War Monument by renowned sculptor John A. Wilson, Dudley, Massachusetts
|Motto: All was others: All will be others|
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
|• Type||Open town meeting|
| • Board of
|Chairman, Jonathan Ruda, Steven Sullivan, Peter Fox, Paul Joseph, John Marsi|
|• Total||22.1 sq mi (57.1 km2)|
|• Land||21.1 sq mi (54.5 km2)|
|• Water||1.0 sq mi (2.6 km2)|
|Elevation||670 ft (204 m)|
|• Density||520/sq mi (200/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0618361|
In April 1776, on his way to New York City from Boston after his victory in the Siege of Boston, General George Washington camped in the town of Dudley with the Continental Army along what is now a portion of Route 31 near the Connecticut border. During the trip, it is rumored that a "large cache" of captured and recovered British weaponry and supplies was ordered "concealed in the grounds" in the rural area along the route. The cache, hidden to resupply reinforcements from Massachusetts or to cover a retreat from the south, were never used or recorded as having been recovered.
Union soldiers from Dudley, the 15th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, suffered heavy casualties inflicted by the Confederacy during the Battle of Gettysburg. Dudley was the primary manufacturer of "Brogan boots" worn by the Union Army and produced the majority of the standard issue Union uniforms worn during the Civil War.
A proposal to create a Muslim cemetery by the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester on 55 acres (22 ha) of farmland elicited intense community opposition when discussed at a public hearing in February 2016. The Islamic Society sought to establish a closer burial place than Enfield, Connecticut. After a complicated process, with much back and forth between the Islamic Society and town officials, the necessary permit was issued over a year later.
At the initial hearings, some residents made it clear that they did not want this cemetery in their town with concerns that included noise, traffic and well water contamination issues. The comments of some of the small town's residents raised concerns of religious bigotry. At the meeting, all the speakers in support of the Islamic Society were booed, and members of the public variously denounced the need to bury Muuslim dead locally compared to the deaths of American soliders fighting radical Islamic terrorist groups overseas, called the existing cemetery a "pigsty", and called the Society's attempt to build a cemetery a "crusade" (both offensive given Islam's consideration of pigs as ritually unclean, and the history of Christian Crusades conquering parts of the Middle East). Though Muslim tradition is to bury without a coffin, in response to concerns about water quality the Islamic Society promised to use vaults.
A series of test pits dug by the applicant, with the Dudley Board of Health Inspector present, showed that the average water table was 24" below the grade of the ground, with many spots having ground water only 18" from the surface. The public hearing of the Zoning Board of Appeals reviewed the status of the land as an agricultural protected parcel protected under MGL Chapter 61A. At a town meeting held on May 23, 2016, the town residents in an almost unanimous vote, authorized the Board of Selectman to exercise the Town's first right of refusal and proceed to purchase the agricultural piece of land. When the Zoning Board of Appeals met on June 2, 2016 they asked the Islamic Society of Worcester if they were presenting a revised 5 Acre cemetery plan which they had read about in the newspapers the week before. The Islamic Society of Worcester stated there was no revised plan and they expected the Zoning Board of Appeals to vote on their original proposal for 12,000+ grave sites. The Zoning Board of Appeals then scheduled a full vote for June 9, 2016, at which it denied the permit on the grounds the land was under Chapter 61A conservation protection and the town of Dudley thus had the right of first refusal to purchase the land. The board claimed that this meant the Islamic Society of Worcester lacked the proper legal standing to submit the cemetery plan until after the town's right of refusal had been extinguished. The Society complained that it could not complete the purchase of the land and gain the standing the board required of it until the zoning approval had been granted, because its purchase agreement was contingent upon that action, putting the Society in a Catch-22 situation.
The denial prompted a federal investigation into potential religious discrimination, and a warning letter from the Massachusetts Attorney General. The Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU filed a lawsuit in state land court, claiming the denial violated freedom of religion provisions in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, the Federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and the state Dover Amendment (which exempts certain religious organizations from zoning regulations).It also claimed the Chapter 61A protection was not applicable to conversion to cemetery use. The town argued that the Muslim cemetery, unlike Christian cemeteries, was not a religious land use due to differences between where Muslim and Christian burial rituals are held.
Both sides came to an agreement in December 2016 with the zoning board granting the permit for the cemetery on March 3, 2017. Burials will be restricted to 6 acres (2.4 ha) for the first 10-years. The permit requires a buffer zones of vegetation between the burials and the neighboring property in accordance with the agreement. After winning this approval (though not final Board of Health approval) and affirming its rights, the Islamic Society dropped its plans to build a cemetery in Dudley, and instead moved forward with plans to bury Muslim dead in a city-owned cemetery in Worcester, partly due to lower cost and parly because the city was more welcoming.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.1 square miles (57 km2), of which 21.0 square miles (54 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2), or 4.58%, is water. Dudley is bounded on the northeast by Oxford, on the north by Charlton, on the west by Southbridge, on the south by Woodstock and Thompson, Connecticut, and on the east by Webster, with which it traditionally had the closest cultural and political relations.
|* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2000, there were 10,036 people, 3,737 households, and 2,668 families residing in the town. The population density was 476.7 inhabitants per square mile (184.1/km2). There were 3,910 housing units at an average density of 185.7 per square mile (71.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.83% White, 0.23%African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.75% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.01% of the population.
There were 3,737 households out of which 34.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.5% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.6% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the town, the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.0 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $48,602, and the median income for a family was $59,309. Males had a median income of $40,337 versus $27,589 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,546. About 3.1% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.2% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.
|County-level state agency heads|
|Clerk of Courts:||Dennis P. McManus (D)|
|District Attorney:||Joseph D. Early, Jr. (D)|
|Register of Deeds:||Anthony J. Vigliotti (D)|
|Register of Probate:||Stephanie K. Fattman (R)|
|County Sheriff:||Lew Evangelidis (R)|
|State Representative(s):||Peter Durant (R)|
|State Senator(s):||Ryan Fattman (R)|
|Governor's Councilor(s):||Jen Caissie (R)|
|U.S. Representative(s):||Richard E. Neal (D-1st District)|
|U.S. Senators:||Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)|
The public library in Dudley opened in 1897. The library has changed location a few times since then, and in the early 21st century, a new building was constructed over the site of the former town hall, which had also been relocated. In fiscal year 2008, the town of Dudley spent 1.44% ($163,468) of its budget on its public library—some $14 per person.
Dudley is the home of Nichols College, which maintains a campus on Dudley Hill, the historical center of the town. Public schools in Dudley include Mason Road School (grades Preschool-1), Dudley Elementary School (grades 2-4), Dudley Middle School (grades 5-8) and Shepherd Hill Regional High School (grades 9-12), the last of which also serves students from Charlton. All public schools in Dudley are part of the Dudley-Charlton Regional School District. Dudley is one of ten towns whose students have the option of attending Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School (grades 9-12).
- James Blood, Civil War officer and Victoria Woodhull's second husband (suffragist and first female Presidential nominee)
- Jacob P. Chamberlain, former US Congressman
- The Hotelier, Emo band
- Leo Martello, Wiccan priest and civil rights activist
- "Profile for Dudley, Massachusetts". ePodunk. Retrieved 2006-05-18.
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- Ring, Kim (February 13, 2016). "Local Muslims address opposition on Dudley cemetery bid". Telegram & Gazette. Worcester, Massachusetts. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
- Boeri, David (February 5, 2016). "Proposal For Muslim Cemetery In Dudley Meets Opposition From Residents". WBUR. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
- MacQuarrie, Brian (March 3, 2017). "Plan for Muslim cemetery in Dudley clears last hurdle". Boston Globe. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- "Dudley zoning board rejects Muslim cemetery application". Telegram & Gazette. Worcester, Massachusetts. June 9, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
- [https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/07/05/islamic-group-files-suit-accusing-dudley-illegally-blocking-muslim-cemetery-plans/9TpLhOUWs8S3z2QoGmHPbM/story.html Islamic group accuses Dudley of blocking Muslim cemetery]
- "General Laws: CHAPTER 61A". malegislature.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
- "Islamic Society agrees to smaller cemetery in Dudley". Telegram & Gazette. Worcester, Massachusetts. May 20, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
- [https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/04/12/attorney-closes-investigation-religious-discrimination-dudley/nY1if7dvOcOBsoWxl7uHGP/story.html US Attorney closes religious discrimination investigation in Dudley]
- Mass. Attorney General's Office Weighs In On Proposed Dudley Islamic Cemetery
- ACLU, Boston law firm take up Muslim cemetery case
- Boeri, David (March 3, 2017). "Islamic Society Wins Permit For Muslim Cemetery In Dudley After Protracted, Bitter Clash". WBUR. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
- After bitter fight for approval, Islamic Society abruptly drops plan for cemetery in town of Dudley
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- Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. v.9 (1899)
- Pearle L. Crawford Memorial Library Retrieved 2010-11-10
- July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008; cf. The FY2008 Municipal Pie: What's Your Share? Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Board of Library Commissioners. Boston: 2009. Available: Municipal Pie Reports Archived 2012-01-23 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 2010-08-04
- "Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School - District Information". baypath.tec.ma.us. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
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