In 1716 a tract of land which was a little more than 11,000 acres (45 km²) in size was granted to John Read. He named it "The Manour Of Peace" and had it in mind to develop it in the style of an English manor anticipating that it would later become a very valuable country estate. He leased out the land and did not sell until after his death when he gave a gift of to serve as a ministry lot. As time passed, the town of Ware grew up around the old Congregational meeting house and later became a small center of local manufacturing and commerce.
The actual origin of the name, Ware, is thought to be derived from a translation of the Native American word "Nenameseck," meaning fishing weir (pronounced Ware). The weirs were used to capture salmon that were once abundant in New England waterways.
In 1729, the first grist and saw mills were built on the banks of the Weir River by Jabez Olmstead. During the American Revolution there were at least eight taverns and several inns in the area. Two of the most famous were Ebenezer Nye’s tavern and John Downing’s. After town meetings were held they would often adjourn to the latter establishment. By the 1830s it was not uncommon to see textile mills dotted along the various local rivers. At this point Ware community was making the transition from an agrarian economy to an industrially based society. The post Civil War era (1850s - 1900s) brought a new prosperity to the now established textile mill town. "Ware factory village," as it was known, sprung up overnight and formed the basis for new growth and development.
For nearly 100 years the Otis company had been the largest single Ware employer. Cotton had been the primary product and by 1937, denims, awnings and tickings were the principal output. It had been very prosperous until World War I when its employees numbered close to 2,500. By the 1920s however, the company began to decline due to southern competition and lack of modern machinery.
By the mid thirties, the Directors decided to liquidate although no public announcement was made. Shortly thereafter, the company had sold its interests to 3 "cotton men" – Lawrence W. Robert Jr., Edward J. Heitzeberg, and Paul A. Redmond – all with close connections to Alabama Mills which owned factories in the South.
Instantly, the townspeople rallied to the cause. A public mass meeting was called that evening and plans to raise the necessary cash in order to save what appeared to be the ruin of the town were formulated. The citizens of Ware were able to purchase the mills together with the backing of the Ware Trust Company. The mills became Ware Industries Inc., and Ware came to be known nation-wide as "The Town That Can’t Be Licked."
The town gained lands in the late 1930s as part of the building of the Quabbin Reservoir. The reservoir dammed the Swift River in the former town of Enfield, flooding the valley. Four towns - Enfield, Greenwich, Prescott and Dana - were disincorporated in 1938 by this building of the reservoir. Much of Enfield and Greenwich became part of the town of Ware, extending the town's lands northward. Today, the town is home to most of the Windsor Dam and its spillway, and the Goodnough Dike, both of which lie within the Quabbin Reservation. Ware's portion of this land is some of the most accessible land in the reservation, with a large lookout tower atop Quabbin Hill. Ware also bears the morbid distinction of being host to the Quabbin Park Cemetery, where most of the graves in the former towns were relocated to, as well as most of the town monuments.