The Natick Historical Society is seeking a part-time Director. For a full job description, please visit our News page.
The Natick Historical Society Museum is temporarily closed for restoration work and exhibit installation. You can visit our brand-new Museum in spring 2018!
Our new Research Library & Office is at 207 Union Street; please call for an appointment. Regular open hours will be announced soon. 
We are OPEN for public programs, as noted below.
Monday, March 19, 7 PM
Eliot Church, 45 Eliot Street, South Natick
Illustrated talk on the Englishman who championed and chronicled the Praying Indians of Natick.
The speaker, Thomas M. Paine, is a descendant of Daniel Gookin. Click for more info
Admission: Free for Natick Historical Society members and students; $5 for nonmembers
For more information on upcoming events, please visit our Events page.


Meetinghouse Dispute

As more settlers began to move into the east/central part of Natick, an area called the Needham Leg, the population shift caused a rift in the community. Many people who lived to the north of the old meetinghouse wanted to establish a church in the town center, and they did not support the Natick Indian church in the southern part of town. This dispute continued over a period of almost 60 years. The people in the "Leg" requested the General Court to restore this area of the Natick Plantation to Needham, and this was approved in 1761.

Under the existing jurisdiction of the General Court, the meetinghouse of the original Praying Indians could not be relocated without the Court's approval, so the parish petitioned to become a self-governing town, and to change its name to Eliot. The name change was not granted, but Natick became a town in February 1781. In 1796 it voted to build a new meetinghouse in the town center. The inhabitants of the southern part of town did not want to support the new church and petitioned to be separated from the town. The Court resolved the issue in 1797 by restoring the "Leg" to Natick. The Indian Church dissolved as the congregation dispersed to other parishes and the building fell into disrepair. In 1828 the present Eliot Church was built--the fifth church on the site of the original meetinghouse--and the congregation and South Natick were revitalized.