Genealogy in Franklin County, Massachusetts
Town of Charlemont


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Charlemont lies in the western part of Franklin County and is roughly bounded by Rowe and Heath on the north, Colrain and Shelburne on the west, Buckland and Hawley on the south, Savoy and Florida on the west (both towns in Berkshire County). Charlemont was organized June 21, 1765 from the plantation called Charlemont. On April 14, 1779, part of Charlemont and the plantation called Notown were organized as Buckland. On February 14, 1785, part of Charlemont and common lands known as Green and Walker's lands were organized as Heath. On March 19, 1793, common lands known as the North River lands were annexed to Charlemont. On April 2, 1838, common lands called Zoar were annexed to Charlemont.

In 1874, Elias Nason described the town of Charlemont as follows:
Charlemont
is a long and narrow township, very irregular in its outlines, lying among the mountains in the westerly section of Franklin County, and bounded north by Rowe, Heath, and Coleraine, east by Shelburne, south by Buckland (from which it is separated by Deerfield River) and Hawley, and west by Savoy and Florida in Berkshire County. It contains 1,005 inhabitants, 182 dwelling-houses, 136 farms, and has a valuation of $376,377. Distance from Boston by the Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad, which passes near the principal and the postal villages, East Charlemont, Charlemont, and Zoar, 130 miles. The surface of the town is rough and mountainous, presenting many wild and picturesque views of alpine forests, crags, defiles, and waterfalls. The Deerfield River runs over a rocky bed, in a circuitous course, south-easterly through the town, receiving from the mountains on the right and left many rapid currents,--as Pelham, Mill, Hartwell, Avery, and Wilder's Brooks, from the north; and Cold River, Checkley River, Bozrah, First, Second, Third, and Clesson's Brooks, from the south. Few towns have fresher streams or more abundant water-power. The railroad crosses the Deerfield River four or five times in its passage through the town; and the passenger is often delighted with the shifting views,--now of a craggy mountain rising almost perpendicular from the river's bank, now of an interval of the deepest verdure, now of a streamlet dashing down the wild ravines, and now of a hamlet nestling in amongst the wooded eminences. Mount Peak lifts its head 1,144 feet abruptly from the right bank of the river; and Bald Mountain rises grandly on the other side. In the valley between the two lies the pleasant little village of Charlemont, with its churches, stores, hotel, schools, and dwelling-houses. Pocumtuck Mountain, in the north-east extremity of the town, rises to the height of 1,888 feet above sea-level. The principal business of the people is farming and lumbering. Good crops of hay, grain, potatoes, fruit, and tobacco, are produced. For the rearing of sheep the land is well adapted; and more than $8,000 worth of wool is some years sold. The present number of sheep is 817. Few towns in the county make more maple-sugar. The amount made in 1865 was 9,860 pounds, valued at $1,613.13.

Charlemont has four saw-mills, one shingle-mill, seven school-districts, a lyceum (in connection with the Deerfield-river Agricultural Society, which has a commodious hall), a good old-fashioned hotel (the Dalrymple House), and three church-edifices. The pastors are the Rev. H. G. Marshal, C.T.; the Rev. H. V. Baker, Baptist; and the Rev. George Chapman, Methodist. The town sent 121 soldiers to the late war, of whom 16 were lost.

Col. Ephraim Williams established a line of forts in this town in 1754, the remains of which are still visible. In June of the next year, Capt. Moses Rice and Phineas Rice were killed, while at work in a meadow near Rice's Fort, by the Indians. A monument has been erected, on the left bank of the river, to their memory. It is visible from the railroad. The town was incorporated June 21, 1765; and named in honor of James Caulfield, created Earl of Charlemont, Oct. 29, 1763. A part of Zoar--a wild mountainous tract of 1,875 acres and six families--was annexed to it April 2, 1838. The first church was formed in 1788; and the Rev. Isaac Babbit, settled in 1796, was the first pastor.
(Source: Nason, Elias, 1811-1887. A gazetteer of the state of Massachusetts : with numerous illustrations on wood and steel / by Elias Nason. -- Boston : B.B. Russell, 1874. -- p. 146-147)

Online Genealogical Resources

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Bibliography

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