Historic Hadley – Alice Morehouse Walker
Love of one’s own town is one of the dominant motives underlying good citizenship. The origin, growth, and development of a typical New England town like Hadley, Ma., covering two centuries and a half, is a theme on which any thoughtful person may profitably dwell. In these busy days, however, few people have the time necessary to read a ponderous volume. For the many rather than the few this little book has been written. But this book is for everybody else also, that they may be imbued with the spirit of those mighty souls, which remains still potent enough to make Americans out of Europeans, even as in 1776 it made patriots and freemen out of the subjects of King George.
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Hadley’s early history (from Wikipedia):
Hadley was first settled in 1659 and was officially incorporated in 1661. The former Norwottuck was renamed for Hadleigh, Suffolk. Its settlers were primarily a discontented group of families from the Puritan colonies of Hartford and Wethersfield, Connecticut, who petitioned to start a new colony up north after some controversy over doctrine in the local church. The settlement was led by John Russell. The first settler inside of Hadley was Nathaniel Dickinson, who surveyed the streets of what is now Hadley, Hatfield, and Amherst. At the time, Hadley encompassed a wide radius of land on both sides of the Connecticut River (but mostly on the eastern shore) including much of what would become known as the Equivalent Lands. In the following century, these were broken off into precincts and eventually the separate towns of Hatfield, Amherst, South Hadley, Granby and Belchertown. The early histories of these towns are, as a result, filed under the history of Hadley.
Edward Whalley and General William Goffe, two Puritan generals hunted for their role in the execution (or „regicide“) of Charles I of England, were hidden in the home of the town’s minister, John Russell. During King Philip’s War, an attack by Native Americans was, by some accounts, thwarted with the aid of General Goffe. This event, compounded by the reluctance of the townsfolk to betray Goffe’s location, developed into the legend of the Angel of Hadley, which came to be included in the historical manuscript History of Hadley by Sylvester Judd.
In 1683, eleven years before the Salem witch trials, Mary Webster, wife to William Webster son of the former governor of Connecticut and a founder of the very town of Hadley (John Webster), was accused and acquitted of witchcraft. She was unsuccessfully hanged by rowdy town folk. A description is given in Cotton Mather’s Magnalia Christi Americana.
The Civil War general Joseph Hooker was a longtime resident of Hadley. Levi Stockbridge, one of the founders of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (now the University of Massachusetts Amherst), was also from Hadley where he was a farmer.
(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)
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