Genealogy in Franklin County, Massachusetts - Town of Whately

Genealogy in Franklin County, Massachusetts
Town of Whately

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Whately lies in the south-central part of Franklin County and is roughly bounded by Conway on the northwest, Deerfield on the north, Sunderland on the east, Hadley on the southeast, Hatfield on the south, and Williamsburg on the west (the latter three towns in Hampshire County). Whately was organized April 24, 1771 from part of Hatfield. On March 5, 1810, part of Deerfield was annexed to Whately. On June 21, 1811, the boundary between Whately and Conway was established. On February 2, 1849, the boundary between Whately and Williamsburg was established.

In 1874, Elias Nason described the town of Whately as follows:
is a pleasant farming-town of 1,062 inhabitants, lying on the right bank of the Connecticut River, in the southern section of Franklin County, about 116 miles west of Boston, and 10 south of Greenfield, with which it is in communication by the Connecticut-river Railroad. It has for its boundaries Conway and Deerfield on the north, Sunderland (from which it is separated by the Connecticut River) on the east, Hatfield on the south, and Williamsburg on the west. The base line of the State Trigonometrical Survey, about 7,388 miles long, runs from the south part of Deerfield, through the easterly part of this town, to near the centre of Hatfield, on the south. Lower sandstone and calciferous mica-schist constitute the geological basis. Veins of galena, or sulpheret of lead, have been found in the western part of the town; and a thin stratum of umber and sienna, a valuable pigment, was discovered here in 1864. Several chalybeate springs are found in the easterly part of the town, one of which flows into Hopewell Brook. The land is low and swampy on the river, but high and broken in the west. Mount Esther, in the north, has an elevation of 995 feet, and affords a splendid view of the Connecticut Valley and the surrounding mountains. Mill Brook (called by the Indians Capawong), West Brook, Popple Brook, and their tributaries, flow southerly through the town, affording motive-power for four saw and two grist mills, and adding beauty to the landscape.

The town contains 151 farms, 1,370 acres of woodland, and 681 acres of wet meadow, or swale, producing about as many tons of hay per annum. As many as 303 acres are devoted to the raising of tobacco, and 86 to wheat. The value of tobacco raised in a year has been $105,334.80; of wheat, $2,782.50; of butter sold, $4,406.50; of wool, $647. There is a post-office at Whately, and also at East Whately. The village of West Whately is pleasantly situated on the highlands at the west. This town has a hotel called "The Whately House," a town-hall and library, six school-districts, and two churches, one of which is Congregational, the Rev. John W. Lane, pastor, and the other Unitarian, the Rev. Leonard W. Brigham, pastor.

It sent 82 soldiers into the late war.

This place, originally a part of Hatfield, was settled about the year 1735 by Lieut. Ebenezer Bardwell, Benjamin Scott, David Graves, Sergeant John Wait, Joseph Belding, and others. The town was named in honor of Thomas Whately, a friend of Thomas Hutchinson, and incorporated April 24, 1771. The first church was organized Aug. 13 of the same year, and the Rev. Rufus Wells was the first minister. The Rev. Lemuel P. Bates, a native of Blandford, Scotland, was settled as a colleague with Mr. Wells in 1822, and resigned in 1832.

A History of this town, by the Rev. Josiah Temple, was published in 1872, pp. 332.
(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. 552-553)

Online Genealogical Resources

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



The following bibliography lists sources that may be useful in researching the genealogy and history of families that have lived in the Whately 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


Land Records


Town Records

Vital Records

General Information

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

Related Pages

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