The first US census in 1790 showed that East Sudbury was a farming community of 801 people in 112 houses. Today’s Boston Post Road ran through it on the way to Albany. Travelers stopped at the Corner Tavern where Old Connecticut Path split off down to Hartford, near today’s Old Coach Grill. The Pequod Inn stood at the intersection of the Post Road and the roads north to western Sudbury and Concord. Baldwin ’s tavern was near the four arch bridge over the river. The First Parish Church was built in 1815, complete with a bell by Paul Revere. A separate building for town meeting was built nearby.
In 1835, the men attending town meeting voted to change the name East Sudbury to Wayland, to honor Rev. Francis Wayland, President of Brown University, who was a friend of Judge Edward Mellen (whose law offices are found in the Wayland Historic District in a small white house at the intersection of Boston Post Road and Old Sudbury Road). The town was not reincorporated, but the renaming showed the desire to further distinguish itself from the town to the west.
Founded in 1848, the Wayland Library was the first free public library in Massachusetts and the second in the country. The library movement began in 1796 with the organization of the East Sudbury Charitable Library, by the Rev. Josiah Bridge. The Rev. Wayland in 1847 gave money to the town for the founding of a town library. The current Wayland Library was build in 1900, with land and money donated by Warren Roby.
Other notable residents of this time included the Rev. Edmund Sears, who wrote “It Came upon a Midnight Clear”, and Lydia Maria Child, abolitionist, suffragist, and author of “Over the River and through the Woods”.