Wendell — Noteworthy Incidents
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
In July, 1781, £40 hard money, were raised to defray charges that had arisen or might arise. At the same time a committee was chosen to purchase land for a burying-ground, who secured the ground which now adjoins the Congregational Church in Wendell Centre. The land was probably purchased from Jonathan Osgood, for which the town paid him £8 an acre. In November, 1782, it was voted to build a work-house, 18 feet by 30. The first stocks were built about March, 1786. In July following a dog-pound was ordered to be built, 30 feet square. In 1788 it was agreed in town-meeting that the right to vote in town affairs, should be possessed only by such persons as were in possession of landed interests.
J. Fisk and Daniel Porter were physicians in Wendell about 1786, and in the same year Thomas Atherton was a blacksmith there. These were probably the earliest representatives of those callings in Wendell's history. In December, 1790, about 40 persons (alluded to as laborers), and the wives of several of them, sought to take up their residences in Wendell without obtaining the town's consent, and they were accordingly notified by the town constable to depart from its limits.* A certain Lieut. Blodgett is mentioned in the records of 1800 as having had a blacksmith-shop in the town, but where is not mentioned.
In 1812 the keeping of Terence Allen and her child (paupers) was put up at public vendue, and struck off to John Goss at a dollar a week. It was voted at the same time that "if any man will take the Widow Allen for $200, and exempt the town from any further expense, they will give said sum, the selectmen to superintend the matter."
The first road opened into the tract now occupied by Wendell was from Roadtown (Shutesbury) to the North End, in 1756. In the same year a road was opened through the south part, from Montague to New Salem. The old road from New Salem through what is now Wendell Centre to Montague was begun in 1762. Previous to 1850 the town had expended upward of $40,000 in constructing and repairing highways.
Nathaniel Wilder, a Revolutionary soldier, of Wendell, lived to be the veritable "oldest inhabitant," his age at the time of his death, in 1851, being one hundred years and two days. Several of the citizens of the town served in the insurgent forces of Shays.
The Congregational Church of Wendell observed its centennial Dec. 2, 1874, on which occasion the celebration was marked by an address of welcome by the pastor, Rev. B. B. Cutler; a historical discourse upon the town's rise and growth, by Rev. W. H. Beaman; a poem, by Dr. V. W. Leach; and a banquet at the town-hall.
*This was a mere formal notice, necessary to prevent them from being chargeable to this town if they became paupers. No one was driven out by it.