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|Paxton Historical Commission|
|Welcome to the Paxton Historical Commission To view interesting artifacts donated by many Paxton residents both past and present, stop by at the Historical Commission Office either during its Open House hours (second Saturday of the month from 9:00 to 10:30AM) or for a special appointment call (508) 798-5092.|
|Early life in Paxton Turkey Hill Brook was used for hunting and fishing by the Nipmucks, the Native Americans who lived in the region before any white settlers had arrived in the early 1700s. The brook also served as the site of the first mills, built to take advantage of the brook's 90-foot drop through a steep gorge. For the next 180 years, Turkey Hill Brook supplied power to a series of small mills that served the farmers who lived in the surrounding countryside. Residents point with particular pride to Moore State Park, a more than 700-acre enclave which incorporates many of the historical sites in Paxton and combines them with the beauty of thousands of azaleas and rhododendrons planted by Florence Morton, one of the first women in Massachusetts to earn a degree in landscape architecture, and the Spaulding family, when this area was a private estate. Paxton residents extend an open invitation to visitors to join them in savoring the richness of their past.|
Information from Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
|Paxton Massachusetts, 1890|
Excerpt from A Massachusetts Gazetteer
Paxton is a small agricultural town lying nearly in the centre of Worcester County. Its nearest railroad station is Worcester, about seven miles distant. Paxton (centre) is the village and post-office. Rutland is the boundary on the north, Holden on the east, Leicester on the south, and Spencer and Oakham on the west. Worcester adjoins the southeast corner for a short distance. The assessed area is 8,848 acres, including 3,098 acres of forest.
The surface is varied, pleasing and somewhat peculiar. The hills seem but gentle swells of land, and are cultivated to their summits. Asnebumsket Hill, near the southeastern border, reaches an altitude of 1,407 feet. Other prominent landmarks are Fox Hill near the centre, Pine in the northeast corner, and Turkey Hill near the northern border. Near its base on the north is Turkey Hill Pond, which is probably the remotest source of the Chicopee River. On the eastern border is Asnebumsket Pond, which sends out a feeder to the Nashua River. The largest body of water in the town is Bottomly Pond, in the southeast part, the principal source of the Blackstone River. The town is rich in ponds, springs and rivulets. The geological formation is ferruginous gneiss. The soil is deep and strong, amply moistened, and yields well.
The value of the aggregate product of the 135 farms in 1885 was $81,229. There are two wooden-box factories and one carriage factory; and 31 men were engaged in making hoots and shoes. The value of goods made was $7,300. The population was 561, of whom 126 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $277,669, with a tax-rate of $16.40 on $1,000. There were 130 dwelling-houses taxed.
The town has primary and grammar schools, provided for in five school buildings valued at some $4,000. There is a free public library of about 1,200 volumes. The one church here is Congregationalist.
Paxton was formed from parts of the towns of Rutland and Leicester, and incorporated, February 12, 1765. It was named for Charles Paxton, one of the commissioners of customs in Boston. The town sent 72 men to do battle for the Union in the late war and has erected a granite monument to the seven who were lost.
British commissioner, born in 1704; died in Norfolk county, England, in March, 1788. He was commissioner of customs in Boston, and, as the disputes with the crown and its agents increased, made frequent visits to London to complain of resistance to acts of parliament. He possessed "as much of the friendship of Charles Townsend as a selfish client may obtain from an intriguing patron," and was in the counsels of that minister when his plans relating to the colonies were devised and presented to the house of commons. John Adams says that he was "the essence of customs, taxation, and revenue," and that he appeared at one time "to have been governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary, and chief justice." As head of the board of commissioners in 1760, he directed his deputy in Salem to the courts for writs of assistance, under which the officers of the revenue were to have authority to enter and search all places that they should suspect contained smuggled goods. In 1769 Paxton and his associates were posted in the "Boston Gazette" by James Otis, and this card brought on an altercation in State street with Robinson, another commissioner, which resulted in injuries that deprived Otis of his reason. On one of the anniversaries of the gunpowder plot Paxton's effigy was hanged between those of the devil and the pope and labelled "Every man's ser-rant, but no man's friend." Paxton and his fellow-commissioners at one time seized one of John Hancock's vessels for smuggling wine, and a mob then forced them to flee to Castle William. Paxton was subsequently hanged again in effigy on the " Liberty-tree." Paxton was one of the writers of the "Hutchinson Letters." (See FRANKLIN BENJAMIN.) In 1776 he and his family went with the British army to Halifax, and in July of that year to England. He had been proscribed in Massachusetts, and his estate was confiscated. He then lived in obscurity, and died on the estate of William Burch, one of his fellow-commissioners. Edited Appleton's 1886 Encyclopedia, Copyright ï¿½ 2001 VirtualologyTM
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|PAXTON HISTORICAL COMMISSION|
17 West St. Paxton, MA 01612