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The foregoing petition having been presented, was acted upon as follows:
“ In the House of Representatives, Dec. 14, 1727. Read and ordered, that the prayer of the petition be granted and that the said town of Shrewsbury is accordingly endowed with equal power, privileges, and immunities, with any other town in this Province; and that Capt. John Keyes, a principal inhabitant in the said town, be empowered and directed to notify and summon the inhabitants duly qualified for voters, to meet and assemble for the choosing of town officers, to stand until the next annual election according to law.
WM. DUDLEY, Speaker. In Council, Dec. 15, 1727, read a first and second time and passed in concurrence.
J. WILLARD, Sec'y.
Consented to, WM. DUMMER. The first town meeting held here was on the 29th day of Dec. 1727. Shrewsbury originally included most of what is now Boylston, most of West Boylston, a small portion of Sterling, Westborough and Grafton. In 1741, four petitioners, viz. Ebenezer Cutler, Obediab Newton, Noah Brooks and David Read, with their farms, were taken from the town of Shrewsbury, and annexed to the town of Grafton; in 1752, William Whitney, Zachariah Eager, Jonathan Foster, Zachariah Harvey, Edward Newton, Samuel Newton, Ezekiel Newton and Daniel Wheelock, with others, at their request : and all the lands in the then north part of the town, lying on the north side of Quinepoxet river, and between the towns of Lancaster and Holden, known by the name of the Leg, were voted off by the town, and, in 1768, annexed to Lancaster; in 1762, William Nurse and others, living in the southeasterly part of the town, and so much of that part of the town, usually called the Shoe (sometimes Nurse's corner) were annexed to Westborough. March 1, 1786, the north part of the town, then constituting the 2d Parish, was incorporated into a town by the name of Boylston : and in March, 1793, Elijah Whitney and his farm were taken from this town and set to Westborough. Having thus been pared and clipped, always giving and eventually receiving nothing, the territory of the town has, since that time, remained entire, yet not without attempts to dismember some part of it.*
In 1795, Silas Keyes, known as a skilful and correct surveyor, with a view, among other things, to ascertain the contents of the
* There has been another amputation since the above was written. Tarrant Merriam, with about 186 acres of land, has been taken from this town and appexed to Grafton.
town, took a survey of its limits, which it may not be amiss to make matter of public record. It was found on a loose paper, and is as follows:
“ The following are the limits of the town of Shrewsbury, as taken by Silas Keyes, in the year 1795, begining at the south west corner of Boylston, (now West Boylston) and runs east, nine degrees north, ten rods to road; thence east, nine degrees north, seven and an ball rods; thence north, six degrees east, thirty nine rods; thence east, thirteen degrees south, one hundred and sixty rods to county road; thence same course fifteen rods to a heap of stones ; thence east, nineteen degrees oorth, two hundred and seventy rods to do.; thence south, fifteen degrees west, thirty five rods to do. i thence east, eleven degrees forty one minutes north, one hundred and sixty six rods to do.; thence north, twenty six degrees east, seventy four rods to do.; thence east nineteen and a half degrees north, five bundred and fifty nine rods to a stake and stones ; thence south, forty four degrees east, sixty seven rods to a heap of stones; thence west, thirty degrees south, forty three rods to rock and stones; thence south, three degrees west, thirty seven rods to stake and stones; thence east, twelve degrees north, one hundred and eleven rods to a heap do.; thence south, seven and a balf degrees west, forty four rods to do.; thence east, thirty five degrees south, sixty rods to north east corner; thence south, sixteen degrees west, one hundred forty nine rods to heap stones; thence south, twenty four degrees east, one hundred and eighty two rods to great rock; thence south, twenty one degrees east, one hundred and fifty rods to heap stones; thence south, one degree east, twenty rods to great road; thence same course three hundred and seventeen rods to an oak; thence south, twenty eight degrees thirty five minutes east, one hundred and ninety four rods to Westborough corner thence same course three hundred and fourteen rods to heap of stones ;; thence west, twenty eight degrees forty minutes south, two hundred and twenty six rods to do.; thence south forty two degrees fifteen minutes west, sixty seven rods to a maple; thence south thirty five degrees west, one hundred and twelve rods to heap stones; thence south thirty three degrees thirty minutes east, fifty one rods to an oak at Grafton corner ; thence west, thirty three degrees south, one hundred two and a half rods to heap stones ; thence west, forty five degrees south, twenty three rods to white oak; thence west, twenty four degrees north, six rods to heap stones; thence north, seventeen degrees west, thirty four and an half rods to do.; thence west, twenty three degrees south, thirty
four rods to do. ; thence south, twenty six degrees west, forty one and an half rods to do.; thence west, thirty four degrees north, forty five rods to do.; thence north, six and a half degrees west, seventy three and an half rods to white oak; thence west, thirteen degrees south seventy three and an half rods to heap stones ; thence south, eighteen degrees east, thirty four rods to an oak and stones; thence west, twelve degrees south, seventy nine rods to heap stones; thence south, six degrees west, forty two rods to do. ; thence west, four degrees north, sixty eight rods to pitch pine ; thence north, two degrees west, twenty six and an half rods to a walnut tree; thence west, four degrees north, twenty rods to an oak at Bummet meadow; thence south, nine degrees west, forty six rods by meadow; thence south, twenty eight degrees east, twenty six rods to stake in do.; thence south, twenty four degrees west, twenty two rods to poplar stump; thence south, six degrees west, thirty three and an half rods to an oak by county road; thence west, four degrees north, twenty nine rods to heap stones; thence west, thirty pine degrees south, forty five and an half rods to do.; thence south, forty four degrees west, forty eight rods to do.; thence west, five degrees south, one bundred and thirty six rods to white oak; thence north, thirty degrees west, eighty five rods to county road; thence east, twenty seren degrees north, nineteen and an half rods by said road ; thence north, four degrees west, fourteen rods to heap stones ; thence west seven degrees north, fifty five rods to do. ; thence south, five degrees east, sixty rods to do.; thence west, fourteen degrees south, one hundred' and eighteen rods to wbite oak; thence south, five degrees east, twenty four rods to maple tree at the river; thence angling up said river, one hundred eighty seven rods to a creek that connects Flint’s pond and said river ; thence west, three degrees south, forty rods to Flint's pond; thence west, forty degrees south, fifty four rods by said popd; thence west fifteen degrees north, twenty two rods; thence west, eight degrees north, forty rods; thence north, forty degrees west, twenty eight rods to half moon pond ; thence west, seven degrees north, one hundred rods to a heap stones; thence north, eleven degrees west, two hundred sixty nine rods to a chesnut tree on the west side long pond; thence north, two degrees west, nine hundred and ten rods to a grey oak the west side and near the head of long pond; thence north, twenty degrees westį twenty two rods to great road ; thence same course one hundred and fifty two rods to Boylston road; thence same course one hundred and ninety rods to where it began."
An error occurred in making the plan of the town of Boylston, wben set off from Shrewsbury, and was copied into the Act incorporating that town. The plan commences at Worcester line (West Boylston having since been set off from Boylston) and, after describing two short courses, arrives at the north line of Nathaniel Heywood's farm; then it is marked on the plan east, thirteen and one quarter degrees north, one hundred and seventy eight rods, instead of north, thirteen and one quarter degrees east, one hundred and seventy eight rods, as the line should be ; making a difference of twenty six and one half degrees, and, being on a long line and near the beginning of the plan, all the after courses are removed seventy nine rods nor:bward from what was intended-As this error is suffered to continue without any measures being taken to have it corrected, it will not be matter of surprise, if, at some future day, it should give rise to some legal controversy; more particularly, as there are several families now within the limits of Shrewsbury, whom, with their lands, it was intended to bave set off with Boylston ; who are now taxed and do duty and enjoy previleges there, yet are not within the limits or jurisdiction of that town.
CULTIVATION, &c.—This town presents to the eye an uneven surface, variegated with bills and vallies. A range of high land, extending from north to south, passes through the middle of the town. The numerous swells and tracts of rolling land, which are, most of them, in a good state of cultivation, are to be seen in all directions from the middle of the town and serve to relieve the eye from that sameness, which some towns afford, when taking a landscape view of them. There is more wood, it is generally supposed, growing here now, than there was fifty years ago; it consists of oak of the various kinds, walnut and chesnut on the high grounds; and in the low lands, maple, ash, birch &c. There is but little pine in the town. There are some indications of coal, as far east as the middle of the town, of the same nature as the Worcester coal, but not so near the surface. No minerals are known to exist bere, at least not sufficient to induce people to explore by day and watch by night, as they bave done in some places, for hidden treasures. Yet, as a great proportion of the inhabitants are farmers, they find their treasure by digging, but not more than furrow deep. They have made great improvement in the appearance of their farms, stocks of cattle and swine for a few years past; to which they have been is no small degree excited by the influence of agricultural societies and publications on agricultural subjects. An agricultural
society, composed of individuals associated from the towns of Shrewsbury, Boylston, Northborough and Westborough, was formed here in 1811, and continued its enquiries, experiments and pursuits, not merely to the advantage of those belonging to it, but to others, till some time atter the formation of the Worcester Agricultural Society; when its members, dissolving their connexion, most of them became members of that society.
Clay is found here suitable for making bricks, and probably there are considerable beds of it—but at present they are but little explored and little use is made of it. The soil, though naturally rough and hard to subdue, is very strong, and never fails to yield an equivalent to the industrious husbandman for the labor he bestows upon it. A good proportion of the fences are stone walls ; which it has been the practice of late to set in trenches, whereby much loam and vegetable earth, sufficient to pay for digging the trench, are procured and carried upon low mowing grounds or into yards for manure. And this, though an ample compensation for the labor it requires, is but a small part of the benefit arising from this practice. The trench furnishes a place of deposit for multitudes of small cobble-stones, troublesome in the field, but here put out of the way, making a sure and stable foundation for the walls, wbich are never thrown down by the frost. Generally the trench is not dug so wide as it should be; bushes and briars are apt to spring up and flourish by the sides of walls; and though a good husbandman will cut them down, yet they are less likely to grow, and if they do, they are easier removed, root and branch, when the trenches are made several inches wider than the walls stand. It is remarkable to observe here, and it may be seen in many towns in this vicinity, the astonishing difference between the present and former times in making manure. Scarcely a low place can be found by the road side, that is not occupied with compost which with the wash of the road, that incorporates itself with it, is in a year or two carried to the fields and its place supplied with new materials.
But little attention is paid to the cultivation of flax. Grains of all kinds yield abundant crops, while the white honey suckle of the pastures furnishes good keeping for dairy cows and early beef. Plaister of Paris has been used here with success, and though most so on pasture land, yet not without effect on mowings and tillage land. The amount of bay cut in this town is large, and much of it of good quality ; it has become a staple article, and is carried to Boston in large quantities, and finds a ready market.