Genealogy in Franklin County, Massachusetts - Town of Orange

Genealogy in Franklin County, Massachusetts
Town of Orange

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Orange lies in the eastern part of Franklin County and is roughly bounded by Warwick on the north, Royalston on the northeast, Athol on the east (the latter two towns in Worcester County), New Salem on the south, and Wendell and Erving on the west. Orange was organized as a district on October 16, 1783 from parts of Warwick, Royalston, Athol, and certain common lands called Ervingshire. It was organized as a town on February 24, 1810. On February 7, 1816, part of Orange was annexed to Athol. On March 16, 1837, part of the common lands called Erving's Grant and part of New Salem called Little Grant were annexed to Orange. On February 27, 1841, the boundary between Erving and Orange was established.

In 1874, Elias Nason described the town of Orange as follows:
occupies the north-easterly extremity of Franklin County, and is quite irregular in its configuration. Warwick lies on the north-west, Royalston on the north-east, Athol on the east, New Salem on the south, and Wendell and Erving on the west. It is 81 miles distant from Boston.

It is intersected by the Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad, which follows the course of Miller's River, here a swift and valuable stream. The other streams are Tully River and Cheney Brook, draining the easterly parts, and Orcutt Brook and Moss Brook the westerly parts of the town.

The rock is calcareous gneiss and granite, which often rises into bold and picturesque elevations, covered with soil well adapted to the growth of timber and to pasturage.

Tully Mountain, 412 feet high, at North Orange, is a very picturesque object in the landscape. Between it and Little Tully Mountain are two beautiful ponds, having an outlet flowing into Tully River. North Pond, of about 78 acres, in the southern part, is the head-spring of the middle branch of Swift River.

Orange is a sprightly manufacturing and farming town, having two postal centres (Orange and North Orange), 178 farms, 442 dwelling-houses, and a population of 2,091.

The woodland, of which there are 2,393 acres, is of great value, furnishing large quantities of firewood and lumber, which now command a ready sale.

The principal manufactures are chairs and other furniture, water-wheels and sewing-machines.

The town has a good hotel (the Franklin House), a town-hall and a public library, a post of the G. A. R., a Masonic Lodge, and a good newspaper called "The Journal of Industry."

There are 15 schools, including a high school; for the support of which the town appropriated, in 1871, $4,000.

There are five churches,--two Universalist, the Revs. J. H. Willis and E. C. Coffin, pastors; two Congregationalist, the Revs. J. H. Garman and Robert C. Bell, pastors; and one Baptist, of which the Rev. Theodore B. Holland is the minister.

During the late war this town furnished its full quota of men for the field, and has since raised a soldiers' monument to the memory of those who fell.

The valuation is $1,233,240; and the rate of taxation, $1.75 per $100.

This place was incorporated as a district of Warwick Oct. 15, 1783; and as a town Feb. 24, 1810. The first minister was the Rev. Emerson Foster, settled Dec. 12, 1782. He was followed by the Rev. Joshua Chandler, settled Nov. 27, 1822.

The first dam across Miller's River was built by James Holmes in 1790, where he established a saw and a grist mill.

Orange Centre, with its white clustering cottages, with their pleasant gardens, rising from the banks of Miller's River, having the wooded and picturesque hills for the background, appears to great advantage from the railroad, and, with its fine water-privileges, will doubtless have a still more rapid growth.
(Source: Nason, Elias, 1811-1887. A gazetteer of the state of Massachusetts : with numerous illustrations on wood and steel / by Elias Nason. -- Boston : B.B. Russell, 1874. -- p. 394-395)

Online Genealogical Resources

The following resources may provide information useful in researching Orange families.



The following bibliography lists sources that may be useful in researching the genealogy and history of families that have lived in the Orange area. The bibliography is arranged by subject category and alphabetically by author and title within each category. Information on library holdings is recorded in the box following each citation. For published items, only holdings of libraries profiled on the Archives and Libraries - Information page are given when known. For unpublished and other rare sources, any library known to hold the item is listed. Many of the items listed here are also available at other libraries and research centers in New England, New York, and elsewhere.

Original records and other items microfilmed by the LDS Family History Library (also known as the Genealogical Society of Utah) are also listed below. These microfiches and microfilms are available via interlibrary loan through the LDS family history centers. Make a note of the microfiche or microfilm reel number(s) needed in order to place a request at one of the LDS family history centers.


Business Records


Church History




School Records

Town Records

Vital Records see also Town Records

General Information

The following resources may provide useful information on the Orange town area.

Related Pages

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