Mendon, Massachusetts

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Mendon, Massachusetts
First Church, Mendon
First Church, Mendon
Official seal of Mendon, Massachusetts
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Worcester County and the state of Massachusetts.
Coordinates: 42°06′20″N 71°33′10″W / 42.10556°N 71.55278°W / 42.10556; -71.55278Coordinates: 42°06′20″N 71°33′10″W / 42.10556°N 71.55278°W / 42.10556; -71.55278
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedMay 15, 1667
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Town AdministratorKimberly Darigan Newman
 • Board of
Mark Reil (Chairman)
Chris Burke
 • Total18.3 sq mi (47.3 km2)
 • Land18.1 sq mi (46.9 km2)
 • Water0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)
330 ft (101 m)
 • Total6,228
 • Density344.1/sq mi (132.8/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code508 / 774
FIPS code25-40255
GNIS feature ID0618371

Mendon is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 6,228 at the 2020 census.[1] Mendon is part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, an early center of the industrial revolution in the United States. Mendon celebrated its 350th Anniversary on May 15, 2017.


Early history[edit]

Native Americans inhabited the Mendon area for thousands of years prior to European colonization of the Americas. At the time of contact, Nipmuc people inhabited the area that would become 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".[2] 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 (a variant of corn), beans and squash.

In the early 1600s, Praying Indians (natives who converted to Christianity) were settled into Praying Towns. 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 Eliot, from Natick and Roxbury, who translated the Bible into the Nipmuc language.

Pioneer settlement[edit]

Pioneers from Braintree petitioned to receive a land grant for 8 miles (13 km) square of land, 15 miles (24 km) west of Medfield.[3] In September 1662, after the deed was signed with a Native American chief, "Great John" and another Sachem, Quashaamit, 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 8 miles (13 km) 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."[4] 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.

Photo of the Founders' Plaque in Founders' Park, Mendon, Mass.

The early settlement at Mendon was first listed in Middlesex County in 1667, then in 1671 in Suffolk County, and in Worcester County from 1731 onward.[3] Mendon was first settled in 1660 and was officially incorporated in 1667. The town was originally 64 square miles (170 km2), including at least part of 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 on Mill River in 1664 where it crosses modern-day Hartford Avenue.[5][6] and was one of the town's important early residents. The mill was the first water-powered grist mill in the region.[6]

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.[7] During King Philip's War, many Nipmuc from around Marlboro and Natick were interned Deer Island, and many died from the harsh winter in 1675. The town of Mendon 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 Taft family. He settled here in 1669 and was among those forced back to Braintree because of King Philip'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 article of neighboring Uxbridge, Massachusetts.) 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 zookeeper dynasty American family began in Mendon with the immigrant George Aldrich. His descendants included a number of U.S. congressmen, including Senator Nelson Aldrich, who started the Federal Reserve Bank, and Vice President Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller. Other descendants were 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[edit]

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.[8] 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.[9]

Modern Mendon[edit]

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 Aerosmith gig took place at Nipmuc Regional High School (now Miscoe Hill Middle School) in this town on November 6, 1970. Mendon is home to two Boy Scout (BSA) troops, Troop 1 Mendon and Troop 44 Mendon.

Mendon has teamed up with neighboring town Upton to make the Mendon Upton Regional School District (MURSD), this district features 4 schools. In elementary school the two towns are split and each have equally nice schools. However, in middle school the classes merge into one and attend Miscoe hill middle school. Finally, in high school they attend Nipmuc regional high school which was recently named one of the top 500 schools in the United States.

In 1986 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 but has seen some significant commercial development along Route 16 in recent years. Southwick's Zoo in Mendon is currently Massachusetts's largest zoo. The Mendon Twin Drive-In, one of only three drive-in theaters in Massachusetts, is located in Mendon.[10] [11]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 18.3 square miles (47 km2), of which 18.1 square miles (47 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2), or 0.88%, is water.

Adjacent towns[edit]


Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

As of the census[22] of 2000, there were 5,286 people, 1,815 households, and 1,450 families residing in the town. The population density was 292.1 inhabitants per square mile (112.8/km2). There were 1,886 housing units at an average density of 104.2 per square mile (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-level state agency heads
Clerk of Courts: Dennis P. McManus (D)
District Attorney: Joe Early Jr. (D)
Register of Deeds: Katie Toomey (D)
Register of Probate: Stephanie Fattman (R)
County Sheriff: Lew Evangelidis (R)
State government
State Representative(s): Brian W. Murray (D)
State Senator(s): Ryan Fattman (R)
Governor's Councilor(s): Paul DePalo (D)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): James P. McGovern (D-2nd District),
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)
Taft Public Library, Mendon, 1899


Mendon's Taft Public Library was established in 1881.[23][24] In fiscal year 2008, the town of Mendon spent 1.66% ($187,825) of its budget on its public library—approximately $32 per person, per year ($39.19 adjusted for inflation to 2021).[25] A new library, built on the site of the former St. Michael's Church, was completed in 2016.

Points of interest[edit]

National Historic Places[edit]


Notable people[edit]



  1. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Mendon town, Worcester County, Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2021-11-11.
  2. ^ "Nipmuc History". Lee Sultzman. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  3. ^ 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. II. Boston, Massachusetts: CF Jewitt and Company. p. 146.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Albee Genealogy reference from
  6. ^ a b Ballou, Adin. History of Milford, Massachusetts, Vol. 2, pp. 522-23, Franklin Press, 1882.
  7. ^ "Tommies/Mendon". Retrieved 2007-11-20.
  8. ^ Preserve America Community
  9. ^ blackstone daily[Usurped!]
  10. ^
  11. ^ Drive-In Movie Theaters in Massachusetts
  12. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  13. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  18. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  19. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  20. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  21. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  22. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  23. ^ C.B. Tillinghast. The free public libraries of Massachusetts. 1st Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. Boston: Wright & Potter, 1891. Google books
  24. ^ Taft Public Library Archived 2010-11-01 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2010-11-10
  25. ^ 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
  26. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1967.
  27. ^ "Adin Ballou". Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  28. ^ "Ezra Taft Benson, 1811-1869". Brigham Young University. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  29. ^ "CAPRON, Adin Ballou, (1841 - 1911)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  30. ^ "From Martha Mitchell's Encyclopedia Brunoniana Harkness, Albert 1842". Brown University. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  31. ^ "Uxbridge Breaks Tradition and Makes History: Lydia Chapin Taft". Black Stone Daily. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved March 28, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  32. ^ "THAYER, Eli, (1819 - 1899)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  33. ^ Hammond, Otis Grant (1910). The Granite Monthly: A Magazine of Literature, History and State Progress. Vol. 42 (Public domain ed.). J.N. McClintock. pp. 3–.

External links[edit]