Chapter 15: Worcester County.This is the most central, and in territory the largest county in the Commonwealth. It crosses from New Hampshire on the north to the States of Rhode Island and Connecticut on the south; on the west it is bounded by the counties of Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden; and on the east by Middlesex and Franklin. Worcester County contains fifty-seven towns, and one city,—Worcester. The soil is generally good; its surface is undulating and hilly; Wachusett Mountain is its highest elevation. The population of the county in 1860 was 159,650; in 1865 it was 162,923, being an increase in five years of 3,273. The population in 1870 was 192,718, being an increase since 1865 of 29,795. The valuation of the county in 1860 was $75,412,160; in 1865 it was $80,857,766, being an increase in five years of $5,445,606. According to the returns made by the selectmen of the towns and the mayor of Worcester in 1866, the whole number of men which the county furnished for the war was sixteen thousand six hundred and thirty-one (16,631), which is very near the exact number. Every city and town in the county furnished its contingent upon every call made by the President, and each had a surplus over and above all demands, which in the aggregate amounted to thirteen hundred and ninety-seven men (1,397). The total amount of expenses incurred by all the municipalities in the county on account of the war, exclusive of State aid to the families of enlisted men, was one million three hundred and twenty-two thousand six hundred and ninety-three dollars and forty-five cents ($1,322,693.45).  The amount paid for State aid during the war, and which was reimbursed by the Commonwealth, was one million eight thousand and fifty-six dollars and eighty-one cents ($1,008,056.81). To this should be added $165,750.41, raised by voluntary subscription for war purposes. These make an aggregate of $2,496,500.67. The following is the war record of each city and town in the county:—
Simeon Merritt, Jesse Parker, Isaac D. Ward; in 1862, Jesse Parker, Isaac D. Ward, William P. Ellis; in 1863, Isaac D. Ward, Perley Howe, Elbridge Stimson; in 1864, Ohio Whitney, Jr., Marshall Wetherbee, Nathaniel L. Eaton; in 1865, Charles F. Rockwood, William F. Burrage, John E. Woodward. The town-clerk during all the years of the war was Jerome W. Foster. The town-treasurer in 1861 was Europe H. Fairbanks; in 1862, 1863, 1864, and 1865, Elbridge Stimson. 1861. The first legal town-meeting to consider matters relating to the war was held on the 25th of May, at which it was voted to furnish proper assistance to the families of soldiers who may enlist in the military company forming in the town when they are called into the service of the United States. July 21st, Two thousand dollars were appropriated for that purpose, and six hundred dollars to pay the debts of the company. 1862. March 3d, Two thousand dollars were appropriated for State aid to the families of volunteers. July 31st, Voted, to pay a bounty of one hundred dollars to each of twenty-seven men who shall enlist for three years and be mustered into the service of the United States and credited to the quota of the town. On the 28th of August this bounty was increased fifty dollars. September 29th, Voted, to pay a bounty of one hundred dollars to each volunteer for nine months service. 1863. March 3d, Three thousand dollars were appropriated  for State aid to soldiers' families. August 24th, A bounty of one hundred dollars was authorized to be paid to drafted men, and State aid to their families. September 19th, One thousand dollars were appropriated for the benefit of the families of deceased soldiers. 1864. June 4th, A sufficient amount of money was appropriated to fill the present ‘and all future quotas of the town,’ the bounty to each volunteer not to exceed one hundred and fifty dollars. 1865. January 4th, The bounty to each volunteer, enlisting to fill the quota of the town, was fixed at one hundred and twenty-five dollars, and so remained until the end of the war. March 6th, Four thousand dollars were appropriated for the payment of State aid to soldiers' families. Ashburnham furnished two hundred and thirty men for the war, which was a surplus of nine over and above all demands. Thirteen were commissioned officers. The whole amount of money appropriated aud expended by the town on account of the war, exclusive of State aid, was twenty-nine thousand two hundred and eighty-seven dollars ($29,287.00). In addition to this, ‘large sums were contributed by individual subscription for the payment of bounties.’ The amount of money expended by the town during the war for State aid to soldiers' families, and repaid by the Commonwealth, was as follows: In 1861, $752.48; in 1862, $3,614.-90; in 1863, $5,124.54; in 1864, $4,388.25; in 1865, $2,450.00. Total amount, $10,330.17. ‘The ladies of Ashburnham furnished articles of clothing, sanitary stores, and money for the soldiers and the Sanitary Commission, to the value of thirteen hundred dollars.’
Calvin Kelton, Amos L. Cheney, John Kendall; in 1862, Amos L. Cheney, John Kendall, A. D. Horr; in 1863, Calvin Kelton, A. D. Horr, A. L. Cheney; in 1864, Calvin Kelton, Gardner Lord, Jr., Josiah Haven; in 1865, Calvin Kelton, James W. Hunt, James M. Rice.  The town-clerk in 1861 and 1862 was James J. Goulding; in 1863, 1864, and 1865, Thomas H. Goodspeed. The town-treasurer in 1861, 1862, 1863, and 1864 was Sylvanus E. Twitchell; in 1865, Nathaniel Richardson. 1861. A public town-meeting was held on the 19th of April, at which upwards of forty young men ‘offered themselves for the formation of a military company.’ The first legal town-meeting was held on the 30th of April, at which it was voted to give ten dollars a month to each unmarried person, and twenty dollars a month to each married person who should enlist in the military service. Five thousand dollars were appropriated to meet the expenditure. July 10th, Voted, to pay aid to the families of volunteers, and to pay all bills for medical attendance. November 5th, Voted, to pay State aid as provided by law. 1862. August 2d, The town authorized the payment of a bounty of one hundred dollars to each volunteer, to the number required to fill its quota, who should enlist for the term of three years and be mustered in previous to the 16th of August. On the 28th of the same month it was voted to pay the same bounty to nine-months volunteers. The selectmen were authorized to pay State aid to the widows and children of volunteers. Several public meetings were held about this time, at which measures were adopted to raise by private subscription money to encourage recruiting. 1863. No action appears to have been necessary by the town in its corporate capacity in relation to furnishing men for the war during this year. 1864. April 16th, Voted, to pay a bounty of one hundred and twenty-five dollars to each volunteer enlisting for three years and credited to the quota of the town; three thousand dollars were appropriated to pay the same. June 4th, Three hundred and seventy-five dollars additional were appropriated for the same purpose. The same bounty continued to be paid until the end of the war. 1865. June 10th, Voted, to reimburse to citizens money which they had voluntarily contributed to encourage enlistments and the payment of bounties. This vote was subsequently rescinded.  Athol furnished about three hundred and ten men for the war, which was a surplus of twenty-eight over and above all demands. Eight were commissioned officers. The whole amount of money appropriated and expended by the town on account of the war, exclusive of State aid, was eighteen thousand eight hundred and eighty dollars and ninety-four cents ($18,880.94). This does not include $11,480.21 paid by private citizens. The amount of money expended by the town during the war for State aid to soldiers' families, and repaid by the Commonwealth, was as follows: In 1861, $703.04; in 1862, $4,000.00; in 1863, $6,364.23; in 1864, $4,882.09; in 1865, $2,461.25. Total amount, $18,410.61. The ladies of Athol contributed liberally to the comfort of the soldiers, both in money and supplies, which were forwarded to the army chiefly through the agencies of the Christian Commission; the total money value of which was $2,470.99.