Natick is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. It is near the center of the MetroWest region of Massachusetts, with a population of 32,786 at the 2010 census. 10 miles (16 km) west of Boston, Natick is part of the Greater Boston area. Massachusetts's center of population in 2000 and 2010 was in Natick. A 2014 census showed its population at 34,230, meaning that between 2010 and 2014 it grew 3.6%, making it one of the Boston area's fastest-growing towns.
The name Natick comes from the language of the Massachusett Native American tribe and is commonly thought to mean "Place of Hills." A more accurate translation may be "place of [our] searching," after John Eliot's successful search for a location for his Praying Indian settlement.
Natick was settled in 1651 by John Eliot, a Puritan missionary born in Widford, England, who received a commission and funds from England's Long Parliament to settle the Massachusett Indians called Praying Indians on both sides of the Charles River, on land deeded from the settlement at Dedham. Natick was the first of Eliot's network of praying towns and served as their center for a long time. While the towns were largely self-governing under Indian leaders, such as Waban and Cutshamekin, the praying Indians were subject to rules governing conformity to Puritan culture (in practice Natick, like the other praying towns, combined both indigenous and Puritan culture and practices). Eliot and Praying Indian translators printed America's first Algonquian language Bible. Eventually, the church in Natick was led for several decades by an indigenous pastor, Rev. Daniel Takawambait.