Mendon, Massachusetts is known as the old mother town. Settled in 1668 and incorporated in 1667, eight towns are now located on her original territory.
Pioneers from Braintree, Massachusetts petitioned to receive a land grant for 8 square miles of land, 15 miles west of Medfield. In September 1662, after the deed was signed with a Native American chief, "Great John", the pioneers entered this part of what is now southern Worcester County. Earlier, unofficial, settlement occurred here in the 1640s, by pioneers from Roxbury, Massachusetts. This was the beginning of Mendon.
The land for the settlement was 8 square miles 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.” 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.
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. During King Philip's War, many Nipmuc from around Marlboro and Natick were re- located to Deer Island, and many died from the harsh winter in 1675. Praying Indians (natives who converted to Christianity) were settled into Praying Indian Villages. 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. 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. Another political dynasty American family began in Mendon with the immigrant George Aldrich. His descendents included a number of U.S. congressmen, including Senator Nelson Aldrich.
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. 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.
Profiles to be added to this project should be original founders of Mendon. Their names are listed in order of settlement.
John Bartlett (by 1672)