Photos by Marilyn and Garry Armstrong
Uxbridge is an old village, one of the oldest in the area.
The Uxbridge area was originally known as Waucantuck or Waucantaug from the Indian word Waentug meaning “place near the waters”. On April 22, 1662, a large parcel of Nipmuc Indian land was purchased for 24 pounds from Indian Great John.
This parcel included land that is now known as Milford, Mendon and Uxbridge with the Village of Waentug located in the Ironstone Village area of South Uxbridge. In fact, this was one of the 14 Indian Praying Towns established by Christian missionary John Eliot who translated the Bible into the Indian language.
Another village was apparently located between the West and Mumford Rivers, but in 1676 these settlements joined Indian Chief Metacomet, aka Philip, in burning the village of Mendon as King Philip’s War permeated the region. By 1700, the tribe was lost due to intermarriage, war, and sickness. In 1727, the early English settlers separated from Mendon. The Town was incorporated as Uxbridge, probably after its sister city, Uxbridge, England.
The oldest still intact building in the village is the John Cornet Farnum House, built around 1710, where the first Uxbridge Town Meeting was held on July 25, 1727. It’s directly across from the Prospect Hill Cemetery where Garry and I found ourselves and our cameras on a beautiful day in early October.
On the other side of the cemetery are the remains of Bernat Mills, a huge wooden mill complex which burned down six years ago.
The Prospect Hill Cemetery predates the Revolutionary war and many of Uxbridge’s soldiers from that war are buried there.
There has been vandalism in the cemetery which I totally don’t understand. I have always hated vandals, but cemetery vandalism to me is the worse kind of mindless destruction. In this case, you are not merely disrespecting the dead, but destroying history. Why would anyone do that? It’s generally assumed the vandals were drunk.
I’ve been drunk. I’ve been stoned. At no time ever did I consider destroying some tombstones for any reason. It never crossed my mind — or the minds of anyone I know.
The leaves are still changing. We have at least one more glorious week. With a little luck, several.