1800 to 1899

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1800 (circa)

Dr. James Mann innoculated his oldest daughter and two of her cousins against smallpox. He later exposed them to a man sick with the disease. Luckily the vaccine took as this was the first experimentation with smallpox vaccine in US.


The meeting house is completed and a formal dedication is conducted.


A library was located at the house of Alfred Harding Metcalf for the benefit of North Franklin and River End districts. These books were in later years donated to the library in East Medway (Millis).


Thomas Jefferson persuaded Congress to pass the Embargo Act. The act caused huge hardships upon the people of Massachusetts.

Eli Richardson built the Stone Store as it was called located between his mill and home on Main St in City Mills.

Josiah Ware of the Tavern marries Mehitable Richardson, daughter of Eli Richardson, and moves to Oxford where he opens a trading store.


Asa and David Thayer open a store at City Mills, selling the oat straw braid that they receive in exchange for goods to Fischer, Day & Co.

Josiah Ware of the Tavern sells the dwelling at what is today 5 Union Street to Reverend Cleaveland, first Pastor of the North Parish and this becomes the First Parsonage or as it frequently called the "Old Parsonage".


Eli Richardson establishes the first post office in the area at City Mills. He becomes the first postmaster in town, built the stone store city factory and became a prominent citizen in the community.


War of 1812 begins.

Asa and David Thayer's store operations moved to Franklin center.

Josiah Ware, future Station Agent in North Wrentham for the Norfolk County Railroad, is born in Oxford, Massachusetts. He is the son of Josiah and Mehitable Ware.


Salmon Mann and Daniel Cook established a cotton manufactory at Stony Brook.


The Battle of New Orleans.

Francis Cabot Lowell built the first factory in the United States in Waltham. It was a textile factory.


War of 1812 ends.


Charles Slocomb who made the first straw braid hat for men in this country was born in Wrentham, now a part of Norfolk, MA. One day while at a Boston millinery store, he watched the process in which a woman's bonnet was created. He conceived the idea that straw braid could be converted in a similar manner into a hat for men. The next day he had some of the braid sent to his factory and as a result he appeared with a straw hat, the first of its kind ever made.

Eli Richardson builds his house on the hill next to his factory, in City Mills. He also builds a stone store on the property, at this time. The house and stone store were later owned by William Sweatt, another prominent businessman in town, in the next century.


Maine separated from Massachusetts.


Boston English high school was the first public high school in the United States.


The River End School District was divided in two.


The Pond Home built by General Lucas Pond.


John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts became President of the United States.


William Lloyd Garrison began publishing the Liberator, an anti-slavery newspaper, in Boston.


The New England Anti-Slavery Society in Boston was formed. The society helped slaves escape to Canada.

The Cleaveland Religious Society in North Wrentham was formed at a meeting at the hall over the store of Ebenezer Blake, Esq. and began planning to build a second Meeting House at the foot of the hill on the corner of Union and Main.


Enoch Stollard, Negro, was employed as an office worker North Union Church office from 1833–44.


Reverend Moses Thacher was elected Vice President of the Massachusetts Anti Slavery Society and served in that office from 1835–1838.


Josiah Ware of the Tavern dies at age 94.


In the 1840s, Nathaniel Miller had a thread mill at River End, with young relatives working in it. It was powered by the water from a dam at Toil's End Brook built by John Boyd Jr. Later Dr. Miller and Caleb Sayles operated the mill under the firm name of Sayles and Miller. There is even mention of a lawsuit, against the Wollomonopoag Manufacturing Company, by Sayles and Miller, to recover a small sum of money.


Norfolk County Railroad bond issued. Railroad would run through the center of Norfolk.


Massachusetts became the first state to require that all children must attend school.


The Medway Branch Railroad opened for service in January and a little engine, the "Hooksett" built in June of 1842, and 2 wooden coaches ran 26 round trips between North Wrentham (Norfolk) and Medway, via Rockville (where stage connection could be made to East Medway) that day. Wood was burned for fuel. The other locomotive used on the line was named Queechee (probably the Otta Queechee), after the town of the same name in Vermont. In addition to the aforementioned rolling stock there were also 2 boxcars. The coaches could be dimly lighted with coal-oil lamps and heated by sheet-iron stoves. There was also a turntable built in Norfolk to turn the locomotives around.


The Norfolk Farmer's Club was established.


Adam Daniels listed as owner of the City Mill's mill and privilege; including 6 houses, barns and stock houses.


The Civil War begins. Massachusetts supplies more than 125,000 soldiers to the Union Arm over the course of the war.

In May, Company E of the Massachusetts Volunteers were the last passenger traffic carried over the Medway Branch rails.


The Medway Branch Railroad was discontinued with the rails "being taken up in the night".

Upon suspension of the Medway Branch Railroad, Charles Holman of Milford started a stage route from Medway through Rockville and North Wrentham to Wrentham Village. He had a 6 horse span and a bright green coach.


The Civil War ends.


Bertha Fales, author of "A History of Norfolk" was born on Avery Street in Norfolk, MA.


Alexander Graham Bell developed the telephone in Boston.

S. M. Aldrich of Woonsocket, RI was taxed for $5000 worth of machinery, 10 houses, a barn and 1 store at City Mills.

John Fischer Torrey appointed postmaster of Franklin City (City Mills).

Norfolk, previously known as North Wrentham, was incorporated.


Town meeting discussed building a lock-up for confinement of persons arrested and for the lodging of tramps.


On January 12th the fifth annual reunion and festival of the Norfolk Farmer's Club held in the Lyceum Hall.

Stephen M. Weld was taxed for $6800 worth of machinery, a factory, 11 houses, 1 store and 35 acres of land, beside woodland and pasture, at City Mills.

In the spring the dam burst leading to an overflow of Whiting's Pond at City Mills. Mr. Edwin Alonzo Morse was washed away 20-30 rods, in a mass of earth, railroad ties and rails, into the pond. He was brought to safety by Mr. Shields, Wood and Fischer, just as another torrent of water brought enough to bury them all alive, if they had been a moment later. It is said to have destroyed the original felt mill at City Mills.


Town meeting discussed providing a building for tramps and discussed washout of City Mills and overflow of mill ponds.


On March 9th, Horatio N. Kingsbury murdered in his home in Pondville.

Town meeting discussed gravelling the road from the Medfield line to the house of Cyrus Morse.


Miller Hall, Dr. Nathaniel Miller's private hospital burned. It was quite a celebrated institution in its day, before public hospitals had been founded and it had a very wide patronage. Its granite columns still stand on Myrtle Street.


The parish meeting house was deeded to the town of Norfolk for use as a new Town House. The building is remodelled at a cost of $3175 and Holbrook and Sons of East Medway recast the bell at a cost of $ 130.

The town was asked to accept a gift consisting of about 200 volumes from the Norfolk Library Association to be used as a Town Public Library. An additional loan of the books owned by the Norfolk Farmer's Club was also included.

Town meeting discussed laying out a road between Cleveland St. and Holbrook St.


The City Mills Company of Franklin was taxed for $10,000 worth of machinery, $7500 for a factory and an engine, $800 for a house, 10 houses, 1 store, 2 barns, privilege and 62.5 acres of land, divided into pastures, tillage and unimproved land at City Mills.


A telephone line was set up between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island.

Town meeting discussed buying a place for an almshouse and discussed the binding out of children to suitable persons for a term of years.


Town meeting discussed buying or building a lock-up.


Town meeting discussed buying shade trees to set in the public streets and squares; furnishing books and stationery free of cost to the schools; granting money to enlarge and improve the library and the licensing of intoxicating liquors.


Town meeting discussed what to do about prosecuting illegal sellers of intoxicating liquors.


The City Mills Company of Franklin was taxed for a steam boiler and engine, more machinery, a boiler house and chimney, a stock house besides the smaller house for tenants and the usual amount of land, at City Mills.


Town meeting discussed charging organizations for use of the Town House, $2 a night for the upper hall, $1 a night for the lower and giving the janitor of the Town House $100 a year.


In September, John B. Ricker was killed by a train.


Town meeting discussed accepting the road as laid out from Grove St. to the railroad bridge near City Mills and enforcing the law in regard to hunting on Sunday.


The City Mills Company of Franklin was taxed for $22,000 for machinery, a new mill, 2 stock houses, 6 new houses and the Comey House and stable beside the old plant, at City Mills.

Town meeting discussed hunting and fishing on Sunday and making a well for the Center School and the Town House.


Schools at Stony Brook and Pondville consolidated with the Center School.


On February 13th, James A. Mann, age 20, residing in Norfolk, was struck by the outward bound train and killed instantly. His brother John D. Mann was killed at Savin Hill that morning. James was on the way to make arrangements for his brother's funeral.


The City Mills owners were taxed for a dye house and water tower and 2 stables and 1 barn, at City Mills.

On October 11 the last entry was made in the book of the Norfolk Farmer's Club.

Robert Allison Ware married Charlotte Clement Barrell and their old farm came back into the family.


North School consolidated with the Center School.

Schools at Felting Mills consolidated with the City Mills School.

Town meeting discussed erecting a permanent watering trough.


On July 10th, the Montgomery Mason Lodge celebrated the 100th anniversary of their first meeting, at the site of the original meeting, the Dr. Nathaniel Miller House in Norfolk on "Toils End Brook" on Myrtle St.

Town meeting discussed abolishing the office of highway commissioner; establishing electric light service and procuring a poor farm.


Spanish American War begins.

Town's electric light bill was $68.75.

Town meeting discussed lighting the streets at Norfolk Centre and City Mills and wiring the Town Hall for electric lights.


Town meeting discussed accepting a Hook and Ladder Truck presented by the citizens of the town.