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Millbury, Massachusetts

Millbury is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 12,784 at the 2000 census. The town is part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.


Millbury was first settled in 1716 and was officially incorporated in 1813.

Millbury has a long history as a New England mill town, from which the town's name is derived. The Blackstone River flows through the town which during the Industrial Revolution provided much of the water power to the town's many textile mills and factories.

Millbury was originally the Second or North Parish of Sutton, Massachusetts. Due to the fact that traveling from one part of Sutton to the other for town meetings, etc. was difficult and took time, the inhabitants of the Northern Parish petitioned the Massachusetts General Court to split the town of Sutton into two separate towns. The North Parish became the town of Millbury on June 11, 1813 by way of an act of incorporation.

Millbury's industrial history can be traced to the early 18th century, not long after the area's settlement. In 1735, John Singletary began operating a mill on Singletary Brook, a stream flowing out of Singletary Lake. Around 1753, John Singletary built the S & D Spinning mill, which is still in operation today making it one of the oldest continuously operating mills in the United States. The mill is featured on the Town Seal.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, after learning the trade of firearms production from their father, Asa Waters II and his brother Elijah purchased land along the Blackstone River and built mills producing goods such as guns, scythes and sawmill saws. In 1808 Asa and Elijah erected an armory which was successful until it was forced to close suddenly in 1841. It was reopened at the start of the Civil War in 1861 with work issued from the government. Through the wealth Asa Waters II received from his factories and mills, he began construction in 1826 of a Federal style mansion near the town center on Elm Street. Designed by Boston architect Asher Benjamin, it was completed in 1832. It took two years to collect materials for construction of the house, including marble from Italy and bricks from Baltimore. Known as the Asa Waters Mansion, it is an icon of the town.

President William Howard Taft spent many summer vacations in Millbury as a young boy, attending the public schools for a season. When he grew older, he visited his grandparents most summers. He visited his aunt, Delia C. Torrey, during his presidency for the occasion of Millbury's 100th birthday. The Torrey House, where President Taft stayed during his visit, is commonly called The Taft House today, which has a restaurant on the ground floor.

In the early seventies, Millbury saw a number of large fires. The Town Hall burned down, followed by the Union School. A propane plant near Route 146 exploded spectacularly, with tanks blown a hundred feet or more into the air, making the network news.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 16.3 square miles (42.1 km²), of which, 15.7 square miles (40.7 km²) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km²) of it (3.20%) is water.

Millbury is bordered by Worcester to the north, Grafton to the east, Sutton to the south, Oxford to the southwest and Auburn to the West.


As of the census of 2000, there were 12,784 people, 4,927 households, and 3,443 families residing in the town. The population density was 812.5 people per square mile (313.8/km²). There were 5,109 housing units at an average density of 324.7/sq mi (125.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.19% White, 0.53% African American, 0.15% Native American, 1.02% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.02% of the population.

There were 4,927 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.1% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the town the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $51,415, and the median income for a family was $62,564. Males had a median income of $41,912 versus $28,973 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,531. About 4.1% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.2% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.


Public schools in Millbury fall under the jurisdiction of Millbury Public Schools school district. Approximately 2,000 students are educated in three schools: Elmwood Street School, a 625 student primary school for grades Preschool - 2; Raymond E. Shaw Elementary School, a 423 student intermediate school for grades 3 - 6; and Millbury Memorial Junior/Senior High School, a 936 student secondary school for grades 7 - 12.

Famous people

Ron Darling

Ronald Maurice Darling (born August 19, 1960) is an American former right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Mets, Oakland Athletics and Montreal Expos. Darling is currently a broadcaster for the Mets.

During his 13-year career, Darling amassed a 136-116 won-loss record including 1,590 strikeouts and a 3.87 ERA. He threw 13 shutouts in his career and was selected to the 1985 All-Star team

Darling appeared on the Hall of Fame balloting for 2001, receiving one vote.

Howard T "Howie" Winter

Convicted cocaine dealer Howie Winter and former boss of Somerville's Winter Hill Gang until the late 1970s, when he went down on state and federal raps, including a race-fixing indictment in which Whitey Bulger was named as an "unindicted coconspirator." At last report, Winter was living in Millbury.


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