North Woods

The mill at North Woods, or Ruralville, was erected by B. T. Southgate of Blackstone, for a woolen mill, but in 1827 it was changed to a cotton mill by William Buffum. It afterwards passed into the hands of Colonel Samuel Damon, who owned it in 1840, when it contained fourteen looms and one thousand spindles, and later, Wesley Howard made bagging there." Then it was run by J. W. Freeman, who, in 1855 was making cotton cloth there. He was succeeded by A. P. Colvin. From 1858 to 1862, it was controlled by Wright and Morse; with William H. Walker as manager. In 1862, it was transferred to Walker and Wright, who ran it until about 1874, when the mill became the property of the West Boylston Manufacturing Company. They ran it for some years with Whipple Harris as agent, and in 1882 leased it to A. H. Turner and Co. In 1894, about forty-five "hands" were employed.

It was burned in 1896. The equipment at that time consisted of a woolen mill, dye house, store house, smith shop, two four-tenement houses, two one-tenement houses, two reservoirs and water power at a total valuation of $11,025.

The name Ruralville stamped on the cloth produced here was used for years and was the mark of highest quality goods.

This village was located in the northwest part of town in the vicinity of the junction of the present Cobb Road and Princeton Street.

Source: Florence Newell Prouty, History of the Town of Holden, Massachusetts, 1667–1941 (Holden, Mass.: 200th Anniversary Committee for the Town of Holden, 1941), 160–161.