Monroe — Early Settlers
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
The rugged nature of the town presented few attractions to the pioneer, and it was not until about 1800 that an attempt at permanent settlement was made. About that period Daniel Caneday, of Coleraine, brought in his family, and was followed soon after by Ebenezer Howard, Samuel Gore, and Daniel Gore. Some of these left town early; the latter remained until his death. He lived a little south of the centre, and reared a number of sons, among them being Hiram, Lowell, Moses, Asahel, and Luther. The latter moved to Ohio, where he became a noted lawyer.
Three brothers of the Ballou family—David, Benjamin, and Nathan—came from Richmond, N. H., about the same time, and settled within half a mile of one another, near the present school-house in District No. 2. Benjamin lived on the road west, on the place afterward occupied by his son, Martin, and where the latter's son, Martin M., now resides. David Ballou lived north of the school-house, on the place now owned by Alfred Phelps. His sons were David, a Universalist minister, Leavitt, Moses, and John. The third brother, Nathan, lived southeast of the school-house. He had three sons—Nathan, Hosea, and Maturin—and seven daughters. The last-named son, Maturin, drove a stage across the mountain, from Greenfield to North Adams, seventeen years. His home was in the eastern part of the town. One of his sons, Cyrus, is a well-known citizen of Rowe. Hosea F. Ballou, a son of the noted Boston clergyman, was a resident of Monroe a number of years.
Jonathan Hicks is also named among the early settlers. He lived in the northern part of the town, and had sons named Joseph, Daniel, and Albert, the latter being still a resident of Monroe. In his neighborhood, Levi Whitcomb was one of the first settlers. He had sons named Stillman, Nathan, Samuel, and Myron, nearly all of whom live in the town. At a little later period Dana Phelps settled south of the centre, where he reared a large family, the sons being Dana, Frank, Cyrus, Charles, Newell, Hiram, Alfred, Asa, and Darius. The last three named yet live in town, and, with their descendants, constitute a large share of the population at the present time.
At the centre and near that point were Thomas Stafford and his sons Isaac, Thomas, Ezekiel, James, Elijah, and Nathan; Jacob Bryant and his sons, Martin, Asahel, and Roswell; Rufus Spaulding and his sons, Ansel and Thomas; Thomas Hines and his sons, Maranda and Arnold; Elisha Bryant and his sons, Benjamin, Elisha, and Arad; Isaiah Dunbar, Charles Dunbar, Thaddeus Dunbar, Nathan and Elkany Bullock, Gilson and Elnathan Taylor, and James Sheldon, all of whom may be properly classed among the early settlers of the town.
In 1840 the town had 282 inhabitants, and every subsequent decade showed a diminished population, the inhabitants at present numbering only 190.
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01 Ju1 2005