is a large agricultural town forming the southeastern
extremity of Berkshire County. On the north are Monterey
and Otis, on the east the latter and Tolland, on the west
New Marlborough and Monterey, and on the south Norfolk
and Colebrook, in Connecticut.
The area is about 30,000 acres; of which 29,626 are assessed.
From 10,000 to 15,000 acres are forest, consisting of
maple, beech, birch, hemlock, pine and other woods. The
leading rock is felspathic gneiss. The soil is gravelly
in the east, and sandy loam in the west. Seymour Mountain,
near the southern line, has an altitude of 1,698 feet.
Hanging Mountain, on the west bank of the Farmington River,
presents a perpendicular front of rock 300 feet in height,
from which fragments of stone, loosened by the rain and
frost, sometimes come crashing down with tremendous violence.
Farmington River, running southward, and forming the eastern
line of the town, affords much power at its numerous descents.
Spectacle Ponds, in the northern section, contain about
190 acres; and the outlet, Clam River, with Sandy, Silver
and Buck-hill brooks, flows southeast to the Farmington.
On these smaller conjoined streams are the villages of
East and West New Boston. New Boston, with Sandisfield
(centre), Montville and South Sandisfield, are the post-offices;
and other villages are Beech Plain and Free Quarter. The
nearest railroad stations are those of the Housatonic
in Sheffield, and the Naugatuck, in Connecticut, each
15 miles distant.
Apple trees are numerous and productive. Large quantities
of maple sugar and molasses are made. The aggregate product
of the 194 farms, in 1885, was reported as $157,846. There
is here a school-furniture factory, two saw mills and
a tannery, employing altogether about 25 persons. Besides
the product of these, there are made agricultural implements,
boots and shoes, carriages, clothing, and food preparations;
the value of the aggregate product being $24,647. The
population was 1,019, including 286 legal voters. The
valuation in 1888 was $388,192, with a tax-rate of $18.60
on $1,000. The number of taxed dwelling-houses was 260.
The public schools are provided with 12 school-houses,
valued at some $3,000. The churches are Congregationalist
This town includes the original township No.3, and a tract
of land established in 1797 as the district of Southfield.
It was incorporated March 6, 1762, and named in honor
of Lord Sandys, the first lord of trade and the plantations.
The first settler was Thomas Brown, who came here in 1750.
The Rev. Cornelius Jones, ordained in l756, was the first
minister. Barnes Sears, D.D., LL.D. first agent of the
Peabody Educational Fund, was born here November 19, 1802.
Edmund H Sears, D.D., born in this town in 1810, is the
author of the fine lyric on the Nativity, commencing,
"Calm on the listening ear of night."
Pp. 580-581 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer,