Oliver N Bacon.

A history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) online

. (page 9 of 22)
Online LibraryOliver N BaconA history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 9 of 22)
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Maintain the discipline of your church. It is much easier, as
well as safer, to keep a church well, than half disciplined. Great
numbers is one of the least excellences of a good church.

Be the moderator of your church. Infringe upon none of its
rights, and be as careful to give up none of your own. If the minis-
try has lost one half of its prerogative, this forms no reason why it
should hold the other by a precarious tenure. In throwing ofi' the


rubbish of our puritanic fathers, -why should we divest ourselves of
our real rights ?

Make your church a deliberate body. Never become a managing
minister ; it never fails to bring trouble in the end. It is a fearful
sign when a church always passes its vote unanimously.

Deal frankly with your church ; be open and sincere in your in-
tercourse with all its members. This will best teach them to deal
thus with you. Have no mcffe church meetings than you have
business to transact.

In your intercourse with your people never forget that you arc
a ii^ister, or throw aside for a moment the dignity and sacredness
of the pastoral office. It is easy for a minister to destroy on Mon-
day all the good of his Sabbath day's labor. Be aifuble, but serious,
grave, and of easy access.

Never have favorites or especial confidents among your people.
Consider no one mean or unimportant. All of them have precious
souls, to whom your ministry will prove a savor of life or of death.

Your Master condescended to men of low estate ; " do thou like-
wise." Next to bitter enemies, you will have to dread warm friends.
These are they who dismiss ministers, having first become enemies
and betrayed your confidence.

Be the minister of your whole people, but of none of them in par-
ticular. Never bow down to mammon, or purchase peace at the
shrine of vice in high places, dressed in gay clothing. Better lose
your people, yes, your life, than your conscience. Christ views your
people very much alike, none rich and none poor. It will be right
and safe to view them as your divine Master views them.

Be attentive and faithful to the sick and dying. And while you
avoid that morose and bitter faithfulness, better conceived than ex-
pressed, never, through overwrought sympathy, withhold from them
the bread of life.

Never undertake in your own strength to convert sinners, or to
get up revivals of religion among your people ; but when God makes
them, then bestir yourself and work with him.

Be hospitable to your people and to the stranger within your gates.
Treat your brethren in the ministry with kindness. And while you
are free to ask advice in your need, and to give the same to others
in turn, call no man on earth master or servant.

In ordaiaing men to the Christian ministry lay hands suddenly on


no man. The cause of Christ has never gained, but lost, hj em-
ploying unsanctified minds to carry it forward.

Take good care of jour health. A disregard of this will neutralize
your whole ministry. It is thought by many that almost any health,
however feeble, or any constitution, however broken down, will do
well enough for a minister. But sad experience teaches us that this
is a mistaken view of the subject. There is no calling or employ-
ment where more vigor, a firmer nerve, or a sounder constitution are
needed, than that in which the ministers of Christ are engaged. To
undertake to support the pastoral office with half the springs of hfe
exhausted, is but to expose the other half to quick destruction,^

The ministry of such must be very fluctuating, unless they possess
extraordinary mental vigor ; and if so, they find their graves the
sooner. At best they are doomed to do everything with a jaded
spirit. Hence, dear sir, take good care of your health ; never tax it
beyond endurance ; it will be but loss both to yourself and your

I have now run over the several topics to which I would call your
attention, as you are inducted into the pastoral ofiice. They have
not been more numerous, brief, or diversified, than Paul's charge to
Timothy ; and his may be considered a good model. Ho would have
his young disciple understand human nature, as well as the divine
perfections; — avoid old wives' fables, and watch for his often infir-
mities, as well as to preach the Gospel, and be a pattern of good
works. And now, dear sir, these things do and teach. Maintain a
deep sense of your dependence on God ; live near to Him by prayer
and laiih ; preach the word ; love your people ; pray for them ; and
like Paul the aged, Avarn every one ot them, day and night, with
tears. Ivenieinber there is nothing on earth you can neither face
or fly from, but a sense of duty neglected. This will follow every
where and give you no rest.

Never iear your people. If fear brings a snare to the common
Chris ian, it cioes most emphatically so to the minister of Christ.
A minister may as well go through this world Avith the boldness of a
lion as with the timidity of a hare, and much better. I mean bold-
ness n its best sense.

Speak well of your people ; revere the hoary head ; cherish and
guile the youth ; m short, be to your people a good and faithful
minister of Jesus Christ.


These things, beloved sir, I charge you before God and his Son
Jesus Christ, in -the presence of your people and many witnesses, to
■which if you take heed you will save yourself and them which hear

We shall meet again another day and amid different scenes. It
will be to witness a burning world, — to see the righteous saved,
the wicked damned, and God's eternal government approved. To
meet our people, too, and give an account of our stewardship,
and, if faithful to our solemn trust, to receive a crown of life at the
hand of Jesus. But ah! what if we should be found recreant?
Yes, sir, our destiny is of no ordinary character. It points to the
most exalted bliss, or the deepest sorro^v. Jesus will, ere long, place
an unfading crown of glory on our heads, stored with souls redeemed
from among our people, or banish us as those he never called or
knew ; and, damned of heaven and earth, we shall sink to tho lowest
hell, amid the loud lament and bitter execrations of our people, lost
through our neglect.

Oh, sir, consider these things ; be valiant, be courageous ; fight
the good fight of faith, and the grace of God be with your spirit.
Amen. %

The present incumbent of the pastoral oflSce in this society is Rev.
Elias Nason. Pie was born in Wrentham, Massachusetts, April
21st, 1811. His parents, however, removed to Hopkinton in 1812,
at which place his early years were mostly spent.

He was graduated at Brown University, in 1836, and after spend-
ing some time as teacher of an academy in Lancaster, he removed
to the State of Georgia, where he remained till 1840. During his
residence at the South he was successively engaged as an editor, a
teacher, and a student in theology.

In the year 1840, he came to Newburyport, where he was en-
gaged for three or four years in teaching a young ladies' seminary ;
after which he was appointed to succeed Mr. Page, as Principal of
the English High School in that city, and in about a year afterwards
was promoted to the mastership of the Latin School.

In 1850, Mr. Nason was invited to the charge of the new High
School in Milford, where he remained till called to settle as pastor of
the First Congregational Church and Society in Natick, over which he
was ordained, May 5, 1852.


In November, 1839, Mr. Nason -was married to Miss Mira Ann
Bigelow, of Framinghain, by whom he has five children.

His publications are, 1. '"A course of Lessons in French Litera-
ture, designed as an introduction to the study of the French Lan-
guage." 1849. 2. " Songs for the School-Room." 1842. 3.
" Memoir of Rev. Nathaniel Howe, of Hopkinton," published in
1851. 4. A Sermon delivered in the First Congregational
Church, Dec. 12, 1852. Text, ''Thou shalt not steal." 5. "The
Strength and Beauty of the Sanctuary," a sermon preached at the
dedication of the new church, Nov. 15th, 1854.


Othee new Societies. Second Congregational Church. Methodist.
Baptist. Universalist.

The following is a list of the clergymen who have supplied the
pulpit in the Congregational Church and Society at South Natick: —
James W. Thompson, Edward Stone, Edward Palmer, Ira Blan-
chard, David Damon, Thomas B. Gannett.

A Methodist society was formed here in 1835, and now has con-
nected with its church 134 members. From 1835 to 1840, it
formed a part of the Needham Circuit. In 1835, Revs. Isaac Jen-
nison, Peter Sabine and Reuben Brown were the officiating men of
the Circuit. In 1836, Revs. Nathan B. Spaulding and William A.
Clapp ; in 1837, Erastus Otis ; in 1838, Rev. Paul Townsend ; in
1839, Rev. Ezekiel B. Phillips ; in 1840-1, Rev. Thomas W. Tucker ;
in 1842, Rev. Eliphalet W. Jackson ; in 1843, Rev. Philander Wal-
lingford ; in 1844 - 5, Rev. W. R. Stone ; in 1846-7, Rev. John J.
S. Gridley ; in 1818 - 9, Rev, Amos Walton ; in 1850, Rev. Thomas
H. Mudge ; in 1851, Rev. Jotham Horton ; in 1852-3, Rev. Con-
verse L. McCurdy ; in 1854-5, Rev. Joseph W. Lewis.

The Baptist Society was formed in 1850 ; have built them a new
house large enough for their own accommodation, and are in a pros-
perous condition. The present pastor. Rev, A. S. Lyon, is a native
of West Woodstock, Conn. ; graduated at Brown University, Sept. 5,
1837. He has been, since that time, pastor successively of the
Baptist church in North Oxford, and Cliatham, Mass. He was
recognized pastor of the church in Natick, Jan. 16, 1850.

A Universalist Society, formed here in 1848, have since bought and
repaired the meetingdiouse once owned by the First Congregational
Church. They have each Sabbath a good number of attendants on
their worship. Rev. Emmons Partridge is their present pastor.

Although the ministers and people of the different religious
societies differ in their religious opinions, there seems to be no other
strife between them. The only emulation is to excel in leading a
sober, righteous and godly life, and no other provocation than a
provoking one another to good works.


Natural Histouy. Climate. Geology, Botany. Ponds. Rivers. Brooks.


Nothing in the topographical situation of Natick is known
that would cause its climate to vary from that of places in the
same latitude. An epidemic which visited the place in 1848 has
given to it a reputation for an unhealthy town, which it is believed
is not sustained by fact. Few places exhibit a higher average term
of human life. The low position of the plain on which the principal
village stands frequently causes at night a damp atmosphere and
dense fogs to prevail, but the sun's rays reflected from the loose soil
on which the village stands soon dispel it. The snow falls quite as
deep here as in the surrounding towns, and goes off no earlier,
although the place is protected from winds by surrounding hills. It
is not either in winter or summer visited by as severe storms as sur-
rounding towns.


Clay suitable for brick is found in the west part of Natick,
and has been extensively used, but is now abandoned. Iron ore
of the bog species has been found and wrought at the Chelmsford
Furnace. It was dug on land now owned by the heirs of Jonathan
Walcott, a few rods to the west of School street. Iron is also found
disseminated among the rocks and other minerals in different parts
of the town. The'rocks of Natick are all of them primary, granite,
sienite and slate. No quarry furnishing stone suitable for building
purposes is now known in this vicinity. There is limestone in the
central part of the town, formerly wrought, but now discontinued.
Calcareous spar, resembling somewhat carbonate of lime, is not uncom-
mon ; feldspar is found in great variety ; also several varieties of
quartz. The lamella hornblende, actinolite, and pargasite, are
frequently seen.

A thorough geological survey of Natick would undoubtedly dis-


cover many other minerals now supposed to exist only at a distance,
in some modern El Dorado, some Rockport, or Quincy.


The forests of Natick ■which have escaped the ravages of time,
are composed of walnut, chestnut, elm, maple, birch, pine, and
oak. Hemlock and spruce are found in small quantities in dif-
ferent parts of the town. Very little wood is now cut for fuel, coal
being principally used for that purpose. Horse chestnuts, Lombardy
poplars, with fruit trees, are mostly used for ornamental purposes.

There are several magnificent elms in different parts of the town,
remarkable for size and beauty, the history of which is interesting.
One in front of the house owned and occupied by Mr. Thomas F.
Hammond was set in its present place by an uncle of Mr. Ham-
mond about the year 1760, making its age at the present time
ninety-five years. The diameter of a circle including its outmost
branches would be about a hundred feet. The trunk, five feet from
the ground, measures fifteen and a half feet. It is the finest tree in
town. There is another in front of the house known as the " Shep-
herd House " in South Natick, on the margin of Charles River,
which measures ten feet about the trunk. Its pendent br^5hes are
spread equally in all directions to the distance of fifty feet from the
body, thus giving a diameter of one hundred feet to its shade.

Not a prince

In all that proud old world beyond the deep
E'er wore his crown as loftily as he
Wears the green coronal of leaves with which
Thy hand has graced him.

Some other trees, not remarkable otherwise, have histories which
entitle them to notice. The oak standing a few rods to the east of
the south meeting-house bears every evidence of an age greater
than that of the town and was probably a witness of Eliot's first
visit to " the place of hills." Its twin brother, near where the mon-
ument stands, and which two feet from the ground measures seven-
teen feet in circumference, was a few years since cut down and
removed, for what reason it is difiicult to see.

In the year 1722 a deputation of Indians came to Mr. Peahody's


house, one bearing two elm trees on his shoulders. They presented
themselves to their minister and desired permission to set out those
trees before his door, as a mark of their regard, or as the tree of
friendship. These trees flourished about ninety years, when the
larger was struck by lightning and soon after failed. The other,
beins: in a state of decline, was soon after cut down. These trees
measured, one foot from the ground, twenty-one feet, and in the
smallest part, thirteen feet. These trees stood in front of the first
house on the left after passing Charles River bridge.

The fine trees in front of the house of Oliver Bacon were a like
gift of friendship to Rev. Mr. Badger, who built the house, from his
swarthy friends, the Indians. They were by them called trees of
friendship, and as such planted by them in the year 1763. They
are, in consequence, one hundred and three years old.

The buttonwood trees near the Eliot monument were set out the
same year peace was declared between Great Britain and her Amer-
ican colonies. These being set in the burial-place of the red man,
gave great offence to the remnants of that race 'then living in town.


Lake Cochituate, mostly in Natick, has for a few years past
been the principal object of attraction to visitors from abroad.
It originally covered an area of four hundred and fifty acres, but
such additions have been made to it that it now measures six hundred
and fifty-nine acres. It drains a surface of eleven thousand four
hundred acres, and in some parts is eighty feet deep. It is said to
be seven miles in length. A full description of it would not only
present to the reader an irregular body of water seven miles in length,
in some places one mile in width, the opposite shores at other points
approaching to Avithin a rod of each other, estuaries on either side
varying from one acre to six in surface, but would require the writer
to follow a volume of its water for fifteen miles under ground, above
valleys and river, till it emerge in an artificial pond in Brookline
covering an area of thirty acres, with cultivated grounds and grassy
banks surrounding, and thence to trace it through iron pipes to the
pinnacle of Beacon Hill, see it thread in smaller streams by the side-
walks of all the principal streets of the city, gushing in fountains
from the State House and Common, and bid it adieu only as it com-


mends itself in its refreshing coolness to the languid lips of a Beacon
street belle, or quenches the thirst of a Broad street laborer.
The following is the analysis of its waters by Prof. Silliman :

Chloride of Sodium 0323

Chloride of Potassium 0380

Chloride of Calcium 0308

Chloride of Magnesium .0764

Suli^hate of Magnesia 1020

Alumina 0800

Carbonate of Lime 2380

Carbonate of Magnesia 0G30

Silice 0300

Carbonate of Soda 5295

Carbonic acid in one gallon, in cubic inches 1.0719

.Dug Pond lies south of the above, and covers an area of fifty
acres. This is used as a reservoir in which to lay up water for the
city of Boston. Its shores are very abrupt, and give it the appear-
ance of being dug, whence its name. It has no natural inlet or
outlet. Nonesuch Pond is in the extreme northern corner of the
town, and lies partly in Weston. It covers fifty acres in area. For
what it is called Nonesuch it is difficult to see. There are many
similar bodies of w^ater in different parts of Massachusetts, but they
may have escaped the notice of those who gave this its name.


Charles River in its serpentine course to the ocean visits the
south part of Naticlc, and covers in its course one hundred acres. It
not only adorns the surrounding lands, and gives pleasure to those
who are disposed to seek for its piscatory treasures, but furnishes a
valuable water privilege. It is said that as much water runs in the
channel here as at Watertown, Mother Brook draining as much from
the river as flows into it from brooks between Natick and Water-
town. A glance at the surrounding country from the margin of this
river will discover many beautiful situations for country seats yet
unoccupied. The soil in the neighborhood is rich, the trees of a
rare size, and many small forests of a superior growth. One who
wrote a description of this section of country in 1830 says :


" Were all the water privileges used to the best advantage, and
all the land that is suitable cultivated as a considerable portion of it
now is, double the number of inhabitants might be supported as
comfortably and respectably as the present population. Beautiful
and even romantic situations for country seats, for gentlemen of
fortune and taste, are not wanting among the hills, plains and ponds
in the northerly portions of the town, and on the charming banks of
the Charles in the southerly section."

What at that time was assertion and prediction is now in part fact
and history. There is now four times the number of people on the
soil of Natick than when the above was written. On many of the
beautiful sites described elegant houses have been built, and much
of the land which Avas then unimproved is at this time sending
yearly to the granaries of its owners bountiful rewards for the labor
which has been bestowed upon it.


Many brooks, with and without names, are tributary to the ponds
and river. The range of hills running northeast and southwest
between Natick and the South village, of which the highest peak is
Broad's, divides the brooks emptying into the Charles from those
which find their way into the lake.

The waters which on the top of Broad's Hill are divided only by a
few feet, find their way to the ocean by channels nearly a hundred
miles from each other, and meet again only in the tumblings of the
ocean or the vapors of the atmosphere.

Snake Brook, receiving its name from its serpentine windings,
forms part of the boundary line between Wayland and Natick, and
empties into Lake Cochituate from the east, near the gate-house of
the Boston Water Works,

Pegan Brook runs from the east by the side of the Boston and
Worcester Railroad, under Main street and Long Pond Hotel, and
empties into the lake near its southeastern corner. Steep Brook
empties into the lake from the west.

Bacon's and Sawin's Brooks, receiving their names from the
owners of mills situated upon them, enter Charles River from the
north within a short distance of each other.



The fish formerly most abundant at Natick, beside those which
are now found in its waters, were alewives and shad. Prior to the
erection of dams across Concord River they were caught in great
quantities at different points in Lake Cochituate, and furnished food
for cattle as well as man. Officers were chosen each year by the
town, to superintend the fisheries. Their duty was to see that nothing
obstructed the entrance of fish into the pond, and that no one enjoyed
the privilege of the grounds unless authorized by the town. Since
the building of factories at Lowell there have been no fish other
than such as may be found in all inland pond% and brooks, — pickerel,
dace, eels, pout, perch, and some smaller kinds.


The woods, lakes and streams of Natick were once the resort
of the wolf, deer, moose, bear, fox and otter. The Indian hunted
the fur-clad animal here, and sold the result of his labor to those
who purchased the right to his trade of the General Court. The
fox, hare, and muskrat, are still seen. The larger animals have
fled to less frequented haunts, and the smaller scarce furnish the
sportsman's gun with its annual demand.


Descriptive Histoky. Boundaries. Roads. Kailroads. Post Office.
Public Buildings. Burying Grounds. Consecration of Dell-Park.
Mr. Hunt's Address.

The land throughout Natick is generally favorable to the building
of good roads. The hills are easily surmounted or removed, and
coarse gravel in most sections is easily obtained.

The principal roads are the Worcester turnpike, so called, passing
through the north part of the town, which was formerly much more
used than at present, the Central turnpike, so called, and the Old
Hartford road through the south part.

These roads until 1835 were the thoroughfares for all traders
from Boston to Hartford. On the Worcester the Southern mail
passed daily, and other stages. On each of the other roads stages
passed daily on their way to Hartford, Conn.

The railtoad now more adequately supplies the wants of the
community, and furnishes accommodation for man and beast, for
merchandise or merchants, who may now be transported to Boston
or Hartford or New York, or sent on their way beyond the Hudson
while the old coaches were being rolled from their sheds.

The main railroad through this town was completed in the year
1835. But one set of rails was laid upon it, and the building for a
depot was of the smallest size.

The Saxonville Railroad was built in ]845. It is a branch of the
Boston and Worcester, and is four miles in length.

The cars now leave Natick for Worcester twice every day, for
Boston six times, and for Milford and Saxonville three times.


The Post OflSce now in the centre of the town was established
in 1817, through the instrumentality of Rev. Martin Moore.
Martin Haynes was the first Postmaster. In 1820 William Far-
riss, Esq., was appointed and continued in office until 1810, when


the office was moved from what is now Felchville to Natick
Centre, and Nathaniel Clark appointed as Postmaster. Isaac D.
Morse succeeded him in 1844, and held the appointment until
July 1st, 1849, at which time John M. Seward was appointed. He
was succeeded, June 1st, 1854, by the present incumbent, Calvin
H. Perry.

Seventy-eight different newspapers and periodicals arrive at this
office each week. The followini^ are some of the principal : — The
True Flag, 132 copies ; The American Union, 43 ; The New Eng-
land Farmer, 59 ; The Massachusetts Ploughman, 22 ; The Puritan
Recorder, 28 ; The Christian Freeman, 15 ; The Myrtle, 22 ; New
England Spiritualist, 20 ; Boston Traveller, 18 ; Boston Journal,
19 ; American Patriot, 10 ; Boston Pilot, 30 ; New York Tribune,
52 ; National Era, 14 ; Boys' and Girls' Magazine, 12 ; Harpers'
New Monthly, 4 ; Mothers' Assistant, 6 ; Prisoner's Friend, 5 ;

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryOliver N BaconA history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 9 of 22)