Shelburne — Noteworthy Incidents

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

      The first child born in "Northwest" (afterward Shelburne) was a daughter to Archibald Lawson, for many years previous to her death known as the Widow Nancy Long.
      Shelburne has suffered many periods of general and fatal sickness among its inhabitants, notably during the years of 1777, 1802, 1803, 1808, and 1814. In the former year no less than sixty-six persons died within a space of fifty-three days. The town is a remarkably healthful locality as a rule, and up to 1868 had recorded the deaths within its borders of twenty-six persons who had lived to be over ninety years of age.
      In 1788, Shelburne was visited with a violent hurricane, which caused wide-spread destruction, and, leveling forests, fences, and dwellings, entailed a great loss of property, but exacted, happily, no sacrifice of human life.
      Concerning the times when slaveholding obtained in this country, it is told that a fugitive slave from New York took up his residence in Shelburne, whence he was, however, kidnapped by those who were in search of him, and carried off toward New York. Shelburne was aroused to resentment, and a party, starting in pursuit of captors and captured, rescued the negro and restored him to Shelburne, where he was allowed to remain unmolested until his death.
      Until 1822 the people of Shelburne were obliged to go to Greenfield for their mail, but in that year a postal station of their own was established.
      When the town used to pay for the services of its representative at the General Court, there was frequently a disinclination to a representative, but a fine imposed in 1788 for a failure to choose one that year effected a permanent cure of that species of neglect.
      Shelburne has been the birthplace of many who have distinguished themselves as missionaries in foreign lands, the most notable of these being Fidelia Fisk and Rev. Pliny Fisk, who died in Syria in 1825. It is worthy of mention, too, that Epaphroditus Ransom, once Governor of Michigan, was born in Shelburne.
      Shelburne took an active part in Shays' rebellion, and furnished much aid in the way of troops for the government service. One of Shelburne's citizens—John Hunter by name—was among those killed in the insurgent ranks on the occasion of Shays' attack upon Springfield, in 1787. Jacob Walker, of Whately, who was killed by Parmenter—a Shays rebel—while attempting the capture of the latter in Bernardston, was the man who completed the building of the second meeting-house in Shelburne, erected in Shelburne Centre.
      Shelburne boasted once a weekly newspaper publication, called the Shelburne Falls Standard, which was started at the village of Shelburne Falls in 1877 by Maj. Fleming. It struggled through a feeble existence, and finally expired about six months after the date of its first issue.
      June 21, 1868, one hundred years after the incorporation of Shelburne, the town celebrated its centennial anniversary with public rejoicings, speeches, feasting, and musical exercises.

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08 Jul 2005