Douglas, Massachusetts

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Douglas is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 7,045 as of the 2000 census. It includes the sizable Douglas State Forest, managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

Contents

History

The name of Douglas was first given to the territory of the town in the year 1746. New Sherburn or "New Sherburn Grant" had previously been its designation, since its first occupancy by the English settlers which was as early as 1715. The original settlers came primarily from Sherburn, although many hailed from Natick as well. The name was given in 1746, Dr. William Douglas, an eminent physician of Boston, in consideration of the privilege of naming the township offered the inhabitants the sum of $500.00 as a fund for the establishment of free schools together with a tract of 30 acres (12 hectares) of land with a dwelling house and barn thereon. EN Jenckes store is a museum that depicts early history of Douglas.[1] Douglas's forests gave rise to a woodcutting industry, and the Douglas axe company.[1] A woolen manufacturing company, on the Mumford River in East Douglas, in recent times held by the Schuster family, has been prominent in the history of this community. General Marquis de Lafayette, of France, stopped here during the Revolutionary War, to change horses, on his way to Boston to join General Washington. General de Lafayette was a hero of the American Revolution and the French Revolution.

From a very early period reaching beyond 1635, bands of Native Americans, principally the Nipmuc tribe, dominated this region of Worcester County. The Blackstone River was once called the Nipmuc River. Most of Douglas is part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.[1]

The geological formation consists of quartz, feldspar, and mica. Boulders are plentifully scattered all over town and gold and silver ores are said to be found in some localities. Large quantities of building and ornamental stone are quarried from the granite ledges found in the center of town which is shipped to almost every section of New England.[citation needed]

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