Walpole Massachusetts, 1890
Walpole was detached from Dedham, and incorporated. December 10, 1724. It was named in honor of Sir Robert Walpole, then prime minister of England. The New York and New England Railroad and the Mansfield and Framingham Branch of the Old Colony Railroad intersect each other in the central village, thus affording fine facilities for transportation. The postal centres are Walpole, East Walpole and South Walpole. Other villages are Plimptonville, Tilton's, and North Walpole. The town is situated in the interior of Norfolk County, 19 miles from Boston; and its boundaries are Dover on the north, Dedham, Norwood, and Sharon on the east, Foxborough on the south, and Norfolk and Medfield on the west. The assessed area is 12,459 acres; of which 2,710 are woodland.
The surface of the town is broken into upland and meadow, and a range of gravelly knolls or hills runs southeasterly through the territory. The Neponset River, Mill Brook and other streams which meet the river at or near the central village, furnish much hydraulic power, and impart freshness and variety to the scenery.
The farms are managed with skill and industry, and yield remunerative crops of the cereals and of fruits, berries and vegetables. The manufactures consist of cotton and woollen goods, paper, boots and shoes, hollow-ware and iron castings, hand-cards, twine of excellent quality, leather, emery, straw goods, furniture, food preparations and other articles. There are two saw mills in the place; and large quantities of lumber, fire-wood and charcoal are prepared for market. The extensive Hollingsworth paper mills, at East Walpole, employed in 1885 about 80 persons, and made goods to the value of $430,100. Textiles were manufactured to the value of $667,160. The value of all goods made was $1,352,192. The product of the 119 farms was valued at $117,381. The valuation in 1888 was $1,774,129, with a tax-rate of $13.40 on $1,000. The population by the last State census was 2,443; of whom 586 were legal voters. There were 520 taxed dwelling-houses. The five public schoolhouses, in 1885, were valued at $9,500. There is a public library of upwards of 6,000 volumes. The "Star" and the " Central Norfolk Democrat" are published here. The churches consist of two Congregationalist, two Methodist, a Unitarian and a Roman Catholic.
The Rev. Phillips Payson, first minister of the place, was settled in 1730, and remained as pastor more than 47 years. Four of his sons were clergymen. The Rev. Asahel Bigelow was ordained pastor of the Second Church in 1828.
Phillips Payson, D.D., a patriot, scholar, and divine, was born in Walpole, January 18, 1736. Seth Payson, D.D., a learned minister and author, and father of Edward Payson, D.D., was born here September 29, 1758; and died in Rindge, N. H., February 26, 1826. Eleazer Smith, said to have been the original inventor of the machine for cutting and heading nails, also of the machine for punching the leather, cutting, bending, and setting card-teeth by one operation, was a native of Walpole. This place is the residence of F. W. Bird, a noted politician; and also of the Rev. Edwin Thompson, a well-known lecturer on temperance.
pp. 654-655 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890