Vol. 5, No.5 - 1 November 2003. Circulation: 250 and growing!
(C) 1999-2003 Boylston Historical Society and Museum
7 Central St., PO Box 459, Boylston, MA 01505
potpourremail@boylstonhistory.org   508-869-2720
Editors: Betty L. Thomas and Judith Haynes
Boylston Historical Society and Museum Web Page:

CONTENTS. Welcome; "The History of Boylston 1642-1741";
Tidbits; BHS News; On The Web; Humor


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"The History of Boylston 1642-1741"

The following is from Vol.II of the Historical Series.
This book is no longer available for sale, but there are bound
copies of all the Historical Series books in the Museum's Fuller
Research Library, the Boylston Public Library, the DAR Library and the
Allen County Public Library [Fort Wayne, IN.] There are drawings,
sketches and photos in the book that we cannot include
in this Email.

"The History of Boylston 1642-1741"
A Critical Edition of the Papers of George L. Wright
by William O. Dupuis
Volume II in the Boylston Historical Series
Revised edition 1978

George L. Wright
As has already been stated, the territory constituting the town of
Shrewsbury was largely made up of individual and private grants
made by the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay. Three
or four of these lay almost wholly within the present limits of
Boyl­ston and West Boylston.
The Malden Grant
Of these, the Malden Farm Grant, made by the General Court in 1655
to the church in Malden, contained 1,000 acres, and lay partly
within Boylston, and partly within West Boylston. A line running
through the centre of this lot from north to south dividing it into
two equal sections is the present town line between Boylston and West
This grant was long a matter of dispute between the Malden Church
and the Shrewsbury Proprietors, and led to long and continual
litigation in the Colonial and Provincial Courts of Law, and many are
the entries on the Proprietors' Records relative to it. Under the
provisions of the grant, it was to be surveyed and located, and
settlement began upon it within three years, which was not done.
About 100 acres of this grant came within the Worcester bounds, and
after the settlement of Worcester and Shrewsbury began, some of the
settlers located upon the territory which the Malden people claimed
was a part of their grant, and suits were brought against them and
the Proprietors of Shrewsbury by the Church in Malden, led by Rev.
Joseph Emerson, their minister, who was the great grandfather of
Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Concord sage and poet. The matter was tried
out in the Court of Common Pleas, where the Worcester and Shrewsbury
people won the case.
It was then carried to the Superior Court of Judicature, as the
Supreme Court was then called, and the decision of the inferior
court was reversed. The Shrewsbury settlers then carried the matter
to the General Court on appeal-petition, where it was acted upon at
each session for several years, the petition being repeatedly renewed
and dismissed.
The proceedings before the General Court constitute the last recorded
action found regarding the matter. It is said that Col. N.Ward, the
most prominent of the Shrewsbury settlers, and the father of General
Artemas Ward of Revolutionary fame, was admitted to the bar for the
special purpose of appearing as counsel for the Shrewsbury settlers
in this famous case.
The Davenport Grant
The Davenport Grant was made to Capt. Richard Davenport, the commander
of the Castle in Boston Harbor (afterwards known as Fort Independence)
in 1658. [41] This grant contained, according to the notes of the survey
in 1659, 600 acres, but in reality, from what is now known of its
extent and bounds, it must have contained nearer 1,000 acres.
It was situated in the valley of the Nashua River, and wholly within
the present limits of Boylston and West Boylston, extending from a
point near the West Schoolhouse, in Boylston, to a point as far
west­erly at least as the old stone bridge in the valley at West Boylston,
and as far southerly as the high-land bordering on the Nashua River,
to and below the Scar Hill Bluffs in Boylston, and thence
northeast­erly to where it began. [42]
Captain Richard Davenport was killed by lightening, or as the
Mass­achusetts Bay Colonial Records say," By ye solemn stroke of thunder,"
July 15, 1665, while sleeping beside the powder magazine in the Castle.
He came from England to Salem with Governor John Endicott in 1628,
and was a prominent man in the colony. The grant remained unsettled
for nearly three-quarters of a century after it was made and confirmed.
William and Richard Davenport, grandsons or great grandsons of Capt.
Richard Davenport, were living on the grant as early as 1731 or 32,
and so far as can be ascertained, they were the first ones of the
Davenport family to occupy any portion of it. The Davenport's that
occupied any portion of the grant settled on the easterly part of it
where they built two houses, which were last occupied in the Davenport
name by the families of the two brothers, Mathew (or James as he was
known during the latter part of his life) and Nathaniel.
The house of Mathew Davenport was last occupied by Dr. Franklin B.
Willard. His brother Nathaniel built the house southeasterly of
Mathew's place, where he lived until his death. This place was
after­wards owned and occupied by Nathan Daggett, who built
another larger house there, on the area of the house of Mathew Davenport,
and fronting on the road leading from West Boylston, through Sawyer's
Mills to Clinton. A large portion of the Davenport Grant was occupied
by the Beaman family, of whom mention will be made in another chapter.
The brothers, Mathew and Nathaniel Davenport, were both magistrates,
and to distinguish them apart, were known as Lawyer Mathew Davenport,
and Squire Nathaniel Davenport. They were both much employed in town
affairs, and Nathaniel was Town Clerk of Boylston from 1826 to 1838:
one of the Selectmen for 11 years, and Representative to the General
Court in 1849.
On a place of the Davenport Grant, [43] on file in the Registry of Deeds,
on which the grant is divided into three parcels, and the area of the
three parcels is given as follows: west parcel 318 acres, middle
parcel 310 acres, and east parcel 254 acres. This would make the
entire area 882 acres, besides the hundred acre grant not included
within the bound of the Davenport Farm proper. The Davenport Farm
also included the farms last owned and occupied by L. Hallock, Levi
Moore, O. Pierce, and James Greenwood, Clarence Potter, and Capt.
Robert Andrews, Jr.

41.Of the Davenport Grant there remains today an interesting
monument the so-called Beaman Oak, located in Lancaster. It is
the largest oak tree in the state, and its trunk is said to be filled
with iron spikes hammered stoutly home by Ezra Beaman's own
hand to induce all future woodmen to "spare that tree".
42. Now under the Wachusett Reservoir.
43.It is on the Davenport Grant in 1785 that the event of the
Moneydiggers took place. This tale is told in Volume III of the
Boylston Historical Series.
Next Month-

Tidbits  is BACK !!!

 SEPT 21, 1930
Lakeville Man ApPointed to Executive Post of TB Institution
Dr. Edson W. Glidden of Lakevil1e has. been named superintendent of
the new tuberculosis hospital to be erected on the Hunting farm at
Boylston and West Boylston by the county of Worcester at a cost
of more than $1,000,000. Dr. Glidden. appointed by the county
commissioners, Is now at the farm supervising the preliminary work
preparatory to the erection of the buildings which may get under way
early next year.
Forced to care for Its own tubercular patients when the state
officials refused to accept any more county patients at the state sanitarium
in Rutland the county com­missioners viewed several sites and decided
on, the Maj. Arthur I. Hunting farm In Boylston and West Boylston.
Dr. Gildden has been In Alto, Ga.. supervising the construction of
a hospital there and has also been In charge of a. hospital at Lakeville.
He was selected from a group of physicians familiar with hospital
supervision and comes to this section highly recommended by hospital
authorities in the South and New England.
The cost of the hospital originally set at $600,000 is now believed
to exceed $1,000,000. When the $600,000 was granted by the
Legislature and another $500,000 was requested by the county
commissioners to complete the buildings, considerable protest was
registered from the county officials throughout the county. The
cost of the hospital will be apportioned among the towns and
cities of the county with the exception of Fitchburg and Worcester.
These two cities maintain their own hospitals.
The buildings are to be of fire­proof construction and will eventually
accommodate 150 beds.

Worcester Telegram - Friday Morning, October 10, 1930
Tuberculosis Hospital Will Be Built in Spring
Architects Rushing Plans for $1,000,000 Structure in
Boylston and Excavation May Start This Fall
     Architects are rushing plans for the new tuberculosis hospital
about to be built by Worcester county in Boylston, but because
of the amount of detail involved, it is not expected that construction
will begin until spring.  The county commissioners, however have
hopes of starting excavation this fall.   The sanatorium is expected
to cost about $1,OO0,O0O  and will provide facilities for 100 patients.
In addition the main administrative and hospital  building pictured
above, the project will include a power house, nurses' home,
physi­cians' residences, superintendent's home and several
smaller farm build­ings.  The State Legislature has auth­orized an
expenditure of $1,000,000 on the Institution.  The hospital will
be situated on an elevation about one half mile west of Morningdale
in Boylston. More than 300 acres of land have been acquired, located
partly in Worcester, West Boylston and Boylston.
To Apportion Cost
The cost will be apportioned among the cities and towns of the county,
exclusive or Worcester and Fitchburg, which cities maintain
their own hospitals. Each community will be allowed 20
years In which to meet the indebtedness.    A plan whereby
the county borrow money for the project as a whole to
reduce interest costs was called Impossible at a meeting
of the selectmen, Wednesday, In Petersham, because of
existing legislation.A new act by the State Legislature would be
required to bring this plan into operation, It was declared by
County Treasurer Ralph R. Kendall.
Bids for a road leading to the hospital site from Morningdale will
be opened this morning at the county commissioners' office. The
land near the site has been cleared.


2003 - 2004 PROGRAMS and EVENTS
All Programs open to the public and
held at the Society (unless otherwise noted).
7 Central St., Boylston
Donations at the door are gratefully accepted!
        "We Were There" exhibit
        Exhibit focuses on the World War II military careers of three Boylston soldiers...
        Victor Delnore, Fenton Bean, and Florence Swenson Tobiesen Smith.
        The exhibit is open during normal open hours.
        On our Web Site:
        Share your memories of WW II ...whether you were in the service, at home, at school, or         college.
        Fill in the form and hit submit...it's as easy as that!
Reform, Restore, & Rally- A Civil War Event
Gerald Groccia put all the photos he took on his web site.
You can also purchase them from the web site.

Watch for the WBAC TV - 11 Local Access coverage of the events.

        "Hillside My Refuge" Thursday, November 20    7:30pm    
        Slide Lecture by William Dupuis detailing the history, architecture,
        1development, people, owners and modern rehabilitation of
        John B. Gough's Boylston home, Hillside.   
        Nonmembers - $3     Members - $2      Under 18 FREE
        "Vintage Toy Display" - Two Sundays - Dec. 7 and  14
        2 pm - 4pm    Free
        Featuring toys from the BHSM collection including trains, cars, trucks, and a doll house.
        Don't miss this one time display!  Bring the kids and grand kids

Visit the gift shop

On the Web ...for the month of November

5th - Guy Fawkes Day

8th - death of John Milton - 1608-1674

10th - Birthday of Martin Luther - 1483-1546

11th - Veterans Day

25th - Evacuation Day - celebrated in NYC

27th - Thanksgiving

Humor -
An elderly woman died last month. Having never married, she requested
no male pallbearers. In her handwritten instructions for her memorial
service, she wrote, "They wouldn't take me out while I was alive, I don't
want them to take me out when I'm dead".


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Previously published by PotpourrEMAIL,
PotpourrEmail, Vol. 5, No.5 - 1 November 2003.
Please visit Boylston Historical Society and Museum's main
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