Learn about the history, worldwide appeal, and rules of cricket from members of the Westborough Cricket Club on Saturday, May 11 at 10:00 a.m. (with a rain date of May 18) at Hennessy Field on 1 Upton Road.
The event will begin with an overview of cricket and the skills needed to play it. Members of the audience will then be asked to play in a game, while others are encouraged to stay and watch the action. Food trucks will also be on hand to provide refreshment. Anyone interested in playing in a cricket game can pre-register at http://westbororec.com/info/activities/program_details.aspx?ProgramID=30096.
You have probably driven by, walked by, or even stopped to read the plaque on the large stone near the Westborough High School. It marks the spot where one of the most famous stories in the town’s recorded history took place. In 1704, two sons and three nephews of Thomas Rice were captured by the Cagnawaga Indians from Canada. They were kidnapped and taken away from their families. This event happened over 300 years ago. French settlers in Canada had encouraged Indians to raid the American colonies. Sickness had killed many boys in their tribes, so they needed more young men.
Thomas Rice had built a garrison (fort) house near a brook where Westborough High School is now. On a hot summer day, August 8, 1704, a group of men and boys were at work in the nearby field spreading flax. The group included five Rice boys – Asher (10), Silas (9), Adonijah (8), Timothy (7), and Nahor (5). A wooded hill was near the field. Suddenly a party of eight or ten Indians rushed down from the hill and captured the five boys.
After a short distance, Nahor was killed because he was too young to survive the journey to Canada. The place where he was buried became Memorial Cemetery in the center of town. The other four boys were carried off into the woods. The rest of the farmers escaped in panic to the nearby home of Thomas Rice, father of the missing Asher and Adonijah.
What a sad day for these pioneers! They realized their boys had been kidnapped and taken north to Canada to be trained in the native culture. All rescue attempts failed until four years later when Asher was “redeemed” (the ransom paid) by his father. Asher was returned to his family. Later his father built him a home on South Street.
Adonijah, Silas, and Timothy grew up with the Canawaga Indians near Montreal, Canada. Adonijah later married and settled near Montreal as a farmer. Asher lived until age 90 with his family in Westborough and Spencer. He never got over his fear of another attack. He stayed watchful and prepared himself for trouble.
and Timothy stayed with the Canawagas and adopted their ways. Timothy was
adopted by a chief and became a respected chief (or sachem) of the Iroquois
nation himself. He helped to persuade his tribe not to take sides in the wars
between the English and the French. He visited Westborough in 1740, but he
could no longer speak English. He remembered his old home and some of the
people he had known as a boy.
Perhaps the next time you read the plaque near the high school, you will be able to look out over the hill and picture that summer day – over 300 years ago – when the young Rice boys were ambushed and taken to Canada. How frightened they must have been! How strong they were to survive the experience and learn to live a different life.
Hundredth Town by Harriette Merrifield Forbes, 1889, pp. 12
affirms that Captain Kidd concealed a large portion of his ill-gotten booty
somewhere along the inhospitable shores of the Hobomak, and so vigilantly has
it been guarded by the infernal powers, that not a soul has caught a glimpse of
it since. Not that no attempt has been made to recover it from such infamous
stockholders, and give it a more honorable investment. Many a deep-sunk pit
would you find along the desolate shores of the pond, dug, about the charmed
hour of midnight, by two ignorant day-laborers, while a third stood guard,
holding a drawn sword and gun charged with a silver bullet, and a fourth
marched close to the limit of the magic circle, reading most reverently from a
big family Bible which he carried perpendicularly before him; thus, by weapons
carnal and weapons spiritual, bidding defiance to the Spirit of Darkness. But,
with all their midnight financiering, the gold pieces were never observed to
twinkle particularly bright through the interstices of their silk purses.
* * *
From “A Look at Westborough’s Historic Past,” The Community Advocate, June 27, 1997.
According to Jacqueline Tidman (former historical librarian): “another area – this one off Flanders Road – has been said to be where one of Kidd’s confederates, ‘Pirate Joe,’ buried some of his ill-gotten booty.”
Rev. Ebenezer Parkman (1703-1782) was the first minister of Westborough, and his extensive diary and church records, along with other family papers, correspondence, and records of the town, provide the most complete picture of life in an eighteenth-century rural New England town. Now, for the first time, access to many of Parkman’s writings, including his diary and church records, are freely available to scholars and the public through the Westborough Public Library on a new website, “The Ebenezer Parkman Project” (http://www.EbenezerParkman.org).
Learn about the significance of this unprecedented project from the creators of the website. The program will feature Prof. Ross W. Beales, Jr., who will talk about Parkman, his life, and his writings; Dr. James F. Cooper, Director of New England’s Hidden Histories, who will place Parkman’s writings in the context of other Congregational ministers in New England; and Dr. Anthony Vaver, Local History Librarian at the Westborough Public Library, who will describe the project’s development and demonstrate the website’s features. Note that this program takes place at the Mill Pond School auditorium.
Monday, April 29, 7:00 pm, Library Meeting Room – The Boston Tea Party: Connecting Westborough and India (with Tea!)
Tea expert Danielle Beaudette will discuss the discovery of tea, the East India Company, and the role of tea in the events leading up to the American Revolution. AND she will have three different kinds of tea to taste! (Part of Westborough History Connections series of programs.)
Saturday, May 11 (rain date: May 18), Time 10:00 a.m., Hennessy Field, 8 Upton Road, Westborough – An Introduction to the Game of Cricket
Learn about the history, worldwide appeal, and rules of cricket from members of the Westborough Cricket Club. You will even get the chance to play in a game! (Part of Westborough History Connections series of programs.) Note that this program takes place at Hennessy Field.
[From p. 10: “The legend of this pond was written by Hon. Horace
Maynard for the ‘Horae Collegianae,’ published by the undergraduates of
Amherst, in 1838. He says it was told to him ‘by an old Indian, the last of his
tribe.’ This was probably old Andrew Brown, of whom more hereafter. With some
omissions, it is as follows: —”]
“‘And this is my wedding-night,’ said the beautiful lano, as she
stood contemplating her lithe and graceful form, mirrored in the glassy rivulet
which forms the outlet of the Hobomak. Her beads and wampum were most daintily
entwined about her neck and arms; her hair hung negligently on her shoulders,
confined only by a fillet of wildflowers; a neatly wrought moccasin concealed a
wanton little foot and ankle; and a mantle of bear-skin completed her attire.
She was the belle of her tribe, and, like all belles, an incorrigible coquette.
All the young warriors had in turn sued for her hand, and all had been rejected
except the chief, Sassacus. He had remained a long time unsusceptible to her
charms; or, if he had been moved, his emotions were kept locked up within his
own breast. Even when he had inwardly re- solved to wed the proud and volatile
creature, he refrained from communicating his sentiments, but adopted a course
of policy which has succeeded in bringing many a flirt into the arms of her
lover since those times. Somebody has said, — caustically enough, to be sure, —
that if the suitor would cease to pursue his mistress, she would turn and give
chase to him. Whether this be truth, or a mere epigram intended for effect, our
regard for the sex will not allow us to decide; such, certainly, was the
experience of Sassacus. He stood aloof from the fair one till she began to pine
in secret for his love. Often would she watch him as he sat in council, or
joined in the wild measures of the war-dance. She fed upon his looks till he
became her soul’s ideal of beauty, — such steadfast limbs, such a massive chest,
such a noble gait, such a lofty, commanding brow! All her arts of fascination
had failed; and a sigh of mingled vexation and despair would escape from the
very bottom of her heart, as she saw him from day to day sporting with the other
and less beautiful maidens of the tribe.
“The keen-eyed chief let none of these things escape his notice;
and when he had sufficiently humbled the proud spirit of the girl, he changed
his demeanor. By a few trifling presents and an occasional flattering word he
kindled a feeble spark of hope in the breast of the fair despondent, but, at
the same time, without allowing her to presume on his affection. In this way he
inveigled her completely into his power, and extorted a full confession of
love, before he had given her the least proof of his ow^n attachment. He now
began to play the lover in real earnest. Having stipulated with the parents of
the maid for the price of her ransom, and all the other preliminaries being
duly settled, he made preparation for the marriage festival. lano had reached
the very pinnacle of happiness. Her step was the lightest among the maidens as
they tripped it through the glades of the forest; her canoe danced gayest as
they glided cheerily over the water. She longed for the hour when the priest
should bind herself and her lover in the mystic girdle. And what betrothed
damsel will not sympathize? Thus she stood by the brook meditating her
approaching happiness, now readjusting her ornaments, and studying the effect;
now patting the water with her tiny foot, and watching the ripples as they
circled out of sight, till the sun had dropped behind the hills, and night had
begun to fling her gray shadows over the earth. In the ecstasy of her joy her
disposition for frolic returned. She had never ventured to play her pranks upon
the stern Sassacus, but the temptation was too great to be resisted; she could
not give up her maiden freedom without one more act of enjoyment. ‘The young
men are assembling,’ she continued, soliloquizing; ‘I hear them laugh. I’ll give
them the slip for one night.’
“The wedding-party had indeed assembled. The warriors were
there, each with all the scalps and wolf-locks he and his ancestors had ever
taken from the foe or secured in the chase. These trophies marked their rank
more truly than the purest heraldic emblazonry; and, reckoned by this rule, Sassacus
was found abundantly deserving the post of chief. He was the bravest of his
nation; no arrow was more certain in its flight, whether winged at man or
beast; and no tomahawk cleft its victim with a more deadly aim than his. On
this occasion he was decked with unusual splendor. The string of fish-bones —
the insignia of royalty — depended from his neck ; a triangular breast-plate,
wrought from the fangs of the catamount, adorned his front; shells of small turtles
dangled from his ears ; a circlet, into which were fastened the tails of
rattlesnakes, entwined his brow, making music as he walked ; a tuft of eagle
feathers crowned his head; while over his left shoulder was carelessly thrown a
robe of wolf-skins, fringed with human scalps, a few of which were still green
from the head of the fallen Pequot. Thus arrayed, he took his seat at the
sacred fire, and on either side of him his warriors, according to rank. The
seat at his right hand was vacant.
“‘Where is Wequoash?’” inquired he, glancing his eye over the
company. As no one could answer him, all remained silent. He then propounded
the question to each one in turn, and, by way of reply, he got an abundance of conjecture
and much information touching the precious whereabouts of the missing; but, as
far as any valuable, or in the least available, intelligence was concerned, his
inquiries ended just where they began. The person in question was the second in
rank to Sassacus, and his rival in war. For a long time he had been the avowed,
and, as he supposed, the accepted, lover of the fair lano. The wreath that
decked her brow his hand had woven; the fur robes that covered her lovely form
were the spoils of his bow. In secret, indeed, she had cherished his hopes,
intending to accept him at last should she fail in attracting Sassacus, though
in public she had always treated him with the same cold indifference which
marked her conduct towards the rest of her admirers. Thus fed, his passion
increased in strength and violence, till it was too late to check its growth or
to transfer it to another object. . . . In his anguish he had vowed eternal
hate, and now awaited with his native indifference a favorable opportunity to
wreck his purposed vengeance. By rank he was expected to be present at the marriage
and to assist at the customary sacrifices, and the ardor with which he had
superintended the preparations made his absence appear strange and unaccountable.
“On the north shore of the Hobomak is a plain stretching away to
the distance of several miles, skirted on the western side by a high range of
hills, whose declivities, lined as they are with jutting masses of rock and a
few scattering old trees, are, even at this day, sufficiently solemn and
gloomy.” The most prominent of this range is Boston hill, so called, because it
was supposed to be as thickly populated with rattlesnakes as Boston with
people. “Here and there yawns a cavern whose frightful depths few have
courage or inclination to penetrate, so are left to be the abode of serpents
and toads, and all such creatures as flee the face of man. Among these dismal
haunts Wequoash, desirous to appear at the wedding signalized by some recent
achievement, had been searching all day for the lurking-place of a panther
which for a long time had infested the neighborhood. After an active and
patient search, he found a crevice between two overhanging rocks that opened
wider and deeper than the rest, and plunged into it without hesitation. On
reaching the bottom he descried a narrow passage which branched off in a
lateral direction under the base of the hill. Along this he crept upon his
hands and knees for several hundred feet, till at length it terminated in a
spacious cavern, the size of which, perfectly dark as it was, he found it
difficult to determine. In this perplexity he gave a shrill cry, to try the
effect of the reverberations. A low, faint echo died along the distant walls,
followed by the hoarse growl of a wild beast. The experienced ear of the Indian
instantly told him that he had hit upon the object of his search, and,
directing a glance to another part of the vault, he discovered the eyes of the
animal glaring like meteors in the midst of the surrounding darkness. . . .
“Wequoash quickly saw that he was discovered. He could perceive
the gleaming eyes gradually making towards him, till, crouching within a few
feet, the animal appeared on the point of making the fatal spring. It was a
moment requiring all the nerve for which he was distinguished even among his
own stout-hearted race. He had left his bow behind him, not supposing that he
should require its service in the bosom of the hills; and his tomahawk, hanging
at his side, was his only weapon of attack or defence. To move from his position,
in a place with which he was wholly unacquainted, would be attended with great
hazard, and to retreat through the narrow aperture by which he had entered
would expose him to the attack of his foe at still greater disadvantage. Amidst
these perplexities the cool-headed Indian formed his plan of action as
deliberately as if the merest trifle had been staked upon the issue. Seizing
his hatchet from his belt, he hulled it with an instinctive aim, and bounded
from the floor of the cave. In his descent he fell prostrate upon the body of
the beast. The deadly missile had cleft his skull, and, by vaulting from his
position, the hunter avoided the fatal spring which the creature sometimes
makes upon its enemies, in the agonies of death. With much effort he drew his
booty to the mouth of the cavern, and, throwing it over his shoulder, commenced
his return, night having long since fallen.
“The volatile lano could not resist the temptation to play the
truant to her betrothed, and to disappoint, for one night at least, the
assembled youth of the tribe. At the farther extremity of the Hobomak was a
huge old willow, mantled by an enormous wild grape-vine whose branches depended
so as to form a beautiful natural arbor. Thither she was fond of retiring with
one or two of her companions, and they, in honor of her, had named it lano’s
bower. In this charmed retreat she determined to pass the night, even at the
risk of forever alienating her lover. So, unmooring her canoe, she stepped into
the toppling thing, and darted from the shore. Away, away it flew dancing over
the water, so light as scarcely to leave a ripple on the tranquil surface.
Before she had reached the middle, the harvest-moon arose and threw its
full-orbed light directly upon her. Hearing the sound of a light, stealthy
footstep, and fearing that she should be discovered, she turned her canoe
towards the nearest shore, and took refuge under the shadows of the overhanging
“Wequoash was hastening homeward with his game, anxious lest he
should be too late to participate in the cheer of the festival ; for it ill
assorted with his ideas of manliness, as well as with his dark system of
policy, to appear wanting in merriment and good-nature on an occasion so joyous
to his rival and so humiliating to himself. As he neared the shore of the pond
he descried a canoe skimming gracefully over the water, the moonbeams glancing
from the paddle as it rose in light and even strokes, which the rower would now
and then suspend, and look cautiously about her as if suspecting danger.
“‘It is the canoe of the False-hearted,’ said he to himself; ‘no other of our girls can dip her oars so lightly.’ She was alone, and he could wish for no more favorable opportunity to accomplish the pent-up purpose of his breast. The demon of vengeance had seized fast hold upon him, and every other consideration was forgotten. Seeing her approach the shore, he cast off his hunting-dress, dropped into the water a little before the bark, and swam softly beneath the surface till he was within a few feet of it. Just then the vigilant fugitive let fall her paddle, and applied her ear close to the water that she might detect more readily the footsteps of her pursuers, little dreaming that so deadly a foe lurked at the very bow of her skiff. To seize her by her floating tresses and drag her down required but little effort. A thrilling shriek of agony, a few frantic struggles, and all was over. She sunk like lead when released from the powerful grasp of the warrior. The canoe he dragged to a little distance, threw into it a large stone, which secured it firmly at the bottom, thus obliterating every trace of his victim. He regained the shore, resumed his dress, bore away his game to a place of concealment, and, plunging into the forest, quickly was out of sight.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
“The maidens who had been appointed to escort the bride into the
presence of her lord sent one of their number with a message that lano had
disappeared a little before sunset, and could nowhere be found. A suspicion
flashed across every mind that her disappearance was some way connected with
the absence of Wequoash. All knew the strength of his former attachment and suspected
the depth of his disappointment, and they were well assured that his haughty
and irascible spirit would never brook an injury. Seizing their hatchets and
bows, Sassacus and his young men sprang off into the woods to discover, if
possible, the delinquent bride. Long and diligent was their search; every glade
and dell was explored, but all to no purpose. Her canoe was gone, and no traces
of it or of her could be found. Silent and dejected, they returned to the scene
of their festivity; all but Sassacus. He came not. For hours they awaited him,
indulging a feeble hope that he had been more successful; but even this, faint
as it was, was dashed by the approach of the chief, wearing a look of despair.
He had seen his bride unmoor her skiff, and, guessing her intention, had run
along the shore, keeping parallel with the course, intending to surprise the
fair fugitive by seizing her in his arms just as she should spring to the land.
She had eluded his sight by rowing under the cover of the woods on the opposite
shore, and he began to fear she had given him the slip, after all his
vigilance, when a narrow opening in the trees let in the moonbeams upon her,
enough to project the out- line of her form. All at once he saw her drop her
oar, bend her ear to the water in the act of listening, then sink heavily
beneath the wave. He remembered the heartless sacrifice, and his native
superstition overcame him. His bride had perished by the unseen power of the
. . . . . . . . . . . .
“After two days had elapsed, Wequoash had appeared in the
village bearing the body of the panther. He was received by the aged and the
children, the women and the warriors, with yells of delight; for his burden
explained the cause of his absence, and, as usually happens when men find they
have been indulging in groundless suspicions, their regard for him rose to a
higher pitch than before. On learning the miserable fate of lano, he was
smitten with deep apparent grief; he smote his breast, and uttered the most
frantic exclamations, like one distracted. Recovering at length, he applied
himself with unwearied assiduity to console the unhappy Sassacus, and by
degrees the chief became more and more cheerful, till he appeared to have quite
forgotten his sorrow. His gladness was but temporary, for heaviness and
depression of spirits again stole over him, which terminated soon after with
his life. Wequoash had now obtained complete revenge; his rival and his
false-hearted mistress were both sleeping in the arms of death, and no one suspected
his agency in destroying them. He assumed the command of the tribe, and having
mourned a decent interval over the dead body of his predecessor, he sought to
obliterate his memory from the minds of the people by leading them out to
battle against the brave Narragansetts. Since, among savages, personal prowess
is the only basis of distinction, his bravery and address in war soon rendered
him a universal favorite.
‘”The thirteenth moon had just begun to wane when Wequoash,
returning one evening from a hunting expedition, seated himself upon a fallen
tree near the shore of the Hobomak, and not far from the spot where, the year
before, he had taken such vengeance upon the solitary maiden. . . . As he sat
thus in troubled contemplation, a flame appeared streaming from the water just
over the place where the bones of the maiden slept, and casting upon everything
around a blue mephitic light, of all, the most fearful. Presently a canoe
arose, and floated straight towards him, as if animated by an invisible agency.
Urged by an irresistible influence, he entered it, and was wafted directly to
the strange illumination, which gradually resolved into a form like the form of
the murdered lano, only the expression was more sad and pensive. The spirit
gazed intently upon him for a long time, unable as he was to resist the
fascination; then, uttering a piercing shriek, melted away from his sight. He
fell in a state of insensibility; on recovering, he found himself lying by the fallen
tree, suffering from extreme exhaustion, and with much difficulty crept home
“Another revolution of the seasons brought another similar
night. The lightnings gleamed vividly in the far-off horizon; the fireflies
flitted over the morass; stillness reigned; the blue flame arose; the skiff
came to the shore; the chieftain was again impelled to embark; the sorrowful
form of the dead again appeared before him, and, exclaiming ‘Only once more,’
again vanished into the abyss of waters.
“Deep melancholy now pervaded the mind of Wequoash. For days he
would roam the forest without food, and shunning the faces of his fellow-men. .
. . In this manner the year wore away, and the fatal night returned. This time
he assembled the tribe by the shore, and, in a long and pathetic harangue,
disclosed to them how that it was by his hand the canoe of lano had sunk; how
that he had poisoned the sorrowing Sassacus under the pretence of administering
exhilarating draughts. He then recounted his interviews with the unavenged
spirit of the injured girl, and darkly alluded to the fate that there awaited
him. Petrified with fear, they saw him enter the approaching canoe, and move passively
to the mysterious flame. A form arose, but it was not the form of lano. Her
gentle spirit could not come for vengeance. It was the form of Sassacus, dark,
terrific, confounding. ‘This is my hour,’ it said. Wequoash drew his robe
closer about him, and folded his arms in token of resignation. A black cloud
hovered over him; a vivid flash, a stunning thunder-peal, a few big rain-drops,
— all was over; thick darkness succeeded; the chieftain was seen no more.
“The season was afterwards celebrated by the tribe for many generations, and a song was composed, which the maidens sung at their marriage festivals, — a mournful thing, descriptive of the character and fortunes of the rival chiefs and the too-much-loved lano. Whenever they crossed the Hobomak, they each carried a stone and sunk it at the fatal spot, till at length the pile rose above the water. It has since fallen away by the action of the waves, but even now it may be seen when the surface is perfectly tranquil. A mysterious dread still attaches to it, and if the fisherman chance to strike it with his oar, he hurries away as from a place to be avoided.”
Note: This exhibit was on display in the Westborough Center for History and Culture in November, 2018.
* * *
Welcome Home Celebration, WWI
Westborough, May 14, 1919
* * *
Every year, we celebrate Veteran’s Day on November 11, the anniversary of the end of World War I. This year’s commemoration is special, because it marks the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War, as it was commonly known back then. World War I started on July 28, 1914, and given the war’s monumental impact on western society, I am surprised how few anniversary observances have taken place over the past several years.
Many historians look to World War I as the moment when western society broke from a naïve Victorianism and moved into Modernity. The advancements in military technology and the tactics used on the battlefields led to a scale of death that was unprecedented, with over 17 million people dying during the war. The horrific reports that came from the trenches created an existential crisis that impacted all levels of society and culture. Politics, international relations, economics, gender dynamics, even artistic and cultural production all went through radical changes as they were forced to reevaluate their relationship to a new world order that could lead to and carry out such destruction. These fears were not unfounded: in many ways, World War II was a continuation of the conflict that emerged in World War I.
The following photographs of Westborough soldiers who served in World War I are from a newly acquired collection of records from the American Legion Stowell-Parker Post 163. They present a unique opportunity to connect a few of the names listed on the monuments dedicated to those who served in the armed services during times of war that sit in front of the Forbes Municipal Building with their faces.
* * *
Oliver Lloyd Cooper, 16 Myrtle St., Leather Worker
Cooper joined the Medical Reserve Corps on June 30, 1917 at the age of 22 and was stationed at Ft. Ethan Allen, VT. He was discharged by reason of flat feet on October 25, 1917.
* * *
Curtis Forbush Banks, Lyman St., Mechanic
Banks served in the 102nd Ambulance Company in the American Expeditionary Force of the U.S. Army. He enlisted in Hartford on May 23, 1917 at the age of 19 and was slightly wounded on April 20, 1918. He was cited for bravery for his part in the second battle of the Marne on July 18-25, 1918.
* * *
Harry Hubbard Metcalf, 9 Charles St.
Metcalf was a graduate of Harvard University and enlisted in the Army on April 3, 1917 at the age of 23. At the time was married to Helen Williams Metcalf. He served in the Aviation unit of the Signal Corps and reached the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, R.M.A. (Reserve Military Aviator). He died on October 13, 1918 in Memphis, TN.
* * *
Leon Cantor, Hopkinton Road
Cantor was inducted into the U.S. Service on October 5, 1918 at the age of 18 and died in Westborough on October 14, 1918.
* * *
Timothy M. Downey, Milk St.
Downey enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 23 on May 12, 1917. He died on October 25, 1918 from wounds he received during action on October 23.
* * *
Errol D. Marsh, West Main St.
Marsh joined the U.S. Army on August 29, 1917 at the age of 28 and at the time was married to Jane Marsh. He served as a Second Lieutenant and was killed in action in France on November 2, 1918, nine days before the armistice was signed to end the war.
* * *
Clarence Leland, Milk St., Publisher
Leland joined the army on June 3, 1918 at the age of 26 and served as a musician by playing clarinet in the 63rd Infantry Band. His father, Dexter Leland, was the Business Manager of the Westborough Chronotype, and the two of them eventually took over ownership of the newspaper.
Note: This exhibit is currently on display in the Westborough Center for History and Culture through the months of September and October, 2018.
* * *
Dr. Charles H. Reed was a Westborough veterinarian and devotee of local history. His collection of papers consists of correspondence, deeds, diaries, letters, maps, wills and other government documents pertaining to the early history of the Town of Westborough. Reed began gathering information on the Town’s history, land and people as a hobby, starting with the Town’s first 27 founding families. The collection grew to contain several hundred original documents, and a portion of journals and lists that were transcribed by Dr. Reed. All items contained in this collection describe the early culture, history and life of folks living and doing business in Westborough.
After Reed died, his daughter Rachel Deering carried on his work of collecting items relating to Westborough history. In 1985, she donated the collection to the Westborough Public Library for preservation and safekeeping.
Receipt from William Brinsmead to Thomas Beman [Beeman], December 18, 1690
This receipt is the oldest known document in the library’s archives.
* * *
Appointment of Nathan Fisher, Esq, as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Second Regiment, signed by Governor John Hancock, 1787
Nathan Fisher eventually became Westborough’s first postmaster on March 6, 1811 and was the original owner of the “Nathan Fisher House,” which is now occupied by the Release Well-Being Center. The document is signed by John Hancock with the same flourish he used to sign the Declaration of Independence.
* * *
A love letter from Joseph Woods to his wife while serving in the French and Indian War, 1757
Kenterhook May ye 14th 1757
Loving wife these Lines are to Inform you that I am got to Kenterhook and am In good helth and I Can give No account when or where I Shall march Next there is a [T reant[?] story that we are to go to the Lake But nothing sartain and I would acquaint you that all that Came from Westborough are in helth give my love to the children No more at present So I Remain Effectionate Husband hopeing that we Shall Live So whilst apart that if we Never meet here on Earth that at Last we Shall meet In heaven
Brother Tuller these may give you account of my Afairs So I give my Love to you and my Sister and Remain your Loving friend
Note: Joseph was killed in action shortly after writing this letter during the Battle of Lake George in the French and Indian War.
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Letter to Mrs. Mary Aldrich, December 26, 1861
Thank you letter to members of the Ladies Benevolent Society for sending sleeping caps to men during the American Civil War.
Camp Jackson, Md. Dec. 26/61
Mrs. Mary M. Aldrich
Sec. Ladies Benevolent Society of the
Unitarian Parish, Westboro. Mass.
The package directed to my care for the distribution of its contents among our company arrived here last evening, and the Sleeping Caps contributed by the ladies of your Society formed a large and most useful part of it. A portion of this fore-noon has been devoted to fitting the various heads with caps of a proper size, and could you have seen the smiling faces that passed out from my tent under your gifts, you would not have doubted they were fully appreciated.
Your request regarding the disposal of any caps not needed by the Company, I shall take pleasure in fulfilling.
Captain Hovey & Lieut. Bacon desire to join with the company and [back of letter not shown:] myself in expressing our thanks for the continued interest taken in us by the ladies of Westboro’ and in conveying to them through you, this sincere regards and the best wishes of the New Year.
Trusting that the confidences now reposed in our company and the officers may never be disappointed I remain Respectfully