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privilege to have their names associated with such an illustrious group of families. Such an honorable ancestry is a noble heritage, and the story of its achievements is a sacred trust committed to its descendants, upon whom devolves the perpetuation of the record.

The courage, fortitude and activity displayed by those hardy pioneers during the early settlement of Massachusetts and New England, were most remarkable. And, when the struggle for National Independence came, the sons and daughters of their illustrious sires were not wanting in patriotism and devotion, freely sacrificing comforts, life and property, that they might bequeath, to the generations that should follow them, a free and liberal government, "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

The people of Middlesex County were, from the beginning, prime leaders in every patriotic movement, and in all events working for the elevation of humanity. It was within this very territory of Middlesex that the opening scenes of the War of the American Revolution were enacted. Here it was that the contending armies met upon the field of battle, when the terrible struggle began. And it was of the men of Middlesex County that Captain Isaac Davis said, when it was proposed to dislodge the British at the Old North Bridge at Concord, on that famous nineteenth day of April, “I haven't a man that is afraid to go.” The men of Middlesex on that eventful day conducted themselves like heroes. And, after the battle, the Provincial Congress, convened at Watertown to take measures “for the salvation of the Country," and, on the twenty-third day of April, voted "that an army of thirty thousand men be immediately raised, and that thirteen thousand six hundred be raised by this Province." It is the deeds and lives of such men, and of their descendants, that form the thrilling and enchanting portion of our country's history.

It is the consensus of opinion of gentlemen well informed and loyal to the memories of the past and the needs of the present and future, that the editorial supervision of William Richard Cutter, A. M., has ensured the best results attainable in the preparation of material for the proposed work. For more than a generation past he has given his leisure to historical and genealogical research and authorship. He was the author, with his father, of "History of the Cutter Family of New England," 1871-1875; and "History of Arlington, Massachusetts, 1880; and also edited Lieutenant Samuel Thompson's "Diary While Serving in the French and Indian War, 1758," 1896. He also prepared a monograph entitled "Journal of a Forton Prisoner, England," sketches of Arlington and Woburn, Massachusetts, and many articles on subjects connected with local historical and genealogical matters for periodical literature. He prepared a “Bibliography of Woburn,” which was published, and he has been engaged as editor of various historical works outside of his own city. For many years he has been associated with Mr. Arthur G. Loring in the preparation of genealogies which have been published in the “New England Historical and Genealogical Register." In the present work, he has contributed a valuable chapter on “Historical Homes and Places in Middlesex County.” Grateful acknowledgment is here made to him for his services, which have been in the nature of a labor of love. Similarly, Mr. Arthur G. Loring is entitled to gratitude for much painstaking work.

It is believed that the present work will prove a real addition to the mass of literature concerning the families of historic old Worcester County, and that, without it, much valuable information contained therein would be inaccessible to the general reader, or irretrievably lost, owing to the passing away of many custodians of family records, and the consequent disappearance of material in their possession.


Historic Homes and Places



The great metropolis of London belongs to the ancient Middlesex county of England, and Walter Thornbury, when writing his history of that city, entitled “Old and New London", was so impressed by the fact that “writing the history of the vast city like London” was “like writing a history of the ocean"-the vast area; the multifariousness of its inhabitants; and the countless treasures that lie in its depths;—that he asks the question, what aspect should one select? The history of the New England Middlesex, covering its two hundred and sixty-four or more years, though younger by far than its elder, presents from its size, its large population, its multifarious interests, and the number of its cities and towns, a similar impression upon any one who has the boldness to attempt to write on any aspect of the subject.

The New England Middlesex obtained its name from the Middlesex of Old England, one of the most important counties in the kingdom, including within its limits a large part of the present city of London. The English Middlesex, though territorially of lesser extent than many English counties, was probably the most prominent of all in topographical and historical interest, and from the connection that the Middlesex county of England bears to the metropolis of London and the river Thames, the New England Middlesex, from its situation, has a similar relation to the metropolis of Boston, and the river Charles.

The English Middlesex derives its name from its relative situation to the three surrounding kingdoms or counties of East, West, and South Saxons, the first two of which were East-Sex, or Essex; and West-Sex, or Wessex. The English Middlesex, in which the names of London and Middlesexare synonymous, derives its existence from a period previous to the Roman invasion, and the Thames river is a prominent feature of its topography. It has an extent of about seventeen by twenty-three miles, or about 280 square miles. The English Middlesex was particularly well suited for the purpose of agriculture, and it was a well cultivated county. An old writer (Norden) speaking of its fertility, and of the love of its people for tilling its soil; who had rather delve in its dirt, than live in palaces, says;

“The deep and dirtie loathsome soyle
Yeelds golden gaine to paneful toyle."

The crops of the English Middlesex were beans, green peas, barley, rye, oats, cabbages, turnips, wheat, clover, carrots, parsnips, buckwheat and potatoes. Hay-making among the farmers of the English Middlesex was an art conducted in a superior manner to that of any other part of the island. The oldest farm houses in the English Middlesex were of wood, lathed and plastered, with the roofs thatched. These were the sort of houses the New England immigrants had left, and this was the sort of farming with which they were acquainted, and which they sought to put into practice here. The population df English Middlesex, including London, in 1801, was 918,629.

In common with the old county on the other side of the ocean, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the American Middlesex county had a canal for the transportation of passengers and merchandise, the English Middlesex had two, while the American Middlesex had one, which bore the name of the county.

Essex in England is old equally with Middlesex, and was known at the time of the Roman invasion of Great Britain. The waters of the Thames are on its borders. Essex formed a separate and distinct kingdom during a part of the Saxon domination, and was called EastSeaxa, but the time of its first establishment and its termination as a Saxon kingdom are not authenticated. It was also less noticed by historians than any of the others. The county was bordered by Suffolk and Cambridgeshire on the north, by the counties of Hertford and Middlesex on the west, by the river Thames on the south, and by the sea on the east. Its extent from east to west was estimated at sixty miles, and from north to south at about fifty, its circumference being computed at 225 miles. It contained about four hundred parishes and townships and twenty-five towns, containing, about 1801, 226,437 inhabitants.

Suffolk in England is bounded on the north by Norfolk, on the east by the German ocean, on the south by Essex, and on the west by Cambridgeshire. It is forty-seven miles long by twenty-seven broad. Its form indicates a surface of 1269 square miles. Its appellation is from the Saxon Sudfolk, or southern people, in contradistinction to Nordfolk, or northern people. It existed at the time of the invasion of the Romans, and its history is related to that of Norfolk.

Norfolk in England is an extensive county, famous for its objects of antiquity, its geographical situation on the German ocean, its seaports, towns, seats, agriculture, and manufactured products, and it is interesting to the topographer. The topographical historian is a character peculiar to Great Britain, and topography, or description of the country, forms a large part of the historical work in the books of the early part of the nineteenth century in that kingdom. The district embraced in the English county of Norfolk was older historically than the invasion by the Romans, whose generals established a number of military posts within or contiguous to its territory. Lynn,-a city name familiar on this side of the Atlantic,—was within its limits.

Norfolk in England was separated by rivers from Suffolk on the south, and Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire were on the west. Its shape made it, in a sense, almost an island. The largest diameter is east to west, fifty-seven miles; the conjugate diameter, north and south, thirty-five miles, or 1426 square geographical miles. Norfolk is larger than Essex, and contained a greater number of towns and parishes than any other county in the kingdom. Its population in 1801 was 273,371.

It is to be observed, therefore, how closely the relative location of the New England counties of the first period—the four named Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, and Norfolk-follows those of their older namesakes in England; and how closely, too, the names of our New England towns and cities have resembled those of the older country, whence their settlers came. How closely, too, they copied the ideas and customs with which they were familiar in the mother land. The political and social structure of New England, therefore, was built mainly upon an adaptation of ideas having their origin abroad, and upon things which existed before America was established. The early Massachusetts Colony, as an outcome of the first settlement, was strictly English in its character, and remained so until long after the period of the American Revolution.

The early New England historians say little regarding the origin of the New England Middlesex county, and Hutchinson, the ablest one of them all, says more than the rest, and what he says is found on a single page of his notable “History of Massachusetts”, vol. i. (3d ed.) p. 112. In effect this: That in 1643 the colony had so increased that it was divided into four counties, or shires, named Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, and Norfolk. In a foot-note he gives the names of the towns in each county, and for Middlesex he gave the eight towns as follows: Charlestown, Cambridge, Watertown, Sudbury, Concord, Woburn, Medford, and Lynn Village (afterwards

Reading). Each of the first three counties established in 1643 contained eight towns, and Old Norfolk six. Norfolk was not the Norfolk county of to-day, but another. Essex contained Salem, Lynn, Enon (Wenham), Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Gloucester, and Chochichawick. Middlesex contained Charlestown, Cambridge, Watertown, Sudbury, Concord, Woburn, Medford and Lynn Village. Suffolk contained Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, Dedham, Braintree, Weymouth, Hingham, and Nantasket (Hull). Norfolk contained Salisbury, Hampton, Haverhill, Exeter, Dover, and Strawberry-Bank (now Portsmouth). In this list it will be noticed that Essex was east, Middlesex west, and Norfolk and Suffolk north and south, of each other, as implied in their names.


Boston proper now exceeds its original limits, and has appropriated two municipalities once within the borders of Middlesex,Charlestown and Brighton. Several cities still within Middlesex county, Cambridge, Somerville, Everett, and Malden,--are its congeners, from their geographical positions. Near by are the cities of Medford, Melrose, Newton, Waltham, Woburn, and Lowell. Other cities easily reached are Lynn, Salem, Haverhill, Beverly, and Gloucester, the large town of Brookline, and the cities of Quincy, Brockton, Taunton, Pawtucket, New Bedford, Fall River, and Providence, and many large and small towns, are within easy reach of Boston, not to omit in the list its own county of Suffolk, with Boston and Chelsea and Revere. Greater Boston thus means large portions of four counties, namely, Suffolk, Essex, Middlesex, and Norfolk, all located about Massachusetts Bay—the body of water which gave the name of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay to this part of the present State of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts is a name derived from the Indians, the name of a tribe whose abode was in the vicinity of Massachusetts Bay, and signified, in their language, Blue Hills.

The Blue Hills, so easily seen from Boston Harbor, are 710 feet above high-water mark, and are in the town of Milton, in Norfolk county. The range has been a noted landmark for sailors. From the summit is had a full view of Boston and its environs, Massachusetts Bay, the Cape Cod peninsula, and the Wachusett Mountain in the interior, fifty miles distant.

Previous to the American Revolution, Massachusetts was a colony and province of England, and its laws and customs were largely those of the mother country. After 1693 the smaller colony of Plymouth was included within its borders. The other nearby colonies of that period were Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Maine till 1820 was a part of the state of Massachusetts.

The parish of the old country was established here in the colonial period generally under the name and privileges of a town, and during the provincial period (when English customs were the model) towns, where large enough, were divided into parishes, which, in a sense, were little towns within a larger town. This system was thoroughly established in Massachusetts by 1750, and emigration had then begun to the newer towns in New Hampshire, and probably in Maine. This emigration was due to the natural increase of the population, and the desire for more farms. The settlement of the country from the time of the Puritans increased at a greater rate than is to-day imagined, and by 1700 the province was well supplied with farms, was well stocked with domestic animals and fruits such as were commonly known in the old country, and the only interference with agricultural prosperity (the mercantile element being greatly in the minority) were the frequent wars with their enemies, which harassed the land for many years.

Authorities: County histories were more common in Great Britain in former times than in Massachusetts. More than a century ago county histories and local histories of great merit were published in great numbers in the older country. Such works were remarkable for their cost, for sumptuous bindings, for beautiful illustrations, for accurate typography, for size, and thor

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