time a church
would be organized here.

About the year 1726 or 8, four brothers by the name of
Wait, planted themselves near the residence of John Scott.
One of them died in 1732, another in 1745, and the other
two, after many years, moved away.

David Bartiett, brother of Landlord Joseph, built a
house about forty rods west of where Julius Pomeroy
now resides, not far from 1725. He lived and died on the
place and left it to his son David, who also occupied it till
his death, which occurred just before the American
Revolution commenced. To this house, during the M^ar,
persons afflicted with that terrible disease, the small pox,
(rendered doubly terrible from the fact that nothing had
then been discovered to deprive the disease of its virulence,)
were taken. Among the number of its inmates was Col.
Hosford, who was brought from Northampton. He diet'
here and was buried in a field a little way from the house
Rev. John Hooker, the successor of Rev. JonathaR
Edwards, D. D., in the ministry at Northampton, also died


at this place. He took the disease by simply passing the
house in which Col. Hosford was confined before being
removed. His remains were carried by night around
through the meadows to the cemetery at Northampton,
and there interred. This house was standing till within a
few years.

Northampton originally appropriated the meadows,
supposed to contain one hundred acres, more or less,
eighty acres above and twenty below the grist-mill, for
the use of schools. For many years they leased it to
difierent individuals, but in 1745 they sold all the upper
meadow to Dea. Stephen Wright and Benjamin Lyman.
Shortly after they removed here, Benjamin Lyman settled
where the house of Joel Bassett stands, and Dea. Wright
v;here Samuel Hurlburt resides.

In 1755, an expedition was planned against Crown
Point, and the command entrusted to Sir Wm. Johnson.
His army arrived at the south end of Lake George before
transportation had been provided. While waiting for
batteaux to convey him to Crown Point, he received
intelligence that a detachment of French Regulars,
Canadians and Indians, under command of Baron Dieskau,
was approaching Fort Edv/ard for the purpose of destroying
some provision and military stores. Johnson at once
called a council of war, at which it was determined to
dispatch Col. E: Williams to intercept the French on
their return from the fort. Diskeau, however, changed
his course, with the intention of attacking Johnson's camp.
Col. Williams was not aware of the change, and he
marched on to his doom, apprehensive of no danger. The-
enemy had been apprised of his approach and lay in-
ambush for him. The firing commenced prematiirely, hub
was very destructive. The surprise was complete. The
bi-ave- commander, in endeavoring to cond.uct his troops to.


a more advantageous position, received a ball in his head,
which instantly killed him. The firing continued with
unabated fury, and they were obliged to retreat to the
camp, whither they were closely followed by the enemy,
who were received by Johnson with a murderous discharge
of cannon and musketry, which did so much execution
among them that they retired in great disorder, leaving on
the field Baron Dieskau, who had received a mortal wound
in his thigh. He fell into the hands of the Americans,
and said, before his death, that, in all his military life,
nothing had ever sent death into his army like the
prolonged cheers which the Americans gave at their
approach. Each of these neighbors, last referred to, had
a son in this battle, which took place Sept. 8, 1775, and in-
which Col. Ephraim Williams, the generous founder of
Williams College, and more than two hundred others
were slain, among whom was Sergeant Eliakim Wright,
son of Stephen, aged 28. Lemuel Lyman, son of
Benjamin, then twenty years of age, was in company with
Sergeant Wright, one of the scouting party who was sent
out to reconnoitre. They met the enemy advancing in the
form of a crescent, but did not discover them until they
were partially inclosed, whereupon a warm fire opened.
Mr. Lyman was in the act of firing at an Indian, when a
ball struck him. It passed across three of his fingers and
struck his breast, passing through a leather vest, three
thicknesses of his shirt, and his bullet pouch, which was
providentially in that place, and half buried itself in his
body. The pouch is still preserved in one of the numerous
families of his descendants. There were four other
soldiers^ standing near him, three of whom were killed'
there, and the other one after he reached the camp.
Shortly after he obtained a furlough and returned' home,
laden w.ithi news both joyful and sad. The French had'


been successfully resisted, and repulsed witli great loss,
but our own army had not escaped unhurt ; about forty-six
persons belonging to the Hampshire regiment had fallen ;
a neighbor and friend had been stricken down, and it was
his task to break the sad intelligence to the bereaved
family. The sorrow was mitigated by the pleasing
consciousness that he was prepared to obey the summons,
yet it was a severe blow, and one which fell where least
expected. From the families of those neighbors, the
oldest and most experienced was taken, the youngest
spared. When the two were about to depart, Mr. Lyman
said to Mr. Wright, " If my son was only as old as yours,
I should not feel so much anxiety." After the battle, Mr.
Wright reminded him of the conversation, and said, " Now
my son is killed, while yours is only wounded."

Soon after, he, with several others, collected a small
drove of cattle and started with them for the northern
army. Being insufficiently supplied with provisions, they
suffered exceedingly from hunger on their journey. On
one occasion they obtained and cooked a small quantity of
meat which was somewhat tainted, but it was their
mutual testimony that they never tasted that which was

Benjamin Lyman, above mentioned, was the ancestor of
all the persons of that name residing in the town. He
had four sons and three daughters. Dea. Stephen Wright
was the ancestor of all the families in town of that name.
He had four sons. The descendants of these two families,
many of whom still reside in Easthampton, are widely
soatftred. Probably they can be found in more than half
of the states and territories in the Union. At least
nineteen of them have been college graduates.

Not far from the close of the Revolutionary War,
Joseph and Titus Wright moved to the south of Rocky


Hill and lived many years near the house now owned and
occupied by Dwight Lyman, but they finally left town.

The third settlement in town was commenced in the
year 1700, at Pascommuck, by five families, on land now
owned by L. W. Parsons, Joseph Parsons and Gilbert A.
Clark. Their names were Moses Hutchinson, who settled
farthest west, John Searl, Benoni Jones, Samuel Janes
and Benjamin Janes. In 1704, this village was destroyed
by the Indians under circumstances of the most shocking
barbarity. A more full account of this massacre will be
given in another place. It was not re-settled until about
1715. The new settlers of Pascommuck, after the
slaughter, were Nathaniel Alexander, who married the
widow of John Searl, (he having been slain by the Indians,)
and lived several years on his farm. Samuel Janes, Jr.
took the place of his father. In 1720, John Lankton
purchased the lot originally owned by Benoni Jones. He
lived, however, only nine years to enjoy it. His widov/
married a man by the name of Wharton, but for some
cause he soon left her, and she was for many years known
as Widow Wharton. Her son, John Lankton, afterwards
removed to West Springfield. His father owned a slave
while he lived in Pascommuck, which was valued at £60
in his inventory. It appears that Joseph Bartlett was also
a slaveholder, from the fact that he set two slaves free by
his will. There is also a slave mentioned in the list of
Major Clapp's estate, but whether it was one that he
purchased, or one of those set free by his Uncle Bartlett,
(which is not an unlikely supposition,) is not certain.
These were doubtless the only cases of slave ownership in
town. The place of John Searl was occupied by his son
Elisha, after his ^i-eturn from Canada, whither he had been
carried by the Indians at the sacking of the village in
1702. Ebenezer Ferry, from Springfield, at a later period,


purchased the Hutchinson place and lived on it twenty-five
years or more. He died in 1752.

The first settlers in that part of Easthampton which
was then Southampton, >vith the exception of Deacon
Stephen Wright, were Samuel and Eldad Pomeroy and
their sons, who established themselves near where Dea. E.
W. Hannum now resides, it is presumed about 1732. Caleb
Pomeroy, son of Samuel, soon after built a house near
where A. L. Strong now lives. He died in 1812, leaving
two sons, Enos and Solomon. Probably about 1760,
John and Eleazar Hannum located themselves on the
places which their descendants now occupy. Joel Hannum,
a brother of John and Eleazar, lived in Nashawannuck.
He had one son, Paul, who lived for a while on the old
place. He afterwards removed to Bainbridge, Ohio,
where he lived many years. He died Dec. 28, 1861,
aged 76.

The first settler on the plain was Sergeant Ebenezer
Corse. It is not certain at what time he came there,
probably about 1732. He built the house where Spencer
Clapp formerly lived, now owned by James Nichols. It
is to him that the town is indebted for one of its handsomest
streets, (Main Street,) running from the center of the
town straight to his house, a distance of more than a mile,
he having cleared away the woods for a road. He was a
bold, fearless man. It is said of him that he refused to
remove to the fort, where the other settlers fled on account
of the Indians. But he finally found traces of an ambush
which had been laid for him, which convinced him that
discretion was the better part of valor, and he accordingly
repaired thither for the time being. He died May 4, 1776,
two months before the Declaration of Independence, in
the 85th year of his age. His wife died eight years before
him, in her 73d year. Both were buried in the old


He was followed soon after by other settlers, one of
whom was Stephen Wright, son of Dea. Stephen, one of
the purchasers of School Meadow. He built the house
until recently occupied by his grandson, John Wright.
Other settlers in this neighborhood were Aaron Clapp
Benjamin Clapp and Benjamin Lyman, a son of the other
purchaser of the meadow.

That part of the west district known as Park Hill,
derives its name, it is said, from an inclosure that was
built upon it for the purpose of aiding in the capture of
deer. As early as 1750, Mr. Josiah Phelps built a house on
the site of the recent residence of J. R. Wright. He had
no children, and at his death it passed into the hands of
Jonathan Bartlett, a son-in-law of his wife. Mr. Phelps
was a' very good and pious, though somewhat eccentric
man. It is said that on one occasion, in speaking of a
piece of new land which he had broken up, he said that
while he was doing it, his mind was so absorbed with
thoughts of himself, his relations to God, and his hopes of
Heaven, that he paid no attention to his team.

The first settlement in the southeast part of the town
was made by Israel Hendrick, who removed from
Connecticut about the year 1774, and built a log house on
the east side of Broad Brook, about opposite from where
Pearson Hendrick now lives. A few years after he
removed a little farther up the brook and built a small
framed house. The other early settlers of this district
were Joel Robbins, Benjamin Stephens, and Benjamin
Strong, who was in the sixth generation from Richard
Strong of Taunton, Somersetshire, England. His son.
Elder John Strong, came from England to Dorchester in
the same company with Capt. Roger Clapp, from whence
he removed to Windsor, Ct., in 1635, and from there to
Northampton in 1659, where he died April, 1699, aged 94.



On the 24tli of May, 1704, the village of Pascommuck
was destroyed by the Indians. It had then been settled
only four or five years. A party of Indians, it seems had
been to Merrimac river, for some reason, but not
accomplishing their purpose, they directed their course
towards Westfield. Westfield river was however so much
swollen by the rains, that they could not pass it. Some of

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Online LibraryPayson Williston LymanHistory of Easthampton: its settlement and growth; → online text (page 1 of 14)