Hopkinton Massachusetts, 1890

Hopkinton is situated on elevated land in the extreme southwesterly corner of Middlesex County, about 30 miles southwest of Boston by the Boston and Albany Railroad, which has a station at Southville on the northern line of the town. A branch of the New York and New England Railroad, connecting Milford and Ashland, has stations at the centre, and at Hayden Row, in the southerly part of the town. The other village is Woodville in the western part of the town; and all have post-offices.

In form, this town is an imperfect hexagon, with the longest axis east and west. It has Westborough, Southborough and Ashland on the north, the latter and Holliston on the east, the last, with Milford and Upton on the south; while Westborough and Upton also bound it on the west. The assessed area is 16,705 acres, which includes 4,655 acres of forest. The land is hilly, rough and rocky. The entire central portion of the town is much elevated; and the village of Hopkinton centre has a commanding and delightful situation. The Congregational church in this place is in 42° 13' north latitude and 71° 31' west longitude.

Here are the sources of many streams. Mill River, hewing south into the Blackstone, has its source in North Pond, 81 acres in extent, on the southern line of the town; Chicken Brook and Boggistere Brook, tributaries of the Charles River, have their beginnings in the southeastern section; in the western part is Whitehall Fond, a beautiful sheet of water covering 640 acres. Its outlet is Sudbury River, flowing near the northwest and then the north line of the town, receiving Indian Brook from west of the centre, and the circling Coldstream Brook from the eastern section, all furnishing useful motive power. These ponds and streams abound with the fish common in our interior waters. There are three large swamps in the town, originally covered with cedars. Saddle Hill in the northern, and Bear Hill in the southwestern part of the town, are noted rocky eminences, once numerously inhabited by rattlesnakes. The geological formation is calcareous gneiss; and bowlders have been scattered in liberal profusion over the surface. On the west of Whitehall Fond are mineral springs, discovered in 1816, and containing carbonic acid, carbonate of lime, and iron, and one impregnated with sulphur. Phosphate of iron and yellow ochre are found in this vicinity.

Forest and fruit trees thrive well in the town; which also yields fairly of the common crops. The value of the aggregate product of the 165 farms in the last census year was $145,924. The leading manufacture is boots and shoes; for which, in 1885, there were four establishments, employing about 1,000 persons. Other articles made were woollens, wooden boxes, carriages, straw goods, leather, liquors, machinery and other metallic work, meats, spices and other food preparations. The aggregate value of goods made was $1,570,018. [ "5" is a guess] The number of dwelling-houses was 813. The Hopkinton National Bank has a capital stock of $150,000; and the savings bank, at the close of last year, had deposits to the amount of $291,787. The valuation in 1888 was $2,237,810; and the tax-rate $19.55 on $1,000.

The population in 1855 was 3,922; and the voters numbered 1,069. The public schools are graded, and occupy 15 buildings, which are valued at some $20,000. The Woodville Young People's Library has nearly 1,000 volumes; the Young Men's Christian Association and the Father Mathew Temperance Association have considerable libraries. The Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists and the American Episcopal Church, each have a house of worship in the town. The Roman Catholics have just completed a fine church edifice of stone, at a cost of about $125,090.

The Indian name of this place, in common with Ashland, was Moguncoy. It was purchased in part of the "Praying Indians" resident in Ashland, in 1700, with money given to Harvard College by Edward Hopkins. The lands were rented to the tenants at one penny sterling per acre (it is stated) to the year 1823; and the common land was divided amongst the tenants in order that they might be better able to pay the quit-rents. The town was named in honor of Mr. Hopkins, and incorporated December 13, 1715 (0. S.); although it did not assume the powers and privileges of a town until March 25, 1724. Among the early settlers was a company of Scotch-Irish, among them the ancestor of Brigham Young, the Mormon. A church was organized here September 2, 1724, and Samuel Barrett (H. U. 1721) was ordained as pastor.

An Episcopal church was established here and endowed with a glebe of 170 acres by the celebrated Roger Price, rector of King's Chapel, Boston, about the year 1750. Among its communicants in 1752 were Sir Charles Henry Frankland and Lady Agnes (Surriage) Frankland. Captain Daniel Shays, the leader of the insurrection of 1786, was born in this town about 1747; and the cellar and well of the old Shays' Place, on Saddle Hill, may still be seen.

On April 4, 1882, Hopkinton was visited by a great disaster, when a fire destroyed the town-house, the Congregational church, the hotel, a large boot and shoe factory, the public library, and many other buildings. The loss was great and the blow serious; but the buildings consumed have been replaced by better ones, so that the place is handsomer than ever. The town has from an early period been noted for the originality and the patriotic spirit of its people; and in the late war there was no deficiency in its quota. Hopkinton was the native place of Dr. Appleton Howe (1792-1870), an eminent physician (H. C. 1815); of John Barrett (1759-1821), teacher, and author of an English grammar; and of Hon. William Claflin, former governor of the Commonwealth and member of Congress.

 Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, pp. 385-386