Blackstone Massachusetts, 1890

Blackstone is a young, enterprising and growing town in the extreme southeastern corner of Worcester County, 36 miles from Boston on the New York and New England Railroad. Blackstone village is the station on the main line of this road, while the Woonsocket Division has also a station at East Blackstone The Providence and Worcester Railroad has stations at Blackstone village and Millville. The post-offices are the places named and Waterford ; and the villages include these and Chestnut Hill. The town is square in form, having an assessed area of 9,330 acres ; and of this, 3,880 acres are woodland. It is bounded on the north by Mendon, east by Bellingham, south by Woonsocket and North Smithfield in Rhode Island, and west by Uxbridge. Mill River, coursing from north to south along the eastern line of the town, and the Blackstone traversing the southwest corner to the principal village, furnish power for propelling the machinery of extensive manufactories. The place has a large cotton mill, a large woolen mill, a worsted mill, one for mixed textiles, a large rubber factory, and several other establishments of smaller size ; and the value of their aggregate product in 1885 was $3,422,552. The town is handsomely varied in its surface. A lone hill at the centre is very conspicuous ; while Pickering and Candlewood hills in the northeast, and Chestnut Hill rising up from the village in the northwest, enhance the beauty of those sections. Hop Brook, in the northeast, contributes its waters to Mill River ; Fox Brook meanders centrally through the town, reaching the Blackstone below the falls. A beautiful and romantic scene, extending from the "rolling dam" to the confluence of the streams, is presented to the lovers of the picturesque. The stream rushes madly along over a rough rocky bed ; and, shooting from the fissures in the rocks, large trees pine and cedar overshadow the impetuous current, altogether forming a delightful wood and water view. On Hop Brook, an immense elm, which has breasted the storms of more than a hundred and fifty winters, still spreads its grateful shade for the people of the neighborhood. The soil of the town is generally light and sandy, but many of the farms are excellent. Altogether, their number is 117 ; and their aggregate product in 1885 was $115,381. The valuation of the town, in 1888, was $2,453,235 ; and the rate of taxation $18.10 on $1,000. The population, in 1885, was 5,436, with 897 dwelling-houses. The schools are both graded and mixed, with eight school buildings, valued at $31,900. The Blackstone Atheneum is an object of regard to the citizens ; the Blackstone Library Association has done a good work for the literary culture of the inhabitants ; the Melville Agricultural Library, though small, has been of much service ; the Sunday schools also have their libraries ; so that the entire number is ten, containing in the aggregate about 10,000 volumes. The "Valley Chronicle" is a valuable weekly visitant, with its miscellany of news.

The churches are the Congregational, the Free Baptist, and Roman Catholic (Saint Paul's) at Blackstone village ; a Methodist Episcopal at East Blackstone, and another at Millville ; a Protestant Episcopal (St. John's), and a Roman Catholic (Saint Augustine's) at Millville. There were, in 1885, 49 residents of Blackstone who were over 80 years of age, 20 who were over 85, and three over 90.

The territory of this town was taken from Mendon, and incorporated in 1845. The town had its name from Rev. William Blackstone, the first white settler of Boston ; who removed about 1635 to the wilderness in what is now Cumberland, R. I., where his grave and a well which he dug are still to be seen on the east bank of the beautiful river which perpetuates his name.

pp. 151-153 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890