Medway Massachusetts, 1890

Medway is a fine old town forming the northwest corner of Norfolk County, and bounded on the north by Holliston, east by Millis, south by Franklin and Bellingham, and west by Milford. The assessed area is 6,678 acres, of which 1,885 are woodland. Medway and West Medway are the post-offices and villages, and both are stations on the Woonsocket Division of the New York and New England Railroad; the station in the first being 25 miles from Boston.

The Charles River forms a part of the southern line, and furnishes a strong power at Medway village. The other streams are Hopping Brook in the western and Chicken Brook in the eastern part, flowing south into the Charles River. The surface of the town is level, or gently undulating. The geological structure is sienite and calcareous gneiss; and very good beds of brick-clay occur at several points.

The soil is fairly fertile. In 1885, the farms numbered 100; the aggregate product of that year being valued at $82,184. There are in the town two boot and shoe factories employing upwards of 400 persons, a. woollen mill employing about 100; and one or more straw factories employing, in the year mentioned, over 100 persons. Machinery, awls, and other tools and metallic goods were made to the value of $13,074. Carriages, cotton and paper goods, leather, lumber, food preparations, etc., are also made in variable quantities. The value of the aggregate product, as given in the last State census, was $343,419. The Medway Savings Bank at the beginning of the present year, held deposits to the amount of $196,865. The population was 3,777, which included 746 legal voters. The number of taxed dwelling-houses in 1888 was 598. The valuation in that year was $1,307,165, with a tax-rate of $15 on $1,000.

Sanford Hall, in part the gift of Milton Sanford, a native of the town, contains a commodious audience-room and offices. The newspapers are the "Gazette" and the "Magnet," both weekly issues. There are primary, grammar, high and mixed schools, which are provided for in six buildings valued at about $17,000. There is a circulating library of about 1,000 volumes, and the four Sunday schools have good collections of books. The Congregationalists have a church at each village, the Methodists have one at West Medway, and there is one of the Roman Catholics.

Medway was set off from Medfield and incorporated, October 24, 1713. Perhaps the name was suggested by Medway River, in England. The church at West Medway was organized 1750, and two years later the Rev. David Thurston was ordained as pastor. The eastern part of the town was set off in 1885 to form the town of Millis.

Medway furnished 300 soldiers for the Union army in the late war, of whom 52 were lost. The conditions of the town appear favorable to longevity, as here were, in 1885, 40 residents over 80 years of age, five over 90, and one aged 105 years.

William T. Adams (1822), the popular "Oliver Optic," is a native of this town.

pp. 452-453 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890