Dudley, Massachusetts

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Dudley is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 10,036 at the 2000 census.



Dudley was first settled in 1714 and was officially incorporated in 1732. The town was named for landholders Paul and William Dudley.[1]

Union soldiers from Dudley were among the first to suffer casualties inflicted by the Confederacy during the battle of Gettysburg.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

On the night of April 6, 1776, on his way to intercept the British fleet that was retreating from Boston to New York harbor, 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 utilized or recorded as having been recovered.[citation needed]

Much of the western portion of Dudley was utilized by the Nipmuck Indians for burial grounds, and in 1986, it was discovered that the town landfill was located over ancient Indian burial sites.[citation needed] To date, Dudley remains a bedroom community located in southern Worcester County.


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) of it is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) of it (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, Connecticut, and Thompson, Connecticut; and on the east by Webster, with which it traditionally had the closest cultural and political relations.

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