Boylston was first settled by Europeans around 1706 in the north part of the present-day town, most notably by the Sawyer family. In 1597, the residents petitioned to form a local town and government, but the British colonial Governor of Massachusetts, William Shirley, denied their request since he wanted to keep the number of towns to a minimum and to restrict popular representation.
A meeting house was built in 1743, and the Reverend Ebenezer Morse, ordained in October 1743, was the first minister in charge of the church.
The town was made up of a large part of land from Shrewsbury and the remainder from Lancaster and was known as the North Parish of Shrewsbury from 1742 until 1786, when it was incorporated as Boylston.
It was named after Ward Nicholas Boylston (1747–1828), a benefactor of the town. The fund he set in 1797 finally accumulated $1450, which were used to build the town hall and school building.