Town of Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury was incorporated in 1727 and is named for Shrewsbury, England. The town created an agricultural economy with apple orchards, and by 1750, there were two stores and four taverns as well as several small industries in operation.

The infamous Shays’ Rebellion in 1786 sought to close the courts to prevent debt collections and the foreclosure of mortgages. Shrewsbury became a staging area for the rebellion, before the march on the Worcester Court House.

A leather industry began in 1786 in Shrewsbury, and town farmers developed large cattle herds to support the manufacturing of boots and shoes. This was followed by the establishment of gunsmithing in 1797, which produced rifles, shotguns and pistols and eventually cutlery. Luther Goddard began in 1809 by making brass clocks and then established a small watch factory employing a few skilled Swiss and English watchmakers. Lumbering created sawmills, and they in turn drew chair and cabinet makers, plow and wagon builders.

The development of streetcar routes in the 19th century spurred the growth of single-family housing in town.

Some notable residents of Shrewsbury include Lillian Asplund, the last American survivor of the Titanic, former US Congressman Peter I. Blute, American painter Ralph Early, Jonah Howe, former Massachusetts state legislator, Francis Patrick O’Connor, a Masschusetts Supreme Court judge, Craig Mello, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, journalist Charlie Pierce and American Revolution Major General Artemas Ward.

Visit the Town of Shrewsbury’s website: https://shrewsburyma.gov/