Much the greater part of this town is upon quite high land. Indeed it is one large and extensive hill. The land falls but very little to the north. To the south, the decent is long, but gradual. To the east, as the great road runs, there is a descent towards Northborough, for the space of two miles or more, nay, even some way into Northborough. To the west there is half a mile of rocky plain, and then a pretty steep descent to a small plain, before you come to the head of Long Pond.
The town in not uneven, considered all together, but is pretty rocky. The land, in general, is rather rough and hard, but the soil is strong, rich, and very productive when subdued. The higher lands are very good for orchards, and fruit trees of all kinds, and for pasturage, and even for mowing, for the land is not dry, and it bears a dry season exceeding well. It is not so well proportioned with tillage land; however, what they till is very productive, and richly repays the labor bestowed upon it.
There is very little poor-broken, waste land in the town. And it is richly stored with a fine young thrifty growth of the best of wood for fuel, such as oak of all kinds, walnut and chestnut, and the lower lands bear ash, birch, and maple.
The town is pretty well supplied with waters by various springs and rivulets, although there is not one large stream which runs through the town. The largest stream in the town is that which issues from Sewall’s Pond, which is within the limits of Boylston, and running southerly a mile and a quarter, falls into Long Pond, on the road to Worcester. This pond, called by the natives Quinsigamond, is a beautiful piece of water, in the form of a crescent. It is perhaps the largest and finest pond in the county. Indeed it may very fitly be denominated a lake. Upon the top of the hill, on the west side of Shrewsbury it appears to travelers as a large river, ornamented with woods on each side.
Excerpt printed in Worcester, Massachusetts by Isaiah Thomas, 1793