Milford Massachusetts, 1890

Milford is a pleasant and prosperous town in the southeasterly border of Worcester County, about 34 miles west of Boston by the Milford Branch of the Boston and Albany Railroad, connecting at Framingham. The New York and New England Railroad also has a branch extending from Bellingham Junction to Milford; and there is also a direct connection with Worcester by the Grafton and Upton Railroad, just completed.

The town is bounded on the north by Hopkinton, on the northeast by Holliston, on the east by Medway, southeast by Bellingham, southwest by Hopedale, and west by Upton. The assessed area is 9,347 acres; of which 2,588 are forest, consisting chiefly of maple, chestnut and oak. The elevation is varied, and the scenery picturesque and beautiful. The rock generally is gneissic. There is found in the town a very extensive area of granite of a pink tint, which is largely in demand from all parts of the country. Bear Hill is the principal elevation, and overlooks the centre village. Several small streams flow southerly from Cedar Swamp Pond, of about 100 acres, at the centre. North Pond, nearly as large, lies on the line at the northwest. Another small pond lies on the western line, and still another marks the northern point of Hopedale on the west. From Cedar Swamp Pond issues Charles River, flowing south, and affording power at one or more falls in this town. Mill River forms the line between this town and Upton. The land is moist, somewhat rocky, and not usually easy to work, but yields fair crops.
The product of the 141 farms in 1885 amounted to $115,343. Apple and pear orchards are numerous. Quarrying and stone-cutting employed about 150 men. The boot and shoe factories were 17 in number, employing nearly 3,000 persons, and during the last census year making goods to the value of $1,085,353. There is a spindle factory, a machine shop, an iron foundery, -- the iron goods made amounting to upwards of $304,626. There were three straw factories making hats and other straw goods to the value of $367,026,--employing 263 persons. Other manufactures are food preparations, leather, carriages, furniture and liquors. The aggregate value of the manufactures was $2,289,030. The two national banks had an aggregate capital of $380,000; and the savings bank, at the opening of the present year, held deposits to the amount of $1,220,637. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $4,876,704, with a tax-rate of $15.50 on $1,000. There were 1,480 dwelling. houses and 9,343 inhabitants, including 2,362 legal voters.

There is a beautiful Soldiers' Memorial Hall of granite with brownstone trimmings, used for the public library and the Grand Army organization. The library contains about 7,000 volumes. There is a long-established high school, with the lower grades which occupy 21 buildings, valued at upwards of $60,000. The "Gazette" and the "Journal " have each a circulation of some 2,000. The "Times " is another weekly journal published here. The Methodists, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Baptists and Universalists have church edifices here. The Roman Catholics have recently completed a handsome church edifice of granite, with a tower 130 feet in height.

Milford (centre) is the post-office, and has the railway stations. Other villages are East Milford and North Milford. The town is beautiful in situation and healthful. A custom many years old is the holding of a sort of farmers' exchange every Saturday afternoon during the greater part of the year, at Town Park, for buying and selling farm stock, implements, for club purchases, and so forth.

This place was called by the Indians Wopowage, and by the original white settlers " Mill River." It was taken from Mendon and incorporated, April 11, 1780. A part of Holliston was annexed April 1, 1859. The northern part of Milford was purchased of the Indians by the first proprietors of Mendon, and is still mentioned as the "North Purchase." A fraternal community was established many years age at Hopedale by the Rev. Adin Ballou. This several years since abandoned the community principle, and finally took the form of a church organization. The movement resulted in the establishment, in 1886, of that part of Milford as the town of Hopedale.

The first church in Milford was formed in 1741, and the Rev. Amariah Frost was settled in 1743. Among the eminent persons early associated with this town were Col. Alexander Scammel (1747-1781), an officer of the Revolution; Stephen Chapin, D.D. (1778-1845), an able divine; A. H. Nelson (1812-1858), an able lawyer and judge; William Claflin, LL.D. (1818), governor of Massachusetts from 1869 to 1871; H. B. Claflin, the New York "Dry-Goods Prince;" Gen. A. B. Underwood (1828), an able officer and 1awyer; and Mrs. Clara Erskine (Clement) Waters, an esteemed author.

pp. 464-466 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890