Hawley — Industrial Pursuits.
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
Before 1790, Moses Rogers had in operation a grist-mill near the centre of the town, on Chickley's River, about where L. J. Hall's saw-mill now stands. While attempting some repairs on his dam Mr. Rogers was drowned. At this point were formerly clothing-works, operated by Harvey Barker, Ebenezer Dickinson, and others, which have long since been discontinued.
In the vicinity of the West Hawley church was a furnace and forge, at the beginning of the present century, which manufactured iron from the ore mined near by. Among the operators was Elias Goodspeed. The buildings were burned and work discontinued before 1825. Martin Brackett had at this place a saw-mill, and at a later day Vincent & Baker put in operation a mill, which is yet continued, as well as the manufacture of handles of various kinds. Here Austin Pease built a tannery about 1835, which was afterward operated by Howes & Sears, and abandoned in 1855.
At the next water-power above, Clark Fuller, A. Sears, and others have had saw-mills and turning-shops, and, west of this place, John Miller and C. Peck erected lumber-mills. Southward, on King's Brook, Horace Thayer built a turning-shop, which is now operated by the Larrabees; and above, on the same stream, Warriner King had a saw-mill, which is yet operated, and a wooden-ware shop, which has been abandoned. Still farther above, near the Hampshire line, is an excellent water-power, which formerly operated saw- and grist-mills, belonging to King, Crittenden, Rice, and others. About 1840, L. Hallock became the proprietor of these privileges, and put up a large tannery, which for a time did a good business; but nothing has been done here for many years past.
On Clesson's Brook, Levi Eldridge erected a saw-mill about 1812, which has since been carried on by his family; and below that power was another mill, owned by Joshua Vincent and Healy Newton. Another abandoned mill-site was improved by Abraham Parker, near the old meeting-house, and on Bozrah Brook were also small powers, employed to operate clothing-works and shops. A saw-mill is here carried on by Charles Crittenden. The foregoing industries employed many persons, and their discontinuance has been a prominent cause of the diminished population.