Buckland — Manufacturing Interests

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      Clesson's River, in Buckland, affords much water-power, which was well improved at an early day. Near the Hawley line, and at what was called the "Upper City," Silas Dodge had a saw-mill, and handle-factories were carried on by Alpheus Smith and others. A trip-hammer and a forge were also operated. At a power lower down on that stream was a grist-mill, having two run of stones, which was erected by Josiah Davis about 1800. The Ruddocks thoroughly repaired it in 1827, and it was last operated by Harris White, about 1868. About 1835 this power also drove cloth-dressing and fulling machinery for Abel Parker, and afterward broom- and brush-handles were turned here by Smith, Ames, and others. On the opposite bank was a small saw-mill. An eighth of a mile below, a member of the Ruddock family had a saw-mill, and A. Davis the turning-shop, which is yet standing. Eighty rods lower down, Silas Smith had carding-machines, a cider-mill, a turning-shop, and flax-dressing machinery; and yet a little below was a saw-mill operated by Silas Smith and Josiah Pratt. Near by, J. T. Ward had a saw-mill, and at a power below was a grist-mill, the latter abandoned many years ago. One hundred rods farther down the stream, Amos Wood had a grist-mill, near where Lilley & Kinney's saw-mill and turning-shop now are; and still farther below, on the site of a former turning-shop, are a cider-mill, brandy-still, and mechanic shop, owned by Arnold Smith. A quarter of a mile below, Zur Hitchcock built a shop, in 1847, for grinding and polishing cutlery. Two fatal accidents occurred here: A. Perkins was killed by the bursting of a grindstone, and Oscar Hitchcock by being caught in the belting. The building is at present used for a dwelling. Farther down, Perry & Demming built a wooden-ware shop, in which the Goodell Bros. began the manufacture of their patent bit-brace. Close by,
      Enos Pomeroy had a carding-machine and cloth-dressing works. The manufacture of files is at present carried on here by William Clark, and formerly gave employment to six men. Aaron Chambers also made files at this point in former years; and southeast from the "corners" was a wood- and iron-turning shop, carried on by Peter Butler. Here, too, was formerly a shop for the manufacture of sash and blinds, operated by Joseph Griswold and others, and at one time this place promised to become a manufacturing centre. Between this point and the village of Buckland was one of the first improved powers in town, which operated a good saw-mill, and a grist-mill having two run of stone, for John Ward. In later years Horace F. Taylor carried on a grist-mill and turning-shop. The flood of December, 1878, destroyed this power, and the machinery has been removed.
      At the village Newell Townsley improved the water-power for tannery purposes about 1828. In this branch of business he was succeeded by Wm. B. Caswell, who enlarged the works and carried them on until about 1868, when the tannery was abandoned. About 1835 a part of the water-power was sold to Newton Griswold, who erected a large two-story building for a sash-and-blind factory, and for the manufacture of wooden-ware. In after-years mill machinery was supplied, and this is at present operated by Horace Elmer.
      The power below the village was improved some time before 1840, by Porter, Ballard & Lazell, for a saw-mill. Among the later owners were John Porter, Bartlett Ballard, Palmer Ware, and Sumner Ward. The latter's family now carry it on, and it is doing a large business.
      Near the mouth of Clesson's River, in the midst of a pine forest, a pioneer saw-mill was built before 1790, by Samuel Taylor, Josiah Johnson, Daniel Trowbridge, and others, which was widely known as the "Pine Mill." After 1800, Levi White became the owner, and carried on these mills—saw and grist—many years. After the old mills had become useless David Crittenden erected a saw- and shingle-mill. Subsequently, H. S. Swan erected a large building, in which was first mill machinery, but which was afterward used to finish cutlery. Later, Fred Bamer here made surgical instruments. The freshet of 1869 destroyed this power.

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01 Ju1 2005