Northborough Massachusetts, 1890

Northborough is a pleasant town in a hilly region near the middle of the eastern side of Worcester County, 35 miles west of Boston by the Northern Division of the Old Colony Railroad, which passes through the central village. It is bounded on the north by Berlin, east by Marlborough and Southborough, south by Westborough, and west by Shrewsbury and Boylston. The assessed area is 11,515 acres, of which 2,731 acres is woodland.

The highest points of laud are three parallel ridges in the north and west Ball's Hill, Mount Pisgah, and Sulphur Hill, Tomlin Hill in the southwest, Rock Hill in the southeast, and Assabet Hill near the village. From the summit of the latter the spires of nearly twenty churches may be seen. Howard and Cold-water brooks, corning from the northwest and southwest, unite at the centre with a larger stream from the south, forming Assabet River. By Stirrup Brook the waters of Little Chauncy and Bartlett ponds, in the southeasterly part of the town, find their way through a long swamp into the Assabet. The geological structure of this town is calcareous gneiss and sienite. The soil is strong and fertile.

The value of the aggregate products of the 132 farms in 1885 was $159,313. There are at the central village two woollen mills, employing some 200 persons. Five establishments, employing about 50 persons, make buttons, combs and other horn goods. Pianoforte-making employed 10; the rubber factory, 12; and boot and shoe making, 14 persons. Other manufactures are boxes, bricks, fertilizers, leather, metallic articles, liquors and other food preparations. The value of the aggregate products was $367,231. The Northborough National Bank has a capital stock of $100,000. The population was 1,853, including 393 legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $1,251,545. The taxed dwelling-houses were 332 in number.

The public schools consist of primary, grammar and high school grades. They occupy seven buildings, valued at about $10,000. The Allen Home School is a well-equipped institution of its class. The Northborough Public Library contained 6,363 volumes. The "Enterprise," and the "Farmer," are the weekly news-journals published here. The three churches are Baptist, Congregationalist and Unitarian. The post-offices are Northborough and Chapinville.

A settlement was commenced here anterior to 1700, and a garrison-house built on Stirrup Brook. As Mrs. Mary Fay and Miss Mary Goodnow were culling herbs in the meadow near, on the 18th of August, 1707, a party of 24 Indians issued from the forest and approached them. Mrs. Fay made her escape to the garrison-house and aided the sentinel in defending it until the men at work in the field came up and drove away the Indians. In a hard conflict in Sterling the next day nine Indians were killed, and in one of their packs was found the scalp of the unfortunate Miss Goodnow.

This town was set off from Westborough as a district, June 24, 1766; and was made a town by the general act of August 23, 1775. The first church here was formed on the 21st of May, 1746, when the Rev. John Martin was chosen pastor. In the quiet old burial place near the Unitarian church is the gravestone of Judah Monis, instructor in Hebrew at Harvard University from 1722 to 1761, and the author of a Hebrew grammar. He was a very benevolent man and a native of Italy. He spent his last years with the Rev. Mr. Martin, who was his brother-in-law.

The town has erected, at a cost of $3,000, a handsome granite monument bearing the names of some twenty soldiers lost in the war for the Union, to which it contributed, in all, 114. John Davis, LL.D. (1787-1854), an able jurist, and governor of the Commonwealth from 1834 to 1835, and from 1841 to 1843, was a native of this town.

Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890, pp. 512-513