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Douglas MA

Douglas is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 7,045 at the 2000 census.

For geographic and demographic information on the village of East Douglas, please see the article East Douglas, Massachusetts.

 

History

The name of Douglas was first given to the territory of the town in the year 1746. New Sherburn or "New Sherburn Grant" had previously to this date been its designation since its first occupancy by the English settlers which was as early as 1715. The original settlers came primarily from Sherburn, although many hailed from Natick as well. The name was given in 1746, Dr William Douglas, an eminent physician of Boston in consideration of the privilege of naming the township offered the inhabitants the sum of $500.00 as a fund for the establishment of free schools together with a tract of 30 acres (12 hectares) of land with a dwelling house and barn theron. EN Jenckes store is a museum that depicts early history of Douglas. [1] Douglas’s forests gave rise to a woodcutting industry, and the Douglas axe company. [1] A woolen manufacturing company, on the Mumford River in East Douglas, in recent times held by the Schuster family, has been prominent in the history of this community.

The geological formation consists of quartz, feldspar,and mica. Boulders are plentifully scattered all over town and gold and silver ores are said to be found in some localities. Large quantities of building and ornamental stone are quarried from the granite ledges found in the center of town which is shipped to almost every section of New England.

The principal elevations are Bald Hill 711 feet (217 meters), Wallum Pond Hill 778 feet (237 meters), and Mount Daniel 735 feet (224 meters). The largest of the numerous ponds is Wallum Pond in the southwest section, covering about 150 acres (60 hectares); Badluck Pond in the western part of town covering about 110 acres (40 hectares); Reservoir Pond also in the western part of town covering about 400 acres (160 hectares); and Manchaug Pond in the northern part about 93 acres (38 hectares).

The town is bounded on the north by Oxford, Sutton and Uxbridge, on the east by Sutton and Uxbridge, on the south by Burrillville, Rhode Island and on the west by Webster and a tiny portion of Thompson, Connecticut.

From a very early period reaching beyond 1635, bands of Native Americans, principally the Nipmuc tribe, monopolized this region of Worcester County. The Blackstone River was once called the Nipmuc River. Most of Douglas is part of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.[1] References taken from Emerson’s History of Douglas by Wm A Emerson 1879.

Police Chief Patrick Foley of Douglas was elected Vice President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police(IACP), at the annual convention in Denver, CO 2009.

 

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 37.7;square miles (208.7 km²), of which, 36.4  square miles (109.2 km²) of it is land and 1.3;square miles (3.5 km²) of it (14.55%) is water.

 

Demographics

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 7,045 people, 2,476 households, and 1,936 families residing in the town. The population density was 193.7 people per square mile (74.8/km²). There were 2,588 housing units at an average density of 71.2/sq mi (27.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.36% White, 0.48% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.28% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.95% of the population.

There were 2,476 households out of which 43.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.6% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.8% were non-families. 17.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the town the population was spread out with 29.6% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 36.4% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 100.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $60,529, and the median income for a family was $67,210. Males had a median income of $45,893 versus $31,287 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,036. About 2.3% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.4% of those under age 18 and 13.0% of those age 65 or over.

 

E.N. Jenckes Store & Museum

This store and museum sits right on Main St. in the village of East Douglas. When one walks in, it is as if you have returned to 1830s. Marietta Howard in Time and the Town, a publication on Douglas’ 250th birthday would say it this way;

During the 1830s when the village of East Douglas was becoming the economic center of the Town, Ebenezer Balkcom opened a small store at the corner of Main and Pleasant (Pleasant is now called Depot) streets.

Later, Gardner Chase bought the property and enlarged the building as his business expanded to meet the needs of the growing community. Apparently, Mr. Chase’s extraordinary efforts ruined his health. On his doctor’s orders he retired and leased the business to a series of entrepreneurs until Edward N. Jenckes both the business and building from Mr. Chase’s widow in 1884. Mr. Jenckes made several more additions. By 1895, the building looked like the Museum we know today.

The store of the 1890s was far different from a modern supermarket. The smell of a smoky woodstove, the kerosene lamps, the boxes of salt codfish, and the pickling brine mingled with the aromoa of ground coffee, spices, and fancy soaps. The presence of horse, hitched to the posts in front, was also quite evident.

In addition to the sewing supplies and the food which could not be raised locally, the store carried a variety of housewares. Included were from kettles, tin pans, enamelware coffee pots, glass, canning jars, and ceramic items, generally referred to as "crockey." Mr. Jenckes also stocked inexpensive furniture and floor coverins.

In the horse and buggy era, the store was a busy place. Four men and a woman clerk were needed to carry on business. After Mr. Jencke’s two daughters E. Mialma and Helen R. – graduated from Wellesley College, one of them was always in the store because no woman customer would ever consider mentioning her personal needs to a male clerk.

Two of the men spent much of their time going from house to house, taking orders from the customers one day and delivering their purchases the next. Goods from the wholesalers had to be moved from the freight house to the store, a job known as "drawing freight." One man was need in the store because a customer might stop for a bag of grain or some other item too heavy for a woman to lift.

After Mr. Jenckes’s death in 1924, his daughters continued to run the show. During the Great Depression, the Jenckes sisters extended credit to many familiers because they could not live with the knowledge that people, especially children, were hungary. The business was also important during the gasoline rationing of World Warr II, when customers were allotted on three gallons a week, and could save fuel by having their groceries delivered.

After 1945, business declined rapidly but the sisters did not forget their long-time customers. Orders still were taken by telephone and delivered. If anyone wanted meat, flashlight, batteries, or anything the Jenckes Store no longer stocked, these items were purchased as a local market or the Goodness Store (another mainstay in the Village) and delivered along with bread, soup, and other groceries still available at the Jenckes Sote. Examples of this arrangement are found in store ledgers, the last of which was written in 1964, whenthe business closed it’s doors.

The store remaind closed until 1972 when the Misses Jenckes gave the property to the Douglas Historical Society as a memorial to their father. Because the store was neither dismantled nor converted to another use, it remains – after careful restoration by the Douglas Historical Society – a fine example of the general store of a hundred years ago.

Today, the store hours vary but one can visit the many displays as well as pick up a gift or two from an era gone by. -db-

 

 

Points of interest

 

 

 

from wikipedia

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