1600 to 1699

Home  >  Boards & Committees  >  Historical Commission  >  Historical Timeline  >  Period of 1600 to 1699


Bartholomew Gosnold landed in Massachusetts. He named Cape Cod.


Samuel de Champlain made maps of the New England Coastline.


John Smith sailed along the coast of Massachusetts. He wrote a book, A Description of New England, which guided settlers to the Massachusetts region.


The Pilgrims left England on the Mayflower and landed in the New World at Plymouth. Before leaving the ship, they drew up the Mayflower Compact.


The Plymouth, Massachusetts colonists created the first treaty with Native Americans and celebrated the First Thanksgiving.


The Puritans settled in Massachusetts and the town of Boston was founded by John Winthrop as an extension of the colony at Salem.


Boston Latin School, the first secondary school in the colonies, was founded.


Harvard, the first college in the United States, was founded.

A tract of land easterly and southerly of the Charles River was granted to 12 men for the sake of "planting a town". It was requested of the General Court that this grant be ratified and the town be called Contentment.

In replying to the grant the General Court decreed that the name of the new plantation should be Dedham. This Dedham consisted of the present day towns of Dedham, Medfield, Medway, Wrentham, Norfolk, Walpole, Franklin, Bellingham, Dover, Hyde Park, Norwood, Needham, Natick and 3400 acres of western Sherborn.


Massachusetts set up the first library in the colonies.


Stephen Daye set up the first printing press of the American Colonies in Cambridge.


Stephen Daye published the first English language book in the colonies, Bay Psalm Book.


The Body of Liberties, the first code of laws of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was established.


The Massachusetts Bay Colony ordered that elementary schools be established in all towns where there were more than 50 families.


Dedham inhabitants went to Wollomonopoag (Wrentham/Norfolk) to cut grass from meadows due to its scarcity in Dedham.


Massachusetts declared itself an independent commonwealth.

The General Court recognized that the Indians have a just right to land possession and a true right to be there based on Genesis 1 and 28, Chapter 9, 1, and Psalms 115:16.


Dedham selectmen deputed men to search and view Indian lands around Wollomonopoag. The appointed committee, reports back to the Dedham town meeting that they had been to view the lands at Wollomonopoag, "near about the pond (Lake Pearl) by George Indians wigwam" and recommended a settlement there.


Dedham general town meeting votes to sell all uplands and meadows at Wollomonopoag to persons fit to car Dedham generalry on work of a plantation in church and commonwealth.

The Dedham general town meeting voted to set up a plantation at Wollomonopoag.


Indian title to Wollomonopoag (6 sq. miles) purchased from King Philip for L20, 10 S.

Ten men including, Robert Ware, agreed to go to Wollomonopoag "if the town would enable them to proceed in a safe way" but their numbers were deemed insufficient.


The proprietors drew lots for land in the plantation. Robert Ware the Aged bought shares in the Wollomonopoag Plantation for three of his sons, John, 16; Nathaniel, 14; and Robert, 9.


Three commissioners appointed by Governor Endicott to represent Massachusetts Bay Colony met with representatives from Plymouth Colony and Providence Plantation to establish common boundaries.


A second attempt was made to build a settlement at Wollomonopoag including among others, Robert, Nathaniel and John Ware, Joseph Kingsbury, Benjamin Rocket and Cornelius and Samuel Fisher.

James Fales, Samuel Parker and Thomas Clapp were allowed to cut three loads of hay each, in the East or southeast part of "Toyles End" (Norfolk) meadow, the same as they did in 1666.


King Philip sends letter petitioning for a Holland shirt to wear to Plymouth Court.

Reverend Samuel Mann invited to become the minister of Dedham.

Samuel Mann given contract to teach school in Dedham for L20 to be paid in Indian corn.


Great gun brought to Dedham due to fear of trouble with the Indians.

Seven families, including Robert and John Ware were settled in Wollomonopoag before the end of June.

Severe tornado struck Rehoboth, Massachusetts


General Court sent orders to Selectmen of Dedham to make ready for war. A barrel of gunpowder was brought and the ammunition procured.

Robert Ware the Aged's  daughter, Esther, married Reverend Samuel Mann.

On October 17th, the name of Wollomonopoag Plantations was changed to Wrentham, in remembrance of the home town in England.

Wrentham, the Mother Town was settled.


King Philip's War commenced. First company formed in Dedham under Captain Prentice.

Benjamin (Rocket) Rockwood was severely wounded in a campaign in the east during King Philip's War. The injuries he received at the Battle of Moore's Creek at Black Point (what is today Scarborough, Maine) left him crippled for life. He lived to be 91 years of age.  Late in life he received a pension of 4 pounds a month. He died at the home of his son-in-law, William Mann, which was located in the vicinity of Gold Street, Norfolk, today.  Benjamin had four daughters and one son who died in infancy.


King Philip Indian War battles raged from Mount Hope (Rhode Island) to Hadley, MA. Medfield was attacked in Februdsay and Wrentham was evacuated. King Philip was killed later in the year near Tiverton, Rhode Island. His head was displayed at the Plimouth Plantation and his family was sold into slavery in the West Indies.


New Hampshire separated from Massachusetts.

1681 (?)

A portion of the Nathaniel Miller House was built at River End, Norfolk. The house was built by John Boyd (Boyde), from whom it descended to his son, John Jr. and then to John Jr.'s daughter Hannah who married Dr. Nathaniel Miller in 1797. This was one of the first five houses originally built on the old Indian Trail from Medfield to Wrentham (on the road leading from Wrentham to Medway and at the junction of the one leading to Franklin, by  Kingsbury's Pond). As originally built the house consisted of 3 rooms, 2 of which were approx. 17 x 17 ft. in size. John Boyd built a dam at the head of Toyles End Brook at the point where it flows out of Toyles End Pond  later it was called Blake's Pond , Cressbrook and Crystal Lake.

Settlers returned to Wrentham and began the task of rebuilding bringing withj them their wives and household goods.


Around 1682 the remaining Indians in the area were required to remove themselves to "Natick, Wombasset or Punkapog".

Potatoes are introduced as crop by the settlers.


King Charles II cancelled the colonial charter of Massachusetts.


King James established a government in Massachusetts. He made Sir Edmond Andros the governor of the colony.


Joseph Fisher, one of the areas first settlers died, "in an awful and dreadful way".

Samuel Fisher built a house East of Populactic Lake on the brow of the hill overlooking Medway Village.


Mary became the queen in England. When the colonists heard, they ousted Sir Edmond Andros, the governor of the colony, from office and set up their own government.

The first of four French and Indian Wars broke out – the final battle of which is not fought until 1763.


Mary the Queen in England set up a new charter for the colony.

Sawmill on the dam, on the Wrentham side of Stop River at Highland Lake referred to as Morse's Mill.


Sir William Phips became the first royal governor of the colony.

The Salem Witch Trials took place.


Town of Wrentham gave permission to the Morses to build a saw mill on at Morse's Pond and Stop River (Highland Lake).


Henry Adams builds a corn mill near City Mills. This section along the Mill River was called "Jack's Pasture" and derived its name from an Indian whom the settlers had renamed Jack. The record also shows that Atlantic salmon were caught in the Mill River in this early period having migrated upstream to spawn.


On January 2nd Cornelius Fisher, one of the areas first settlers, died. He was "the first head of a family (who) died in the town of a natural death for (the last) thirty years". His home was near River Road and Myrtle Street or as it was then called, the Old Fording Place. This area was referred to as River End because the Mill River ended when it flowed into the Charles River.