A New England Town: The First Hundred Years

Monson, Massachusetts


June 7, 1759, the people living in the western part of Brimfield petitioned to be set off as a district. (See Massachusetts Archives, cxvii., 500.) Joseph Blodgett, the representative from Brimfield in that year, was instructed to present the town's objections to this division of its territory and population;1 but his efforts were of no avail, and on April 25, 1760, Monson was incorporated as a district.

The following is a copy of the warrant authorizing the first town-meeting for the election of officers:

"To Samuel King, of Monson District, In the County aforesd, Gentleman, Greeting:
"In his Majestie's Name you are hereby Required to Notifie & Warn the Inhabitants of sd Monson quallafied to Vote in town affairs, that they meet & assemble themselves together at the house of Mr Samuel King, in sd Monson, on Monday, the 9th Day of June next, at twelve of ye Clock on sd Day, then and there to Elect & Chose all Such officers as Shall be necessary to Manage the affairs of sd District. Dated at Brimfield the 28th Day of May, and 33rd year of His Majestie's Reign, annoqe Domini 1760.
                  "JOHN SHERMAN, Just. Pase."

The following indorsement appears on the back of this warrant:

"By virtue of this warrant I have warned the Inhabitants of Monson District according to the Direction of ye warrant.
                            "SAM'L KING."2

The district continued, however, to be united with Brimfield in the choice of a representative. The name was conferred on the town by the royal Governor, Pownal, in honor of one of his friends, Monson, the president of the board of trade. Monson was incorporated as a town Oct. 20, 1775.

At the time of the incorporation of the district there were but 49 families: within its limits. Three of these were tenants and one a colored family. The names of the others were J. Shields, Lieut. T. Stebbins, Capt. J. Merrick, Nathaniel Munn, J. Frost, J. Ferry, Capt. D. Hitchcock, Nathan Smith, Joseph Keep, R. Bishop, Samuel King, Thomas King, Ebenezer Merrick, Jabez Keep, Nicholas Graves, F. Sikes, B. Munn, B. Munn, Jr., Nathaniel Fuller, Joseph Moulton, John Davis, Jonas Mace, James Blodgett, Daniel Warner, Jacob Kibbee, Humphrey Gardner, Thomas Blodgett, Robert Dunkley, Joseph Shaw, Josiah Bliss, Edward Hoar, Stephen Wood, Ebenezer Wood, D. Wood, J. Wood, Ebenezer Bliss, J. Foot, J. Colton, James Shaw, Samuel Kilborn, William Gold, A. Graves, S. Hatch, M. Ferry, and Phineas Merrick.

The first annual meeting of the new district was held March 16, 1762, at the house of Richard Bishop. Lieut. Thomas Stebbins was chosen moderator.

In 1763 the inhabitants found it necessary to petition the General Court for leave to lay a tax of 2d. per acre on all the land in the district for two years, to meet the extra expenses of erecting a meeting-house and supporting preaching. Leave was granted to levy a tax of ld. per acre.

Nov. 5, 1798, $60 was appropriated to "revive singing."

1 See petition of date Jan. 10,1760, on file in Mass. Archives, cxvii., 503.
2 Tradition says the meeting, called as above, was held in the log house of Mr. Samuel King, then living where his great-grandson, Sylvanus King, now does, or nearly on the same spot, about one and a half miles east of the present centre of the town. No record of this meeting has been preserved.

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This page was last updated on 13 Feb 2006