« PreviousContinue »
· CIVIL DIVISIONS, This County is subdivided into fifty four towns or townships ;-the following
Table will show the order of these Incorporations, with the amount of their numbers and relative wealth,
1825. Names. Dale of Incorporation. | Pop. Polls. County Tax.
Dolls. Cls. Lancaster
1653, May 18 1,862 438 14001 Mendon
1667, May 15 2,254 | 494 | 177 67 Brookfield | 1673, October 15 2,292 | 537 182 Worcester | 1684, October 15 2,962 | 753 485 Oxford 1*1693,
1,562 | 338 99 Sutton
1715, June 21 2,056 | 452 135 Westborough | 1717, November 18 1,326 | 297 101 Leicester *1720,
1,252 293 114 Rutland *1722,
127 Uxbridge 1727, June 27 1,551 429 135 Southborough 1727, July 6
1,030 254 87 Shrewsbury 1727, December 19 1,458 388 Lunenburg 1728, August 1. 1,209 278 102
1731, February 2 | 1,615 4051 Harvard 1732, June 29
374 112 Grafton
1735, April 18 1,154 365 114 Upton
1735, June 14 1,088 247 | .64 Hardwick
1738, January 10 | 1,836 | 403 | 130 Bolton
1738, June 24 1,229 292 Storbridge 1738, June 24
400 Holden 1740, January 9 1,402
103 Leominster 1740, June 23 1,790 444 Western | 1741, January 16
1,112 283 Douglas *1746,
1,375 | 286 New Braintree | 1751, January 31 1 888 203 86 Spencer
1753, April 3 1,548 377 133 Petersham 1754, April 20 1,626 394 138 Charlton
1754, November 2 2,134 | 499 190 Princeton
1759, October 20 1,261 Westminster 1759, October 20 1,634 421 125 Templeton 1762, March 6 1,331 332 98 Athol
1762, March 6 1,211 Oakham 1762, June 7
986 229 Fitchburg 1764, February 7 | 1,736 393 Winchcaden 1764, June 14 1,263 322 Paxton
1765, February 12 | 613 Royalston 1765, February 16 | 1,424 | 362 101 Ashburnbam 1765, February 22 1,230 | 288 8472 Northborough 1766, January 24 | 1,018 269 | 82 | 95
* The date of the Incorporation of these towns is variously stated in disa ferent authorities,
County Tar. Names. Date of Incorporation. Pop. | Polls.
Dolls. Cts. Hubbardston 1767, June 13 1,367
100 Northbridge 177?, July 14
59 1774, June 14 2,077 | 540 185 32 Ward
1778, April 10 608 124 48 23 Milford
1780, April 11 1,160 276 101 Sterling
1781, April 25 1,710 455 144 Berlin 1784, March 16 625
1785, June 27 911 208 59 41 Boylston 1786, March 1
902 205 73 53 Phillipston 1786, October 20 916 | 244 Dana
1801, February 18 664 | 154 38 23
No. of towns................ ................54
County Tax in 1825.......................6,000 Each of these towns is entitled to send a Representative to the General Court. Twenty of them may send two each, two others may send three each, and Worcester is entitled to four, making the whole representation of the County in one branch of the Legislature at least eighty members. The County also forins a Senatorial district, and chooses five Senators to the State Legislature.
DISTRICTS FOR THE CHOICE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO CONGRESS.
The towns following, to wit: Northborough, Shrewsbury, Worcester, Paxton, Oakham, New Braintree, and Hardwick, together with such towns as lie south of them, form the Worcester South District. The other towns in the County, together with Ashby, Shirley, Townsend, Pepperell, and Grolon, in the County of Middlesex, form another Congressional District called the Worcester North District.
PAROCHIAL DIVISIONS, Each town contains at least one Congregational Parish, obliged by law to support a Protestant teacher of piety and morality.Brookfield and Mendon include two such Corporations. Parishes or Precincts are distinguished from Religious Societies in this, that they are designated by territorial boundaries, and have jurisdiction over the polls and estates of all persons within their limits, who have not united themselves to some other Parish or Religious Sos
cieties. These Societies are already numerous, and are annually increasing. The Congregationalists have already two in Worcester, and one in each of the towns of Fitchburg, Harvard, Leominster, and Petersham. T'he Congregationalists are the most numerous sect. All other denominations do not probably comprise one fourth of the population. The whole number of Parishes, or Societies, is as follows:
Total, 110 These various Societies have at least one hundred edifices for public worship. Many of them are elegant buildings, adorned with spires, bells and clocks. There are upwards of eighty stated ordained Ministers belonging to these various Churches now resident in the County. The number is constantly subject to variation.
POPULATION. By the census of 1820, the whole number of Inhabitants was 73,625. The numbers by different enumerations were as follows:
A. D. 1764 - - - - - - - 31,543
1790 - - - - - - - 66,807
1020 - - - - - . - 73,625 The numbers are now probably increasing at a much greater ratio, than at any former period. For at least half a century, this County has been the great Hive, that has sent out annually its swarms of emigrants to Vermont, to the western parts of New York, Ohio, and other parts of the United States, as well as to Canada.The introduction of Manufactures and the improvements in Agriculture, have given a new stimulus to domestic industry, so that our young men find it as easy to gain a subsistence at home as by travelling abroad. The tide of emigration has consequently in a great measure ceased.
HISTORY. From the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492, no per: manent settlements were established by Europeans on the northers parts of the Continent until the year 1607, when Jamestown in Virginia was planted by the English. Soon after the Dutch took possession of Hudson's river, and founded Albany and New York. In 1620 the first Colony of New England was planted at Plymouth, in Massachusetts, by the English Puritans. This colony was planned and founded by chosen men every way calculated to be the pioneers or forlorn hope in such a hazardous and bold adventure. Although voluntary exiles from their native land, there were in this little band, men eminent in their own country for extensive learning, stern fortitude, manly courage, and exalted piety. Many of them were from families of fortune and of high distinction. They had not been idle spectators in the wars of the low countries, nor did they leave the schools of Leyden with dishonor. They were induced to the undertaking from an unconquerable love for posterity, and an ardent desire to enjoy civil and religious liberty unmoJested. They realized their anticipations in the success of their • enterprise. The results that followed this humble beginning, have fixed upon these veteran pilgrims the recollections of a wide spread posterity; and the gratitude of all free people of every region bails them as “ the leaders of this great march of humanity.”— Their names are embalmed in the memories of their descendants, and their sufferings, their fortitude, and their faith, have been celebrated by the most exalted efforts of genius and of eloquence. The canvas has glowed with their forms, and poetry has lent her aid to perpetuate the memory of their trials and their victory.
Thousands, actuated by the same holy impulse, immediately prepared to follow them. In 1628 Salem was planted, and Charlestown in 1629. In 1630, the principal planters of Massachusetts, at the vast sacrifice of fortune, the endearments of home and the delights of country, established themselves on our coast. This year they laid the foundations of Boston, Dorchester, Roxbury, Watertown, and Cambridge. With the accomplished, the learned, and the opulent Winthrop at its head, a regular Government was established. This year 14 ships arrived with 1500 passengers, men, women and children.
The obnoxious decrees of the Star chamber, and the cruel persecutions of that odious bigot, Archbishop Laud, “ sifted the wbeat of the threc kingdoms," and furnished abundant good seed, to plant the deserts of New England, with mça of stur
dy minds, and unbending hearts. In a few years, the whole circuit of Massachusetts Bay, was surrounded by thriving towns. In 1635, great accessions were made. Sir Henry Vane, the younger, arrived with a fleet of twenty sail, well provided with stores and passengers. Three thousand people were this year added to the colony, including eleven ministers, and these from not among the least learned and faithful of the English Clergy. The emigrants had extended their plantations to the west, and this year Concord and Sudbury were made towns. The fertile lands on the Connecticut river had not escaped the notice of our ancestors. Plymouth settlers ten years before had laid claim and taken possession of them by building the first house. The Dutch at New York resisted the claim of the English, but were compelled to relinquish. This year, a permanent settlement was made there by people from Massachusetts. John Winthrop, son to the Governor of that name, returning from England, brought a commission authorizing him to be Governor of the plantations in the Connecticut. He was also provided with a competency of men, ordnance, ammunition, and £2000 sterling to be appropriated to the enterprise. Thus prepared he immediately commenced the planting of Hartford, and other towns on the River.
Nov. 15, 1635, about sixty men, women and children, went by land towards Connecticut, with their cows, horses and swine, and after a tedious and difficult journey arrired there safe.* This probably was the first time that the wilderness of this County was traversed by civilized man. And on this occasion the first incense of gratitude here ascended from Christian lips to the Benevolent author of all this goodness. The Wachusett iņ Princeton had been discovered by Gov. Winthrop in his excursion up Charles river, Jan. 27, 1632 ; on this occasion he went eight miles above Watertown, and from a very high rock, he observes he could see all over Nipnett, ahd a very high hill due west about forty miles distant.f This is the earliest notice taken of any part of our territory by the historians of the first age of New England.
In 1640 the tide of emigration ceased, in consequence of the favorable change of affairs in England. By this time there had arrived 298 ships, which had landed 21,200f passengers, the estimat
* Savage's Winthrop 171. + Savage's Winthrop 69.
| Hutchinson I. 91–Holmes' Annals I. 299. Dr. Holmes very justly intimates doubts as to the correctness of this number of the emigrants. It is true that neither Johnson or Mather are very high authorities, but Sir H. Vane's company of 3000 in one year, would lead us to place the whole number much above 4000.