Historic Homes Data

Welcome to the Southborough Historic Homes database. Homes and structures built before 1925 and included on the Southborough Historical Buildings Survey are listed here. The properties are listed alphabetically by street name and number.

Disclaimer: This compilation is provided merely for the convenience of the online viewer interested in history and should not be considered complete or definitive for legal purposes. To verify that your property is in fact subject to Southborough’s Historic Demolition Delay Bylaw, please contact the Building Commissioner at the Southborough Town Hall.


Birchwood Dr.
4 Birchwood Dr | Newton, Russel – Salmon, Patrick House


Boston Rd.
1-3 Boston Rd | Newton, Francis Building

16 Boston Rd | Riley, Peter Garage

4 Boston Rd | Gould, Carrie M. House

4 Boston Rd | Gould, Carrie M. Garage

16 Boston Rd | Riley, Peter House

16 Boston Rd | Riley, Peter Tool House

20 Boston Rd | Saint Anne’s Roman Catholic Church Garage

20 Boston Rd | Saint Anne’s Roman Catholic Church Rectory

21 Boston Rd | Sawin, C. B. and Son Grist Mill and Grain Store

28 Boston Rd | Bagley, Patrick – Butler House

32 Boston Rd

38 Boston Rd | Maley, Michael R. Barn

38 Boston Rd | Maley, Michael R. House

46 Boston Rd | Whittemore, Marshall Garage

46 Boston Rd | Whittemore, Marshall House

51 Boston Rd

53 Boston Rd

224 Boston Rd | Onthank, Sullivan Fay House

260 Boston Rd | Nichols, Oren Barn (1 of 2)

260 Boston Rd | Nichols, Oren Barn (2 of 2)

260 Boston Rd | Nichols, Oren House


Breakneck Hill Rd.
17 Breakneck Hill Rd | Wilson, Gilbert D. House


Breakneck Hill Rd. (Ext.)


Bridge St.
1 Bridge St | Carr, A. House

2 Bridge St | Lewis, G. W. House

3 Bridge St | Rice, E. House

Bridge St | Bridge Street Bridge over Conrail


Brigham St.
2 Brigham St | Brigham, Dana Barn

2 Brigham St | Brigham, Dana House


Central St.
7 Central St | Fay, Robert House

7 Central St | Leahy, John Cow Barn

20 Central St | White, S. House

22 Central St | McGrath, John House

24 Central St | Newton, Curtis House

26 Central St | Wood, C. A. House and Shoe Shop

42 Central St | Fayville Village Hall

45 Central St | Stone, J. House

47 Central St | Stone, E. J. House

50 Central St | Jones, Alfred House

54 Central St | Fayville Baptist Church

60-62 Central St | Kirby House

64 Central St | Fay, S. House

66 Central St | Bigelow, E. House

1895 Central St | Newton, Francis D. House


Cherry St.
6 Cherry St | Westboro Savings Bank

7 Cherry St

8 Cherry St | Westboro Savings Bank

9 Cherry St | Westboro Savings Bank

11 Cherry St | Berry, C. K. House

11A Cherry St | Berry, Jonathan House

15 Cherry St | Berry, Jonathan House

16 Cherry St


Chestnut Hill Rd.
1 Chestnut Hill Rd | Lyscom, John – Fay, Maj. Josiah House

2 Chestnut Hill Rd | Fay, Dea. Peter – Peters, Henry H. House

2 Chestnut Hill Rd

7 Chestnut Hill Rd | Palmer, Frank H. Farm Employee Cottage

9 Chestnut Hill Rd | Choate Barn Cellar and Ramps

9 Chestnut Hill Rd | Choate, Edward C. Barn

9 Chestnut Hill Rd | Choate, Edward C. Wagon House

9 Chestnut Hill Rd | Leland, Charles Silo

9 Chestnut Hill Rd | Palmer, Frank H. Farm Employee Cottage

10 Chestnut Hill Rd | Choate, Edward Francis Barn

10 Chestnut Hill Rd | Choate, Edward Francis Horse Barn

10 Chestnut Hill Rd | Leland, Charles Garage and Equipment Shed

Chestnut Hill Rd | Chestnut Hill Road Arch Bridge


Clemmons St.
15 Clemmons St | Netwon, Jabez – Clemmons, Benjamin H. House


Clifford St.
5 Clifford St | Hildreth, Charles C. House

9 Clifford St | Harris, James T. – Light, Ambrose House

12 Clifford St | Clifford, William D. House

30 Clifford St | Howard, I. House

37 Clifford St | Cloyes, Col. Jonas House


Common St.
15 Common St | Southborough Second Meeting House

17 Common St | Southborough Town House

25 Common St | Southborough District Schoolhouse #5

Common St | Southborough Town Pond


Conrail | Boston and Albany Railroad Bridge #27.47

Conrail | NY, NH & H Railroad Bridge over Sudbury Reservoir


Cordaville Rd.
3 Cordaville Rd

5 Cordaville Rd (2)

5 Cordaville Rd

9 Cordaville Rd | Staples, Frederic Garage

9 Cordaville Rd | Staples, Frederic House

153 Cordaville Rd | Fay, Benjamin Haynes House

175 Cordaville Rd | Baldelli, Eugene Greenhouse

175 Cordaville Rd | Baldelli, Eugene House

188 Cordaville Rd | Summerman, Henry Barn

188 Cordaville Rd | William, L. House

189 Cordaville Rd | Jones, William H. House

196 Cordaville Rd | Holmes, William House

217 Cordaville Rd

231 Cordaville Rd | Hyde, Cyrus Abraham House

259 Cordaville Rd

263 Cordaville Rd

269 Cordaville Rd | Carter, N. House

271 Cordaville Rd

272 Cordaville Rd | Wilson, George O. House

275 Cordaville Rd | Saint Ann’s Church Rectory

Cordaville Rd | Boston and Albany Railroad Bridge # 27.34

Cordaville Rd | Cordaville Road Arch Bridge

Cordaville Rd | Rural Cemetery Receiving Tomb

Cordaville Rd | Rural Cemetery Stone Water Tower


Cottage St.
7 Cottage St | Cordaville Manufacturing Company Worker Housing

9 Cottage St | Cordaville Manufacturing Company Worker Housing

5 Cottage St | Cordaville Manufacturing Company Worker Housing

3 Cottage St | Cordaville Manufacturing Company Worker Housing


Cross St.
5 Cross St | Walker, Peter House

11 Cross St | Barney, Nancy Walker House


Deerfoot Rd.
14 Deerfoot Rd | Burnett, Edward Carriage House

14 Deerfoot Rd | Burnett, Edward Lodge and Stable

45 Deerfoot Rd | Burnett, Edward Dairy Farm Worker Housing

47 Deerfoot Rd | Burnett, Edward Dairy Farm Worker Housing

49 Deerfoot Rd | Burnett, Edward Dairy Farm Worker Housing

77 Deerfoot Rd | Bemis Jacob – Bickford, John L. House

77 Deerfoot Rd | Bemis, Jacob – Bickford, John L. Barn and Milkroom

77 Deerfoot Rd | Bemis, Jacob – Bickford, John L. Pasture & Meadow

77 Deerfoot Rd | Offutt, Edward – LaurEdo Shed

134 Deerfoot Rd | Hildreth, Lawrence Barn

134 Deerfoot Rd | Hildreth, Lawson – Fay, Waldo A. House

135 Deerfoot Rd | Fay, Moses Double Stone Wall

135 Deerfoot Rd | Fay, Moses House


East Main St.
7 East Main St | Salmon, John A. House

9 East Main St | Salmon, John A. House

11 East Main St | Maley, Matthew House

12 East Main St | Thompson, Samuel N. House

15 East Main St

23 East Main St | Fay, Samuel – Fitzgerald, P. House

24 East Main St | Wilson, C.B. House

25 East Main St

26 East Main St | Wilson, Charles B. House

28 East Main St | Sellers Andrew House

31 East Main St | Telfer, James House

33 East Main St | Fay, W. – Parmenter, William Barn

33 East Main St | Fay, Warren – Parmenter, William House

36 East Main St | Howes, Seth House

37 East Main St | Boland, John Garage

37 East Main St | Boland, John House

43 East Main St | Newton – Temple – Bagley Barn

43 East Main St | Newton – Temple – Bagley House


Edgewood Rd.
22 Edgewood Rd | Kiley, Arthur J. House

36 Edgewood Rd | Capen, Thomas Rand House


Faye Ct.
2 Fay Ct | Fay, S. House


Fisher Rd.
1 Fisher Rd

22 Fisher Rd | Fisher, Francis House

36 Fisher Rd | Bigelow, Andrew F. House

48 Fisher Rd | Stonedale Farm Connected Silos

48 Fisher Rd | Stonedale Farm Cow Barn

48 Fisher Rd | Stonedale Farm Milkhouse

48 Fisher Rd | Stonedale Farmhouse


Flagg Rd.
21 Flagg Rd | Flagg, Sullivan Francis House

55 Flagg Rd | Collins English Barn

55 Flagg Rd | Collins House

56 Flagg Rd | Chamberlain, John lll House

Flagg Rd | Flagg Road Arch Bridge

Flagg Rd | Wachusett Aqueduct Open Channel Lower Control Dam


Foley Dr.
25 Foley Dr


Framingham Rd.
89 Framingham Rd | Emery, Moses – Coffin, Jennie M. House

89 Framingham Rd

103 Framingham Rd | Fay, J. W. House

114 Framingham Rd | Walker, Peter – Donahue, John Barn

116 Framingham Rd | Walker, Peter – Donahue, John House

117 Framingham Rd | Fay Cow Barn

117 Framingham Rd | Fay, Herman – Murphy, Dennis House

Framingham Rd | Marlborough Brook Filter Beds


Gilmore Rd.
15 Gilmore Rd | Mathews, John Jr. House

19 Gilmore Rd | Burnett, Charles Ripley – Watner, David House


Granuaille Rd
2 Granuaile Rd

26 Granuaile Rd | Brigham, Baker and William House

26 Granuaile Rd | Brigham, William Baker Barn

26 Granuaile Rd | Wheeler, Horace Greenhouse


Grove St.
7 Grove St | Frederick, J. A. House

9 Grove St


High St.
26 High St | Fay, Nathaniel W. House


Highland St.
3 Highland St | Cordaville Woolen Company Worker Housing

21 Highland St | South Union School (1 of 2)

21 Highland St | South Union School (2 of 2)

28 Highland St | Southborough Grammar School

32 Highland St | Sullivan, J. House

33 Highland St | Harrington, P. House

35 Highland St | Higgins, J. House

43 Highland St

45 Highland St | Hubbard, J. House

47 Highland St | Jones, S. R. House


Jericho Hill Rd.
25 Jericho Hill Rd | Cowern, John Poultry House

25 Jericho Hill Rd | Fay, Dea. Jonas Barn

25 Jericho Hill Rd | Fay, Dea. Jonas House

30 Jericho Hill Rd | Fay, Lovett – Hayden, Francis W. House

30 Jericho Hill Rd | Hayden, Francis W. Barn

30 Jericho Hill Rd | Hayden, Francis W. Milk Room

30 Jericho Hill Rd | Roach, Martin Vehicle Shed


Latisquama Rd.
4 Latisquama Rd | Works, George L. – Bacon, Dr. J. Lowell House (1 of 2)

4 Latisquama Rd | Works, George L. – Bacon, Dr. J. Lowell House (2 of 2)

5 Latisquama Rd (1 of 2)

5 Latisquama Rd (2 of 2)

6 Latisquama Rd | Ball, Sullivan T. Barn (1 of 2)

6 Latisquama Rd | Ball, Sullivan T. Barn (2 of 2)

7 Latisquama Rd (1 of 2)

7 Latisquama Rd (2 of 2)

8 Latisquama Rd | Ball, Sullivan T. House (1 of 2)

8 Latisquama Rd | Ball, Sullivan T. House (2 of 2)

9 Latisquama Rd | Collins, Hiram G. House (1 of 2)

9 Latisquama Rd | Collins, Hiram G. House (2 of 2)

10 Latisquama Rd | Sawin, Harry House (1 of 2)

10 Latisquama Rd | Sawin, Harry House (2 of 2)

11 Latisquama Rd | Dermon, William House (1 of 2)

11 Latisquama Rd | Dermon, William House (2 of 2)

12 Latisquama Rd | DeMone, James House (1 of 2)

12 Latisquama Rd | DeMone, James House (2 of 2)

13 Latisquama Rd | McMaster, Harry House (1 of 2)

13 Latisquama Rd | McMaster, Harry House (2 of 2)

14 Latisquama Rd | Young, Harry House (1 of 2)

14 Latisquama Rd | Young, Harry House (2 of 2)

15 Latisquama Rd (1 of 2)

15 Latisquama Rd (2 of 2)

18 Latisquama Rd | Haviland, Ferris Garage (1 of 2)

18 Latisquama Rd | Haviland, Ferris Garage (2 of 2)

18 Latisquama Rd | Haviland, Ferris H. House (1 of 2)

18 Latisquama Rd | Haviland, Ferris H. House (2 of 2)

25 Latisquama Rd | Gardner, George Peabody – Colleary, John House

26 Latisquama Rd | Walker, Peter – Daughn, Daniel House

28 Latisquama Rd

32 Latisquama Rd


Learned St.
10 Learned St | Nichols, J. C. House

14 Learned St | Newton, F. D. House

20 Learned St | Fairbanks, J. House


Lyman St.
5 Lyman St

9 Lyman St

15 Lyman St | Newton, Charles II House

17 Lyman St | Newton, Charles II House


Lynnbrook Rd.
8 Lynbrook Rd | Howe, Israel Golden House

26 Lynbrook Rd | Johnson, Capt. Elisha Jr. Barn

26 Lynbrook Rd | Johnson, Capt. Elisha Jr. House

35 Lynbrook Rd | Johnson, Daniel Bemis Barn   DEMOLISHED

35 Lynbrook Rd | Johnson, Isaac House   DEMOLISHED

35 Lynbrook Rd | Lynbrook Farm Greenhouse  DEMOLISHED

49 Lynbrook Rd | Johnson, John – Johnson, Dea. Webster House

Lynbrook Rd | Lynbrook Road Arch Bridge


Main St.
1 Main St | Flagg – Buck, C. House

3 Main St (1 of 2)

3 Main St (2 of 2)

4 Main St | Ward’s Variety Store (1 of 2)

4 Main St | Ward’s Variety Store (2 of 2)

6 Main St | Walker, Francis W. House

8 Main St | Barney, George F. – Marsh, Alexander Jr. House

10 Main St | Buck, William Henry – Flagg, Russell House

12 Main St (1 of 2)

12 Main St (2 of 2)

14 Main St | Young, Henry General Store

15 Main St | Newton, Moses House

16 Main St | Parker, Harriet – Parker, Charles S. House

17 Main St | Newton, Samuel Barn (1 of 2)

17 Main St | Newton, Samuel Barn (2 of 2)

17 Main St | Newton, Samuel House

18 Main St | Southborough Congregational Church Parsonage

20 Main St | Pilgrim Congregational Church Parsonage Barn (1 of 2)

20 Main St | Pilgrim Congregational Church Parsonage Barn (2 of 2)

22 Main St | Pilgrim Congregational Church Parsonage

24 Main St | Cotton, John Thomas House

25 Main St | Southborough Public Library

26 Main St | Winchester Barn (1 of 2)

26 Main St | Winchester Barn (2 of 2)

26 Main St | Winchester House

27 Main St | Este, Franklin – Cook, Hiram E. House (1 of 3)

27 Main St | Este, Franklin – Cook, Hiram E. House (2 of 3)

27 Main St | Este, Franklin – Cook, Hiram E. House (3 of 3)

27 Main St | Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church

28 Main St | White, William A. House

31 Main St | Fay, Dea. Peter House

33 Main St | Parker, Dea. Gabriel House – Unitarian Parsonage

34 Main St | Fairbanks, Charles L. House

36 Main St | Clark, William – Burnett, Rev. Waldo House

36 Main St | Clark, William Barn (1 of 2)

36 Main St | Clark, William Barn (2 of 2)

40 Main St | Nichols, De Clinton House

42 Main St | Jennison, George – Moore, Artemas House

43 Main St | Choate, Charles Francis Jr. Horse Stables

43 Main St | Choate, Charles Francis Jr. House

43 Main St | Choate, Charles Francis Jr. Rickenbaker Car Garage

44 Main St | Newton, L. W. Barn (1 of 3)

44 Main St | Newton, L. W. Barn (2 of 3)

44 Main St | Newton, L. W. Barn (3 of 3)

44 Main St | Newton, L. W. House

46 Main St | McMaster, H. House – Webster, Dr. House and Office

50 Main St | Fay School – Old Gymnasium (1 of 3)

50 Main St | Fay School – Old Gymnasium (2 of 3)

50 Main St | Fay School – Old Gymnasium (3 of 3)

50 Main St | Greenwood – Winchester House

52 Main St | Hyde, Curtis House

54 Main St | Hyde, Solomon House

55 Main St | Appleton, Samuel II – Bigelow, Rev. Andrew House

56 Main St | Kidders Servants House (1 of 2)

56 Main St | Kidders Servants House (2 of 2)

59 Main St | Reed, William B. House

66 Main St | Kidder, Charles Archibald House

66 Main St | Kidder, Charles Archibald Pergola

84 Main St | Burnett, Joseph Carriage House – Stable

84 Main St | Burnett, Joseph House

84 Main St | Burnett, Joseph Stone Shop

84 Main St | Burnett, Joseph Summerhouse

85 Main St | Fay, William Augustus House

94 Main St | Parker, Jedidiah House

96 Main St | Gardner, George Peabody Stable

116 Main St | Burnett, John Torrey House

130 Main St | Leland, Charles Garage

130 Main St | Leland, Charles House

144 Main St | Choate Barn

Main St | Southborough Town Common


Maple St.
4 Maple St | Eustis, S. House

10 Maple St | Carrigan, J. House

12 Maple St | Cantello, George House


Marlborough Rd.
25 Marlborough Rd | Saint Mark’s Chapel

25 Marlborough Rd | Saint Mark’s School – Armour Cage

25 Marlborough Rd | Saint Mark’s School – Barber, William Cottage

25 Marlborough Rd | Saint Mark’s School – Lawrence and Belmont Fields

25 Marlborough Rd | Saint Mark’s School – Peck Gymnasium

25 Marlborough Rd | Saint Mark’s School – Quadrangle

25 Marlborough Rd | Saint Mark’s School – Thieriot Hall

25 Marlborough Rd | Saint Mark’s School Main Building and Cloister

25 Marlborough Rd | Saint Mark’s School Power and Heating Plant

25 Marlborough Rd | Saint Mark’s School Sleeping Rooms – Pine Cottage

37 Marlborough Rd | Saint Mark’s School Master’s House

45 Marlborough Rd | Saint Mark’s School Master’s House

76 Marlborough Rd

77 Marlborough Rd | Kilgariff, John House

85 Marlborough Rd

101 Marlborough Rd | Newton, Adoniram J. House

103 Marlborough Rd | Barney, Hiram House

120 Marlborough Rd

124 Marlborough Rd

144 Marlborough Rd | Dodge, F. Leroy House

150 Marlborough Rd | Dodge, G. Frank House

152 Marlborough Rd

156 Marlborough Rd | Johnson, Addison House

158 Marlborough Rd

Marlborough Rd | Marlborough Road Bridge over Conrail

Marlborough Rd | Saint Mark’s School Bath House


Meadow Lane
2 Meadow Ln

18 Meadow Ln | Walla, Peter Barn

22 Meadow Ln


Middle Rd.
2 Middle Rd | Collins, Dennis Barn – Workshop

2 Middle Rd | Nichols, Dennis C. – Collins House

4 Middle Rd | Holland, James House

6 Middle Rd | Baker, Frederick L. Garage

6 Middle Rd | Baker, Frederick L. House

8 Middle Rd

10 Middle Rd

12 Middle Rd | Muchmore, William House

19 Middle Rd | Goodnow, Jonas – Winchester, H. H. House

118 Middle Rd | Fay, Samuel Fisher House

123 Middle Rd | Flagg, Elisha House

123 Middle Rd | Hutt, Albert Edgar Barn

136 Middle Rd | Flagg, Betsey H. House

136 Middle Rd | Flagg, George W. Shoe Shop Foundations

145 Middle Rd | Hyde, Abraham Barn

145 Middle Rd | Hyde, Abraham House

153 Middle Rd | Bowers, C. House

153 Middle Rd | DeFrees, William H. Poultry House

164 Middle Rd | Newton, Charles H. House

211 Middle Rd | Ward, Lyman House

Middle Rd | Middle Road Arch Bridge

Middle Rd | Sudbury Reservoir Circular Dam


Middle St.
18 Middle St | Neary, John Barn

18 Middle St | Neary, John House


Newton St.
5 Newton St | Howes, Seth H. House

6 Newton St

7 Newton St | Burke, James J. House

8 Newton St | Williams, Caleb Barn

10 Newton St | Donahue, Patrick House

11 Newton St | Mattioli, Ercole House

14 Newton St | Williams, Caleb House

15 Newton St | Deerfoot Rental House

17 Newton St

21 Newton St

70 Newton St

71 Newton St

76 Newton St

78 Newton St

88 Newton St

92 Newton St

94 Newton St

98 Newton St

100 Newton St

102 Newton St


North St.
4 North St | Murphy, J. House


Northborough Rd.
67 Northborough Rd | Johnson, James B. Milk House

67 Northborough Rd | Williams, James – Johnson, James B. Cown Barn

67 Northborough Rd | Williams, James – Johnson, James B. Granary

67 Northborough Rd | Williams, James – Johnson, James B. Horse Barn

67 Northborough Rd | Williams, James – Johnson, James B. House

67 Northborough Rd | Williams, James – Johnson, James B. Tool Room

120 Northborough Rd | Byard, John L. Cow Barn

120 Northborough Rd | Byard, John L. House

120 Northborough Rd | Byard, John L. Pasture and Hay Meadow

Northborough Rd | Northborough Road Arch Bridge #1

Northborough Rd | Northborough Road Arch Bridge #2


Oak Hill Rd.
9 Oak Hill Rd | Flagg, Dana House

11 Oak Hill Rd | Flagg, Dana House

15 Oak Hill Rd | Whiting, M. House

17 Oak Hill Rd | Bemis House

18 Oak Hill Rd

19 Oak Hill Rd | Temple J. House

22 Oak Hill Rd | Oak Hill Schoolhouse

25 Oak Hill Rd

26 Oak Hill Rd | Lowell, H. Austin Barn

26 Oak Hill Rd | Lowell, H. Austin House

29 Oak Hill Rd

32 Oak Hill Rd | Ring, H. P. House

38 Oak Hill Rd | Newton, L. W. House

44 Oak Hill Rd

49 Oak Hill Rd | Newton, L. A. House

59 Oak Hill Rd | Lindstrom, Dr. Carl Garage

59 Oak Hill Rd | Lindstrom, Dr. Carl House

65 Oak Hill Rd | Frail, W. N. Barn

65 Oak Hill Rd | Frail, W. N. House

84 Oak Hill Rd | Pierce, H. P. House


Old Boston Rd.
Old Boston Rd | Old Boston Road Arch Bridge


Oregon Rd.
14 Oregon Rd | Newton, Ephraim – Stow, Benjamin House

14 Oregon Rd | Whiting – Nottage Barn

42 Oregon Rd | Wood, Lambert House

45-47 Oregon Rd | Wood, Abigail – Mitchell, Michael House


Park St.
2 Park St | Watkins, Charles House

3 Park St

5 Park St | Ted’s Garage

25 Park St


Parker St.
6 Parker St | Cordaville Manufacturing Company Worker Housing

8 Parker St | Cordaville Manufacturing Company Worker Housing

10 Parker St | Cordaville Manufacturing Company Worker Housing

14 Parker St | Hammond, J. House


Parkerville Rd.
201 Parkerville Rd | Ward, Ephriam Jr. Barn

201 Parkerville Rd | Ward, Ephriam Jr. House

201 Parkerville Rd | Ward, Wilbur A. Poultry House

205 Parkerville Rd | Ward, Ephriam House

223 Parkerville Rd | Doucett, P. House

229 Parkerville Rd | Burdett, J. House

235 Parkerville Rd | Brigham, D. House

236 Parkerville Rd | Southville Primary School

240 Parkerville Rd | Golden, S. House

246 Parkerville Rd | Prentiss, Benjamin F. – Boyd, Joseph Barn

246 Parkerville Rd | Prentiss, Benjamin F. – Boyd, Joseph House

247 Parkerville Rd | Jones, S. R. House

249 Parkerville Rd | Hurd, J. House

250 Parkerville Rd | Newton, H. House

254 Parkerville Rd | Breck, G. House

256 Parkerville Rd | Pellican, T. House

258 Parkerville Rd | Lindsay, Dr. House

260 Parkerville Rd | Southville Train Depot

260 Parkerville Rd

Parkerville Rd | Boston and Worcester Street Railway Abutments

Parkerville Rd | Parkerville Road Arch Bridge


Pearl St.
3 Pearl St | Sullivan House

5 Pearl St | Powers House

6 Pearl St | O’Brien House

7 Pearl St | Sullivan, A. House


Pine Hill Rd.
58 Pine Hill Rd

99 Pine Hill Rd | Howe, Ashbel House


Pleasant St.
3 Pleasant St

7 Pleasant St | Perrini House

9 Pleasant St | Perrini House

11 Pleasant St | Cappeletti, J. House

12 Pleasant St | Geraway, H. House

14 Pleasant St | Powell, W. F. House

16 Pleasant St | Mitchell, L. House


Prentiss St.
1 Prentiss St | Prentice, B. F. House

3 Prentiss St | Bird, F. House

5 Prentiss St | Underwood House

6 Prentiss St | Prentice, B. F. House

7 Prentiss St | King, E. House


Richards Rd.
19 Richards Rd | Simmonds, Silas C. House

19 Richards Rd | Watkins, David Dairy Barn

21 Richards Rd | Works, Nathan House

43 Richards Rd | Richards, Stowell House


Rt. 30
Rt 30 | Sudbury Dam Gatehouse

Rt 30 | Sudbury Dam Storehouse

Rt 30 | Sudbury Dam

Rt 30 | Weston Aqueduct Head Chamber


Sadie Hutt Ln.
5 Sadie Hutt Ln | Bradley, J. D. C. House (1 of 2)

5 Sadie Hutt Ln | Bradley, J. D. C. House (2 of 2)


School St.
12 School St | Taylor, Emory House

14 School St | Taylor, Emory House

33 School St | Saint Mark’s School Garage

33 School St | Saint Mark’s School Stable

49 School St | Hefferan Patrick House

51 School St | Bertonazzi, Louis J. House


Sears Rd.
1 Sears Rd | Sears, Joshua Montgomery House

4 Sears Rd | Sears, J. Montgomery Farm Managers House

50 Sears Rd | Johnson, Nathan L. House

50 Sears Rd | Sears, J. Montgomery Carriage House and Stable

50 Sears Rd | Sears, J. Montgomery Cow Barn

50 Sears Rd | Sears, J. Montgomery Equipment Shed – Sheep Barn

50 Sears Rd | Sears, J. Montgomery Wagon and Tractor Shed

51 Sears Rd | Fay, Eber S. House

51 Sears Rd | Sears, J. Montgomery Barn

51 Sears Rd | Sears, J. Montgomery Storehouse – Shed

52 Sears Rd | Sears, J. Montgomery Employee House


Southville Rd.
65 Southville Rd | Stevens, J. M. House

67 Southville Rd | Este, N. House

69 Southville Rd | Hartley, E. House

71 Southville Rd | Jeffers, E. House

73 Southville Rd | Bacon, C. W. House

75 Southville Rd

81 Southville Rd | Wood, C. House

91 Southville Rd | Southborough Jail

95 Southville Rd

96 Southville Rd

98 Southville Rd | Southborough Poor Farm

100 Southville Rd | Dorr House

103 Southville Rd | Manning, T. House

105 Southville Rd | Saint Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church

110 Southville Rd | Fitzgeralds Store – Cordaville Company Store

114 Southville Rd

116 Southville Rd | Kelly, J. Store

131 Southville Rd | Murray, T. House

133 Southville Rd | Rockwood House

135 Southville Rd | Southborough Federated Church Parsonage

141 Southville Rd | Winchester, J. House

147 Southville Rd | Libby, William House

151 Southville Rd | Marvey House

153 Southville Rd | Brown, Oakes P. House

156 Southville Rd | Connell House

160 Southville Rd

162 Southville Rd | O’Brien House

166 Southville Rd | Wright, F. House

167 Southville Rd | Daniels, J. House

173 Southville Rd | Tyler House

184 Southville Rd | McFarland House

188 Southville Rd | Boyd, Thomas – Claflin, Elliot House

188 Southville Rd | Powers, Michael J. II Wellhouse

190 Southville Rd | Rice, D. House

192 Southville Rd | Rice, D. House

194 Southville Rd

196 Southville Rd | Boyd, J. House

200 Southville Rd | Newton, H. House

206 Southville Rd | Cronin, T. House

Southville Rd | Southborough Congregational Church

Southville Rd | Southborough Methodist Church


Stowe Rd.
16 Stowe Rd | Cain, Robert L. House


Sudbury Reservoir
Sudbury Reservoir | Sudbury Reservoir


Turnpike Rd.
63 Turnpike Rd | Brewer, D. H. House

69 Turnpike Rd | Smith, Capt. Isaac House

70 Turnpike Rd | Brewer, D. H. House

72-74 Turnpike Rd | Newton, S. B. Two-Family House

75 Turnpike Rd | Woodbury’s Tavern

77 Turnpike Rd | Fay, Dexter House

83 Turnpike Rd | Lawrence, Tom House

84 Turnpike Rd | Damon, W. House

87 Turnpike Rd

88 Turnpike Rd | Watson, Rev. Woodman H. House

97 Turnpike Rd | Newton, Frank D. House

124 Turnpike Rd | Mauro, Pasqual Dairy Barn and Milk House

124 Turnpike Rd | Mauro, Pasqual House

361 Turnpike Rd | Chamberlain, Willard House


Upland Rd.
4 Upland Rd | Farnum, Joseph E. – Lamphrey, Mary House

6 Upland Rd | Schnare, Robert W. House

8 Upland Rd | Howes, Robert H. House


Valade Ct.
2 Valade Ct | Frank, C. House

3 Valade Ct | Valard, A. House


Valley Rd.
14 Valley Rd | Brewer, Peter House


Wachusett Aqueduct
Wachusett Aqueduct | Wachusett Aqueduct Open Channel Upper Control Dam

Wachusett Aqueduct | Wachusett Aqueduct


Walker St.
2 Walker St

8 Walker St

12 Walker St


Ward Rd.
5 Ward Rd | Brigham, Samuel House

6 Ward Rd

8 Ward Rd

10 Ward Rd | Buck, John W. House

14 Ward Rd | Bigelow, Dana Outbuilding

14 Ward Rd | Bigelow, Daniel House

17 Ward Rd

20 Ward Rd | Baker, Francis A. Barn

20 Ward Rd | Baker, Francis A. House


Weston Aqueduct
Weston Aqueduct | Weston Aqueduct Section 1 Bridge

Weston Aqueduct | Weston Aqueduct


White Bagley Rd.
5 White Bagley Rd | McCarthy, James House

9 White Bagley Rd | Lavelle, Michael House

19 White Bagley Rd | Bagley, Dennis House

25 White Bagley Rd | Spella, Dennis House

31 White Bagley Rd | Bagley, Thomas House

White Bagley Rd | White Bagley Road Arch Bridge


Winchester St.
4 Winchester St

6 Winchester St | Barney, William E. House

7 Winchester St | Bagley, Thomas House

9 Winchester St

12 Winchester St | Gralton, L. House


Winter St.
2 Winter St | Stone, J. House

6 Winter St | Newton, F. D. House

8 Winter St

9 Winter St | Gilmore, A. House


Wood St.
1 Wood St | Flint, J. House

2 Wood St | Noonan, William House

3 Wood St | Fay, S. House

4 Wood St | Tyler, N. H. House

5 Wood St | Fay, S. House

6 Wood St | Wood, W. L. House

7 Wood St | King, E. House


Woodland Rd.
2 Woodland Rd | Collins, L. T. Barn

9 Woodland Rd | Green House

21 Woodland Rd | Baldwin, C. House

29 Woodland Rd | Hillside School for the Feeble Minded Youth

93-97 Woodland Rd | Brooks, Timothy Barn

93-97 Woodland Rd | Brooks, Timothy Chicken Coop

93-97 Woodland Rd | Brooks, Timothy House

93-97 Woodland Rd | Brooks, Timothy Long Shed

93-97 Woodland Rd | Childs, Elisha House

98 Woodland Rd | Whiting, Mason House

137 Woodland Rd | Follensby, Francis A. House

140 Woodland Rd | Follensby, Lyman House

160 Woodland Rd | Cunneen, Thomas House

197 Woodland Rd | Mixer, R. House

204 Woodland Rd


Help Document These Difficult Times: A Photographic Portrait of Southborough

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In the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, Fayville Hall and the surrounding land were turned into a temporary field hospital.

As you can see from this photo of Fayville Hall from the 1918, pandemics are nothing new. Southborough has been struck by waves of disease, from cholera to scarlet fever. (This last was thought to be born by dogs, and resulted in the strict licensing and fee structure still in place today.)

Today, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us in Southborough in many different ways and each of us is an eyewitness to this important time in our history. The Southborough Historical Society hopes to accurately preserve this moment in time by launching “Coronavirus Pandemic: A Photographic Portrait of Southborough.”

The goal is to preserve images of our daily lives during this crisis and to provide future historians, researchers and students with information on life in our community during this pandemic and how it affected our daily lives.

And, we need everyone’s help. SHS is seeking photographs that demonstrate the impact of coronavirus and COVID-19 on Southborough and its residents.

Are you keeping a COVID-19 journal? Have you taken a porch portrait of your family? Do you work on the front lines of the pandemic response or are deemed an essential worker? In what ways have you seen our community unite? Have you been personally affected by the illness or repercussions of the economic fallout? How does homeschooling and social distancing affect your children and their lives? Have you seen empty store shelves and other images symbolic of how things have changed? We encourage you to share photographs of pandemic experiences in the context of your daily lives.

It is a time when face masks, closed business, and working from home has become our new normal. For many of us, this may be the most historical moment of our lives and we need to preserve and archive this for posterity. By recording how the virus has changed our daily life, we will ensure the stories are available to provide valuable insight for future generations. Each contribution will help ensure evidence of this time for future research, reference and exhibits.

Please provide as many photographs as you feel are important. If you would prefer to send images directly through email, or have any questions, concerns, or thoughts about the project, please send an email to photos@southboroughhistory.org

The Southborough Historical Society is dedicated to discovering and safekeeping the stories of our community. Archived within our collections and entrusted to our care are stories of family, growth and perseverance. As we navigate through these difficult times, we must continue to collect and ensure that these experiences in our community are preserved for later generations.

Thank you for your contribution and your help in building history.


By submitting to the Southborough Historical Society collection, you are agreeing to the terms within this disclaimer document.

All submissions will be moderated before being made available publicly. The Southborough Historical Society reserves the right to not accept a submission should it not fit the theme and intent of the Coronavirus Pandemic: A Portrait of Southborough project, per the discretion of SHS staff.

Provide as much description as you can about each photo, including what it depicts, where and when it was taken, who is included, or any other relevant details
To upload multiple files, compress them into a single ZIP archive. If your file is larger than 20MB, please upload it to a file-sharing platform such as Google Drive or Dropbox and include the link to it in the description field or send as multiple files.

Please make sure to attach a file by clicking on the button below.

View the gallery of contributed images

Long Dead…

But certainly not forgotten!

Thanks to a two-year project spearheaded by SHS members Rebecca Dean-Rowe, Sally Watters, Molly Leavitt, and Jim Blaschke, you can now explore the Old Burial Ground virtually on our new interactive map.

Its sophisticated search mechanism lets you click on individual graves, read the inscriptions, and learn about the history of the people below. Best of all, the system is designed to be continually added to and expanded by both society members and outside contributors. This spring and summer, for example, we will be photographing and adding in pictures all the grave stones, and Sally Watters is busy researching the fascinating background stories of our founding residents to add to the collection. (Just click the image below to begin your explorations!)


If you have information you would like to share about any of the Old Burial Ground residents, please use the form below the map and we’ll add it to the database.

And finally, a shout out to Aidan Campbell, who designed the interactive and endured a thousand rounds of edits and changes!


In Memoriam: Eleanor Onthank Hamel

Dear Friends

It is with a very real sadness that I share the news of the death of Eleanor Hamel, a long-time best friend to the Southborough Historical Society, at age 98. I’ll let you read her obituary here, but I just wanted to share a few personal memories with you.

I  met Eleanor back in the early 90s during my first stint on the Historical Commission. I had gotten involved because one of our dismal cast of local developers, always ready to demolish, was planning to tear down the hugely historic Greek Revival house of Mary Finn on Route 9 to build a Wendy’s. (That’s Mary Finn of Mary Finn School, btw, and the current Wendy’s speaks to the result.) As usual, I was full of (then youthful) outraged indignation, and as usual, wise and calm Eleanor, who was an 11th generation Soutborough resident, saw the bigger picture. As she pointed out to me, while we’d lost the skirmish, we could still win the war, and with her guidance we raised enough public awareness to make sure there would be no more fast food restaurants blighting the Southborough streetscape. When I would get discouraged, and not attend meetings for a while, she would call me up with the gentle voice and say, “Now Michael, I know you are busy, but we need your energy and enthusiasm. Please try to come.” And I did, and working together we got the Town to spend 25K to do the 2001 Historical Properties Survey. That was the watershed. Many years later it led to the Demolition Delay By-Law, the preservation of 85 Main Street, and the Historic Adaptive Reuse By-law (which saved Fayville Hall, among others). By then Eleanor had long retired from the Historical Commission, but her imprint echoes through all these achievements.

I’m unclear if Eleanor was one of the founding members of the Historical Society, but if not, she was close. She worked assiduously at the Museum for decades, cataloguing the collections, urging people to contribute, sharing her vast personal knowledge of Southborough, or helping out in any way she could. I wasn’t active in the Society during this period, but it’s not hard to see hints of Eleanor around every corner. Just pick up a record, look at an object, read the caption on a photo. Her distinctive handwriting, which I came to know so well on the Commission, was, and still is, everywhere. Every time I see it, I smile. It’s like meeting a trusted old friend. If that blocky script states: “This the Brewer farm and the girls on ladders are picking cherries after school,” then you can rest assured that’s exactly what you’re looking at, for she was there, or knew someone who was.

Across from my desk at the museum there is a wonderful mid-19th century wooden box with original paper labels advertising Boston Baked Beans. The shipping address is the now long-destroyed Wright’s Store in Fayville. Inside on the cover there is a taped note that simply reads; “This box has been in our home as long as I can remember. E.H.”

Thank you, dear friend, for sharing your memories with us, and for becoming a huge part of ours. You will be sorely missed.


Ex Tenebris, Lux

Dear Friends,

I thought perhaps you would like a bit of good news for a change.

Just before the COVID crisis hit, the Board of the Southborough Historical Society purchased and donated to the town a 12′ tall Princeton elm. It was planted in the field beside the museum (with the kind assistance of DPW head Karen Galligan) to replace one of the huge sugar maples that recently failed. This new variety has been field tested over the last few decades and has proven resistant to the Dutch elm disease.  With any luck,  this tree will shortly grow into a sizable specimen, giving shade to grateful future generations. To our knowledge, it is the first new elm planted along the roadways of Southborough in half a century.

And also, we are delighted to announce that the first crop of our new Lyscom apple trees will be available for sale shortly. (You’ll perhaps remember that the Lyscom originated here in the 1730s) Again, thanks to Karen, grafts from the sole surviving tree were taken several years ago, and 15 or so are now ready to find new homes. More on that soon.

So from darkness, light! Be well, everyone!

Why Francis Fay Said No to an I-Phone 11: On Economy

Continuing our publication of Col. Francis Fay’s letters, I thought any of you with the experience of young charges might delight in knowing that things haven’t changed much in 170 years. Here, our hero writes to his two sons, Frank and Henry, explaining why he’ll never buy an I-Phone 11 (or the 1850s equivalent)—for himself, or for them.

To Frank and Henry

You think me absurd in my views of what I call unnecessary expenditure, that is, for that which is to gratify the taste [or] inclination of fancy, but affords no actual comfort, and is, when carefully examined, of no real benefit or utility.

Let us see how much you are indebted to this supposed absurdity.

Had I indulged in those things “very pleasant” “agreeable” or “convenient” etc. but not necessary to actual comfort, I should have “spent as I went” and been always poor, and been unable to give you an education, to furnish you with a comfortable home, with decent food and clothing, and to aid you, if necessary, with funds and credit to start in life. But for my economy, YOU would have been like myself—without education, without credit, or means to commence life, and like me at 21, been refused (by your own uncle, perhaps) a credit of fifty dollars, and had to struggle with hardships, privations, discouragements, embarrassments for 20 years before you got the wheels fairly moving. Why were you not obliged at 21 (and even before) to work upon a farm by the month, or in a stable, or drive a truck, and now a hand cart? If you’ll examine minutely cause and effect, you will find my habits of economy through life had much to do with it.

Let me illustrate.

Major Chase and Mr McFarland were much better off at 21, both for means of family influence, than myself. But they wanted things “convenient” and “comfortable” “customary” “gratifying” etc. They wished to “live while they did live” “to enjoy themselves” “to do as others do”, etc. And where are they? What have they been able to do for their families, what character, credit or aid can they afford them? What is their own condition for comfort and happiness in their old age? Now seeing, knowing these effects, these results, is it not my duty to warn my family against such evil consequences, to caution them not to be wrecked upon the same rocky shore— even though they laugh at my economy, are annoyed at my admonition and think they can take care of themselves?

Probably the last is true, but how will it be for their children? Shall they have parents who, by the practiced economy, are able to educate, bring them up comfortably, and start them in life with reasonable prospects, or shall through their parents’ indulgence, like Chase and McFarland, be obliged to start struggling with ignorance, poverty and destitution? These are questions for you to answer, and knowing their importance from actual experience and observation, I cannot allow myself to neglect to call your attention to them, though that warning voice may not always be received with satisfaction at the time.

All of us in youth need restraint; my restraint came from necessity. You have not that salutary, though disagreeable, check, and therefore it is more important [that] yours should come from some other source.

By what I have said I would not want to indicate that either of you are practically extravagant, and yet I think both to a certain extent are inclined or have a disposition to be so, but not to so great extent as myself when I was young. Had I been able, I should have gone ahead of either of you. I was compelled to economy and its effect, both in character and property, has proved to me it was the best policy, and that my former notions that I must conform to custom and keep up with the times were all imaginings, all moonshine.

I have said you are inclined, that is you have a pride be as good as others. Well, this desiring is highly praiseworthy, but to be as good, as popular, as much respected as others does not depend on fine clothes, fashionable furniture or ape-ing your neighbors, and if you believe what you often say to me, you have living proof of that constantly before you.

When you get to be forty years old, you will probably need no monitor but your own experience, observation and reflection—until then, one occasionally may do you know harm, and probably no one is more suitable, or will discharge that duty with more fidelity , and with a single eye to your benefit, than your own parents.

With these remarks I close this lecture.

Editors Aside: For anyone contemplating a phone upgrade, amusingly “that which is to gratify the taste [or] inclination of fancy, but affords no actual comfort, and is, when carefully examined, of no real benefit or utility” does in fact pretty much sum up the I-Phone 11 vs 10!

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig. Colonel Fay Returns to Boston, Part III

In this third and final installment, the illustrious Colonel Fay leaves St. Louis and heads back to Boston, though not without further misadventures and having witnessed a dreadful  accident. As we join this episode, our hero is still hugely weakened but slowly recovering from a bout of something akin to rheumatic fever…

November 3rd on the Ohio River at anchor near Beaver 32 miles from Pittsburgh.

I resume my story as we are now unable to run owing to the darkness of the night and the narrow and crooked river here. And I come now to write without the continual shake I was subjected to when the boat was underway. I left St. Louis October 26th 10 AM perhaps before my health would justify it but one gains strength so slow in this country and I was so anxious to get home and have a New England diet and New England nursing that I ventured although I was just able to set up through the day.

I left in the steamboat Swift Boy and paid $25 for passage to Pittsburgh. They brought us to Cincinnati Ohio 750 miles out of 1300 and refused to carry us any farther or make any provision for us and insisted in taking $18 out of the 25 which we had paid although the regular price from St. Louis to Cincinnati was $15.

The Ohio River, which flows into the Mississippi. The eastward journey by steamboat, had it been completed would have certainly been much faster and more comfortable than Col. Fay’s trip westward. The probable reason he went by such an arduous route west was to report as agent to a group looking for profitable western investments.

We quarreled awhile and I took the lead. I finally told the captain that I did not wish to quarrel, that he had undertook to carry us to Pittsburgh and we had paid him his price; he had not fulfilled his engagement and he was bound to carry us there or refund sufficient to carry us there, and that for one I should take no less, but should seek my [recourse] in some other way. He said we need not think to “scare him.” I answered that we had no idea of scaring; that I should not resort to a legal remedy although I supposed I had one. But that I should not spend 10 dollars to get 3; but that I had the right and should exercise that right of publishing the imposition to the world as a caution to the public not to travel on his boat. I then left him. In a few moments, the captain called us into the office and paid us back $10 each for the price of passage to Pittsburgh.

We then went immediately on board the Dayton where we have every accommodation [illegible]. We live like lords. My health is very much improved, my appetite good and I feel comfortable except that I want exercise. Being bound up 10 or 12 days in the cabin of a steamboat with 50 passengers is no pleasant affair. We shall probably arrive at Pittsburgh about noon tomorrow and and at 9 PM take the canal boat for Philadelphia.

Canal Boat Chesapeake on the Pennsylvania Canal near Mifflin, Juniata County Pennsylvania November 7th 1836

We arrived at Pittsburgh as I expected and found it one the most [illegible] unpleasant smoking towns I ever saw. It contains in its immediate suburbs about 40,000 inhabitants. It is situated at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers which here unite and form the Ohio. It is built on the spot where the French Fort Duquesne and afterward the English Fort Pitt was erected. It is surrounded by high mountains which almost completely enclose it on all sides.

An early view of Pittsburgh

[The town sits] upon a flat [and] is tolerably laid out and has many good buildings, but the numerous manufacturing establishments which are there erected and which burn coal, which is found in great abundance in the mountains within a half a mile of the town, means the town is covered with such a perpetual smoke that it completely prevents the atmosphere from being clean and all the buildings and inhabitants to carry the appearance of a smoke house. It is however a place of great business and considerable wealth and is fast increasing.

A network of east-west canals and connecting railroads spanned Pennsylvania from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. North-south canals connecting with this east-west canal ran between West Virginia and Lake Erie on the west, Maryland and New York in the center, and along the border with Delaware and New Jersey on the east. Many shorter canals connected cities such as York, Port Carbon, and Franklin to the larger network.
A map of the Pennsylvania Canal system, which was, as Colonel Fay describes, a mix of canals and railroad portages. It was assembled over several decades beginning in 1824 to link Pennsylvania with the west via Pittsburgh and the Ohio

We left Pittsburgh at 9 PM on the 4th in the canal boat
Niagara on the canal and on the 5th passed through a tunnel cut under the mountain through a solid rock nearly 1000 feet [long], sufficiently wide and deep for the canal boat—and the mountain some 200 feet over our heads.

Soon after passing through the tunnel we came to the end of this canal, 106 miles, and to the Portage Railroad at Johnstown and in the course of the 16 miles ascended 5 incline planes of about ½ mile each in length and a rise of about 15 degrees to the top of the Allegheny Mountain and through another tunnel under a mountain equal with the one encountered before on the canal. We there commenced descending and in the same distance descended 5 more times of about the same descent but somewhat longer, and there were carried 4 miles without any power down such a gentle plain that the cars were propelled by their own weight to Hollidaysburg. We were then towed up and down these plains by stationary engines on each.

A view of the portage railroad described by Colonel Fay.

At Hollidaysburg we again took the canal in the boat which I now am and shall go down the banks of the Juniata River and Susquehanna to Columbia, 172 miles passing through Harrisburg the capital of Pennsylvania. At Columbia, we shall again take the railroad for Philadelphia, 82 miles. 

Early railroad cars were open affairs based on stage coaches.

We arrived at Columbia at 9 Am and stayed until 2 PM and took the cars for Philadelphia. When about half way a passenger was standing on top of the car in which I was seated and being careless came in contact with a bridge across the railroad when we were going about 20 miles an hour which struck his head and he fell upon the car dreadfully mangled.

We carried him about three miles to a public house and laid him upon a settee, and let him down and carried him into the home alive but perfectly insensible where we left him and he probably lived but a few hours if he did so long.

We came the rest of the way in the night and arrived in Philadelphia about 9 PM after being let down another long inclined plane of 5/8 of a mile to the Schuylkill River. I left Philadelphia the next day at 10 AM and arrived at New York at 6 PM by steamboat to Bordentown; railroad to South Amboy; and then by boat from there to New York. I left New York at 4 PM the next day in the steamboat Massachusetts, arrived at Providence  a  quarter before eight the next morning and took cars for Boston where I arrived.



Remember: History like this doesn’t save itself.  Please consider donating to the Southborough Historical Society. It’s quick, secure and easy.


” I Felt I Must Die Where I Was and Could Do No More Upon the Road” Part II

This is the second installment of the account of Colonel Francis B. Fay’s journey from Boston to St. Louis in the autumn of 1836. As we rejoin the story, our hero has already survived various and sundry vicissitudes, including being shipwrecked on Lake Erie….

The route described in this portion of the letter. By comparison, the modern traveler could drive this distance in a little more than 5 hours.


We left Logansport in the afternoon and went 6 miles to a small tavern on the banks of the Wabash and here my scene of troubles began. I rose in the morning with one of my most severe turns of headache. That house was no place for comfort [and with] my friends urging me on I consented to start and rode 20 miles in the most excruciating torture before I came to any house where we could get entertainment. Before we arrived it seemed I should be obliged to get down from my horse and sit down by the roadside. I however arrived at Delphi and put up at a miserable hotel; staid till next morning and although no better and having a high fever I again mounted my horse and rode 20 miles to Lafayette in search of better quarters. I staid their until the next morning but found no better entertainment and being unable to ride horseback my companions led on my horse and I to the stage to go 50 miles. I road 40 miles and was obliged to stop, unable to go any farther and stopped at Covington. I there stayed three days, had a physician to be X and other medicine. I sold my horse and took the stage for Terre Haute—50 miles. My companions had left a half a day before me in order that they might arrive at Terre Haute at the same time I did. They went 35 miles to Clinton and learning that they could save a few miles by not going to Terre Haute they very cooly left a line for me that they had taken a different route and presumed I should arrive at St. Louis now 200 miles distant before them.

Thus I was left alone among strangers scarcely able to sit up or walk. I however proceeded to Terre Haute and there found myself more feeble than ever with a high fever, my tongue coated to its very tip, my pulse up to 90, no appetite and parched with thirst. Add to this I was staying in a tavern with building, plastering, whitewashing and sawing going on, a horse race about to commence and the house filled with gamblers, [illegible] who appeared ready to rob me at every step and who occupied the next chamber to mine with a only a board partition and were gambling through the night. And added to all these the landlady an unaffecting brute with no disposition to contribute to or afford me any comfort or attention. The first night I took a severe sweat—rolling and tumbling and almost dying with thirst without anything to quench it but the water from my washbowl. I lay till 9 in the morning and no one appeared to see whether I was dead or alive. I got up, the sweat then rolling off my face, running down my bosom, my shirt wet with sweat. I stepped into the entry to go down, found them whitewashing one part and scouring up the other with soap and sand. I went down one flight of stairs out on a piazza, down another into another with a room with two Negroes plastering, clambering over the staging. I went out of doors round the corner of the house in a good northeast storm through the bar room into the sitting room which was also the eating room for some 40 or 50 each meal, which kept it in constant commotion through the day setting tables, eating, and clearing off—here I was obliged to stay through the day… [illegible]

I stayed here in this situation 4 days, had two Physicians, had [eaten] nothing for 10 days except once or twice a day a little sip of coffee or gruel. I got so reduced that I was scarcely able to sit in my chair or walk across the room with the greatest effort and no one to do anything for me. I made up my mind under all these circumstances that in all probability I should never again set my foot in Massachusetts, never again embrace my family and friends but that I must deposit my earthly remains in Indiana. Still my courage or resolution did not forsake me. I resolved to overcome all if possible. I was my own nurse while I stayed and after 4 days although very little better I resolved to leave that place and take the stage for St. Louis—180 miles—live or die, as I felt I must die where I was and could do no more on the road. I took the stage at 12 at noon and made 20 miles, stayed at a log house and was called at 4 in the morning,  but I bribed the driver to keep his eyes shut till 6… The 3rd night I stopped in Vandalia, the seat of government for Illinois and fared well.

Vandalia was the capital of Illinois from 1820-1839

(The stage goes here about 35 or 40 miles per day, one half before morning, the next in the fore noon and the last leg in the afternoon. The 4th night we stayed at a farm house upon the prairie (Log house of course with 11 of us stowed into a small room with a roaring fire all night) I (illegible) which routed me at 2 o’clock. The rain pouring down in torrents, I obliged to leave that afternoon and expose myself to the storm—exposure was inevitable although it seemed to me if it did not prove fatal it would be a miracle.

I however escaped [death] and the next day riding all day in the storm in a poor [open] carriage (they have no other in that country) I arrived at sunset at St Louis and put up at the same house where Lyman and his wife board—[about] as well as I left Terre Haute, but unable to sit up all day or walk a quarter mile without being completely exhausted, my tongue still coated all over, my neck stiff, my limbs paining me and no appetite. But I felt in a new world. I had got among civilized people and among some of my friends. My companions came to congratulate me on my arrival but they met with a cold reception and I gave them to understand that I considered their conduct in leaving me barbarous, little better than savage and an act which I could never overlook or forget. Their own conscience smote them and I think they did not feel very comfortable.

I stayed at St. Louis 11 days before I so far recovered as to dare to start home and even then, was unable to walk more than for a mile without exhaustion, so reduced was I on my arrival and so slow in my recovery. St. Louis is a beautiful location and a place of great business and fine advantages and when they root out the old French houses will be a charming place….


The Intrepid Colonel Fay Takes a Trip to St. Louis, Autumn 1836, Part I

The first page of Fay’s account. The letter spans 12 pages written over the period of about a week on the return journey.

Among the Fay correspondence the Society is publishing for the first time ever this winter, we found a remarkable letter that chronicles the almost superhuman effort it took to travel by land before the railroad system linked the continent in the 1860s and 70s.  Although not stated in the account, it seems fairly clear that Fay took on this arduous 1836 journey from Boston to St. Louis to act as a business agent, looking for profitable investment opportunities for wealthy Boston clients.

In this first installment, our hero Colonel Francis B. Fay, late of Southborough, finds himself ill-housed, ill-used, battered about, and eventually, submerged in Lake Erie….

On board the steamboat Dayton, on the Ohio River between Mariette Ohio and Pittsburgh

November 2nd 1836

Dear Lori,

The time passing rather tedious—being penned up in a steamboat for 8 or 10 days without any relief, I made up my mind to give you a little history of my journey and adventures, although it is not very easy to write on a steamboat constantly shaking and trembling under the tremendous power of the engine and you may find some difficulty in deciphering all the [illegible} of the scroll.

I left Boston, as you know, September 12 at 1 PM and arrived at Providence at 4. [Presumably by the brand-new Boston and Providence Railroad, just finished the year before]. Went on board steamboat Massachusetts, had fog all the way through the [Long Island] sound which retarded out passage, arrived at New York the 13th at 7 AM, too late for the morning boat up the North [Hudson] River. Stayed in New York till five PM, took a boat for Albany and arrived there 6 AM; left there and arrived at Utica at 1 PM. 482 miles in 48 hours from home, having stopped 8 hours in Utica and 2 in Albany.

[This was breath-taking speed for 1836 and would have been a thing of wonder. Compare this to daily sums later in the letter.]

I there took a canal boat for Syracuse—61 miles where we arrived at 6 AM on the 15th. We there left the canal and took stage for Canandaigua passing through Auburn, Waterloo, and Geneva, and other beautiful towns to arrive at Canandaigua. Quarreled the stage agent for imposition, [unclear what this means, though presumably a disagreement about the fare] left that route and took the stage for Rochester and from there took stage for Buffalo through Lenox and Batavia, the last notorious for the scene of the Morgan abduction.

The route taken westbound by Francis Fay. Because there was as yet no train connection between Boston and Albany, the fastest route was by train and boat via Providence and New York. Incidentally, this poor connection to the interior, which would last another 20 years, was one of the principal reasons New York gained prominence over Boston.

[Fay’s reference to the “Morgan abduction” refers to one William Morgan,  a resident of Batavia, New York, whose disappearance and presumed murder in 1826 ignited a powerful movement against the Freemasons, a fraternal society that had become influential in the United States. After Morgan announced his intention to publish a book exposing Freemasonry’s secrets, he was arrested on trumped-up charges. He disappeared soon after, and was believed to have been kidnapped and killed by Masons from western New York. The allegations surrounding Morgan’s disappearance and presumed death sparked a public outcry.]

An early Great Lakes steamboat. Travel by steamboat was fraught with danger: Poor (or no) maps of underwater hazards, no indoor sanitation, and engine machinery that was liable to explode.

Arrived at Buffalo on Saturday noon Sept 17th and remained there over Sunday and Monday. At 10 AM started in the steamboat General Porter up Lake Erie. Went for 45 miles, [before we] struck a rock near Dunkirk and stove a hole through her bottom, ran her into the harbor where she sank a few feet from the wharf with 3 feet of water in her cabin, and 700 passengers on board, men, women and children of all sorts of sizes, ages, conditions making one little world by ourselves. What may seem incredible too is that boats leave daily from Buffalo with an average of 700 or 800 passengers, mostly immigrants moving to the west. Here we were—700 of us—shipwrecked in a little village of some 30 to 50 houses. Our company consisted of 7 men on shore while the others got out our baggage near up the wharf. [We] chartered a wagon to carry us 3 miles to the stage road at Fredonia. We got there and chartered the only stage there for $20 to take us to Erie PA—50 miles. Before our stage was ready, swarms of passengers arrived from the boat wanting conveyance but they arrived “just in season to be too late.” We went on to Erie and from there by stage to Cleveland Ohio, about 110 miles. We there got on board the steamboat Thomas Jefferson and arrived at Detroit Michigan in about 24 hours. We there breakfasted and took another boat, came back down the Detroit River across the westerly shore of Lake Erie to Toledo at the mouth of the Maumee River. Again took a steamboat and went 8 miles up the Maumee to Perrysburg, the head of navigation on that river. This was Friday evening.

On Saturday we purchased horses, saddles, bridles, portmanteaus, leggings etc and on Sunday at 2 PM commenced our tour up the Maumee River through the woods on horseback to Fort Defiance at the conjunction of the St. Josephs River and the Auglaize River, whose junction forms the Maumee. We made 18 miles and put up at a house (a tavern it could not be called) kept by a man, half-French, half-Indian. We had a comical supper and were put to bed in a chamber— 8 beds, or more properly, substitutes for beds, where we stowed away, 18 of us men women and children, windows with more than half the glass out, and we had to put in our hats and coats to fill in the gaps. The next day we reached Ft. Defiance after a 38 miles ride through mud & ravines almost perpendicular—down and up through mud sloughs, fording rivers, etc. etc.

Fort Defiance

There is a little village at Defiance and a tolerable tavern where we fared comfortably. Fort Defiance is well named, it’s situation is most commanding being directly up the point where the two rivers meet, with the guns so arranged as to point down the Maumee and up the St. Joseph and Auglaize, with a high embankement and a deep ditch in the rear from river to river. I think troops stationed there might well defy an enemy. The village is situated directly in the rear of the fort and is very pleasant.

In leaving Ft. Defiance we commenced a journey of 50 miles through the forest where there was no road but for a path for man and horse through swamps [and] deep ravines. We would descend 50-75 feet almost perpendicular, the horses sometimes sliding from top to bottom unable to keep a foothold. At the bottom there were mud sloughs and water up to our horses bellies and immediately afterwards we would ascend almost perpendicular, obliged to hold onto the horses’ manes and let our horse keep prone step to step and with the greatest effort reach the top. The first night we put up at a log cabin of two rooms (about half a dozen of which were all the inhabitants there were between Ft Defiance and Ft Wayne—50 miles)


The Ohio and Indiana portions of Fay’s journey.

We had a supper I believe such as never before ate—meat that had been cooked some 8 or 10 times and fish which was not cooked without salt or butter. We were sent to bed under the roof (if roof it might be called) by a flight of stairs outside with no door and the logs so far apart that it appeared more of a cob house than a dwelling, stowed in with corn, oats, boxes, herbs, etc with 4 (what were called) beds. We stayed there till morning during a raging[?] night and had the same provision for breakfast and it was again set before 5 others travelers who came up just as we left.

The next day we passed Fort Wayne, a small little town, and commenced descending the Wabash River on a tow path of the Wabash Canal. That night we put up at a log house and had a splendid entertainment [the word here means “food and lodging”] as good as could be had in Boston. The next night we put up at another log house and fared comfortably. The owner was formerly from Massachusetts.

The next day we came to Logansport, a fine town in Indiana at the junction of the Wabash and Eel Rivers. In the meantime, I saw plenty of Indians and among them the head chief of the Miami Tribe who dresses and appears like a gentleman. He is said to be the richest man in Indiana, supposed to be worth $400,000. There was a collection of 11,000 Indians near Logansport to receive their pensions from government. But a quarrel ensued between them, and the whites and the militia [were] call out and two or three [Indians] killed before order was restored. We saw the troops just returning as we entered Logansport.

We left Logansport in the afternoon and went 6 miles to a small tavern on the banks of the Wabash and here my scene of troubles began….




An Election Year Message for 2020 from Southborough, 1830

Francis B. Fay while a member of Congress, 1852

Happy New Year, History Friends!

This winter we will be researching and digitizing the unpublished papers of Francis B. Fay in our collection, another SHS first.

This name may be familiar to you as the founder of our library (the second oldest public library in the nation, btw) but the industrious Col. Fay did more than that single good deed. Born at Southborough in 1793, this remarkable self-made man with little formal education was Southborough Postmaster, Colonel of the Militia, a drover, and a successful merchant, roughly in that order. Seeing an opportunity in what was then the entirely undeveloped area of Chelsea, he acquired the ferry rights from Boston, and was one of the earlier settlers of that area. There he founded a bank, became Chelsea’s first mayor, served in both the state legislature and Congress, and late in life became interested in education for women, helping found one of the first modern reform schools in Lancaster as an alternative to prison, all the while keeping an eye on events of his beloved Southborough.

To give some measure of the man, we present a fascinating letter Fay sent to Jubal Harrington of Worcester while still in Southborough. Harrington’s original letter to Fay is not in our collection, but we can get a pretty good sense of what it might have contained thanks to a fascinating piece in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, detailing a 1850 bombing of Worcester city officials, of which Harrington was later accused:

Harrington was a lawyer, a former Worcester postmaster, a former state representative and a dedicated foe of the prohibition – temperance movement. He also had a newspaper career. He wrote for Liberty of the Press, a strongly anti-temperance sheet, and edited a weekly, The Worcester Republican, for a while. It was a supporter of Andrew Jackson.

During his term as postmaster, he was embroiled in a counterfeiting scheme, and disappeared from Worcester for a few years. Harrington also was opposed to the anti-slavery, Abolitionist movement that was centered in Worcester, where Eli Thayer was organizing the New England Emigrant Aid Society. It enlisted free men to go to the newly opened territory of Kansas and settle it as a free state in opposition to the slaveholders pouring in from the South.”

So given Harrington’s predilections and subsequent actions, it’s pretty safe to assume that Harrington had probably sent a fiery letter to Fay, trying to rally his fellow postmaster to the Jacksonian cause. Here is Fay’s reply:

Southborough January 30th 1830

Dear Sir,

Your esteemed favor the 22nd inst. came safe to hand and contents noticed.

(This is 19th-century speak for “your letter of the 22nd of this month duly received and read; “inst.” is an abbreviation for the Latin instante mense, meaning a date of the current month.)

It may be somewhat difficult for me in a few words to communicate to you my views upon the subject of your letter without being liable to be misunderstood or supposed to be laid under obligations express or implied which were not intended. But as I am at all times ready to give my opinion upon any subject within my comprehension freely and undisguised, I will endeavor to communicate to you my views and feelings upon the subject before us.

First, I am no partisan. I never have, nor do I yet think it my duty to attach myself to any party, religious, political, Masonic, anti-Masonic, so far as to approve measures because they belong to my party. I know no party but the nation, or any policy but national policy which I am bound to support. Thus if I belong to any party that must be named, that name must be American. Again, I am no “Fence Man.” My opinion upon any measure I am free to express. But one virtuous act of a man does not satisfy me that he cannot do wrong; neither does one error induce me to reject him altogether. Upon this principle I believe Adams and Jackson both have many virtues and both some vices, but either [is] qualified to discharge the duties of the office of the President of the United States.

(The election of 1828 had pitted Andrew Jackson against John Quincy Adams—essentially a repeat of the election of 1824, in which no candidate had received a majority of the electoral votes. Therefore the election was decided for Adams by the House of Representatives, according to the 12th Amendment. In 1828, after a bitterly fought rematch, Jackson clearly won the popular and electoral vote, to the disgust of the Federalists.)

The opening page of Fay’s letter to Harrington. This document is marked by Fay as a “copy of the letter sent to Harrington”, and given the numerous scratch-outs and revisions, is probably the first draft, with a far neater version the final product.

In short,  both are “more sinned against than sinner” and I am decidedly opposed to the violent measures frequently adopted to subserve the interests of men rather than the good of the nation. I understand that the remark of the illustrious Jefferson is yet good that “we are all Federalists, all Republicans.”

As an officer of the government (Fay was at the time the Soutborough Postmaster) I consider it my duty to support that government in all its “Republican Measures” tending to the welfare and happiness of the nation. With the policy of the present Administration (so far as I understand it) I am disposed generally (though not interminably) to cooperate.

The message of the President is the best I have seen—and the views and principles therein expressed are my own—with some few exceptions—and so long as the government is administered conformably to the principles there developed, I shall be “Friendly to the present Administration,” but whenever I may have occasion to disapprove any act of this or any other Administration, I reserve the right to express my disapprobation openly and decidedly though at all times respectfully and dispassionately.

I have thus hastily endeavored to give you some idea of my political creed— the polar star of which is: “measures are not men.”

In haste, I am respectfully your obedient servant

Francis B Fay

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all be inspired by Colonel Fay’s advice, and do what’s best for the country regardless of party in this election year?

Who knows—miracles can happen.

Happy New Year Everyone, and please don’t forget to contribute to our annual appeal if you haven’t already.