1. The Town of Amherst The Town of Amherst was settled in 1731 as the "Third Precinct" of Hadley, the next town to the west. Amherst was incorporated as a separate town in 1759. In origin solely a farming community, it is now known chiefly for its three educational institutions. Amherst is a town of more than 35,000 inhabitants; the ultimate control of the Town's affairs rests with a representative town meeting. Approximately one-third of the members of the meeting are elected each year for three-year terms by the registered voters.