THE territory comprising this town was part of the original grant of Hadley, from which it was separated, with Hatfield, in 1761, with which town it remained one hundred years, till its incorporation in 1771. The Rev. Rufus Wells, the first Congregational minister, was ordained here in 1771; he died in 1834, at the age of ninety. Rev. Lemuel P. Bates, a native of Blandford, Scotland, was settled as colleague with Mr. Wells in 1822; he resigned in 1832, and was succeeded by Rev. John Ferguson in 1836. There is a small Baptist church in the western part of the town.
There is a considerable quantity of interval land on Connecticut river, but it is not of the first quality. The town street, which passes by the Congregational church, runs parallel with the river about two miles westward; between this street and the river there is an extensive tract of swampy land, called Whately Swamp, extending from north to south almost the entire length of the town. Westward of the street above mentioned, the township is hilly, and the soil in many places rich and fertile. In 1837, there were 3 woollen mills, which consumed 52,500 lbs. of wool, employing 36 hands, 13 males, 23 females; 57,000 yards of cloth were manufactured, valued at $37,000. The value of palm-leaf hats manufactured was $7,5000; value of gimblets manufactured, $11,125; value of brooms and brushes manufactured, $6,877; value of pocket-books and wallets, $16,000; value of stone ware, $3,000. Population, 1,140. Distance, 11 miles south of Greenfield, 9 from Northampton, and 92 from Boston.
HAMPDEN county was incorporated in 1812, previous to which it formed the southern part of the old county of Hampshire. The soil is generally quite fertile and well cultivated, particularly on Connecticut river, which centrally intersects the county. There are also fine lands on Westfield river. Chicopee river and its branches afford great water power; it flows westward, and passes into the Connecticut in Springfield. Agriculture has been the principal business of the inhabitants; of late years great attention has been paid to the manufacturing business. The New Haven and Northampton canal runs through the eastern section of the county, and promises great facilities for the transportation of various articles to, and from southern markets. The Western railroad from Boston to Albany is now in progress, and will extend through the whole length of this county from east to west. A range of the Green mountains lies along the whole western border of this county, separating it from Berkshire. The Lyme range of mountains rises in the eastern part, and extends in a southerly line into Connecticut. The following is a list of the towns, which are 18 in number.