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flag  History of Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

Journey back in time to Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

Visit Spencer, Massachusetts, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Spencer, Massachusetts, USA - Pope Mansion, built 1744

Spencer, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

In 1784 Spencer was a major stopping place on the Old Boston Post Road's stage route between Boston and Hartford, and on to New York. Passengers changed stages in Spencer, as one coach would come from Boston and connect with one coming north from Hartford. Each stagecoach would turn around and return whence it came.
kids.kiddle.co

Spencer includes: Smithville, Wire Village (Upper Wire Village), Hillsville, and Lower Wire Village (Proutyville). netronline.com

"...Settled in 1717 by Nathaniel Wood, Spencer was incorporated as a town in 1753. It has been established as a district from a part of Leicester. Its name was assigned by Lieutenant Governor Spencer Phipps who had signed the order establishing the district..." spencerma.gov

There is MUCH more to discover about Spencer, Massachusetts, USA. Read on!

Spencer Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards


Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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Pope Mansion, built 1744

Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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Richard Sugden Library

On April 2, 1888, the Town of Spencer received the gift of a much needed library building from Richard Sugden, a wealthy local wire manufacturer. Sugden's gift reflected his childhood love of reading and the memory of his limited access to books as a child in Yorkshire, England. spencerpubliclibrary.org
Read more about Richard SUGDEN photo of ancestor

Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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View from High Street, Spencer, Mass.

Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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Main Street, Spencer, Mass.

Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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Business Centre Looking East

Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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Main St., looking West

Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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Bird's-Eye View of Spencer, Mass.

Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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General View of Spencer, Mass., 1905

Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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Main Street, 1906

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Town Hall, 1906

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Lincoln Street, 1908

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Bird's Eye View of Spencer, Mass.

Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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B. & A. R. R. Station, Spencer, Mass.

Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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Cherry Street

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First Congregational Church, 1910

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David Prouty's High School

In 1888-1889, four prominent citizen (David Prouty, Richard Sugden, Luther Hill and Nathaniel Myrick) presented the town with a new high school, a library, a public park and the Spencer Agricultural Fair Grounds. spencerma.gov
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Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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Main Street, 1910

Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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Massasoit Hotel

The Massasoit Hotel opened in 1873, becoming a stop for stagecoaches passing through Spencer via the Upper Boston Post Road.

Richard Sugden, whose name adorns the Spencer library, was a partner in the building of the Massasoit. It was named for a chief in the Wampanoag Tribe.

The hotel, at what is now Main Street (Route 9) and Pleasant Street (Route 31), was built on a land that for many years held Jenks Tavern. It was here, on the night of Oct. 22, 1789, that George Washington grabbed some shuteye as he traveled across New England.

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Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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Birdseye View

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Village Elms

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Main Street

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Lincoln Street, 1911

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Public Park, 1911

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Birthplace of Elias Howe, Inventor of the Sewing Machine
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Isaac Prouty Shoe Factory

The Isaac Prouty storehouse displayed the first electric lights to be seen in Spencer when it was used as an exhibition hall for the Spencer fair in 1885. digitalcommonwealth.org

Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

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St. Mary's Church, Rectory and Parochial School

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Bank Building

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Main St.

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Methodist Church, 1923

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Odd Fellows Hall

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Town Hall

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Methodist Church

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War Memorial

Discover Spencer: History, News, Travel, and Stories

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  • 1721 - Spencer is settled

    Massachusetts City and Town Incorporation and Settlement Dates
  • Spencer's first mill was built in 1740 on Seven-Mile River, the greatest source of waterpower in the town.

    spencerma.gov
  • General Henry Knox and his troops passed through Spencer, Massachusetts in the winter of 1775-76 with a load of 59 cannons pulled by teams of oxen.
    The cannons were captured from the British at Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point. They were transported from Lake Champlain to Dorchester Heights, Massachusetts and used by George Washington's army on March 17, 1776 (Evacuation Day) to free Boston from British control during the American Revolutionary War.

    General Henry Knox Trail - Historic Marker reads:
    "Through this place passed General Henry Knox in the winter of 1775-1776 to deliver to General George Washington at Cambridge the train of artillery from Fort Ticonderoga used to force the British army to evacuate Boston."


    Read more about Henry KNOX photo of ancestor
  • In 1811, Josiah Green began making shoes, and in 1834 he built a factory.

    spencerma.gov
  • The Prouty family began to make shoes in 1820 and built their factory in 1855.

    spencerma.gov
  • In 1839, the town hall was constructed and eighteen years later the town's first high school, Denny Hall, was built.

    spencerma.gov
  • 1839 - Spencer
    Spencer, Massachusetts
    Worcester county. Seven Mile river, a branch of the Chickopee, waters this town. There are two woolen mills in this town, and manufactures of scythe snaiths, straw bonnets, boots, shoes, leather, cabinet ware, chairs, palm-leaf hats, harnesses, and barrels: annual value, about $80,000.

    This township is quite elevated for the section of country in which it lies. It is stated to be the summit level between the waters of Boston harbor and Connecticut river, 950 feet above the former, and 880 feet above the latter. The surface of the town is agreeably varied by hills and valleys: the soil is fertile, and cultivated by men of industry and independence.

    Spencer is 52 miles W. from Boston and 12 W. from Worcester. Population, in 1830, 1,618; 1837, 2,085. It was taken from Leicester in 1753.
    The New England Gazetteer containing descriptions of all the states, counties and towns in New England: also descriptions of the principal mountains, rivers lakes, capes, bays, harbors, islands and fashionable resorts within that territory. Alphabetically arranged. By John Hayward, author of the Columbian Traveller, Religious Creeds, &c. &c. Boston: John Hayward. Boyd & White, Concord, N.H. 1839
  • 1845 - SPENCER. [Pop. 1,604. Inc. 1753.]
    Spencer was originally a part of Leicester.

    The town is on elevated ground,, but the soil is good, and watered by several small streams belonging chiefly to the Chicopee.

    The manufactures are boots and shoes, woollen goods, gunpowder, wire, and palm-leaf hats.

    Distance from Worcester, 11 miles; from Boston, 51.
    An Elementary Geography for Massachusetts Children by William Bentley Fowle and Asa Fitz, 1845
  • 1848 - Spencer
    The whole of this town was included in the original grant of Leicester. It was made a parish in the year 1744, by the name of the West Parish of Leicester, and was incorporated a town in 1753, by the name of Spencer. The church was organized here in 1744, and Rev. Joshua Eaton was ordained their pastor the same year. He continued with the people till his death, in 1772, and was succeeded, the next year, by Rev. Joseph Pope. The next ministel was Rev. Stephen Crosby, who was settled in 1819. Mr. Crosby was succeeded by Rev. Levi Packard, in 1826.

    The above engraving shows the appearance of the central part of Spencer, as it is entered from the westward, upon the road to Brookfieid. The Congregational church is seen on the right, on the elevated ground in the distance. The Universalist church is the building with a tower, standing in the compact part of the village, which consists of about 40 dwelling-houses.

    This town is elevated, and is said to be 950 feet above the tide waters... Read MORE...

  • 1854 - Spencer
    Spencer, a post- village in Worcester co., Massachusetts, on the Western railroad, 62 miles W. S. W. from Boston, contains 2 or 8 churches. Population of the township, 2244.
    A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States: Giving a Full and Comprehensive Review of the Present Condition, Industry, and Resources of the American Confederacy ... Thomas Baldwin (of Philadelphia.) Joseph Thomas January 1, 1854 Philadelphia : Lippincott, Grambo & Company 1854.
  • News  1873 - Wrong Vaccine
    Doctor Fontaine, of Spencer, Mass, was held in $2,000 bonds yesterday for manslaughter in causing the death of a child by using small pox virus for vaccination instead of vaccine matter.
    The Daily Milwaukee News
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    July 8, 1873
  • News  1885 - Men of Brains - Some of the Distinguished American Inventors
    Elias Howe, inventor of the modern sewing machine; born at Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1819; died in 1867; machinist; sewing machine patented in 1846. From that time to 1854 his priority was contested, and he suffered from poverty, when a decision of the courts in his favor brought him large royalties, and he realized several millions from his patent.
    The Daily Republican
    Monogahela, Pennsylvania
    January 20, 1885

    Read more about Elias HOWE photo of ancestor
  • 1888 - Spencer Fair
    The Spencer Fair was established in 1888.
  • Spencer Massachusetts, 1890
    Spencer is an elevated and beautiful farming and manufacturing town in the southwesterly section of Worcester County, 18 miles from Worcester and 62 from Boston. The Boston and Albany Railroad runs through the southwestern part, haying a station at South Spencer and sending a branch to Spencer (centre). The latter is the post-office for the town. The other villages are North Spencer, Hillsville north of the centre, and Wire Village northeastward.

    The town has Oakham and Paxton on the north, the latter and Leicester on the east, Charlton on the south, and Brookfield and North Brookfield on the west. The territory is in the form of a parallelogram, with its length north and south. Its assessed area is 20,490 acres; of which 6,564 are forests of oak, pine, chestnut, white and black birch and maple. The laurel (Kalmia latifolia) often adorns the pastures. The land is varied by many beautifully rounded hills and by winding valleys. Green, Flat and Moose hills are the most noted... Read MORE...

  • 1895 - Spencer
    Spencer, a post-village in Spencer township, Worcester co, Mass., 1 1/ 2 miles N, of Spencer Station of the Boston & Albany Railroad, and about 12 miles W. of Worcester. Spencer Station is 17 miles W. by S. of Worcester. Spencer contains a high school, a national bank, a savings bank, 3 churches, a newspaper office, woollen-factories, a fine hotel, and 4 or 5 manufactories of boots. Pop. of township, 8747.
    Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ... Joseph Thomas January 1, 1895 J.B. Lippincott
  • 1906
    Spencer, a banking post-village in Spencer township (town), Worcester co., Mass., on the Boston and Albany R., and about 12 miles W. of Worcester. The town has manufactures of wire, satinets, woollens, boots and shoes, etc. Pop. of the town in 1900, 7627.
    Lippincott's New Gazetteer: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World, Containing the Most Recent and Authentic Information Respecting the Countries, Cities, Towns ... in Every Portion of the Globe Publisher J.B. Lippincott Company, 1906
  • News  1907 - WOMAN HURT AS AUTO TURNS OVER
    Spencer, Nov. 24 - Mrs. Justin D. Anderson, wife of the president of the Hartford Rubber Works Company of Hartford, Conn., was severely injured tonight by the overturning of a heavy touring car in which she was riding with Mr. Anderson and J. J. Shea, chief engineer of the rubber works. They were returning form Providence to Hartford, and when near Sibley's corner in the outskirts of this town, the machine skidded in the slippery road and was upset. Mr. Anderson, who was driving, had slowed down in approaching the turn and set his brakes when the car began to slide, but a wheel caught in the electric car track and the machine turned over.

    Mrs. Anderson suffered a fracture of the left shoulder and contusions, and was badly shaken up. The men escaped without injury. After the fracture had been reduced by a Worcester physician who happened to be passing on an electric car, Mrs. Anderson was taken to her home in Hartford.
    The Boston Journal
    Boston, Massachusetts
    November 25, 1907
  • News  1910 - HOTEL BURNED.
    Spencer, Mass., Oct. 7. - Through smoke-filled corridors the thirty guests of the Massasoit house, the largest hotel in Spencer, made hurried exits in their night clothes in a fire that destroyed the hostelry early today. It is believed that everyone escaped. An exploded lamp is believed to have caused the fire and in the high wind the three-story wooden structure was quickly destroyed. The loss is $50,000.
    Titusville Herald
    Titusville, Pennsylvania
    October 8, 1910

  • 2023 -
    Spencer Fair:
    If you happen to be in Spencer on Labor Day Weekend, visit the Spencer Fair. A classic New England fair, the Spencer Fair has a rich history dating back to its inception in 1888. It was originally established as an agricultural and industrial fair to showcase the talents and achievements of local farmers and craftsmen. Today, it features Agricultural Exhibits, Entertainment, Food, Crafts and Exhibits and Carnival Rides.

    Stroll around Howe State Park:
    Howe State Park is another beautiful outdoor destination. It's located on Howe Pond and provides a picturesque setting for a leisurely walk, fishing, or a quiet afternoon of relaxation.

    Hike the Seven Mile River Trail:
    If you're up for a scenic hike, check out the Seven Mile River Trail. This trail meanders through picturesque woodlands and alongside the Seven Mile River, providing a peaceful and scenic outdoor experience.

    Play a Round of Golf:
    If you're a golfer, head to the Spencer Country Club, where you can ... Read MORE...

Discover Your Roots: Spencer Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were born or died in Spencer.

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female ancestorRachel CURTIS (17 June 1705, Roxbury, Massachusetts, USA* - 1741, Spencer, Massachusetts, USA)
male ancestorJosiah GODDARD (25 July 1729, Marlborough, Massachusetts, USA (Marlboro) - 5 June 1798, Spencer, Massachusetts, USA)
male ancestorJonathan STODDARD (May 1733, Spencer, Massachusetts, USA - 21 June 1812, Brattleboro, Vermont, USA (West Brattleboro))
female ancestorElizabeth BALDWIN (1736, Spencer, Massachusetts, USA - 9 November 1798, Brattleboro, Vermont, USA (West Brattleboro))
male ancestorJacob STODDARD (27 May 1761, Spencer, Massachusetts, USA - 12 February 1817, Brattleboro, Vermont, USA (West Brattleboro))
male ancestorJonathan STODDARD (31 December 1762, Spencer, Massachusetts, USA - 9 September 1825, Brattleboro, Vermont, USA (West Brattleboro))
female ancestorAbigail CLAPP (4 October 1764, Milton, Massachusetts, USA - 1 October 1853, Spencer, Massachusetts, USA)
male ancestorGeorge PEIRCE (1769, Spencer, Massachusetts, USA - 24 April 1859, Peru, Massachusetts, USA)
male ancestorEli PEIRCE (1773, Spencer, Massachusetts, USA - 13 July 1868, Peru, Massachusetts, USA)

Ancestors Who Were Married in Spencer, Massachusetts, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were married in Spencer.

View Them Now

male ancestorJonathan STODDARD (May 1733 - 21 June 1812) and female ancestorElizabeth BALDWIN (1736 - 9 November 1798) married 10 April 1760
male ancestorJames A QUINN (1874 - ) and female ancestorJosephine FORCIER (28 April 1874 - 16 December 1907) married 28 January 1903
male ancestorFrançois Xavier "Frank" LANCTOT (22 December 1894 - May 1977) and female ancestorIsabelle LEPAIN (23 January 1897 - ) married 1917
male ancestorNapoleon P COURNOYER (2 July 1892 - 24 June 1970) and female ancestorMabel I LEQUIER (25 August 1898 - 27 February 1988) married 25 August 1919
male ancestorFrank LALIBERTE (1 February 1903 - 4 August 1980) and female ancestorOvaline PELOQUIN (13 March 1911 - 1987) married 1 October 1927
male ancestorHormidas DAIGNEAULT (1876 - 1942) and female ancestorFlora COLLETTE (18 October 1880 - 19 March 1943) married 25 May 1935
male ancestorRaymond PLANTE (09/01/1921 - 10/02/2002) and female ancestorJuliette LACROIX (05/20/1928 - 12/09/1997) married 18 November 1950
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