Montague consists of five villages: Montague Center, Montague City, Turners Falls, Millers Falls , and Lake Pleasant with a total population of nearly 9,000. Of the five, Turners Falls developed into the most populated and industrialized community and is the site of the town offices. Montague Center , which still has a town hall and 800 residents, was once part of Sunderland . It wasnít until 1774 that Montague Center had enough citizens to have its own representative to the General Court. The Post Office of Montague Center has a zip code of 01351.
The town was named after Capt. William Montague, an English sea captain, commander of the ship Mermaid at the capture of Louisburg in 1745. Some believe it may have been named after Richard Montague, who was one of the first 59 settlers of the town of Hadley , from which Sunderland , and later Montague began. Perhaps it was to honor the family, and for no other reason, that the town of Montague derived its name.
The Pocumtuck Indians were the primary tribe along the Connecticut River before the settlers arrived in the mid 1600ís. Skirmishes with the Indians occurred over the years and most of the early settlers built homes with thick walls and small windows for defense. The men always carried their muskets, even to the fields and to church.
The countryside varies from flat lands along the river in the south, to wooded hills farther to the north. Diversified farming of many forms is done along the banks of the river, with cattle and dairy in the hills. Few dairy farms remain, however. Crops today include corn, asparagus, potatoes, many vegetables, as well as tobacco, and roses.
Montagues helped settle other villages in the area, such as Leverett, North Leverett, and Sunderland , in those early days. They all derived from Richard, who was one of the first 59 settlers in Hadley, just a few miles away. Amherst was another settlement where Montagues went, the birthplace of Emily Dickinson, also a Montague. All these towns are situated in a ten to fifteen mile radius.
One could say that Hadley, and the Montague area, is the birthplace of the Richard Montague line in America . Richard arrived in Boston in the 1630ís and moved to Hadley in 1659. Several generations of my Richard Montague line remained in the area for a time. Some Montagues are still in the area. Peter Montague, Richardís older brother, landed in Virginia in 1621 and helped settle that part of America .
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