LANCASTER is a town in Worcester County. Incorporated in 1653, Lancaster is the oldest town in Worcester County. As of the 2017, the town population was 8,055. Lancaster was first settled as "Nashaway (local Native American tribe) in 1643. It was officially incorporated and renamed "Lancaster on the Nashua" in 1653. the town has a total area of 28.2 square miles and is 49 miles north west of Boston with access to Route 2. Easy access to Route 190 for Worcester or western Massachusetts.
Today Lancaster is a great little town and part of the Nashoba Regional school system. Mostly residential but also offers farms with fresh fruits and vegetables, pick your own seasonally, breakfast places, Kimball's Farm Ice Cream, hiking trails and more.
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.
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 his home town in England.
Lancaster was the site of the Mary Rowlandson (c. 1637–1711) attack 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 in response to English colonial brutality against them. 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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