The Lathrop Map of Agawam

From a 1930's Minerva J. Davis type-written manuscript
currently in the Agawam Historical Association collection.

Much information, valuable to both historian and genealogist, is to be found in the 1831 Lathrop map. It is unusually accurate; and to add further interest, it was made by home-town talent.
John Lathrop was a grandson of Parson Lathrop of West Springfield. His father was Samuel, the Parson's fourth son, and a man who carried on the family tradition for accomplishment. Samuel was a lawyer, state senator for 10 years, congressman from 1818 to 1824, and in later life owned a large farm in West Springfield.
John Lathrop grew up un his father's house on tree-shaded Ramapogue Street across from the Eagle Tavern. (Elm Street, West Springfield.) He graduated from Yale as had his father and grandfather and began the study of law in his father's office. After a year or so he decided that the life of a lawyer was too confining and he turned to a career in civil engineering.
His reason for making the map can only be surmised. Perhaps he felt that he must prove his ability to his home town before the public would have confidence in his work, also the only town map was thirty years old and not too reliable. His father encouraged the venture and financed publication of the maps.
There is no record of how long the survey took or who helped him. It may have been his brother Joseph who tramped the fields, hills and woods with him from Mt. Tom to Suffield line, searching for old markers, running new lines for streets and country roads, carefully marking the locations of all the houses. He kept track of owners' names and number of people in the houses, and found the total to be 3278. This took in what is now Holyoke, West Springfield and Agawam.
The Agawam section of the map shows two churches in Agawam Center and one in Feeding Hills. There were four schools in Agawam and five in Feeding Hills. North Agawam consisted of a winding road and five houses. No bridge had been built at Mittineague but there was a dam furnishing power for a grist mill.
A saw mill, satinet factory and tannery were located at the mouth of the Three Mile Brook, with Porter's Pond and grist mill further up on the same stream. There was a grist mill on Pond Brook and a saw mill at Silver Lake. Three inns were marked on this map; Theodosia Palmer's at Feeding Hills Center, Martin King's in Agawam Center and Warren Clark's at South Agawam.
State surveys have found no flaws in this map and have used it as a pattern. Most of the West Springfield families of 130 years ago purchased a copy and there are still a few in existance. Whoever locates one has found a treasure.

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