Also see [ Railway
Officials in America
THE principal part of this town was purchased of the natives by Mr. Leverett, president of Harvard college:
its Indian name was Quansigomog. A hill in the eastern part of the town was called by the natives Megonko. It was
purchased for the purpose of perpetuating the legacy of Edward Hopkins, Esq. to Harvard college, and was called
Hopkinton, in honor to his name. It was leased out by the president and trustees of the college to the first settlers.
The settlement began about the year 1710 or 12, and was never interrupted; the town was incorporated in December,
Hopkinton is hilly, interspersed with small valleys, and well watered. There are two ponds in the westerly part
of this town. From one, which is called White Hall Pond, issues one of the extreme branches of the Concord river,
which empties itself into the Merrimac. From the other, called the North Pond, (although it lies nearly south of
the first, about two miles distant,) issues one of the extreme branches of Providence or Blackstone river. One
of the extreme branches of Charles river also takes its rise in this town. The Mineral Spring in this town, near
White Hall Pond, is much visited. It contains carbonic acid, and carbonate of lime, and iron. There is a large
and commodious hotel at this place, and it is a fashionable place of resort, situated within three and a half miles
of the Boston and Worcester railroad, at Westborough, and. 7 miles from the Blackstone canal, at Northbridge. There
are in the town 4 churches, (2 Congregational, 1 Episcopal, and 1 Methodist,) 2 cotton factories, and 2,166 inhabitants.
Distant 24 miles S. W. of Concord, 30 northerly from Providence, 14 easterly from Worcester. and 30 miles S. W.
of Boston. In 1837, there were 3 cotton mills; 3,428 spindles; cotton goods manufactured, 555,900 yards; valued
at $55,350. There were 72,300 pairs of boots and 15,600 pairs of shoes manufactured, valued at $152,300; males
employed, 234; females, 24. There were 2,950 straw bonnets manufactured, valued at $5,350.
The first church was gathered, and the first pastor, Rev. Samuel Barrett, was ordained, in 1724; in 1772, Rev.
Elijah Fitch was ordained colleague pastor with Mr. Barrett. Mr. Fitch died in 1788, and was succeeded by Rev.
Nathaniel Howe, in 1791. Some time after thë ordination of Mr. Barrett, the first Congregational minister,
a number of the inhabitants of the Episcopal order living in the town, the Rev. Roger Price. a gentleman of eminence
and ability, came from England, and erected a house near the middle of the town for public worship, and endowed
it with a glebe, and public worship was performed under his ministry for a number of years. After his removal to
England, he sent the Rev. Mr. Troutbeck, who officiated as minister for some time. The two churches in the central
part of the town, represented in the above engraving, are situated on an elevated hill, which descends with considerable
abruptness to the eastward.
In or about the year 1746, twelve men and they were enlisted in this town, by Capt. Prescott, of Concord, to go
upon the expedition to Cuba. They went, and all died there, except the boy. The boy returned; and it was remarked
by the old people, that they were twelve of the most robust young men in the town. Their names were:
Within the limits of this town was formerly a village of praying Indians; the following is from Gookin's account:
Henry Walker, Jr.,...
"Magunkaquog is the seventh town where praying Indians inhabit. The signification of the place's name is a
place of great trees. It is situated partly within the bounds of Natick and partly upon the lands granted to the
country. It lieth west-southerly from Boston about twenty four miles, near the mid way between Natick and Hassanamessit.
The number of their families is about eleven, and about fifty five souls. There are men and women, eight members
of the church at Natick, and about fifteen baptized per.. sons. The quantity of the land belonging to it is about
three thousand acres. The indians plant upon a great hill, which is very fertile. These people worship God and
keep the Sabbath, and observe civil order, as do the other towns. They have a constable and other officers. Their
ruler's name is Pamphaman; a sober and active man, and pious. Their teacher's name is Job; a person well accepted
for piety and abilities among them. This town was the last settling of the old towns. They have plenty of corn,
and keep some cattle, horses, and swine, for which the place is well accommodated."
The following is extracted from a second edition of a Century Sermon, preached in this place in 1815, by the Rev.
Mr. Howe. it is introduced here to show the nature of some of the controversies which, owing to human imperfection,
will occasionally take place between a minister and his people. Of the merits of the following case, the author
has no information, excepting what is published in the sermon. He would, however, observe, that in controversies
of this kind there is generally some fault on both sides, and that men, when associated in a body, will oftentimes
do acts which they would he ashamed to do in their private capacity. Mr. Howe, in the course of this sermon, says:
"When the public took sides upon politics, your minister was a federalist, though he was sensible a very great
majority of the town were of different sentiments. He believed then, as he believes now, that he ought to have
more regard to his country than to any particular part of it; and when he has occasionally preached political sermons,
they have repeatedly occasioned uncomfortable feelings.
Another difficulty your minister has had to encounter was the want of support. A vast change has taken place in
the expenses of dressing and living since my ordination, and yet no addition has been made to my salary.
When a candidate, I determined I would never settle till I saw a reasonable prospeet of a comfortable support.
and when settled that I would never complain of my salary. I remained of this mind till I had been your minister
for fifteen years.
"Borne down with the fatigues of manual labor, passed into the woods in the winter, to the plough in the spring,
and into the meadow in the sumnier, to support my family comfortably and fulfil my promises, I felt the business
of the ministry was greatly neglected ;-that it was impossible for me to do what ought to be done in my profession,
unless the people did more toward my support.
"I committed my thoughts to paper, then communicated them to four brethren of the church, then to the church
as a body, and afterward to the town."
The following is extracted from this communication:
"When you gave me a call to settle with you in the gospel ministry, and the town had concurred and made their
proposals. I took the matter under serious consideration. I considered the unanimity of the church and town as
favorable circumstances, and the proposals that were made with respect to my support, as reasonable, though not
large. The ministerial land I was sensible was good, though the state of cultivation was very bad, and the fences
extremely poor. It then appeared to me, if I should be favored with prosperity, with the knowledge I thought I
had of agriculture, that I should be able to support a family. With those views I gave my answer in the affirmative,
was ordained, and soon had a family. At this time, every article of provision was low, labor was cheap, and my
income was sufficient for my support. But within two years from my ordination, money began to depreciate, and the
price of labor to rise; my salary has continued depreciating and labor rising, till it is not worth more than half
what it was when I was settled.
"I have always been sensible of the difficulty of transacting money business with any people; and from this
impression have labored with my hands, to make provision for my tamily, and fulfil my promises. I have scarcely
ever suffered myself to make any complaints; but I find at present, that my expenses are increasing and my income
decreasing. This has led me into considerable perplexity with respect to my duty. If I ask a dismission and remove,
it must be with a considerable loss of property. If I remain as I am, I see no reason to expect any better times.
If I exert myself more in laboring with my hands, it must be disadvantageous both to you and me; for then I must
neglect my professional business. If I advertise my house and land for sale, it will appear precipitate. If I propose
to the town to purchase it for the next minister, and ask them to dismiss me; I know not how this will operate.
I do not wish to leave the ministry; but if I should ever remove, it is full time, for I have probably spent the
best part of my life among you. Fifteen years ago, the expense of candidate preach. jag was four or five dollars
a Sabbath; now it is eight or ten. Then the members of oar general court had one dollar per day, now they have
two dollars per day. A common laborer at that time had fifty five or sixty dollars per year; now they have 130,
140, and some 150 dollars a year. * * * * * *
"In these circumstances, brethren, I request your advice. Shall I ask a dismission? Or, shall I ask to have
the depreciation made up on my salary? Shall I ask the town to purchase my house and land? Or, shall I advertise
it in a public paper? Or, ought I to remain satisfied as I am?
"It costs me this year one hundred and fifty dollars for one man's labor, who cannot do my business either
winter or summer; and if I add to this sum the reasonable expense of his board, it will amount to as much as the
town pay to my support. It will be said that the ministerial land is much more productive than formerly: this is
true; but how comes it to pass ? Is it not in consequence of the labor and expense I have been at to cultivate
and fence it? Some years I have expended as much on the land as the whole of the income.
"If it should be said I have other income, I ask, is it right for me to spend the property that was left to
my wife, by her parents, while I am preaching to a people well able to support me, when, perhaps, by and by, she
may be left in poverty and distress?
"If a farm be let out at the halves, the buildings and fences will soon be out of repair, and the land impoverished.
If all the labor be hired to carry on a farm, and pay the other expenses, the income to the owner will be but small.
I say these things to show you my situation, and to convince you, that, should I ask a dismission in a few months,
you ought not to think it unreasonable."
The manner in which the town acted upon Mr. Howe's com munication is seen by the following.
"The town met on Dec. 15, 1806. Mr. Howe was called upon to read to the town the communication he had made
to the church. Upon which the vote was put, 'to see if the town will (on account of the depreciation of money)
add $116.67 to the yearly salary of the Rev. Nathaniel Howe, till such time as labor and provisions fall in their
prices as low as when he was ordained.' This passed in the negative by a large majority.
"Then Mr. Howe proposed to see if the town would add $116 67 till such time as the members of our general
court receive less than two dollars per day for their services. This wa.s negatived by a large majority.
"Then Mr. Howe proposed to see if the town will add $116.67 for seven years, from the first day of January
next. This passed in the negative by a large majority.
"Then Mr. Howe proposed to see if the town will make up one half the depreciation on his salary, from this
time, while he continues their minister. This passed in the negative by a large majority.
"Then Mr. Howe proposed to see if the town will, in future, give him two hundred dollars for his annual salary,
and average it on labor, corn, rye, cider, butter and cheese, beef and pork, at the prices they bore on the day
of his ordination. This passed in the negative by a large majority.
"Then Mr. Howe proposed to see if the town will purchase his house and land, and keep it for the next minister.
This passed in the negative by a large majority.
"Then Mr. Howe proposed to see if the town will request the church by a vote to grant him a dismission. This
passed in the negative by a large majority.
"Then Mr. Howe said he had but one proposition more to make; which was, to see it the town were willing he
should publish the communication he had made to the church, and read to the town this day, and all the doings of
the town thereon. And this also passed in the negative by a large majority.
Attest, EPHRAIM READ, Town Clerk."
Near the conclusion of the sermon Mr. Howe says,-
"My brethren, may I ask a question, a plain, simple question? How shall I obtain your consent? Shall I take
silence for consent? Your countenances discover a wilingness.
"The question is this: do you know by what means I have become so rich as to have a great house, finished
and furnished; a farm, a herd of cattle, a flock of sheep, horses, and money at interest? I say nothing about my
"Shall I answer the question? The principal reason is this; because I have been doing your business, and neglecting
my own. What is your business? Your business is to support your minister; and that is what I have been doing, for
more than twenty years. And what is my business? My business is to study and preach; and in this I have never abounded.
It is true, I have been absent from public worship not more than four or five Sabbaths for twenty five years; but
I have frequently been present, and attempted to preach, when it has been mortifying to me, and could not have
been edifying to you. I have sometimes administered reproof both to the church and the society, m a manner that
has been thought to discover some degree of severity; but in these cases you have always had good sense enough
to know you richly deserved it."
Historical Collections Relating to the
History and Antiquities of
Every town in Massachusetts with
By John Warner Barber.
Published by Warren Lazell.