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From the Dedham Historical Society:
There was a land hunger in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, almost from the beginning. As early as 1634, the Newtown (Cambridge) folk were seeking permission to remove to Connecticut because of a want of accommodation for their cattle as well as a deep-rooted feeling among them that it was a fundamental error, that towns were set off so near to each other. A year later, rumblings were heard of an impending Indian war; it was all too apparent that the coastal settlements were utterly vulnerable to an attack from the wild interior. Accordingly, in September of 1635, the General Court issued orders for the establishment of two inland towns, which could relieve the population pressures within the existing settlements along the Bay, as well as serve as a buffer zone between the Indians and the main colony. The first of these towns was Concord; the second was Dedham.
Predominantly yeomen and middle-class people from Suffolk, Norfolk, and Essex, the Dedham pioneers found themselves in possession of something in excess of two hundred square miles of virgin wilderness, complete with lakes, hills, forests, meadows, Indians, and a seemingly endless supply of rocks and wolves. Curiously, the settlers initially contented themselves with taming only the smallest portion of their holdings ...
The fourteenth church of Massachusetts Bay Colony was gathered in Dedham in 1638, selecting John Allin as its pastor and John Hunting as Ruling Elder. The church records show no instances of dissension, Quaker or Baptist expulsions, or witchcraft persecutions. On the other hand, the state of peace which existed in town and church should not be surprising in the light of the requirements stipulated by the Town Covenant, signed by all those admitted as settlers:
"…we shall by all means labor to keep off from us all such as are contrary minded, and accept unto us all such as may be probably be of one heart."
Dedham was settled in the summer of 1636 by "about thirty families excised from the broad ranks of the English middle classes" traveling up the Charles River from Roxbury and Watertown traveling in rough canoes carved from felled trees. These original settlers, included Edward Alleyne, John Everard, John Gay and John Ellis ....
Many of the other yeomen settling the new Dedham in the Massachusetts Bay Colony came from Suffolk, in eastern England. This group included elders Nathan Aldis, George Barber, Henry Brock, Eleazor Lusher, Samuel Morse, Robert Ware, John Thurston, Francis and Henry Chickering and Anthony, Corneileus and Joshua Fisher.
- List of signers of the Dedham Covenant
- Rev. John Allin, of Norfolk & Dedham (1597-1671), the first minister at Dedham, Massachusetts
- Thwaite Strickland
- Early Dedham Families
- James Savage, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers, Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Co. (1862), Volume 1, p 252.
- The pioneers of Massachusetts a descriptive list, drawn from records of the colonies, towns and churches and other contemporaneous documents. By Charles Henry Pope. Published 1900 by C.H. Pope in Boston. Written in English.
- Vital Records of Dedham, Massachusetts the early records of the town
- A Very Grave Matter