Genealogy in Franklin County, Massachusetts
Town of Conway


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Conway lies in the south-central part of Franklin County and is roughly bounded by Buckland on the northwest, Shelburne on the north, Deerfield on the east, Whately and Williamsburg on the south, Goshen on the southwest (the latter two towns in Hampshire County), and Ashfield on the west. Conway was organized as a district on June 17, 1767 from a part of Deerfield. It was organized as a town on August 23, 1775. On February 19, 1781, part of Shelburne was annexed to Conway. On June 17, 1791 and June 21, 1811, parts of Deerfield were annexed to Conway. On June 21, 1811, boundaries between Whately and Conway were established. On April 14, 1838, part of Conway was annexed to Buckland.

In 1874, Elias Nason described the town of Conway as follows:
Conway
is a hilly town of 1,460 inhabitants, in the south-western part of Franklin County, having Deerfield River flowing along its north-eastern border, Deerfield and Whately on the east, Williamsburg on the south, and Goshen, Ashfield, and Buckland on the west. Dry Hill and Poplar Hill in the south, and Pine Hill in the west, are prominent features in the landscape. The village itself is beautifully situated in a valley between Billings's Hill in the east and Beal's Hill in the west. Bear River, South River, and Roaring Brook, afford valuable manufacturing privileges. Native alum, fluor-spar, galena, pyrolusite, zoisite, and splendid specimens of rutile, are found in this locality. The town has town cotton-mills, one woollen-mill, and a saw and a flouring mill. The number of farms is 154; the number of sheep, 623; of horses, 243. As many as eighty acres are devoted to the culture of tobacco, which is found to be a very profitable crop. Valuation, $855,856; rate of taxation, $1.25 per $100; and number of dwelling-houses, 272.

The Conway National Bank and Conway Mutual-Insurance Company are well-known institutions. The town has one high school and twelve district-schools; one Masonic Lodge; one hotel,--the Orcutt House; one Congregational church, the Rev. Arthur Shirley, pastor; one Baptist church, the Rev. A. J. Chaplin, pastor; and one Methodist church, the Rev. A. C. Monson, pastor. It is accommodated by the Troy and Greenfield Railroad, which winds along the left bank of the Deerfield River. Conway sent 146 men into the late war, of whom 22 were lost.

This town, originally the south-west part of Deerfield, was incorporated June 16, 1767, and named, it is presumed, from Henry Seymour Conway, a secretary of state in England. The Rev. John Emerson, settled here in 1769, was the first minister. So few were the inhabitants at that period, that he used to say that it was as in the days of one before him,--"John preaching in the wilderness."

The town has given to the world the following eminent men:--

CHESTER HARDING (1792-1866), a distinguished portrait-painter; HARVEY RICE (1800), an author, poet, and editor; and H. G. O. DWIGHT, D.D. (1803-1862), a successful missionary and editor.
(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. 167-168)

Online Genealogical Resources

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Bibliography

The following resources may provide information useful in researching Conway families.

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General Information

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