Happy birthday to one of Natick’s historical figures, Henry Wilson, U.S. Vice President from 1873-1875. VP for the Ulysses S. Grant administration, Wilson served until his death from a stroke on Nov. 22, 1875.
Wilson was born on Feb. 16, 1812 in New Hampshire, and came to Natick as a young man. Here, he learned to make shoes, and from such humble beginnings rose to become first a U.S. Senator, where he was known among his colleagues as “the Natick Cobbler,” and then ascended to the vice presidency.
A memorial site in town at the busy corner of West Central and Mill Streets includes a “10-footer,” a type of shed once common in the area as a shoe-making workshop. There’s also a bell from the original Henry Wilson School.
Wilson is buried in Old Dell Park Cemetery on Pond St.
Want to know more about Wilson? Learn from a local. Natick’s own Lincoln Anniballi grew up in the Henry Wilson Historic District, lived on the same road Wilson did, drove past the Henry Wilson Shoe Shop every day, and even went to Wilson Middle School, yet knew very little about the person whose name was all over town. In 2020 Lincoln began researching Wilson’s life and in 2021 got the idea to turn his research into a biographical podcast on the life of Henry Wilson. Anniballi is student of political science and history at Hofstra University, where he is also the school’s president of the Student Government Association.
This post has been updated. It originally ran on February 16, 2022.