Dunstable Massachusetts, 1890


Dunstable
is a quiet rural town on the northern border of Middlesex County, 33 miles northwest of Boston. Its boundary on the north is Nashua, N. H., on the east Tyngsborough, the same and Groton on the south, and Pepperell on the west. The area is 10,500 acres. Of this, 4,948 acres are woodland, mostly of young growth of pine and oak.

The town is pleasantly diversified with hill and valley, forest, meadow and tillage land; and the soil is generally good, as the ample barns and thrifty orchards will attest. Nashua River washes the northwestern border, receiving Unkety Brook as a tributary from the town; and Salmon River, from Massapoag Pond, flows northerly through the central part of the town into the Merrimack. Flat-rock Hill in the north, and Forest Hill in the east are both commanding eminences.

The town has 138 farms, on which the usual crops are cultivated; the value of the farm product in 1885 being $84,993. There are two or three saw and grain mills, and other manufactures common to rural towns, whose product the same year was $17,291. The Worcester and Nashua Railroad, a branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad, passes through the northwest corner of the town; and the Nashua and Acton, a part of the Concord Railroad, and connecting with the Old Colony Railroad at Acton, passes near the centre of the town, where are the village and post-office. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $291,992, with a tax-rate of $10 on $1,000. The population was 431, 123 being voters; and the dwellings numbered 105.

The schools are provided for in five buildings, valued at about $5,000. There is a public library of nearly 2000 volumes. The village is very neat and attractive, having its streets extensively shaded; and the same is true of other localities, the trees being elm, maple, chestnut and oak, some of them 150 years old.

Dunstable was for fifty years a frontier settlement, and suffered much from the incursions of the Indians. In 1724, eleven men, in pursuing them, were waylaid, and all killed except Joshua Farwell. In May of the ensuing year, the celebrated Captain John Lovewell, with a company of forty-six volunteers, set out from Dunstable to inflict punishment upon the Pequaket tribe, which it was believed had committed the offences. He met the warriors unexpectedly on the shore of a pond in Fryeburg, Maine, since known by his name. A terrible encounter ensued, lasting a whole day; and all except ten of his brave men were either slain or wounded. The force of the Indians however, was broken; and Paugus, their principal chief, was killed. The gallant Lovewell fell in the commencement of the action; and his surviving followers, after great sufferings, found their way back to the settlement.

Amos Kendall, appointed postmaster-general of the United States in May, 1835, was born in Dunstable, August 16, 1789. He died at Washington, D.C., November 12, 1869. Other eminent men, natives of this town, were Colonel Jonathan Tyng, and Isaac Fletcher, a member of Congress.

pp. 279-280 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer