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Full text of "Annals of Chicopee Street: Records and Reminiscences of an Old New England Parish for a Period ..."

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ANNALS OF 



CHICOPEE STREET 



RECORDS AND REMINISCENCES OF AN 

OLD NEW ENGLAND PARISH FOR 

A PERIOD OF TWO HUNDRED 

YEARS 



EDITED BY 

CLARA SKEELE PALMER 



CHICOPEE 

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TO 

THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF 

THE OLD FIFTH PARISH 

THIS RECORD 

OF TWO HUNDRED YEARS 

IS DEDICATED 



ANNALS OF CHICOPEE STREET 

1675-1875 

THE first settlers in Chicopee were Japhet and 
Henry Chapin, and their brother-in-law, Rowland 
Thomas. Japhet and Henry were sons of Dea. Sam- 
uel Chapin, one of the early settlers of Springfield. 
Rowland Thomas had married his daughter, Sarah. 
Dea. Samuel was an intelligent, energetic Christian 
man, and we soon find him influential and prominent 
in the affairs of the town and the Province, as well as 
in the church. His social position is shown by the 
edifying record, that in the Meeting House, — 

** Goodwife Chapin is to sit in the seate along with 
Mrs. Glover, and Mrs. Hollyocke.** 

There is one tradition that Dea. Chapin was of Welsh 
origin, and another that he was of Huguenot family. 
Some color is given to the latter tradition by the 
name of his wife. Cicely, a name found in early French 
families. 

An old writer has said, **God sifted three king- 
doms, that He might plant the finest of the wheat in 
New England.** From whatever clime or province 
these sturdy ancestors of ours came, their history 



shows that they were in truth of **the finest of the 
wheat/' 

As the early records are imperfect, it is difficult to 
determine the exact date of the first settlement in 
Chicopee; but a host of well-preserved family tra- 
ditions bear witness to the evidence of grants and 
deeds, that by 1675 Japhet and Henry were living 
in homes of their own. Japhet's house was on the 
bank of the Connecticut River, in Chicopee Street, on 
land now (1898) owned by Mr. Charles E. Baker, and 
northwest of his house. The cellar hole of Japhet*s 
house and the old road leading to it remained until 
within a few years. Henry*s house was near the west 
end of what is now Exchange street in Chicopee 
Center. Rowland Thomas lived near Henry. 

The first grant of land in Chicopee was in 1659: — 
**One farme Given to Mr. John Pyncheon, Lying 
over Chicuppy river, with the Islands of s^ River, below 
the plaice called the wading plaice with the Medow on 
the South side, also a Swamp betwixt the Medow 
and the River; this farme is by us bounded viz., to 
run up the Grate River, Northward to the Brook 
called Willomansett, so up the brook to a foot parth 
yt goes to Squannungunick and to follow the parth 
that goes to Squannungunick to the mouth of Chick- 
uppy River.** 

The first mention of a road is in 1665 : — 
''Nathanell Ely and Rowland Thomas, Committee. 



'* A Highway Over Chickuppy River, should Goe 
above the Islands, about 20 Rods, whair the Indian 
Common Wading Plaice is, or still higher on this side of 
the River. It is to goe near Rowland Thomasses.** 

In 1662 Mr. Pyncheon deeded a part of his farm 
to Samuel Chapin. Later we find grants of land 
from John Pyncheon to Japhet Chapin, one of two 
hundred acres, one of twelve, and one of fifteen, all 
lying ** north of Chickuppy River, and east of Con- 
necticutt River,** and all bordering on land which 
Japhet already owned. This makes probable the 
accepted tradition that Dea. Samuel had some time 
before deeded his land to Japhet. 

Henry seems to have bought his land directly from 
Mr. Pyncheon. In 1659, we find him bargaining for 
200 acres **on ye north side of Chickuppy River, 
half of ye upper Island, and five acres of mowable 
meadow.** For this he is to pay ** twenty pounds in 
wheat at current prices at four several payments,** 
five pounds each year for four years. Although he 
lived on the south side, he owned land on both sides 
of Chicopee River. Some of this land remains in the 
families of his descendants to-day. 

Mr. Theodore L. Chapin of Chicopee Street seems 
to be the only one now living on land directly inherited 
from his ancestor, Henry; but Edward and Charles 
Chapin, and probably Mrs. Naomi Chapin Ward, on 
the Granby road, own land which came to them from 



8 

the same ancestor through five generations. Hun- 
dreds of our broad and beautiful acres have never 
passed out of the Chapin name, though they may 
not have come to their present owners by direct 
inheritance. 

Sons and daughters were born to these brothers, 
and in a few years there were eighty-seven grand- 
children. Other settlers came to join them. Before 
1 700 we find the names — Cooley, Crowfoot, Hitchcock, 
Wright, and Terry. John Crowfoot died young. 
Samuel Terry, who had married Sarah, a grand- 
daughter of Japhet Chapin, went to Canada. Among 
the settlers at Skipmuck, we find the names of 
Phineas Stedman, John Stedman, Stephen and Gad 
Horton, and Ariel Cooley. Caleb Wright built 
a house on the north side of the river, but lived there 
only a short time, coming then to Chicopee Street. 

The original deeds and grants were afterwards 
ratified by the town, probably to avoid dispute. 
Sometimes it was done in town meeting, sometimes 
by the selectmen, and sometimes by a committee 
especially chosen for this purpose. 

This land had been fairly bought of the Indians. 
Probably they received for it much more than it was 
worth to them, for we do not find that they ever 
complained of the price paid. At first the Indians 
were friendly, and the relations between the white 
men and their Indian neighbors were not uncomfort' 



able. But King Philip's war changed all this. Spring- 
field was burned, and the towns on the frontier, Had- 
ley, Deerfield, and Northfield, were in a state of con- 
tinual anxiety. 

Hannah, daughter of Japhet Chapin, was married 
in 1703 to John Sheldon of Deerfield. When she 
was preparing her wedding outfit, her mother was 
careful that she should have a dress suitable to wear 
into captivity. Think of the heroism of a young 
woman going as a bride to her new home, in the almost 
certainty of captivity or death ! The dress was made. 
It was of flannel, probably spun and woven by her 
own hands. Three months after her marriage, 
Deerfield was attacked in the night. In jumping 
from a window, Hannah sprained her ankle, and 
was unable to escape or to secure her dress. But 
a few days afterwards, she saw it on an Indian 
woman. With other prisoners she was taken to 
Canada, their footsteps staining the snow with blood, 
as they went. By the energy of her father-in-law she 
was soon redeemed, and brought to Chicopee to her 
father's home, from whence she returned to her 
Deerfield home. She was probably ransomed by the 
payment of twenty pounds, which seems to have been 
the price put by the French on their English women 
captives. 

Greylock, the famous Indian chief for whom the 
mountain in Berkshire was named, was often in this 



lO 



vicinity. He had but one foot, having lost the other 
in a trap, so that his trail was easily detected, but he 
was never captured. His object seems to have been 
not so much scalps as prisoners, whom he sold in 
Canada. 

A little girl in her trundle bed was roused one 
night from sleep by some one creeping from the win- 
dow across the bed. Too frightened to move, and 
knowing that her safety depended upon perfect quiet, 
she watched him while he helped himself to food from 
the cupboard. He left the house as stealthily as he 
came. It might have passed for the dream of a 
frightened child, but the empty cupboard confirmed 
the tale. The thief was Greylock, who was too hungry 
to be dangerous. 

Skipmuck was attacked by the Indians. Some of 
the settlers were killed, and one or more taken captive. 
Aaron Parsons and Berijah Hubbard, two soldiers, 
had just finished cleaning their guns. They were 
saying, **Now we are ready for the dogs,** when a 
young girl, who was spinning by the window, ex- 
claimed, **They have come!" She ran, and in her 
haste and fright drew the latchstring from the door, 
shutting in the family. Lieut. Wright, who was at 
work in a shop near by, crept through a window and 
with this daughter escaped. The soldiers and one 
child were killed. One child, left for dead, revived 
and lived to grow up. Mrs. Wright was taken 



II 



prisoner. The child was rescued by an aunt from 
Chicopee Street, Mrs. Thomas Chapin, who was a 
sister of Lieut. Wright. 

The front door of the house built by David 
Chapin about 1705 was thickly studded with nails to 
prevent the Indians from splitting it open with their 
tomahawks. This house stood under the big elms on 
land now (1898) owned by Mr. Rowley, and was still 
standing in 1834. Samuel Chapin was fired upon and 
wounded while crossing the Connecticut River, re- 
turning from his work on the west side. But no 
serious loss or injury seems to have come to any of 
the other settlers in Chicopee Street. 

During these early years, we find Japhet and 
Henry Chapin leaders in public affairs. Japhet's 
name appears as selectman, assessor, and juror. 
Henry served on various committees and was deputy to 
* 'the Publick Assembly ** at Boston. His integrity 
is shown in this, that while four pounds was allowed 
by the town to their deputies, he refused to take more 
than 34 shillings, insisting that this was all it had cost 
him. In 1687 Henry Chapin was one of those to 
whom was given the privilege to fish in Chicopee River, 
as far as **Schonungonunck fal or Bar.** Japhet 
Chapin, Nathaniel Foote, Henry Chapin, John 
Hitchcock, and others, were authorized to build a 
sawmill at Schonungonunck Falls. In 1694 **Iron 
Works and a Blacksmiths* shop in Skipmuck ** are 



12 



mentioned, and also *'a Corne Mill." Previous to 
this all the sawing and grinding had been done at the 
mills in Springfield. But with all the difficulty of 
drawing lumber so far, log houses were not common 
here as in many new countries. The dwellings were 
frame houses, many of them of two stories. Some 
were built with two stories in front, and one in the 
rear, with what was called a **linter*' (lean-to) roof. 

It has been said that after the burning of Spring- 
field, the people here thought seriously of leaving, but 
the records do not show this. Other names appear, 
showing that settlers did not fear to come even in 
these troublous times. In 1683 Henry Chapin deeds 

land to Riley on the west side of the river. It 

is said that Riley was an Irishman, and with other 
settlers who came to that vicinity, gave the name of 
Ireland Parish to that part of the town. Before this, 
it seems to have been known as **The Upper Wig- 
wames,** showing that an Indian settlement was near. 

In 1 7 12 the County Road was laid out from 
Hadley to the lower end of Enfield, and ** it is advised 
that it go by Mr. Japhet Chapin's Barn ; that it be 
three Rods wide from Willimansepp Brook Down 
Chickuppee Plain, to Mr. Japhet Chapin's Barn, then 
Four Rods wide, then south cross Chickuppee River, 
then westerly to Mr. Henry Chapin*s and southerly 
Four Rods wide.** This followed what is now known 
as **the Old Road** to Willimansett and McKinstry 



13 

Avenue. A road was also laid out *'on the West 
side of the Greate River." 

These county roadways were gradually taken 
under the care of the town, and in all grants of land, 
especial mention was made, '*not to hinder or preju- 
dice the highways.** 

The first mention of a school in Chicopee is in 
I7I3> when the munificent sum of ten shillings is paid 
by the town to * * Daniel Cooley*s daughter for keeping 
school.** There had been schools in Springfield, since 
1 64 1, but it was impossible for the smaller children 
and inconvenient for the older ones to go so far. 

We find Province laws and town laws regulating 
the schools. **A11 children are to be taught to reade, 
and learn a catechism.** ** Children and servants** 
are to be sent to school. **A11 children from five to 
ten years of age to be sent to school, and if not, their 
parents shall pay to be rated (taxed) for all such 
children to the School Master.** In 17 14 a grant of 
12 pounds was made by the town, **To the farmers 
of Chickopee and Skipmuck towards the schooling of 
their children for the year ensuing.** The next year, 
**The Upper Chickopee, The Lower Chickopee and 
Skipmuck** were ** allowed Precincts for three years,** 
and a grant was given to each for a school. But in 
1 72 1 they were united in one Precinct. About this 
time the first schoolhouse in Chicopee was built on 
Chicopee Street on land owned by David Chapin. It 



14 

was a one-story building, unpainted, with a huge fire- 
place, and stood until **The Old Red Schoolhouse ** 
was built in 1761. Every parent was required to 
furnish one load of wood, * * to be brought to the school- 
house in October,** and **no scholar shall have any 
benefit of the wood until they bring their proportion." 

Some have questioned if **all children** included 
girls as well as boys ; but the traditions of our grand- 
mothers and great grandmothers tell us of their going 
to school with their brothers, certainly in the town of 
Springfield, if not in Boston. 

The first grant of money to Ireland Parish for 
schools was in 1731. The first schoolhouse built 
there by the town was in 1772. The next year it 
was ** voted, to build a schoolhouse in that part of 
the town where Aaron Ashley lives.** The first 
schoolhouse built by the town in Lower Chicopee 
was erected in 1773. The first schoolmaster is said to 
have been a Mr. Shevay, an Irishman, and a minister 
who occasionally preached to the people on the south 
side of the river. 

Much has been said of the hardship and poverty 
of those early days. Hardship there was, and plenty 
of it, but it was cheerfully accepted as a part of the 
experience of a new country. Of poverty, in the 
sense of suffering for the necessities of life, there was 
little ; for we must remember, that many things which 
are necessities to us were unknown to our grand- 



parents. Game and wild fowl abounded in the 
woods. The rivers were full of fish. Salmon were 
sold, ''at the river for 6d. ; in the village for 8d. ; 
shad J^d. at the river; id. in the village.** A few 
years later, Erastus Morgan and five other men caught 
in one night 6000 Shad and 90 Salmon. Every 
householder was required to keep at least three sheep. 
These and their fields of flax supplied them with cloth- 
ing and bedding. 

We even read of a dressmaker in those early days. 
She did not send to Paris for her fashions, but they 
might have been brought from London, since new 
colonists from the mother country were continually 
coming to the Connecticut Valley. Every young 
girl was taught to spin, and the stronger ones learned 
and practiced weaving, both plain and fancy, accord- 
ing to their skill and taste. It is true, that some of 
their table furnishings were of wood, and others of 
pewter, but the wood was scoured to a beautiful 
whiteness, and the pewter might have been silver for 
its brightness. 

Mrs. Thomas Chapin, a matron of those very 
early days, said that she had two sons who were too 
rich to be comfortable, Abel and Japhet; one, 
Thomas, who was just about right as regarded prop- 
erty; and one, Shem, who was too poor. This Mrs. 
Thomas was a very generous woman, and when 
reproved by some of her family for giving away 



i6 

eggs, replied, **The more I giveaway, the better my 
hens will lay.** 

Abel, whom she called too rich, was afterwards 
known as Landlord Abel. He built the first house in 
Willimansett, on what is known as the Briggs lot, 
east of the railroad station. About 1730 he removed 
to Chicopee Street, and built the house now owned 
by Josiah A. Parker, and known as the ** Uncle 
Moses place.** It is the oldest house now standing in 
the city of Chicopee, with the possible exception of 
the Snow House in Johnny Cake Hollow, the age of 
which is not definitely known. Landlord Abel's 
house was at first of three stories ; that is, with a 
gambrel roof. Here he kept a tavern for many years. 
A few pages of his account book have been preserved. 
They are interesting as showing the habits and cus- 
toms of the day. The entries are principally of what 
was sold at the Bar. ** Rhum and Cyder,** ** bowls 
of Punch and mugs of Flip,** with occasional items 
of **Shugar, Seed-corne, Salt, and Molasses, lodging, 
meals and horse-keeping.** The **Bill for the Com- 
mittee, sent by the Gen*l Court to lay out the Bounds 

of the Parish,** is, — 

£ s d 

to three horses, oates and hay, 0-15-0 

to three bowls of punch, 0-15-0 
to three meals of victuals 

for the Com. at five shillings per meal, 0-15-0 
to one mess of oates and two 

bowls of punch, o-io-o 



'7 

The inventory of Landlord Abel's estate comprises, 
** Five hundred acres of Land, Five Houses and 
Barns, Horses, Cows, Sheep, and Hogs, Hay, Grain, 
Farming tools, Six hives of Bees, Household furnish- 
ings, including Iron, Pewter & Brass ware, with 
some China and Glass.** There are ** Thirty-six 
Linen Sheets, Sixteen Blankets, Eleven Woolen 
Sheets, Six Table Cloths, Twenty-one Towels.** 
We find in his wardrobe, — 

2 Great Cotes, a Black Velvet Vest, 

I Strait Body Cote, i pare Velvet Britches, 

I pare Lether Britches, 9 pare hose, 

I pare Shues, 4 fine shirts, 

4 pare pumps, 6 common shirts, 

i: Hat, Shoe Buckles. 

His library was, — 

One greate Bible, One Large Bible, 

One old Bible, Law Book, 

Barnard's works, wats Psalms & himes, 

Robinson Crusoe, Mather on Congregational principles, 

One Cubbord partly of books, 

Sundry old Books Bound & Sundry Pamphlets. 

He had one Negro Man. 

These are only a very few of the articles mentioned 
in an inventory of over six hundred items. His 
personal ^property was valued at about 400 pounds ; 
his real estate, at nearly 1300 pounds. The rich 
brother remembered the poorer one, for among the 



i8 

items is the valuation of a small farm given by life 
lease to ** Shem Chapin & his wife.** 

Benjamin Chapin settled his own estate during his 
lifetime, with the exception of his personal property. 
He gave his wife a jointure or marriage settlement at 
the time of their marriage. He gave his land to his 
sons, as they **came of age'* and married. By will he 
gives to his sons, **all my Husbandry Tools, and 
implements of what sort or kind soever.'* **To Ben- 
jamin, My Gun, my Sword, my belt, my Great Bible, 
and my province Law Book.** All the rest of his 
movable and personal estate he gives to his daughters. 
His books were, — 

Mr. Vinson on the sudden appearance of Christ to Judgment, 

A Pious soul thirsting after Christ, 

Doct. Watts sermons on various subjects, 

Doct. Mather's Meditations on Death, 

Doct. Increase Mather, on the Lx>rd's Supper, 

Confession of Faith, Josephus* History, 

One great Bible, One Law Book, 

3 old Pamphlets, Six old Books. 

• 

John Chapin, Jr., a bachelor, who died in 1747, 
had a large estate: ** Houses and lands** in Chicopee 
and Brimfield, ** cows, Oxen, Steares & heffers,** 
** Horses & Hogs, Saddles & Bridles,** money & notes, 
**ingen corn, Wheat & Righ & skins,** and a Negro 
man named Pompey. He had coats and jackets of 
** Camlet, serge, and Broadcloth.** He had **Some 



19 

shirts, some more shirts, & some fine shirts/' He 

had **Shoe Ruckles, nee Buckles, and one gold 

• »> 
ring. 

Among the interesting records of these old days 

showing the custom of the time is the following 

Indenture : — 



** This Indenture witnesseth, that I, John Chapin of Springfield, 
in the County of hampshear, in ye province of ye Massachusetts Bay, 
in New England, husbandman, have with ye free consent of my son, 
Asahel Chapin, put and do, by these presents, put my son, Asahel 
Chapin, an apprentice to Josiah Chapin of Springfield, in ye County 
aforesaid. Blacksmith, to learn his art, trade or mystery, after the man- 
ner of an apprentice to serve him from the twenty- seventh day of 
September last untill he is one and twenty years of age. 

All which time ye sd apprentice his master shall faithfully serve, 
his secrets keep, his Lawful Commands gladly everywhere obey, he 
shall do no damage to his master, nor see it done by others, without 
giving notice to his master; he shall not waste his master's goodes, 
nor lend them unlawfully to any, he shall not contract matrimony within 
sd time; at cards, dice or any other unlawful game he shall not play, 
whereby his sd master may be damaged in his own goodes, or the 
goodes of others, he shall not absent himself day or night from his 
master's service, without his leave, nor haunt ale houses or taverns, or 
play-houses, but in all things behave himself as a faithful apprentice 
ought to do during sd time. 

And the sd master shall use his utmost endeavor to teach and in- 
struct sd apprentice in ye mode or mystery he now followeth, viz., the 
trade of blacksmithery, & to teach him to write, and ye rules of arith- 
metic, so he shall be able to keep a book of accompts, & also provide 
him sufficient meate & drink, washing and lodging fitting for an 
apprentice during ye sd time, and to find him two suits of apparel at ye 
end of ye term, ye one for Sabath and ye other for weak day, & for 



20 

y« trae performance of every one of sd covenants & agreements, 
either of ye sd parties bind themselves to the other by these presents. 

in witness thereof they have interchangeably put their hands and 
seals this twelfth day of September, one thousand seven hundred and 
thirty-eight, and in the eleventh year of our Sovereign, King Gorge 
the second, of greate britian, france and ireland, King, &c. 



'. }""'' 



Joseph Chapin, ) .. JOSIAH CHAPIN. 

Sarah Van Horn. >^'^»^''^'' 



We are sure that Asahel fulfilled most faithfully 
his part of the covenant, for we find him later with 
the Massachusetts troops at Louisburgh, ** cheerfully 
enduring the extreme hardships of the siege. For 
fourteen nights they were yoked together like oxen, 
dragging cannon and mortars through a morass.'* 
Here Asahel died, but whether in camp or in battle, 
history does not say. His cousin, Nathaniel, also 
died there about the same time, 1745. 

For more than sixty years, the people of Chicopee 
continued their connection with the old First Church 
in Springfield, finding their way on foot, or on horse- 
back, fording the Chicopee River, at the Indian Wad- 
ing Place, or sometimes going by canoe down the 
Connecticut. The Sabbath services and the weekly 
lectures were their edification and deligh^. Their 
lives were regulated by its ordinances and discipline ; 
and, when death came, they were laid to rest in the 
old Burying Ground, at the foot of Elm street, on 
the banks of the Connecticut. The names of Japhet 
and Abilene, his wife, may still be seen on the old 



21 

headstones in Peabody Cemetery. They were removed 
when the building of the railroad made it necessary 
to discontinue the old burying place. The faith- 
fulness of these people in going to meeting was won- 
derful. Mr. Ezekiel Chapin said, that for twenty-six 
Sabbaths in succession, he went regularly to Spring- 
field to meeting. 

The first allusion we find to any public religious serv- 
ice, in this precinct, is in 1728, when a meeting of the 
local churches is held here — either in the school- 
house, or in a private house. From time to time 
an occasional lecture or Thanksgiving sermon was 
preached, and as the people grew stronger, money 
was raised for preaching during the severe cold of the 
winter. 

In 1749 the precinct had 40 voters. The qualifi- 
cation for voting was **40 shillings income, or Forty 
Pounds Estate.** They began to think of a separate 
church and minister. Settlers had come to Ireland Par- 
ish who were ready to join them. They had shared the 
perplexities of Mr. Breck*s trial and settlement in 
Springfield, and had seen the church grow strong 
under his ministrations. The Mother Church was 
about to build a new Meeting House. A petition 
was sent asking leave to withdraw. The petition was 
dismissed. The Church in Springfield was unwilling 
to lose these faithful men and women, who had con- 
tributed so much to her growth and prosperity. 



22 



In the Autumn the matter was again agitated, and 
the Committee of the First Parish replied in this 
curious manner: — 

** It's very evident by their (Chicopee's) Shewing 
that their Accommodations which they have obtained 
by being so far off from the Center of the Parish is 
more than a Compensation for their Fateagues on the 
Sabbath, for it is a very plain case that, if the rideing 
on Horse Back on a Plain six miles in half a Day is 
more than equall to half a Day's labour, the Petition- 
ers on the whole Live with much more Ease & Less 
Fateague than those who live in the Center of the 
Parish; who besides the Fateague they have in 
managing their business at a Distance all the week, 
are obliged to build & maintain Three Large vessels 
to Transport the Produce of their Lands to y® stores." 

The meaning of this seems to be, that, for the 
privilege of living on their own farms, and cultivating 
the rich meadows near their own homes, ourChicopee 
farmers could well afford to travel six or even seven 
miles on the Sabbath to attend meeting. The homes 
of the Springfield people were principally on what are 
now Main and State streets, and their farm lands 
were **at a distance," some of them across **the 
Create River." 

But the Chicopee people were in earnest. In 
1750 another petition was sent, this time to the 
General Court. 



23 

'* Octo"^ i: 1750 Monday: Mr. Japhet Chapin 
proceeded on his journey to Boston to urge ye grant 
of Chickapee's Petition/* 

Petition sent to Boston in 1750 by the Inhabitants 
of Chicopee: — 

To the Honrble Spencer Phipps, Esq., Lieut Govr & Commder 
in Chief of his Majesties Prov. of the Massachusetts Bay in New- 
England. The Honrble His Majest* Council & House of Representa- 
tives In Genl Court Assembled at Boston the 30th Day of May AD. 

1750- 

The Petition of us, the Subscribers, Inhabitants of the North Part 
of Springfld in the County of Hampshire, Humbly Showeth That your 
Petitioners, for the greatest part of us Dwell full six, some Eight Miles 
& the nearest of us four miles from the Respective Places of Publick 
Worship we now belong to. Some on the East & some on the west 
Side of the Conetticutt River, & as we are now Situated 'tis utterly 
Impossible for us & our families in any Suitable manner to attend the 
Publick Worship of God in the assemblies we now belong to. The 
Legislature has obliged us by Law to attend, but we are absolutely 
obliged, as the case now stands to neglect it. We can*t, near half of 
us, attend in Ordinary & not a Quarter of us in Extraordinary Sea- 
sons. We have many of us dwelt under these Circumstances for 60 
years past & with all our Struggles & Difficulties not had one third 
part of the privileges which our fellow Parishioners have had for the Same 
Sum Expended. The labour & fatigue we & the bruit Creatures we use, 
undergo on the Sabbath fan* Exceeds that of any other day in the week. 
Oar numbers are greatly encreased & we Esteem ourselves able to build 
a House for the publick Worship & give Sufficient Encouragement to a 
Minister of the Gospell to Settle Among us, & indeed we Suppose by 
the best Computation we can make that it would not Cost us so much 
accompting Ten years together, as it does in the Posture we are now 
in, & with great Submission we Esteem it Extream hard that our fel- 
low Parishoners Should make so much opposition as they do & have 
done to our being a Distinct Parish when they know aU that is Said 



above to be trae, only to make their Taxes a little lighter. We cannot 
think our Selves justly treated by them, when they take so much pains 
to keep us under Such Disadvantages in our Souls Concern only to save 
themselves a little worldly interest. *Tis not long Since we paid 
our proportion towards the Settlement of a Minister in the midst of 
them, & we have for many years past hired Winter preaching among 
ourselves while we paid our full proportion for it amongst them & we 
can*t get it Reinbursed. we have likewise done our full proportion 
with them in paying for a new & Magnificent Meeting House for 
them (principally) to Worship in, for when it*s done we can't have the 
benefit of it because we can't come at it. & we have lately requested 
the Respective Parishes we belong to, to Consent we Should be Sett off 
& they Refuse it; We therefore most Humbly move we may be In- 
vested with Parish Powers & Privileges & that the bounds may be 
as follows (viz.) beginning at the muth of Chequabee River & run on 
the bank of Connetticutt River to the top of the Hill South of Samll 
Terry's House. Thence East to the brook called Hog-pen-dingle & 
thence by Sd Brook at Chequabee River & thence by Sd River to the 
Outward Commons & thence North by sd Commons to Hadley Line 
& thence West in Hadley Line to Connetticutt River & thence Cross 
Connetticutt River to Northampton bounds; & thence to the West Side 
of Springfield bounds in the line between Sd Towns & thence Begin- 
ning by Connetticutt River at Ryley's brooks mouth & then Run a 
West line from that to the West Side of the bounds of Springfield 
aforesaid.* We beg leave further Humbly to Request that the old 
Parish in Springfield on the East Side of the River, that still Continues 
So after we are Sett off, may be obliged to pay us on the East Side of 
the River what we have been taxed to the new Meeting House 
lately Set up amongst them, which we Seasonably requested them 
to be excused from that they might not build it too big for themselves. 
We also further humbly request that those of us Petitioners that Dwell 
on the East Side of Connetticutt River may be Obliged if your Honblc & 
Honors Please To build the House for publick worship & Settle the 
first Ordained Minister at our own cost. & that after that all of us 



This " humble request ** was afterwards granted by " the old Parish in Springfield.'* 



2S 

may be Enjoyned as in Common Cases to do our Eqnal Proportion 
towards the Minister's Support. & with great submission we humbly 
apprehend that there is not now, nor ever has been, an Instance of this 
nature, where So many People at So greate a Distance from this 
Publick Worship have ever been Denyed the Liberty of Setting 
it up near to them, that all may attend with Convenience & 
not one half or three Quarters live in Such Miserable and Uncomfort- 
able Circumstances for so long & tedious a Season as we have done. 
We therefore Most Humbly move we may be Sett off as aforesd & 
that the Court would oblige the Inhabitants on the East Side of the 
River to do as they have agreed with their neighbors, petitioning with 
them, (viz.) be at the whole Cost of building the first Meeting House 
& Settling the first Minister & other Petitioners to pay an Equal 
proportion with them for the Minister's Support afterwards & Enjoy 
Equal rights in the Meeting House, in proportion as in other Parishes, 
and as in Duty bound shall ever pray &c. 



Names of 
PetUioners on the East Side of the River 



Jonatltn Chapin 
Henry Chapin 
Japhet Chapin 
Joseph Chapin 
Eleazar Chapin 
Henry Wright 
Caleb Wright 
John Vanhom 
Shem Chapin 
Elisha Wright 
Japhet Chapin Jun. 
Benjti Chapin 
Stephen Chapin 
Reuben Miller 
Benjn Chapin Jun. 
Abel Chapin 
William Chapin 



Elisha Chapin 
Jonthn Chapin Jun. 
Benoni Chapin 
David Chapin 
Edw<l Chapin 
Phinehas Chapin 
Benj Crofoot Jun 
Gad Chapin 
Thomas Chapin 
John Chapin 
Stephen Wright 
Seth Chapin 
Samll Chapin 
Aaron Ferry 
Abner Hitchcock 
Isaac Chapin 



West Side of River 

Ebenezer Jones 
John Miller 
Benjn Jones 
John Day 2nd 
Benjn Ball 
Ebenezer Taylor 
Joseph Ely 3d 
Ebenezer Jones Jun. 
Gideon Jones 
John Day 3d 
Timy MUler 
Joseph Ely 2nd 
Joseph Day 
Benjn Jones Jun. 
Charles Ball 
Abel Stockwell 



26 

The First Parish was still so unwilling to let these 
people go, that for two years in succession a Com- 
mittee, Josiah Dwight and Edward Pyncheon, was 
sent to Boston to oppose the petition. The General 
Court, however, ** listened carefully, and responded 
favorably.*' They appointed a Committee, who, 
having ** repaired to the Lands & heard the Parties, 
& considered all things touching the same,** fixed the 
bounds of what was for many years known as the 
Fifth or North Parish of Springfield, ** first giving 
notice to the First & Second Parishes of Springfield.** 
The Second Parish was what is now the First Parish 
of West Springfield. There is no record of any 
objection made by them to this organization. The 
bounds of the Parish were fixed as desired by the 
petitioners, and included what is now (1898) known 
as Chicopee Street, Willimansett, Holyoke, and a 
part of Chicopee Center, then known as Lower Chic- 
opee. Others, whose names do not appear on the 
petition, joined the Parish soon after : Born, Azariah 
& Abraham Vanhorn, Thomas Terry, and Moses 
Wright. This same year Joseph Morgan settled at 
the foot of Mt. Tom, in Ireland Parish, on a large 
farm, which he afterwards divided among his five 
sons, Joseph, Jr., Titus, Lucas, Judah, and Jesse. 
He joined the Parish, and, with his three sons, 
Joseph, Jr., Titus, and Lucas, was useful and promi- 
nent in its affairs. The people across the river were 



27 

exempted from building the first Meeting House, and 
settling the first minister, but they were to assist in 
his support. This was probably for the reason, that 
they hoped to be able, before many years, to have a 
Meeting House and minister of their own. 

No sooner were the petitioners assured of a favor- 
able answer to their request, than they set to work. 
On the evening of January 2d, 1751, they met and 
**A11 with united voices declared for cutting timber 
for a Meeting House.*' ** Dimensions 42 x 33." The 
next day ** about 40 men advanced into the woods to 
cut said timber. All volunteers! clear, cold and 
still." Jan. 4, '* About 20 men advanced to finish 
yesterday's work. The cold somewhat abated." On 
the 7th a tedious storm set in, but it furnished the 
snow for ** sledding the M. H. timber." A thaw 
delayed the work, but in February **the timber was 
got home very successfully." Spring came on early 
this year: — 



** Ducks, Blackbirds, Robbins, Larks, return & sing, 
Cheerful salute the approach of Spring.' 



tt 



Winds and storms followed the beautiful February 
weather, and it was not until April that Mr. Morris 
Smith began to hew the timber. This month they 
made the brick. And so the work went on until 
June 5, when the record is, ** This day thro ye Indul- 
gence of Heaven, we have our Meeting House raised 



28 

with great safety and joy." At first the Meeting 
House was covered with **Ruflf Boards," and a floor 
was laid. It was used in this way until December, 
1752, when it was voted **to cover the outside of 
s^ Meeting House with Quarter Boards, to Glaze all 
the windows, and to do the Plaistering overhead and 
to finish all the lower Part." From time to time, 
money was expended in different ways until it was 
finished in 1765. 

This old Meeting House was nearly square, with- 
out bell or steeple. It stood in the middle of our 
then wide street, a little north of where Mr. Rowley 
now lives. The ** Quarter Boards" with which it 
was covered, seem to have been ** split clapboards, 
beaded where they came together. It was built of 
heavy oak timbers. There was carved work over the 
windows." For those days it was a good looking 
building. The seats were at first benches, afterwards 
changed to pews. These were square, with seats on 
three sides. The partitions were high, and finished 
with an open railing. The seats were on hinges, and 
were raised or lowered according to convenience. 
As the custom was then to stand during prayer and 
to sit during singing, there was often a noisy clatter 
when the prayer began. The pew on the right of the 
pulpit was for the minister's family. The two in 
front were set apart, one for the deacons, and one for 
the elderly men. A broad aisle ran through the 



29 

center from east to west. There were two doors, one 
on the east and one on the south side. The high 
pulpit was on the west side, with sounding board 
above it. It looked to some of the children as if the 
minister were shut up in a box, with a cover ready to 
fall on his head. The pulpit was painted pale green. 
It had a velvet cushion, for which 3 pounds was paid. 
Behind the pulpit was a window with a curtain of green 
moreen. The Communion table was also painted pale 
green to correspond with the pulpit. It was sus- 
pended on hinges and raised or lowered at pleasure. 
There was a gallery on three sides of the house, well- 
filled in later years with young men and maidens, who 
led the service of song. One corner was reserved as 
the ** Negro's seat,** for there were slaves in those days. 

In describing the Meeting House, we have antici- 
pated a number of years. It was raised on the 5th 
of June, 1751. On Sunday, July 2 1 , the first religious 
service was held in it. The record is, **Met in our 
new Meeting House." The first Parish meeting was 
held **on the thirtieth Day of July.** The business 
after choosing officers, was to ** provide for the work 
of carrying on the Meeting House.** Ensign Benja- 
min Chapin was chosen Moderator; David Chapin, 
Clerk; and Japhet Chapin, Treasurer. 

At this time all money for church purposes and 
the support of the minister was raised by a tax upon 
**the Polls and Estates of the Freeholders and other 



30 

inhabitants;** and at the second Parish meeting, on 
August 12, measures were taken to levy this tax ** as 
the Law directs.*' In October, they began to talk of 
settling a minister; and Ensign Benjamin Chapin 
and Ebenezer Jones were chosen a Committee to 
apply to the Association for advice in regard to a 
candidate. 

The Association recommended either Mr. John 
McKinstry or Mr. Judah Nash. Mr. Japhet Chapin 
was chosen ** to engage the Worthy Mr. John McKins- 
try to Preach to us for a Quarter of a Year.** And a 
tax of thirty pounds was levied to defray the expenses 
for the winter. In January, Mr. McKinstry had 
proved himself so able, that it was unanimously 
voted to give him a call to settle. Some correspond- 
ence ensued in regard to the salary. On May i8th he 
signified his acceptance of the call **if the Concur- 
rence, Advice & Mutual Agreement of the Neighbor- 
ing Churches of Christ, and their Rev*d Pastors be 
obtained.** 

The Council called for his ordination met on June 
5, 1752, with this result: — 

These may certify that, after proper inquiry and examination, we 
are Satisfied of Mr. McKinstry's Ministerial Qualifications, and there- 
fore consent to his Settlement with you. 

Wishing therefore the Blessing of God on your proceedings, we 
subscribe 

Stephen Williams Robert Breck 

Sam '11 Hopkins Noah Mirick 

Peter Ra3rnolds Freegrace Leavitt 



31 

It was voted that the ordination be on the 9th of 
September, but the Style was changed that year from 
O. S. to N. S. There was no 9th September, and 
the ordination did not take place until the 24th. 

A day of fasting and prayer was appointed for 
the 27th of August, ** to implore the Divine Blessing 
& Assistance in our proceeding to settle the Worthy 
Mr. McKinstry in the work of the Gospel Ministry." 

The same ministers, with the exception of Rev. 
Freegrace Leavitt, were sent for to assist in the 
ordination; the neighboring churches were asked for 
**the help of their Rev^ Pastors with their Dele- 
gates**; and the Committee were **also to take care 
to provide a place for the Entertainment of the afore- 
said Rev^ Pastors & Delegates.** 

There was ** Voted & Granted to Eleazer Chapin 
the just Sum of one pound, fourteen shillings & 
eight pence. Lawful money, for Entertaining the 
Rev<i Pastors & their Delegates, att the time of the 
Ordination of the Rev^ Mr. John McKinstry; and 
keeping their Horses.** 

Mr. McKinstry was the son of the Rev^ John 
McKinstry of Ellington. The father was a graduate 
of Edinburgh University, ** a gentleman of good 
abilities, popular talents and unwavering integrity.** 
The son was a graduate of Yale. Students* names 
then appeared in the Catalogue, according to the 
social position of the family. He was fourth in a 



32 

class of twelve. His father, in his seventy-fifth year, 
preached the ordination sermon. 

Miss Eliza McKinstry, who remembered her 
grandfather dressed for meeting, said that he wore 
a wig, three-cornered hat, breeches, long stockings, 
shoe and knee buckles. Probably the other ministers 
were dressed in a similar way, as well as many in 
the congregation, though, at this time, the wig was 
going out of fashion, and **the queue'* was taking its 
place. 

In those days, all ministers were settled for life. 
This, as well as the smallness of the population, made 
an ordination a rare and interesting occasion. Not 
only did the churches respond by pastor and dele- 
gate, but friends and relatives came to share in the 
joy. There was no Ordination Ball, as was often the 
case, but there was great gladness and genuine 
thanksgiving. The dinner was not a modern col- 
lation, but a genuine dinner. The big brick oven 
was heated again and again ; and tradition tells us of 
pleasant words and good wishes, which passed between 
the cooks. As one remarked, when putting the 
chicken pie into the oven, ** Good luck to it!** a 
bright girl replied, ** Well, this is the first time I ever 
heard of asking a blessing on the oven.** 

There is no record of the organization of the 
Church. It is quite probable that there was no formal 
organization by Council, and that the Church grew 



33 

out of the Parish, being recognized as a Church, when 
such action became necessary. Similar instances of 
irregularity are found in the early ecclesiastical history 
of New England. There is a list of 5 1 members of 
the church in 1753, one of whom is Pompey, the 
slave. 

Benjamin and David Chapin were chosen deacons. 
Benjamin was the son of Henry; and David, the son 
of Japhet. 

The Pastor's salary was at first ^^^49 6s. 8d., 
gradually increasing for ten years at the rate of il^i 
8s. 8d. each year. ;^8o was voted for **a Settle- 
ment." The salary was to be paid, **one half in 
provisions. Wheat, Rie and Indian Corn, and one 
half in silver at six shilling and eight pence per ounce." 
The Settlement money was to be paid in installments 
for three years, — **;^26 13s. 4d. each year." Mr. 
McKinstry desired to use his Settlement money to 
pay for land, which he bought ; and it was stipulated 
that he should not be required to pay for that until 
he received his payments from the Parish. The pro- 
visions were to be paid, **i-6 in Wheat, 1-5 in Rie, 
and the rest in Indian Corn," the value to be adjusted 
each year, by the market price of grain. It is inter- 
esting to know that in 1756 Wheat is 4s. per bushel, 
Rie 2s. 8d., and Indian Corn 2s. Mr. McKinstry 
was to have, also, ** Twenty-Five Cords of Wood 
the first year, one cord to be added each year for Ten 



34 

years." Later, it was voted to provide Mr. McKin- 
stry with ** a sufficiency of Fire wood, and also Candle- 
wood.** Candle-wood is an old name for pine knots. 
They were abundant and easily gathered from the 
pine trees on the plains. They were burned on the 
hearth, their light often taking the place of candle 
light. 

The young minister closes his letter of acceptance 
with these words: — 

** And so earnestly wishing that the Love of God, 
may be abundantly manifested towards you thro 
our Lord Jesus Christ, I earnestly desire the united 
interest in your Prayers for me, that all God*s Dis- 
pensations may prove Merciful both to you and to 
me. And So Remain 

Yours to serve, in Truth & Sincerity, 

John McKinstry, Jr.** 

The Settlement money was paid, and the Parson- 
age built by the young minister. It is still standing 
on McKinstry avenue, and is now owned by Richard 
DeGowan. In 1760 he brought his bride from 
Suffield to make the home, so long a center of influ- 
ence to this community. She was Eunice Smith, a 
great granddaughter of Japhet Chapin, so she was 
coming to her own in coming to Chicopee. Her 
mother had been born here, and had lived here until 



35 

her marriage; and it is probable that it was while 
Eunice was on a visit to her grandparents that the 
parson wooed and won her. Pieces of her wedding 
dress are still in the family. It was French cam- 
bric, and cost 4 shillings (one dollar) a yard. The 
old Button Ball tree, so long a landmark to the 
Street, was planted by her, soon after her marriage. 

Eight children were born in the old Parsonage. 
Archibald, the second son, was the first physician in 
Chicopee, but died soon after entering upon his pro- 
fession. Three of the children, '*Mr. John,** "Miss 
Dosia,** and "Miss Candace,** lived to old age. And 
it is to Mr. John's note books and records, that we are 
indebted for many interesting incidents of these early 
days. He owned the first thermometer in Chicopee 
Street. He was a great reader, and his Diary records 
that at one time he took seven books from the Parish 
Library. 

Soon after Mr. McKinstry's settlement, the war 
known as "The French & Indian War** broke out, 
bringing fear and anxiety to these homes. A num- 
ber of the young men joined the army. Edward 
Chapin (afterwards Dea. Edward )^was at Lake George 
in 1755 as clerk of Capt. Luke Hitchcock*s company. 
Capt. Abel (afterwards Col.) was out with a company, 
but was obliged to return on account of illness. 
Ensign Moses was taken prisoner at Lake George in 
1757. At first he fared badly; but, being able to 



36 

converse a little in Latin, he interested in his behalf, 
a Catholic priest, who kindly assisted him in procur- 
ing some needed comforts. He was a surveyor, and 
his surveying books in Latin are still in the family. 
Caleb was killed at Lake George in 1755. Capt. 
Elisha, his brother, was cruelly massacred by the 
Indians, July 17, 1756, at Hoosack now Williams- 
town. His house was near the upper end of the 
Street, where Miss Harriet Chapin now lives. He 
had been Commander at Fort Massachusetts in 1754, 
and, becoming interested in that part of the country, 
removed his family there. A number of families 
were together in the fort. While most of the men were 
away in the fields, an attack was made by the Indians. 
They were repulsed by the women dressed in their 
husbands* clothes. Abandoning the attack upon the 
fort, the Indians succeeded in taking some of the men 
prisoners, among them Capt. Chapin. He was 
brought to the walls and tortured to death in sight of 
his wife and children. She, Miriam Ely, of Ireland 
Parish, came back with her children to her early 
home. One of her sons, Sewall, was graduated at 
Dartmouth College, and entered the ministry, but 
died young. Another, Enoch, was a captain in the 
Revolutionary War. 

By this time, the forest path had grown into a 
pleasant, well-shaded street with substantial houses 
and barns. Capt. Ephraim was living on the farm 



37 

(where his grandson, Briant, afterwards lived), keeping 
tavern and fatting cattle for the Boston market. Mr. 
Jonathan Chapin was living on the Crehore farm ; his 
brother Timothy, on land adjoining; Dea. David and 
his son Benoni, on the Rowley place ; Landlord Abel, 
keeping tavern on the east side of the Street ; and his 
brother Japhet, on the farm adjoining his on the south. 
Later his son, Simeon, built the house which stood for 
many years opposite the present church, and which 
was owned and occupied for nearly seventy years by 
Levi Stedman and his son Benjamin. About 1750 
Edward (Dea.) built a house, on what is now the 
Hastings place. Samuel Clark lived at Clark or 
Schoolhouse Lane. Next south was the large farm of 
Phineas Chapin, afterwards divided between his two 
sons Phineas (Capt.) and Silas (Col.). Dea. Benjamin 
lived next on land now owned by Mrs. Marshall Pease. 
William Chapin came next. He was known as **Mr. 
Billy," to distinguish him from the others of the same 
name ; then Seth, whose land was inherited by his three 
sons, Seth, Zerah, and Zenas. Caleb Wright lived for a 
while on the west side of the Street, south of the 
Burying Ground ; and there were others whose homes 
cannot be identified. South of Chickopee River lived 
Henry, George, William, Joseph, and Benjamin 
Chapin, and Benjamin Crowfoot. Mr. Japhet Chapin 
also kept tavern in Lower Chicopee. After his death 
his son Austin continued the business. It is said 



38 

that the old ** Toddy Road** took its name from the 
habit of the armorers on Springfield Hill, who used 
to come here for their refreshment, for the Temper- 
ance Reform was not yet. WilHmansett was not 
settled till later. 

In 1753 nine men were chosen to ''seat the Meet- 
ing House,** and it was ** Voted, to seat men and 
women together,** after the fashion lately introduced 
in the new Meeting House in Springfield. At first 
they had been seated separately, the men on the 
north, and the women on the south side. It was 
also ** Voted, that one year in age be equivalent to 
Four Pounds of Estate.** The next year ** Voted, 
that one year in age is equivalent to Three Pounds of 
Estate." 

''Voted, that the Pews left unseated, be for the 
use of girls under sixteen years of age.** 

(The last seating of the Meeting House was in 
1809. There was sometimes jealousy and dissatis- 
faction ; but, on the whole, it seems to have been a 
satisfactory arrangement.) 

This same year, 1753, it was — 

"Voted, that the Parish take care y* a Drum be 
beat to call the People to meeting at Proper Seasons.** 
The Drum was beaten up and down the Street. It 
was owned by Mr. Ebenezer Jones, and he was paid 
5*/4 in consequence of its being broken. After this 
47 is granted "to hire a Sign that may give notice 



39 

of the meetings for the year ensuing." This sign 
was probably a conch shell. 

** Voted, to agree with some person or persons to 
Sweep and Cleanse the Meeting House.*' Five 
shillings and four pence was at first paid for this 
service. Later more was given. 

The Parish officers were all paid a small sum for 
their services. These items are for 1763 : — 

£. s. d. 

To Mr. McKinstry as a Sallary for the yearpast, 61-6-8 

To Benoni Chapin for sweeping the Meeting House, 0-8-0 
To Mr. Jonathan Bement, for his services in 

apprizing Fire wood, 0-8-0 

To Edward Chapin for his services as Parish Clerk, 0-3-0 

To Abel Chapin for his services as Treasurer, 0-3-0 

To Defray Contingent Charges, 8-0-0 

In 1758 ** Voted, and Chosen Messrs. Abel Chapin, 
Benjamin Jones & Ebenezer Taylor to be a Comm^^ee 
to apply to the Select Men for the town of Spring- 
field, or to the Quarter Sessions ( as the occasion may 
require) in order to have a Stated Ferry in this Parish 
for the more Convenient Crossing the Great River, 
and also for obtaining a Convenient Road for said 
purpose on the West Side of Said River.** A road 
to the Landing on the east side had been laid out in 
1729. This Ferry Road was just south from the 
place where Col. Abel Chapin afterwards built his 
tavern. About 1836 or 7, it was moved to the upper 



40 

end of the Street, north of Mr. Frederic Chapin's 
house. This ferry was known for many years as 
** Jones's Ferry." 

By 1774 Springfield had begun to *'take into 
Serious and Deliberate Consideration the present 
Dangerous condition of the Province.** The situation 
was indeed trying, for most of these men and women 
were of English blood ; and those who were not had 
found safety and protection under English govern- 
ment and law. They had brought to New England 
not only the English language, but English customs 
and habits. Their public officers were called by 
English names, as Perambulator, Sheriff, and others. 
The minister was the Parson. The nine o*clock even- 
ing bell, still common in many New England towns, 
is the Curfew of Old England. Following English 
custom, their farms were divided by ditches. Some 
of these still remain, marking boundaries laid out in 
the long ago days. The old home in the Mother 
Country was still dear to them. They mourned 
England's danger or defeat by solemn days of fasting 
and prayer; and, when in 1746 **the Duke of Cum- 
berland obtained the remarkable victory against the 
Rebels (Charles Edward the Pretender) in North 
Britain,** they kept glad thanksgiving. 

But they could not allow even England to oppress 
them, and when the town appointed a Committee of 
Public Safety, Ensign Phineas, Capt. Ephraim, and 



41 

Dea. Edward Chapin were of the number. Money 
was voted *'to teach soldiers the military art," and 
every able-bodied man was required to train, that he 
might be in readiness for any outbreak. 

When the crisis came in 1775, Paul Revere was 
not the only messenger who rode to alarm the 
country. Scarcely had the first shot been fired at 
Concord bridge, when Isaac Bissell armed with au- 
thority from Z. Palmer, one of the Committee of Pub- 
lic Safety in Boston, started in hot haste for the Con- 
necticut Valley. He asked for men and horses. 
From Springfield sixty-two men responded. Among 
them, from Chicopee, — Jacob Chapin, Israel Chapin, 
Phinehas Chapin, Eleazar Chapin, Jr., Solomon 
Chapin, Joseph Chapin, Jr. ; from Skipmuck, — Gad 
Horton, John Stedman, Phinehas Stedman. 

Others who joined the army later were Col. Abel 
Chapin, who marched with a company to Ticonder- 
oga. In his company there were from Chicopee and 
Willimansett, — Moses Bliss, Zekiel Chapin, Benoni 
Chapin, Zerah Chapin, Ebenezer Burbank, Eleazar 
Wright, Thomas Frink, Collins Brown. 

Captain Ephraim Chapin commanded a company 
belonging to the regiment of Col. Ruggles Wood- 
bridge. In his company were, — Paul Chapin, Eben- 
ezer Jones, Japhet Chapin, Seth Chapin, John Frink, 
David Chapin, Jacob Chapin, George Chapin. 

Capt. Joseph Morgan's company belonged to Col. 



42 

John Mosely*s regiment, 3d Hampshire Co. They 
"marched to Springfield and Northampton in sup- 
port of Government,** also to ''reinforce Northern 
Army, commanded by Col. Timothy Robinson of 
Granville." In this company were, — Lucas Morgan, 
Joseph Morgan, 2d, and Erastus Morgan — all from 
Ireland Parish. 

Capt. Enoch Chapin, who commanded a West 
Springfield company, was also from Ireland Parish. 

There was intense and angry fueling throughout 
the country. We quote one verse of a popular song, 
which Miss Eliza McKinstry remembered as sung by 
her grandfather and grandmother Williams. 

Lamentation over Boston. 
Composed while the City was in Possession of the British. 

Is Boston my dear town? Is it my native place? 
For since my calamity, I do earnestly remember it. 
If I forget, if I do not remember it, 

Then let my numbers cease to flow, and be my muse unkind. 
Then let my tongue forget to move, and ever be confined. 
Let horrid jargons split the air, and tear my nerves asunder. 
Let hateful discords greet my ear, and terrible as thunder. 
Let harmony be banished hence, and consonance depart. 
Let dissonance erect her throne, and reign within my heart. 

In 1776 and 7, Dea. Edward was in the Legisla- 
ture, serving his country as faithfully there, as were 
his neighbors and cousins in the army; and in 1778 
both he and Ensign Phinehas were Selectmen, caring 



43 

for the needy families of the soldiers. Edward 
Chapin, Jr., was in the army, but we do not know 
his company or regiment. 

The war brought serious and pressing difficulties. 
At its close, the depreciation of the currency, together 
with the high price of merchandise, and even of the 
necessaries of life, increased the distress. The depre- 
ciation of the currency is shown by the vote of the Parish, 
of '* i^68 to supply Mr. McKinstry with fire wood.** 

Shays*s Rebellion grew out of these difficulties, and 
Chicopee was for a time the rallying point of one 
company of the insurgents. They took possession of 
the then new Chicopee bridge, but scattered in con- 
fusion when the news of Shays*s defeat reached them, 
many of them fleeing through our Street. One found 
refuge and a hiding place in a secret chimney closet 
at Capt. Ephraim Chapin*s ; and a sick soldier was 
kindly cared for at Parson McKinstry*s. 

In 1782 the Legislature had passed **an Act 
granting a Lottery for erecting a Bridge over Chicka- 
bee River on the Road leading from Springfield to 
Hadley in the County of Hampshire,** "as much Ex- 
pense, Difficulty and Danger attend the passing of the 
River.*' Two hundred pounds had been appropriated 
by the town, and it had also "voted to take all the 
Lottery tickets unsold,** and to be responsible for 
the prizes. The bridge was finished in 1783, some 
time before any bridge was built over the Connecticut. 



44 

In 1786 **the Inhabitants on the West Side of 
the River" desired to be incorporated into a separate 
parish, and a committee — Lieut. John Miller, 
Lieut. Charles Ball, and Mr. Lucas Morgan were 
chosen to petition the General Court. There were 
delays and complications, but the matter was finally 
settled in 1792 to the satisfaction of both parties. 
The church, now the First Church of Holyoke, was not 
organized until 1799. The eleven members had been, 
nearly all of them, members of our Chickopee church. 

Dea. Edward's Diary, a part which is preserved, 
is interesting as showing the men and women and the 
times. The first entry is on September 9, 1745, ** A 
cool, foggy morning.** He tells us of the weather, of 
his hunting and farming, of *• the savage Indian foes** 
and their attacks upon the settlements, of his journeys 
to Northfield and to Boston, of his subscribing for a 
newspaper — a Boston paper, — of the building of a 
schooner, ''The Hampshire,** by the neighbors to carry 
their produce to market at Hartford, which makes but 
one successful trip and **is lost ! about 10,000 cwt. lad- 
ing and all !** of the building of the Meeting House and 
schoolhouse, of the texts and sermons, of his going 
**last night (May 28, 1752), to L. — M. — W., & 
urging the affair of matrimony to be accomplished,'* 
of being '* Published at Springfield.** And we rejoice 
in the record, **6 July, 1752, The author of this 
journal married about this time.** 



45 

We can sympathize with the people, when on 
''March 24, 1748/9,** it is recorded, **A long spell of 
very muddy travelling this Spring.** 

June 9, *' This day was observed as a day of 
humiliation and prayer through the Province, on 
account of y^ distressing Drought.** 

December 28, 1751, '* We are informed that some 
in Boston who keep thermometers find that several 
days this week, it is colder by 7 or 8 degrees than 
has been known for several years past.** 

Nov. 13, 1753, ''About II o*clock in y^ forenoon 
to ye surprise of many was heard y® report as of a 
large Cannon in the air, and by some in Connectticut 
the same, an Alarm of a Drum following by the space 
of several minutes.** 

May 23, 1766, "The School House in Hartford 
Blowed up by Powder. Killed & wounded. Oh! 
Sad Effects of intemperate joy for the Repeal of the 
Stamp Act.** 

This is the last entry preserved. 

This old letter, carefully preserved among old 
records, wills, and deeds, shows that the course of 
true love did not always run smooth with the young 
men and maidens of the ** Antient**days. 

* September 27, 1770. 

Sir, I take the Liberty To write to you on a Sub- 
ject I never meddled with Before. I Desarn a Very 



46 

Great alteration in a Sartain female Sence your absence 
from here, and such uneasyness of mind as I fear the 
Event. She is sensible of her abuse to you, and de- 
sires you would give Her one opertunity more to 
Speak to you and if you will grant her the favour, 
you may make some Business with me, and I will 
Give you a Secret opertunity, and Sir, if you will not 
Do it for her Sake, please Do it for mine. 

I am not about to Bring you into a Snare. 
Whether you comply or not Pray keep this an entire 
Secret. 

Your Humble Servant. 

A few colored people were held as slaves, but 
slavery was always a mild form in Massachusetts. 
Pompey and Betty, who were married Nov. lo, 
I755> belonged to Phineas Chapin. Bowen was 
owned by Landlord Abel; and Caesar, by Lieut. 
Japhet. Caesar ran away. Rev. Peletiah Chapin, 
who had married the daughter of Lieut. Japhet, 
went in search of him, but stopping to preach lost 
him again. History does not say if he was ever 
found. Boston was bought from Charles Colton by 
Capt. Ephraim Chapin in 1760, for * 'Fifty-five Pounds 
Lawful Money.** Another was Stephen, whose name 
appears on the tax list, but with no intimation of his 
owner. 

From 1779 to 1785 there are no Parish records. 



47 

Meanwhile, Mr. McKinstry had been growing feeble, 
and with loss of vigor his voice was growing weak. 
The young people were not coming into the church, 
and there seems to have been general dissatisfaction. 
The times were hard, and by the division of the 
Parish the church was to lose some strong men on the 
west side of the river. An effort was made to secure 
the resignation of Mr. McKinstry, and one faction 
went so far as to close the meeting house. But Mr. 
McKinstry had been settled for life, and, reasonably 
enough, was unwilling to give up his pastorate. 
After long discussion, and much recrimination, the 
matter was very wisely settled by a Council, of which 
Dr. Bezaleel Howard of Springfield was scribe. 

Mr. McKinstry retained his parish. He was to 
perform such ministerial services as the Parish desired 
and his strength allowed. In return he was to receive 
from the Parish ;^i8 a year, and fifteen cords of 
wood. It was voted to secure as colleague ** a 
learned and orthodox minister.** Rev. Stephen Bemis, 
who had studied theology with Rev. Dr. Lathrop of 
West Springfield, and had married a daughter of 
Capt. Phinehas, was called, but he declined. For 
sixty-one years Mr. McKinstry was pastor of this 
church, but for only thirty was he in active service. 
He died in 1813. 

Dr. Lathrop, who preached his funeral sermon 
speaks of him as **a man of good natural abilities, a 



48 

respectable scholar, and a sound divine, a man of 
exemplary piety, a modest disposition and unwavering 
patience under long continued trials.** 

In 1796 it was '* voted to hire a master to instruct 
in Singing.** This was of course Church Music. 
Watts* Psalms & Hymns was in use here, very soon 
after its first introduction into the country, and there 
was a choir in the meeting house, almost from the 
very first. In 1798 *' voted to see what number of 
persons are likely to attend a Singing School should 
one be set up in the parish.** Sufficient interest was 
shown to raise $40. Mr. Stickney was the first 
master. Among later teachers were Joseph Pease, 
Dea. Asa Pease of Granby, Cyrus White of South Had- 
ley, and Reuben Goodman. Master Stickney*s Singing 
School was the beginning of a series which continued, 
winter after winter, for more than fifty years. 

In 1 795 Col. Abel Chapin built the old brown 
house, where he *'kept Tavern** for many years, 
hanging out under the old elm tree the sign which 
told of good cheer and hospitality within. This sign, 
still in existence, shows on one side haystacks and 
sheaves of grain, on the other an ox and sheep with 
the name, S. Chapin, in large letters underneath. 

Col. Abel was a large farmer, and fatted cattle for 
the Brighton and New York markets, cattle which 
were the wonder and admiration of all. His son, 
Sumner, after him, continued the tavern and the fat- 



49 

tening of cattle. Both father and son received many 
premiums for their stock. Some of us remember the 
beautiful Short Horns coming home from Cattle Show 
with their blue ribbon premium badges tied to their 
horns. 

It has been the fashion with some of this day and 
generation to deride the narrowness of old New 
England times. It is true that life in those days was 
very simple, but that life can hardly have been 
amusingly narrow, which dwelt continually on the 
tremendous realities of Liberty in this world and of 
Salvation in the world to come ; and to the sweet and 
wholesome influence of these homely lives we owe 
much that is good in these latter days. Devout in 
thought and habit, no people ever had truer reverence 
for God, the Bible, or the Sabbath. 

Family worship was almost universal, as was also 
the custom of asking a blessing at the beginning and 
of returning thanks at the close of every meal. In 
most families the Sabbath began and ended at sun- 
down, but a few thought with Mr. Pyncheon, that 
**The Lord's day did begin with the natural morning 
at midnight, and end with the natural evening at 
midnight." 

At first there were few clocks or watches, the 
hour glass, sun dial, and noon mark being used to 
mark the time. But by the close of the last century, 
tall clocks had become common. 



so 

Homespun was the common, everyday dress, but 
most men had a Sunday suit of English broadcloth, 
while their wives had one or more silk dresses. Cloaks 
of beautiful red broadcloth were worn, and, occasion- 
ally, one of black satin. 

Mrs. Kezia, wife of Major Moses, who was mar- 
ried in 1785 and died in 1822, left a wardrobe that 
would be elegant even in these modern days. 

Every young girl had her chest or drawers of bed 
and table linen, blankets, coverlids, underwear and 
stockings, probably spun, woven, and knit by her own 
hands. The store accumulated from year to year, 
and was ready for her marriage, when that came, or, 
if she remained unmarried, perhaps she needed it all 
the more. It was called her ** setting out,*' a quaint 
term to indicate the new life upon which she entered. 

The first carpets were ** Home made.** They 
were of wool, with beautiful stripes of bright colors, 
and were filled with coarse heavy linen yarn. 

*'Boughten** carpets, as they were sometimes 
called, did not come into these homes until after the 
War of 1 8 12. Mrs. Giles Chapin, Betsey Chapman 
of Ellington, brought two carpets when she came, a 
bride, to Chicopee Street in 18 16. By 1830 they 
were common in every '* North** or ** South Room,** 
as the parlors of those days were generally called. 

The houses were warmed by fireplaces, great 
caverns filled with backlog and forelog as founda- 



SI 

tion for the smaller wood laid on top. The cooking 
was all done at the kitchen fireplace, which was 
furnished with a crane, with hooks and trammels for 
hanging pots and kettles, while below on the hearth, 
in a bed of coals, stood spider, skillet, or famous bake- 
kettle. Most of the baking was done in the brick 
oven, and no more delicious and appetizing food was 
ever eaten than came from these old brick ovens. 

The big kitchen was the living room, and was the 
most attractive room in the house. There on winter 
evenings 

** Shut in from all the world without 
We sat the clean- winged hearth about. 
Content to let the north-wind roar, 
In baffled rage at pane and door, 
While the red logs before us beat 
The frost-line back with tropic heat.** 

As matches were unknown, every house had a 
tinder box, with flint and steel, and scorched linen, 
for striking fire, when necessary. But great care was 
taken to preserve the fire, by covering it with ashes, 
when not needed. Sometimes fire was borrowed from 
a neighbor, and there were town laws ordering, that 
**fire shall always be covered, when carried from 
house to house." 

The warming pan was part of the furniture of 
every house. This was a covered brass pan with a 
long handle, often of mahogany, which was filled 



52 

with coals, and passed between the sheets at bedtime 
to take off the chill. It was used in sickness, or in 
extreme cold weather, when the children and old peo- 
ple were treated to a warm bed. 

Foot stoves were common, and were often carried 
to meeting, filled with coals from hard wood or cobs. 
The old Meeting House must have been a bitter cold 
place in winter, for fire in the House of God would 
have been considered an enervating luxury. It is re- 
membered that when the question of putting a stove 
into the new Meeting House came up for discussion, 
one man remarked: '* If you had more of the grace 
of God in your hearts, you could keep warm enough 
without a fire.** 

Candles were the only artificial light at first and 
for many long years, excepting candle wood, a name 
given to pine knots, of which a plentiful supply was 
always kept for use. They were burned in the fire- 
place during the long winter evenings, giving a 
brilliant light to the big kitchen. Candles were made 
at home by dipping the long wicks in hot melted 
tallow. Dipping candles was a most interesting proc- 
ess. Under the skillful hand of the housewife they 
grew into the proper size and form, and when the 
number of dozens needed for family use was com- 
pleted, they were properly cooled and laid away in 
store in the candle box. 

After the death of friends, it was customary to 



53 

**put up a bill*' as it was called, '* asking the pray- 
ers of God's people, that the affliction might be sanc- 
tified to the surviving family and friends." The rela- 
tives all sat together, and some who were never seen 
in church dared not lose their respectability by stay- 
ing away at this time. On one occasion, the minis- 
ter prayed so earnestly for a family of motherless 
children, asking that the loss might be more than made 
up to them, that the father was indignant, saying, 
** He prayed that the Lord would give them a better 
mother." This custom was continued here until 
quite recently. 

The old Burying Ground was opened in 1741. 
Miss Sarah Hitchcock of Brimfield, who died while 
visiting relatives here, was the first to be laid there. 
It was enlarged in 1797, when forty-five dollars 
was spent in caring for it, and when it was taken in 
legal form under the care of the Parish. Since that 
first burial, over seven hundred of our ancestors, 
relatives, and friends have found their last resting 
place in this quiet spot. 

The gladdest day of all the year was Thanksgiv- 
ing Day, for to us of Puritan ancestry Christmas was 
then unknown (Christmas was kept for the first time 
in Chicopee Street in 1867). No New Englander can 
ever forget and no outsider can ever understand the 
meaning of '' getting ready for Thanksgiving." For 
weeks beforehand, all the housekeeping arrangements 



S4 

were planned for it. The farm work was hurried up that 
the boys might be ready to begin school '* the Mon- 
day after.** New shoes, new gowns, new bonnets 
and hoods and cloaks were made ready — everything 
must be in order for the great and joyful occasion. 

Pies without number, and in bewildering variety, 
found their way from the fragrant big brick oven to 
the buttery shelves. The raised cake, a modification 
of the English plum pudding, was a work of art. It 
was always baked on the week before. At least 
twenty-four hours were required from the making of 
the yeast before the beautiful brown loaves gladdened 
the housekeeper. 

Then came the long watched-for Sunday when the 
Proclamation was read. And when the minister rose 
in the great pulpit, opened the big sheet printed with 
the big letters, and, after reading the causes for 
thankfulness which the pious heart of the Governor 
had suggested, closed with the stirring words, **GOD 

SAVE THE COxMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS," 

our hearts beat fast with pride and patriotism. 

Going to meeting was a part of Thanksgiving 
Day. It was a re-union of friends, for children and 
grandchildren came to the old home to keep the day 
in glad remembrance. Special music was always pre- 
pared, and the Meeting House rang with Psalm and 
Anthem. 

The dinner table was loaded with all the good 



ss 

things which the farm could supply and the skill of 
the housekeeper provide. One thing must not be 
forgotten, which was always on the table, the 
chicken pie. The turkey might sometimes be left 
out, but the chicken pie never. 

The first house in Willimansett was built by Abel 
Chapin (Landlord Abel), probably about 1720. No 
other settlement seems to have been attempted for 
many years. Some time before 1777, Rev. John 
Pendleton, Collins Brown, Gillis Frink, and Eleazar 
Wright had built houses in Willimansett. Rev. John 
Pendleton was a Baptist minister, and preached occa- 
sionally. His house stood near the South Hadley line. 
He was killed by a fall from his horse. After the 
Revolutionary War, a brother of John, Caleb, the 
father of Nathan and Jesse, settled near him. 

Capt. Joseph Griswold came about this time and 
built the house now the home of his granddaughters. 
Miss Elizabeth Mack and Mrs. Helen M. Stratton. 
Here he kept tavern until his death in 1829. For 
nearly forty years the old sign with the British Lion 
on one side, and the American Eagle wearing on its 
breast a shield with the Stars and Stripes, on the other, 
welcomed the traveler. 

By 1 76 1 the number of children had increased so 
much as to make the old school building uncomforta- 
bly small. This was taken down, and what some of 
us remember as **The old Red Schoolhouse *' was 



S6 

built on the same lot — in later years, between Dr. 
Amos Skeele*s on the north, and Dea. Joseph Pease's 
on the south. It was an excellent building for the 
time, well built and substantial. It was of two 
stories and fronted the south. At first there were 
fireplaces, afterwards box stoves were substituted for 
these, one of them being large enough to hold four- 
foot wood. It was not only schoolhouse but Parish 
house, and was used for a variety of purposes, — 
Prayer Meetings and Lectures, Singing Schools, De- 
bating Societies, Spelling Schools, Temperance and 
Anti-Slavery meetings, and sometimes a Justice's 
Court. In the lower room the desks were on three 
sides, rising by steps to the last row against the wall. 
Upstairs the seats and desks were movable. The 
older scholars occupied the room downstairs; and 
the little ones, the upper room. Sometimes there was 
a private school in the upper room for the more ad- 
vanced scholars. In this room there was a pair of 
globes, an orrery, and a prism. 

The names of only two of the teachers of the 
early days are known, Samuel Ely and Samuel 
Leonard, Jr. In 1773 the latter received '* £7 for 
teaching the school in Upper Chickopee the space of 
six months." For many years there were frequent 
changes in the teachers. A young woman taught all 
the scholars in the summer and the younger scholars 
in the winter, but a man was thought necessary to 



57 

govern the large boys in the winter. He was often a 
college student. 

This schoolhouse also was built by the people of 
the Street; but two years later, in 1763, the town 
voted "Six Pounds to Ensign Phineas, Ephraim, and 
Edward Chapin of Upper Chicopee towards paying 
for the schoolhouse.** The Spelling Book and 
Catechism were the first books studied. The Testa- 
ment was the first reading book. Writing was taught, 
and simple arithmetic. Fine penmanship was con- 
sidered an accomplishment. Later The Schoolmas- 
ter's Assistant, often called Daboll's Arithmetic, came 
into use and kept its place for a long time. In 1783 
Webster's Spelling Book with it^ fables and wonderful 
pictures made the children glad, and the next year 
Morse's Geography told most wonderful things about 
the earth's surface. The Art of Reading and The 
American Preceptor were added to the Testament for 
reading books, and Murray's Grammar began to teach 
**how to speak and write the English language cor- 
rectly." 

By 1830, Smith's series of school books, Grammar, 
Geography, and Arithmetic, was in common use. 
Peter Parley began his story telling about this time, 
and continued it in Geography, and in the First, 
Second, and Third Books of History. Emerson's 
Arithmetic, with its pretty pictures, was the first 
child's Arithmetic ; and Colburn's Mental Arithmetic 
was the standard for more than forty years. 



S8 

Those of us who had the good fortune to be 
brought up with the interesting series of Readers 
published by G. & C. Merriam, remember them with 
delight. The Easy Primer, The Child's Guide, The 
Improved Reader, The Intelligent Reader, The 
National Reader, and The Village Reader, were for 
their time quite equal to any modern system of school 
books. But what shall I say more? For time would 
fail to tell of all the books read and studied in The 
Old Red Schoolhouse, during its existence of more 
than eighty years. In 1842 it was moved from the 
place where it had stood so long to the lot where the 
present schoolhouse stands, and in 1846 it was taken 
down. 

For a long time the schools were opened and 
closed with prayer. The scholars were quietly dis- 
missed at night, each one stopping at the door, to 
bow or ''curtsey*' to the teacher. Children were 
expected to show the same civility to older persons 
whom they met in the street. This custom was con- 
tinued as late as 1835, and some of us can remember 
how we ranged ourselves in a row, to **make our 
manners*' as the stage went by. 

Dea. Edward lived until i8cx). He was, as we 
have seen, one of the strong men, in parish, church, 
town, and state, well educated, of large sympathies, 
sincere piety, and consistent life. One of his sons 
was Dr. Calvin Chapin of Rocky Hill, Conn., — one 



59 

of the six ministers who organized the American 
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. The 
Rev. Dr. A. L. Chapin, late President of Beloit College, 
was a great grandson. Dea. Edward's wife, Eunice 
Colton of Longmeadow, survived him a number 
of years. She was known by the quaint name of 
** Granny Deacon'* — not a term of ridicule, but of 
affection, for she was very much beloved. She was a 
sweet singer, and, in her visits among the neighbors, 
used to carry her hymn book in a bag, and sing to the 
children, some of whom never forgot her clear voice 
and pleasant ways. Their house, built in 1751, was 
burned in 1871. 

A very practical church unity existed at this time, 
for among those who often preached here with accept- 
ance was ** Father Rand,** so long the useful and 
well-beloved pastor of the Baptist Church of Ireland 
Parish. In 1804 it was ** Voted, that the people of 
the denomination of the Baptists, have a right to use 
the Meeting House for one year, in proportion as 
they pay their taxes.** This vote was repeated in 
subsequent years, probably until the Baptists were 
strong enough to organize for themselves. In 18 16 
they were holding services of their own in Williman- 
sett. 

Wagons and carriages were not seen in Chicopee 
Street until after 1800, as every one rode on horse- 
back. We do not read, however, that they frightened 



6o 

the horses, as was the case in Blandford, where a town 
meeting was called to forbid their use on this ground. 
Happily the effort was unsuccessful. Capt. Phinehas 
was one of the first to own a chaise, and Dr. Skeele 
had one about the same time. Mr. Ruel Vanhorn of 
Lower Chicopee owned the first double carriage and 
drove a pair of handsome white horses. 

Every able-bodied man between the ages of i8 
and 45 was required to train, and Training Day 
became a regular, though not a legal, holiday. Twice 
a year the drums and fifes sounded the call to duty. 
The Spring training was near home, a Company train- 
ing. In the fall the whole regiment trained together. 
Much enthusiasm was manifested, and many titles 
were won in this service. 

Col. Silas greatly enjoyed military practice, and 
gave time and money to it. It is remembered of him, 
that on the last day on which he rode as colonel at the 
head of his regiment, he spent one hundred silver 
dollars, in entertaining his officers and soldiers. 

Col. Levi C. Skeele was the last man in Chicopee 
to receive a commission, under the old laws. This 
commission is dated March 5, 1835, ^^^ ^s given by 
** His Honor, Samuel T. Armstrong, Lieutenant 
Governor and Commander in Chief of the Common- 
wealth of Massachusetts.** Soon after this changes 
were made in the statutes, and he was ** honorably 
discharged at his own request in 1837.** 



6i 

One familiar feature of those old days, the later, 
not the earlier ones, was the Post Rider, or, as he was 
commonly called, **The Post.*' Every Wednesday 
morning brought Mr. Harvey Judd from South 
Hadley on his way to Springfield. On Tuesday, he 
rode to Northampton, bringing from there the North- 
ampton Courier and Hampshire Gazette, which he 
distributed to subscribers along his route. There 
were a few in Chicopee Street who preferred the 
Northampton papers. Wednesday P. M. saw him 
returning with the Springfield Republican, Springfield 
Gazette, and Hampden Post. How eagerly we used 
to watch and listen for the blowing of the horn which 
announced his approach ! His wagon was usually 
well loaded with boxes and bundles, for express 
companies were not yet. Sometimes he carried 
letters and occasionally passengers. Winter's cold 
or summer s heat rarely kept him from his weekly 
round, and the memory of his regular visits is among 
the pleasant things of childhood. 

We must not forget the stage, which twice a day, 
for many years, rumbled through our Street. After 
1823 it brought and carried the mail. The yellow 
coach, with its four horses, was the most elegant con- 
veyance imaginable, and how we children envied the 
people who found it convenient or necessary to travel 
in that luxurious manner. At first one coach was 
sufficient for the needs of travel, but in the years just 



62 

before the building of the Conn. River Railroad three 
and four crowded stages passed daily. 

The years passed on. One by one the old men, 
good and true, and the women, gracious and faithful, 
were gathered to their fathers. In 1804 there were 
but seven male members in the church. This year 
Dr. Amos Skeele moved into the place ; and a little 
before this a young man, Joseph Pease, had married 
Bethiah Chapin, and opened the first store in Chico- 
pee Street. Mr. Pease's life was unique in the number 
of offices and positions he was called to fill. He was 
first Mr. Pease, then Ensign, Captain, 'Squire, and 
Deacon. As a young man he taught school, was a 
farmer, merchant, lumber dealer, and manufacturer. 
He was Representative to the Legislature. As Jus- 
tice of the Peace he was often called to settle estates, 
sometimes to act as Judge, and occasionally to marry 
people. As a singer he had a fine tenor voice, and 
he often taught singing school, played the bass viol, 
and led the choir. Everywhere he was an esteemed 
and useful citizen. 

Dr. Skeele was an earnest Christian, a man of in- 
domitable energy, with the courage of his con- 
victions and of a mighty faith. When his wife, a 
woman of rare loveliness of character, objected to 
moving to Chicopee because there was no minis- 
ter, his reply was: *' If we go to Chicopee, we will 
have a minister." At this time the Sabbath services 



63 

were irregular, perhaps unattractive. For three or 
four months in each year, preaching was hired; at 
other times ** Deacon's Meetings'* were held, when a 
sermon was read. 

After Dr. Skeele came he took charge of these 
meetings. Mr. Pease led the singing, — they always 
had good singing, — and Mr. Caleb Pendleton read the 
sermon. Mr. Pendleton writes in his Diary: ** From 
the year 1800 in April to the present year (1824), I 
have for the most part assisted in Meetings on the 
Sabbath & at other times in the Parish, having read 
456 Sermons, and many other pieces on Divinity in 
Meetings." Occasionally Mr. Osgood, the young 
minister from Springfield, or Mr. Storrs from Long- 
meadow, or Dr. Lathrop from West Springfield came 
for a Sunday and administered the Lord's Supper to 
the few disciples left, Dr. Skeele carrying on his heart 
continually his desire for a settled pastor. 

Two helpers in his prayers and efforts might be 
styled, as the Apostle John styled his friends, ** Elect 
Ladies," — '* Widow Lucy" and ** Widow Mary," as 
they were called. ** Widow Lucy" lived in the 
house which, until recently, stood in the corner op- 
posite the church, once owned and occupied by Levi 
Stedman. Sh^ had been a faithful friend to Mr. Mc- 
Kinstry, and her house was open for service when 
the old Meeting House had been forcibly closed. 
Her faith in the future of the church was strong, and 



64 

her prayers for its prosperity unceasing. The 2d 
Part of Watts's version of the I02d Psalm was her de- 
light, especially the ist, 2d, 5th, and 6th verses, 
which she often repeated, emphasizing the lines: — 



And 



*' This shall be told, when we are dead 
And left on long record.'* 

'' It shan't be said that praying breath 
Was ever spent in vain.*' 



Her faith was rewarded. A pastor was settled in 
May, 1824, and she lived until September of the 
same year. 

"Widow Mary** was a younger woman, of deep 
piety and unusual executive ability. She was the 
widow of '* Young Capt. Ephraim,'* as he was called 
to distinguish him from his father. She lived in the 
house now owned and occupied by Mrs. Marshall 
Pease. It might be said of her, as of the beloved, 
Persis, **She labored much in the Lord.** Always 
ready for every good work, she was a blessing to the 
church and community, and died in a good old age. 

Two young men joined the church during these 
days of darkness and depression, men of influence 
in the church and community — Orange Chapin and 
Giles S. Chapin. Both served the church as Dea- 
cons. Dea. Orange taught school for a while, after- 
wards he was farmer and surveyor, or civil engineer. 
He was Assessor and Selectman, and Representative 



6s 

to the Legislature. He was Captain of a military 
company, and was for more than thirty years Justice of 
the Peace. He was Clerk of the Parish for forty 
years, and Deacon for twenty-seven years. 

Giles S. Chapin was Deacon for twenty-eight 
years. He, too, was Selectman and Representative. 
He was farmer and manufacturer, and a very success- 
ful business man. Both were men of earnest and 
sincere piety. 

Dr. Skeele*s courage never faltered. His faith 
never grew weak. Financial embarrassment and hard 
times followed the war of 1812. But the country 
rallied, and the farmers were again prosperous. 
Wherever there was a ministers* meeting of any kind 
in the vicinity, association or ordination. Dr. Skeele 
was there with his question, ** Do you know of any 
minister we can get to settle among us? " 

** Doctor, your church cannot support a minister." 

•* We are going to have a settled minister," was 
his invariable reply. 

'* Father, you are crazy," said his eldest son to 
him one day. **We cannot support a minister." 

** Otis, I shall live to see a settled minister." 

As physician he rode up and down the Street, 
across the plains to Ludlow, up the River to South 
Hadley, to Lower Chicopee, sometimes to West 
Springfield, always planning and praying for a settled 
minister. 



66 

Brighter days came at last. The Home Mission- 
ary Society was willing to help, and a call was given 
to the Rev. Mr. Ripley. Ireland Parish was looking 
towards re-union with us. But this project failed, 
and Mr. Ripley declined the call. About this time 
word came to Dr. Skeele that the Re;v. Alexander 
Phoenix, a man in middle life, just entering the min- 
istry, was looking for a country parish in the Con- 
necticut Valley. He had been a merchant in New 
York, where bereavement and pecuniary losses had 
turned his attention to a life of increased usefulness. 
This he hoped to find in the ministry. Having some 
income, salary was a secondary consideration. 

Two parishes sought him. He would come and 
preach in Chicopee, and look over the ground. He 
came. A call was given him, but he hesitated. On 
the Monday morning after the last Sunday of his 
preaching as a candidate, as his horse was brought to 
the door, Mr. Phoenix stood a few minutes before 
mounting. ** Well, Doctor, I will let you know in two 
or three weeks, but I do not think I shall come here. 
As things are now, I think I shall accept the call to 
Hatfield. But you will hear from me soon. Good 
morning." Mr. Phoenix rode away. The Doctor 
turned, went into the house, and calmly observed, ** In 
less than a year, that man will be our settled minister.** 

It made no difference to him that Mr. Phoenix 
had just told him that he should probably settle else- 



67 

where. He was sure that this was the man the Lord 
had chosen for this church. His faith triumphed. 
In a few days the letter came. Mr. Phoenix accepted 
the call, on a salary of '* $400, with a vacation of eight 
Sabbaths." 

Mrs. Phoenix was a daughter of Gov. Caleb 
Strong of Northampton, and both were connected 
with other prominent families in New England. They 
brought with them to Chicopee culture and refine- 
ment. It must have been a great change from the 
atmosphere of city life to a country parish in those 
days, but there was no friction in the relation of pas- 
tor and people. The people accepted him as their 
leader and example, in temporal as well as spiritual 
affairs, and reverenced him as few churches reverence 
a pastor. The older people followed him as a wise 
guide, the younger ones loved him as a father. 

It is difficult for one who did not live here during 
Mr. Phoenix's pastorate to understand his influence. 
It was not that he was a great man. But he accepted 
the opportunity which came to him, and in ways most 
wise and discreet he helped the people in their every- 
day life, while he 

** Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.'* 

For the sake of his oldest son, who was not a 
strong man, he bought a farm, brought new and im- 
proved breeds of cattle, and new methods of farming. 



68 

His garden was an object lesson. Strawberries had 
been cultivated before. He brought finer kinds. He 
had beautiful flowers. He built the first picket fence. 
In his house he had a family school, which was open 
to the young women of the parish, who gladly availed 
themselves of the opportunity to attend it. 

Mr. Phoenix was ordained and installed on 
Wednesday, April 28, 1824. 

The following notice is copied from an old Church 
Record : — 

** The day was solemn as well as interesting in the 
prospect before us, in the Ordination and Settlement 
of Mr. Alexander Phoenix at Chicopee, the 2^ 
Parish in Springfield (Mass.) as a Pastor of the Church 
and People, and was performed in the following 
order, viz. Kev^ Mr. Wright of Ludlow to make 
the Report of the appointment of the Ordination, 
the setting of the Council, and the duties assigned to 
each Minister to act on the day. The Rev^ Mr. 
Knapp of Westfield made the Introductory Prayer. 
The Kev^ Doct. Romeyn of New York to Preach 
the Sermon, from 2^ Timothy 2 Chap. 15*^ v. The 
Kev^ Mr. Gould of Southampton made the Conse- 
crating Prayer. The Rev^ Mr. Williams of Northamp- 
ton gave the Charge. The Rev^ Mr. Osgood of 
Springfield gave the Right Hand of Fellowship and 
the Rev^ Mr. Chapin of Granby, the East Society, 
made the concluding Prayer. 



69 

'*A11 parts of duty were performed with Solemnity, 
and the Assembly appeared to have an attentive ear, 
and good order on the occasion. 

** Caleb Pendleton, Jr., Clerk of the Ch." 

One of the conditions of Mr. Phoenix's settle- 
ment was the repairing of the old Meeting House, or 
the building of a new one. It was decided to build ; 
$3000, in sixty shares of $50 each, was raised by 
subscription, and the work was put into the hands of 
Shepherd & Whitmarsh, at that time a prominent 
building firm of Springfield. The building committee 
were Dea. Joseph Pease, Lewis Ferry, Jr., Orange 
Chapin, Joseph Chapin, Giles S. Chapin, Silas Sted- 
man, and Stephen C. Bemis. 

The lot of land on which the house was built was 
given by Eleazar and Mary Chapin Strong of Gran- 
ville. Mrs. Strong was a granddaughter of Dea. 
David, and her home had been in the old house with 
the fortified door. Perhaps a few who read this will 
remember her as ** Miss Polly." The Meeting House 
when finished **cost Four thousand, four hundred 
dollars, some odd cents.** The beautiful mahogany 
pulpit, costing $5CX), was given by friends of Mr. and 
Mrs. Phoenix. 

The corner stone was laid on May 12, 1825, and 
the Meeting House was dedicated on Jan. 4, 1826. 
Mr. Phoenix preached the sermon from 2d Chron., 



70 

7th chap., i2-i6th verses. The Rev. Messrs. Osgood, 
Sprague, and Gould assisted in the services, Dea. 
Asa Pease of Granby led the singing. 

The committee to seat people on the day of dedi- 
cation were Orange Chapin, Closson Pendleton, Dr. 
Rodolphus Perry, Chester W. Chapin, Stephen C. 
Bemis, Miletus Pendleton, and Joseph Griswold, Jr. 

The slips were bought by individuals, and among 
the owners we find the names of Samuel Osgood, 
Edward Pyncheon, and Daniel Bontecue. The most 
valuable slips were the one set apart as the minister's 
pew, and the one on the opposite side of the house, 
bought by Joseph Pease for $200. When the Meet- 
ing House was built, there was no other church 
between South Hadley and Springfield, though the 
same year a small Methodist church was built at 
what is now Chicopee Falls. The congregation here 
came from Willimansett, Chicopee Factory, and 
Lower Chicopee, and no one dreamed of the changes 
which a few years would make in the parish. 

Mr. Phoenix's pastorate continued eleven years. 
His son-in-law says of him in his funeral sermon: 
* * These years of pastoral labor in Chicopee were as 
full of peace and happiness as any man could hope 
for in this world." The wonderful revival which 
swept over the country, especially New England, in 
1830 and 31, visited Chicopee, and large additions 
were made to the church. But bereavement followed 



71 

him here. Two sons, his namesake, a young man of 
twenty-five, and a bright boy were taken. In 1835 
he left Chicopee and a sorrowing people to reside in 
New Haven. He died in Harlem, N.Y., Aug.31,1863. 

His last thoughts, almost his last words, were of 
Chicopee. ** Write — write to Brother Clark. Tell 
him, — tell them how much I love them." During 
twenty-eight years of separation, he had loved and 
remembered and prayed for his people, and here to- 
day there are grateful memories of him, and of the 
beautiful work God gave him to do. 

Rev. E. B. Wright succeeded Mr. Phoenix in a 
short pastorate of four years. He was a good man, 
but easily depressed, and failure of health increased 
this depression. He was fond of singing and used 
to gather the children on Saturday afternoons. One 
half hour was spent in singing, and the other in 
reciting the Catechism. 

The Rev, E. B. Clark came to us in the summer 
of 1839. K^ w^s acceptable from the first, and a 
call was given him, which was as promptly accepted. 
He was ordained and installed Oct. 16, 1839. ^^ 
was married to Miss Cornelia DeWitt of New Haven, 
Dec. 23, 1839, and the young people came at once 
to this, their first and only parish. 

Mrs, Clark was a beautiful woman, lovely in per- 
son and character, and her influence in the parish was 
hardly secondary to that of her husband. How 



7* 

wisely and tenderly she sympathized, encouraged, and 
comforted will never be forgotten by those to whom 
her gracious ministrations were given. Mrs. Clark 
died Jan. 17, 1880. 

Mr. Clark was a good pastor and a good practical 
preacher. He was also a good citizen. His long life 
among us gave him the feeling that all these homes 
belonged to him, whether the inmates attended our 
church or some other. He knew every one, and every 
one knew him. The generation which grew up under 
his influence were largely indebted to him for the 
formation of their character. 

For many years he was a member of the School 
Board, both in Springfield and Chicopee. He was a 
public spirited man. He planted shade trees. He 
cared for the parsonage. He was intensely patriotic, 
and served on the Christian Commission during the 
Civil War. 

The needs of the soldiers found a ready response 
from the hearts and hands of our people. Soldiers' 
Aid Societies were organized. Lint and bandages 
were prepared. Apples dried, comfortable garments 
for the sick and wounded made ready ; garrets and 
closets were ransacked, and beds and blankets sent to 
the army. 

When the news of the fall of Richmond came to 
Chicopee, Marshall Pease was the first to hear it. He 
rushed to the church and rang out a peal of joy on 



73 

the old bell. Mr. Clark came hurrying in to know 
the cause of this midday ringing. 

** Richmond has fallen!" shouted Mr. Pease. 
**Then let us sing the Doxology," said Mr. Clark, 
and there, alone in the old church, the two sang, — 

** Praise God from whom all blessings flow.*' 

They had sung the words together many times before, 
they sang them many times after, but never with 
deeper feeling or more thankful hearts. 

It was during Mr. Clark's pastorate that the 
Underground Railroad ran through Chicopee Street, 
with stations at Otis Skeele's and A. G. Parker's. 
Mr. Clark was not unwilling to be of assistance on 
this line, and at one time kept in his family several 
weeks, a bright and valuable colored man, who was 
in hiding from his master. 

One of Mr. Clark's valued and trusted friends 
was Dea. Sidney Chapin, a man whom we all love to 
remember. He was a wise counselor, a generous 
giver, a faithful friend, a beloved officer in the church, 
a man of blessed memory. 

Mr. Clark's only son is the Rev. Dr. Clark of the 
Tabernacle Church, Salem. The daughter, Cornelia, 
died in 1883. 

Mr. Clark was pastor of this church for thirty-six 
years, being dismissed in October, 1875. The changes 



74 

of these years are suggested by his farewell sermon. 
In this he says that only one person is present who 
was in active life in the parish when he was settled. 
In November, 1883, Mr. Clark married Miss Rosetta 
Wilcox of New Haven. 

After his dismissal he remained in Chicopee Street 
until 1888, when he removed to Springfield. Mr. 
Clark died April 23, 1889. He left with his people 
the benediction of a faithful and loving pastor, and 
an earnest and consecrated life. 

It is quite impossible to record all the reforming 
and philanthropic influences of these later days. The 
Temperance Society with its 1 30 autograph signers to 
the Pledge; organized at first as the ** Men's Associa- 
tion," it was afterwards ** voted, to take in the 
Ladies." Nearly every family is represented. The 
Columbian Debating Society, the Pledge for keep- 
ing the Sabbath, the Maternal Association, the 
Moral Reform Society, the Colonization Society, 
the Anti-Slavery Society, the Monthly Concert of 
Prayer for the Conversion of the World, and the 
Weekly Prayer Meeting. The Monthly Concert was 
on the first Monday evening of every month, and the 
Prayer Meeting on Thursday evening of each week. 
The latter was called the Conference Meeting, and 
was held ** at early candle light.** All these meetings 
were in the schoolhouse. 

The faces and forms of the godly men of those 



75 

days, and the sound of their voices in prayer, are as 
distinct in memory as if it were only yesterday. 

Six men were always there, and always in the 
same places : Dea. Simeon Stedman, Dea. Giles S. 
Chapin, Mr. Lewis Ferry, Mr. William Chapin, Dr. 
Skeele, and Dea. Joseph Pease. Others may have 
been as faithful, but they did not always sit in the 
same place, and so made less impression on the mind 
of a child. After the death of Dea. Joseph Pease, 
Mr. William Chapin was chosen in his place, but 
declined the office. He was a good man and true, 
and worthy to be held in remembrance among the 
fathers of those days. 

The story of the two hundred years is told. We 
began our existence as the 5th Parish of Springfield. 
After 1763, when Wilbraham was set off as a separate 
town, we became the 4th Parish. These changes 
remind us of the old days when scholars worked their 
way **up the class.** In 1775 West Springfield was 
organized, and again, we **went up** and became the 
3d Parish. In 1783 Longmeadow left the old town, 
and we were promoted to the second place, which we 
kept for more than sixty years, until in 1848 we 
** went to the head ** as the First Parish of Chicopee. 

The old Parish was at first a territory. Now it 
lies within the bounds of a single country street. 
While there has always been a steady drain upon the 
life of our community, Chicopee Street has from the 



76 

first possessed a wonderful vitality. The men and 
women who have gone out from these homes have 
gone to build up other churches, to bless other com- 
munities, to brighten other lives. They have been a 
race of workers. They are artisans, mechanics, farm- 
ers and manufacturers, business men, lawyers and 
doctors, teachers, editors, and clergymen. 

Rejoicing in our past, a few of us still keep the 
old home, and watch and wait with earnest longing 
for the coming of better days. 



APPENDIX 



Reminiscences by Judge E. W. Chapin of Holyoke 

Read at the Annual Roll Call Meeting of the First Church 

IN Chicopee, September 30, 1897 

My dear Friends : — 

The occasion which calls us together awakens feelings of pleasure 
and of sadness; of pleasure, to meet old friends whom we have been 
accustomed to meet in this time honored place, of sadness as we miss 
the sight of familiar faces and fail to receive the cordial greetings of 
friends of Auld Lang Syne. As we think of different friends who 
have left us we long ** for the touch of a vanished hand and the sound 
of a voice that is still.** But, if we have profited by the messages 
delivered from the sacred desk, and remembered the words of wisdom in 
Holy Writ, we cannot fail to recognize that our loss is our friends* gain; 
that absence from the body is presence with the Lord; that joys of 
immortality surpass those of time. For ourselves, — 

** 'Tis sweet as year by year we lose 
Friends out of sight, in faith to muse 
How grows in Paradise our store.** 

This is a world of change, and yet as I compare the changes of Chicopee 
Street with those of Holyoke and other places about here it seems to 
me there are less here than in the crowded city. This beautiful street 
with its wide spreading elms standing in front of ancient dwellings 
looks as attractive as ever. The Connecticut River flows by with the 
same slow and steady current as in days of yore, but commerce has 
put it to new uses ; freight that used to pass up and down this river 
and through the old canal by the slow moving canal boats, is now car- 
ried on the swift moving cars. The poet of old time wrote in its praise, — 

** Roll on, loved Connecticut, long hast thou ran. 
Bringing shad to Northampton and pleasure to man.** 

It brings no longer shad to Northampton. Fishermen no longer gather 
in nets at South Hadley Falls the shiny fish which each spring used to 



78 

bring up the river. The fishermen now stand in vain upon its shores 
to lure the unwary fish with tempting bait. They have left the stream, 
which has not the purity of former days. When the first dam was built 
at Holyoke the Connecticut River rebelled against being stopped, and 
broke away from its restraint, carrying the dam with it in its course. 
As I stood by the river bank in Willimansett when a boy and saw the 
river filled with timber and logs sweeping past, I recall old Mr. Sikes, 
who was then a member of this congregation, always ready with some 
Bible quotation, repeating on this occasion a verse from Proverbs, as 
he watched the turbulent waters bearing away the timbers of the new 
dam. ** Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not ? for riches 
certainly make themselves wings; they fly away, as an eagle toward 
heaven." 

Chicopee takes its name from the Indian name of Chicopee River, 
which is said to mean the ** River of Elms.*' All in this vicinity at first 
attended church at Springfield, and forded the Chicopee River at what 
was called ** the Indian wading place " back of the Dwight Mills. It 
was not until 1783 that a bridge was built across the Chicopee River. 
There is a story told of one of the early settlers who trafiicked with 
the Indians for furs. Not finding him at home, the Indians went to 
Springfield and found him at church, but he would say little to them 
beyond letting them understand that he would trade with them the next 
day. One of the Indians inquired the cause of so many white men 
assembled together, and the man, with an eye to business, replied that 
they were putting down the price of beaver skins. 

The difficulty of attending church in Springfield led to the erection 
of a church in Chicopee Street in 1752; as there was no church in 
Holyoke then, the early settlers there were obliged to cross the Connec- 
ticut River to attend church here in Chicopee Street. Then no bell was 
here to call to church, and when the first church of the valley was built, as 
the hour for worship on each Sabbath morning came around, the people 
were called together by the beating of a drum. Conveniences of light 
and heat were not present with our ancestors as with you. There was 
no fire in the first church, and if any attempt was made to carry any 
substitute it was done in the shape of a foot stove containing a pan of 
live coals, having a secure covering perforated with holes to let out the 



79 

warmth within. I have seen in the attic of my old home such a foot 
stove, which was carried by my parents to church to warm the feet 
of the occupants of our family pew. Many of us remember the long 
box stove which formerly stood near the easterly end of the audience 
room of this church, having a long pipe extending across the church and 
turning upward towards the roof a short distance in front of the pulpit. 
It had, too, I recollect, a large pan attached to the knee of the pipe to 
catch any stray rivulets that might course down the pipe from the roof 
and fall otherwise on the heads of the listeners below. My mother 
told this story of the introduction of the first stove into the church. 
Some woman opposed the innovation, fearing the heat would be too 
oppressive. The stove, however, was put up, but for some reason no 
fire was built in it the first Sabbath. This, however, was not known 
by the woman, who was so overcome by anticipated heat that she was 
compelled to leave the church during the service. 

The old choir gallery has ceased to be occupied by the choir but I 
cannot forget its associations. No stately organ was it our fortune to 
see there, but we were not without our music. The last bell had not 
ceased to ring before we used to see old Mr. Goodman, with his big 
bass viol, leave the little red house across the street a short distance 
above here, and with slow, dignified tread enter the church and climb 
the stairway to his elevated place, and immediately proceed to tune his 
instrument and awaken divers wondrous noises from its recesses, until at 
last the right sounds were evoked and all was in readiness to accompany 
the choir. As I had a side seat in the northwest comer of the church, 
I could see the different church members as they came in and took ^^ 

their places Sabbath after Sabbath with prompt regularity. I recall the 
time when a change was proposed in regard to the position to be occu- 
pied by the congregation, as the choir was then in the rear of the 
church. It had been for a long time customary for the congregation to 
turn around in their pews to face the singers. The pastor suggested 
that a change be made and the congregation face the minister instead 
of the choir, and proposed that the audience stand as they rise. All did 
not readily accept this innovation, I remember ; and I was amused 
from my side seat to see the result, those in some pews, remaining 
as they rose with faces turned towards the pastor, while those in the 



8o 

next pews in front would rise and turn towards the singers. You have 
now been prevented from having any such dilemma by placing both 
choir and pastor in front of the congregation. The Sabbath school 
which gathered at the close of the morning service was always of great 
interest to me. The class of boys which gathered there, while I cannot 
say tl^at they gave the earnest study to the lesson which they have 
given in later years, were not members by any means of a Quaker meet- 
ing; having been separated for several days the meeting was one par- 
taking of a social as well as of a religious nature. If a boy had purchased 
a new pair of boots from Mr. Adolphus G. Parker's shop during the 
week he was sure to exhibit them to his fellows, and the same was true 
of other new articles of wardrobe. I think Miss Julia Ann Chapin and 
the other teachers who had the charge of our class found it a lively one, 
but the members held their teachers in great respect and have always 
remembered their kindness and sympathy. I have never regretted my 
connection with classes in the Sunday school. As I grow older I am 
more and more convinced that we do not appreciate the value of Bible 
study as we ought. The treasures of wisdom which the Bible contains 
if stored in the heart of the possessor will bring him greater happiness 
than the possession of the gold mines of the Klondike in the Yukon 
valley. It is the hope of an immortality taught in pulpit, Sabbath 
school, and Christian homes that brings comfort to us on an occasion 
like this, when we call to mind the different members of our households 
whose presence we miss. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob **is 
not the God of the dead, but of the living,** and we commend the 
childhood faith taught us in Wordsworth's poem of the little cottage 
girl of eight years, a part of which I quote. 

** * Sisters and brothers, little maid. 
How many may you be ? * 
* How many ? seven in all,' she said. 
And wondering looked at me. 

** * And where are they ? I pray you tell.' 
She answered, * Seven are we : 
And two of us at Conway dwell 
And two are gone to sea. 



8i 

** * Two of as in the churchyard lie, 
My sister and my brother ; 
And in the churchyard cottage, I 

Dwell near them with my mother.*' 

«««««« 

*♦ * How many are you, then,' said I, 
If they two are in heaven ? ' 
The little maiden did reply, 
* O master, we are seven I 

** *■ But they are dead ; those two are dead I 
Their spirits are in heaven. * 
'Twas throwing words away: for still 
The little maid would have her will. 
And said, *Nay, we are seven.' " 

Rev. John McKinstry was the first pastor of this church and a 
faithful servant in his pastoral work. His successors have all been de- 
voted servants of the Lord, and left noble examples of lives of use- 
fulness. My acquaintance with the pastors here commenced with Rev. 
£. B. Clark. He was a faithful steward during his long pastorate and, 
like the venerable pastor Goldsmith describes, — 

*• In his duty, prompt at every call, 
He watched and wept, he prayed and felt for all." 

He was faithfully assisted by his beloved wife, and all who have 
met that saintly woman will ever remember the ready smile and kind 
greeting she always gave. His children will always be pleasantly re- 
membered by us and we all rejoice in the successful work of his son in 
the city of Salem. This parish has certainly been blessed in its choice 
of pastors from first to last. We all bid the present pastor God speed 
in his work here. To make the most of life, we may wisely study the 
examples and experience of those who have preceded us, and the fsdth 
and self-sacrifice of our fathers and mothers should not be forgotten. 
A reverent recognition of God's government was theirs. A conscien- 
tious desire to know, and do, their duty influenced their minds and 
controlled their actions. Even their failings leaned to virtue's side. 
By a comparison of the present with the past the young people of to- 
day may be led to prize more the opportunities before them. We live 
in an age of progress. Knowledge to our eyes " has unrolled her ample 



82 

page rich with the spoils of time.*' Our choices need to be made with 
the greatest care. The calls to action are many, but what to do, and 
how to act, is not always clear. We need the wisdom and experience 
of the past to guide us. As we return to this venerable and conse- 
crated place, we are glad to find here still so many old acquaintances 
and friends, descendants of the old families, whose lives and virtues 
we recall with so much pleasure. 

** Happy he whom neither wealth nor fashion. 
Nor the march of the encroaching city drives an exile, 
From the hearth of his ancestral homestead. 

** We may build more splendid habitations. 
Fill our rooms with paintings and with sculptures. 
But we cannot buy with gold, the old associations." 



83 



Pastors and Deacons of the First Church 

OF Chicopee 



Pastors 

Rev, John McKinstry, 1752 — 1813. 
Rev. Alexander Phoenix, 1824 — 1835. 
Rev. Ebenezer B. Wright, 1835 — 1839. 
Rev. EU B. Clark, 1839— 1875. 
Rev. William E. Dickinson, 1876— 1887. 
Rev. Collins G. Bumham, 1888— 



Deacons 



Benjamin Chapin, 1752 — 1756. 
David Chapin, 1752 — 1776. 
Samuel Cooper. 
Edward Chapin, 1773 — 1800. 
Amos Skeele, 1813 — 1825. 
Simeon Stedman, 1825 — 1834. 
Joseph Pease, 1825 — 1839. 



Giles S. Chapin, 1834 — 1863. 
Orange Chapin, 1840 — 1863. 
Sidney Chapin, 1863 — 1875. 
Nathan Mosman, 1863 — 1866. 
Marshall Pease, 1866— 1896. 
William D. Chapin, 1875— 
Pascal J. Newell, 1896 — 



Ministers who have gone out from the Chicopee Street 

Church 



Rev. Sewall Chapin, 
Rev. Walter Chapin, 
Rev. Calvin Chapin, D.D., 
Rev. Chester Chapin, 
Rev. Ephraim Chapin, 
Rev. Alfred Wright, 



Rev. Samuel Chandler, 

Rev. Charles Peabody, 

Rev. John Alexander McKinstry, 

Rev. DeWitt S. Clark, D.D., 

Rev. Amos Skeele, 

Rev. Francis L. Palmer. 



84 

Singers in the Old Meeting House 

Joseph Pease, Chorister. 
Lucy Griswold, Counter. Orithya Chapin, Counter. 

Mary Chapin, Sophia Van Horn, 

Betsey Chapin, Louisa VanHorn, 

Mabel Griswold, Rhedexa Chapin, 

Rqxana Skeele, Frances Chapin, 

Marcy Skeele, Melia Chapin, 

Hannah VanHorn, Dorcas Lima Warner. 

Harvey Chapin, Tenor. 

Levi Stedman, Bass, Whitfield Chapin, Bass, 

Alpheus Chapin, Bass, William Moulton, Bass, 

Otis Skeele, Bass, Alvin Chapin, Bass, 

Lewis Ferry, Jr., Bass, Sylvester Chapin, Bass. 

Sheldon Chapin, Bass Viol. 
Amos Skeele, Jr., Flute. 

Singers in the New Meeting House, who sang on the 
DAY OF Dedication, Jan. 4, 1826 

Eliza McKinstry, Aurilla Talcott, 

Emily McKinstry, Delina VanHorn, 

Theodosia McKinstry, Joseph Pease, 

Sophia Warner, Joseph Chapin, 

Electa Warner, Levi Stedman, 

Lima Warner, Quartus Chapin, 

Mary Ann Stedman, Lewis Ferry, Jr., 

Sophia Stedman, Otis Skeele, 

Sophronia Pinney, Phinehas Pease, 

Huldah Morgan, James Pease, 

Delina Skeele, A. G. Parker, 

Elvira Chapin, Reuben Goodman. 
Melissa Chapin, 



8s 

The Sunday- School. 

The first Sunday-school was held in the old church during the 
summer of 1818. It was organized by the Rev. Chester Chapin. Dr. 
Amos Skeele was superintendent. 

The teachers were 

Orange Chapin, Joseph Pease, 
Caleb Pendleton, Rhedexa Chapin, 
Marcy Skeele, Betsey Chapin. 

The lessons were the 35th and 97th Psalms, 40th chapter of Isaiah, 
29th chapter of Proverbs, Christ's Sermon on the Mount. These were 
all committed to memory. 

The next year Rev. Reuben Hazen, who was preaching here at 
the time, formed a Bible class, which met in the old red schoolhouse. 
Among the lessons were, the names of the books of the Bible, the 
names by which Grod is known in the Scriptures, Is the observance of 
the Sabbath enjoined in the Scriptures? answered by proof texts. 
This school continuea only a short time. 

Our present Sunday-school was organized in the new church in 
1826. 

The superintendents have been 

Simeon Stedman, Benjamin H. Stedman, 

Joseph Pease, Phineas Stedman, 

Giles S. Chapin, William J. Baker, 

Phineas Stedman, Marshall Pease, 

Otis Skeele, Rev. C. G. Burnham. 
Sidney Chapin, 

The first librarian was William L. Bemis,who retained his office 
till 1841, when he left the place. He was most careful and exact in the 
care of the books. They were all covered with white cotton cloth. 



86 

About 1839, a number of anti-slavery books were put into the library 
and these were all marked with a big black A. 

In 1844, through the influence of Mr. Elias Gates, our Sunday- 
school missionary society was organized. This is still in active opera- 
tion. The largest membership of the Sunday-school was in 1834, when 
159 names were registered. The present number is 65. 



Catalogue of Books in Parish Library 



No. 
Vol. 

8 Spectator. 

1 Hervey*s Meditations. 

2 Blair's Sermons. 

1 Miss Rowe*s Letters. 

2 Anson's Voyages. 
I Bruce's Travels. 

1 Goldsmith's Essays. 

2 Franklin's Life. 

I American Songster. 

6 Raynold's Histories. 

I Keats' Sketches. 

I Franklin's Works. 

I Natural History. 

I History of England. 

I Men of the World. 

I Bunyan's Holy War. 

1 Romance of the Forest. 

2 American Revolution. 

I Smith's Moral Sentiment. 

I Paley's Philosophy. 

I Interesting Memoirs. 

I Blair's Lectures on Criticism. 

I Life of Howard. 



No. 
Vol. 

I Essays. 

I Morse's Geography. 

I Barlowe's Writings. 

I Salem Witchcraft. 

3 Hunter's Biography. 

I 

I 

2 

I 

I 

I 

I 

I 

2 

I 

2 

I 

2 



Beauties of History. 
Belisarius. 

Washington's Letters. 
Sublime and Beautiful. 
Price's Sermons. 
Fordyce's Addresses. 
Vision of Columbus. 
Pope's Iliad. 
Walker's Sermons. 
Sentimental Journey. 
Beauties of History. 
Moore's 



Moore's Journal 
France. 
I Well Bred Scholar. 
I Adams's Selections. 
I Thomson's Seasons. 
I 300 Animals. 



through 



87 



I Robinson Crusoe. 

1 Cyrus* Travels. 

2 Algerine Captive. 
I Locke's Essays. 

I Burroughs* Life. 

I Chappell on Miracles. 

1 Ladies* Library. 

2 Thomas*s Essays. 

I Elements of Morality. 



4 Robertson's Histories. 

I Lee*s Memoirs. 

I Roslin on the Covenant. 

I Volney*s Ruins. 

I Wattson's Apology. 

I McLane on the Types. 

I French Revolution. 

4 Kaime's Sketches on Man. 



This list is incomplete, as one volume bearing the No. 150 is still 
in existence. We do not know when this Library was established, 
probably near the close of the last century ; but Mr. John McKinstry 
has this lamentable record, **June 21, 1834, Chicopee Vendued their 
Library, and forsook the tree of knowledge.*' 



Industries of The Old Fifth Parish. 



Various industries have at different times occupied our people. 
Titus and Erastus Morgan were still members of this parish, when they 
built the saw mill ** down in the field ** on the banks of the Connecticut 
in Ireland Parish, about a mile above the present Holyoke dam. 
This was about 1783 and was the first utilization of that great water 
power. 

The water privilege at the south end of our Street was early im- 
proved by Chicopee people, for in 1791 ** a new saw mill ** was built by 
Gad, Luther and Azariah Vanhom, Silas, Phinehas, William 2d, 
George, Seth, and Japhet Chapin, David Ashley and John Bridges. 

The first blacksmiths* shop was set up by Mr. Adkins on land now 
owned by Mr. Phelon. The slag from the furnace remained there for 
many years; later Mr. Dilliber had a shop near the saw mill. 

At different times enterprising individuals have been sure that iron 
ore could be found in our hills, but no venture ever proved very suc- 
cessful. 

In 1810 George Gibbs of Providence, R. I., conceived the idea 
that coal was hidden in the banks near the Chicopee River, and signed 
a contract with Seth Chapin, which gave him liberty ** to dig and bore ** 
for the supposed treasure. But after a fruitless search, the contract 
was annulled, and the disappointed man returned home. 

For a time Otis Skeele carried on boot and shoe making near his 
father's residence, afterwards removing to Willimansett, where he con- 
tinued the business till 1834. When he left Chicopee Street, he sold 
out to A. G. Parker and Orson Allen. Their first shop was in Mr. 
Parker's house. Mr. Allen remained in the business but two or three 
years. Mr. Parker built a shop and enlarged his manufacture. Both 
Mr. Parker and Mr. Skeele found ready market for their boots and 
shoes in Hartford and New York. 



89 

Mr. Parker made ladies* fine shoes and also heavy and fine boots. 
He became a very popular shoemaker. People from Springfield or- 
dered their shoes from him, among them Dr. Osgood, who used to bring 
up his boys and girls to be measured for their yearly supply of slippers 
and shoes. In 1853 Josiah A. Parker was taken into partnership, and 
the firm became A. G. Parker & Son. The business was afterwards 
removed to Chicopee Center. At one time about twenty men were 
employed and shipments were made to New York and to western cities. 
Mr. Parker, Sr., died in 1883, and his son continued the business for a 
few years longer, but has since given it up. 

The first store in Chicopee, and for many years the only one in 
many miles, was opened by Joseph Pease about 1800. It stood near 
the tavern and was the center of trade for the country round about. 
After 1823, when Mr. Pease was appointed postmaster, the post office 
was kept there until 1834, when it was removed to Willimansett. In 
182 1, Stephen C. Bemis, who had been a clerk in the store, was taken 
into partnership, and the firm became Pease & Bemis. Not long after 
Mr. Pease sold out to Mr. Bemis. In 1824 Chester W. Chapin opened 
a rival store on the opposite side of the street, but this continued only a 
year, when the rival firms became one under the name of Chapin & 
Bemis. Ill health caused the withdrawal of Mr. Chapin, and Mr. 
Bemis continued the business alone, until his removal to Willimansett 
in 1831. He had been commissioned postmaster in 1824, and con- 
tinued in office so long as the post office remained on our Street. 

From Stephen C. Bemis the store passed into the hands of William 
L. Bemis, and from him to Eli Stephenson, who again sold out to 
Parker & Bemis. Meanwhile Cabotville was growing in importance, 
and trade here was becoming unprofitable. From being the center of 
activity and business, having the only post office, store, doctor, 
minister, and church, and the best schools in this part of the town, 
we suddenly found ourselves only a suburb of a growing manufac- 
turing village. 

Mr. Frederic Chapin added to his business of ** keeping tavern '* 
the manufacture of powder on Powder Mill Brook at "Tigua.** He 
afterwards made brick. 



90 

Giles S. Chapin made brick for many years and was very successful. 
The brick in the oldest buildings and factories in Chicopee Center came 
from his yard. 

The first manufactory of friction matches in the country, perhaps 
in the world, was established here in 1835. Mr. Phillips, who came 
from Connecticut, had begun the making of them at his home, but he 
lacked capital. He met D. Monroe Chapin, who became interested. 
He, or his father, Mr. Frederic, furnished the capital and built the shop. 
The firm was Chapin & Phillips. They were successful ; the business 
grew. At one time sixteen girls and four men were employed. Two 
large two-horse wagons went out over the state, taking orders, and 
delivering the goods. After three or four years of unusual success, 
the business passed into other hands and was removed from the Street. 

Deacon Sidney Chapin made brooms in Chicopee Street from 1850 
to 1875. He employed, for the entire time, an average of four men, 
and made thirty thousand brooms per year. His market outside the 
Northern states was Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and London, 
England. Up to the breaking out of the civil war, he filled orders in 
Atlanta and Richmond, and, as soon as peace was restored, the market 
in these southern cities was at once open to him again. 

In 1831, the Willimansett Manufacturing Company for the manu- 
facture of machine cards and small hardware was organized, with 
Bemis & Sheffield as agents. At one time as many as one hundred 
men were employed. The hardware included compasses, dividers, and 
other small tools. Before this time these goods were all imported and 
were expensive. This enterprise changed prices, and helped to make 
American hardware popular. Mr. Bemis is considered the pioneer in 
the manufacture of hardware in the Connecticut valley. Later the 
business was removed to Springfield, where it is continued under the 
name of the Bemis & Call Company. 

After this the factory, with its water privilege, was bought by 
Willis Phelps, who changed it to a woolen mill. Willis Phelps, 
Phelps & Smith, Henry Salisbury, and Jared Beebe continued the mak- 
ing of woolen goods until after the civil war. Probably Jared Beebe 
was the most successful of these. A few years ago the mill was burned. 
It has been partly rebuilt, but never occupied since. 



91 

The first post office in Willimansett was established in 1834. 
Sylvester Allen was the first postmaster. He was succeeded by Clos- 
son Pendleton and later by Pascal J. Newell. 

The Connecticnt River Railroad was opened, and the Williman- 
sett station built in 1845. 

In 184 1 Closson Pendleton opened the hotel and kept it a few 
years. With the building of the bridge a new prosperity has come to 
the village, and it is again one of the busy wards in the City of Chicopee. 



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