Local History

"The first notice we have of the place, afterwards called Leicester, is in 1686, when the territory was purchased of the Indian proprietors by a company of nine persons, most of whom belonged to Roxbury... The township of Leicester lay in the heart of what was known as the Nipnet or Nipmuc country, which extended to a considerable distance to the south, embracing the ponds and streams in and around Oxford... The Indian name of the territory purchased by the Roxbury men was Towtaid..."

From Historical Sketches of the Town of Leicester, Massachusetts, During the First Century From its Settlement by Emory Washburn, John Wilson & Son printers, Boston, 1860.

The Library has bound copies of the Leicester Journal, which ran from 1984-1996, and the Leicester Weekly, from 1955-1961. The local area is currently covered by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (www.telegram.com) and the Spencer New Leader (www.stonebridgepress.com). 

Where to find old newspapers:  The Worcester Public Library has an extensive collection of local papers.  A list can be found on their website.  The American Antiquarian Society in Worcester also has an extensive collection of area newspapers.  www.americanantiquarian.org.

The Boston Public Library has a searchable database of multiple newspapers, local, state and national.  Users need a BPL ecard (free to all MA residents 13+ https://www.bpl.org/ecard/).

Local History Collection
The Leicester Public Library has an extensive collection of materials relating to the history of Leicester, including vital records, genealogies, Town Reports dating to 1849, and other ephemera.  Many items are included in the Library catalog.  The Library staff are happy to assist with research.  Please send inquiries to library [at] leicesterma.org, or call the library at (508)892-7020.