Concord Massachusetts, 1890


Concord
, the scene of our first triumph in the conflict that made us a nation, is situated in the central part of Middlesex County, 18 miles northwest of Boston, by the Fitchburg Railroad. The Lowell Division of the Old Colony Railroad, and the Boston and Lowell, also pass through it, each having a station near Concord village, at the centre of the town. Other villages are Westvale, Warnerville and Nine-Acre Corner. Concord is bounded on the north by Carlisle, on the northeast by Bedford, on the southeast by Lincoln, on the southwest by Sudbury, and on the west and northwest by Acton."It is one of the quiet country towns," says Mr. Alcott, "whose charm is incredible to all but those who, by loving it, have found it worthy of love."

The land is generally level; yet there are several eminences, as Annursnack, Punkatasset, Fairhaven and other hills, which enhance the beauty of the scenery. Rattlesnake Hill is now the scene of a large industry, the quarrying of the superior granite of which it is chiefly composed. Bateman's Pond in the north, White Pond in the south, and, in the southeast, Walden Pond (made famous by the pen of Thoreau), are all beautiful sheets of water. The Concord River flows leisurely through the town from the south, receiving near the central village the waters of the rapid Assabet. The latter, with affluents, affords some motive power, which is made use of at West Concord by a woollen mill and factories for pails and other goods. Carriages, furniture, leather, clothing, building stone, food preparations, are other of the town manufactures. The area, aside from highways and water surfaces, is 14,872 acres. There are 4,920 acres of forest, consisting of oak, birch, pine, maple, walnut and some chestnut. Along the streets, especially in the central village, are numerous elms and maples, well-grown, and lending an additional charm to the excellent roads, which afford fine drives in several directions.

The soil upon the plains is light and sandy, on the hills a gravelly loam. The meadows along the rivers yield large quantities of hay. The farms, which now number 244, are generally well cultivated and productive. The celebrated "Concord grape" originated with E. W. Bull, a successful farmer of this place. The nursery product of the town is proportionately large, also the fruit product. In 1885 the Concord orchards and gardens contained 12,314 fruit trees, and the yield of cranberries was nearly 400 barrels. There were 1,402 milch cows; and the product of the dairies footed up to $102,856. The aggregate farm product was $337,808. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $3,246,117; the tax-rate being $12.40 on $1,000. The population is 3,727; and 760 of these are voters. The schools are graded, and find accommodation in five buildings at convenient centres.

Concord village is situated on level land, which gives nearly equal advantages of site to all edifices. The town-house and high school buildings here are creditable, and the public library of about 20, 000 volumes is contained in a very handsome edifice, given to the town by Mr. William Munroe. It is fireproof, and cost $70,000. There is also a fine memorial hall, erected in honor of the 34 heroes from this town who fell in the war of the Rebellion. The Trinitarian Congregationalists, the Unitarians, the Roman Catholics, and the American Episcopal Church have good church edifices in the town.

The old court-house and county jail are mementoes of a time when Concord divided the honors of a county capital with Cambridge and Lowell. A public building of magnitude and impressiveness is the State Reformatory; but this is situated near the junction of the Concord and Assabet rivers, some two miles from the central village, The citizens regard the institution as somewhat foreign; having more interesting and admirable objects to occupy their attention, Among these, besides those already mentioned, are the residences of Emerson and the Alcotts father and daughter, and the "Old Manse," immortalized by Hawthorne, who also made it his residence while in Concord. It is now the summer home of D. Lothrop, the publisher, and his wife, Margery Deane, the authoress, At this village also, for several years, was the famous Concord School of Philosophy.

Concord was the first inland town settled in the State. Many of the settlers were men of wealth and intelligence, who willingly endured great sufferings for conscience' sake. Simon Willard, John Jones, Mr. Spencer and others, purchased of Tahatawan and Nimrod, in 1635, a tract of land six miles square, whose centre was near the house of the Rev. Peter Bulkley, in which they were met. During the first year of their residence, most of the settlers lived in huts covered with bark and brushwood, but during the second year many convenient houses were erected. The Indian name for the place was Mustquetequid, meaning "grassy brook."

[The 'Old Manse," Concord.]

[statue of Minute Man, Concord.]

On its incorporation, September 2, 1665, it was called Concord, for the peacable manner in which it had been obtained from the natives. In April, 1676, ten or twelve citizens from this town were killed in Sudbury, while aiding the settlers there against the attack of King Philip's Indians.

In 1734, the Provincial Congress held its sessions here; and on the 19th of April, 1775, Gen. Gage sent a detachment of the British. troops, under Major John Pitcairn, to destroy some military stores deposited at the house of Colonel Barrett and others in this town. By the activity of Paul Revere and associates, intelligence of the expedition was received, and an alarm was given by the ringing of the church bell at three o'clock in the morning. About seven o'clock, some eight hundred British soldiers entered the town from Lexington, cut down the liberty pole and destroyed some stores, then proceeded to the North Bridge across the Concord River. Here they were met by the Concord minute-men under Captain Brown, and the Acton company under Captain Isaac Davis. Shots were exchanged across the bridge; three British soldiers were killed, and, on our part, Captain Davis and several others. The regulars then left the bridge and set out for Boston, under a destructive fire from minute-men posted along the way. The damage done to private property in Concord by fire, robbery and destruction was estimated at £274: 16s. 7d.; and Captain Charles Miles, Captain Nathan Barrett, Jonas Brown and Abel Prescott, Jun., of this place, were wounded, Two of the British soldiers killed at the bridge were buried on the spot where they fell; and two rough stones identify the place. The statue of a minute-man near the bridge recalls the spirit of the time. Monument Street, running north from the village, leads, through a canopy of pines and other trees, to the old North Bridge, where on each side of the river, is a stone monument with suitable inscription.

Concord is noted for its steady adherence in later times, also, to the great principles of civil and religious liberty, and for having given to the world many men of eminence; as Samuel Willard (1640-1707), a president of Harvard College; Benjamin Prescott (1687-1777), a divine and author; Jonathan Hoar (1708-1781), colonel of a provincial regiment; Eleazer Brooks (1725-1806), a brigadier general; Joseph Lee (1742-1819), first minister of Royalston; Timothy Farrar (1747-1847), appointed chief justice of New Hampshire in 1802; William Emerson (1769-1811), father of Ralph Waldo Emerson; Nathaniel Wright (1787-1824), author of "The Fall of Palmyra," etc.; Ebenezer Merriam (1794-1864), an eminent meteorologist; John Augustus Stone (1801-1834), actor, and author of "Metamora" and other dramas; William Whiting (1813-1873), an eminent lawyer and writer on military affairs; Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar (1816), a distinguished jurist; and William S. Robinson (1817), a greatly esteemed editor.

pp. 246-250 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer