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Early and Notable Families of Charlestown, Massachusetts 1629-1818

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  • Admiral Thomas Graves (1605 - 1653)
    Thomas, son of John, was born at Ratcliffe, June 6, 1605. He was a sea captain. During the Protectorate of Cromwell, while on a mercantile voyage, he met a Dutch privateer in the English Channel, and c...
  • Thomas Richardson, lll, of Standon (1560 - 1633)
    Thomas Richardson was born in 1567 in of Standon, Hertfordshire, England and was buried on 8 Jan 1633 in Westmill, Hertfordshire, England 1, 2, 3, 4 Parents: 8th child of Thomas Richardson (b.1523 - ...
  • Thomas Pierce (c.1583 - 1666)
    Thomas Pierce came from England in 1633 or 1634 with his wife Elizabeth and settled in Charlestown Massachusetts. His wife Elizabeth was admitted to the church January 10, 1634 and he was admitted Febr...
  • Francis Norton of Charlestown (deceased)
    There were at least two Francis Nortons in New England, this one in Charlestown and a Francis Norton in Wethersfield who later removed to Milford. This one was married to Mary Houghton, daughter of N...

Early History of Charlestown

Thomas Walford and his wife Jane Walford (Guy) were the original English settlers of Mishawaum (later Charlestown); they settled there in 1624. They were given a grant by Sir Robert Gorges, with whom they had settled at Wessagusset (Weymouth) in September 1623. John Endicott, first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, had sent William, Richard and Ralph Sprague to Mishawaum to lay out a settlement. Thomas Walford, acting as an interpreter with the Massachusetts Indians, negotiated with the local sachem Wonohaquaham for Endicott and his people to settle there. Although Walford had a virtual monopoly on the region's available furs, he welcomed the newcomers and helped them in any way he could, unaware that his Episcopalian religious beliefs would cause him to be banished from Massachusetts to Portsmouth, New Hampshire within three years. Originally a Puritan English city during the Colonial era (a time to which many of the neighborhood's structures date), Charlestown was founded in 1628, and settled July 4, 1629, by Thomas Graves, Increase Nowell, Simon Hoyt, Rev. Francis Bright, Ralph, Richard and William Sprague and about 100 others who preceded the Great Migration. John Winthrop's company stopped here for some time in 1630, before deciding to settle across the Charles River at Boston.

The territory of Charlestown originally included what is now Melrose and Malden (both until 1649), Stoneham (until 1725), Somerville (until 1842), Medford, Everett, Woburn, Burlington, and parts of Arlington and Cambridge. On June 17, 1775 the Charlestown Peninsula was the site of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Much of the battle took place on Breed's Hill, which overlooked the harbor and the town and was only about 400 yards from the southern end of the peninsula; Bunker Hill is near the northwest end of the peninsula, close to Charlestown Neck and about a mile from the Charles River. The town, including its wharves and dockyards, was destroyed by fire during the battle.

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First Covenanters of Charlestown

Notable persons of Charlestown

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