Mendon Massachusetts, 1890
Mendon lies in the southeasterly part of Worcester County, 34 miles southwest from Boston. South Hopedale (formerly South Milford), three miles east of Mendon village, on the Milford Branch of the New York and New England Railroad, is the nearest station. The northern part of the town lies partially between Upton and Hopedale. Bellingham lies on the east of the southern section, Blackstone on the south, and Uxbridge and Northbridge on the west.
The land is elevated in the centre, and rises into Miscoe Hill in the north, Neck Hill at the northeast, West and Pond hills in the western part of the northern section, Calebs (or Inman) Hill in the south, and Chestnut (or Wigwam) Hill in the southwest. Nipmuck (or Tufts') Pond, a beautiful sheet of water covering about 160 acres, with a pretty island in the centre, lies west of Mendon village. The outlet of this pond is Rock-meadow Brook, flowing southwest to the Blackstone River. Mill River flows through the southeastern section, receiving from Mendon, Muddy and Spring brooks.
The assessed area of the town is 10,822 acres, of which 4,775 are woodland. The soil is moist, strong and deep. The apple-tree thrives here, and the place has long been noted for its excellent winter apples. Cranberries and strawberries, also, are much cultivated. The number of farms in 1885 was 253, and the value of their aggregate product was $134,231. In the same year there was one shoe factory, employing seven persons; while 26 persons were making straw goods; and there were one lumber mill, two box factories, two carriage factories and a stone quarry. Certain machinery, woollen goods and food articles were made in small quantity. The value of the aggregate manufactures was $34,737. There were 242 dwelling-houses and 945 inhabitants; 261 being legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $547,158, with a tax-rate of $11.50 on $1,000. Mendon, the post-office and principal village, is situated slightly north of the centre. The other village is Albeeville. There is a town-hall; the Taft Public Library has some 2,500 volumes in a suitable building; and one Sunday school has nearly 600 volumes. There are two churches — the Unitarian and the Methodist. The town has primary, grammar and high schools.
The Indian name of Mendon was Qunshapauge, but it was also called Nipmug. It was settled originally by John Moore, George Aldrich, Daniel Lovett, Josiah Chapin, Ferdinando Thayer, John Scammell and others, from Braintree; and William Holbrook, Abraham Staples, Samuel Pratt, and others, from Weymouth. It was named for the town of Mendham, Suffolk County, England, and was incorporated May 15, 1667; being, next to Lancaster, the oldest town in Worcester County. Much of its original territory has been taken to form other towns. It was destroyed by the Indians, July 14, 1675, when several of its inhabitants were killed. Among them was Richard Post, said to have been the first victim of King Philip's War in the State. The road on which he lived is still known as "Post's Lane." The first public school was established in 1701; the first school-house erected in 1750.
On the 15th of May, 1867, the town held a bicentennial celebration. The poem read by Hon. Henry Chapin, of Worcester, on that occasion makes allusions as follows :
"Let Milford boast of boots and shoes,
Of choicest kinds of leather;
And Upton girls grow rich as Jews
On bonnet, band and feather.
Northbridge and Uxbridge thrive and grow
On cotton, steam and water;
While Blackstone spreads her branches so,
Though she's the youngest daughter.
"Old Mendon yet shall raise her head;
She is not dead but sleepeth;
She yet remains the old homestead:
The fathers' dust she keepeth."