Hawley — Early Settlement
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
The first settlement was made about 1770, by Samuel Hitch-cock, in the northeastern part of the town, where he lived until his death, Sept. 13, 1819. He had sons named Eli, Erastus, and Ethan. The latter was born Oct. 18, 1773, and was the first male child born in town. He lived to be more than ninety years of age, and died at Shelburne Falls. Arthur Hitchcock settled a little farther northwest. Daniel Burt and Noah Strickland came about the same time, but their location is not remembered. In the north part of the town settlement was made, before 1776, by Asa Blood, Abel Parker, Zepheniah Lathrop, Zebedee Wood, and, later, by Simeon Crittenden, Oliver and Ezekiel Edgarton, and Ichabod Hawks. Many of these were from Bozrah, Conn., and the locality is still known by that name. Southeast from here settled Reuben Cooley, the father of Calvin Cooley, who became prominent in town affairs, and nearer the centre was Abraham Parker; south of this locality was Josiah Graves, and in the northwest Noah Cooley. In later years Joseph and Zenoa Bangs settled in this part of the town, coming from Dennis, both remaining until their death. The latter had a family of 21 children, the youngest of whom became a well-known judge in Chicago. Rufus Sears, then but eleven years old, came with Joseph Bangs in 1781, and lived in town until his death, at the age of eighty years. A son, F. H. Sears, now occupies this place. Ebenezer Hall also lived with Joseph Bangs, and taught the first school in town, in the locality sometimes called "Pudding Hollow." After his marriage he lived on the place now occupied by Sylvester Rice. He was one of the leading men of the town in his day. His half-brother, Roland Sears, was also an early settler.
In the southern part of the town lived Thomas King, as early as 1776, where he reared sons named Jonas, Amos, John, and Ezra. Jonas King was the father of the celebrated missionary, also named Jonas, who was born in Hawley, July 29, 1792. At a later period Elijah Harmon settled in this part of the town, on the farm now occupied by Enos Harmon.
After 1780, Edmund Longley settled in the eastern part of Hawley, and his family became the most prominent in the town. His sons were Capt. Edmund, who had a family of nine children; Gen. Thomas, who had eight children; Col. Joshua, the father of six children; and Luther, who had a family of eight. These all lived on the highway from the meeting-house to the Ashfield line, near which lived Joseph Longley, a brother of Edmund, Sr. Gen. Thomas Longley took rank among the leading men of the county, and held also important civil offices. He died September, 1848, aged seventy-four years.
The town settled so rapidly that in 1790 there were 539 inhabitants; in 1820, 1089; but at present it has only a little more than 600.