Westborough Massachusetts 250th Anniversary 1717 – 1967
Ebenezer Parkman was born in Boston on September 5, 1703, the son of William & Elizabeth (Adams) Parkman. He was the 11th child. He graduated from Harvard School of Divinity in 1721. Rev. Ebenezer Parkman was the first Minister of Westborough’s Congregational Church founded on the 28th of October 1724. . He kept a personal diary that has been published by the University Press of Virginia and has been scanned into Google Books. His first wife, Mary Champney who gave him 5 children. After her death he married Hannah Breck and they had 11 children. He lived until 1782, in the 80th year of his life and 59th year of his ministry. He is buried across from City Hall.
For a glimpse at the Reverend Ebenezer Parkman’s Diary that he kept for 65 years (printed by the University Press of Virginia):
Westborough Historical Society
13 Parkman Street
Westborough, MA 10581
Parkman Westborough history:
Reverend Ebenezer Parkman’s Diary (published by the University Press of Virginia) :
The Westborough Public library is located at the intersection of Main St. and Parkman Street and has a collection of Reverend Ebenezer Parkman’s Diaries.
Eli Whitney invented the COTTON GIN in 1793 while living in Westborough
Westborough’s 300th Anniversary 2017:
Farms on Powder Hill
A half mile west of the Forbush Farm-Tavern on the hill where the first meetinghouse was built were the farms of Edmund Rice and John B. Maynard. Although the area was virtual wilderness, it was settled by the homesteads of approximately 27 families. But the threat of wolves, bears and Indian attacks was always a major concern.
In 1704, Edmund Rice’s three boys were playing with their two cousins at the Thomas Rice farm when they were attacked by Canadian Indians. Four of the boys were taken hostage while the youngest was slain during the Indian retreat. A second attack in 1707 in the Stirrup Brook area prompted the town of Marlborough to increase the number of garrisoned homes. The Edmund Rice farm and the Samuel Forbush farm became garrisoned in 1711 to serve as safe houses for the families in the immediate area.
The original settlement, referred to as Chauncy Village, was incorporated as the Town of Westborough in 1717. In November of 1720, the construction of the first meeting house commenced on land donated by Edmund Rice and John Maynard. But it was not until 1724 and the town held its first March town meeting in the crudely built 30×40 foot structure that did not have heat, a floor or benches.
On a visit to the area, Parkman’s diary entry of August 1723 reads; “I walked to the Meeting House with a Pistol in my Hand by reason of the Danger of the Indians. When I returned was much affrighted with the sight of an Indian as I supposed; but drawing nigher I perceiv’d it was my Landlord. In the afternoon about 4 o’clock, there was an alarm in the North and people hastened with their arms, But it came to little.”
When Rice became unsuccessful at negotiating for the return of his boys he sold the 100 acre farm (excluding the meetinghouse) to Captain Daniel Howe of Marlborough to pay the ransom on the boys, but Silas and Timothy Rice were never returned. On April 2, 1724, the heirs of Capt. Daniel Howe deeded the farm to the town’s first seated minister, Ebenezer Parkman.
In October 1724, Parkman was ordained pastor, “Town Minister,” of the fledgling community and the same year took a wife, Mary Champney of Cambridge, and moved into their new home. The farm became the parsonage and home for the Parkman family for the next 28 years. The Parkmans had four surviving children here, but Mary died in 1736 and two years later Reverend Parkman married Hannah Breck of Marlborough. They had seven children at the Powder Hill Farm and four more at the new parsonage.
During the next twenty eight years, the meetinghouse was remodeled and enlarged to accommodate a growing church population and became the center of not only the town’s religious needs but also the political affairs. It served in that capacity until 1748 when it was taken down and salvaged for the new meetinghouse built in the newly-established center of town.
Although Parkman’s ministerial duties kept him very busy, the farm for the most part was managed by his parishioners and family. Parkman and Hannah continued to live on this farm until a new pastoral home was built near the second meetinghouse. After moving into the new parsonage built in 1752, Parkman’s eldest son, Ebenezer Jr., and his new wife moved into the old homestead but continued to raise livestock and grow vegetables and fruit for the family.
The farm was sold by Parkman in 1764 to Captain Stephen Maynard who days later transferred ownership to John Beaton, a Scotsman from Hopkinton. The farm remained in the Beaton family until 1822 when Colonel William Beaton deeded the Powder Hill Farm to Silas Wesson. Wesson operated the farm for approximately ten years. In 1825, Wesson set aside a portion of the property on the Turnpike and built the Wesson Tavern. The area then became known as Wessonville.
In 1832, Wesson was experiencing financial difficulties and sold the homestead and 80 acres to William White. White dismantled the former Parkman home and built a new house on the existing foundation. The farm was sold by widow Nancy White in 1850 to Emmons Raymond. It was then sold again in 1865 to Whittemore Rowell. In 1859, Rowell had partnered with Cyrus Brigham to form the largest milk distribution business in the world (four to five thousand hogsheads [63 gals] of milk annually sent from town) amounting to a million dollars per year. The partnership was dissolved in 1873.
Rowell sold the farm to Bela J. Stone, who had moved to Westborough in 1871 from Sturbridge. Stone was a successful and well respected breeder and livestock farmer. Stone named his farm the Linden Wood Milk and Fancy Stock Farm. In 1877, it is recorded that Stone sold at auction 25 head of prized Ayshire bulls, cows, and heifers.
In April 1885, the farm – consisting of 79 acres of land, house, barn, grainier and hen houses – was purchased from Stone by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for $14,000 and became part of the campus of the Lyman School for Boys. The house was named Maples Cottage.