First settlers


First settlers


[Wakefield, Mass.] : Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department




Photo courtesy of the Payro family and Louis Picardi.

"The town of Wakefield was first incorporated in 1644, but her first settlers began to arrive from Lynn in 1639. During this time, the settlers began to cross the rough terrain and settle in the area which is now Wakefield after having petitioned the Colony Court to do so. In 1644 after a sufficient number of homes were established, the Court ordered that 'Lynn Village' take the name of 'Redding', presumably after Reading, England from where several of the first settlers emigrated. The town, when incorporated, contained the area of what is now Wakefield and Reading. The area which is now North Reading was added by a land grant in 1651. According to town records the first settlers included 29 men and their families: Nicholas Brown (who settled on the east side of the 'Great Pond' where the Beebe estate now stands), Thomas Clark, John Damon (who settled where the Common now stands), William Cowdrey, George Davis, Robert Dunton, Samuel Dunton, Josiah Dustin, Jonas Eaton, William Eaton, Zackery Fitch, Isaac Hart, Thomas Hartshorn, William Hooper, Thomas Kendall, John Laukin, Thomas Marshall, William Martin, John Pearson, John Poole (who settled where the rattan factory once stood), Thomas Parker, Francis Smith, John Smith, Jeremy Swayne, Thomas Taylor, Edward Taylor, Richard Walker, and John Wiley. The majority of the men were middle-aged when they settled in the town. William Cowdrey (1602-1687), a lawyer and the best educated of the settlers was undoubtedly the most politically and socially active of the first settlers. He had a major role in shaping the early policies, rules and regulations, having served as Clerk of Writs, Deacon of the Church, Alcoholic Commissioners, Town Clerk, Selectman, Representative to the General Court and Justice of the Peace. He served as Town Clerk from 1644 to 1687 and although he was feeble during the last six years of his life, the townspeople refused to fill his position. They chose instead to appoint his son Nathaniel as Town Clerk 'pro tempore' until his father's death. They su


Wakefield (Mass.) -- History -- Pictorial works.

Collection :

Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department calendars

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Citation :

"First settlers," in NOBLE Digital Heritage, Item #12115, (accessed September 26, 2017).