Coleraine Massachusetts, 1890

Coleraine (or "Colrain") is a large, mountainous township in the northern part of Franklin County, bordering on Vermont, whose towns of Halifax and Guilford bound it on the north; Leyden lies on the east, Greenfield, Shelburne and Charlemont are on the south, and the latter and Heath bound it on the west. Its assessed area is 25,458 acres, including 3,942 acres of woodland.

The highest of the elevations within the town are Christian Hill in the extreme north and Catamount Hill in the south; and west of this, on the line of Charlemont, is Pocumtuck Mountain, 1,888 feet high. Green River, flowing south, marks nearly the entire eastern line; while East Branch and West Branch, uniting near Foundry Village, a little south of the centre of the town, form North River, an affluent of the Deerfield River. This stream in its short course of a few miles makes its way through a narrow defile between precipitous hills; and from the carriage road, which runs along in some places far above the river's bed, the traveller beholds many scenes of wild beauty.

The apple tree and the sugar maple both find here a congenial soil, and the usual farm crops flourish. The neat cattle numbered 1,559; sheep and lambs 2,236; and there were in the town 33,164 fruit trees. The farms number 168; and their aggregate product in 1885 was $187,282. There were operated at the same time two saw mills, a tannery, a cotton mill and other manufactories, whose aggregate product had the value of $169,610. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $567,316; and the tax-rate was $18 on $1,000.

The population is 1,605; of whom 362 are voters. The dwellings numbered 310; and were chiefly gathered in seven villages, viz., Coleraine Centre, Adamsville, Elm Grove, Griswoldville, Shattuckville, Foundry Village and Lyonsville; which, excepting the last two, are post-offices. The nearest railway stations are Buckland and Shelburne Falls, on the Fitchburg Railroad, about 120 miles northwest of Boston. The town has provided for its schools fifteen buildings, having a value of nearly $5,000. There are one Sunday-school library, two Baptist churches, two Methodist and one Congregationalist

This place was originally called "Boston Township," and was settled by immigrants from the north of Ireland. It was a frontier place, and the settlers erected fortifications, three in number, for defence against the incursions of the French and Indians. Captain Hugh Morrison was the commander of the North (or Morrison's) Fort. In May, 1746, Matthew Clark, his wife, daughter and two soldiers were fired upon by Indians, by which Mr. Clark was killed and his wife and daughter wounded. Ten years later, in another incursion on the place, they wounded John Henry and John Morrison, burned one dwelling-house, and killed some cattle on North River. In 1759, they captured John McCown, his wife and son, and put the latter to death.

The plantation was incorporated June 30, 1761; being named, probably, for Coleraine, a seaport town in Ireland, or in honor of Gabriel Hanger, created Baron Coleraine in that year. The first minister was Rev. Alexander McDowell, ordained in 1753. Rev. Samuel Taggard, the third minister, settled in 1777, was a member of Congress from 1804 for fourteen years; and, it is said, regularly read his Bible through every year while he was in office.

Coleraine sent 75 men into the war of the Rebellion, of whom ten were lost. James Deane, M.D., was born in this town February 24, 1801, and died in Greenfield June 8, 1858. He was a noted naturalist, and the first to make known (1835) the fossil footprints in the red sandstones of the valley of the Connecticut River.

Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890, Pp. 244-246

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