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Hampden County, Mass.











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Historical Celebration.

IN the early part of March, 1876, was passed the following joint resolution of Congress on the celebration of the National Centennial in the several counties and towns throughout the United States:

Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That it be, and is hereby recommended by the Senate and House of Representatives to the people of the several states, that they assemble in their several counties or towns on the approaching Centennial anniversary of our National Independence, and that they cause to have delivered on such day an historical sketch of said county or town from its formation, and that a copy of said sketch may be filed in print or in manuscript in the clerk's office of said county, and an additional copy in print or manuscript, be filed in the office of the Librarian of Congress, to the intent that a complete record may thus be obtained of the progress of our institutions during the First Centennial of their existence. Approved, March 13, 1876.

By vote of the Legislature of Massachusetts, a copy of this resolution was transmitted June 13, to the clerks of each of the cities and towns of the Commonwealth.

On receipt of this communication Mr. Henry F. Brown, the town clerk of Brimfield, presented the matter to a few of the citizens, who, while approving of the object, thought it desirable to postpone the matter to a later date than the one named in the Resolution of Congress, and on Sunday, August 27, a notice was read in church inviting. all persons interested in securing as many of the facts of the settlement and early history of the town as might be done by a Historical Address and other means, to meet at the Selectmen's room the following evening. At this meeting it was voted to be desirable and expedient to secure such facts and incidents, and Rev. Dr. C. M. Hyde was

selected to prepare and deliver the Address. Henry F. Brown, Nathan F. Robinson, Sumner Parker, Byron W. Charles and William H. Sherman were appointed a committee to consult and report a plan for carrying out the purpose of the meeting. The meeting adjourned to meet on Thursday, September 7, at the Town Hall, when the report of the committee was read and accepted. This report recommended the observance of the day appointed for the address as a holiday to be observed by the descendants of residents of the original town, embracing the present towns of Brimfield, Monson, Wales and Holland, and parts of Warren and Palmer. The day selected was October 11, and an executive committee as follows was chosen to have general charge of all the arrangements: Samuel W. Brown, Alfred L. Converse, James B. Brown, George M. Hitchcock, James S. Blair, Moses H. Baker, Newton S. Hubbard, Ephraim W. Norwood and William H. Sherman. Several meetings to perfect arrangements were held by this committee. Special invitations were given to former residents of the town and their descendants, to the survivors of the war of 1812, and of the Brimfield Rifle Company, and to all soldiers of the war of the rebellion within the limits of Brimfield, or who enlisted from the town.

Wednesday, October 11, dawned one of Autumn's brightest, and at an early hour the roads from every direction were thronged with teams and foot passengers, all eager to be on hand for Brimfield's grandest and proudest occasion. Capt. Francis D. Lincoln was president of the day, and Byron W. Charles, chief marshal. Under his direction the procession was formed in front of the hotel near the soldiers' monument, in the following order: Monson Brass Band; Members of Co. G, 46th M. V.; Survivors of the Brimfield Rifle Co.; Hitchcock Free High School; Citizens and invited guests. After moving round the village and taking under escort the president of the day and speakers, the procession marched to the church, where it arrived about 11 o'clock, and which was filled to overflowing before but a small part of the people had been admitted. Prayer was offered by Rev. M. L. Richardson of Sturbridge, after which the president delivered the address of welcome, introducing the orator of the day, Rev. C. M. Hyde, D. D.

After the address of Dr. Hyde, a bountiful collation contributed by

the citizens was served in the Town Hall to from 1200 to 1500 people, the number being sufficient to twice fill the hall, necessitating a return to the church after the collation, where addresses were delivered by the president of the day, Rev. Charles Hammond, and Gen. Fitz Henry Warren. These addresses, and the letters received from different persons who were unable to attend the celebration, will be found in the appendix.

So much interest was aroused by the celebration that a meeting of citizens was called Tuesday, October 17th, to take measures to secure the publication of the addresses of Dr. Hyde and others, when it was voted "that the Rev. C. M. Hyde, D. D., be requested to write out for publication, with such additional facts as he may wish to incorporate, his historical address on the early history of Brimfield, delivered October 11th, 1876," and a committee of five, consisting of Henry F. Brown, Francis D. Lincoln, Samuel W. Brown, James S. Blair and James B. Brown, were chosen to inform Dr. Hyde and others of the vote, and to "assist in gathering facts to make the history as full and accurate as possible, and to devise and report a plan for the publication of the same."

The committee finding Dr. Hyde willing to comply with their request, recommended that the question of publication be brought before the town, and a town meeting was called January 13, 1877, for this purpose. At this meeting the town voted to choose a committee of five, who were thereby authorized to arrange for and publish the history of the town as prepared by Rev. C. M. Hyde, D. D., with such additions as he and they might deem advisable. The town elected for this committee the same gentlemen as were chosen at the citizen's meeting to arrange for the publication of the addresses, and authorized the printing of an edition of six hundred copies of the History; the committee were also directed "to present, in the name of the town, a bound copy of the History to each of the speakers on the day of the celebration, to Gov. Horace Fairbanks of Vermont, to the High School and pastoral libraries, the Congressional and State libraries, and to the Connecticut Valley Historical Society, and also one copy to each family in town resident May 1, 1877."

The departure of Rev. Mr. Hyde, from the town and country, and

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