Town of Milford
ADVENTURE - Shops - HISTORY & HERITAGE - Dining & Lodging
History by John Warner Barber 1845
MILFORD. THIS town was formerly the north-easterly part of Mendon. It was set off as a separate parish in 1741, and was commonly known by the name of Mill River. It was incorporated as a town in 1780. The church was formed here in 1741, of 26 male members ; over which Rev. Amariah Frost was settled in 1743. Some time after the settlement of Mr. Frost, a separation took place, and a Mr. Hovey preached to the disaffected, and was ordained among them. He remained with them, however, but a few years. Mr. Frost continued pastor of the first society till his death, in 1792; he was succeeded by Rev. David Long, in 1801. The following is a north-eastern view of the central part of Mil- ford, as seen from the road on the eastern side of a branch of Charles river, a mill stream passing through the village. In the engraving, the Universal ist church is seen on the right ; the spires of the Congregational church and town-house are seen towards the central Eart. An academy was established in this place in 1830. Population, 1,637. Distance, 18 miles from Worcester, and 28 from Boston.
In 1837, there were 128,000 pairs of boots manufactured; value, $212,200; males employed, 305; females, 37; there were 4,000 straw bonnets manufactured; value, $12,000; one cotton mill, 1,200 spindles ; 80,000 yards of cotton goods were manufactured ; value, $5,000. Though the surface of this town is not very hilly, the land rises in some places, especially towards the north. From the highest elevations in this part of the town there is a wide and variegated prospect. This northern part was a purchase from the Indians by the first proprietors of Mendon, and was called the " North Purchase."
There are two rivers in this town : Charles river, which passes through the east part, and Mill river, which passes through the western. The last-mentioned river is the outlet of a large pond, of a mile in length, partly in Milford, but principally in Hopkinton and Up- ton, called North Pond. There are good meadows and interval lands upon the borders of both of these rivers. The town is well watered with springs, rivulets and brooks in all parts. Agriculture is the principal business of the inhabitants. The town produces annually for market, considerable quantities of butter, cheese, pork, beef, perhaps equal to any in the country. Gen. Alexander Scammel was a native of this town. He graduated at Harvard University, 1769, and was appointed a surveyor of timber in Massachusetts and province of Maine, under the British government. In 1775, he was a brigade-major in the American army ; in 1777, a colonel at the taking of Gen. Burgoyne, and adjutant-general of the army at Yorktown, where he was unfortunately wounded in reconnoitering, Sept. 30, 1781, just before the surrender of Cornwallis, of which wound he soon after died.
Milford was an unusually busy industrial community with small boot shops in 1819 working with leather. Other industries ranged from straw bonnets to clothing and chairs, but the most notable work was quarrying of Milford's fine pink granite, a most handsome stone . Expert Italian quarry-men emigrated here to work on it and some of the well-known buildings that used it for construction were:
Grand Central Station & Pennsylvania RR Station in New York
Boston Public Library and Worcester City Hall
Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, D.C.
and the Indians knew it as Wopowage