Whately, Massachusetts

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Whately is a town in Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 1,573 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Whately was first settled in 1672 as a northern section of Hatfield. The town peaceably petitioned for separation from the town because of its relatively long distance from the rest of Hatfield, and was officially incorporated in 1771, named by Governor Thomas Hutchinson for Thomas Whately, a Member of Parliament whose letter to Hutchinson would later be involved in the controversy which brought on Hutchinson's dismissal. Whately was the site of the state's first gin distillery, as well as other small mills, including wool and furniture mills. The town also used the water in town for agricultural pursuits, including dairying and one of the few Sumatran tobacco fields outside of Indonesia.[1][2]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 20.7 square miles (53.5 km²), of which, 20.2 square miles (52.3 km²) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.2 km²) of it (2.32%) is water. Whately lies along the southern border of the county, north of Hampshire County, and is bordered by Conway to the northwest, Deerfield to the northeast, Sunderland to the east, Hatfield to the south, and Williamsburg to the west. Whately is located eleven miles south of Greenfield, 26 miles north of Springfield, and 95 miles west of Boston.

Whately lies along the western banks of the Connecticut River in the Pioneer Valley. The western part of town is hilly, with the highest point being the 980-foot Mount Esther. East of the hills, the Mill River flows through town, with some swampland to the east of it between it and the Great Swamp Brook, a tributary which meets in the town. There is more marshy land in the southeast of town, closer to the Connecticut, and some small ponds between the two. Much of the land around the two rivers is cleared for farmland.

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