Hampshire County -- Enfield

Enfield, Massachusetts
Incorporated: 1816
Dissolved: 1938
Parent Towns: Belchertown, Greenwich

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Sue Downhill
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Research Resources Available Elsewhere

Compiled by Cindy Brown and Laurel O'Donnell

Enfield was a small, largely rural community located on the Swift River. While a bustling town early in the 19th century, by century's end economic opportunity had largely passed by the valley. During the last decade of the century and into the next, discussion began and continued regarding the flooding of the Swift River to create a reservoir to meet the water needs of the Greater Boston area. When the decision to follow this plan was made, Enfield was one of the "lost towns" whose residents dispersed and whose homes and history disappeared beneath the waters of what is now Quabbin Reservoir.

Available in the Walter E. Corbin Collection, comp. Walter E. and Lottie S. Corbin, microfilm edition published by the New England Historical and Genealogical Society: Reel 7: Enfield, Florence, Goshen, Granby.
A volume entitled "Church Records" includes records of the Justice of the Peace, Selectmen, and chattel mortgage transcripts. Deposited in the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester.

Congregational: The church was gathered as the South Parish of Greenwich Dec. 2, 1789. First minister was Rev. Joshua Crosby, installed 1789, died 1838. The lack of records hampers identification of deacons, but they may have included Darius Sabin, Aaron Woods, Simon Stone, Ebenezer Rich, and possibly John Reynolds (attended Southfield council in 1780s).
Original records are in the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester.
Church Records, 1828-1836.
"Greenwich, Mass. Church. 1799-1816." Actually records of the South (Enfield) Parish.
Parish Records, 1887-1906.
Methodists: There was a Methodist church in Enfield for many years.
Ethel Alden Collins, Methodists in Belchertown and Enfield, Massachusetts (1948).

Howe Family Papers, 1730-1940.
Family business records from Enfield, Massachusetts, where members were storekeepers, printers, postmasters, and owners of the telephone exchange and gas station. Records reflect the region's conversion from a barter economy to one based on cash. Kept at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Special Collections and Archives.

University of Massachusetts has some of the original Enfield papers, including some church records. Check with the University Library directly for more information.

Thomas Conuel, Quabbin: The Accidental Wilderness (Brattleboro: The Stephen Greene Press, 1981).
J.R. Green, The Creation of Quabbin Reservoir: The Death of the Swift River Valley (Athol: The Transcript Press, 1981).
Evelina Gustafson, Ghost Towns 'Neath the Quabbin Reservoir (Boston: Amity Press, 1948).
Donald W. Howe, comp., Quabbin: The Lost Valley (Ware: The Quabbin Book House, 1951).
Incorporated February 15, 1906. By-laws, Creed and Covenant, Historical Sketch and Form of Service. . . of the Congregational Church of Enfield, Mass. (Belchertown, 1927).
Francis H. Underwood, Quabbin: The Story of a Small Town with Outlooks on Puritan Life (1893; republished by Northeastern Univ. Press, 1986).

Swift River Valley Historical Society, located in the Whitaker-Clary House and North Prescott Church on Elm Street. Photographs and memorabilia offer a look at the history of the four towns that were flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir, as well as portions of New Salem that were lost. Displays include a fire truck, circa 1920, from the town of Dana and the New Salem guide post from the 1850's. The buildings housing the exhibits are historical structures. Open July and August, Wednesday and Sunday, 2 to 4 p.m. Call 508-544-6882 or 413-548-9234 for more information.

Quabbin Reservoir, along Route 202, consists of 39 square miles of reservoir on 81,000 acres of reservation land. The Quabbin is a protected drinking water supply for nearly half the people of Massachusetts. I have been told the vital records for the "lost towns" of Enfield, Prescott, Dana and Greenwich are available here, call the MDC Quabbin Visitor Center at Winsor Dam in Belchertown at 413-323-7221 for further information.


Other Pertinent Links

Quabbin Reservoir with photographs from Enfield.
Satisfying the Thirst for Clean Water, Environmental Defense Fund.


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This page was last updated on July 12, 1999