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Dudley is a rural, upland college town with two major rivers, the Quinebaug and the French. After King Philip's war, in 1684, the Nipmuck Indians sold large tracts of land to colonists and the town was populous enough to be incorporated in 1731. It was the first town incorporated after the formation of Worcester County. The town was at first seen as unsuited for agriculture, but the large number of ponds and reservoirs created in the 19th century provided ample water power for significant textile, manufacturing and industrial development. Along with its industrial base, and despite its reputation, Dudley maintained a large agricultural establishment, growing hay, grains and vegetables and raising sheep and cattle. The introduction of woolen mills made Dudley an industrial force in the county and by 1832, 40,000 yards of broadcloth and 70,000 yards of satinet was being produced by residents and French Canadian and Irish immigrants. The town's economy was dominated by the textile industry until the 20th century. In 1865, two million yards of linen and burlap were woven in Dudley. Modern Dudley still shows indications of its rural background from the poultry farms, dairy farms which produced milk, butter and cheese and vegetable and market gardens. (Seal supplied by community. Narrative based on information provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission)
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