Westborough Massachusetts, 1890

Westborough is an active farming and manufacturing town of 4,880 inhabitants, situated in the southeastern part of Worcester County, 32 miles from Boston on the Boston and Albany Railroad. It has Northborough on the northwest and north, Southborough on the northeast, Hopkinton on the southeast, Upton and Grafton on the south, and the latter and Shrewsbury on the west.

The assessed area is 11,678 acres, including 2,472 acres of wood-land. Its foundation rock is calcareous gneiss and sienite. The elevation of the surface is variable; the highest points being Pay's Mountain, 707 feet high, in the southern, and Boston Hill in the northwestern part. Chauncy Pond, of about 185 acres, lies in the north, near Crane Swamp; and Cedar Swamp Pond, of 15 acres, in a swamp of the same name in the southeastern part. In the western section is Hobomoco Pond, a beautiful sheet of water well stocked with fish. Sudbury River, flowing from Whitehall Pond, in Hopkinton, near the southern border, flows for a short distance through the southeastern part of the town, receiving tributary streams.

The number of farms is 155; and their product in 1885 was $218,508. The town has a factory making hats and other straw goods, employing in June, 1885, 595 persons. There were three boot and shoe factories, employing, at the same time, 400 persons. Six establishments employed 35 men in making sleighs and carriages; and a box-factory employed 22 men. Bricks wrought stone, machinery and metallic articles, leather goods, beverages and other food preparations are also produced to a considerable extent. The value of the aggregate of manufactures was $2,004,887. The national bank here has a capital of $100,000, and the savings bank, at the close of last year, held deposits to the amount of $667,789 The valuation in 1888 was $2,583,774, with a tax rate of $17.10 on $1,000. The number of legal voters was 1,145; and there were 783 taxed dwelling-houses. There is a high school, with grammar and primary schools; for which are provided 20 school-houses, valued at $55,000. The Lyman School for Boys, a State institution, is beautifully situated on Chauncy Pond. It has a library of some 2,500 volumes. The town library contains upwards of 6,000 volumes. There are also circulating libraries. The "Chronotype" is a well-established weekly newspaper; and next to it is the "Union," which is the greater favorite with many. There are in the town one church each of the Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists, Unitarians, Roman Catholics and Christians.

A drive through the town will discover many handsome residences and farm-houses, and many landscapes and scenes of beauty while the good order and thrifty appearance which prevail give a very agreeable impression.

"The house in which Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton-gin, was born, December 8, 1765, is still standing, about two miles westward of the central village, on a cross-road. His mechanical genius discovered itself at an early age. The small building seen standing by his house was his workshop, where he manufactured various articles. His name is still to be seen cut on the door with his penknife. He graduated at Yale College, and soon after went into the State of Georgia. While here, he invented the cotton-gin, by which the industry of the world was revolutionized. Before this invention, one person could clean from the seeds but one pound of cotton daily;; with the aid of this machine a single person can, in one day, clean a thousand pounds with ease. Judge Johnson, of South Carolina, declared that by means of this invention 'their lands were trebled in value.' For this invention Mr. Whitney obtained a patent, but, like many other benefactors of the public, was plundered of the benefits of his invention. Mr. Whitney, by turning his attention to the manufacture of fire-arms for the United States, was enabled to realize a comfortable independence. The village which he built up, two miles from New Haven, Conn., for his workmen, is called 'Whitneyville.' Mr. Whitney died in New Haven, January 8, 1825."

Westborough originally bore the name of "Chauncy," and was a part of Marlborough, It was incorporated as a town under its present name, November 18, 1717; receiving additional territory from Shrewsbury in 1793.

Horace Maynard, a member of Congress from Kentucky, was a native of this town. Miss Mary A. Brigham, elected first president of Holyoke College early in 1889, was born in this town December 6, 1830; she was killed in a railroad disaster, June 29, 1889. Her mother still lives in Westborough.

Pp. 675-676
in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890