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This was for many years the second parish in Lancaster, and was usually called Chockset. It was made a separate
parish in the year 1743, and remained united with Lancaster until April 25, 1781; when it was incorporated by an
act of the legislature, and teceived its present name in compliment to Lord Sterling, of New Jersey, who served
as a general in the American army in the revolutionary war.
The first inhabitants established themselves in this town as early as 1720. Gamaliel Beaman was the first inhabitant,
and was immediately followed by Samuel Sawyer, Benjamin Haughton, David Osgood, and Jonathan Osgood. They were
all natives of Lancaster old parish, and of families who had long resided there. Their houses were all within short
distances of each other, lying north westerly of the meeting house. The first meeting house was built in 1742.
The church was gathered Dec. 19, 1744, and Rev. John Mellen was ordained their minister the same day. The second
meeting house was erected in 1799, on the site of the old one. It was dedicated on the first Sunday of the year
1800. The successor of Mr. Mellen was Rev. Reuben Holcomb, who was ordained in 1779; he was succeeded by Rev. Lemuel
Capen, who was ordained in 1815. Rev. Peter Osgood, the next minister, was settled in 1819.
The surface of this town is hilly and uneven, but there is very little broken or waste land in it. The soil is
fertile, producing in rich abundance, to repay the husbandman for its cultivation. The land is naturally moist,
and by the help of the rivulets the water may he turned over the sides of most of the hills. There is but one river
in this town, called Still river, from the placid motion of its waters. In the central part of the town there is
an uncommonly beautiful little village, consisting of 2 churches and about 20 dwelling-houses. Population, 1,650.
Distance, 11 miles from Worcester, and 40 from Boston. In 1837, there were 24 manufactories of chairs and cabinet
ware: the value of chairs and cabinet ware was $53,228; hands employed, 80. There were 22,500 palm leaf hats manufactured;
valus $7,200; valus of scythe snaiths manufactured, $5,000.
Historical Collections Relateing to the
History and Antiquities of
Every town in Massachusetts with
By John Warner Barber.
Published by Warren Lazell.