The Town of Auburn was originally set off from Worcester, Sutton, Leicester and Oxford, and was incorporated on the loth of April, 1778, with the name of Ward, in honor of General Artemas Ward, of Shrewsbury. a man of great prominence in this region, active as a patriot during the difficulties that caused the separation from the mother country, and receiving on the eve of hostilities the appointment of First Major General in the Revolutionary Army. He was at a later period Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and afterwards served in Congress. He died in 1800 at the age of seventy-three.

A precinct was organized at this place July 27th, 1773. called the South Parish of Worcester, and three years later the church was formed. In 1777 Rev. Isaac Bailey became the first pastor.

More or less opposition was manifested against the formation of the new township in the several places from which its territory was taken, and committees were chosen to contest the proposed action in the General Court. It is probable that the intention to separate from the older towns had been cherished for several years by those who, though nominally apart in corporate interests, were in their isolated situation united for common convenience and protection of material rights. This purpose after it was divulged could not long be resisted, but the event was postponed for several years by a quasi acknowledgment of independence. Twice in 1776 and 1777, as the Town Records of Worcester testify, were special war taxes abated to the inhabitants of the South Parish, perhaps with the hope of holding them to their allegiance; but in the fall of the last named year the matter was brought directly to a settlement, as appears by the following extract from the Worcester Records:

"The Town of Worcester Having been served with a Coppy of the Petition of William Phips & Charles Richardson praying 'the present members of the Precinct lately Erected out of Worcester, Leicester, Oxford & Sutton may be incorporated into a Town, according to a plan Exhibited with said petition &c. and the Honble General assemblys Resolve thereon, of the 24th day of Octr last, Requireing the said Towns to shew Cause, if any they have, on the third Wednesday of the next Session of the Sd Court why the prayer of Sd petition should not be granted.'

The Town of Worcester, in answer to Sd Petition and Order of Court, beg leave to say, that they have not been served with a plan of said town exhibited with said Petition to the Court, and therefore are not in a Capacity to offer reasons against, or to comply with it untill they know how far it Extends. But if the said plan Does not include any of those persons nor their Estates which belong to the Town of Worcester, and which were Excepted from being set off to said precinct when it was first Erected, We have no objections to their being made a Distinct Town. But if said plann includes those persons and their Estates who were first Exempted from belonging to said precinct, and are still unwilling to be set off to said Town, We beg leave to say we think it would be inconsistent to include a Number of persons & their Estates into the said New Town and still continue them to belong to the Town of Worcester, and to include them in the plann aforesaid & set them off against their Consent & the Consent of this Town, is departing from the principles upon which the said precinct was at first Erected, and will subject the said persons to an inconvenience that they had a right to Expect an Exemption from by the act of the General assembly & as the said persons who were first Exempted from belonging to Sd Precinct and who are still unwilling to be set off to Sd new Town and their Estates all lay upon the side of 5d new Town next to Worcester, this Town are humbly of opinion that a line may be run between the Town of Worcester & the 54 new Town Leaving the 54 persons & their Estates to the Town of Worcester without any Inconveniency to Either of the said Towns, which if complied with the Town of Worcester are Content.

NATHN BALDWIN
NATHAN PERRY
DAVID BIGELOW

Comittee."

On the 2d of February, 1778, in Worcester Town Meeting, it was voted to choose two persons to meet the Committee of the General Court, to view the proposed new township, and to fix the lines and boundaries; and on the 23d of the same month, it was voted to remonstrate against the proceedings of said Committee, and the lines established between the towns, with what effect it does not appear.

On the 10th of the following April the Precinct was incorporated as a Town and named Ward.

February 17th, 1837, the name of the Town was changed to Auburn. This was influenced largely, it is said, by the confusion in writing the names Ward and Ware by those not familiar with the two places.

The Order establishing the South Precinct or Parish of Worcester comprises the names of those who were the first residents of the new town, and the founders of the prominent families, the names of whose immediate progeny and later descendants appear in the Records embodied in this volume:

In Council, June 19, 1773, ordered that Gershom Rice, Israel Stevens, David Bancroft, Jonathan Stone, Daniel Boyden, Jacob Stevens, Thomas Drury, Thomas Drury, Jr., Henry Gale, Wm. Bancroft, Jas. Nichols, Darius Boyden, Jas. Hart, Thos. Baird, Jas. Hart, Jr., Thos. Baird, Jr., Oliver Curtis, Comfort Rice, Elizabeth Boyden, Phebe Bancroft, Jno. Boyden, Daniel Bancroft, Chas. Hart, Jas. Nichols, Peter Boyden, of Worcester; Benjamin Carter, Chas. Richardson, Timothy Carter, Phineas Rice, Benjamin Carter, Jr., Rachel Buck, Daniel Roper, Gershom Bigelow, Gershom Bigelow, Jr. Peter Hardy, Daniel Cummings, Charles Richardson, Jr., of Sutton; Samuel Eddy, Levi Eddy, Peter Jenison, Ruth Stone, Jesse Stone, Isaac Pratt, Abraham Fitts, Alexander Nichols, David Gleason, of Oxford; John Crowl, Jr., Andrew Crowl, Jonathan Phillips, John Hart, Thomas Scott, William Yong, Jonathan Stone, of Leicester; be and hereby are, with their Families and Estates, erected into a Precinct, and shall enjoy all the powers and privileges which other Precincts in this Province by Law enjoy; and it is further ordered that all other persons (with their Families and Estates) living in the towns of Worcester, Leicester and Oxford, not further than three miles (as the roads are now trod) from the Place hereinafter fixed for building the meeting-house upon, together with all such others in Sutton that live not further than one mile and a half from said place, who shall signify their desire to belong to said Precinct by lodging their names in the Secretary's office within nine months from this date, be and hereby are Incorporated and made a part of the Precinct aforesaid-Ordered that the spot for erecting the meeting-house upon be at the following place (viz)., at an Oak stump with stones upon it, Standing on the Westerly side of the County road leading from Worcester to Oxford, near the Centre of two acres of Land which Thomas Drury conveyed to Jonathan Stone, Daniel Boyden and David Bancroft; the said two acres of land lieth on the gore of land which was annexed to the town of Worcester.

Those who signified their desire to be included in the new division were:

Samuel Holman, Gershom Rice, Jr., Israel Stone, Wm. Parker, Joseph Phillips, Samuel Learned, Israel Phillips, Jacob Work, Jonathan Cutler, David Stone, John Harwood, Thomas Gleason, William Phips, Isaac Putnam, Joseph Gleason, Jonas Bancroft, Elisha Livermore, Gardner Chandler (for his land within the limits) Nathaniel Scot, David Bates, Nathan Patch, David Richards.

Population at Different Periods.

1790 473   1830 690   1880 1,317
1810 540   1850 879   1895 1,598

The records of Auburn have a close and important relation to those of Worcester, Leicester, Sutton and Oxford, towns prominent in the history of the early settlement of central Massachusetts. Especially are thse records supplementary to the Town Records of Worcester, which have been edited and printed in full by the Trustee of the Systematic History Fund, and they may be considered in reality a continuation of the work which was comprehended in a plan formed by him for the practical development of the original historical material of this section.

With the exception of brief sketches in narrative form, compreised in certain general works, nothing in the shape of a town history of Auburn has been printed. Its Records are in a fair state of preservation, but accessible only to those who are on the ground. This first pulication presents the full personal record (which in every case is the true foundation of local history) so far as it can be gathered from the town books, and added to this are the inscriptions from the two older burial grounds in the town, all systematized form form for reference.

Speaking in a general way, all local recods of the early period in New England are incomplete and imperfect, the degree varying to some extent in different places, but none have been found entirely free from omissions, discrepancies and other errors. The Records of Auburn afford about the average number of such instances. But this statement should not carry the implication that the value and practical usefulnesss of town and other records are seriously impaired by the small percentage of inaccuracies common in all human works, and of which a large proportion can be rectified by effort and patience. The substantial groundwork of the original entries in the Auburn town books is here supplied,a nd the addition of the burial ground inscriptions will aid in completing the record of deaths.

In the work of collecting and copying this material I have had the benefit of the services of Mr. George Maynard as a competent assistant. To Mr. Charles E. Prouty, the Town Clerk of Auburn, and to Mrs. Prouty, my acknowledgments are due for their courtesy, and for free access to the Records at all times.

F.P.R.

Worcester, March 31, 1900

A general guide to how to use these pages.

If you are new to this site, or haven't used the site a lot, please be sure to read the rest of this page. Even if you have used this site a lot, a refresher may be helpful due to the changes that have been introduced.

You can research the records alphabetically or chronologically within surname. Images of the pages from which the transcriptions were done, and the title pages, are available for most towns. A list of abbreviations used is available.

Alphabetic - This is the most common way that the published vital records were presented. All of the same given names were arranged chronologically with names that had middle initials or middle names following the others. Nicknames would appear alphabeticall according to the spelling, i.e. Nabby, the nickname for Abigail, would be with the names beginning with the letter "N."

In this version, the names are sorted based on the most common spelling. Abbie, Abby, Abigail, Knabby, Nabby, etc., will all appear together and will be chronological. Middle initials and middle names have no influence on the order.

Note: There are going to be errors in the indexing of the names. A woman named Abiel may have been recorded as Abby. The indexing will have her with the Abigails. Please notify me with the Contact page about errors and they will be fixed within a couple days.

Chronologic - The chronologic sort will be most helpful with surnames having lots of entries, especially births. Records that had a missing date, or part, have had the missing portions replaced with zeros and will appear ahead of the others.

Page images - The icon at the left of each record is a link to the image of the page from which the transcription was done. The transcriptions are a tool. The image is the source. It is your responsibility to copy the image for your documentation. Also, the title page should be copied. There is a link to the title page in the navigation bar on transcription pages and image display pages.

Abbreviations - Each town had its own abbreviations used in the published records. Most of these are the same. The abbreviations for the headstones (GR), private records (PR), churches (CR), etc. are all different. There is a link to a list of all abbreviations used for the town in the navigation bar of the transcription pages.

Errors - There are two types of errors.

  • Errors in the published records - It is known that errors are in the published records. Not many, to be sure, but they are there. Where I have found them, or have been informed and provided sufficient documentation, the records have been annotated. This appears in red at the end of the line.]
  • Transcription errors - Even with the best of proofing, errors occur. If you find one, use the Contact link at the top of the page and tell me about the error. I need to have the town name, type of record, page number, what the error is and what it should be. It facilitates matters if you copy and paste the record in error into the e-mail.

Miscellaneous - As the opportunity has provided, I have tried to research names that had only initials or an initial and a surname to find the full names. Where I've been successful I've added the name in red, i.e. J.R. appears as J[ohn] R. or J[ohn] R[ussel].

The alphabetic and chronologic sort orders and many planned improvements require that towns be transcribed. If you can spare two, or more, hours per week to help with the transcribing, write me.

With the exception of the few people helping with transcribing and indexing, I am the only person working on this project. I do all of the technical work. I correct errors. I put transcriptions into final format. I design the pages. This takes a tremendous amount of time and money. If you find this site useful, please donate what you think it is worth to you by going to the donations page.