Rawson House

                                                                                   Photo by Richard Bourdeau  The history of Rawson House is in large part the history of early South Hadley.  The town was originally a part of Hadley, founded in 1659.  The eight-mile trek over the Notch to church each Sunday was arduous; most of the residents did not have horses.  So the residents of the south part of Hadley in 1727 appealed to the Great and General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to split off from the town of Hadley.  This they were permitted to do, essentially under three conditions: That they build a meeting house, which they did in 1732 (it is located on the town common and is the former Woodbridge’s Restaurant, now called The Yarde), that they hire a minister, which they did.  His name was Grindal Rawson.  And that they build him a house, which is Rawson House.


Grindal Rawson was the 10th child of Grindal and Dorothy Rawson.  He came from a long line of clerics.  His great great great grandmother’s brother was the Archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.  The clergy in Grindal’s day was an elite social class.  Grindal, Sr was a minister and a Harvard graduate (1678) and his mother the daughter of a clergyman who graduated from Harvard in 1693.  Grindal himself graduated from Harvard in 1728 and one of his sons, Edmund, was also a minister who married the daughter of the minister in Hadley.


Grindal’s house was erected in 1733 on the third lot north of the town common on the west side of the street.  This space was reserved for a minister when the town lots were laid out in 1720..

It measured 20 ft X 40 ft and was of typical post and beam construction.