Worcester county. This town was incorporated in 1832, and named in compliment to Hon. Daniel Webster, including a part of Dudley and Oxford, and a tract of land previously unincorporated. It is bounded N. by Oxford, E. by Douglas, S. by Thompson, in Connecticut, and W. by Dudley. It is 46 miles W.S.W. from Boston, 16 S. from Worcester, 45 E. by S. from Springfield, and 28 N.W. from Providence, R.I. Population, 1837, 1,210.
There are in operation in this town two woolen and four large cotton mills, a cotton thread mill, 1 machine shop, 1 bleachery, a tannery, and a manufactory of tin ware: total value of manufactures, the year ending April 1, 1837, $312,277.
French river and a pond give this place a large and unfailing water power. The original name of this pond, as appears from ancient deeds, was Chabanakongkomom, the same name by which Dudley was known, though the latter probably borrowed it from the former. Some records and maps of New England have given the name Chargoggagoggmanchoggagogg. The fall at the outlet of this pond is 24 feet, which is increased after it empties into French river to about 90 feet before it passes into Connecticut. This afforded ample water power for the late Samuel Slater to concentrate here a large portion of his manufacturing capital; and it is to the enterprise of this 'Father of American manufactures,' that this place is indebted for most of the prosperity which it at present enjoys. It was his favorite residence, and where his remains now rest.
A remnant of the Dudley, or more properly of the Nipmuck Indians, reside here. They are about 40 in number, though but few of them are of pure blood. These Indians formerly owned a considerable tract of reserved land in the centre of Chabanakongkamon or Dudley. This was sold by order of the legislature, and the proceeds appropriated to their support, and to the purchase of about 30 acres, on which they now reside. This money is now expended and they are dependent on the bounty of the state for support.