Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Quabbin Chronology: 1800 - 1899

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1801 February 18 - Dana is incorporated as a town. The town was named after Massachusetts Supreme Court Judge Francis Dana.

1801 March 17 - Dana holds first town meeting.

1803 February 7 - The Belchertown and Greenwich Turnpike Corporation is established by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature.

1804 January - The extension of the Belchertown and Greenwich Turnpike to the North Parish of Greenwich is approved by an act passed by the Massachusetts Congress

1804 February 29 - The Petersham and Monson Turnpike is established by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature. The toll road ran from the Fifth Massachusetts Turnpike in Athol to Monson, crossing the Sixth Massachusetts Turnpike west of Greenwich Village.

1808 January 30 - The Town of West Boylston is incorporated.

1808 April 14 - James Church Alvord is born in Greenwich. In his short life of 31 years, Alvord served in both houses of the Massachusetts Congress and as a U.S. Representative from the 6th District of Massachusetts. He died in Greenfield on September 27, 1839 and is buried in the Federal Street Cemetery in that town.

1811 August 21 - The Baptist Society, a religious group, is founded in Barre.

1814 April - Erastus Brigham Bigelow, inventor of weaving machines and credited with bringing prosperity to the textile industry town of Clinton, is born in West Boylston. Bigelow's carpet company slogan was: "A title on the door rates a Bigelow on the floor."

1816 February 18 - The Town of Enfield is incorporated, created from parts of the towns of Belchertown and Greenwich.

1816 March 4 - Enfield holds first town meeting.

1816 June 17 - Governor John Brooks approves act incorporating The First Baptist Society of Barre.

1820 - The town of New Salem's population peaks at 2,145, making it the largest town in Franklin County at the time. By 1900, the population is 809.

1822 January 28 - The Town of Prescott incorporated. The area was originally known as Pelham's "East Parish," and was first established in 1786.

1822 February 18 - Prescott holds its first town meeting.

1823 - First Post Office opened in Dana.

1825 January 12 - Francis Henry Underwood born in Enfield. Appointed American Consul to Glasgow in 1885, he was reappointed as Consul in 1893 by President Grover Cleveland, moving on to Edinburgh, Scotland. Underwood was also an author and biographer. He was a friend of fellow Massachusetts native, the multi-faceted James Russell Lowell, and many other famous literary figures of the day.

1825 September 29 - Death of Daniel Shays, Pelham resident and American revolutionary best known for "Shays' Rebellion," which involved a brazen assault on the Federal Armory in Springfield in January of 1787. He is buried in Springwater, NY.

1842 February 4 - Dana increases its land area, acquiring acreage from Petersham and Hardwick through an act of the Legislature.

1842 October 27 - Congregational Church is established in Shutesbury.

1846 May 19 - Death of Robert B. Thomas, West Boylston resident and originator of 'The Old Farmer's Almanac', first issued in 1792 and still published and relied upon to this day. Thomas is buried in Sterling at Legge Cemetery.

1848 October 25 - Water from Long Pond in Natick (now Lake Cochituate) flows through the fountain on Boston Common for the first time, an event much celebrated by the residents of the city.

1854 - North Dana Post Office opens.

June 1, 1855 - Dana's two piano leg factories end the fiscal year having produced 5,200 sets of piano legs and 700 sets of Melodeon legs with a total value of almost $50,000.00. The town of Prescott farmers' report the production of the astounding amount of 49,030 pounds of cheese, valued at $4,576, or $10.71 per pound.

1863 May 7 - Greenwich native General Amiel W. Whipple dies of wounds suffered in the Civil War Battle of Chancellorsville, while fighting under the command of Major General Joseph Hooker. The campaign against Confederate States forces guided by General Robert E. Lee and Major General Thomas J. Jackson lasted a week and resulted in an estimated total of 24,000 casualties.

1863 June 14 - Union Captain John G. Mudge Jr., a Petersham resident, loses part of his left ear in the Civil War battle known as the 'Siege of Port Hudson,' in Louisiana. The other thirty-three Massachusetts men he is leading don't fare as well, with only three survivors. The Union suffered 5,000 killed or wounded in the 48 day long siege, the Confederacy, 700.

1873 December 3 - Construction of the Athol and Enfield Railroad completed. The line, known affectionately to locals as the "Rabbit Run" because of it's frequent stops, was purchased by the Boston & Albany Railroad in 1880.

1888 March 12 - "The Blizzard of '88" begins, blanketing the Northeast with heavy snow and causing at least 400 deaths, half of those in New York City. Worcester received 32" of snow. As a result of the wind accompanying the storm, the streets of Northampton were buried under snowdrifts up to 8 feet high.

1889 September 19 - The Universalist Parish of North Dana is established.

1894 August 7 - Death of Francis Henry Underwood in Edinburgh, Scotland.

1895 - The Metropolitan Water District, consisting of Boston and ten other Massachusetts towns, is established by Chapter 488 of the Acts of 1895. This was the precursor to the Metropolitan District Commission. In 1895, the eleven participant towns had a total population of 750,000 and consumed 70 million gallons of water daily.

1898 March 22 - Dedication of the Universalist Church building in North Dana.

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The Quabbin Chronology Index:

Quabbin History by the Month - Same text in a January to December format.

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