from The Worcester Daily Spy, April 24, 1861 , (Volume 16 # 97), 

Patriotism of the Towns of Old Worcester County

The towns all around us are still making preparations for any public necessity which may rise, with unanimity of purpose which is almost fearful.  We are overwhelmed with reports of patriotic meetings, full of enthusiastic  love for the old flag, and of determination never to yield till it floats again in triumph wherever it has been struck down.  There is not a doubt that Worcester County in case of need, would furnish an effective force of five thousand men for any service or any danger.  It is impossible, in the limits of our edition, to do more than sketch the elaborate and interesting reports which cover our table.


The call for a meeting of the citizens of Leicester , Monday evening, was responded to by one of the largest and most enthusiastic gatherings ever assembled on Leicester Hill.  The meeting was organized by the choice of Joseph Murdock as chairman, and A. R. Nichols, secretary.  Rev. A. H. Coolidge offered an appropriate and fervent prayer.  Appropriate  and stirring address were made by Rev. Messrs. Cummings, May, Coolidge, Bullock, and Gould, and by Mr. Joseph Denny, and several young men whose earnest and thoughtful words showed them fully alive to the demands of the hour.

The resolutions express their appreciation of the solemn duties of the hour, say that “in Grateful  remembrance of the patriotic spirit of the early inhabitants of Leicester, who nobly poured out their blood and treasure in the cause of freedom during the revolution, they will, in like spirit, do everything in their power, to preserve the honor and defend the rights of our country, in the struggle for the maintenance of that freedom  they so dearly purchased;” recommend their citizens to forthwith organize and drill a company in readiness for active service; and request the selectmen to call a town meeting to adopt such measures as the important crisis demands. 

The resolutions were quickly adopted amid great cheering, by a vote of 125 to 1, which was quickly withdrawn.  the following patriotic note was received from venerable Dr. Nelson, and read:-

“To the Respected Citizens of Leicester, now assembled:  A cold with hoarseness, in addition to my usual infirmities, must prevent my being present with you this evening, and raising my feeble voice in favor of the patriotic object of your present assembling together.  My whole soul, moved and excited by the alarming public wants that are being developed, is with you.  Most heartily I wish you God speed in what you devise or do for the relief and protection of our beloved country, now imperiled by a most causeless and outrageous rebellion.

Now is the time to rouse up every energy, to make every sacrifice, and put forth every effort, for preserving our government, our laws our rights, and all that is included in the great legacy of freedom which our fathers purchased for us their blood, and bequeathed to us as an inheritance forever.  Leicester was greatly distinguished for the patriotism and daring of her sons and daughters at the trying period of the revolution.

Let the present generation show, by their immediately rallying around the standard of their country and girding on their armor, that they have not degenerated.  Age has enfeebled my body, I cannot therefore take part, in the great struggle that is going on, that the burning feeling within would prompt me to do.  But I can and do look with confident expectation, to the young and more vigorous around me to respond at once and in all the ardor to ------------the long ? call of our country---------------------------.”    

------thirty six persons have already enrolled  It is due to Leicester to know that seven of her young men have already marched to Washington, four in the Holden company, and three with the Worcester City guards.  The first four are H. W. Bowman, J. D. Robinson, J. S. Scott, and Emerson Stone; the remaining three are B. N. Bottomly, G. W. Hatch, and W. B. White.  In the published list, they were inadvertently assigned to Holden and Worcester.


The citizens of Millbury met at Academy Hall , Monday evening, responding heartily to the call for aid to our government, for the purpose of taking measures to form an efficient military company, to be prepared for future service. The meeting was called to order by Col. A. H. Waters, whose earnest appeal in behalf of the Union , and equally earnest condemnation and detestation of traitors met a unanimous response.  John E. Bacon, Esq. was called to the chair.  prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Garrette, who subsequently addressed the meeting, urging every man with a strong arm and a bold heart, to enlist to fight for his country.

Col. A. H. Waters, C. R. Miles, Esq., Rev. A. S. Thomas, Wm. H. Harrington, Esq., and others, testified their determination to do all in their power to support the government; and their animating addresses were received with the heartiest applause.  Messrs. Silas Dunton, Wm. H. Harrington, and Col. E. M. Holman, were appointed a committee to enlist a corps to be drilled preparitory to enrollment for service.  A guarantee fund of more than $2000 was raised to aid the families of those who may eventually be called away, and the selectmen were requested to call a town meeting, to raise a fund for a similar purpose.  That meeting will be called, and the town will do its duty.  Many of our young men are among the first to join the troops who are now in or near the capitol.


At a meeting of the citizens of Shrewsbury , Monday evening, held for the same patriotic purpose, L. J. Hemmingway was chosen president, and Chas. O. Green secretary.  Many patriotic addresses were made by Thomas W. Ward, Nathan Pratt, Rev. Messrs. Cushing, McGinley, Hascall, Rice, Colburn and others.  Mr. Adam Harrington, in behalf a committee presented a series of resolutions which were unanimously adopted, expressing their undiminished love of country, and the duty of every man to make sacrifices for it.

It was also voted to pay $1 to the members of such volunteer companies as might be raised for each day spent in elementary drill; to raise $2000 for the equipment of the volunteers, and to pledge to each one who is called into active service, $1 per day to be paid to themselves or their families until the date of their discharge.  The meeting also appointed recruiting officers, who will attend to the immediate enlistment of a company of volunteers.


The citizens of Uxbridge held a meeting Monday evening, at which Francis Deane Esq., presided.  The meeting first assembled in Taft’s Hall, and adjourned to the town hall for want of room.  eight hundred persons were present, and speeches were made by the president, Rev. Mr. Russell, Dr. J. McComber, C. A. Taft, W. H. Hobbs, R. J. Mowry, and others.

The meeting recommended the formulation of a company of volunteers, to be equipped, drilled, and prepared for immediate service, and pledged itself to take care of the families of those who should be called away.  Lieut. Hobbs, who has been ordered to recruit and form companies, called upon those present who desired to serve their country, to enroll themselves, to which fifteen persons responded; and the lieutenant is confident he will have a company of eighty persons before the close of the week.


The citizens of Sutton held a meeting at Washington Hall, Monday evening, of which LaBaron Putnam was president, and Jason Waters secretary.  The hall was quite too small to hold all who desired to attend, and an adjournment was effected to the Congregational church, where a prayer was offered by Rev. Geo. Lyman.

Stirring speeches were made by the president , Rev. Messrs. Lyman, and Hawkins, Messrs. Slocum, Mills,, Woodbury, Waters, Hill, Batcheller, and others.  Papers for the formation of a military company were presented, and twenty or thirty persons enrolled their names, amid the applause of the large meeting.   series of  vigorous and determined resolutions were unanimously adopted, pledging their earnest support to the government, and urging the selectmen to call a town meeting as soon as practicable for the purpose of raising money for the emergency and adopting such precautionary measures as might be deemed necessary.  

                                                                    The Brookfields

Saturday was a lively day in all the Brookfields.  In West Brookfield , a meeting was organized by the choice of Geo. W. Lincoln president, and Joseph A Sprague secretary.  Soon after the organization, a delegation from North Brookfield entered the hall, stating that several hundred citizens of that town and Brookfield were assembled on the common; whereupon a committee of citizens was appointed to escort them to the hall.  The delegation entered with the national colors flying, and accompanied by the Brookfield Brass Band.  Speeches were made by several persons, pledging themselves to aid the government in putting down treason to the end.

When the meeting dissolved, a procession of ten or twelve hundred persons marched to the depot to await the arrival of the troops from Worcester .  On the approach of the train, cheer upon cheer was given for Gen. Devens, who appeared and made a gallant and soul-stirring speech, which added new fire to the enthusiasm.  The waving of handkerchiefs by the ladies, the hand shaking with the soldiers, the martial music by the band, and the booming of cannon, all this at the “dead hour” of night, shows how deep and earnest a patriotism is still alive in the old Brookfields.

The citizens of Brookfield held another meeting, Monday evening.  Over two hundred men signified their readiness to go into active service when the country needed them.  Forty-three names were enrolled toward the formation of a new company, and the other Brookfields, we are assured, are prepared to do the same.


The citizens of Dudley held a large and earnest meeting Monday evening, Capt. Ebenezer Davis, president, and R. P. Taft, secretary.  Prayer was offered by rev. T. J. Abbott, and patriotic speeches were made by Messrs. Nichols, Abbott, Pratt, Conant, and many others, including H. H. Stevens.  Resolutions were passed that it was the duty of every patriot to aid in crushing the rebellion.  Every man seemed to be ready to fight for his country, and twenty two young men promptly offered to enlist.  It is in contemplation to raise a company of sixty-five men, and place it at the disposal of the commander-in-chief.  The selectmen have ( called a meeting to equip the company?) and furnish the necessary aid for their families, should they be called into service.


Sunday was a day never to be forgotten by the citizens of this place.  At noon , word came to Capt. Bowman that his command, the Clinton Light Guard, would probably be called out in forty-eight hours.  Subscriptions were immediately started for the purpose of supplying them with every needful outfit.

Ladies with their sewing machines immediately gathered at the Baptist vestry, and while the afternoon services were being held in the body of the church, fifty sewing machines and hundreds of nimble fingers were busy preparing flannel underclothing.  A committee was dispatched to Worcester , and seventy five revolvers were procured for the company. 

A meeting of the citizens was held Monday morning, of which H. N. Bigelow, Esq., was chosen chairman, and H. C. Greeley secretary.  Prayer was offered by Rev. C. M. Bowers, and W. W. Winchester, C. H. Waters, Esq., and others.  About $2000 has already been raised by subscription.  the physicians, through Dr. G. M. Morse, volunteered to attend the families of the military, during their absence, free of charge


On Saturday evening there was a gathering of the men and women of the town, fifteen hundred strong, at Athol Center , to witness the ceremony of raising the national flag on the common.  Amidst  martial music, the booming of cannon, and the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner,” the stars and stripes were unfurled to the breeze, and greeted with wildest enthusiasm.

The large concourse was then addressed from the balcony of the Summit house by the Orthodox and Unitarian  clergymen of the place, and by Messrs. Stevens, Lynde, Lathrop, Field, and others, counseling prompt and energetic action in support  of the government, and to stand by the flag through all dangers and under all circumstances, sentiments which were received with deep and tumultuous applause.

A general illumination followed of all the dwellings in both villages, making the night lighter than the day, while the streets were traversed by long processions, headed by the band, playing national airs, until a late hour.  measures have been already taken to procure drill officers, and volunteers met Monday evening to take their first lesson in “Scotts tactics.”  A hundred men of the flower of the population can be raised without difficulty, and more if required.


The people of Bolton , of all classes and parties, held a meeting at their Town Hall, on Monday evening.  Marcellus Houghton president.  Rev. Mr. Heard of Clinton opened the meeting with prayer, offering the “first prayer in congress,” which is preserved in Thacher’s Military Journal of 1777.  Speeches were made by Rev. Messrs. Heard, Chaffee, Brown and others, and measures were adopted for raising a volunteer company, for which a guarantee fund of $1325 has been already subscribed.  


The national flag was unfurled in Gardner , Saturday evening at sunset, amidst the ringing of church bells, the firing of cannon, the music of the band, and the plaudits of the people.  A meeting was held in the town hall in the evening, over which Rev. John C. Payne presided.  speeches were made by the president and by Rev. Mr. Walker of South Gardener, Messrs. Glazier, Parish, Whitaker, and others.  It is proposed to raise a volunteer company of sixty-four men.  Several young men of the town have gone to the seaboard for the purpose of enlisting in the naval service.       


One of the largest meetings ever held on old Lancaster assembled at the town hall, Monday, J. L. S. Thompson president, and H. C. Kimball, secretary.  The meeting was addressed by Col. Francis  B. Fay, who after a few earnest and emphatic words, proposed, in a series of resolutions, that, “the citizens of Lancaster, old and young, rich and poor, abandon for the present all side issues, know no party but the Union, and recognize no guiding stars but liberty and constitution.

The resolutions were unanimously adopted with tumultuous applause, every man rising to his feet.  thirty citizens were at once enrolled, which number will probably be doubled, for a volunteer company.  It was voted to form a “home guard” to look after the families of such as might be called into service of the country.  The prevailing feeling is intense and unmistakable.


The citizens of Northbridge held an informal meeting in the chapel in Whitinsville, on Monday evening, crowding the room to repletion, with one of the largest and most enthusiastic audiences ever convened in the town.  It was organized by the choice of dr. R. R. Clarke as president, and L. F. Smith secretary, and was addressed by Rev. Mr. Clark, and Messrs. Kendall, Philbrick, Gibbs, Taft, Whipple, Morse, and others, all expressing a fervent  devotion to the Union, and the purpose to stand by it to the end.

The meeting pledged pecuniary assistance for the common defense, and voted to  supply the necessary equipments to all persons volunteering from that town, and to care for the families depending on them for support.  Fifty persons indicated their readiness to be called upon whenever the country needs their services, and will immediately enroll themselves into a volunteer company.  The people are to raise the national flag in both villages of the town, and a legal meeting is to be immediately called to act upon the whole subject.     



15th Massachusetts VI