Monday, March 7, 2011

This Month in Western Massachusetts History: March


2 Mar 1904 - Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss - (2 Mar 1904 - 24 Sept 1991) - Author; Illustrator, Green Eggs and Ham, etc. - Born and raised in Springfield

5 Mar 1955 - Penn Fraser Jillette - (5 Mar 1955 - ) - Illusionist; Magician; Entertainer - Born and raised in Greenfield

12 Mar 1948 - James Vernon Taylor - (12 Mar 1948 - ) - Grammy Award-winning Musician, Member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - Resident of Washington

17 Mar 1951 - Kurt Vogel Russell - (17 Mar 1951 - ) - Actor, Silkwood, etc.; Baseball Player - Born in Springfield

26 Mar 1850 - Edward Bellamy - (26 Mar 1850 - 22 May 1898) - Author, Looking Backward 2000-1887 - Born and died in Chicopee Falls

26 Mar 1874 - Robert Lee Frost - (26 Mar 1874 - 29 Jan 1963) - Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet; English Teacher at Amherst - Lived in Amherst

27 Mar 1969 - Johnny April - (27 Mar 1969 - ) - Musician; Drummer, Staind - Resided in Springfield


13 Mar 1906 - Susan Brownell Anthony - (15 Feb 1820 - 13 March 1906) - Temperance Activist; Abolitionist; Suffragette - Born in Adams

16 Mar 1985 - Edward William (Eddie) Shore - (25 Nov 1902 - 16 Mar 1985) - NHL Hockey Player; Player, Owner, AHL's Springfield Indians - Resided and died in Springfield

19 Mar 1988 - Estelle Condit (Suzy) Frelinghuysen - (1911 - 19 Mar 1988) - Abstract Artist; Opera Singer, Philanthropist - Married to George L. K. Morris - Resided in Lenox

22 Mar 1785 - Jonathan Edwards - (5 Oct 1703 - 22 Mar 1785) - Fervent Preacher; Theologian - Lived in Northampton

22 Mar 1798 - Justin Morgan - (28 Feb 1747 - 22 Mar 1798) - Composer; Horse Breeder, Morgan Horse - Born and lived in West Springfield

24 Mar 1882 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - (27 Feb 1807 - 24 Mar 1882) - Professor; Poet, Paul Revere's Ride, etc. - Resided in Pittsfield


Mar 1643 - Springfield settlers vote to build a bridge over the Mill River in Springfield.

Mar 1648 - The section of Springfield known to natives as Woronoko is annexed to create Westfield. Springfield had acquired the land per an order of the General Court in 1647.

Mar 1750 - Residents of South Hadley, requiring more space for worship and civic affairs, vote at assembly to build a new meeting-house. Fifty meetings and thirteen contentious years later, the structure is finally built.

Mar 1847 - Springfield's Main Street train station burns beyond repair. It is replaced with a larger, brick structure.

Mar 1848 - With debate whether to advance from town to city growing, a committee of the state legislature sitting in Springfield is presented with opinions pro and con.

Mar 1931 - The aqueduct connecting the Ware River and Wachusett Reservoir is completed, as Boston looks west to increase fresh water supplies to the city and its suburbs.

Mar 1674- Ferry service is established on the Connecticut River, just south of inlet of the Agawam (now the Westfield River). The ferry shuttled passengers, animals and freight across the river at this spot for almost 200 years, until the construction of the South-end bridge in 1879.

1 Mar 1651 - Joshua Parsons, young son of Hugh and Mary Parsons, passes away, leading an already-unnerved Mary to declare her husband a witch and murderer to Magistrate Pynchon, confirming many Springfield residents' suspicions. Mary, claiming to be possessed by Satan, recanted her story shortly after, taking responsibility for the death of the boy. Joining her jailed husband in Boston, she was held for trial. Although Mary was exonerated on the charge of being witch, she was convicted in May, 1651, and sentenced to death for Joshua's murder. Too sick to be hanged on the scheduled day, Mary was found dead in her cell on the next. Hugh Parsons was also convicted, but ultimately was spared the hangman's noose, leaving the area in due haste.

1 Mar 1842 - The Northampton and Springfield railroad corporation is formed.

2 Mar 1798 - The Berkshire County town of Clarksburg is incorporated.

3 Mar 1802 - West Springfield grows in area with the annexation of Westfield land.

4 Mar 1629 - King Charles I grants charter to the Company of the Massachusetts Bay.

4 Mar 1816 - Enfield holds its first town meeting. Enfield was one of four Massachusetts towns disincorporated in 1938 to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir, part of Boston's water-supply system.

6 Mar 1762 - The Franklin County town of Bernardston, formerly known as Falltown, incorporates.

6 Mar 1762 - The Berkshire County town of Sandisfield is incorporated.

6 Mar 1762 - The town of Tyringham, in Berkshire County, is incorporated.

6 Mar 1930 - Frozen food makes its worldwide debut as seven markets in Springfield offer curious patrons a variety of Clarence Birdseye's icy edibles for the first time in history.

7 Mar 1888 - The Springfield Daily Union newspaper offices on the corner of Main and Worthington Streets are swept up in a rapidly spreading fire, causing several deaths and injuries. Some victims jumped from the upper floors, where fire had trapped them. Others met their end in the blaze itself, unable to get out of the building. The tragic event prompted the city to buy the fire department's first aerial ladder.

7 Mar 1938 - Dana holds its last town meeting. The Swift River Valley town (and three others) would cease to exist on April 28, 1938, drowned by the man-made Quabbin Reservoir, a massive undertaking to expand Boston's water supplies.

9 Mar 1848 - Main Street, Springfield, was a somber scene as the body of President John Quincy Adams passed mourning dignitaries, military companies, politicians and residents on its way to First Church at Court Square.

9 Mar 1855 - The town of Norwich changes name to Huntington.

11 Mar 1864 - The Westfield Athenaeum is incorporated by legislative act.

12 Mar 1783 - The Hampshire County town of Middlefield is established.

12 Mar 1830 - The Massachusetts railroad corporation is established. The corporation's mission is to build a railroad between Boston and the Hudson river near Albany or Troy by January 1, 1835, passing through Springfield.

14 Mar 1793 - Cheshire is incorporated as a town in Berkshire County.

14 Mar 1805 - Great Island, in the Connecticut River, is annexed to the town of Gill, effective April 1, 1805.

15 Mar 1833 - The Western Railroad Company is established by charter of the Massachusetts legislature. The incorporation is charged with extending the western end of the Boston and Worcester railroad to the state's border with New York.

16 Mar 1854 - Holyoke firm Lyman Mills is incorporated.

16 Mar 1868 - The Springfield Street Railroad Company is incorporated. Before electrification, the rail cars were pulled by teams of horses

17 Mar 1801 - Dana holds its first town meeting.

20 Mar 1651 - Hugh Parsons, accused of witchcraft, is brought from Springfield to Boston to stand trial.

20 Mar 1784 - The town of Dalton is incorporated in Berkshire County.

20 Mar 1837 - The Westfield - Southwick border is adjusted.

21 Mar 1785 - Heath holds its first town meeting.

21 Mar 1936 - Springfield and other Connecticut River towns are devastated by a major flood.

21 Mar 1940 - Quabbin Reservoir receives its first flow of water from Ware River diversion. Quabbin reaches full capacity on June 22, 1946, 412 billion gallons.

25 Mar 1938 - Enfield Town Hall serves as site of town's farewell gathering, an emotional night well-attended by residents and friends alike. Just over a month later, Enfield is no longer, officially disincorporated to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir.

26 Mar 1855 - The border between Northampton and Easthampton is defined.

28 Mar 1938 - Final plans are filed by the Metropolitan District Water Supply Commission for the massive land-taking required for the creation of Quabbin. In all, 117 square miles become watershed property. By the year 2005, the reservoir quenches the thirst of over 2.2 million people in eastern Massachusetts daily.

31 Mar 1933 - The Civilian Conservation Corps is created as a result of the Reforestation Relief Act. The Corps was also referred to as the "3 Cs". Taming Holyoke's Mt. Tom State Reservation was one of the first local projects the Corps tackled.

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