Favorable Report Given to Senate on Nahatan.
It Would Take Nearly Two Thirds of the Territory of Dedham.

Hope of Projectors to Make It a Mecca For Low Tax Seekers.

Thu, Mar 11, 1897 – The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts)

DEDHAM. March 10 — Considering the legislative set-backs that new towns have received on Beacon hill in the past, the residents of this town are surprised at the prompt report to the senate favoring the setting off of West Dedham, Islington and Green lodge, and the incorporation of the new town of Nahatan.

Although no opposition was made at the hearing before the committee, it seemed to be the impression that the Improbability of the petition being favorably reported made any objection unnecessary. If the town of Nahatan is incorporated upon the lines set forth in the petition, nearly two-thirds of the area of the present town of Dedham will be taken for the new town.

The new town will be distinctly a farming community, with the central village and town hall in what is now known as West Dedham. Beyond a few blacksmith shops, a wheelwright and paint shop, there is no manufacturing plant within the limits of the proposed town.

The name Nahatan is somewhat applicable to West Dedham, and it seems to be the general impression that as far as an appellation goes it is rather a good selection. This name is the modern spelling of the cognomen of two Indian chiefs, father and son, who Inhabited the timbered territory of this part of the present Norfolk county in colonial times.

Neither chief appears very prominently in the history of the times. If they had been of a more warlike turn, had butchered and slain ‘with relentless fury, doubtless the men who chose the new name would be able to give a more extended biography of the sachems. Erastus Worthington, an authority on the history of Norfolk county, states that the father and son would probably not recognize the present spelling of their name. But they roamed the forests of Dedham, and appear to have dwelt within the precincts of the proposed town. In view of the lack of derogatory traditions it can be assumed that the two Nahatans must have been pretty good fellows—for Indians.

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They have already been honored by having a street named after them, there being a public highway from West Dedham to Norwood by that name, while a portion of West Dedham is referred to in town meeting as the Nahatan district.

The scheme for separation, while it Includes Islington as well, originated in the dissatisfaction of residents of West Dedham over the continual defeat in town meetings of propositions for the improvement of that village. Situated three miles from Dedham village, with no railroad connection. West Dedham has been obliged to pay taxes for water works and other improvements without any benefit therefrom.

When a new electric railway was given a location from Dedham Center to Norwood it was agreed that a branch line should be built to connect West Dedham with the center of the town. The railway company has found it impossible. so far, to make this connection, and this has aggravated the discontent in West Dedham.

As stated by several of the men who have signed the petition for separation, the latest and most conspicuous grievance is the contemplated sewerage system for Dedham. The metropolitan sewer commission has laid out a trunk Fewer from Dedham Center through Hyde Park and Milton as a part of the general system for the territory south of Boston. This main sewer is now being constructed, and it is believed that the town will vote to build a system of tributary sewers.

If this is done, West Dedham citizens are sure that the sewerage system cannot be extended to their village for some years to come, on account of the sparsely settled country between the two villages. They do not wish to he obliged to help pay for an expensive sewerage system for Dedham Center and East Dedham, when they will derive no benefit. As the town is already under obligations to pay its proportion of the tax for the metropolitan sewer. West Dedham does not expect to evade that, still, the objection is to getting any further involved.

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On town meeting days West Dedham and Islington have never been able to marshal enough votes to advance their Interests in the face of opposition of Dedham Center and East Dedham. If the new town Is incorporated. West Dedham will control things, as there will be three voters to every one of the citizens from Islington and Green Dodge combined.

Dedham now has about 1300 voters, and the new town will have 225. The territory which it is proposed to include in the new town has an extensive mileage of county roads, which naturally will be costly to maintain. The petitioners, however, say they expect to have no difficulty In handling the finances, as in addition to the present taxable property they state that they anticipate that many wealthy men will take up their residence in the new town. It is stated that W. H. Forbes, who at the present time has a large estate within the limits of the proposed town, will establish a residence there if Nahatan is incorporated. These declarations have raised the hopes of the petitioners until they see In the near future the town of Nahatan a parallel of Nahant or Beverly Farms.

At the present time there is in West Dedham a grammar school building and several district schools are within the lines of the proposed town. Some profusion would have to be made for a high school until Nahatan was able to establish one.

Islington and Green Dodge citizens will not find it so convenient to reach The center of Nahatan (West Dedham village) as it is to get to Dedham village to town meeting, as it is a long climb. Islington is connected with Dedham Center by an electric railway. But if the new town is incorporated a new street Is talked of which will furnish a more convenient way from Islington to West Dedham.

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Among the prominent West Dedham men who favor the petition are Joseph D. Fisher, Fred Fisher, C. S. Docke, William Colburn, W. W. Baker. Dexter Baker, Benjamin Wetherbee, H. E. French, Charles H. Ellis and Eustis Baker.

While the influential citizens of Dedham Center made no opposition to the separation before the committee on towns. it is very probable that when It comes before the hou«e. strong objectless to the division will be raised.