- Pronounced like like "red-ing", this city, situated in Middlesex County,
Massachusetts is just about ten miles north of central Boston. In the
1630's, the original settlers of Massachusetts arrived establishing the
Massachusetts Bay Colony. Nine years later, in 1639, some citizens of Lynn
petitioned the government of the colony for a "place for an inland
plantation". They were initially granted six square miles, followed by an
additional four. The first settlement in this grant was at called "Lynn
Village" and was located on the south shore of Lake Quannapowitt. On June
10, 1644 the settlement was incorporated by the House of Deputies as the
Town of Reading, taking its name from Reading, England.
The first church was organized soon after the settlement, and the first
parish, later known as South Reading, became Wakefield in 1868. A special
grant in 1651 added land north of the Ipswich River to the Town of
Reading. This area would later become the separate Town of North Reading
in 1853. John Parker was one of the founders of Reading and served as a
deacon of the 12th Congregational Church (now the First Parish
Congregational Church), which he also was instrumental in establishing. He
would also serve as a selectman, constable, and a judicial commissioner.
When the witch hunts of the
area began in 1692, there were a number of people accused in Reading
including several members of the Dustin family. The first to be arrested
was the widow, Lydia Dustin. Though she was never tried and was eventually
found to be not guilty, she died in prison before she could be released.
Later, her daughters, Sarah Duston and Mary Colson were also arrested.
Though a warrant was issued for her granddaughter, Elizabeth Colson,
Constable John Parker was unable to find her, reporting to the court that
she had escaped and was likely in Boston preparing to leave the country.
Also arrested were Mary
Harrington Taylor, Jane Lilly,
and Sarah Davis Rice.
No one from Reading was found guilty of witchcraft. Today, though Reading is
located near Boston, it continues to have a small-town feel. It is called
home to almost 25,000 people.
Rowley - Situated
in Essex County, Rowley was first settled in the spring of 1639 as a
plantation by Reverend Ezekiel Rogers. As more people came to the area,
the town of Rowley was incorporated the following spring, which at that time also included portions of modern day Byfield,
Georgetown, and Haverhill. The town was named after Rowley, Yorkshire,
England where Rogers had served as pastor for
twenty years before coming the United States. That first year, a church
was built and the Reverend Rogers became its pastor in December. In the
early 1640's, two mills were built and the town soon became known for its
flax, and cotton cloth. In 1642, a Keystone arch bridge and a dam
were built on the Mill River. The first stone arch bridge in North America,
it was constructed entirely of
hand-chiseled granite and contained no mortar. It was rebuilt in the mid
19th Century. In 1669, a sawmill was established, which is still in business today.
1675, the westerly section of the Rowley, known as the "Merrimack Lands,"
or "Rowley Village by Merrimack," which began to be settled in about 1650,
was incorporated as a separate town called Bradford. By 1680, Rowley was
called home to about 129 families. In 1685, the southwestern section of
the town, long known as "Rowley Village," was incorporated as the town of
Boxford. In 1689, several Rowley men were ordered to the defense of
Haverhill and Dover against the
but, it is not known that any of them were slain. In 1690, when Sir
William Phips led an expedition against Quebec during King Phillip's war,
Rowley furnished one captain, Philip Nelson, one lieutenant, and thirty
other men. Of these, John Bailey and Moses Wood died on their way to
hysteria broke out, Rowley had
its share of accused including John Howard, John Jackson, Sr., John
Jackson, Jr., who were thought to have been related to
Elizabeth Jackson Howe of Topsfield, who had been found guilty and
hanged July 19, 1692. Also accused was Mary Post, who was the daughter of
Mary Tyler Post Bridges, of
Andover, who had also been accused of witchcraft. But, Rowley's
saddest loss was
Margaret Stevenson Scott, an impoverished woman in her 70's,
who was hanged on September 22, 1692.
A month later, Rowley would see more
turmoil on October 23rd, when Rowley suffered its only Indian
raid. In what was then called Byfield Parish, and now called
Georgetown, Benjamin Goodrich, his wife and two of his daughters
were killed by the
Indians. Another daughter named Deborah, aged seven, was taken
captive but redeemed at the expense of the province the next
Today, this small town of about 5,500 people
is filled with colonial homes, mixed with later architectural styles.