Originally called the "Northeast Quarter", Hubbardston was part of Rutland until it was incorporated as a separate town in 1767. It was named for Thomas Hubbard, a prominent Bostonian who served several years as the Massachusetts Speaker of the House of Representatives and was the treasurer of Harvard College for 17 years. Hubbard was an extensive landowner in several central Massachusetts towns. Tradition says that in view of the honor of giving his name to the town, he promised to provide the glass for the windows of the first meeting house built in town. To make his liberality more conspicuous, the people planned for extra windows. Hubbard died in 1773, and his estate was so complicated that the town of Hubbardston received nothing and was obliged to glaze the windows at its own expense.
The first settler was Eleazer Brown, who came from Rutland in 1737. Mr. Brown was provided 60 acres (240,000 m2) by the proprietors and operated a hotel used by surveyors and trappers passing through this wilderness. Until 1746, Mr. Brown and his wife were the only inhabitants of Hubbardston. After Eleazer's death (it is said that he was killed by a deer), Mrs. Brown was the only occupant of town for several years and kept a public house for prominent travelers. In 1749 Israel Green moved into Hubbardston. His daughter, Molly Green, is reported to be the first child born in Hubbardston. Mr. Green was the first chairman of the board of selectmen.
By the 19th century, dairy and berry farming and market gardening were major enterprises. Immigrants from Ireland, French Canada, England, Sweden and Finland moved to town to work on local farms.
The town's early economy was based on agriculture and small-scale chair, boot and shoe manufacturing. It is described by historians as a poor town, sparsely settled and almost wholly agricultural, but having sawmills, potash works and cottage industries such as the making of palm leaf hats. Dairy and berry farming and market gardening were major pursuits in the town.
Hubbardston was represented by 65 men during the Revolutionary War.
Hubbardston was sympathetic to Shays' Rebellion, an armed uprising in central and western Massachusetts. One of the leaders of the rebellion, Captain Adam Wheeler, was from Hubbardston. In 1786, eighty men from the town marched to Worcester under Wheeler's command and, joining hundreds of other farmers, took control of the courthouse to protest the widespread foreclosures and seizures of property by creditors that occurred during the cash-poor 18th century.
Hubbardston furnished 164 men during the Civil War. 44 were killed or died of illness.
Hubbardston is home to the invention of the first backhoe swing frame developed in July 1947 by Vaino J. Holopainen (pronounced “Waino”) and Roy E. Handy, Jr., (thus the company name “Wain-Roy”) and assigned to Wain-Roy Corporation of Hubbardston, MA. In July 1948, patent # 2,698,697 was filed by Vaino J. Holopainen.
On the afternoon of June 22, 1981, a confirmed F3 tornado touched down in Hubbardston northwest of the town center, causing significant damage.
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