Bolton Massachusetts, 1890

Bolton is an agricultural town, situated on elevated land of remarkable scenic beauty, in the easterly part of Worcester County, 30 miles west of Boston. It is bounded on the north by Harvard, east by Stow, south by Hudson and Berlin, and on the west by Clinton and Lancaster. Its railroad connections are at the southeast (Hudson), on the Central Massachusetts Division of the Boston and Maine Railroad and the Marlboro branch of the Fitchburg Railroad; and at the west centre (Bolton), on the Clinton Branch of the Old Colony Railroad.

The underlying rocks in this town are calcareous gneiss and Merrimack schists, in which occur fine specimens of scapolite, Boltonite, magnesite, allanite, spliene, nuttalite, radiated, fibrous and brown hornblende, and other curious minerals. There are also limestone ledges in which excavations have been made. From the quarry at Rattlesnake Mountain, half a century ago, there were annually sent fifteen to twenty thousand bushels of lime. The rock, however, is largely magnesian, and so fetid under the hammer as to produce nausea. The land is high, and forms the water-shed between the Nashua and Assabet rivers. Long Hill, Pine Hill and Spectacle Hill are beautiful eminences in the southeast section. Vaughan's Hill is conspicuous in the northwest ; while Wattoquottuc Hill rises to a height of about 300 feet, and forms a remarkable feature in the southwest section of the town. It is the highest eminence between Wachusett Mountain and the city of Boston, and from its summit, in clear weather, the State House may be seen. The old mansion on this hill, occupied by Jonathan Forbush for a generation, is very spacious and sightly. Seventy years ago it was owned and occupied by the father of Colonel T. W. Higginson. He was succeeded by Solomon Wilder, who entertained with princely hospitality. Lafayette, during his tour of the country in 1824, made a visit here. The late Hon. S. H. Howe also had his residence on this eminence. George B. Emerson has described the view from one of these hills, as follows : " Many travellers are familiar with a hill in Bolton, on the road to Lancaster, which opens a prospect of surpassing beauty in the wide area of many miles circuit spread out to the view, comprehending the charming village of Lancaster, through which the quiet Nashua marks out its winding channel, and presenting in the distant prospect some of the highest hills of Massachusetts and some lofty mountains of New Hampshire. The magnificent elms which proudly spread their wide branching tops upon the meadows ; the groves, here and there, which the axe has spared ; the frequent orchards, which indicate the wise care of the cultivator ; and the extensive forests in the distance, with their mingled shades of green, from the most sombre to the brightest tint, conspire to present a landscape which fixes the attention of the most careless, and which, in its varied forms of light and shade, of forest and cultivation, of valley and mountain, of crops and trees, with here and there a beautiful village, with its spires pointing to heaven from among the trees, can never fail to charm the eye and to touch the heart."

Little and West's ponds in the southeast part of the town contain about twenty acres each ; Welch's Pond, about half-way up the side of Wottoquottuc Hill, is a little gem. The beautiful Nashua River runs across the northern angle of the town ; and further in, Still River, on which there are rich intervales, pursues a parallel course,--beginning and ending in the former, and marking, perhaps, its ancient bed. The soil of the town is of superior quality, consisting of clayey loam and gravel ; and the farmers are, in general, thrifty, independent and progressive. The area of the town is about 12,000 acres, exclusive of highways ; of this, about 4,000 acres is forest, consisting of chestnut, oak and pine. The farms number 148, and the dwellings 224. The farm product, in 1885, was $175,523 ; the largest item ($60,276) being the dairy product The manufactures consist of lumber, vehicles, vinegar; whose value, with others, in the same year, was $27,240. The valuation in 1888 was $477,607; rate of taxation, $10 on $1,000. The population is 876.

There is a pleasant village called Fryville in the southern part of the town ; and the centre, lying between the rounded hills, has an air of neatness and of quiet beauty. The roads are excellent, and beside them are many maple trees of large size. The Old Powder House is a noted object of interest. There is an admirable public library, containing nearly 3,000 volumes. The three Sunday-school libraries in the town contain about 1,200 additional. There are mixed schools, and a grammar and a high school, with seven buildings, valued at about $10,000. The Baptists, Unitarians and Friends have church edifices here ; that of the first being largest, and a pretty Gothic structure. The first Congregational society (Unitarian) was organized in 1740 ; the Friends in 1799 ; and the Baptist in 1833. Rev. Thomas Goss, settled in 1741, was the first minister.

The territory of this town was taken from Lancaster and incorporated in 1738,--being named in honor of the third Duke of Bolton (Charles Powlet), long a member of the British Colonial Council. In 1784 parts of Bolton and Marlboro were established as the district of Berlin ; in 1829 part of Marlboro was annexed to Bolton ; and in 1868 the southeast corner of Bolton was annexed to Hudson.

The town sent about 155 soldiers into the late war, of whom 23 were lost. In memory of these it has placed mural tablets in the town hall. Among eminent citizens mention is made of General Amory Holman, Jonathan Forbush, Solomon H. Howe and S. V. S. Wilder.

pp. 154-155 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

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