Place:Lancaster, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States


Alt namesLancaster Centersource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS25003718
Lancaster Centresource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS25003718
Nashawaysource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS25003718
Coordinates42.45°N 71.667°W
Located inWorcester, Massachusetts, United States
Contained Places
Old Settlers Burial Yard
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Lancaster is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, in the United States. Incorporated in 1653, Lancaster is the oldest town in Worcester County. As of the 2020 census, the town population was 8,441.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

In 1643 Lancaster was first settled as "Nashaway" (named after the local Nashaway Native American tribe) by a group of colonists known as the Nashaway Company who may have initially been interested in iron deposits in the area. Several of the company were blacksmiths or gunsmiths, including, Herman Garrett, and as early as 1653 a settler, George Adams, was whipped for selling guns and alcohol to the Indians in the area. The town was officially incorporated and renamed "Lancaster on the Nashua" in 1653. Prominent Massachusetts military leader Simon Willard served as an advisor to the company and eventually settled in Lancaster for a period, and provided guns to the local tribe by order of the Massachusetts General Court.

Supporters of Lancaster's founder, John Prescott, born in 1604 (great grandfather of Bunker Hill leader William Prescott), wished to name the new settlement Prescott, but the Massachusetts General Court considered such a request from a common freeman presumptuous, given that at that time, not even a governor had held the honor of naming a town after himself. Instead, they decided to use Lancaster, the name of Prescott's home town in England.

Until it was cut down in 1989 due to safety concerns, Lancaster boasted the largest oak tree in the state, called the Beaman Oak, named after settler Gamaliel Beaman (1623–1677).

Lancaster boasts being the official "mothertown" to all of Eastern central Massachusetts. Towns such as Harvard, Bolton, Leominster, Clinton, Berlin, Sterling, and part of West Boylston were all formed from territory of the original boundaries of Lancaster.

Lancaster was the site of the Mary Rowlandson (–1711) attack (Lancaster raid) in February 1676 (1675 old style calendar). During Metacom's War, which was fought partially in Lancaster, a group of Native Americans pillaged the entire town of Lancaster. Their last stop was Mary Rowlandson's house. Coming to the defense of the house was Rowlandson's brother-in-law, who was immediately shot and killed by the attacking Native Americans. The Native Americans then set fire to the house, forcing Rowlandson to exit the burning building. Upon crossing the doorstep, Rowlandson saw a scene full of carnage. The majority of her household was slaughtered, with the exception of her husband, Joseph Rowlandson Sr., who was not on the premises, their son, also called Joseph, their two daughters, Mary and Sarah, and herself. Mary, her son, and her two daughters were captured by the Native Americans and forced to join their travels across New England. The Native Americans non-fatally shot Mary Rowlandson in her side, but her youngest daughter, Sarah, sustained an injury during the attack that would later bring about her death. After her release from captivity, Rowlandson wrote a book called A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. The book is widely considered one of the greatest examples of a captivity narrative. In 2000, Lancaster Elementary School changed its name to Mary Rowlandson Elementary School.

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