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through the town east and West: the north one is the old post road from Boston to Worcester; which, passing through the thickest settled part of the town and over the head of Long Pond, forms a junction with the other, which is the Worcester Turnpike, near the Gaol in Worcester. This roadwas laid out as a county road, at, or before the settlement of the town, and while it formed a part of the county of Middlesex. Ii is on the records of that county, but not on the town record, or that of the county of Worcester. It was laid out four rods wide, without any particular bounds or courses, and is 1510 rods in length, in Shrewsbury. The act, chartering the Worcester Turnpike Corporation, was passed June 10th, 1808 ; and that road soon after made ; its length in Shrewsbury is 1350 rods. It runs nearly parallel with the post road, varying from one and an half to two miles from it. It is four rods wide and rather billy through most of the town. It crosses Long Pond, about two miles south of the head of it, by means of a floating bridge, being the third bridge, that has been thrown over the pond at this place, for the purpose of crossing it. The first was a floating bridge, and cost about $9000. It consisted of two or three tiers of round timbers laid lengthways and then crossways, and then overlaid with a course of hewn timber, covered with plank, and fastened to large abut.nents at the shores. This bridge soon proved to be weak and unsafe, and after a few years was succeeded by another of the same materials, and cost $13,000. It was constructed by sipking pine piers; the centre one of these was sixty feet by sixty; the others sixty by thirty, placed in a line about thirty feet apart. The piers were constructed separately, and designed to rest on the bottom of the pond : this was done, by laying the course, then lapping and building after the manner of a cob house, and pinning where the timbers lapped and crossed; by building in this manner, as the weight increased, the frames settled and the work continued, till the frame of each pier found a resting place at the bottom, reaching and remaining considerably above the water; towards the top, the piers were connected to each other by timbers, and upon the top even overlaid with them; over the whole was laid a quantity of gray el. But on account of the mud in some places, and gravel in others, at the bottom of the pond, some of the piers continued to settle and others remained stationary. The four eastern piers, as they settled, leaned to the south. It was endeavored to keep the surface level by putting on gravel, which probably hastened its destruction ; for, by increasing the incumbent weight, the piers (ma
ny of their timbers having started from their fastenings) so far lost their perpendicularity, that in the morning of the 19th Sept. 1817, near the time of its completion, and while the workmen were most of them near by, at breakfast, the bridge separated near the center, and the east half turned over into the pond to the south, and the other half, breaking up, tumbled in, pier after pier, in broken masses, towards the middle of the pond. Fortunately, no lives were lost, though some were in imminent danger. As the pond varied from fifty to seventy feet in depth at this place, (and in others was more than one hundred) it had taken no less than fifty four thousand feet of timber to construct this bridge; most of which, upon turning over, separated, and came to the surface in single sticks and large blocks pipped together, presenting such a wreck of materials as perhaps was never seen before on any inland waters in this country. The next winter, the present bridge was built upon the ice at the west side of the Pond, mostly of hewn white pine timber, at an expense of $6,000, and in the spring following swung round to its place; and to this day well answers the purpose for which it was designed; it is five hundred and twenty five feet long and thirty wide.
The Holden and Rutland Turnpike, four rods wide, is 400 rods in length in Shrewsbury, and ends upon entering the old Post road about half a mile east of the head of Long Pond. There is a small piece of County road, three rods wide, and 200 in length, passing in a northeasterly direction from Worcester line, near the Poor house of that town, to Boylston. In the south part of the town, there is a County road three rods wide, and two hundred and fifty in length, leading from the Gore near Worcester, in an easterly direction, and crossing the town road leading to Grafton; on the south of which commences, and runs south, another County road, leading to the middle of the town of Grafton, three rods wide, and one hundred and eighteen in length in Shrewsbury. All the other roads in this town are town roads, and are thirty-seven in number. They were surveyed, their courses taken, and bounds established, the roads numbered and accepted by the town, and recorded at full length on the town records in the year 1805; except the seven last, which have since been laid out, numbered, accepted and recorded in like manner as the first. There are also a few bridle ways. With some trilling alterations, the courses of the roads remain as in 1805.
The width and length of each road and quantity of land occupied by each, is as follows, viz. Rods Tods of
Rods rods of wide. long land.
wide. long. land. Post Road, 4 1510 6040 | Town Road, No. 15 2
184 Worcester Turnpike, 4 1350 5400
No. 16 151 302 Holden Turnpike, 400 1600
No. 17 400 800 County road to
2 35 70 3 200 600 Boylston,
No. 19 2 791 1582 County road from 3
No. 20 222 444 250 750 Gore, leading east,
2) 621 1552 County road leading
No. 22 2 408 816 118 354 south to Grafton,
No. 23 132 264 Town road, No. 1 2 747 1494
38 76 No. 2 2 1165 2330
No. 25 2 503 1006 No. 3
No. 26 520 1040 No. 4 2 322 644
No. 27 311 622 No. 5 2 68
63 126 No. 6 605 1210
No. 29 2 356 712 No. 7 2 952 1904
No. 30 545 1090 No. 8 2 70 140
185 370 No. 9 2 653 1306
No. 32 2 423 85 No. 10 244 488
No. 33 1 131 15
22 No. 11 2 80 160
No. 34. 2 42 84
No. 35 dis'd
No. 36 2
1614 323 No. 14 2 790 1580
No. 37 2 62 124
NY GY GP GP GP GP GP GP GP GP GP GP GP GP GP GP GP
Making fifty three miles of road, occupying two hundred and sixty two acres of land.
The whole contents of the town amount to fourteen thousand and sixty acres, of which seven hundred and pinety eight are water. The burying ground contains two acres and sixty one rods, and the common around the Congregational Meeting House, four acres and one hundred and twenty seven rods of land.
The town is divided into eleven highway districts, and the usual grant for the repair of its roads $800, annually, which is paid in labor by those on whom it is assessed.
The amount of the travel on the old post road and Worcester Tornpike, is very great. The Post Office is kept on the first in the middle of the town, where the mail from Boston is opened every day (except Sundays) as is also the mail from the west. Four Stages pass on the old road every day, (Sundays excepted) and five each day on the Turnpike. The great southern mail from Boston to New York, is carried in the stage on the Turnpike, and passes every day, as does the return mail from the south, to Boston. They generally pass each other about 6 P. M. within the limits of this town. There is considerable and increasing travel from the northward, directly through the middle of the town to Providence.
ECCLESIASTICAL.This town contains three religious societies, one Congregational, one Baptist, and one Restoration Society ; each having a Meeting House. The first was the only religious society in the town, until within a few years past.
The precise time, when the first Meeting House was built, cannot be ascertained; but from what can be gathered from the proprietor's records, it was in the latter part of 1721 and in 1722. Oct. 27, 1719, the proprietors of the township of Shrewsbury · voted that the place for the Meeting House be on Rocky Plain, near the pines (there were several large pines within the recollection of some of the inhabitants now living, standing a little back of where the Congregational Meeting House now stands) and that, in case the land agreed upon for a Meeting House could not be procured upon reasopable terms, then, the Meeting House be set on the hill northward therefrom, called Meeting House hill ;* and that the Meeting House be forty feet in length, thirty two in breadth, and fourteen feet stud.” In April after, a committee was chosen “ to mapage about the Meeting House ;” and in May succeeding, the votes passed on the 27th Oct. 1719, respecting the Meeting House, were confirmed by the proprietors, and measures taken to have two Saw Mills built in the town, to be put in operation by the first of May, 1721. On the 22d of June following, they “voted two bundred and ten pounds for, and towards building a Meeting House, it being five pounds on each proprietor ;” and “chose a committee to address the Rev. Mr. Breck, of Marlborough, in behalf of the proprietors of Shrewsbury, praying his notes of a sermon preached by bimself in said town at a lecture, on the 15th of June, 1720, in order to bave the same sermon printed at the expense of the proprietors. This was the first sermon preached in Shrewsbury ; it was printed, and if a copy could be found, it would be worth while to preserve it. · At their last mentioned meeting, the proprietors empowered a committee to contract with some person to build, and finish a Meeting House. These meetings of the proprietors were all held at the house of the widow Elizabeth Howe, in Marlborough.
In November, 1722, on application to John Houghton Esq. of Lancaster, he issued a warrant calling a meeting of the Proprietors, to be held, on the twenty eighth of that month, at the Meetinghouse, “to consider and conclude of all, or any thing or things proper
* The land was afterwards procured of William Taylor, one of the Proprietors, who exchanged acre for acre (the whole quantity, ten acres) and tock swamp land in the Gulf, so called, for his pay.
and necessary to be done for the procuring of a Minister, &c.” and, as that appears to be the first time the Meeting House was occupied for any public use, it is presumed, that it had not then long been finished. It was located about eight rods to the north east of where the present Congregational Meeting House now stands. That house, after a lapse of forty years, being unsuitable to accommodate the inhabitants, the Parish voted in October, 1764, to build a new Meeting House, which is the present one. It is sixty feet long, forty five wide, with twenty seven feet posts, and a porch at each of the three outer doors. In 1807, a bellfry, with a steeple, was annexed to the west end of the Meeting House, and in 1808, a bell placed therein, both at the expense of certain individuals of the town.
At a meeting of the proprietors by adjournment, April 17, 1723, it was “ voted, to nominate two or three Ministers to a settlement." Mr. Cushing, Mr. Barret and Mr. Bailey, were nominated; and there appeared 18 for the first, 16 for the second, and 4 for the third. On the 15th of May following, they chose Mr. Cushing to be their Minister by a full vote, and gave him £60 settlement, and £60 salary per year, for the two first years, then to rise 4 pounds a year, until it should amount to £80. The church was first gathered here on the 4th day of December, 1723, and he ordained on the same day. He continued here in the ministry nearly thirty seven years, and was suddenly taken away by a fit of the apoplexy, August 6, 1760, in the 67th year of his age. During his ministry, the north part of the town, after several unsuccessful attempts, sometimes to be set off as a separate town, and at others, as a Parish, was set off and incorporated as a distinct Parish, Dec. 17, 1742; not on account of any dissatisfaction of his parishioners towards him, for be lived and died in peace with his people; but on account of the increasing number, and remote situation in which many of them in that part of the town lived from the Meeting House.
February 2, 1761, the Parish concurred with the church in the choice of Mr. Joshua Paine, to become their Pastor; and voted him £66 13 shillings, as an annual salary, during the time he should continue to preach the Gospel in this place; and £200 settlement. Mr. Paine declined the invitation. After hearing several candidates, the Parish voted, Dec. 30, 1761, " to hear Mr. Joseph Sumner (of Pomfret, Conn.) if he might be had ;" and on the 30th of March, 1762, the Parish concurred with the church in the choice of Mr. Sumper, to be their Pastor ; and voted