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New Salem, Franklin County, Massachusetts

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  • Rebecca Meacham (1712 - 1786)
    Rebecca Hawkins Birth: Mar 30 1712 - Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts Bay Colony, British Colonial America Death: 1786 - Parents: James Hawkins, Elizabeth Hawkins (born Humphreys) Siblings: Tho...
  • Jeremiah Meacham (1710 - 1766)
    Jeremiah Meacham and Rebecca Hawkins filed Marriage Intentions, 1 Apr 1732, in Salem, Province of Massachusetts Bay. Rebeckah, and Jeremiah Meacham, int. Apr. 1, 1732." "The first settler [in New Sale...
  • John Meacham (c.1674 - 1761)
    Not the same as Lieut. John Meacham John Meacham BIRTH say 1673; no birth record at Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA DEATH 1761 (aged 85–86) BURIAL North New Salem Cemetery, New Salem,...

Please add Geni profiles of anyone who was born, lived in, or died in New Salem, Massachusetts.

New Salem is a town in Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 983 at the 2020 census.[2] It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Franklin County was created on June 24, 1811, from the northern third of Hampshire County.

Hampshire County is a historical and judicial county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. … Hampshire County was constituted in 1662 from previously unorganized territory comprising the entire western part of Massachusetts Bay Colony. It included the original towns of Springfield, Northampton, and Hadley. The original Hampshire County also included territory that is now in modern-day Hampden County, Franklin County, and Berkshire County, as well as small parts of modern-day Worcester County.

From “The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts.” < link >

New Salem lies at the southeastern corner of Franklin Valley, with its lands extending southward between Hampshire County and Worcester County. The town is bordered by Orange to the north, Athol to the northeast, Petersham to the east, Ware to the south, Belchertown to the southeast, and Pelham, Shutesbury and Wendell to the west. Because of the Quabbin Reservoir, there is no land link between New Salem and Pelham, Belchertown or Ware. The town has a total area of 58.6 square miles and has a population of approximately 990.

New Salem's history began on December 31, 1734, when the General Court granted a township six miles square to 60 residents of Salem, who then set about recruiting settlers. The first settler is believed to be Jeremiah Meacham, who paid 10 pounds for a lot and came to the area in 1737. The names of other early settlers included Trask, Southwick, Felton, Goodale, Wier, Cary, Childs, Kellogg, Powers and Rugg.

The town was governed by Salem until being incorporated on June 15, 1753. Up until that time, the settlers relied on farming for subsistence. Industries that eventually developed were sawmills, gristmills and tanneries. The town also became well known for the production of palm leaf hats and butter, and for supplying ferns and laurel to florists throughout North America.

The town was on the route taken by Captain Daniel Shays and his men in 1787 during Shays Rebellion. Route 202, which runs the length of New Salem, is named Daniel Shays Highway. Some 10 years before Shays' march, the town was part of the route traveled by 1,000 Hessian captives who were being taken from Saratoga, N. Y. to the Boston area. A road named Hessian Lane and a stone marker commemorate the occasion.

New Salem Academy, which served as both a private preparatory school and the town's high school, was established in 1795 and for many years was the center of educational and cultural life. The school remained in existence until 1968.

The town was impacted greatly by the building of the Quabbin Reservoir during the 1930's. Much of the town is off-limits wilderness controlled by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which oversees the Quabbin. Three streets leading from the town common, which used to connect to towns now at the bottom of the reservior, dead-end at Quabbin gates.

For more information, visit the New Salem Town Website.

Location in Franklin County in Massachusetts: Coordinates: 42°30′15″N 72°19′57″W


  • The New Salem Common Historic District encompasses the historic town center of New Salem, Massachusetts. Located on South Main Street, it includes the town common and most of its civic and institutional buildings. Most buildings in the district date to the 18th and 19th centuries.[2] The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
  • New Salem, Franklin County, Massachusetts Genealogy < FamilySearch >
  • “MACRIS report, NSA.B: North New Salem Inventory” (document attached). Town first settled 1737.
  • Center Cemetery, Also known as New Salem Center Cemetery < FindAGrave §>
  • North New Salem Cemetery < FindAGrave >
  • Wilber Cemetery New Salem, Franklin County, Massachusetts, USA < FindAGrave >
  • Vital Records of New Salem, MA to the end of the year 1849 < link >
  • The New Salem sesqui-centennial : report of the addresses and proceedings of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of the town of New Salem, at New Salem on Thursday, Aug. 20th, 1903 (Publication date 1904). < Archive.Org > page 21. < Archive.Org > There .is in the archives,, in the State House at Boston, the names of about 142 men from New Salem who served in the war of the Revolution. Benjamin Haskell was at the battle of Bunker Hill. He was 'near Gen. Warren when he fell and assisted in carrying him from the field. Two of his grandsons are with us today.