Ancient Church, West Springfield.
when, the new one being completed, Dr. Lathrop preached a valedictory sermon, from Psalm xlviii. 9. The old house remained till 1820, when by a vote of the parish it was taken down. A large part of the timber was then quite sound, and some of it used in building the town-house. "The house in which Mr. Woodbridge [the first minister] lived," says Rev. Mr. Sprague in his historical discourse delivered at West Springfield in 1824, "stood a few rods north of the spot now occupied by the house of Mr. Aaron Day. There is a tradition that there was a cavern connected by a passage with the cellar of the house, to which the women and children of the neighborhood fled for protection in case of alarm from the Indians. The present appearance of the ground is such as to give a high degree of probability to the tradition."
"The following account of a singular incident, which took place," says Dr. Dwight (vol. i. Travels,) "in the first settlement of this township, was communicated to me in the year 1798, by Captain Noble, a respectable inhabitant of Hoosac, N.Y., at Noble's Falls, who was then about 76 years of age. It was transmitted from his ancestor, one of the persons concerned. One of the first planters of Springfield was a tailor, and another a carpenter. The tailor had for a small consideration purchased of an Indian chief a tract of land in what is now West Springfield, forming a square of three miles on a side. The carpenter had constructed a clumsy wheelbarrow, for which the tailor offered to make him a suit of clothes, or convey him the land. After some deliberation he exchanged the wheelbarrow for the land. This tract contained the best settled part of West Springfield; many an acre of which might now be sold, for the purposes of cultivation only, at the price of one hundred dollars. I will not assert that there is no error in the story; yet on the face of it there is nothing improbable. When the fourth part of a township of the common size was sold by one Englishman to another for a wheelbarrow, it will be easily believed that is was of still less value to the aborigines. The small prices paid by the first colonists for the lands in this country, are no evidence that the bargains were fraudulent or inequitable. To the Indian without an English purchaser, the land was often worth nothing; and to the colonist its value was created by his labor."
The first minister in West Springfield was Rev. John Woodbridge. He was constituted pastor at the formation of the first church, in 1698. He died in 1718, at the age of 40 years. His suc-