Massachusetts History

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The following important events in the history of Massachusetts affected political jurisdictions, family movements, and record keeping.

1620-1691: The Plymouth Colony was established. It eventually spread over today's Plymouth, Barnstable, and Bristol Counties.

1621:  Peace Treaty between Wampanoag Indians and Pilgrams - Strawverry hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts arranged by Squanto.

1630: Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded. It expanded to today's area of Essex, Middlesex, Old Norfolk (now part of New Hampshire), and Suffolk Counties.

1631:First public Thanksgiving - Massachusetts Bay Colony

1660:John Eliot founded first Indian church in New England at Natick, Massachusetts on the Charles River.

1675-1676:  King Philips War, between the Indians and colonist.

1691: A new charter was granted to Massachusetts Bay Colony, uniting it with Plymouth Colony. Parts of Maine and Nova Scotia were also added to Massachusetts.

1775: The Revolutionary War began at Lexington and Concord.

1786: The Ohio Land Company was formed, resulting in the emigration of many Massachusetts residents toOhio.

1788: (February 6,) Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the Constitution.

1820:Maine was separated from Massachusetts.

1830s-1840s: As the factory system developed, thousands of foreign laborers began moving to Massachusetts.

1861-1865: During theCivil War 146,000 men from Massachusetts served in the Union Army.

A good general history of Massachusetts is:

Hart, Albert Bushnell, ed. Commonwealth History of Massachusetts: Colony, Province, and State. 5 vols. New York, NY: The States History, 1927-30. (FHL book 974.4 H2h.)

A helpful bibliography of Massachusetts local histories is:

Haskell, John Duncan. Massachusetts: A Bibliography of Its History. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1983. (FHL book 974.4 H23m.)

Internet Resources

Massacusetts Historical Society:

A Tour of Masschusetts History: