Hampshire County -- Amherst

Amherst, Massachusetts Town Seal Amherst, Massachusetts
Incorporated: 1759
Parent Town: Hadley

Site Resources

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Research Resources Available Elsewhere

Compiled by Cindy Brown & Laurel O'Donnell

Town Clerk

413-256-2504 fax
Town Hall - 4 Boltwood Ave., Amherst, MA 01002
M-Fr: 8a-4:30p

Vital Records

Available in the Walter E. Corbin Collection, comp. by Walter E. and Lottie S. Corbin, available from the New England Historic and Genealogical Society: Reels 1, 2: Amherst

Family Histories and Genealogies

James Avery Smith, Black People in Early Amherst (1984).
James Avery Smith, Families of Amherst, Mass.: A Genealogical Outline (4 vols., 1984).

Local Histories

Carpenter and Morehouse, History of the Town of Amherst 1731-1896 (1896).
Sylvester Judd, History of Hadley, South Hadley, Amherst and Granby, Massachusetts (Picton Press: 1905, reissued 1993).
Alice M. Waler, Historic Homes of Amherst. Amherst: Carpenter & Morehouse, 1905.

Churches and Religious History

The First Congregational Church was gathered Nov. 7, 1739 as the Church of Christ, East or Third Precinct of Hadley. Organized as the First Parish of Hadley in 1783. Early ministers: Rev. David Parsons, Jr., settled 1735, ordained 1739, died 1781; Rev. David Parsons III, ordained 1782, dismissed 1819. Early deacons: Ebenezer Dickinson; John Nash; Azariah Dickinson; John Hubbard; Jonathan Edwards; Simeon Clark; Eleazer Smith; Dr. Seth Coleman; Elisha Smith.
The Second Parish organized Nov. 12, 1782, incorporate 1783, made up of members of the First Parish who opposed settlements of Rev. Parsons. Minister: Rev. Ichabod Draper, ordained 1786, dismissed 1809. Deacons: Hezekiah Belden; John Billings; Medad Dickinson; Nathan Franklin; Elijah Eastman.
The Old South Congregational Church existed from 1824 until 1854, and the New South Congregational Church, formed in 1858, claims to continue it.
The North Congregational Church of North Amherst was organized in 1826.
Hope Congregational Church was formed in 1907.
"A Book of Chh Records Brought by the Chh in Hadley 3d Precinct" 1735-1820.
Church Records, 1820-1855.
"Register of the First Congregational Church, Amherst, Mass. 1891 to Dec. 1938." At the church.
"Amherst First Parish Book of Records Begun Decembr 10th 1783." Records to 1840; Treasurer's Accounts to 1839.
"Parish Records No. 2 - Amherst." 1840-1881.
"Parish Records No. 3 - Amherst First Parish." 1881-1905.
"A Book containing the Records of the 2d Church of Christ in Amherst" 1816-1845.
"A Book, containing the Records of the 2nd Church of Christ in Amherst (Mass.)" 1842-1893.
"The Records of the 2nd Cong. Church Organized 1782 in Amherst Mass." 1893-1953.
Parish Records [2nd Parish] 1821-1852
"Book No. 3 Belonging to the 2nd Parish of Amherst" 1852-1873.
Baptisms 1739-1844, document at New England Historic and Genealogical Society, Boston, MA.
A Separate Church formed in 1739; members migrated to Bennington, Vermont with like-minded persons from other towns in 1762. No known records.
The many Congregational churches are discussed in Richard H. Taylor, The Churches of Christ of the Congregational Way in New England (Benton Harbor, Mich., self-published 1989).

Public Library

Jones Library, 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA, 413-256-4090
Houses a special collection of Emily Dickinson memorabilia, including personal possessions, manuscripts, and a model of her bedroom. Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost exhibits. Open Monday-Saturday, 9:00am-5:00pm; Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00am-9:30pm.

Historic Sites, Societies & Other Places of Interest

Amherst History Museum at the Strong House, 67 Amity St., Amherst, MA 01002, (413) 256-0678 Eighteenth-, 19th-, and early-20th-century decorative arts; exhibits.

Emily Dickinson Homestead, 280 Main St. Amherst, MA 01002, (413) 542-8161
Birthplace and home of poet Emily Dickinson; tours.

Pratt Museum of Natural History
Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002, (413) 542-2165, (413) 542-2138
Dinosaur skeletons and tracks, minerals, and crystals.

Hitchcock Center for the Environment, 525 South Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA, 413-256-6006. Nature lovers will enjoy the center's array of gardens, a goldfish pond, and nature trails spanning 27 acres. Workshops, exhibits and a resource library on site. Open Wednesday-Saturday, 9:00am-4:00pm. Closed holidays.

National Yiddish Book Center, 1021 West Street, Amherst, MA, 413-256-4900.
The National Yiddish Book Center has recued 1.4 million endangered Yiddish books since 1980. Our architecturally distinctive building includes imaginative exhibits, a theatre with regularly scheduled films and programs, gracious grounds, a gift shop and an English language book store. You don't need to know Yiddish to enjoy the center! Free admission. Open Sunday-Friday, 10:00am-3:00pm. Handicapped accessible.

Other Pertinent Links

Town of Amherst
Amherst Common -- Chamber of Commerce Site
West Street Cemetery
Mead Art Museum Amherst College
Amherst College
Hampshire College
University of Massachusetts
University of Massachusetts Library
Jones Library, Amherst
State of Massachusetts, Amherst Commonwealth Community Information
Massachusetts State Community Profile of Amherst
The Norwottock Bike Trail
WebCam of Amherst provided by MassLive (located in front of Antonio's Pizza

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This page was last updated on July 12, 1999