History of the Town of Worthington

In 2018 Worthington will celebrate the 250th anniversary of its incorporation as a town.

The complete text of the 1874 book History of the Town of Worthington, From Its First Settlement to 1874 (by James C. Rice, the Rev. J. H. Bisbee, and C. K. Brewster) can be accessed through the Internet Archive at this link.

WORTHINGTON CHRONOLOGY:

1654 Northampton settled
1662 Hampshire County established
1692 Province of Massachusetts Settlement Law passed
1736 “Hatfield Grant” created (Feb. 4)
1762 At end of the “French and Indian Wars,” Plantation No. 3 purchased from the Province of Massachusetts for 1,860 pounds (equiv. to $9,000) by Aaron Willard of Springfield. Willard conveyed 5/6 of his original investment to Josiah Dwight (1/6 share) and John Worthington (1/6 share), both of Springfield, Timothy Dwight, Jr. (1/6 share) of Northampton and to Selah Barnard (2/6) of Deerfield; these five men became known as the “proprietors”
1763 Survey of Plantation No. 3 by Nathaniel Dwight. 126 lots laid out; 4 were reserved for the ministry and minister; 2 were allocated to Nahum Eager who was to serve as real estate agent
1764 First grist mill, probably in Stevensville
1765 Petition to Massachusetts Bay Province for incorporation. Petition refused
1768 Worthington incorporated (June 30), named for one of the proprietors; first town meeting (August 1)
1770 45 pounds raised for roads, positions of Treasurer and Sealer of Weights and Measures created
1771 First Congregational Church organized; Jonathan Huntington, first minister
1773 First school house built between Radiker and Kinne Brook roads
1774 Town meeting discussed “relief and encouragement” of Boston, raised 15 pounds for stock of ammunition; first church built (Sept. 20)
1775 Worthington militia men marched to Cambridge and Dorchester Heights
1776 Prisoners from Burgoyne’s army marched through Worthington on way to Boston, some escaped and remained
1783 Part of Worthington included in the new town of Middlefield
1790 First census
1792 Church meeting house taken down and moved from West Street to site on Harvey Road
1796 Worthington Post Office established, the first between Northampton and Pittsfield; Northampton to Pittsfield stage road established; Albany Turnpike opened
1799 Portion of Chester annexed to Worthington
1806 Rice, Woodbridge and Buffington houses built
1811 William Cullen Bryant arrived to study law with Judge Howe
1812 Town Meeting voted to oppose war with England; Overseer of the Poor position established
1825 General Lafayette spent night at Pierce Tavern at the Corners (June 13); maple trees planted; new Meeting House (steepled) erected on site of present First Congregational Church
1828 Methodist Society established in South Worthington (Sept. 30)
1830 E. and T. Ring factory established in Ringville
1833 Worthington divided into eleven school districts
1837 Mountain Seminary established at the Corners
1839 West Worthington Post Office established
1843 E. and T. Ring laid road to Huntington
1845 Corners Store built
1847 South Worthington Methodist Chapel built
1849 West Worthingotn Methodist Society formed; Mountain Seminary closed
1851 Ringville Post Office established
1852 Green Mountain Agricultural Society established
1853 James Clay Rice published dissertation Secular and Ecclesiastical History of the Town of Worthington
1855 Town Hall built
1858 Hayden and Sons’ sled factory established in Ringville
1860 Lyceum Hall built; Corners Store rebuilt after fire the previous year
1864 General James Clay Rice killed at Spotsylvania, Virginia (May 10)
1865 Business affairs of Town and Congregational Church separated
1866 John Greenleaf Whittier’s Snow-Bound published
1867 South Worthington Post Office established
1868 Worthington Centennial celebration (Aug 20)
1870 First Congregational Church renovated and rededicated
1874 Horace Cole’s cheese factory established at the Corners
1878 Damaging floods
1883 Frederick Sargent Huntington begins ministry; Theron J. Higgins’s mill built in South Worthington
1884 Huntington opened first public library above Corners Grocery
1887 First Congregational Church burned (April 2), new church bell hung (Nov. 10)
1888 Present Congregational Church dedicated
1893 Conwell Academy built in South Worthington
1894 Women’s Benevolent Society incorporated; South Worthington Creamery established; trolley from Northampton to Williamsburg completed
1897 Sidewalk constructed between the Center and the Corners
1898 Jacob Bartlett Hotel burned; “The Worthington Library” incorporated (June 22)
1900 Conwell Academy closed; Royal Arcanum Society organized; first automobile in Worthington
1901 Old Home Week celebrated
1902 Superintendent Goodhue hired to oversee all eleven Worthington elementary schools
1903 Grange #90 organized
1904 Golf Club established
1905 George R. Moody’s South Worthington Parish published; telephone exchange at the Corners Store
1909 Worthington Transportation Company incorporated
1911 Public water system installed, Fire District established and first reservoir built
1913 Worthington Inn opens
1914 Groundbreaking for Frederick Sargent Huntington Library (Aug 17)
1915 Library dedication (Sept 2)
1917 Casino moved from Buffington Hill Road to Old Post Road
1921 Lucius A. Merritt becomes School Superintendent
1924 Golf course extended to nine holes
1928 Electricity brought to Worthington; Friendship Guild organized
1930 Florence Berry (later Bates) arrives to provide nursing services to the Hilltowns
1931 Lafayette Lodge (formerly the Worthington Inn) burned (Feb. 27); First Congregational Church of Worthington incorporated
1932 Rte 112 rebuilt; Worthington AT&T Overland Cable constructed; “Lafayette Elm” removed to widen Huntington Road (May 25)
1933 Town Hall enlarged as a W.P.A. project; Worthington Historical Society organized (Aug. 12)
1940 New Consolidated School (later Russel H. Conwell School) built
1941 Telephone dialing system installed
1942 Women’s Benevolent Society parsonage turned over to the church
1946 Volunteer Fire Department organized (Sept 26); Rod and Gun Club organized; trash disposal area established on property of Emerson Davis on Dingle Road
1948 First PTO meeting held; Mary Snook, Worthington’s only physician, retired
1949 Fire House built; first well drilled for town water system; “Edgerton Papers” presented to the town
1950 Worthington Health Association chartered and incorporated (Sept 29), first open house held in Lyceum Hall (Dec. 10); Palettes and Trowels Club organized (June 23)
1952 Elsie Venner Bartlett, Handbook of Questions and Answers Relating to the History fo Worthington published
1953 Town Garage built
1957 Road signs erected, donated by Nathaniel Glidden; counterfeit ring on Old Post Road “smashed” by U.S. Secret Service
1961 Congregational Church and United Church of Christ joined; Worthington Historical Society incorporated
1963 Gateway Regional School District established; second well drilled for town water system; McCann bequest to the Worthington Health Association; Thursday Morning Coffee Club organized
1966 Worthington Health Center opened on Old North Road
1967 Florence Bates retired; Worthington Swim and Tennis Club founded
1968 Worthington Bicentennial Celebration (June 29-July 6); South Worthington Methodist Chapel renovated; Memorial Park built
1969 Fire District expanded water supply second reservoir, chlorinator and third well added to system
1970 First zoning laws adopted
1975 Arlo Guthrie Benefit Concert for the Worthington Health Association (Oct 5)
1976 Schrade family established the Sevenars Music Festival in South Worthington; Arthur Capen retired as town librarian; Capen/Riverside schoolhouse renovated; Julia Sharron became the first woman elected to the Board of Selectmen
1977 Trash compactor system adopted; direct dial telephone service established
1980 Hilltown Artisans Guild founded
1981 Mary Pardee Allison bequest to the Worthington Health Association; AT&T Overland Cable abandoned
1983 First edition of Papers on the History of Worthington published
1986 Worthington Gardeners organized
1987 Worthington Health Association renamed the Hilltown Community Health Centers
1989 Rolland Bequest benefits wide range of Worthington organizations
1992 Women’s Benevolent Society held last meeting; Merwin and Arlene Packard donated land at the Corners (“Packard Park”) to the Worthington Historical Society; Worthington Grange #90 closed
1996 “Lafayette Elm” replaced on southwest corner of the Frederick Sargent Huntington Library
1998 Gateway School-based Health Center established by the Hilltown Community Health Centers
1999 Worthington Historical Society building at Packard Park completed, grand opening (June 13)
2001 Russell H. Conwell Elementary School renovated
2002 Worthington site of the Hilltown Community Health Centers renovated and expanded
2007 Ben Albert’s farm properties sold at auction

Logging scene

Kip Porter logging, 2007 (Photo by Kate Ewald)

One Response to History of the Town of Worthington

  1. Bill, Nikki, and I lived in Worthington in the mid 1980’s. I fell in love with the town. I will always love Worthington and miss it still to this day. We lived in the old Reardon House the 1840 side door Home on the main street I believed it was called Huntington Rd. It had a huge red barn. The maple trees in the front, and the wonderful neighbors – Janet, Bob, and Nancy across the street. Good luck to a wonderful town and the wonderful people who keep it that way.

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