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The Town of Leyden is one of the northernmost towns in Massachusetts and abuts Vermont. It is an isolated rural hill town on the suburban corridor from Greenfield to Vermont and residents are proud of its lofty location in the southern highlands of the Green Mountains. The town was named for a town in Holland. Settlement began late in Leyden because of the uplands, the absence of high quality agricultural land and its exposure to Indian attack. The settlement of the community in the early 1740's was not followed by any real growth until the end of the French and Indian wars brought peace and safety to the area. One of the earliest industries in town was cheesemaking. Famous sons of Leyden include John Riddell, the inventor of the binocular microscope, and Henry Kirke Brown, sculptor of the Washington and Lincoln statutes at West Point and in the Capitol. The town was the site of a Dorrite religious community established in 1792 and the entirely agricultural character these new residents found in the 18th century essentially extended into the 20th century. The town is still agricultural, producing beef, pork, wool and butter and making maple sugar. (Seal supplied by community. Narrative based on information provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission)
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