Genealogy in Franklin County, Massachusetts - Town of Montague

Genealogy in Franklin County, Massachusetts
Town of Montague

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Montague lies in the central part of Franklin County and is roughly bounded by Gill on the north, Erving and Wendell on the east, Leverett and Sunderland on the south, and Deerfield and Greenfield on the west. Montague was organized as a district on January 25, 1754 from part of Sunderland. It was organized as a town August 23, 1775. On February 28, 1803, part of Montague was annexed to Wendell.

In 1874, Elias Nason described the town of Montague as follows:
is a prosperous town of 2,224 inhabitants, situated in the south-easterly section of Franklin County, on the left bank of the Connecticut River, and 102 miles north-west of Boston by the Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad. It contains 150 farms, 410 dwelling-houses, and 5 postal; villages,--Montague Centre, Montague City, Lock's Village, Turner's Falls, and Miller's Falls (known also as "Grout's Corner"); and is bounded on the north by Gill (from which it is divided by the Connecticut River) and by Erving (from which it is separated by Miller's River), east by Wendell, south by Leverett and Sunderland, and west by the Connecticut River (dividing it from Deerfield and Greenfield). After forming the boundary for some distance, Miller's River enters the Connecticut at the north-eastern angle of the town; and the larger stream, bending from this point westward, and beautified by several islands, passes what are called "The Narrows," spreads out into a handsome bay, and then rushes over a dam, descending more than 30 feet perpendicularly; and thence, for half a mile, continues to dash and foam along its downward course, This dam has been constructed at an expense of $250,000 and forms one of the most important hydraulic powers in the State. There is also a very valuable motive-power at Miller's Falls, where a busy village is springing up.

The geological formation is calcareous gneiss in the eastern part of the town, middle shales and sandstones and upper conglomerate on the Connecticut River. Specimens of specular iron occur. The easterly part of the town is somewhat hilly; Willis Hill in the north-east, and Chestnut Hill in the south-east, being the most conspicuous eminences.

Lake Pleasant, a beautiful sheet of water near the centre of the town, and directly on the line of the Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad, attracts many visitors. The grove is well fitted up with buildings for pleasure-parties, and is easily accessible. The lake, which is very charming, sends an affluent into the Connecticut River.

The soil is very good, producing heavy crops of English hay, Indian corn, oats, rye, broom-corn, and tobacco. The timber-growth is rapid, and the flora varied and luxuriant.

Montague Centre is a fair example of a well-built New-England village, having good churches, schools, stores, and comfortable private dwellings.

At Turner's Falls a new city has been projected. The Turner's Falls Company, consisting of Alvah Crocker, Thomas Talbot, Benjamin F. Butler, and other capitalists, have purchased 1,200 acres of land here, which has lately been surveyed, and laid out for a city. Several hundred dwelling-houses have already been constructed. Two larger paper-mills and a pulp-mill (in which poplar-wood is reduced into a clean white pulp for the manufacture of paper) have been established here; and the John Russell Cutlery Company have the largest and most completely arranged establishment of the kind in this country. When running at its full capacity, it gives employment to about 1,200 persons. J. Griswold and Sons are now constructing a large cotton-mill; and many circumstances, as the immense waterpower, the favorable locality, and the opening of the Hoosac Tunnel, indicate that Turner's Falls will some day become the Lowell of this section of the State. The town has a bank of discount, and one for savings; a good town-hall and a public library; a high school, and thirteen school-districts; a Masonic Lodge (the Bay State); a hotel, called "The Farina House;" a lively public journal called "The Turner's-Falls Reporter," A. D. Welch, publisher; and five churches,--a Congregational, the Rev. Edward Norton, pastor; and a Unitarian, the Rev. David Cronyn, pastor, at the Centre; a Methodist, the Rev. L. P. Frost, pastor; a Baptist, the Rev. L. W. Wheeler, pastor; and a Roman-Catholic church at Turner's Falls.

The New-London Northern Railroad passes centrally through the town. The valuation is $1,528,730; rate of taxation, 1.25 per $100; and the number of voters, 804.

This town originally the north parish of Sunderland, was incorporated Dec. 22, 1753, and named in honor of Capt. William Montague, who commanded "The Mermaid" at the taking of Cape Breton, and who was sent home with the news of the victory of Louisburg. The southern part of the town bore for a long time the name of "Hunting-hill Fields," and was much frequented by moose, deer, bears, wolves, and foxes. The following hunting-story is told: "A Mr. Ebenezer Tuttle and his father of this place, at the time of its first settlement, went out on a hunting-expedition, agreeing to continue over night (designating the spot) about three miles from any house, in the easterly part of the town, in a gloomy forest. They separated for the objects of their pursuit. The son returned first to the place of encampment. He had not been there long before he heard a noise; the bushes move; and being somewhat frightened, he thought he saw a bear, levelled his piece, and fired. His father cried, 'You have killed me!' and soon expired. It was the almost dark. He took his father in his arms, and continued with him till day, and the went and gave information of what had taken place."

Indian implements, as points of arrows and stone axes, are frequently met with here.

The Rev. Judah Nash was the first ordained minister. He was settled Nov. 17, 1752; and died Feb. 19, 1805. The first church was organized at the time of the settlement of Mr. Nash.

LUTHER SEVERANCE, a noted politician and journalist was born here Oct. 28, 1797; and died in Augusta, Me., Jan. 25, 1855. He was a member of Congress from 1843 to 1847.
(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. 347-349)

Online Genealogical Resources

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



The following bibliography lists sources that may be useful in researching the genealogy and history of families that have lived in the Montague area. The bibliography is arranged by subject category and alphabetically by author and title within each category. Information on library holdings is recorded in the box following each citation. For published items, only holdings of libraries profiled on the Archives and Libraries page are given when known. For unpublished and other rare sources, any library known to hold the item is listed. Many of the items listed here are also available at other libraries and research centers in New England, New York, and elsewhere.

Original records and other items microfilmed by the LDS Family History Library (also known as the Genealogical Society of Utah) are also listed below. These microfiches and microfilms are available via interlibrary loan through the LDS family history centers. Make a note of the microfiche or microfilm reel number(s) needed in order to place a request at one of the LDS family history centers.

Church History

Church Records



Tax Records

Town Records

Vital Records

General Information

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

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