Grace's Sessions
In Millbury History
Grace Laflash, a founding member of
the Millbury Historical Society in
1972, is the Grand Archivist of town
lore.
Printed below is one of Grace's
famous
Mini-History Lessons
In earlier days, Millbury was a booming
mill village. Manufacturers relied upon
the Ramshorn, the Singletary, the
Blackstone, and Dority Pond to turn the
mighty water wheel which, in turn,
powered the machinery which
produced the goods.
There were also industries that did not
require a water privilege.
Thomas Kendall, Jr. manufactured
thermometers, among other things, in
his shop on present-day South Oxford
Road. Tom is credited with having
made the first complete thermometer in
the country in that shop.
He was born in Foxborough on August
3, 1786, son of Rev. Thomas Kendall
and Ruth Waters. Tom was fourteen
when the family moved to this area.
The February 25, 1817 edition of the
Massachusetts Spy contained the
following:
“Thomas Kendall, Jr., Millbury, Mass
manufactures thermometers of all kinds
used by gentlemen, distillers, dryers,
and those who make use of lead or oil
in tempering steel. Also makes
surveying compasses, scale protectors,
spirit levels, and engraved mechanics’
tools- goods forwarded by Post Riders.”
Many conducted business with Tom.
After leaving his shop, many of them
probably asked themselves, “Did I
miscount?”
You see, Thomas Kendall, Jr. had six
fingers on each hand!
Did I Miscount?