Vital Records of Dover, Massachusetts

The Town Of Dover, Norfolk County, was established as a district July 7, 1784, from part of Dedham. March 7, 1791, bounds between the district of Dover and Dedham were established. March 31, 1836, the district was made a town.

Dover forms a part of the westerly boundary of Norfolk County. Before the organization of this county it belonged to Suffolk County; and when, after its organization, in 1793, a strong opposition arose, nine towns having petitioned to be set back to Suffolk County, Dover chose Capt. Samuel Fisher to oppose this action and keep the new county intact.

At the point of the First Parish church it has an exact latitude of 42, 14', 45", north, and longitude west of Greenwich of 71, 17', 0.29". Dover is bounded on the north by Wellesley and Needham, on the south by Medfield and Walpole, on the east by Dedham, and on the west by Sherborn and Natick.

It was for many years a part of Dedham, being called the Fourth, or Springfield, Parish. The inhabitants petitioned the General Court in 1782 to be incorporated into a town by the name of Derby; but the smallness of the population, which did not number above four hundred and fifty souls, prevented such an incorporation. We do not find that the parish selected the name for the proposed town.

Explanations
  1. When places other than Dover and Massachusetts are named in the original records they are given in the printed copy.
  2. In all records the original spelling is followed.
  3. The various spellings of a name should be examined, as items about the same family or individual may be found under different spellings.
  4. Marriages and intentions of marriages are printed under the names of both parties. When both the marriage and intention of marriage are recorded, only the marriage record is printed ; and where a marriage appears without the intention recorded, it is designated with an asterisk.
  5. Additional information which does not appear in the original text of an item, i.e., any explanation, query, inference, or difference shown in other entries of the record, is bracketed. Parentheses are used only when they occur in the original text, or to separate clauses found there such as the birthplace of parents in late marriage records.

Abbreviations found within the Vital Records of Dover, Massachusetts

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Early Flower Gardens of Dover

The early settlers found ample occupation for the employment of their time in supplying the necessaries of life. Nevertheless, they did not wholly ignore the aesthetic part of their natures. The love of flowers is one of the most spontaneous of emotions. They were first cultivated in the vicinity by Indians; and the beautiful roses which grew on the " Indian farm," just across the line in Natick, were especially sought and admired. It is a touching fact that in the hard and stern life of our fathers time and a place were found for the flower-garden, which was the special care of the women of the household, and was the only pleasure-ground of the estate.

How anxiously the women watched the little slip or cutting, which by skilful hand was rooted into plant or flower! Alice Morse Earle says, " A garden was certainly the greatest refreshment to the spirit of a woman in the colonial days and the purest of her pleasures, too often her only pleasure."

How carefully they cultivated such herbs as were used for "physick," bloodwort, wormwood, savory, thyme, sage, spearmint, rue, pennyroyal, fennel, coriander, dill, tansy, and anise!

"They hold a cure for every ill,
A balm for every woe,
When gathered in the morning dew,
The herbs of long ago."

With what pains they grew the fragrant lavender, which, when dried, was put among their linen! With what symmetry the box border was placed beside the path in the front yard, and the lilac-bush, the flowering currant, and the blush rose, the white rose, and the cinnamon rose were arranged upon the grounds! What a succession of hardy flowers appeared during the spring and autumn, the white and yellow daffy, the tulip, the peony, honeysuckle, fleur-de-lis, lady's-delight, canterbury-bell, French pinks, larkspur, tiger-lily, verbena, hollyhock, yellow marigold, sweet-william, phlox, petunia, portulacca, candytuft, gillyflower, sun-flower, polianthus, poppy, lupine, balsam, stock, aster, bachelor's-button, chrysanthemum, and cockscomb! Even the English leek was planted on the rocks, and sad, indeed, was the fate of that household when a leek was allowed to blossom ; for, in the vernacular of their superstition, it was set down as a sure indication of a death in the family. Who can estimate the pleasure, the aesthetic value, and the importance of the flower-garden in their humble lives ? Some curious customs prevailed. On Candlemas Day they ate rye pancakes, in the belief that whoever did so would not want for money during the year. The custom was largely observed and is still kept up by some families in remembrance of a past generation.