Archiver > MAFRANKL > 2001-06 > 0991786083

Subject: [MAFRANKL] From Homesteads to Cellar Holes - Catamount Hill - Colrain, Mass. (Part 1 of 2)
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2001 20:08:03 EDT

p. 60 Homesteads on Catamount Hill, Colrain, Massachusetts (Jan. 1942)


Contributed by Carl G. Smith, of Watertown, Mass.
Source: The New England Historical & Genealogical Register
Volume 96 - 1942, pp 60 - 69

Among the highlands of the western part of the town of Colrain, Franklin
County, Massachusetts, is a range of hills, one of which is Catamount Hill,
so named, it is said, because in 1736 one of its first settlers was pursued
by a catamount while driving his cows to pasture. Near the summit of this
hill are several rocky caves which are supposed to have been the dens of
these wild beasts.
This part of Colrain in 1830 was thickly settled and the largest school
in town was here. About this time families began to emigrate so that in 1870
very few remained. The return to the hill of a large and enthusiastic
company of old residents on 1 September 1875 for a reunion resulted in the
founding of the Catamount Hill Association, and a resolution to hold
quinquennial meetings. The most recent of these was on 8 August 1940.
An interesting feature of this reunion was the reading of William M.
Stacy's paper describing the homesites and the old cellar holes on Catamount
Hill. As it appears in these papers. Mr. Stacy's oral tour of the hill is
changed slightly for reading. To help in the genealogical identification of
the pioneers of this patriotic outpost, interpretative comments are include
where it is possible to provide them.
The narrative journey over Catamount Hill begins at Hillside Park, which
is clearly shown on the map on pages 62 - 63. The paragraphs are numbered to
correspond with the key numbers on the map and normal sequence is disregarded.

7. HOLDEN (Rosetta). About 40 rods west of Hillside Park, at the top of
the first pitch of
the road, a house was built by neighbors on land owned by Thomas Purrington,
as a gift to
Rosetta Holden, (2) whose husband, Jacob, and son, Fred, were both lost in
the Civil War.

5. DWIGHT-MAXAM. Buildings, constructed by Daniel Dwight, Jr., soon after
were occupied by him until 1852, when he sold the farm to Samuel Maxam, (3)
farmer, who
occupied it for thirty-five years. In 1853 Mr. Maxim built a foundry west of
the house near
Holden brook and operated it for nearly twenty years. Discontinuing the
foundry business, he
conducted a distillery in the building until his death in 1885. The old
buildings, completely
destroyed by fire in 1892, have since been replace by modern farm building
now owned by
Christian Finck.

(1) Acknowledgment is made to Mr. William M. Stacy for permission to adapt
and reprint his notes; to Miss Helen Stacy and to Elmer Stacy for permission
to use the map; and to Miss Louise Davenport for furnishing a copy of a very
rare book, "The Catamount Hill Association", which has been indispensable for
checking facts and genealogical data that cannot be found elsewhere.

(2) Mrs. Holden was born in New York, the daughter of William and Patience

(3) Samuel Maxam, son of Edmund Maxam, of Wareham, Mass., went to from
Middleborough to Colrain prior to 1790. During his lifetime he claimed that
he was not a relative of Kingman Maxam who moved to Colrain in 1795, soon
after his marriage to Content Shaw in Middleborough. John Maxam, Kingman's
son, sometime served as singing master in the school, and two of his
daughters, Cordelia and Marietta, were teachers there at different times.
Many descendants of this family are now living in Franklin County.

p. 61 Homesteads on Catamount Hill, Colrain, Massachusetts (Jan. 1942)

8. MAXAM'S Temple. About 1870 the community became interested in
Spiritualism, and for a number of years meetings were held near the Maxam
place in a shady grove which the center of attraction was the Spirit Rock
(6). At this time Samuel Maxam erected the building near Hillside Park which
is now the home of Louis Billiel. Used as a meeting house, the structure has
been known as Maxam's Temple, the Synagogue, and the Thumb House.

14. RICE. Above the road, west of Houghton brook, a little house was built
by Dennis Rice soon after he returned from his trip to California during the
"gold rush" of 1849. This place, sold by him to Lizzie Dwight, was later
owned at different times by Mrs. Louise Yeaw, William Stacy, William
Bardwell, Zenas Dunton, Mrs. Alice Kenyon, and Charles Tennat.

2. HOUGHTON. On the road toward Charlemont is the farm taken from the
Government about 1780 by Christopher Houghton, who cleared the land and built
a log house. In 1806 he built the house now standing. This property, which
has never been out of the family, was the home of Mr. & Mrs. William Bardwell
more than forty years, and is now the home of their daughter and husband Mr.
& Mrs. William Stacy.

67. BRADLEY. Levi Bradley, a native of Rowe, Mass., expert maker of
baskets and rush bottoms for chairs, built a small house and barn on a
three-acre lot east of Meadow Brook, which he purchased from Martin
Severance, Jr. After they had lived there about twenty-five years, the
Bradley's moved to Shelburne Falls, a the house fell to pieces several years
later. Cultivated grapevines, which covered the ruins for years, produced
big crops of grapes. The barn was taken down by the Johnson brothers about
1900. Today a cellar hole is all that marks the spot.

65. HILLMAN. The first farm northwesterly from the house of the late
Deacon Jonathan 66 (4) , now owned by the Temple family, was known as the
Hillman (5) place. Lysander Hillman of Charlemont was born here. Nothing
remains to indicate the location of this farm.

64. BROWN. About ¼ mile beyond the Hillman farm was the settlement of
"Catta" Brown. Nothing now marks the site except a heap of stones and a bank
wall along the edge of Johnson brook.

63. PIERCE. A quarter mile further up the road was the house owned by
Morris Pierce, which was taken down about 1870.

(4) Deacon Jonathan [8] (Lieut. Isaac [7], Moses [6], Isaac [5], John
[4], Nathaniel [3], Capt. Isaac [2], John [1] of Roxbury, Mass.) was a member
of one of the pioneer families who went from Woodstock, Conn., to Colrain
before the Revolutionary War. Born 4 Jun 1792, he married Margaret W. Smith
(Nathaniel [6]) 28 DEC 1815, and died 29 Jan 1858. Two of their daughters,
Emmeline and Fidelia, were teachers in the Catamount Hill School, and
Johnson's brook (see map) was named for the family.

(5) The Hillmans of Colrain were descendants of Lot [4] (John [3]; John [2];
John [1]) and his wife, Lovey (Luce) Hillman, of Chilmak, on Martha's
Vineyard. With his two brothers, Shubael and Eleazer, Lot Hillman left
Chilmark after the Revolution and settled in Williamsburg, Mass. Afterwards
he moved to Conway and later to Colrain, where he died 14 Nov. 1905. A
daughter, Prudence, married Daniel Dwight; many descendants are now living in
Colrain and elsewhere in Franklin County. Shubael was in Gill, Mass., in
1797, and later moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Eleazer went from Williamsburg to
Leyden, N.Y., where he died in 1798.

p. 62 Homesteads on Catamount Hill, Colrain, Massachusetts (Jan. 1942)

This page includes a map of Catamount Hill. It includes the title; scale;
elevations above sea level; and legend. The map was prepared by Mayo Tolman
from data furnished by William Stacy.

p. 63 Homesteads on Catamount Hill, Colrain, Massachusetts (Jan. 1942)

This page includes the balance of the map of Catamount Hill. The following
index is included for the map.

1. George Newton. 2. Orrin Houghton. 3. Dennis Rice. 4. Maxam's
Foundry. 5. Samuel Maxam. 6. Spirit Rock. 7. Rosette Holden.
8. Maxam's Temple. 9. Elihu Holden. 10. John Holden. 11.
Roderick Dwight. 12. Bradford Bond. 13. Benjamin Farely. 14.
Dennis Rice's Barn. 15. Old Farley Cemetery. 16. Cold Spring. 17.
Reuben Shippee. 18. Sheep-washing Pool. 19. Wood Mill. 20. D. F.
Daniels. 21. Peter Hill. 22. Peter Shippee. 23. Second
Schoolhouse. 24. First School and Monument. 25. Zaccheus Davenport.
26. Levi Davenport. 27. Bears' Den. 28. Black Snake Swamp. 29.
Aunt Dinah's Stairway. 30. Hoe Handle Owen. 31. Howard Edson. 32.
Nathan Barnes. 33. Seth Phillips. 34. Peter Shippee. 35. Wood
Mill. 36. Artemus Churchill; Dr. Nathaniel Davenport. 37. Tine
Place. 38. Israel Shippee. 39. The Oven. 40. Catamount Dens.
41. Rocking Rock. 42. Ichabod Cary. 43. Alden Willis. 44.
Artemus Churchill. 45. Daniel Davenport. 46. Abram Shippee. 47.
David Davenport. 48. David Davenport's Mill. 49. Simeon Blandin.
50. Amasa Shippee (Peter [4] Jr.). 51. Ira Shippee. 52. _______
Cannon. 53. Zenas Cary. 54. Aaron Cary. 55. Owen's Store. 56.
Nathaniel Smith. 57. David Smith. 58. Thomas Davenport. 59.
Joshua Lanfair. 60. Reuben and Levi Coy. 61. Ichabod Pierce. 62.
Nathaniel Smith (original site). 63. Morris Pierce. 64. Catta Brown.
65. Lot Hillman. 66. Deacon Jonathan Johnson. 67. Levi Bradley.
68. Old Mill. 69. Silas Clark. 70. ______ Owen. 71. Benjamin
Barnes. 72. Brown's Sawmill. 73. Abraham and Adnah Bass. 74. Stone
Flume. 75. Cider Mill. 76. Joseph Farnsworth. 77. The Randall
Lot. 78. ______ Savage. 79. Abram Farnsworth.

p. 64 Homesteads on Catamount Hill, Colrain, Massachusetts (Jan. 1942)

62. SMITH. Another quarter-mile beyond was the site of the large frame
house built by Nathaniel Smith (6). Because of a poor water supply it was
moved about 1816 to the present location of the summer home of P. H. Russell
of New Haven, Conn. 56. John Davenport, who was present at the moving, said
twenty yoke of oxen drew this house to its new lot. The barn was moved in
the same manner, and these buildings replaced the log house which formerly
stood here.

61. Pierce. In a northeasterly direction about ¼ mile was the residence of
Ichabod Pierce, known in those days as "Pass" and later as "Purse." Nothing
is left of this place but the cellar and a large apple orchard set in orderly

55. OWEN. Off the road leading to Nathaniel Smith's was the store of Mr.
Owen, but nothing marks the spot where the building stood. The goods sold
consisted mainly of four things: rum, salt, gunpowder, and salted codfish.

54. CARY. A short distance west of Owen's store was the farm settled by
Aaron Cary in 1781 (7). The original log house stood about forty rods north
of the present house lot, near Cary brook. Later new frame building was
erected, partly on the site of the present lot; still later a third house was
built on the opposite side of the road. Subsequently a fourth house was
built near the second site. In 1875 the old house was put into condition for
the family to live in and until recently it has been known as the Cary
homestead. The present owner of this property is Walter O. Barnes, but in
August 1940 a fire completely destroyed the house. It is regrettable that
one of the few buildings remaining during recent years should be lost.

50. SHIPPEE. About 1/3 mile from the Cary homestead was the home of Peter
[4] Shippee, Jr. (8), and his son, Amasa Shippee, who lived here several
years. After the death of his

(6) Nathaniel [6] Smith was born at Woodstock, Conn., the son Maj. Hezekiah
[5] Smith (Ebenezer [4], James [3], Joshua [3], James [1] of Weymouth, Mass.)
and Eunice (Morris) Smith. The family moved to Colrain in 1764 and was
prominent in local affairs and in the Revolution, in which Hezekiah and three
of his sons (Nathaniel, David, and Calvin) attained the rank of major;
afterwards these sons married three daughters of Joseph Thompson. Hezekiah
Smith was a member of the First Committee of Correspondence in 1773, a
delegate to the Provincial Congress in 1774, and a member of the Convention
that formed the Constitution of Massachusetts.

(7) Mr. George W.[9] Cary, the president of the Catamount Hill Association,
is the son of the late Clark Shepard [8] Cary (George [7], Zenas [6], Aaron
[5], Ichabod [4], Recompense [3], Jonathan [2], John [1] of Bridgewater,
Mass.) and Mina (Goodell) Cary. Members of the family settled on Catamount
Hill in 1781. Of staunch Pilgrim ancestry, the Colrain Carys have always
been prominent and active in the development of the town.

(8) Peter [3] Shippee (Thomas [2], David [1] of East Greenwich, R.I., 1664)
was the only one of his generation on the hill. His son Peter [4] Jr., and
his wife, Susanna, raised a family among whom were Amasa, Israel, and Peter
[5], who established homes elsewhere on Catamount Hill. Numerous Shippee
descendants now live in Colrain, Shelburne Falls, Ashfield, and in other
parts of Franklin County; Mr. Charles W. Shippee, vice president of the
Catamount Hill Association, lives in Worcester. Descendants of Peter Shippee
[6] 34 have kept the name of "Peter" in each generation, and now live in many
parts of New York State. The first president of the Association was Capt.
Androus Shippee (son of Amasa and Rhoda (Bass) Shippee) who served for five
years. In 1880 he was succeeded by his youngest brother, Nathan F. Shippee,
who served with grace and dignity until his death in 1900. In 1870 he
married, as his second wife, Miss Fanny R. G. Bowen, a woman of unusual
talent. During her lifetime Mrs. Shippee was a member of the Massachusetts
Historical Society, The American Antiquarian Society, and the Pocumtuck
Memorial Association, and through her service and devotion much of the
history of Catamount Hill was saved form oblivion. The author of many
literary tributes to Catamount Hill, Fanny Bowen Shippee wove the humble
episodes of a pioneer community into idyllic ballads of romance, patrotism,
and fundamental Americanism.

p. 65 Homesteads on Catamount Hill, Colrain, Massachusetts (Jan. 1942)

50. SHIPPEE. (Continued from Page 64)
father, Amasa built the Shippee homestead, known as "Katamoutain," which was
destroyed by fire in 1910 and never rebuilt.

51. SHIPPEE. About ½ mile south of Amasa Shippee's was the house built by
his nephew, Ira Shippee, who lived there until is death. Subsequently the
place was unoccupied and the buildings disappeared many years ago.
In the neighborhood of the Ira Shippee place are the ruins of another
dwelling, and of a house which stood on a flat ledge. Little is known of
either of these places or of their former owners.

47. DAVENPORT. About ½ mile in a southerly direction form the Simeon
Blandin place 49 (9) on Taylor Brook was the property of David Davenport.
Levi Davenport, his son, has replaced the old buildings with a substantial
set of farm buildings. Near here David Davenport had a mill on Blandin
Brook, where, from about 1850 to 1870, he manufactured gimlet handles and
shuttle blocks made from apple tree wood which he obtained from local farmers.

46. SHIPPEE. Directly opposite to Levi Davenport's stands the homestead of
Abram Shippee, son of Israel. Abram moved to Ashfield, Mass., and the place
became the home of Abel Dutton. It is now occupied by Robert Burnett.

43. WILLIS. To the south about fifty rods was the home of Alden Willis
(10) who had much to do with the history of Catamount Hill and the beginnings
of Colrain. Sophia Willis, his wife, helped to make the schoolhouse flag.
And may have given the red cloth for it.

45. DAVENPORT. Across the road from the Willis property was the home of
Daniel Davenport, locally known as "Daniel, the Prophet."

42. CARY. In a southerly direction about twenty rods from Daniel
Davenport's was the home of Ichabod Cary.

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