Westford Massachusetts, 1890

Westford is a prosperous farming and manufacturing town of 2,193 inhabitants, occupying an elevated site between the Merrimack, Concord and Nashua rivers, near the centre of the northern section of Middlesex County. The Stony Brook Railroad, passing across the midst of the township, is intersected at Graniteville, in the western part, by the Nashua and Acton Railroad. The Lowell and Framingham Branch of the Old Colony, by its station at South Chelmsford, is convenient to the southeastern part of the town. The post-offices are Westford (centre), Cold-spring, Forge Village, Graniteville and Nashua. The other villages are Chamberlain's Corner, Parkeville and South Westford.

The town has Tyngsborough on the northwest and north; Chelmsford and Carlisle on the east; Acton on the south; Littleton on the southwest; and Ayer and Groton on the west. The assessed area is 18,000 acres; of which 8,461 are forest, consisting of oak, pine, maple and birch. At the junction of this town with Ayer and Littleton is Forge Pond, of 170 acres; in the northern section are Nubanassuck, Sought-for and Keyes' ponds, of 123, 107 and 40 acres; north of the centre is Burge's, of 25 acres; and Flushing and Grassy ponds, of 20 and 18 acres, are also pretty sheets of water. The outlets of most of these are tributary to Stony Brook, which runs northeasterly through the midst of the town, furnishing valuable motive power. Nashoba Brook drains the southwestern part of the town, and the feeders of Hart Pond, on the Chelmsford line, the southeast part. The surface of the town is frequently, but not greatly, varied by hill, valley and plain. The village in the centre stands on a commanding eminence, from which Wachusett, Monadnock and the White Mountains are often distinctly visible. Calcareous gneiss and Merrimack schist constitute the geological formation; and at Graniteville there are valuable granite quarries, in which large quantities of stone are prepared for use under the name of "Chelmsford granite." An immense ledge near the centre still bears upon its surface the furrows made by the ancient glaciers. Upon the face of this rock is a rudely carved figure, supposed to be the work of some Indian of artistic aspirations.

The manufacturing villages are on Stony Brook. The largest establishments are the worsted factory, employing upwards of 225 persons, and a machine-shop employing nearly 50 men and boys. Some 70 men are engaged in quarrying and dressing stone. Leather goods, carriages, clothing and food preparations are made to a limited extent. The value of the aggregate product in 1885 was $1,020,752. The product of the 259 farms — employing 278 men— was $180,136. There were in the town 5,990 peach-trees and 28,648 apple trees. The apple crop was valued at $8,752; the strawberries, at $2,007; cranberries, $2,590; and blackberries— of which there were picked 94,142 quarts—$9,672. The number of voters was 509, and of taxed dwelling-houses, 454. The valuation in 1888 was $1,064,618, with a tax-rate of $12.60 on $1,000. There are 10 public-school buildings, valued at $13,900. The Westford Academy, incorporated in 1793, has a building valued at $4,000. The public library contains about 6,000 volumes; and the Village Club-House has a small library. The weekly "Gazette" efficiently gathers the local news. The Unitarians, Congregationalists and Methodists each have a church edifice here. The town-house is a superior structure; and there are in the town a dozen fine private houses and numerous beautiful residences.

Westford was originally a part of the Chelmsford grant; and, after a, long controversy, it was, on September 23, 1729, incorporated as a separate town. The first church was established here in 1724; and the Rev, Willard Hall was settled over it in 1727. The Congregationalist society was organized in 1828; and the first pastor was the Rev. Leonard Luce. Westford sent 135 men into the Union armies during the late war, of whom 48 died on the field or from wounds received in battle.

Among the eminent men of the past were Willard Hall (b. 1780), an able jurist, author, and M.C. from 1817 to 1821; Ezekiel Hildreth (1784-1856), an able teacher, and author of " Logopolis, or City of Words," and other works; and Thomas Church Brownell, D.D., LL.D. (1779-1865), an Episcopal bishop of Connecticut, first president of Trinity College, and author of several works.

pp. 686-687 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer