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West Boylston, Massachusetts, USA (Oakdale) - 1848 - West Boylston
This town was settled as early as 1720, by several families from Marlborough, being then included in the grant of land called Shrewsbury. Among the first settlers were Benjamin Hinds, Isaac Temple, Edward Goodale, William Whitney, John Bixby, and William Holt. The town was incorporated in 1808.
In 1796, the present town was incorporated a separate parish. In the same year a Congregational church was gathered, consisting of 32 members. Rev. William Nash, the first minister, was ordained on the 11th of Oct., 1797. His successor. Rev. John Boardman, was ordained in 1821; the next minister was installed in 1834. Rev. Philemon Russell, pastor of the Unitarian society, was ordained in 1834. In 1813, a society of Baptists was formed in the town. In 1818, they built a meeting house. The next year the church was organized, of about 50 members, who had been dismissed from the church in Holden. In 1821, they had constant preaching by Rev. Nicholas Branch. The first settlers of the town built a stockade fort, of square logs, for defence, on the land now owned by Mr. John Temple. This fort stood till about 1790; the only intimations of any hostilities against it were a few bullets lodged in the timbers. A few traces of the aborigines are sometimes discovered.
In the south part of the town is a beautiful and romantic spot, called Pleasant Valley. At some remote period it was the location of a small pond. The engraving shows the appearance of this spot as it is seen from the north. At this point, immediately north, and separated from the valley by a bar or ridge of land, is a depression of a number of feet lower than the vale, which is, perhaps, 10 or 12 rods in length, and in its formation resembles the bowl of a spoon. This place is about one mile southerly of the principal village of West Boylston. The following notice of this beautiful little spot, with the accompanying lines, are taken from the American Traveller of July 14, 1826:
“On leaving the road you enter a grove of oaks and maples. between two decliviities, and continuing down this avenue that winds along through the shrub oaks. at once opens to the view a plain 3 or 4 acres, of an oval form, surrounded on every side, except the narrow pass by which you enter, by high and almost perpendicular banks, whose sides are covered by the birch and shrub-oak, and whose tops are surmounted by trees of the largest size. The plain is more level and smooth than art could make it: no remains of ancient trees, no stone, not even a stray branch of the neighboring grove near the scene. A fine short grass covers the whole area, and presents to the eye an enchanting fairy green. The stillness of death reigns, undisturbed by the noise of the world. It is a place for contemplation, where man can turn his thoughts home to his own breast and meditate on the follies of the world, or where he can upturn them to Him the supreme
Architect of nature.
"Sweet vale of West Boylston! how calm a retreat
...From the sorrows and cares of this cold world of woe;
With thy thick-covered banks, where the wild flowrets meets
...And thy serpentine paths where the evergreens grow.
Oh, here the war trumpet shall never be heard,
...Here the banners of foemen shall ne'er be unfurl'd;
At the tramp of the war-horse, thy paths shall be barred,
...And peace with her wand bid him back to the world.
Thy carpet so green. 'neath the blue sky outspread,
...Shall never be soil'd by the foot of dishonor-
Here the children of nature by truth shall be led,
...And fear not the intrusions of care or of sorrow.
Be this the retreat of the votaries of love,
...For the friends of the heart-be it piety's fans,
Where their vows and their prayers shall ascend and above
...Shall be heard, and Heaven grant that they be heard not in vain.
Oh, here have I roam'd with the friend of my heart,
...When the last rays of sunshine were gilding the spot-
And the thoughts of that hour they shall never depart,
...And the friends that were there shall ne'er be forgot."
In 1837, there were in this town 7 cotton mills; 8,036 spindles; 1,502,000 yards of cotton goods were manufactured; value, $151,450; males employed, 89; females, 168. Population, 1,330. Distance, 7 miles from Worcester, and 42 from Boston.
Historical Collections Relating to the History... John Warner Barber, Worcester, Warren Lazell, 1848
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