List of people from Uxbridge, Massachusetts

This article is a companion article to Uxbridge, Massachusetts. This early American town, settled in 1662, has a record of people significant to both regional and U.S. history. The listing of people is by century, starting in the 17th Century.

17th century

* The Taft family in America - One of the first known European settlers in Uxbridge, was Robert Taft, Sr., in 1680, in the western part of Mendon, Massachusetts, which later became known as Uxbridge.cite web |title= Early Taft Genealogy |publisher= Access Genealogy |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-23] He established the famous Taft family, a later political dynasty in the United States. He established his first permanent homestead here in 1680.cite web |title= Early Taft Genealogy |publisher= Access Genealogy |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-23] President William Howard Taft is a descendant. See the article, The Tafts of Mendon and Uxbridge. One reference in Alphonso Taft's bio may indicate that Robert settled near "Colonel Crown's" land which may be near East Hartford Avenue.

* The Aldrich family The Aldrich family, another American political dynasty, also had its beginnings in Mendon and Uxbridge, beginning with the immigrant, George Aldrich, of Mendon. U.S. Senator Nelson Aldrich who set up the U.S. Federal Reserve banking system and the Income Tax, and his daughter's son, U.S. Vice President Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller are descendants of this same family. The Aldrich Family Association was founded circa 1903 and its founding officers were from Uxbridge. A settlement in south Uxbridge became known as Aldrich, and is the location of the historic family cemetery. Descendants of the Aldrich family currently live in Uxbridge, MA. George Aldrich is buried in the south Uxbridge family cemetery.

18th century

* Robert Taft II, was on the founding Board of Selectmen in 1727. cite book |last= Marvin |first= Rev. Abijah Perkins |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Embracing a Comprehensive History of the County from its earliest beginnings to the present time; Vol. lI |publisher= CF Jewitt and Company |date= 1879 |location= Boston, MA |pages= 421-436 |url=] It appears he was among the first of the Taft family dynasty to be elected to political office. His descendants included a Governor of Rhode Island, A U.S. Senator from Ohio, and a U.S. Secretary of Agriculture among others. The first Uxbridge town meeting was at Coronet John Farnum Jr House in the center of Town.cite web |title= Walking tours - Uxbridge |publisher= Blackstone Daily |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-23]

* John Farnum John Farnum was a Cornet, or Constable, whose house in the center of town, built circa 1710, was used for the first Uxbridge Town meeting in 1727. See Coronet John Farnum, Jr., House listed under Registered Historic Places in Uxbridge Massachusetts. The grandson of Ralph the immigrant of England, and Ipswich, MA, was a second, and later John Farnum, also of Uxbridge, who moved to Georgiaville, Rhode Island in 1755, and became the first Rhode Island Farnum(see Herbert Cyrus Farnum). The Farnum family became widespread. Another example was EB Farnum who was among the first settlers in Deadwood, South Dakota. The farm of Moses Farnum, Cornet John's brother, in south Uxbridge, became the site of the first Friends Meeting House in Uxbridge in 1770, a second key, local, historic site, where fiery abolitionist Abby Kelley was a member.
* Benjamin Taft; Benjamin Taft established one of the first iron forges in Uxbridge in 1734, in the Ironstone section of town. The first Uxbridge forge was recorded even earlier, the year the town was founded in 1727, at the south Northbridge section. The Ironstone forge started by Benjamin Taft, had "good quality bog iron ore", and a triphammer was latter added by Caleb Handy for making scythes and guns.This was believed to be the beginnings of industrialization in Uxbridge. The Blackstone Valley is the birthplace of America's Industrial Revolution with Slater's mill at Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1793. Uxbridge had evidence of large scale industrialization by 1775 which included forges, sawmills, water works, distilleries and other industries.

*Nicholas Baylies was a native of England who settled in Uxbridge. He represented this town in the Colonial Massachusetts General Court as early as 1758. He and his sons were active in working in the iron industry here. His son William became a physician and is mentioned below. His grandsons served as U.S. Congressman from Dighton, MA and Taunton, MA where the family later relocated. Source: [,+Uxbridge&source=web&ots=GT7OOfDMqw&sig=iJN0-NJFAXWU8iZheRWvFJw7TD8&hl=en]

* Captain Josiah Taft, son of Daniel Taft, grandson of Robert Taft, Sr., served in the French and Indian Wars and in the Colonial Legislature, the Massachusetts General Court, was town moderator, and died in 1756 at the age of 47.cite book|last=Schultz|first=John|middle=A|coauthor=|authorlink=|title=Legislators of the Massachusetts General Court 1691-1780: A Biographical Dictionary|pages =p. 353|date=1997|publisher= UPNE|url=] Lydia and Josiah were among the wealthiest families in Uxbridge.

* Lydia Chapin Taft, Josiah's widow, became America's first woman voter cite web| title = "Uxbridge Breaks Tradition and Makes History: Lydia Chapin Taft by Carol Masiello"| publisher= The Blackstone Daily| url =|accessdate=2007-09-29] , in 1756. She voted to support funding and resources for the French and Indian Wars, and voted in at least three Uxbridge town meetings until at least 1765. She died at Uxbridge, as an American citizen, after Colonial America, had become the United States, in 1778.

* Baxter Hall was a drummer in the Fife and Drum Corps in 1775.cite web |title= Martial Musick in Uxbridge Massachusetts 1727-Present |publisher= |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-23] He served at Lexington and Concord, and Bunker Hill, under Captain Wyman, and in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.cite web |title= Martial Musick in Uxbridge Massachusetts 1727-Present |publisher= |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-23] The majority of the Company of 51 men, were from Uxbridge.cite web |title= Martial Musick in Uxbridge Massachusetts 1727-Present |publisher= |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-23] Many officers and soldiers fought in the revolutionary war from Uxbridge. Later, Captain Baxter Hall served in the Continental Army under General Benedict Arnold.cite web |title= Martial Musick in Uxbridge Massachusetts 1727-Present |publisher= |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-23]

* Seth Read; Seth Read was born in Uxbridge in 1746. He became a physician, soldier, legislator and an early American pioneer to the Great Lakes. According to the US Treasury, Colonel Seth Reed, also spelled "Read" of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, (who commanded a regiment at Bunker Hill and was a friend of President George Washington), was reported to have been instrumental in placing E Pluribus Unum on U.S. coins.cite web |title= What can you tell me about the words "E Pluribus Unum" on our coins?|publisher= U.S. Treasury |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-25] cite book|last= Buford|first= Mary Hunter|authorlink=|coauthor=|title= "Seth Read, Lieut.-Col.Continental Army; Pioneer at Geneva, New York, 1787, and at Erie, Penn., June, 1795. His Ancestors and Descendants."|date= 1895|location=Boston, Mass.|pages= 167 Pages on CD in PDF Format.|url=] Colonel Reed and his brother Joseph, had been major holders of Uxbridge and Northbridge, MA real estate. Colonel Reed ran a tavern, served in various town offices, and was appointed to serve Uxbridge in 1777, by being in charge of dealing with "traitors" treason and sedition. Seth Reed went on to serve in the Constitutional Convention, the Massachusetts state legislature and applied for a franchise to mint coins, ("Massachusetts coppers"). He later moved, became a pioneer in Geneva, New York, and then he and his family were the first European settlers of Erie, PA. The phrase "E Pluribus Unum", "From Many, One" is considered "the traditional motto" of the United States. "In God We Trust" was then added in 1956.

* Colonel Joseph Read - Colonel Read's brother, Colonel Joseph Read, was also a Colonel in the Continental Army, and commanded the Massachusetts 20th Regiment.

* "Robert Shurtlieff", a Continental Army Soldier, claimed to be from Uxbridge, but was really Deborah Sampson, "America's first woman soldier".cite web|publisher= "New York Times"|date =1898-10-08|title="DEBORAH SAMPSON.; How She Served as a Soldier in the Revolution -- Her Sex Unknown to the Army.*"|url=

* Samuel Taft was a revolutionary war soldier from Uxbridge. There were at least 12 Tafts from Uxbridge who served in the Revolutionary War. In 1789, Samuel Taft would entertain his commander in chief, President George Washington, during his inaugural trip through Uxbridge, and his overnight stay at the Samuel Taft tavern.

* Dr. Samuel Willard; Dr. Samuel Willard was one of the town's first physicians. Uxbridge Center was home to the 'lunatic asylum' run by Dr. Samuel Willard who fought in Shays' Rebellion.cite book |last= Marvin |first= AP |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Embracing a Comprehensive History of the County from its earliest beginnings to the present time; Vol. lI |publisher= CF Jewitt and Company |date= 1879 |location= Boston, MA |pages= 146 |url= |doi= |id= |isbn= ] Shay's Rebellion may have had its "opening salvos" in an Uxbridge riot in 1783. Governor John Hancock had to suppress rioters in Uxbridge.cite web|title="Quelling the opening salvos of Shay's rebellion"|url=||accessdate=2007-11-10] Dr Willard had his own eccentricities.cite web |title= A Guide to Women's Diaries |publisher= Manuscript Collection of the Rhode Island Historical Society Library |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-23] Dr. Willard, a Harvard University. grad., was "particularly distinguished" for his treatment of mental health disorders, according to the archives of Worcester County's university graduates. Local history indicates that his treatments consisted of "Dunking in the mineral spring pond behind the old inn" which was deemed to be an 'effective treatment for insanity', as was working on the good doctor’s farm. This pond (Shuttle Shop Pond) was a favorite ice skating spot for children for years until it was filled in by the town after the shop burned down in 1963. The Hotel Wilson (now known as the Uxbridge Inn) welcomed travelers to the town who came to enjoy the same healing waters that “treated” Dr. Willard’s patients. Dr. Willard represented Uxbridge in the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention which ratified the U.S. Constitution.

* Lieutenant Simeon Wheelock Lt. Simeon Wheelock fought in the American Revolutionary War. He was an officer in Shay's rebellion. He was killed in the line of duty in Springfield. during Shay's Rebellion. His son Jerry was famous in the early Textile industry of Uxbridge. The Stanley Woolen Mill and Berroco Yarns are related to this same family.

* Peter Rawson Taft I, President William Howard Taft's grandfather, was born in Uxbridge in 1785, and lived here until the beginning of the 19th Century.. He became a Vermont State legislator and died in Hamilton County, Ohio.cite web|url=|title="History of Hamilton County"|publisher=heritage pursuit|accessdate=2007-10-15] cite web|url=|title=Descendants of Robert and Sarah Taft||accessdate=2007-10-27] A Taft family story is told how Peter walked a cow all the way from Uxbridge to Townshend, Vermont. His son, Alphonso Taft, founded Skull and Bones at Yale, and was the father of President William Howard Taft. Alphonso and his son William Howard came to Uxbridge for family reunions at Elmshade.

* Richard Mowry, An Uxbridge farmer by the name of Richard Mowry successfully built and marketed the equipment needed to manufacture woolen, linen or cotton cloth at the time of the American Revolution.cite web|title="Blackstone River Valley, New England’s Historic National Park area; Naviagator/Uxbridge"||url=|accessdate=2007-12-06]

* Other noteworty citizens of 18th Century Uxbridge- The first Congregational church was organized here in 1731, at the time of the First Great Awakening, and Rev. Nathan Webb was the first ordained pastor. William Baylies, M.D. (1743-1826), was born here and was a noted physician, and his two sons William Baylies and Francis Baylies were Members of Congress, from Dighton, MA. 1805-1809 and 1821-1829; Nicholas Baylies (1772-1846), was a judge and author; and Willard Preston, D.D. (1785-1856), was an eloquent clergyman and Uxbridge native who went on to be President of the University of Vermont, and a famous minister with published sermons at Savannah, Georgia. (source:pp.650-651 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890)

19th century

* Early U.S. Congressmen; Two U.S. Congressmencite book|last=|first=|authorlink=|title="Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896."|location=Chicago|publisher=Marquis Who's Who|date=1963] .were elected from Uxbridge Center to serve the new nation in the early 19th Century, Benjamin Adams (1815-1823) cite book|last=first=|authorlink=|title="Congressional Biographies of the United States"|publisher=U.S. Congress|location=Washington, D.C.|date=] and Phineas Bruce (1803-1805).CongBio|B000970] Phineas Bruce was unable to serve out his term due to illness and died in Uxbridge in 1809. These two Congressmen are buried in the Prospect Hill Cemetery along with a Medal of Honor recipient.

* Bezaleel Taft, Sr. and Bezaleel Taft, Jr were descendents of Lydia and Josiah Taft. They both served in the Massachusetts General Court, the legislature, the Massachusetts Senate, and on various state education and executive boards and commissions. Five generations of Tafts in Massachusetts were prominent in public service from Uxbridge. The "Life of Alphonso Taft", from Google books, is a particularly rich source of the history of the Taft family in Mendon and Uxbridge.cite web|title ="Taft descendents"|publisher= rootsweb|accessdate=2007-10-10|url=] cite web|title="genealogy"|publisher=rootsweb|title="Tafts Massachusetts Revolutionary War"|accessdate=2007-10-23|url=] cite web|publisher=freepages|title= "Tafts Descendents 5"|url=|accessdate=2007-10-23] cite web|title="Uxbridge Walking Tour"|publisher=Blackstone Daily|url=|accessdate=2007-10-23] .cite book|last=Leonard|first=Lewis Alexander|authorlink=|title="The Life of Alphonso Taft" by Google Books|publisher=|location=|ISBN=cite book|last=Leonard|first=Lewis Alexander|authorlink=|title="The Life of Alphonso Taft" by Google Books|publisher=|location=|ISBN= cite web|title="Life of Alphonso Taft"|publisher=Google Books|url=,M1|accessdate=2007-11-25]

* Luke Taft, Moses Taft, Jerry Wheelock, John Capron, Effingham Capron and Colonel John Capron, were well known early industrialists of 19th Century Uxbridge. The mills of Uxbridge pioneered power looms, manufactured U.S. military uniforms for more than a century, developed "wash and wear" fabrics, and pioneered blended fabrics including wool-nylon serge.
* Daniel Day established the oldest woolen mill in this town, one of the oldest in the U.S., in 1810.

* Robert Rogerson was born in England, and like Samuel Slater, brought plans for textile factories in his head to America. He left as a legacy the aesthetic mill village known as the Crown and Eagle Mills in Uxbridge.

* Ezra Taft Benson, Sr, born 1811 in Mendon, lived in Uxbridge from 1817-1835, ran the local hotel, and married Pamela Andrus of Northbridge. He became an entrepreneur of a cotton mill in Holland, Mass.. He later became a famous Mormon Missionary at Quincy, Illinois. He entered plural marriages, including Pamela's sister, served as an apostle to "the Sandwich Islands", also known as Hawaii, and the Eastern States, and as a representative to the Utah Territorial Legislature. He later died at Ogden, Utah.cite web|title="Granpa Bill's G.A. Pages:Ezra T. Benson"| url=|accessdate=2007-11-22] cite web|title="Ezra T. Benson Family Web Site"|| url= Ezra T. Benson Family Web Site|accessdate=2007-11-22]

* Arthur MacArthur, Sr., born in Glasgow, Scotland, lived here as a boy, and later served as a Wisconsin acting Governor and Supreme Court of Wisconsin chief justice and Supreme Court Chief Justice in the Washington, D.C. circuit.cite web|publisher=PBS|title=PBS biography of Arthur MacArthur|url= |accessdate=2007-11-25] His son and grandson were both famous. His grandson was General Douglas MacArthur.

* Edward P. Bullard, was born and grew up here. He invented the vertical boring mill.

* William Augustus Mowry, noted educator and prolific historical writer, was born, and grew up here. Among other works he wrote about the "History of the Territorial Expansion of the United States", (1902).cite web|title=William Augustus Mowry||url= San Francisco Public Library catalog listing (source for death date)|accessdate=2007-11-25] Other works included: Who Invented the American Steamboat? (1874), Political Education in the Schools (1878), The School Curriculum and Business Life (1881), Talks with my Boys (1884; fifth edition, 1909), Elements of Civil Government (1890; new edition, 1913), War Stories (1892), Art Decorations for School Rooms (1892), Sunshine upon the Psalms (1892), Lov'st Thou Me More than These? (1892), A History of the United States (1896), The Uxbridge Academy, a Brief History with a Biographical Sketch of Joshua Mason Macomber, A.M., M.D., Preceptor (1897), First Steps in the History of our Country (1898); revised edition, 1914), with A. May, American Inventions and Inventors (1900), Marcus Whitman and Early Oregon (1901), American Heroes (1903), with Blanche S. Mowry, American Pioneers (1905), Essentials of United States History (1906; revised edition, 1914), Recollections of a New England Educator (1908). Mowry was listed in Who's Who in America.

* Benedict Arnold's widow, "Sarah" Arnold, a native of Philadelphia, died here on February 14, 1836. [,M1] cite web|title="Area History: Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, Vol II, Chapter 13- Part 1; Occurences of the War of Independence" |publisher =Roots web US Gen Web archives |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-29] ] This appears to be verified in the town vital records.cite book|last=Baldwin|first=Thomas Williams|authorlink=|title="Vital Records of Uxbridge, Massachusetts to the Year 1850|publisher=Wright and Potter Printing|location=Boston|pages=p. 356|date=1916|,M1] among others. Some sources claim that Margaret Shippen died in England on August 24, 1804 at the age of 41. She may have returned incoginito to Massachusetts before her death.

* Corporal Edward Sullivan of Uxbridge, a native of County Cork, Ireland, served in the United States Marines, and received the Medal of Honor, for heroism in Cienfuegos, Cuba, in the Spanish American War.cite web|title="Gravesites by States"|publisher=Home of|url=|accessdate=2007-11-12]

* Fiery abolitionist, Abby Kelley Foster was a member of the Quaker Meeting House in Uxbridge.
* Charles Seagrave is mentioned as a woolen manufacturer, and Hilena Lowell, of the famous Lowell family, was a shoe manufacturer in 19th century Uxbridge. The Seagrave family had its roots in Uxbridge. One of the Seagrave family descendents, George Seagrave, manufactured "Seagrave Pumpers" at Detroit and Columbus, OH.

* Joshua Mason Macomber, A.M., M.D, was a prominent early American educator, and Principal of the Uxbridge Academy, an historic New England Preparatory school. He became a physician, and medical educator, at the University of Pennsylvania, Medical College. cite book|last= Chapin |first= Judge Henry|authorlink=|coauthors=|title="Address Delivered at the Unitarian Church in Uxbridge, 1864"|pages= p.172|publisher=Charles Hamilton Press (Harvard Library; from Google Books)|date= 1881|location=Worcester, MA|url=]

*Leonard White, MD, local health officer- Dr. White published in the medical literature describing early childhood vaccine related deaths in 1885.cite book|last=Shrady|first=George F, Editor|authorlink=|title= "Medical Record, A Weekly Journal of Medicine and Surgery", Vol 28, No 24, December 12, 1885|publisher=William Wood & Company|location=New York City|date=1885|page= p.651|] He published a report of an outbreak of malaria in town in 1896.cite web|title="A History of Mosquitos in Massachusetts, by Curtis R. Best"|publisher=Northeast mosquito control association|url=|accessdate=2008-03-31] Dr. Theobald Smith, the pathologist with the Massachusetts Board of Health, corresponded with Dr. White about the malaria in Uxbridge. [] This is among the earliest known links of malaria to mosquitoes in America, one year before Ronald Ross in India described the links to the Anopheles mosquito.

*Willard D. Bartlett; — Born in Uxbridge, Worcester County, Mass., October 14, 1846. Justice of the New York Supreme Court, 2nd District, 1884-1907; Justice of the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court 2nd Department, 1896-1906; judge of New York Court of Appeals, 1906-16; chief judge of New York Court of Appeals, 1913-16. He was from Brooklyn, Kings County, NY in adulthood. source: []

20th century

Harold Walter, originally from Colorado, became the President of the "Bachman Uxbridge Worsted Company". At its peak it was one of the most successful textile companies in America. The company had seven plants, nationwide, and was written up in "Time Magazine" in August 1953 in an article entitled "the Pride of Uxbridge".cite web|title= The Pride of Uxbridge (August 24, 1953) |url=,9171,818770,00.html |accessdate= 2007-09-24] The company led the women's fashion industry in America in 1953 with one of its products. Under his leadership, the company also led the industry in blended fabrics, and wool-nylon serge. Richard T. Moore is a local state senator, served as Massachusetts chairman of President Bill Clinton's campaign, as the Associate Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under President Clinton, and helped craft the landmark Massachusetts health care reform legislation in 2006. Moore focused on local emergency preparedness efforts and capacity while at FEMA, 5 years before 9/11. Tim Fortugno graduated from Uxbridge High School in 1980, and played Professional baseball as a relief pitcher. Teams he played for included the California Angels, The Chicago White Sox, and the Cincinnati Reds.

21st century

Brian Skerry is an undersea photographer who works with "National Geographic."cite web|last=|first=|authorlink=|title="Brian Skerry, Underwater photographer"|pages=|publisher=Worcester Magazine|place=Worcester, MA|date=2007-05-03|url=] . Skerry's publications are extensive and include many international venues. Lawrence E. Bombara, formerly chief of Uxbridge's public works department (DPW), headed up the the National Association of Public Works Directors in 2007 before he retired. Richard T. Moore was made Vice President of the National Association of State Legislators in 2008, placing him in line to lead the nation's state legislators.

ee also

* Uxbridge, Massachusetts
* The Tafts of Mendon and Uxbridge


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