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Mendon, Massachusetts
—  Town  —
First Church, Mendon
Location in Worcester County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°06′20″N 71°33′10″W / 42.10556°N 71.55278°W / 42.10556; -71.55278
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Worcester
Settled 1660
Incorporated 1667
 - Type Open town meeting
 - Administrative Assistant Michael McCue
 - Board of
David Breen
Sharon Cutler
Lawny Tinio
 - Total 18.3 sq mi (47.3 km2)
 - Land 18.1 sq mi (46.9 km2)
 - Water 0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 330 ft (101 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 5,286
 Density 292.1/sq mi (112.8/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01756
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-40255
GNIS feature ID 0618371

Mendon is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 5,286 at the 2000 census. Mendon is very historic and is now part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, the oldest industrialized region in the United States.




Early history

The Nipmuc once inhabited Mendon, and Nipmuc Pond is named for them. Nipmuc Regional High School was named after this lake. "Nipmuc" means "small pond place" or “people of the fresh waters”.[1] The Nipmuc name does not refer to a specific village or tribe, but to natives that inhabited almost all of central Massachusetts. Over 500 Nipmuc live today in Massachusetts and there are two nearby reservations at Grafton and Webster. The Nipmuc had a written language, tools, a graphite mine at Sturbridge and well developed agriculture including maize, beans and squash.

During King Philip's War in 1675, Praying Indians (natives who converted to Christianity) were settled into Praying Indian Villages. Wacentug and Rice City held two of these villages in Mendon, in a section that later became Uxbridge. These were two of the 14 Praying Indian villages established by Reverend John Elliot, from Natick and Roxbury, who translated the Bible into the Native American Nipmuc language.

Pioneer settlement

Pioneers from Braintree petitioned to receive a land grant for 8 miles square of land, 15 miles west of Medfield.[2] In September 1662 after the deed was signed with a Native American Chief, "Great John", the pioneers entered this part of what is now southern Worcester County. Earlier, unofficial, settlement occurred here in the 1640s, by pioneers from Roxbury. This was the beginning of Mendon.

The land for the settlement was eight miles square of Native American land in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was purchased from the Nipmuc Indians, “for divers good and vallewable considerations them there unto Moovinge and especiall for an in consideration of the summe of twenty fower pound Ster.”[3] In 1662, "Squinshepauke Plantation was started at the Netmocke settlement and plantation", and was incorporated as the town of Mendon in 1667. The settlers were ambitious and set about clearing the roads that would mark settlement patterns throughout the town’s history.

The early settlement at Mendon was, was first listed in Essex County in 1667, then in 1671 in Suffolk County, and in Worcester County from 1731.[2] Mendon was first settled in 1660 and was officially incorporated in 1667. The town was originally 64 square miles, including the modern-day towns of Milford, Bellingham, Hopedale, Uxbridge, Upton, Blackstone, Northbridge and Millville. For this reason, the town of Mendon is sometimes referred to as “Mother Mendon”. Benjamin Albee (1614–1695) erected a water-powered mill in 1664 on modern-day Hartford Ave. in Hopedale [1] and was one of the town's important early residents.

On July 14, 1675, early violence in King Philip's War took place in Mendon, with the deaths of multiple residents and the destruction of Albee's mill. These were the first settlers killed in this war in the Colony of Massachusetts. A man named Richard Post, of Post's lane, may have been the first settler killed. The town was largely burnt to the ground later that winter in early 1676.[4] The town was resettled and rebuilt in 1680.

Robert Taft, Sr, settled here, in the part that became Uxbridge, in 1680 and was the Patriarch of the famous American Taft family. He settled here in 1669 and was among those forced back to Braintree because of the King Phillip's War. In 1712, Mendon was the birthplace of Lydia Chapin, who became America's first legal woman voter, known later as Lydia Chapin Taft, or simply Lydia Taft. Ezra T. Benson was born here and became a famous Mormon Missionary and Utah Territory Legislator. See also the articles of neighboring Uxbridge, Massachusetts, and The Tafts of Mendon and Uxbridge. The Taft family became an American political dynasty, especially in Ohio, but also in Iowa, Rhode Island, Vermont, and other states. President William Howard Taft was a descendant and also was a descendant of George Aldrich.

Another political dynasty American family began here with the immigrant, George Aldrich. His descendents included a number of U.S. Congressmen, Senator Nelson Aldrich who started the federal reserve bank, and Vice President, Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller. Also includes Ezra T. Benson and his grandson, Ezra Taft Benson, former Secretary of Agriculture under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, later 13th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Colonial and revolutionary era

Mendon would eventually rebuild and find itself along Boston's Middle Post Road (Route 16 today). Milestone 37 (from Boston) was erected in 1772 and still stands today[2]. In 1719, Bellingham became the first community to break off from Mother Mendon and incorporate as a separate entity. In 1789, it is purported that President George Washington, during his inaugural journey, was denied a room in Mendon by an innkeeper’s wife. [3]

Modern Mendon

Lake Nipmuc Park was a popular resort in the early 20th century, featuring leading musical and vaudeville talent. Vintage postcards from this resort are frequently for sale on eBay.

The first gig of Aerosmith took place at Nipmuc Regional High School in this town in 1970. History teacher Carl Olson hired the band and allowed them to use the girls locker room which they trashed with beer bottles.[citation needed]

In 1986, the United States Congress created the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, a national park. Mendon falls within this corridor.

In modern times, Mendon serves primarily as a bedroom community.

The town has denied a proposal that would allow a large strip-club, Spotlight Entertainment, to open on its central road, Route 16.

Southwick's Zoo in Mendon is currently Massachusetts's largest zoo.

One of only three Drive-In theaters in Massachusetts is stationed in Mendon called the Twin Drive-In.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 18.3 square miles (47.3 km²), of which, 18.1 square miles (46.9 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (0.88%) is water.


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 5,286 people, 1,815 households, and 1,450 families residing in the town. The population density was 292.1 people per square mile (112.8/km²). There were 1,886 housing units at an average density of 104.2/sq mi (40.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.99% White, 0.40% African American, 0.59% Asian, 0.15% from other races, and 0.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.96% of the population.

There were 1,815 households out of which 42.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 71.5% were married couples living together, 6.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.1% were non-families. 16.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.28.

In the town the population was spread out with 29.5% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $71,164, and the median income for a family was $79,337. Males had a median income of $55,230 versus $36,174 for females. The per capita income for the town was $27,693. About 2.6% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 10.9% of those age 65 or over.


County government: Worcester County
Clerk of Courts: Dennis P. McManus (D)
District Attorney: Joseph D. Early, Jr. (D)
Register of Deeds: Anthony J. Vigliotti (D)
Register of Probate: Stephen Abraham (D)
County Sheriff: Guy W. Glodis (D)
State government
State Representative(s): John V. Fernandes (D)
State Senator(s): Richard T. Moore (D)
Governor's Councilor(s): Thomas J. Foley (D)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): Richard E. Neal (D-2nd District),
U.S. Senators: John Kerry (D), Scott Brown (R)

Points of interest

Adjacent towns


Notable residents



  1. ^ "Nipmuc History". Lee Sultzman. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  2. ^ a b Marvin, AP (1879). History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Embracing a Comprehensive History of the County from its earliest beginnings to the present time; Vol. lI. Boston, Massachusetts: CF Jewitt and Company. pp. 146. 
  3. ^ Metcalf MD, John G. (1880). Annals of the town of Mendon: from 1659 to 1880. Providence, R.I.: E.L. Freeman, printers to the State. pp. 3–4. 
  4. ^ ""Tommies/Mendon"". Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1967. 


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