Foxborough History

This town was originally a part of Stoughton; it was incorporated in 1778. The Rev. Thomas Kendall, the first minister, was ordained here in 1786. The church was embodied in 1779. Mr. Kendall continued its pastor till 1800. The Rev. Daniel Loring, his successor, was settled here in 1804, and resigned in 1806. Rev. Thomas Skelton, the third minister, continued here about four years; his successor, Rev. Thomas Williams, was installed in 1816. Rev. Willard Pierce, the next minister, was ordained in 1824.

In the center of town there are two churches, 1 Congrega- tional and 1 Baptist, and a village of about 25 well-built dwelling- houses. Distance, 15 miles from Dedham, 15 to Taunton, 5 to Wrentham, 37 to Worcester, 20 to Providence, and 24 to Boston. Population, 1,416. The manufacture of straw bonnets is a very important branch of business in this place. In 1837, there were 133,654 straw bonnets manufactures, valued at $121,571. There were 2 cotton mills; 17 hands were employed, and $12,350 worth of goods manufactured; two woolen mills, cloth manufactured, 46,000 yards, valued at $48,000; one air and cupola furnace; iron castings made, 300 tons, value, $30,000; hands employed, 20. The value of shovels, spades, forks or hoes manufactured, was $15,000.

John Shepherd, who died in Attleborough in 1809, at the age of one hundred and nine years, was a native of this town. "He re- tained all his faculties of mind and body, except his eye-sight, to the last, and was just able to walk, with a little assisstance, till a few days before his death.* He lived over a hundred years on his native spot. He was a man of pious character; cheerful in disposition, jocose, witty, and of a quick understanding. He was deprived of his eye-sight on a sudden, during the night, and was not himself aware of it until the next morning, when he sought in vain for the light of day. He could didtinctly recollect events which had occurred a century before. He had one son and seve- ral daughters. Two of his daughters lived upwards of 80 years; and another, Mrs. Mary Mann, of Wrentham, who died in 1828, lived to the age of 97 years. She retained all her faculties and usual cheerfulness and vivacity till the last fifteen years of her life. She abstained almost wholly from animal food, and never was in the habit of drinking tea or coffee, and wondered how peo- ple could love either. Her most common food was milk. She adhered to the same fashion in dress for 80 years."

*It is of him that the well-known anecdote is told, that he lived in two counties and four different towns, and yet never moved [during that time] from the spot where he was born.

Franklin. 469

The annexed engraving is a representa- tion of a very singular monument standing in the grave-yard in the center of this town. In order to read the inscription, it is necessary to raise the lid or cover, which turns up like the lid of a tea-pot, and lays on the rest by the side. The cover is of iron, and is kept to its place by hooks; the date, 1810, is cut upon it. The following is the inscription :

This monument was erected by Doct. N. Miller, to the memory of his friend, Mr. Zadock Howe, who died 1819, AE t. 77, and who fought under the great Wash- ington.

To those who view, before you're gone,
Be pleas'd to put this cover on.

On the inside of the cover, on a piece of sheet-iron, the following is in gilt letters :

The grave is waiting for your body,
And Christ is waiting for your soul,
O, may this be your cheerful study,
To be prepared when death doth call.

The lower part of this monument is of granite. This, with the apparatus at the top, was made by Mr. Howe, who kept it in his house some years before his death.

From "Historical Collections", 1848

Foxborough Historical Society Videos

  • Foxborough Historical Society Presents: The Boston Mob - February 2012
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    Events Around Foxborough

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    Formation Of A Town

    Foxborough was legally incorporated on June 10, 1778, and now includes part of what was formerly Stoughton, Stoughtonham (now Sharon), Walpole, and Wrentham.
    Land Source
    came from Wrentham
    part from Stoughton
    part from Stoughtonham
    part from Walpole
    bound Sharon
    bound Stoughton
    bound Wrentham
    part from Wrentham
    bound Sharon
    part to Walpole
    part to Walpole
    part from Sharon


    • 1790 = 654
    • 1800 = 779
    • 1810 = 870
    • 1820 = 1,004
    • 1830 = 1,165
    • 1840 = 1,298
    • 1850 = 1,880
    • 1855 = 2,570 (State)
    • 1860 = 2,879
    • 1865 = 2,778 (State)
    • 1870 = 3,057
    • 1875 = 3,168 (State)
    • 1880 = 2,950
    • 1885 = 2,814 (State)
    • 1888 = 2,814 | 703 being voters; and the dwelling-houses numbered 593*
    • 1890 = 2,933
    • 1895 = 3,219 (State)
    • 1900 = 3,266
    • 1905 = 3,364 (State)
    • 1910 = 3,863
    • 1920 = 4,136
    • 1930 = 5,347
    • 1940 = 6,303
    • 1950 = 7,030
    • 1960 = 10,136
    • 1970 = 14,218
    • 1980 = 14,148
    • 1990 = 14,637
    • 2000 = 16,246
    • 2010 = 16,865

    More Town History

    Foxborough's History And Historical Sites

    Did You Know? / Fun Facts

    • The old Fire Station on the common used to have a Fire Horn! The "2-2-2" call on a snowy morning meant "NO SCHOOL" :-).

    • Schaefer Stadium was built in 1971.

    • The Massachusetts Hospital For Dipsomaniacs And Inebriates was the first hospital in America for alcoholics.

    • In May 2014, Foxborough had 10,953 registered voters.

    • Train arrived in North Foxborough (a.k.a. Morseville) in 1886.

    • Foxbororough's "Growth District" was designated by the EOHED on November 20, 2008.

    • Paul Bowser & E.M. Loew opened Bay State Raceway on Route 1 in Foxborough in 1947.

    • The first recorded public celebration of St. Patrick's Day in Foxborough occured in 1861.

    • Oake Knoll Farm (a.k.a. Lawton's Farm) was founded by Jedediah Morse in 1734 and is a "Massachusetts Century Farm".

    • The Robinson Hill School was built in 1955.

    • The Lewis School opened in 1960 and was named for William R. Lewis.

    • The Foxborough Water Supply District was established on April 4, 1879, by an act of the Legislature. The District encompassed an area of a half mile radius from the center of the public common.

    • Crackrock Pond was formed in 1734 by impounding the Neponset River.

    • The Foxborough Branch Railroad Corporation changed its name in 1867 to Mansfield And Framingham Railroad Company.

    • The Foxboro Jewelry Company was organized in 1852 to manufacture gold jewelry.

    • Foxborough has ~3,330 acres of protected open space.

    • Nehemiah Carpenter, Jeremiah Hartshorn, & Samuel Baker donated the land for a common meeting-house lot in 1783.

    • The population in 1950 was 7,030.

    • The anticipated build-out for the Foxborough Growth District is 1.5M sf office, 150,000 sf retail..

    • The Dead Swamp was a source of peat and crude bog iron in the 17th & 18th centuries.

    • There are 10,698 registered voters in Foxborough.

    • Rev. Thomas Kendall was ordained as the first minister in 1779 and remained in the pastorate for 21 years.

    • 1920's Chap. 0502 was approved on May 25. It allowed the town of foxborough to incur indebtedness to build a high school and town hall.

    • The name of the Massachusetts Hospital For Dipsomaniacs And Inebriates was changed to Foxborough State Hospital on May 12, 1905.

    • Chapter 440 of the ACTS of 1924 was approved on May 29. This established a part of the boundary between Walpole and Foxborough.

    • The legislative session that approved Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1778 began on May 27; the legislation was passed on June 10, 1778.

    More Fun Facts & Did You Know?

    Place Names

    From: Commonwealth of Massachusetts & Commonwealth of Massachusetts

    Unofficial name
    Quaker Hill
    a locality in, or part of a Town(s) or CITY (in caps)

    Also known as, or other notation
    now Lakeview
    a.k.a. Paineburg
    formerly Donkeyville
    a.k.a. Foxvale