Ashby Massachusetts, 1890
Ashby, distinguished for its beautiful hills, clear streams, and valleys, occupies the northwest extremity of Middlesex County; having for its bounds, New Hampshire on the north, Townsend on the east, Fitchburg on the south, and Ashburnham on the west. It was taken from the three above-mentioned towns; named, perhaps, in honor of the tenth Earl of Huntington, whose family seat was Ashby, in England; incorporated March 5, 1767. It contained, in 1885, 244 dwellings and 871 inhabitants. In it are Mill Village and South Village. The post-office is Ashby, simply. The nearest railroad station is at West Townsend, on the east, four miles distant.
Prospect Mountain is the highest elevation within the borders of Ashby, unless it includes a spur of Watatic Mountain, whose summit (1847 feet high) is just within the line of Ashburnham. The surface rocks are chiefly granite, found in nearly cubical blocks. The land is generally elevated, the soil strong, and the air healthful. From the bases of these mountains flow Trapfall, Willard and other brooks, through pleasant valleys, easterly into the Squannacook, which meets the Nashua River at Groton. Wright, Watatic, and Neejeepojesne ponds adorn the town in its several quarters. There are saw mills and two tub factories in the town; the various manufactures aggregating, in 1885, $74,698. The number of farms is near 200; and they are generally well managed and productive, The largest product is that of the dairy, which was $36,384. Fruits, berries and nuts yielded $14,155; the aggregate value of farm products being $138,604. The total valuation of property is about $600,000. The area of the township is stated at 23,040 acres, of which upwards of 4,000 acres are woodland, mostly elm and rock maple. There are nine public schools, with property valued at upwards of $4,500. There are a public library and three Sunday-school libraries, aggregating above 2500 volumes. The Congregationalists and Unitarians have church edifices. The first church was organized June 12, 1776; and the first minister was Rev. Samuel Whitman, who settled here in 1778. Ashby was patriotic in the Revolution, and has a monument to her sons who then fell. In the last war 97 of her citizens went into the Union service, of` whom 17 were lost. Her most eminent names are Cushing Burr, Levi Burr, Luke Wellington, Hobert Spencer, Stephen Wyman, Howard Gates and Martin Howard.
Pp. 119-120 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890