“This town was originally included within the limits of Dedham, and was set off in 1661, when there were only sixteen families. It was incorporated in 1673. There was no church formed here till 1692, when Rev. Samuel Mann, the first minister, was ordained. Mr. Mann preached to the few families here in a comparative wilderness, but, in consequence of Philip’s war, in 1676, they were obliged to abandon their settlements for more than four years. When they returned, they prevailed upon Mr. Mann to accompany them. He shared with them all their difficulties and privations, left a numerous posterity, and died in 1719, in the forty-ninth year of his ministry. He was succeeded by Rev. Henry Messenger, who continued in the ministry nearly 32 years. Rev. Joseph Bean was the next minister; he was settled in 1750, and died in 1784, and was succeeded by Rev. David Avery, who was dismissed in 1794, and died in Virginia. Rev. Elisha Fisk was his successor. The Second Church and Society in North Wrentham were formed previous to the instalment of Rev. John Cleveland, in 1798; he continued pastor for more than sixteen years in North Wrentham, and died in 1815, aged 65. He was succeeded by Mr. Field, who continued pastor about three years, and then resigned. Mr. Thatcher was his successor, and was ordained in 1823. In 1830, Mr. Thatcher and a part of the church seceded, and formed themselves into “a distinct and separate church.” The Baptist meeting-house was built in 1767; the north meeting-house was completed in 1804.
The first English inhabitant in Wrentham was one Mr. Shears. In Mr. Bean’s Century Sermon, preached in 1773, it is stated that the town was named Wrentham, because some of the first settlers were from a town of that name in England. The first English person born in the town was Mehitabel Shears, daughter of Samuel Shears. The first person buried in the town was an infant son of John Ware, Feb. 10th, 1673. In Philip’s war, after the inhabitants had left the town, the Indians burnt all the houses but two; these were saved, it is stated, on account of persons having the small-pox in them, of which fact the Indians, by some means, became acquainted. After the Indian war was over, the following persons had their names affixed to an instrument engaging to return.
Wrentham is a pleasant village, consisting of about 40 or 50 dwelling-houses, a Congregational church, a bank, and an academy. In the cut the church is seen on the left; the Wrentham Bank is the first building standing northward. Day’s Academy, in this place, was incorporated in 1806. Population, 2,817. Distance, 15 miles from Uedliam, and 27 from Boston. The central part of North Wrentham is about 4 miles distant from the place represented in the engraving. There are 4 churches in the limits of the town, 3 Congregational and 1 Baptist. In 1837, there were 4 cotton mills, 2,252 spindles; 315,000 yards of cotton goods manufactured; value, $68,000; males employed, 50; females, 38. One woollen mill; cloth manufactured, 12,745 yards; value, $12,745. Straw bonnets manufactured, 35,126; value, $77,815. Boots manufactured, 10,155 pairs; shoes, 150 pairs, valued at $18,675. Boots manufactured, 200; value, $8,000; hands employed, 13.”
Source: Historical Collections: Being a General Collection of Interesting Facts, by John Warner Barber, 1848, pages 491-2