Genealogy in Franklin County, Massachusetts - Town of Shelburne

Genealogy in Franklin County, Massachusetts
Town of Shelburne

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Shelburne lies in the western part of Franklin County and is roughly bounded by Colrain on the north, Greenfield on the east, Deerfield on the southeast, Conway on the south, and Buckland and Charlemont on the west. Shelburne was organized as a district June 21, 1768 from a part of Deerfield. It was organized as a town August 23, 1775. On February 19, 1781, part of Shelburne was annexed to Conway. On March 19, 1793, certain common lands lying between Shelburne and the North River were annexed to Shelburne.

In 1874, Elias Nason described the town of Shelburne as follows:
is of a triangular form, occupying a central position in Franklin County, and containing four postal villages (Shelburne Centre, Shelburne Falls, East Shelburne, and Bardwell's Ferry) and 1,582 inhabitants. It lies, by the Troy and Greenfield Railroad, 113 miles north-west of Boston; and has Coleraine on the north, Greenfield and Deerfield on the east, the latter on the south, Conway and Buckland (from both of which it is separated by the Deerfield River) on the south-west, and Charlemont (for a small distance) on the west. The geological structure is calciferous mica-schist and calcareous gneiss.

The land is rugged and mountainous, rising into the bold eminences of Shingle Hill at the south, Bald Mountain at the west, Greenfield Mountain on the east, and East Hill north of the central village. Hudson Brook, Allen's Brook, and Smead's Brook, all affluents of Green River, flow from the highlands on the east; while Dragon and Sluice Brooks flow southerly into the Deerfield River, which winds gracefully through the valley on the south-western border of the town. North River enters the Deerfield near its bend, between this place and Charlemont. At Shelburne Falls, a little below, the Deerfield River plunges over a precipice more than forty feet in depth, forming one of the most beautiful cataracts in the State. To this water-power the flourishing village of Shelburne Falls--partly in Buckland, and partly in Shelburne--owes its growth. At this place are the large establishments of Lamson and Goodnow, for the manufacture of cutlery; of H. S. Shepardson and Company, for the manufacture of bits and gimlets; and of the Lock Company, for the manufacture of locks. The village makes a fine appearance with its dwellings manufactories, schools, and churches in the narrow valley and upon the sloping hillsides. The soil of Shelburne, though hard to till, is moist and strong. The rock-maple thrives in it; and as many as 18,680 pounds of sugar have been made here in a year. The number of farms is 101; and of sheep, 799. The yearly produce of butter has amounted to $10,268.80. Shelburne has one national and one savings bank; the Arms Library, free to the public; an academy, a high school, and twelve other schools; a Post of the G. A. R.; an Masonic and an Odd-Fellows' Lodge; an excellent hotel, the Shelburne-Falls House; and four churches, of which the pastors are the Revs. A. F. Marsh, C.T. (Shelburne); Edward E. Lamb, C.T. (Shelburne Falls); B. V. Stevenson, Universalist (Shelburne Falls); D. W. Wilcox, Baptist, also at Shelburne Falls.

The town is accommodated by the Troy and Greenfield Railroad, which follows the course of the Deerfield River from Deerfield to the Hoosac Tunnel. It has erected a handsome monument in honor of the men it lost in the late war. The number of dwelling-houses is 256; of voters, 373. The valuation is $373,498; and the tax-rate, $1.35 per $100.

Shelburne was originally called "Deerfield North-west." It was named in honor of William Fitz-Maurice, second Earl of Shelburne; and was incorporated June 21, 1768. The first church was organized in 1770; and the Rev. Robert Hubbard, the first minister, was ordained over it Oct. 20, 1773. The Rev. PLINY FISK, a distinguished missionary and scholar was born here June 24, 1792; and died in Beirout Syria, Oct. 23, 1825.
(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. 459-460)

Online Genealogical Resources

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



The following bibliography lists sources that may be useful in researching the genealogy and history of families that have lived in the Shelburne 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 Shelburne town area.

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