Shrewsbury Massachusetts, 1890

Shrewsbury is situated on high land in the easterly part of Worcester County, and has Boylston on the north, Northborough and Westborough on the east, Grafton on the south, and Worcester on the west. The assessed area is 12,746 acres. The forests occupy 2,816 acres.

The geological basis of this locality is Merrimack schist and calcareous gneiss. There is a mineral spring, highly impregnated with sulphur, on the Leonard farm, in the easterly part of the town; and in the southwesterly part there is a large meadow containing excellent peat. The land is remarkably uneven; and, in passing through the town, the traveller meets with a constant succession of rounded hills and winding valleys. The scenic views are very charming, Rawson Hill, Harlow's Hill, Sewall's Hill, and Meeting-house Hill, in the northern section, are all beautiful and commanding eminences. Ward Hill in the east, Green Hill in the southeast, and Prospect Hill. in the southwest corner, well repay the lover of the beautiful for the trouble of the ascent. The latter elevation overlooks the long and picturesque Quinsigamond Lake, which extends in the form of a bow nearly four miles between this town and Worcester, and is a marked feature in the landscape. The greatest breadth of this fine sheet of water is about one mile, and the greatest depth about 90 feet It covers an area of about 1,051 acres, and contains 12 islands, of which one, called " Stratton's Island," in the southerly part has about 150 acres. The view of this lake, with its curving shores, and the hills of Shrewsbury, from the cars of the Boston and Albany Railroad, is remarkably fine. The outlet of this body of water is the Quinsigamond River, which runs southerly through Grafton into the Blackstone River. The easterly part of the town is drained by Hop Brook and Bummet Brook, the westerly part by South-meadow Brook and other streamlets.

The soil is strong and moist. Apple trees are numerous and productive, and the wild berries are found in large variety. The value of the aggregate product of the 146 farms in 1885 was $175,616. The neat cattle kept numbered 1,382. The principal manufactories, according to the State census for 1885, consisted of a tannery employing 39 men, and a boot and shoe factory employing 16. Other manufactures were carriages, metallic goods, beverages and food preparations. The value of all goods made was $263,171. The population was 1,450, of whom 409 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $1,022,240, with a tax-rate of $13.10 on $1,000. There were 348 taxed dwelling-houses. There are primary and grammar schools,. and a high school; and these occupy seven buildings valued at nearly $25,000. There is a handsome town-house containing halls, offices and a free public library of upwards of 2,000 volumes. A weekly paper named the "News" is published here. The three churches are Congregationalist, Methodist and Roman Catholic. The post-office is Shrewsbury. The other villages are South Shrewsbury; and West Shrewsbury.

This town was settled by people from Marlborough as early as 1717. It was incorporated December 19, 1727, and named, it is, supposed, in memory of Charles, Duke of Shrewsbury. It then included parts of Boylston, West Boylston, Sterling, Westborough, and Grafton. The first church was organized December 4, 1723; and at the same time the Rev. Job Cashing was settled as the pastor. The first meeting-house was erected in 1721.

Artemas Ward, the first major-general in the Revolutionary army, was born in Shrewsbury, November 27, 1727; and died October 27, 1800. He was a man of incorruptible integrity, and was twice elected to Congress. Calvin Goddard, M.C. 1801 to 1805, and 17 years mayor of Norwich, Conn., was born here July 17, 17,68, and died May 2, 1842. Levi Pease , said to be the originator of American mail-staging (having started the first between Boston and New York in 1784), also the projector of the first turnpike road, resided in this town many years; where he died in 1824, at the age of 86 years. In honor of the 29 of its soldiers lost in the war of the Rebellion, the citizens have erected a handsome monument.

 pp. 594-595  in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890