Natick was first settled in 1652 by John Eliot, a Puritan missionary born in Widford, Hertfordshire, England who received a commission and funds from England's Long Parliament to settle the Massachusett Indians on both sides of the Charles River, on land deeded from the settlement at Dedham.They were called Praying Indians – Natick was the first and for a long time served as the center of Eliot's network of praying towns.The Indian village did not fully recover, and the land held in common by the Indian community was slowly sold off to white settlers to cover debts, and, by 1785, most of the Natick Indians had drifted away. senator born in 1812 who became eighteenth Vice President of the United States (1873–1875), and who lived most of his life in Natick as a shoemaker and schoolteacher and was known as the "Natick Cobbler", is buried there.In 1775, both English and Praying Indian citizens of Natick participated in the Battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill, as well as serving in the Continental Army. He is the namesake of one of Natick's middle schools.Only 10 miles (16 km) west from Boston, Natick is considered part of the Greater Boston area.The center of population of Massachusetts in 2000 was located in Natick.The land was granted by the General Court, part of the Dedham Grant.
Also located directly downtown is the Natick Town Common where many town events and community activities are held.The colonial government placed such settlements in a ring of villages around Boston as a defensive strategy.Natick was the first and best documented of such settlements.The shoes made in Natick were primarily heavy work shoes with only one or two companies adding lighter dress shoes to their line.Natick was famous for its brogan (shoes), a heavy ankle-high boot worn by soldiers in the American Civil War. Harwood & Sons in their factory built in 1858 – the first plant in the world for the manufacture of baseballs. Harwood & Sons factory was converted into baseball factory condominiums In 1874, a great fire in downtown Natick demolished 18 business blocks, two shoe factories, the Town Hall, Natick's only fire engine house and the Congregational Church, as well as many private homes.New municipal buildings exist alongside several historic buildings and churches, the restored Central Fire House, several banks, restaurants and small businesses.