We spent the last few winter months pulling HILLTOWN HISTORY from the archives at the Westfield Atheneum, and wow! Let’s go back in Blandford history, courtesy of the Westfield Atheneum and Max Vivaqua. A discourse delivered on Tuesday, March 20th. 1821.
REV. JOHN KEEP, Pastor of the Congregational Church in Blandford from 1805 to 1821.

1736. They made their settlement upon the main street which now runs through the town. The name of the man who first came
with his family into town was Hugh Black. He settled on the place where Captain Luke Osborn lived and died, On this spot stood the first house ever inhabited in this town. Here commenced the civilization of the wilderness in the immense tract of country which overspread these mountains. The next man who came with his family was James Baird. He erected his dwelling upon the lot where the house stands which is now occupied by William Sanderson. A distance of nearly four miles from Mr. Black, the only English family in town. To us it is a matter of surprise that the two families did not settle in the same neighborhood. But it is commonly the fact that those who have the enterprise and hardihood to penetrate with families into a wilderness manifest great fondness for independence, and choose to settle where surrounding improvements may testify my hand has done all this.

At the house of Hugh Black the proprietors began to number the farms which they designed to give to the first fifty families. The settlers drew lots for the choice, and I have it in my power to give you the names of the twenty- five who obtained the farms upon the west side of the present town street. Beginning with Mr. Black, Eider Reed was next, then Thomas McClentock, Mr. Taggart, Mr. Brown, Mr. Anderson, Armor Hamilton.

The original records of the town were burned in Boston, and when the town clerk began his journal he was far from being very particular or lucid. Jacob Laeyton of Suffield held the first grant of this town, then six miles square. He sold it to John Fay, Francis Brinley and Francis Wells of Boston. They employed General Newbury of Windsor to survey the town. By this survey it appeared that the original grant covered an area of seven miles square. When the proprietors petitioned the court for the grant of the aditional mile their request was allowed on the condition that they would put into the town forty settlers.

This was then a frontier town, and it was the wish of the court to fill it with inhabitants, so as to keep the Indians in check, and prove a safeguard to the older settlements. With this specified condition the proprietors complied, and as an inducement to the settlers to encounter the dangers and toils of a wilderness, they gave to each of the first forty or fifty families two sixty-acre lots, one for each upon the main street as it now runs through the town, and one each in the second division of lots. All these families came from the town of Hopkinton and its vicinity, about thirty-four miles from Boston.

#hikethehilltowns with the #westernmasshilltownhikers #discoverthehilltowns #visitthehills #hilltownhistory #flashhike #intheberkshires #nature #adventure #history #hiking #outdooradventures #visittheberkshires #mylocalMA #visitma #hilltownhikers #westernmass
Visit our blog for all of our adventures! We are on Instagram TikTok Pinterest Twitter YouTube Meetup @hilltownhikers
become a member at www.hilltownhikers.com
A 501c3 Massachusetts Non-Profit Organization