in Wakefield, MA
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The History of Wakefield, MA
The land we
now know as Wakefield was first settled in 1638 by a small band
of settlers from Lynn. The following year, they successfully petitioned
the legislature for “an inland plantation,” named Linn
Village. In 1644, when seven families had settled and seven houses
had been built, the court ordered that the town might be incorporated.
At that time, the village, located near the shores of the “Great
Pond” (Lake Quannapowitt), took the name of Redding.
It was a community of farmers, taking advantage of the enormous
flocks of wild pigeons and wild turkeys “exceeding fat, sweet
and in abundance” as well as the “fish in the rivers
and ponds, grapes, blackberries, [and] blueberries in great quantities.”
By 1667, the community, including what is now known as Reading and
North Reading, boasted 59 houses. A garrison house was built against
Indian attacks in 1671. In 1686, the settlers bought their land
from the Saugus Indians.
The town sent its share of men to the Revolutionary War, but no
battle was fought within her bounds. When the Declaration of Independence
was first read publicly, town residents unanimously voted to “adhere
to its sentiments and stand by it to the last.”
By the late 18th century, the town was essentially split into three
separate and distinct parishes: the First Parish (Wakefield), the
Second Parish (North Reading) and the Third Parish (Reading). Although
the First Parish was the oldest and largest section, the combined
votes of the other two parishes was greater; consequently, the Federalist
majority consistently outvoted the staunch Democratic Republicans
in First Parish, effectively, as they thought, denying them representation
in the legislature. As early as 1785, First Parish petitioned to
be set off as a separate town. Issues came to a head just before
the War of 1812, and the legislature finally granted the petition
in 1811. The town of South Reading was formed in 1812.
South Reading was still a rural, isolated hamlet until the Boston
and Maine Railroad came to town in 1845. The change it caused was
dramatic, doubling the population from 1,600 to 3,200 in 15 years.
One of the results of this population boom was the construction
of four schoolhouses, North Sound East and West Ward Schools, built
in 1847. Movers in Wakefield, MA