Solomon Clark.

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Farms and Williamsburg. Not a great distance beyond
Slough Hill occurred that thrilling incident mentioned in the
life of the second minister of Northampton, the Eev. Solo-
mon Stoddard. Riding to Hatfield, where one of his daugh-
ters lived, the wife of the minister there. Rev. William Wil-
liams, on passing a place called Dewey's Hole, an ambush
of savages lined the road. A Frenchman among them di-
recting his gun toward the venerable minister, was warned,
it is said, by one of the Indians, not to fire, because that
was the Englishman's God.

Park Hill. Near the Easthampton line, and is reached by
a road passing by the Hospital and Pine Grove school-house.
It is said to derive its name from an enclosure built to cap-
ture deer. In the year 1750, Josiah Phelps settled on Park

Bear Hill. Near and east of the Joseph Warner home-
stead, on the road to Leeds, between that and the Horse
Mountain road.. Why it received the name, whether because
frequented by bears, or from some stirring incident, one or
more, in capturing them, is not known.

Brush Hill, Such hills have been numerous in the wes-


tern part of the town. For this reason, the whereabouts of
the Brush Hill of olden time, so named by our fathers,
seems involved in doubt.

Turkey Hill. One who has ventured an opinion locates it
between Solomon Warner's and Horse Mountain. Off in
that direction, twenty 5^ears ago, the elevations were heavily
wooded, but now nearly bare.

Fort Hill. In the rear of the Starkweather house, on
South street, near the site of the E. H. E. Lyman mansion.
Eeceived this name, as the writer supposes, from the fort
built there and occuj^ied by friendly Indians about the year
1661, for protection against those of their race who were
hostile. The settlers granted their request on certain condi-
tions, among others that the Indians do not work, game,
carry burthens within the town, on the Sabbath, nor get
liquor, nor cider, nor get intoxicated; that they do not break
down the fences of the inhabitants, nor let cattle or swine
upon their folds, nor hunt, nor kill cattle, sheep or swine
with their dogs.

Saw Mill Hills. A short distance east from the center of
West Farms, north of the road leading thither from Flor-
ence. Some of the Bartletts own a steam saw-mill in the
vicinity. One reared in West Farms, speaking of Saw Mill
Hill, says the bluff was known by that name in his child-
hood, and was so called long before, from a saw-mill located
on the AVest Farms brook.

Seeger's Swamp, called, also, Burt's Pit. Is on a road
leading from Florence to Easthampton, on the right hand,
and perhajis a mile from Florence. Eeceived its name from
the late Dr. Seeger, who lived on King Street.

Wolfs Pit Swamp. Situated in what formerly was Madam
Henshaw's pasture, the low ground in the rear of Mrs. Edwin


Parsons' house on Vernon street. A resident of that neigh-
borhood says he distinctly remembers the pit as it existed
many years ago. This is one view. Another locates it in
the swampy gronnd in what is now called Paradise. The
name occurs in some ancient Northam})ton documents. No
doubt Major Aaron Cook, famous as a wolf hunter, knew its
whereabouts. One of his immediate descendants, Noah,
owned a homestead in Wolf Pit Swamp.

Blackpole. That portion of what is now Prospect street
north and Avest of the brook. In former times it may have
extended south of the brook, but the present generation have
not allowed it to go beyond. The name, if not entirely out-
lawed, is nearly so. Has been in use probably a century and
a half, and it may longer. Why so called, the writer never

Lonetown formerly, now West Farms. Kuns one mile
north from the line of Easthampton, and nearly two miles
distant from the easterly line of Westhampton, three to four
miles in length, and comprises from twenty-five to thirty
families, a district school and a small church, where there is
l)reaching generally, every Sabbath, also a Sabbath school.
The first who settled at West Farms, was John Miller, about
the year 1778, went from South street, a descendant of
William, the settler, Avho lived in 1G57 on King street.
Another John Miller, born at West Farms, owned and ed-
ited the Providence Journal. Miller & Hutchins, editors
and publishers, were both from Northampton.

Eoberts Meadow. On the same road as West Farms, but
farther north and intersecting with a road from North-
ampton to Chesterfield, at which is the house that was for-
merly Landlord Edwards' tavern, famous in the olden time.
Here the daily stage, to and from Albany, drawn by four


horses, always pulled up to water tlie team, and *^ liquor
the drivers." Formerly there was a tannery here on the
Roberts Meadow brook, which now supplies the town with
water. About ten or twelve families live in the district.
The Elijah Allen family, now of the third and fourth gen-
erations, has lived there nearly one hundred years.

Shepherd's Hollow and Shepherd's Factories, named after
the three owners and brothers, James, Thomas, Charles,
sons of Dr. Levi, the druggist, who deceased in 1805; the
same as Leeds, which lies northeast of Eoberts Meadow, on
the Mill river, nearly destroyed by the great Mill river
disaster in 1874. Now rebuilt and flourishing, has several
manufactories, silk, buttons and emery wheel, a handsome
chapel where the gospel is preached, and a Sabbath school
sustained, also, a fine school building, forty or more fam-
ilies, a store and a railroad depot.

Rail Hill. The original settlement, running northwest
on the old road to the Williamsburg line, now forms part
of Leeds.

North Farms. Formerly Horse Mountain, four miles
easterly by north from Leeds, near the Williamsburg line,
also four miles northwest from Northampton center, first
inhabited by Bridgmans and Judds. Contains from fifteen
to twenty families, mostly farmers. The original William
Judd homestead is still occuj^ied, and associated with that
family line.

South Farms. Embraces a tract lying on the easterly
side of Mt. Tom, and is bounded easterly by the Connec-
ticut river. The first who settled here, requiring courage
and hardihood, Lt. John Lyman, from Pleasant street.
The district contains from fifteen to twenty families. South
Farms is separated from the other parts of the town by a


gore of Easthampton running east to the Connecticut river.
This gore is about a mile wide at the river.

Pascommuc. Occupies the northerly side of Mt. Tom,
and includes the present railroad station and the dAvellings
on the street leading to Easthampton. Celebrated for the
bloody tragedy by the Indians in 1704, and often men-
tioned in early Northampton annals. It lies wholly in

Pynchon's Meadow. Refers probably to Col. John Pinch-
on, whose name in that form appears on the record of
deaths in Northampton in 1704. Springfield seems to have
been his place of residence. Feb. 19th, 16G0, the settlers
voted him 120 acres. Hence probably what has been so
long known as Pynchon's Meadow. An octogenarian of
excellent memory says, this meadow commenced near Pas-
commuc and stretches toward Mill river, where it empties
into the Connecticut. Of this the writer is not sure.

Stoddard's Meadow. Owned by the late Solomon Stod-
dard, Esq., clerk of the courts. It contained from 150 to
200 acres, used as a pasture only. Bounded easterly by a
line commencing near Mr. Burr's house, on Beacon street,
Florence, then running southerly on the easterly slope of
Baker's hill to the Mill River, near the Bay state mills,
then northwesterly up the river to the *'oil mill," near
the present mill dam; thence southerly along the brow of
the hill, and jDast Mr. Williston's to the point first named.
Stoddard's Meadow was a dense forest with the exception
of some twenty acres on both sides of the river. It was
sold about sixty years ago, simply for its timber and wood,
to Bohan Clark for his saw-mill.

Old and Young Rainbow. Both sections can be better
shown by a diagram, giving their respective positions, in the


North amp ton meadows, near the Connecticut river. One
who has bestowed some thought on the matter says, there
is but little doubt, that the course of the river once, was
where Young Eainbow now is. The bank, one descends in
going to Old Eainbow, was formerly the west bank of that
stream. Even now Old Eainbow is being increased, by
wearing away on the Hadley side. The course of the river,
exceedingly winding, grows no better.



Situated between the Round Hill road and Prospect street,
on account of their prominence and value the street prob-
ably took its name, Elm street. From their being styled
"Henshaw Elms," some suppose they owe their origin to
Judge Henshaw, a former owner. Certainly it was a hap-
py idea, whoever conceived and carried it into effect.
Where, in all the town, a more fitting locality for trees
of the largest growth? The probability however, is, that
these elms were all standing, and flourishing, when the Judge
moved from Boston to Northampton in 1788. Converse
with aged people, whoso memory reaches back to the early
part of this century, and they will say that the^i, the elms
were beginning to have a venerable look. In his early
years, from 1820 to 1825, the writer often noticed them
and queried as to their antiquity.

A few particulars respecting the Hunt race, the first, in
connection with the Clarks and Bakers, to settle in Elm street,
will help settle this point. Dea. Jonathan Hunt, the first of
the name in town, came here from Hartford in 1G61; a choice
installment of names came just before and after. Though
it required courage to locate away from the immediate
center, yet the tradition is, that he settled, if not at his


coming, yet not long after, where tlie Mills house, now Miss
Burnham's, stands. Sons and gi-andsons, several Hunt fam-
ilies, energetic, enterprising, followed at intervals, and set-
tled on Elm street. Elijah lived a few rods west of the
Mills house; after the death of the widow, about 1820,
the house was removed or taken down, an elm of consid-
erable growth stood in front of it. Jonathan lived just
inside of Prospect street, where Abner Hunt afterwards lived.
Joseph Hunt lived near the Kound Hill road, on the
same spot where Hon. C. P. Huntington afterward built.
The house had elms in front. Come now to Mr. John
Hunt, an active, business man, born in 1712. He built
and occupied the Henshaw Mansion, where Mr. Sidney E.
Bridgman now lives, the home lot of great extent and
beauty, was the finest looking in the whole town. This
house was built about the time of the D wight house, on
King street. Dr. Fisk's, viz. : 1751, both gambrel roofs,
both at the time, the handsomest in Northampton. Capa-
ble of erecting such a mansion, Mr. John Hunt was capa-
ble of embellishing his grounds, adding not only to the
attractiveness and comfort of his home, but to the improve-
ment of the street and the town. Here, see the origin of
those elms, not far from 1753. Another circumstance strength-
ens this view. It shows that the early Hunt taste mani-
fested itself in this useful way of setting out elms. Just
about the same date, say 126 years ago, Dea. Ebenezer
Hunt, of the same race, living at the head of Shop Kow,
a trader and hatter from 1730 to 1765, set out an elm, his little
son eight or ten years old, afterward Dr. Ebenezer, holding
the sapling as his father made it firm in the earth. This
sapling became the enormous, magnificent, wide sj^reading
elm that stood in the door-yard of Dr. Ebenezer and Dr.

JOHN hunt's family. 63

David Hunt, on the same scale of greatness as those on Elm

Honor to whom honor is due. Thanks to the good taste,
the thoughtfulness, the public spirit of Mr. John Plunt.
Thanks that so many of these elms still remain an ornament
of his native town.

A few words respecting Mr. Hunt's family. The celebrated
Madam Henshaw, born near the time these elms were set
out, in 1755, who deceased in 1842, leaving a numerous pos-
terity, was his daughter. Two of his sons went to college.
One of them; viz., John, after graduating, took charge of
the Northampton Grammar School in October, 17G5, and
continued his connection with it till March, 1769. He was
licensed to preach, about the time he resigned his place as
teacher. At the beginning, his pulpit services met with
marked success. Much might be said respecting his per-
sonal appearance, amiable disposition, natural genius, strong
intellectual powers, gift in prayer, his discourses pervaded
with strong, elevated thought, a fertile imagination united
with an earnest, forcible delivery. No wonder his public
services always left a very favorable impression. In 1771, he
became pastor of the Old South Church in Boston. How
deep the hold he took on the affections of his flock, appears
from the monument they reared to his memory in the cen-
tral part of the Northampton cemetery. The year 1775
closed with a deep gloom resting on the people of his native
town. After a little more than four years in the ministry,
on a visit to his father's, it soon became certain that a dis-
ease, consumption, had fastened itself upon him which would
terminate fatally. So it proved. He died at that beautiful
home that has so long been shaded by those stately elms,
Dec. 20th, 1775, the hope of his parents, his native town,
of Boston, and of the New England Churches.


But pass to a second point, viz. : How the sons of North-
ampton abroad, feel toward their native town. This will ap-
pear from the following, from one of the number living in a
Western city: — "I have a pamphlet printed by Dr. Daniel
Stebbins, which has a list of all the deaths from the settle-
ment of the town to near the close of 1824. I have often
thought that if I were living in Northampton now, I would
have it reprinted, and continued to the present time. It is
an interesting book, and I value it highly; would not lose it
for anything." The writer thus concludes: "I am sorry
for the old elm trees, would like to go on and see what are
left, but do not know when I shall be able."

Says another of the Northampton sons living in a Southern
city: ^'When I heard that the old meeting house was gone,
that the fire had comsumed it to ashes, I could not refrain
from weeping." Such a request as the following, shows the
same feeling: **When you write tell all you can about the
old place, the neighbors, the relatives, etc., etc." These far
off sons and daughters of Northampton, have the feeling of
the exiled Jew, expressed in the 137th Psalm, "If I forget
thee, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof
of my mouth, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."
The old elms, venerable guardians and landmarks, are not
forgotten. The writer would add here, for the gratification
of those interested, and far away from their native town,
that since that terrible visit of the tornado, July 16, and
since writing the account respecting the Henshaw elms, their
early history, he has had the rare pleasure of looking at
them. It was worth riding twenty miles to have the oppor-
tunity. Beginning at the Kound Hill road, extending down
to near Prospect street, those immense growths of full a cen-
tury and a quarter, still stand as grand as ever, their num-


ber, however, somewhat diminished. Many thanks that the
destroyer, in his march on that fearful afternoon, touched
them so lightly.

To change the topic, and introduce another, that cannot but
touch a tender cord, in the bosom of every genuine son and
daughter of this ancient town. Says one: '^ Last Sun-
day I had a 2:)rofitable stroll through the old burying ground
of Northampton. Stranger as I am, from a long distance,
I was more interested in what cannot be known, than in what
I saw. It seemed to me that here was a noble sphere for
the skill of an old mortality. Is there not enterprise enough
in this town, to engage some one to set up the fallen stones,
to lift up those that for generations, have been growing
downward, and restore the old inscriptions? This would be
an interesting work, and bring again to the knowledge of the
world the earlier generations of this interesting town." For
this rational, timely appeal, the writer's heart goes out with
feelings of gratitude toward this stranger. Is there not some
son of Northampton, one or more, at home or abroad in the
land, blest with means, and what is better, with a philan-
thropic spirit, who, imitating the example of the late
John Tappan, who retained to the last a lively interest in
his native town; imitating also the spirit of the patriotic,
disinterested Nehemiah far off in Persia, deeply affected be-
cause the place of his father's sepulchres presented such an
aspect of desolation; who will enter upon this much needed
work? The thanks of how many would be freely bestowed
on such? In that ancient portion of the Northampton cem-
etery, so many years old, two hundred and eighteen, reposes
the dust of how many historic characters, the honored rep-
resentatives and ancestors, of bow many families q^nd individ-
uals of the present day,



The first, Samuel Judd, born at Farmington, Ct., 1653, a
resident of Nortliam2:)ton forty years — 1681-1721. Thomas,
the father, ancestor of the Judd race, crossed the ocean for
the new world, 1633; settled in Cambridge, 1633-36. His
next settlement of eight years at Hartford, 1636-44. Re-
moved to Farmington, where, chosen deacon of the church
and deputy to the General Court, he lived thirty-five years,

the father of nine children. His last removal was to North-
ampton, at the age of seventy-one; married, the same year,
1679, Mrs. Clemence, widow of Thomas Mason, with whom
he lived nine years, 1679-88. The record says she had a
good estate, and no children. Her homestead, situated on
Pleasant street, had a front extending from two or three rods
below the well-known magnificent elm, down to Hawley street.
In Northampton, he bore the title of deacon; in 1682, at the
venerable age of seventy-four, served as one of the selectmen.
Samuel, the youngest, came to Northam23ton as early as
1681; married, same year, Maria Strong, the second of six-
teen children; lived in the same house with his father, where
his ten children were born, ancestors of the Northampton
and South Hadley Judds. His step-mother gave him the
homestead and all her estate. He deceased in 1721. His
widow survived him thirty years, and attained the age of


eighty-seven. Samuel, their eldest, born 1685, succeeded to
the homestead, where he lived and died, 1762, aged seventy-
seven. Samuel, of the next generation, after residing on the
place for a time, moved and lived on the road leading to

The second, Jerijah Strong, Elder John's eighteenth and
youngest child, — thirty-nine years difference between the old-
est and the youngest of these eighteen. Baptized in the
time of the first minister, Mr. Mather, 1665, he lived through
the long pastorate of Mr. Stoddard, the eventful one of Mr.
Edwards, into the commencement of the fourth, Mr. Hooker,
his decease, 1754, coinciding with three historical items, viz. :
the close of the first century of the town's existence, the
quieting of the unhappy excitement both in the church and
in the community by the settlement of Rev. Mr. Hooker,
and the erection of what afterward became the Gov. Strong
mansion, now standing on Pleasant street. Being the young-
est of his father's eighteen children, so at his departure, al-
most ninety, he had survived them eighteen years.

The third, Dea. Caleb Lyman, son of the first John, born
on Pleasant street, in Sept., 1678, the youngest of a family
of ten children. Went to Boston in early life, and there
spent most of his days. Identified himself with others, sub-
stantial mechanics, in the organization of the New JNorth
Church, and chosen one of the first deacons, in 1712. In
this and in other relations which he sustained both in the
church and state, also in the family, his light shone brighter
and brighter. Having acquired pro2:>erty, he used it for the
good of others, ever ready to communicate and willing to
distribute. As a neighbor, courteous and obliging; as a
Justice of the Peace, showing himself a friend of order in
the community, an opposer of vice and Sabbath desecration.


That good name better than precious ointmentj belonged to
Dea. Caleb Lyman.

The fourth, Noah Parsons, was born 1692. Esquire Jo-
seph, the father, very prominent as a lawyer and justice of
the peace, was first judge of Hampshire county court, 1698,
of extensive business, largely connected with political and
military life. Elizabeth Strong, sister of Jerijah, just men-
tioned, lived with her husband. Esquire Joseph, sixty years,
and deceased in her ninetieth year. Of Noah's seven broth-
ers, two were ministers, Joseph and David; one was lieuten-
ant, another a captain. A sister, wife of Ebenezer Strong,
Jr., farmer and tanner, was the mother of thirteen children.
The husband of another sister reached the neighborhood of
one hundred. Four nephews became pastors. Another, John
Parsons, died while a sophomore at Harvard, 1740. A neice
married a New Hampshire pastor. The youngest of twelve
<:luldren, so he became in his turn the father of twelve.
Omitting now special notice of these, and of the home where
they were reared, it will suffice to say, that Joseph Clark
Parsons, born just beyond the bridge in South street, 1814,
son of Justice, connected with so many business enterprises
in the Connecticut valley, especially with the Parsons Paper
Co. in the city of Holyoke, being the treasurer and agent of
the corporation, is a great-grandson of Noah.

The fifth. Gad Lyman, born 1713, son of John, an inn-
keeper, first saw the light at South Farms — the house stands
not far from Smiths Ferry. His oldest brother, Capt. John,
will be remembered as the one, whose house took fire on
Bridge street, near midnight, 1747, which, with its sad de-
tails, the loss of two children, led soon after to the settle-
ment of Hockanum. A second brother, Lt. Gideon, took an
active interest in public affairs, — held several town offices.


Another brother, Elias, went to the defence of Bennington,
one of whose daughters was mother and grandmother of sev-
eral excellent ministers, among them Rev. John Woodbridge,
D. D., of Hadley, Rev. Vinson Gould, of Southampton.
Gad, the youngest of ten children, married, June 22d, 1738,
Thankful Pomeroy, daughter of the Hon. Ebenezer and sis-
ter of Col. Seth. Their six children were born in North-
ampton, 1739-49. Late in life, he moved on to the hills and
settled in Goshen, in company, probably, with others, where
he died 1791, ancestor of the Goshen and Cummington Ly-
mans. Frederic W. Lyman, of Kenosha, Wis., with his
son, Frank H. Lyman, in the boot, shoe, and leather
business, is a great-grandson of Gad and Thankful.

Pass to the sixth, Seth Hunt, son of the hatter and tra-
der, Dea. Ebenezer; the five first children died in infancy,
1732-43. The sixth. Dr. Ebenezer, lived to be seventy-six.
The eighth and youngest. Col. Seth, born 1748, received a
public education; having graduated at Yale at the age of
twenty, he returned to his native town, turned his attention
for a time to legal studies, but probably not to the practice
of the profession. His career Avas short. He died soon af-
ter his marriage, just as the year 1779 was closing, — an un-
commonly dark time in the town; within a week or so, an-
other brave citizen was suddenly taken away. Major Jonathan
Allen, accidentally shot while hunting. The death of these
two produced a deep impression in the community.

The seventh, Pierpont Edwards, youngest of President Ed-
wards' eleven children, was born on King street, 1750, not
long before the family moved to Stockbridge. Both his par-
ents were taken away before attaining his tenth year. Un-
der the oversight of an older brother, Hon. Timothy Ed-

Online LibrarySolomon ClarkAntiquities, historicals and graduates of Northampton → online text (page 5 of 26)