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South Woodstock Common

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After running short of land, the Massachusetts Town of Roxbury petitioned the General Assembly in 1683 for a 7-mile square tract of land, then known as Wappaquasset and today known as Woodstock. The petition was granted in 1684. The area was first settled by "13 pioneers" in April 1686. These pioneers established ownership by planting corn. In August 1686 the settlers were joined by others and the town plan was laid out. The early settlers were members of some of Roxbury's most respected families, and they consequently named the town New Roxbury. It was renamed Woodstock in 1690 "because of its nearness to Oxford, for the sake of Queen Elizabeth." The town remained a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony until 1749, when it seceded in favor of becoming a part of the Connecticut Colony.

The history of the South Woodstock Common is sketchy, but it is generally agreed that it dates from the 1700s. A painting in the McClellan house, 1769 (across from the common), depicts the common. Captain (later General) McClellan heeded the alarms sounded from Lexington and Concord in 1775 and is said to have mustered 45 men under a great elm on the common. On that same day, Mrs. McClellan planted the famous "McClellan elms" (no longer standing) on the common.

In 1970 there was interest in replanting the green. After much discussion, a plan by Rudy J. Favretti, a landscape architect and professor at the University of Connecticut, was adopted. The plan was generally followed with a few exceptions. One important recommendation that has not been followed was that the grass be kept rough, befitting a historic common. Today the grass is maintained as a lawn. The replanting of the green was dedicated to A.L. Simonds, who founded the Linemaster Switch Corp.

The property is significant as a common that can trace its roots to the 18th century and as an area where Revolutionary War soldiers were mustered.



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