Palmer, Massachusetts

“This place was originally settled by emigrants from the north of Ireland; many of whose descendants remain in the place. The records of the church and those of the town are scanty and defective. The town was incorporated in 1752. A church was probably organized here in 1730 or 1731, three years after the town was settled. Rev. John Harvey, who was ordained by the Londonderry presbytery, was settled here in 1734, and was dismissed in 1748. He was succeeded by Rev. Robert Burns, in 1753. Mr. Burns was succeeded by Rev. Moses Baldwin, who was installed in 1761; he resigned in 1811, and died in 1813, aged 81. His successors have been Rev. Simeon Col ton, settled in 1811; Rev. Henry H. F. Sweet, in 1825; Rev. Joseph K. Ware, in 1827; and Rev. Samuel Backus, installed in 1832. Till the settlement of Mr. Colton, this church was Scotch Presbyterian.

This town is well situated for agriculture, between the forks made by Ware river with the Chicopee on the south, and the Swift river on the north. It is fast rising into importance as a manufacturing town. In the central part of the town there is a little village of about a dozen dwelling-houses and a Congregational church. The village of Three Rivers is on the Chicopee, at the western extremity of the town, nearly three miles from the center; this is a factory village, consisting of about 20 dwelling-houses and a Baptist church. There is another village now erecting, about one mile from the center, called Thorndike village. In each of these villages there is a large cotton mill. In 1837, there were 2 cotton mills, 11,020 spindles; 1,020,000 yards of cotton goods manufactured, valued at $102,000; males employed, 100; females, 200. One woollen mill, with 2 sets of machinery; 68,000 yards of cloth were manufactured, valued at $54,000. The value of boots and shoes manufactured was $8,956; value of scythes manufactured, $10,000; palm-leaf hats, $2,500. Population, 1,810. Distance, 16 miles from Springfield, 23 from Northampton, 7 to Ware village, 9 to Wilbraham, 31 to Worcester, and 71 from Boston.”

Source:  Historical Collections: Being a General Collection of Interesting Facts, by John Warner Barber, 1848, pages 286-7

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