Worcester county. This town was incorporated in 1764. It is 60 miles N.W. by W. from Boston and 34 N.N.W. from Worcester. Population, 1830, 1,463; 1837, 1,802. The surface of the town is uneven and rocky, with a strong soil, which, when subdued, is quite productive of grain, grass and fruit trees. There are fine quarries of granite in the town; and a spring tinctured with iron and sulphur, but which is less visited than formerly. Miller's river rises in this town and Ashburnham, and affords convenient mill seats. There are 2 pleasant villages in the town, a cotton mill, a woolen mill, and manufactures of cotton and wool bobbins, leather, palm-leaf hats, chairs, cabinet and wooden wares: annual value, exclusive of cotton goods, about $100,000.
Under Warner, N.H., we gave an account of a frightful tornado in that and the neighboring towns in 1821. It appears that this part of the country was visited by a similar desolation, at the same time, more than 40 miles distant. A Worcester paper thus describes it:
"About 6 o'clock, Sunday evening, September 9th, a black and terrific cloud appeared a little south of the centre of Northfield, Franklin county, nearly in the form of a pyramid reversed, moving very rapidly and with a terrible noise. In its progress it swept away or prostrated all the trees, fences, stone walls, and buildings which came within its vortex, which in some places was not more than 20 rods and in others 40 or 50. It passed from Northfield through Warwick and Orange, to the southwesterly part of Royalston, where its force was broken by Tully Mountain. Its path was strewed for the distance of 25 miles, through the towns of Royalston, Winchendon, Ashburnham and Fitchburg, with fragments of buildings, sheaves of grain, bundles of corn stalks, clothing, &c.
"Several persons were killed and wounded, numerous houses, barns, &c., demolished, and many domestic animals, in the track of the tornado, were destroyed. Large trees were taken 200 feet into the air, and logs which would require 4 oxen to remove them were swept out of the bed of Tully river where they had lain for more than half a century. The ground was torn up from the river to the mountains, about 40 rods, from 1 foot to 6 feet deep. The surface of the earth was broken throughout the whole course of the whirlwind, as with the ploughshare of destruction. Stones of many hundred pounds weight, were rolled from their beds. Lots of wood were whirled into promiscuous heaps, with roots and tops, tops and roots. The appearance presented by the track of the whirlwind, indicated, as near as the writer can judge from actual inspection, that the form of the cloud, and the body of air in motion, was that of an inverted pyramid, drawing whatever came within its influence towards the centre of motion."