This book covers five different, yet related topics, four of which are early town histories. The towns covered are: Oxford, Massachusetts; Dudley, Massachusetts; Webster, Massachusetts; and Woodstock, Connecticut (originally in Massachusetts). Each town’s history is discussed from its formation and settlement up to the time that the book was originally published, 1874. This includes discussions of: the original land grant, the first settlers, the origin of the town’s name, the first town meeting and officers, the first church, and other important historical events. Special attention is given to each town’s ecclesiastical history.
The first section in the book is a very in depth look at the Reformation in France. It may seem strange that the Reformation is discussed in a book of town histories, but, upon a closer look, the connection is evident. The author hoped that a look at the Reformation might provide an insight into what drove a small group of thirty Huguenot families to leave behind all that they knew and head to the wilderness of the New World to establish a place where they might worship freely. It was those same Huguenots that helped settle the town of Oxford, Massachusetts.
Illustrations of key figures, maps of Oxford and Dudley, and a new surname index, all add to the value of an already helpful book.
1974, (1995), paper, 578 pp.