Arria Sargent Huntington was the daughter of Hannah Dane Sargent and Fredric Dan Huntington. Her book, Under a Colonial Roof-Tree: Fireside Chronicles of Early New England, was completed in 1891. Throughout the one hundred and sixty four pages, Arria shares historical details and descriptions of both her family and the area surrounding her family’s home, Forty Acres. On page six, Arria describes the founding of Hadley and what the settlers found when they reached the area. She writes,
A mountain chain rises here abruptly from the meadow-land, closing in the rich interval. The Connecticut, in its southward course, before entering the narrow opening between opposite peaks, takes a sweep through a broad basin, which, long before the memory of man, was washed by alluvial deposits. Natural terraces rise from the bank to wooded highlands east and west. Even when encircled by primeval forest, this open valley must have had its own charm for those who recalled the peaceful scenery of Old England.
Arria’s poetic words demonstrate her admiration of the natural beauty that her ancestors settled. Her description of Hadley ties together many points in the land’s history, from the prehistoric glaciers, to the old growth forests. This passage also unites the experiences of all people who have seen Hadley, from the first people to inhabit the land, to those who remember “Old England,” to Arria’s own generation, and even visitors to the Pioneer Valley today. While the landscape of Hadley has certainly changed, its beauty continues to impress those who are able to experience it.