Dover Massachusetts, 1890
Dover is a pleasant rural town lying in the northwest part of Norfolk County, about 14 miles southwest of Boston by the Woonsocket Division of the New York and New England Railroad, which passes through the midst of the town. It has Needham on the north, Dedham on the east, Walpole and Medfield on the south, and Sherborn and Natick on the west. Charles River divides this town from Needham and also from Sherborn. The assessed area is 8,986 acres, including 3,016 acres of woodland, mostly oak.
The surface of the town is somewhat rocky and uneven. Snow's Hill, a little southwest of the centre, has an altitude of 449 feet. The rock is sienite and sandstone; and iron pyrites have been found. A curiosity of the town is Nimrod Rock . another is a beautiful boiling spring near the centre of the town, which flows into Trout Brook, an affluent of Charles River; and a third is the Great Spring, near the southwest angle of the town, the source of Mill Brook, which enters the Neponset at Walpole. Reserve Pond, of 25 acres, is near the source of Noanet's Brook, which drains the eastern section of the town.
The farms are 91 in number, with the usual products; which, in 1885, were valued at $108,672. The manufactories consist of a mill for small lumber and a paper mill. The product of these, with a few small items of other goods, was valued, for the last census year, at $40,759. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $641,985, with a tax-rate of $10 on $1,000. There were 165 voters in a population of 664; and the houses numbered 150.
The villages are Dover (centre) and Charles River Village. An other local centre is Springdale. There are four school-houses, valued at about $5,000. There is one church library of nearly 1,000 volumes, and three Sunday-school libraries. The churches are a Trinitarian Congregational, a Unitarian, and a Baptist.
The territory of this town was taken from Dedham, and established as the district of Dover, July 7, 1784; and on March 31, 1836, it was incorporated as a town. The first minister was the Rev. Benjamin Caryl, who was settled in 1762. He was born in Hopkinton in 1732, and died in the fiftieth year of his ministry. His library, it was said by a witty lawyer, "consisted of a Bible, a concordance, and an old jack-knife." But he was an excellent minister, and highly esteemed by his people.
Dover sent as many as 65 soldiers into the war of the Rebellion, of whom four were lost.
Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890, pp. 276-277