TOWN OF PERU, BERKSHIRE COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS

INCORPORATED 1771
Town Hall - 3 East Main Rd., P.O. Box 479 - (413) 655-8312
Open - Monday 6 PM to 9 PM
Annual Town Meeting: Second Saturday in May
Selectmen's Meeting Dates, Time & Place
Monday Evenings, 3 East Main Rd., Peru

HISTORY


Originally known as Northern Berkshire Township Number 2 and including all of Hinsdale and part of Middlefield, the town was first settled in 1767 and was officially incorporated as Partridgefield on July 4, 1771. It was originally named for Oliver Partridge, one of the three purchasers of the town (along with Governor Francis Bernard). On March 12, 1783, a part of Partridgefield was included in the new town of Middlefield. Then, on June 21, 1804, a part of Partridgefield was established as Hinsdale. And finally on June 19, 1806, the name of Partridgefield changed to Peru. , the name was officially changed to Peru in 1805, possibly because of its high altitude.

Peru Massachusetts, 1890

Peru is a mountainous and sparsely settled farming town near the middle of the eastern side of Berkshire County, 140 miles west of Boston, and about 5 miles east of the Boston and Albany Railroad station in Hinsdale — bounding this town on the west. On the north the boundary is Windsor; on the east, Cummington and Worthington; and on the south, Middlefield and Washington. The area is about 27 square miles, of which 16,019 acres are assessed. Of these, 3,328 acres are forests of beech, maple and spruce. The land is elevated, rough and rocky. French's Mountain rises near the centre of the township to a height of 2,239 feet: The church on Peru Hill, near the western border, is so situated that water falling from one side of the roof finds its way into the Westfield River, and from the other side into the Housatonic. The largest watercourse is Fuller's Stream, draining the central portion of the town.. Some excellent limestone has been quarried here. There is much rock of a flinty, and some of granitic character. The soil is a sandy loam. The usual farm crops are raised; and the aggregate product of the 104 farms was valued in 1885 at $60,161. There are several large dairies. The manufactories consisted of 4 saw mills, two of which are quite important. The population was 368, of whom 116 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $l22,616, with a tax-rate of $15.75. There were 81 dwelling-houses. The six public school-houses were valued at some $1,200. There is one church, which is Congregationalist.


Township "No.Two " was sold at auction in Boston in 1762; and coming into the hands of Oliver Partridge and Elisha Jones, it acquired the necessary number of inhabitants, and was incorporated as the town of Partridgefield, July 4, 1771. On June 21, 1804, the western part of the township was set off to form Hinsdale. On June 19, 1806, the name of the town was changed to Peru. Among the early settlers were Joseph Badger, Captain Nathan Watkins and Nathaniel Stowell, who came here in 1766. These, with others from the town, were at the battle of Bunker Hill. The Rev. Stephen Tracy, ordained in April, 1772, was the first minister.

pp. 536-537 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

RESOURCE
Peru, Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850. Originally published in 1902 by the New England Historical and Genealogical Society this item is assumed to be in the public domain and has been reproduced here. Browse through the Birth, Marriage, and Death Vital Records. Be sure to take a look at the abbreviation key and source information. Another big thank-you is extended to Claire Smith for providing this transcription to the site!

courtesy of Claire Smith

courtesy of Claire Smith
courtesy of Claire Smith
CEMETERIES
aka Peru Town Cemetery
Peru Town Cemetery
See Peru Center Cemetery
This is listed under its former name, Partridgefield
CHURCH RECORDS
I have been advised that the Congregational Church records (1780-1870) have been filmed by the Family History Library for the Town of Peru.
MAPS
Maps from "County Atlas of Berkshire, Massachusetts. From actual survey by and under the Direction of F. W. Beers, Published by R. T. White & Co., 36 Vesey Street, New York, 1876."   Some maps have names of residents.
MILITARY
Resource Needed!
OTHER VITAL RECORDS
Resource Needed!
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