Gill, Massachusetts Slate Memorial Library - Gill, Massachusetts

The town of Gill in northwestern Massachusetts offers education, recreation and quiet, peaceful living opportunities within its 15 square miles. Gill is 7 miles east of Greenfield, 36 miles north of Springfield and 95 miles northwest of Boston. The 1,500 residents live mostly in single-family homes, although there is one development of condominiums. Gill is the home of the co-ed Northfield Mount Hermon School, known in the last century as the Mount Hermon School for Boys. There is a nine-hole golf course which holds several tournaments during the year, horse-riding facilities along quiet country roads, and in winters, snowmobiling on the open fields.

Gill, incorporated September 28, 1793, was originally part of Deerfield and was included in the portion set off from Deerfield June 9, 1753, as the district of Greenfield, which became a township that same year. The first settlers on the land that became Gill, who arrived before 1753 and lived later that 1793, were therefore inhabitants of the towns of Deerfield, Greenfield and Gill, successively, even though they never moved. Some residents of Northfield also became inhabitants of Gill when the "Grass Hill" section of Northfield was annexed on February 28, 1795.

The land within its boundaries was settled too late to figure largely in the hazards of Indian attacks, although one important incident occurred within its area. On May 19, 1676, Captain William Turner, after whom neighboring Turners Falls was named, and his troops attacked Indians camped near the Connecticut River falls and their victory helped establish the preeminence of Deerfield and other settlements in the valley.

Geographically, the town lies in a wide, irregular bend of the Connecticut River as it makes an abrupt turn northwestward in its southern course at the mouth of the Millers River. Across the river to the east are the towns of Erving and Northfield, and to the south is Montague. Fall River separates it from Greenfield, and Bernardston forms most of the northern border.

The first town meeting was held December 18, 1793, with Moses Bascom as moderator. Elected officers were Moses Bascom Jr. as town clerk and treasurer, Moses Bascom, William Smalley and Noah Munn as selectmen and assessors and David Squires as constable.

The town is named in honor of Moses Gill, a member of Massachusetts' Executive Council who became lieutenant govenor in 1794 and acting governor in 1799 when Governor Increase Sumner died. Gill died in 1800, leaving the state without a governor and acting governor for the first and only time in its history.

Gill for many years benefited from river traffic. The "Grass Hill" section eventually became home to noted evangelist Dwight L. Moody's Mount Hermon School in 1881, which merged with Northfield School for girls to become Northfield Mount Hermon School more than 20 years ago.