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The Town of Uxbridge lies on the southern border of Massachusetts at the Rhode Island line. The community is industrial, agricultural and residential in nature and both the Blackstone River, two of its major tributaries and several large brooks run through town. Established as a town in 1727, Uxbridge's bountiful water power provided the basis for large scale industrial development beginning as early as 1775. Uxbridge was the site of a Nipmuck Indian village as well as of one of the Christian Indian settlements established to protect Indian converts. Quakers from Rhode Island established a colony in the town and built the earliest meetinghouse in Uxbridge in 1770, a building which still survives. Residents established the Uxbridge Social and Instructive Library in 1775 and a grammar school in 1788. Good quality iron ore, which had been mined since the 1730's, supported a forge and a triphammer. In that era the town was primarily a prosperous agricultural settlement with dispersed farms, but it was also the site of saw and grist mills and a gin distillery. 0, textile manufacturing had been introduced when Daniel Day erected a small carding and spinning mill, which was the second textile mill on the Blackstone River and the third one in the state. Capron Mills in 1820 introduced power loom weaving of woolen cloth in their factory on the Mumford River, the first such looms ever constructed. In 1827, major industrial complexes such as the massive granite Crown and Eagle Mills assumed great economic importance. The Crown and Eagle boasted a large-scale water power system and clusters of worker's duplexes. But agriculture remained a basic component of the town's economy and residents also grew grain and potatoes, managed apple orchards, dairy farms and cattle herds. Settlers traded their agricultural produce and manufactured and forest products for foreign goods in Providence and their commercial ties with that city were strong. The Blackstone Canal, completed in 1828, facilitated the transport of agricultural goods, raw materials and finished products to all points between Worcester and Providence. Since Uxbridge was halfway between the two, it became an overnight stopping place for canal boats. Immigration grew, primarily of people from Ireland, to work the mills and make shoes and boots and by 1855, 560 people produced 2.5 million yards of cotton and woolen cloth in Uxbridge mills. The town's stone quarries produced the stone to rebuild Boston after the Great fire, and during the Civil War several of the town's mills ran on 24-hour shifts to fill government orders. In the First World War the town's economy boomed again as the mills worked to produce khaki overcoat cloth for America, France and Italy. As late as 1983, Calumet Mill was still making fancy woolens in Uxbridge. The town retains over 60 handsome Federalist houses as a legacy of its history. Seal supplied by community.
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