Wendell — Organization
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
The act of incorporation was passed May 8, 1781, and provided for the erection of the northerly part of the town of Shutesbury, and that part of a tract of land called Ervingshire lying on the south side of Miller's River, into a town, by the name of Wendell.
The boundaries were prescribed as follows: Beginning at the south side of Miller's River, at the northwest corner of John Erving's land, and thence extending south, fourteen degrees east, 2100 rods, or until it comes in a direct line with the south end of the lots Nos. 2, 7, 9, 26, and 27; thence running east on the south line of said lots 1311 rods to New Salem town-line; thence running northerly by New Salem line to Miller's River 2084 rods, and thence by said river until it conies to the place of beginning.
The act further provided that Moses Gunn should be authorized to issue his warrant to one of the principal inhabitants of the town, requiring him to notify the freeholders and other inhabitants to meet for the selection of town officers, etc. In accordance therewith, Moses Gunn, who was a justice of the peace, notified Joseph Johnson to call the meeting, which was held June 14, 1781, at Deacon Jonathan Osgood's house. The incorporation act, so the records indicate, was procured by Daniel Denny, who was ordered to be paid for his trouble.
The town was named in honor of Judge Oliver Wendell*, of Boston. He was the owner of much land in and about Wendell, and is said to have been a great patron of the town, which he frequently visited. The only donations he made, as far as the records show, were a christening-basin and pulpit Bible to the Congregational Church. In 1803 a tract of land called "Benjamin Hill Gore," and a tract a mile in width, taken from Montague, were added to the tract originally incorporated as Wendell, and so it now remains.
* Note from Transcriber: Judge Wendell's daughter married the minister Abiel Holmes (1763-1837), their son was poet and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes; and grandson was Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.