Genealogy in Franklin County, Massachusetts
Town of Heath


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Heath lies in the northwestern part of Franklin County and is roughly bounded by Whitingham and Halifax (both towns in Windham County, Vermont) on the north, Colrain on the east, Charlemont on the south, Rowe on the west. Heath was organized February 14, 1785 from part of Charlemont and common lands called Green and Walker's lands.

In 1874, Elias Nason described the town of Heath as follows:
Heath,
situated among the hills in the north-west section of Franklin County, 119 miles from Boston, has a population of 613, and, for its bounds, New Hampshire [i.e., Vermont] on the north, Coleraine on the east, Charlemont on the south, and the latter and Rowe upon the west. The land is broken, and sparsely settled. The geological formation is the Quebec group and calciferous mica-schist. Pyrites and zoisite occur. The streams are tributaries of the Deerfield River, and furnish motive-power for several saw and grist mills. The town has 124 dwelling-houses, 122 farms; and the people are engaged in raising grain, hay, fruit, sheep, neat-cattle, swine, and poultry. Maple-sugar is extensively produced, and bark and firewood are prepared in winter for the market. The central village occupies a commanding eminence, and has a good town-hall; a lyceum; a farmers' club; a Congregational church, the Rev. C. W. Fifield, pastor; a Methodist church, the Rev. A. M. Osgood, pastor; and a Baptist church, without a pastor.

The town has also one post-office and eight school-districts. It sent 50 soldiers to the last war, of whom 18 were lost,--a large number for so small a community.

The town was taken from Charlemont, named from Gen. William Heath, and incorporated Feb. 14, 1785. A church was organized April 15 the same year; and in 1790 the Rev. Joseph Strong, the first minister, was settled. Fort Shirley was built here in 1744 as a defence against the Indians. Near its site is still to be seen the grave of a young girl who died there while the fort was occupied. The red deer were common here at that period. Through the influence of Col. High Maxwell, wounded at the battle of Bunker Hill, there was not a single Tory in the town during the Revolutionary War.

The late Rev. JOSHUA LEAVITT, an able editor, was born in this place.
(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. 257-258)

Online Genealogical Resources

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

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Bibliography

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

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General Information

The following resources may provide useful information on the Heath town area.


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