Hopkinton Historical Society
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The Indian name for what is now Hopkinton was Magwonkkommok as Rev. Elliot spelled it in 1609, later shortened to Magunco. There was an artificial settlement of 51 families of praying Indians which was created by Rev. Elliot. Hopkinton was later named for Edward Hopkins who left a legacy to Harvard College. The trustees purchased the land from the Indians and proceeded to lease it out at three pence an acre. They found the taxes ate up the rent and so lowered the rent to one pence per acre, and asked the tenants to pay the taxes. The land was purchased from the Trustees and the rent system discontinued in 1832. This tract of 18,500 acres at 450 feet above sea level is the highest town in Middlesex County. It originally included the village of Ashland and part of Holliston and Upton. In 1846, the northern portion became the newly incorporated Town of Ashland. The Charles River called "Quinabequin" of "Winding River" has its source here. There are two beautiful lakes, Whitehall and Maspenock as well as Cold Spring Brook and two State Parks.
[Located in Category: Historical briefs]
The first frame house was built by Savil Simpson in 1707. Later in 1707 he built a grist mill, a saw mill, and a fulling mill. The first major roadway was constructed in March 1724 to 1725. It was four rods wide in an East-West direction. Savil Simpson collected a toll on the portion of the road that ran through his farm. Footpaths and horse paths were the prevalent type of roadways for the first 100 years.
[Located in Category: Historical briefs]
In the early 1700s, Samuel Howe had ten children and was the progenitor of: (1) Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine; (2) David Howe, who built the Red Horse Tavern on the Boston Post Road, now the famous Wayside Inn; and (3) Peter Howe, who was the first schoolmaster in Hopkinton. Peter Howe was the great grandfather of three important Mormon leaders: Brigham Young, whose parents lived in Hopkinton shortly before he was born, and Willard Richards and Albert Perry Rockwood, who led their people to Utah.
[Located in Category: Historical briefs]
Daniel Shays was born at Saddle Hill in 1747 and was reared on a leased farm. During the mid to late 1700's, the jails were full of people who could not pay the tax because the currency had become worthless. Shay led insurrectionists in the fight against injustice and high taxes. This was called "Shays' Rebellion".
[Located in Category: Historical briefs]
In the early 1800's, many people, including governors and ex-governors as far away as New York traveled by four-horse stage coach to visit Hopkinton's famous "Mineral Springs and Hotel" located four miles from the town center. Many foreign visitors also came to the mineral springs. The hotel burned in the mid-1800's.
[Located in Category: Historical briefs]
In 1818, Joseph Walker invented a method of attaching soles to shoes with wooden pegs which he manufactured and sold. This revolutionized the shoe industry.
[Located in Category: Historical briefs]
In 1820, there was a cotton mill which manufactured sheeting, twine, and batting. By 1850, there were 11 boot and shoe factories, and also a carriage factory.
[Located in Category: Historical briefs]
Hopkinton suffered the first of three disastrous fires in 1876. It started in a shoe factory and spread along one side of Main Street. In 1882, another fire destroyed the Town Hall, a shoe factory, a hotel, a church, and the Post Office. In 1900, in the same section of Town, a bank, the Town Hall, a bowling alley, a drug store, and an office building were destroyed. People left the Town to find work elsewhere, and the population dropped precipitously.
[Located in Category: Historical briefs]
Hopkinton in the 1980's and 1990's was one of the fastest growing towns in the Metrowest area of Boston. After the completion of Interstate Route 495 in the 1970's, many "high technology" companies settled nearby causing tremendous growth in home-building. The population has doubled from nearly 8,000 residents in 1986 to more than 15,000 in 2010.
[Located in Category: Historical briefs]
Hopkinton's famous Stonethrowers football team began its career in 1931 ending the High School season undefeated and untied. After graduating, the players formed a semi-pro team and played 26 games undefeated against opponents throughout Eastern Massachusetts. This team was comprised of all local boys, making it unique. The team included 5 sets of brothers from a high school population of 125 and with a Town population of less than 2,500.
[Located in Category: Historical briefs]
Every Patriots Day since 1896, the "Hopkinton to Boston Marathon" has been run, with the exception of 1918, when World War I was on. That year, a 10-man military relay team ran. Beginning with only a few runners, Hopkinton now hosts more than 20,000 runners from all over the world exceeding the population of the Town itself. The course is 26 miles, 385 yards long and is known for the grueling "Heartbreak Hill".
[Located in Category: Historical briefs]