Hardwick Massachusetts, 1890


Hardwick
is a prosperous agricultural and manufacturing town near the middle of the western side of Worcester County, 75 miles west of Boston. The Massachusetts Central Railroad winds through the town, having a station at Furnace Village (Hardwick station), in the eastern part, and another at Gilbertville, in the southern part.

Dana and Barre lie upon the northeastern and northwestern sides, New Braintree is on the southeast, Ware on the south, and Enfield on the west. The assessed area is 23,998 acres, with 5,287 in woodland. The surface is rough and hilly. The most notable elevation is Mount Dougal, in the southern part, overlooking the busy village of Gilbertsville, on Ware River. This, stream forms the long southeastern line of the town, and furnishes excellent powers. Moose and Danforth brooks, having some mill sites, flow into it from the north; and Muddy River flows through a series of small ponds in the north and middle portion of the town to Muddy Pond, at the southern border.

The soil is deep, moist and strong, producing fine crops of hay and grain, and affording excellent pasturage. The town has 22,607 fruit trees. The aggregate product of the 195 farms in 1885 was $214,027. The manufactures consist of woollen goods, paper, boots and shoes, furniture, lumber, iron goods and building stone. The paper mill employs from 15 to 20 persons, and the woollen mills upwards of 800. The population in 1875 was 1,992; in 1885 it was 3,145, of whom 520 were legal voters,. The houses were 373 in number. The valuation in 1888 was $1,375,800, with a tax-rate of $14 on $1,000.

There are eleven school buildings, valued at upwards of $20,006. The Gilbertville Library has, about 1,500 volumes, and the Hardwick Free Library nearly the same number. There are a Congregational church at Hardwick, and a Congregational, a union and a Roman Catholic at Gilbertville.

The Indian name of this place was Wombemesisecook. The land was bought of the two sachems,, John Magus and Lawrence Nassowanno, in 1686, by John Lamb and others, for twenty English pounds. It bore the name of "Lambstown" until its incorporation, January 10, 1737. The town was, probably named from Philip York, Lord Hardwicke, of the Privy Council, and chief justice of the Court of King's Bench. The first church was organized November 17, 1736, and the Rev. David White ordained as pastor.

General Timothy Ruggles, a noted royalist, was long a resident of the town. Early in the Revolution his five farms, with their stock of thirty horses, his deer-park, and other property, were confiscated.

Hardwick sent some forty soldiers into the Union army in the late war, of whom about ten were killed in battle, or died of disease contracted in the service, This town has also given to the country Dr. Jonas Fay (1737-1818), a prominent statesman; Moses Robinson (1741-1813), United States senator 1791-1796 and the Rev. Lucius R. Paige, D.D. (1802), an able preacher and historian, for many years a resident of Cambridge.

pp. 358-359 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer