History of Walpole, Massachusetts, 1635-



1635-This was the land of the Indians-the Neponset tribe claiming what is now the Walpole area and surrounding territory, adjoining the town of Dedham.

1636-The ancient Dedham Grant - 16 towns have since been carved out of this original grant to Dedham in 1636. They include in part Walpole, Norwood, Westwood, Medfield, Norfolk and Dover as well as Dedham.

1651-Medfield set off from Dedham

1658-At a meeting in Dedham it was voted to lay out a road to connect the Cedar Swamp and the sawmill with Dedham. It was an old Indian trail, now Walpole St. The original road was over North St.

1659-The Saw Mill was the first industry in the Walpole area. It was built near the junction of School Meadow Brook and Neponset River in what is now the Town Forest. The mill was built and owned by Joshua Fisher and Major Eleazer Lusher, two prominent men of Dedham.

1663-"Granted to Nathaniel Whitting parcel of land between the path that goes to Ponsett plaine in lieu of his Naticke Devident as it shall be laid out by Peter Woodward and Joshua Fisher" (page 70, Dedham Town Records)

1663-The fist white woman to settle in Walpole territory was Ann (Brock) Fales, wife of James Fales. Her niece, Priscilla, married William Robbins, also a pioneer of Walpole.

1664- Thomas Clap, a pioneer settler who had married Mary Fisher, became owner of the mill.

1666-There were four families living "at the saw-mill", Thomas Clap, James Fales, Quentin Stockwell and Samuel Parker.

1671-In April 1671 Zachary Smith was found murdered at the Providence Highway (West St.?) near Stop River. Indians running down the road told the settlers that they had found the body. Suspicion was directed towards a party of three Indians who had come down the Saw Mill Rd. from Dedham Village that morning and had gone on towards Wrentham shortly after Smith had started in the same direction. Circumstantial evidence indicated the homicide was committed by an Indian wearing a red coat. One fitting this description was soon found, tried and executed. This incident did not precipitate King Philip's War but was one of the contributing causes.

1675-June 21 & 24th-King Philip's men attacked the unprotected settlement of Swanzea and killed and butchered their victims.

1675-Capt Daniel Henchman, in command of a troop of infantry, and Capt. Thomas Prentice in command of a troop of horse, left Boston late in the afternoon of the 26th of June 1675 and stopped at the Ark Tavern, kept by Mr. White, near King's bridge in Dedham

1708-The mill workers of the Walpole area met and petitioned the Town Meeting of Dedham to form a township to set up their own boundaries and be free of Dedham's tax burden.

1724-The petition was granted, with certain stipulation. The new town was named Walpole, in honor of England's prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole, a staunch friend of the American colonies.

1726-The first man to own his home in Walpole was James Fales. The tax roll, however, listed some 45 residents.

1729-A Meeting House was at last built-around which the life of the community revolved-and a satisfactory Preacher called. He was reverend Payson, beloved by the people of Walpole whom he served for nearly half a century.

1768-English tax laws gave rise to a critical situation. Walpole citizens voted to support the ruling of the Continental Congress to boycott goods imported from England.

1774-The war alarm was answered by 160 men from Walpole's small population. Walpole citizens later voted to defend the Continental Congress in declaring the independence of the American colonies. In 1782, a "Peace Ball" was held after the long struggle, in the Ebenezer Fales house on Old Kendall Street, commemorating the American victory.

1793-Forges and mills were operating. In 1825 the Stop River Foundry was owned by Squire M. Fales. In 1845 it was purchased by George and Thomas Campbell.
The products of the area included iron, lumber, timber, absorbent gauze and cotton, axles, cotton batting, bleaching and dye works, blooming mill, thread, silk covered bonnet wire, hats, hoop skirts, lamp wicks, mattresses, paper, rubber products, shoes, stoves, woolens and yarns.

1816-Walpole's first library was formed by "The Ladies' Literary, Moral Society," designed to provide such books as might "afford useful information to the mind and improvement to the heart."

1872-Through the efforts of Miss Mary R. Bird, the first "public library" was founded. Walpole's present Carnegie Library, established in 1903, developed from this beginning.

1912-On June 11, 1912, the Walpole Co-operative Bank was incorporated. The bank for was ready for business the following day.


Last updated 30 October 2000