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Medfield, Massachusetts
Dwight-Derby House (1651)
Dwight-Derby House (1651)
Official seal of Medfield, Massachusetts
Location in Norfolk County in Massachusetts
Location in Norfolk County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°11′15″N 71°18′25″W / 42.18750°N 71.30694°W / 42.18750; -71.30694Coordinates: 42°11′15″N 71°18′25″W / 42.18750°N 71.30694°W / 42.18750; -71.30694
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Norfolk
Settled1649
Incorporated1651
Government
 • TypeOpen town meeting
Area
 • Total14.6 sq mi (37.8 km2)
 • Land14.5 sq mi (37.6 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation
178 ft (54 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total12,799
 • Density882.7/sq mi (340.4/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
02052
Area code508 / 774
FIPS code25-39765
GNIS feature ID0618323
Websitehttp://www.town.medfield.net/

Medfield is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 12,799 according to the 2020 United States Census.[1] It is a community about 17 miles (27 km) southwest of Boston, Massachusetts, which is a 40-minute drive to Boston's financial district. Attractions include the Hinkley Pond and the Peak House.

History

See also: History of Dedham, Massachusetts, 1635–1699

The territory that Medfield now occupies was, at the time of colonization, Neponset land. As part of the English settlement of the area, it was sold by the Neponset leader Chickatabot to William Pynchon in the late 1620s. In 1633, Chickatabot died in a smallpox epidemic that decimated nearby Neponset, Narragansett and Pequot communities. Because Chickatabot and Pynchon's deal left no written deed, the Massachusetts General Court ordered "those Indians who were present when Chickatabot sold lands to Mr. Pynchon, or who know where they were, to set out the bounds thereof". Fifty years later, Chickatabot's grandson Josias Wampatuck brought a land claim against Medfield and the other towns created within the borders of the Chickatabot purchase, for which he received payment. Of those lands, Dedham was the first town formed.[2]

The majority of present-day Medfield had been granted to Dedham in 1636, but the lands on the western bank of the Charles River had been meted out by the General Court to individuals.[3] Edward Alleyn, for example, had been granted 300 acres in 1642.[3] Dedham asked the General Court for some of those lands and, on October 23, 1649, the Court granted the request so long as they established a separate village there within one year.[3] Medfield (New Dedham) was first settled in 1649, principally by people who relocated from the former town. The first 13 house lots were laid out on June 19, 1650.

Dedham sent Eleazer Lusher, Joshua Fisher, Henry Phillips, John Dwight, and Daniel Fisher to map out an area three miles by four miles and the colony sent representatives to set the boundaries on the opposite side of the river.[3] The land that Dedham contributed to the new village became Medfield, and the land the colony contributed eventually broke away to become Medway in 1713.[3][4] Millis would later break away from Medway.

The separations were not without difficulty, however.[5] When Medfield left there were disagreements about the responsibility for public debts and about land use.[5] There were some residents who did not move to the new village who wanted rights to the meadows while others thought that the land should be given freely to those who would settle them.[3] A compromise was reached where those moving to the new village would pay £100 to those who remained in lieu of rights to the meadows.[3] It was later reduced to £60, if paid over three years, or £50 if paid in one year.[6]

Tax records show that those who chose to move to the new village came from the middle class of Dedham residents.[3] Among the first 20 men to make the move were Ralph Wheelock, Thomas Mason, Thomas Wight, John Samuel Morse and his son Daniel, John Frary, Sr., Joseph Clark, Sr., John Ellis, Thomas Ellis, Henry Smith, Robert Hinsdale, Timothy Dwight, James Allen, Henry Glover, Isaac Genere, and Samuel Bullen.[7] By 1664, several of their sons would join them, as would Joshua Fisher and his son John, and several other Dedhamites.[7] Those who moved there often moved with family members, and many would move on from their to other inland communities.[8] It is also possible that those who left Dedham for Medfield were those most disaffected by the political or social climate within the town.[8]

Town Meeting voted to release Medfield on January 11, 1651 and the General Court agreed the following May.[9][10] Medfield became the 43rd town in Massachusetts.[10]

The Rev. Ralph Wheelock is credited with the founding of Medfield. He was the first schoolmaster of the town's school established in 1655,[11] and now has an elementary school named after him.

The Pool, Medfield, 1889, by Dennis Miller Bunker. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The Pool, Medfield, 1889, by Dennis Miller Bunker. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Half the town (32 houses, two mills, many barns and other buildings) was destroyed by Native Americans during King Philip's War in 1675.[11] One house, known as the Peak House, was burnt in the war but was rebuilt shortly thereafter near downtown Medfield.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 14.6 square miles (37.8 km2), of which 14.5 square miles (37.6 km2) is land and 0.1 square mile (0.2 km2) (0.62%) is water. The Charles River borders almost one-third of Medfield. Medfield is surrounded by the towns Dover, Norfolk, Walpole, Millis, and Sherborn. The Charles River marks the Millis border.

Demographics

Historical population
YearPop.±%
1850966—    
18601,082+12.0%
18701,142+5.5%
18801,371+20.1%
18901,493+8.9%
19002,926+96.0%
19103,466+18.5%
19203,595+3.7%
19304,066+13.1%
19404,384+7.8%
19504,549+3.8%
19606,021+32.4%
19709,821+63.1%
198010,220+4.1%
199010,531+3.0%
200012,273+16.5%
201012,024−2.0%
202012,799+6.4%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

Population and housing

Race Population (%)
White 96.78
Black or African American 0.51
Native American 0.04
Asian 1.76
Pacific Islander 0.01
Other 0.23
Two or more races 0.68

Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.90% of the population.


Age distribution


Income data

See also: List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income

Education

Medfield Public Schools consistently ranks among the top ten school systems in Massachusetts by the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS).[22] As recently as 2017, Medfield was ranked by the U.S. News & World Report as the number 5 ranked school system in Massachusetts. As of 2013, Medfield High School Seniors scored an average of 591 on the SAT Critical Reading Section, 618 on the SAT Math Section, and 598 on the SAT Writing Section.[23]

In 2005, Medfield High School and T.A. Blake Middle School switched buildings as a result of a massive construction project updating the current Medfield High School (formally Amos Clark Kingsbury High School).

Public schools:

Private schools:

Library

Medfield's Free Public Library began in 1873.[26] The public library is located on Main Street.[27] In the late 18th century some of the residents of Medfield and surrounding towns formed a subscription library, called the Medfield Social Library.[28]

Events

Medfield State Hospital

One of many abandoned buildings on the grounds of the former Medfield State Hospital
One of many abandoned buildings on the grounds of the former Medfield State Hospital

Medfield State Hospital, located at 45 Hospital Road, opened in 1896 and originally operated on 685 acres (2.77 km2) of pasture. At its peak in 1952, it housed 1,500 patients. By 2001, it was down to about 300 acres (1.2 km2) and employed 450 people (including four psychologists) to care for a maximum of 147 patients. The cost to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was $21.5 million. On April 3, 2003, the doors were closed. Although the buildings are not open to the public (they have been boarded up), the grounds may be visited during daylight hours.

Points of interest

Main Street
Main Street

Notable people

References

  1. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Medfield town, Norfolk County, Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  2. ^ Tilden, W. S. (1887). History of the town of Medfield, Massachusetts, 1650-1886 : with genealogies of the families that held real estate or made any considerable stay in the town during the first two centuries, pp. 21-23. Boston: G. H. Ellis. Quotation from the General Court, qtd. by Tilden.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Hanson 1976, p. 68.
  4. ^ Tilden 1884, p. 443.
  5. ^ a b Lockridge 1985, p. 95.
  6. ^ Hanson 1976, p. 68-69.
  7. ^ a b Hanson 1976, p. 69-70.
  8. ^ a b Hanson 1976, p. 78.
  9. ^ Hanson 1976, p. 69.
  10. ^ a b Tilden, W. S. (1884). "Medfield". In D. Hamilton Hurd (Ed.), History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, pp. 439–41. Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis & Co.
  11. ^ a b Tilden 1884, p. 442.
  12. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  13. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  18. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  19. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  20. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  21. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  22. ^ "2011 MCAS Results - Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System". Doe.mass.edu. October 14, 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  23. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 26, 2013. Retrieved December 25, 2013.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ a b c d e http://www.medfield.net/ Archived January 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Montrose School, an independent girls' school for grades 6-12 in Medfield, Massachusetts". Montroseschool.org. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  26. ^ Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts, v.9. 1899
  27. ^ "medfieldpubliclibrary.org". Medfieldlibrary.org. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  28. ^ Medfield Library [catalog]. Dedham, Mass.: Printed at the Dedham Gazette office, 1816.
  29. ^ a b c http://medfieldmemo.org/
  30. ^ "About Medfield Foundation". Archived from the original on August 10, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
  31. ^ a b "Film crews visit Medfield State Hospital - Medfield, MA - Medfield Press". Wickedlocal.com. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  32. ^ Rocky Woods (August 15, 2011). "Rocky Woods | Medfield, MA | The Trustees of Reservations". Thetrustees.org. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  33. ^ Noon Hill (August 15, 2011). "Noon Hill | Medfield, MA | The Trustees of Reservations". Thetrustees.org. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  34. ^ http://www.medfieldhistoricalsociety.org
  35. ^ Knapp, Theresa (November 29, 2010). "Wicked Local Medfield, "Timber analysis dates Mason house beams to 1600s" Theresa Knapp/correspondent GateHouse News Service (Nov 29, 2010 @ 12:53 pm)". Wickedlocal.com. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  36. ^ http://www.lowellmasonhouse.org
  37. ^ Richard DeSorgher (May 7, 2011). "The Mystery of Medfield's 'Lady of Route 27' - Medfield, MA Patch". Medfield.patch.com. AOL Inc. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  38. ^ "05/03/09 - Kingsbury Pond - Medfield, MA Details". MA Fish Finder. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  39. ^ "Metacomet - Connexipedia article". Connexions.org. August 10, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  40. ^ Tremblay, Debbie. "Metacomet Park - Medfield, MA Patch". Medfield.patch.com. Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  41. ^ "Orange is the New Black's Uzo Aduba: How I Learned to Love My Teeth's Gap". June 15, 2014.
  42. ^ Matthew Aucoin
  43. ^ "SI.com - MLB - Schilling buying Bledsoe's old home - Monday December 22, 2003 5:37PM". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. December 22, 2003. Retrieved October 30, 2011.

Works cited