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.
- When places other than Dover and Massachusetts are named in the original
records they are given in the printed copy.
- In all records the original spelling is followed.
- The various spellings of a name should be examined, as items about the
same family or individual may be found under different spellings.
- 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.
- 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
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
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.