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THIS town was granted to a company of 60 persons by the general court, previous to 1734, in which year, in June,
the proprietors met at Concord, and, in presence of a committee of the general court, whereof the Hon. William
Dudley was chairman, drew their house lots in the township of Peyqauge. This was the Indian name of the place,
and it was known by this appellation until it was incorporated, in 1762.
This tract was a seat of the Indians, and at the time of its being granted was a frontier township, and greatly
exposed; and the settlement of the place was obstructed by the French and Indian war, which commenced in 1744,
and continued several years. Previously to the breaking out of that war several families had seated themselves
here, but, for fear of the Indians, they were obliged, as other infant plantations, to live in garrisons several
years, and to labor at their various occupations with their military armor by them. It is believed, however, that
only one person was ever killed by the Indians in the town. This was Mr. Ezekiel Wallingford, who, going alone
at a distance from his garrison, was discovered by the enemy; and seeing them, he turned to run to the fort, but
was stopped short by a fatal ball. This was in August, 1746. In April, the year following, a Mr. Jason Babcock
was taken captive by the Indians and carried to Canada, from whence he returned in a few months.
The first church was gathered here in 1750, and Rev. James Humphrey was ordained their pastor the same year. After
continuing with this church 31 years, at his request he was dismissed in 1782. He was succeeded, in 1787, by Rev.
Jos. Eastabrook. Mr. Eastabrook died in 1830, and was succeeded by Rev. Josiah Moore, who resigned in 1832; the
next minister was Rev. Linus H. Shaw, who was settled in 1834. The Orthodox church was organized in 1830. The first
minister, Rev. Baruch B. Beck with, was settled in 1831; he was succeeded by Rev. James F. Warner. in 1835.
The above is a north view in the central part of Athol. The village at this place consists of about 50 dwelling
houses, 4 mercantile stores, and a number of mechanic shops. This place is 32 miles from Worcester, 22 from Greenfield,
14 from Barre. 25 from Keene, N. H., 100 from Albany, N. Y., and 70 from Boston.
The surface of this township is uneven, rocky, and somewhat hilly; the soil is not as good as some, though there
are many fine farms. The town has its full share of water. Miller's river is a considerable stream, has a rapid
current, and affords great water privileges. This river received its name in consequence of a man being drowned
in it, by the name of Miller, in attempting to pass it in his way to Northfield. The Indians called it Peyquage.
It runs westerly, and empties into Connecticut river. The second stream in size is "Tully's brook," or
river, which flows into Miller's river on the west side of the town. In this town are a cotton factory, paper mill,
a large scythe establishment, cupola furnace, door and sash factory, large cabinet works, turning mills, &c.
There are six churches, 2 Congregational, 2 Methodist, 1 Baptist and 1 Universalist. Population, 1,603. In 1837,
there was 1 cotton miii, 1,024 spindles; cotton goods manufactured, 316,1.00 yards; hands employed, 10 males, 45
females. Boots manufactured, 16,312 pairs; shoes, 38,333 pairs; value of boots and shoes, $58,741; males employed,
79; females, 37.
Historical Collections Relateing to the
History and Antiquities of
Every town in Massachusetts with
By John Warner Barber.
Published by Warren Lazell.