Grafton is a semi-rural town in east central Massachusetts lying southeast of the City of Worcester. The population according to the federal census in 2010 was 17,765.
Grafton was originally occupied by a tribe of Nipmuck Indians and was called Hassanamisco (place of small stones). The Town of Grafton was established in 1735 and named in honor of Charles Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton, and grandson of Charles II.
The present Grafton common was established in 1738. The original 40 proprietors of Grafton voted that four acres of land near the center of the plantation of Hassanamisco were to be set aside as common land and that a meetinghouse, burial ground schoolhouse, and militia training field be situated at this place. The first meetinghouse of the Congregational Puritan settlement was built in 1730 and stood at the center of the common. This meetinghouse remained on the common for 100 years. The cross behind the pulpit in the present Congregational Church is fashioned of timber from this building, which was subsequently demolished. In 1845, a portion of the original Common was fenced, graded, and planted with trees.
The earliest of homes of the 40 proprietors, some of which are still standing, are scattered throughout town. By the early 19th century, houses were being built along North Street, South Street, and Worcester Street. Many fine examples of Early American, Greek Revival, and Victorian architecture still exist along these streets.
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