Histories of Marlborough
In 1656 a number of the pioneer inhabitants of Sudbury petitioned the General Court for leave to attempt a new settlement upon the wild lands of the colony, saying
The land that they asked for and upon which they settled became the town of Marlborough. The route west was then called The Great Trail, later known as the King’s Highway, and today it is State Route 20.
In 1680, Fort Meadow was deeded from Great James, "an Indian," to Thomas Martin, a shoemaker from Marlborough, for six pounds, ten schillings.
The deed, pictured at right, along with a transcription, is available here as a PDF.
General histories of Marlborough
- History of the Town of Marlborough, by Charles Hudson, was published in 1862. The entire 544-page book appears below and can be downloaded as a PDF here. Bound reprints are available for purchase at the Historical Society, and the book is available at the Marlborough Public Library.
- Historical Reminiscences of the Early Times in Marlborough, Massachusetts, by Ella Bigelow, was published in 1910. The entire 488-page book appears below and can be downloaded as a PDF here. Bound reprints and an index can be purchased at the Historical Society. The book is also available at the Marlborough Public Library. A presentation on the homesteads pictured in the book is here. The presentation includes information on each homestead and photos of each building (or location) today.
- Sketches of the Town of Northborough with the Early History of Marlborough, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by Rev. Joseph Allen, was published in 1826. The entire 66-page book appears below and can be searched online or downloaded as a PDF here.
- Marlborough resident John Buczek has a large collection of information, including maps and photographs, on the history of Marlborough here.
- Marlborough is included in the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1964 book by Sumner Chilton Powell, Puritan Village: The Formation of a New England Town.
- The Marlborough Historical Commission has this history.
- Images of America--Marlborough is a pictorial history compiled by Society member Susan Alatalo and published in 2003. It's available for purchase at the Historical Society. The book is also available at the Marlborough Public Library.
- Some pictures from the Society's archives are in this slideshow.
Histories on specific items and individuals in Marlborough
- Marlborough Historical Society member Joan Abshire, after months of exhaustive research in Massachusetts and West Virginia, wrote The John Brown Bell--The Journey of the Second-Most Important Bell in American History, from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, to Marlborough, Massachusetts, pictured at right. This book is available as a free download here.
- The History of Artemas Ward Park was the title of a very thoroughly researched presentation given by Marlborough Historical Society Trustee Paul Brodeur in March 2011. Additional information and his presentation are here.
- Samuel Boyd is called the father of our city. Society Curator Bob Kane gave a presentation on Boyd in January 2012. It was captured on video and can be viewed online.
- For several years the Society awarded a scholarship annually to the student whose report on some aspect of Marlborough's history was judged the best. Some of the reports are available here.
The Society has several maps in its archives. The maps below were scanned by the City and are available here as downloadable PDFs that range in size from 500 KB to 1.5 MB. The high resolution enables you to zoom in and see details. (Information on working with PDFs is here.)
- 1667: Marlborough Plantation
- 1794: Town of Marlborough
- 1803: Town of Marlborough
- 1835: Marlborough
- 1878: View of Marlborough--Detail at right
- 1908: Center of Marlborough
- 1937: North Sudbury Watershed
- 1948: City of Marlborough
- 1956: Zoning for City of Marlborough
- 1958: City of Marlborough
- 1962: City of Marlborough
- The Marlborough Survey of Historic, Architectural, and Cultural Resources
was conducted in 1994 and 1995, and the Society put the entire
five-volume report online in 2008. The report includes an excellent narrative
on the history of Marlborough with a special emphasis on the evolution
of the architecture and the factors that drove that evolution. It
also includes detailed information on areas within Marlborough and the hundreds of historic structures throughout the city.
- Reconnaissance Survey Town Report on Marlborough. This nine-page report, drafted in 1980, is part of the Massachusetts Historical Commission's series of reports on towns throughout the state. Similar material appears in a longer form in the narrative of the Marlborough Survey of Historic, Architectural, and Cultural Resources (above).
- The 1908 book Marlborough, Massachusetts, Burial Ground Inscriptions: Old Common, Spring Hill, and Brigham Cemeteries can be read and searched online or downloaded from Google Books as a PDF here.
- More information on Marlborough cemeteries is at the bottom of our page on Genealogy.
Let us know of other historical resources you've found helpful.