John Eliot: Apostle to the Indians
John Eliot (1604-1690) was born in Widford, England and educated at Christ College, Cambridge. He immigrated to New England in 1631 and was pastor of the church in Roxbury from 1632 until his death. Eliot began preaching to the Indians at Nonantum in 1646, first in English and later in their own language. He was instrumental in the founding in England of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England by Parliament. He assisted in the organization of 14 Christian-Indian communities. Eliot also helped write the Bay Psalm Book and was the author of many other books and religious treatises, including the Bible that he translated into the Algonquian dialect.
Henry Wilson: The Natick Cobbler
Born February 16, 1812, Henry Wilson, vice president of the United States under Ulysses S. Grant, was known as "The Natick Cobbler." After his indenture was completed, he walked to Natick from Farmington, New Hampshire. Here he learned shoemaking. The shoe shop located near the corner of West Central and Mill Streets is a memorial to him. His home was at 33 West Central Street.
The Henry Wilson Shoe Shop is located on the corner of West Central and Mill Streets and is an example of a 'ten-footer'. Many homes had these small shops or ells where piecework on shoes was done. Runners delivered the pieces and picked up the finished work. This continued into the 1900's notwithstanding the concentration of shoemaking in the large factories of the late 1800's.