Historical Timeline

This is an ongoing, ever growing project – if you have any items of historical interest that you think should be included in this timeline, please submit them to Betsy Pyne [ nhc@norfolk.ma.us ] or call 508-528-2604.

Choose a time period

Period of 11500 BC to 600 BC
10000 BC

The earliest settlers to arrive in the New England area appeared - based on radiocarbon dating. Prior to that, perhaps as early as 16,000 years ago, early nomads had probably explored the area in the warmer months, leaving seasonally with the first indications of snow fall. The first inhabitants took up residence in New England - probably first entering the area by trailing large game, such a caribou, perhaps even mastodons, mammoths, musk ox and giant beaver as well - in the post glacial period. As trees, grasses and diverse vegetation gradually replaced the tundra and the larger animals left the area, cultivation of foodstuffs became a more dependable food supply than the pursuit of the vanishing big game.

10600 BC

The melting had resulted in the edge of the ice sheet moving much further northward near to the present day border with Canada. Over time these first crossings of the Bering Strait would eventually lead to the populating of all of both North and South America even reaching into our northeast corner here in New England.

11500 BC

Most of New England was still covered by ice sheets several miles thick with the exception of southern Massachusetts and below but it had begun to melt and would do so rapidly.

7000-6000 BC

The Indians of Mexico, Central America and western South America first began serious agricultural cultivation growing maize and beans - this new agriculture gradually spread throughout the continents but it took several thousand more years for the agricultural practices to become well established with our local New England tribes. Seventeen of today's top 72 vegetables originated in the America's as well as many fruits, nuts, seeds and medicinal plants. New England contributed to the early pharmacopoeia by introducing witch hazel, slippery elm and sassafras.
Period of 1000 to 1599

Leif Ericson may have explored the Massachusetts region.


Historians believe that John Cabot sighted Massachusetts.


Italian adventurer, Giovani da Verrazzano cruised the New England coast for the French and reported that he found the country "as pleasant as it is possible to conceive" with "open plains as much as 20 or 30 leagues (48–75 miles) in length, entirely free from trees" and so fertile "that whatever is sown there will yield an excellent crop". At the time of the arrival of the French and English most of the local tribes had been well settled in the New England for at least the preceding 1,000 years however there were probably also a few scattered tribes who were more recent comers.

We will never know the exact number of Indians in New England just prior to the first European contact with the French and English, however, it is clear that the local population was well organized into villages - in excess of 325, connected by hundreds of well trodden pathways, worn deep by footsteps over hundreds of years. An Indian messenger could travel a hundred miles in clear passage in a single day if the need presented itself. The current best guess of the Indian population of the New England State area at the time of contact is estimated to be about 75,000 - with 15,000 of those from Maine and very few from Vermont. The remaining 60,000 populated the lands of the other four states.

Local tribes were governed by a single leader, the sachem, while the individual villages by the sachem's subordinates known as sagamores. Early Europeans had noted that the New England Indians had cleared huge tracts of land for their use in extensive cultivation - many in excess of 500 acres or more throughout the populated tribal areas. Here the Indians grew a variety of crops such as corn, tobacco, squash, Jerusalem artichokes, strawberries, cherries, mulberries, peas, beans and grapes. The shoreline of Plymouth which greeted the Pilgrims was almost entirely cleared, except for a few scattered trees. Native dwellings with attendant gardens had surrounded the harbor.

Likewise, areas of today's Boston, Beacon Hill, Chelsea and Wollaston had been cleared of trees by the Indians. An extensive treeless plain stretched throughout Quincy and was known as the Massachusetts Fields.
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.


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.
Period of 1700 to 1799

The Nathaniel Miller house, built in 1681 at River End, Norfolk was enlarged. This was one of the original five houses built on the Indian Trail from Medfield to Wrentham.


Fifty householders resided in the general area. Law directed that this required that a school to be kept.


It was resolved that a school house, 20 foot long and 16 foot broad, would be built and finished by the next Mickelmus. This first school house was built in the area of the Wrentham Common.


The Boston New-Letter became the first successful newspaper in the colonies.


A 3 months school was established to rotate from the East end of town, to the school house, to Ebenezer Ware's (Wareland's) on a monthly basis. The first school house in North Wrentham was built in 1778 on the Northwest corner of Town Hill.


Ebenezer Ware's will of January 22nd references Henry Adams corn mill.


A school was provided for at "Poppolatuck". The schools were not permanently located as to a site at this time as the matter of placing them was a frequent consideration in town meeting.


The Morse's of the Mill at Morse's Pond, now Highland Lake, had a son Joseph born and died in infancy and around this same time the house at 18 Campbell Street experienced a fire and was rebuilt.


George Washington born in Virginia.

Benjamin Franklin publishes Poor Richard's Almanac, containing weather predictions, humor, proverbs and epigrams, selling nearly 10,000 copies per year.

The bridge over the Stop River on what is Campbell Street today was called Morse's Brig at this time. The term brig being Scottish for bridge.


Benjamin and Sarah Blake Morse, of the Mill at Morse's Pond, now Highland Lake, had a son Nathan.


Paul Revere born in Boston.


May 29th, Adam's corn mill is still in existence as it is mentioned in the laying out of a surveyor's district.


On December 23rd, Governor Jonathan Belcher signed papers giving legal existence to the West Precinct of Wrentham, later to become Franklin.

Captain Oliver Pond was born.


England declares war on Spain. As a result, in America, hostilities break out between Florida Spaniards and Georgia and South Carolina colonists.


The saw mill, irons and mill pond were deeded to Benjamin Morse by his siblings.


Norfolk Cemetery was established at the corner of Main and Seekonk Street. At the time Wrentham referred to it as Cemetery #7 and one was also set up in Pondville referred to as Cemetery #8.


Elisha Ware, son of Ebenezer, married Phoebe Clarke of Easie Plains, Walpole who brings her bride's white rosebush to plant beside the door rock at their home , the Warelands.

On April 5th the Rev. David Avery was born in what is now Franklin, CT. After being dismissed by the Wrentham church he relocated to North Wrentham and conducted services in his home which was located  on what is today Village Green near its intersection with Cleveland Street.


The Iron Act is passed by the English Parliament, limiting the growth of the iron industry in the American colonies to protect the English Iron industry.

Ebenezer Ware, on his deathbed, tells his wife and children that when the time comes for the North Parish (the future Norfolk) to have its own church, he wishes to donate 4 acres on the North Hill, from his farm, for a meeting house.


The Currency Act is passed by the English Parliament, banning the issuing of paper money by the New England colonies


In February, English General Edward Braddock arrives in Virginia with two regiments of English troops. General Braddock assumes the post of Commander in Chief of all English forces in America. In April, General Braddock and Lt. Col. George Washington set out with nearly 2000 men to battle the French in the Ohio territory. In July, a force of about 900 French and Indians defeat those English forces. Braddock is mortally wounded. Massachusetts Governor William Shirley then becomes the new Commander in Chief.


England declares war on France, as the French and Indian War in the colonies now spreads to Europe.


A new king, George III came to the throne of England.


British won the final victory in the French and Indian Wars which started in 1689. This war, known in Europe as the Seven Year's War, ends with the Treaty of Paris. Under the treaty, France gives England all French territory east of the Mississippi River, except New Orleans. The Spanish give up east and west Florida to the English in return for Cuba. The Proclamation of 1763, signed by King George III of England, prohibits any English settlement west of the Appalachian mountains and requires those already settled in those regions to return east in an attempt to ease tensions with Native Americans.


The Sugar Act is passed by the English Parliament to offset the war debt brought on by the French and Indian War and to help pay for the expenses of running the colonies and newly acquired territories. This act increases the duties on imported sugar and other items such as textiles, coffee, wines and indigo (dye). It doubles the duties on foreign goods reshipped from England to the colonies and also forbids the import of foreign rum and French wines. The Currency Act prohibits the colonists from issuing any legal tender paper money. This act threatens to destabilize the entire colonial economy of both the industrial North and agricultural South, thus uniting the colonists against it. In May, at a town meeting in Boston, James Otis raises the issue of taxation without representation and urges a united response to the recent acts imposed by England. In July, Otis publishes "The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved." In August, Boston merchants begin a boycott of British luxury goods.


The Stamp Act was passed by the English Parliament imposing the first direct tax on the American colonies, to offset the high costs of the British military organization in America. Thus for the first time in the 150 year old history of the British colonies in America, the Americans will pay tax not to their own local legislatures in America, but directly to England. Also in March, the Quartering Act requires colonists to house British troops and supply them with food. In July, the Sons of Liberty, an underground organization opposed to the Stamp Act, is formed in a number of colonial towns. Its members use violence and intimidation to eventually force all of the British stamp agents to resign and also stop many American merchants from ordering British trade goods. On November 1, most daily business and legal transactions in the colonies cease as the Stamp Act goes into effect with nearly all of the colonists refusing to use the stamps. In New York City, violence breaks out as a mob burns the royal governor in effigy, harasses British troops, then loots houses.


In March, King George III signs a bill repealing the Stamp Act after much debate in the English Parliament, which included an appearance by Ben Franklin arguing for repeal and warning of a possible revolution in the American colonies if the Stamp Act was enforced by the British military. On the same day it repealed the Stamp Act, the English Parliament passes the Declaratory Act stating that the British government has total power to legislate any laws governing the American colonies in all cases whatsoever. In August, violence breaks out in New York between British soldiers and armed colonists, including Sons of Liberty members. The violence erupts as a result of the continuing refusal of New York colonists to comply with the Quartering Act. In December, the New York legislature is suspended by the English Crown after once again voting to refuse to comply with the Act.


In June, The English Parliament passes the Townshend Revenue Acts, imposing a new series of taxes on the colonists to offset the costs of administering and protecting the American colonies. Items taxed include imports such as paper, tea, glass, lead and paints. The Act also establishes a colonial board of customs commissioners in Boston. In October, Bostonians decide to reinstate a boycott of English luxury items. Voted in Dedham that inhabitants should purchase only goods produced and manufactured in the British American colonies, wherever possible and prudent.


In May, a British warship armed with 50 cannons sails into Boston harbor after a call for help from custom commissioners who are constantly being harassed by Boston agitators. In June, a customs official is locked up in the cabin of the Liberty, a sloop owned by John Hancock. Imported wine is then unloaded illegally into Boston without payment of duties. Following this incident, customs officials seize Hancock's sloop. After threats of violence from Bostonians, the customs officials escape to an island off Boston, then request the intervention of British troops. In July, the governor of Massachusetts dissolves the general court after the legislature defies his order to revoke Adams' circular letter. In August, in Boston and New York, merchants agree to boycott most British goods until the Townsend Acts are repealed. In September, at a town meeting in Boston, residents are urged to arm themselves. Later in September, English warships sail into Boston Harbor, then two regiments of English infantry land in Boston and set up permanent residence to keep order.


The Boston Massacre

The Boston Massacre occurred on March 5, at the intersection of Devonshire and State Street intersection in front of Old State house. It began when a young apprentice shouted an insult at a British officer. A soldier on sentry duty front of the customs house supposedly hit the boy with his rifle. The boy yelled for help, and a crowd of colonist looking for trouble gathered. As the mob continued to harass the British soldiers (who were in Boston to keep order, but the townspeople viewed them as spies and trouble) they fired their muskets pointblank into the crowd, killing three instantly, mortally wounding two others and injuring six. After the incident, the new Royal Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, at the insistence of Sam Adams, withdraws British troops out of Boston to nearby harbor islands. The captain of the British soldiers, Thomas Preston, is then arrested along with eight of his men and charged with murder. In April, the Townshend Acts are repealed by the British. All duties on imports into the colonies are eliminated except for tea. Also, the Quartering Act is not renewed. In October, trial begins for the British soldiers arrested after the Boston Massacre. Colonial lawyers John Adams and Josiah Quincy successfully defend Captain Preston and six of his men, who are acquitted. Two other soldiers are found guilty of manslaughter, branded, then released.

If you were living in Boston at the time, this is what you would have read in the Boston Gazette and Country Journal in its edition of Monday, March 12, 1770. The actual account as reported and published in the pages of that newspaper follows:

A few minutes after nine o'clock, four youths named Edward Archibald, William Merchant, Francis Archibald and John Leech, jun., came down Cornhill together and separating at Dr. Loring's corner, the two former were passing the narrow alley leading Mr. Murray's barrack in which was a soldier brandishing a broad sword of an uncommon size against the walls, out of which he struck fire plentifully. A person of mean countenance. armed with a large cudgel bore him company. Edward Archbald admonished Mr. Merchant to take care of the sword, on which the soldier turned round and struck Archbald on the arm, then pushed at Merchant and pierced through his clothes inside the arm close to the armpit and grazed the skin. Merchant then struck the soldier with a short stick he had; and the other person ran to the barrack and brought with him two soldiers, one armed with a pair of tongs, the other with a shovel. He with the tongs pursued Archbald back through the alley, collared and laid him over the head with the tongs. The noise brought people together; and John Hicks, a young lad, coming up, knocked the soldier down but let him get up again; and more lads gathering, drove them back to the barrack where the boys stood some time as it were to keep them in. In less than a minute ten or twelve of them came out with drawn cutlasses, clubs, and bayonets and set upon the unarmed boys and young folk who stood them a little while but, finding the inequality of their equipment, dispersed. On hearing the noise, one Samuel Atwood came up to see what was the matter; and entering the alley from dock square, heard the latter part of the combat; and when the boys had dispersed he met the ten or twelve soldiers aforesaid rushing down the alley towards the square and asked them if they intended to murder people? They answered Yes, by G-d, root and branch! With that one of them struck Mr. Atwood with a club which was repeated by another; and being unarmed, he turned to go off and received a wound on the left shoulder which reached the bone and gave him much pain. Retreating a few steps, Mr. Atwood met two officers and said, gentlemen, what is the matter they answered, you'll see by and by. Immediately after, those heroes appeared in the square, asking where were the boogers? where were the cowards? But notwithstanding their fierceness to naked men, one of them advanced towards a youth who had a split of a raw stave in his hand and said, damn them, here is one of them. But the young man seeing a person near him with a drawn sword and good cane ready to support him, held up his stave in defiance; and they quietly passed by him up the little alley by Mr. Silsby's to King Street where they attacked single and unarmed persons till they raised much clamour, and then turned down Cornhill Street, insulting all they met in like manner and pursuing some to their very doors. Thirty or forty persons, mostly lads, being by this means gathered in King Street, Capt. Preston with a party of men with charged bayonets, came from the main guard to the commissioner's house, the soldiers pushing their bayonets, crying, make way! They took place by the custom house and, continuing to push to drive the people off pricked some in several places, on which they were clamorous and, it is said, threw snow balls. On this, the Captain commanded them to fire; and more snow balls coming, he again said, damn you, fire, be the consequence what it will! One soldier then fired, and a townsman with a cudgel struck him over the hands with such force that he dropped his firelock; and, rushing forward, aimed a blow at the Captain's head which grazed his hat and fell pretty heavy upon his arm. However, the soldiers continued the fire successively till seven or eight or, as some say, eleven guns were discharged. By this fatal maneuver three men were laid dead on the spot and two more struggling for life; but what showed a degree of cruelty unknown to British troops, at least since the house of Hanover has directed their operation, was an attempt to fire upon or push with their bayonets the persons who undertook to remove the slain and wounded! Mr. Benjamin Leigh, now undertaker in the Delph manufactory, came up and after some conversation with Capt. Preston relative to his conduct in this affair, advised him to draw off his men, with which he complied. The dead are Mr. Samuel Gray, killed on the spot, the ball entering his head and beating off a large portion of his skull. A mulatto man named Crispus Attucks, who was born in Framingham, but lately belonged to New-Providence and was here in order to go for North Carolina, also killed instantly, two balls entering his breast, one of them in special goring the right lobe of the lungs and a great part of the liver most horribly. Mr. James Caldwell, mate of Capt. Morton's vessel, in like manner killed by two balls entering his back. Mr. Samuel Maverick, a promising youth of seventeen years of age, son of the widow Maverick, and an apprentice to Mr. Greenwood, ivory-turner, mortally wounded; a ball went through his belly and was cut out at his back. He died the next morning. A lad named Christopher Monk, about seventeen years of age, an apprentice to Mr. Walker, shipwright, wounded; a ball entered his back about four inches above the left kidney near the spine and was cut out of the breast on the same side. Apprehended he will die. A lad named John Clark, about seventeen years of age, whose parents live at Medford, and an apprentice to Capt. Samuel Howard of this town, wounded; a ball entered just above his groin and came out at his hip on the opposite side. Apprehended he will die. Mr. Edward Payne of this town, merchant, standing at his entry door received a ball in his arm which shattered some of the bones. Mr. John Green, tailor, coming up Leverett's Lane, received a ball just under his hip and lodged in the under part of his thigh, which was extracted. Mr. Robert Patterson, a seafaring man, who was the person that had his trousers shot through in Richardson's affair, wounded; a ball went through his right arm, and he suffered a great loss of blood. Mr. Patrick Carr, about thirty years of age, who worked with Mr. Field, leather breeches-maker in Queen Street, wounded; a ball entered near his hip and went out at his side. A lad named David Parker, an apprentice to Mr. Eddy, the wheelwright, wounded; a ball entered his thigh.

Dedham voted not to buy any tea.


Post coaches on the roads to deliver mail.


The Boston Tea Party

The Boston Tea Party of which Few events in the history of America are as well known took place this year. On May 10, the Tea Act took effect. It maintains a threepenny per pound import tax on tea arriving in the colonies, which had already been in effect for six years. It also gives the near bankrupt British East India Company a virtual tea monopoly by allowing it to sell directly to colonial agents, bypassing any middlemen, thus underselling American merchants.

The East India Company had successfully lobbied Parliament for such a measure. In September, Parliament authorizes the company to ship half a million pounds of tea to a group of chosen tea agents. About 8000 Bostonians gather to hear Sam Adams tell them Royal Governor Hutchinson has repeated his command not to allow the ships out of the harbor until the tea taxes are paid.

On the night of December 16th, the Boston Tea Party occurs as a band of colonial activists (actually "Sons of Liberty") disguise themselves as Mohawk Indians then board ships in Boston Harbor and dump all 342 chests of tea into Boston harbor. The harbor ran brown for days afterward. A message had been sent. Why did they do this? Why tea? The English government was still in debt from the war it had fought against France and felt the colonies should help pay for it. England was also spending large sums of money for British soldiers stationed in the American Colonies. England raised taxes in America to try and get money to pay back its debt. Patriot leaders were against any internal tax they they did not consent to. John Adams was one of the staunchest leaders who fought against these taxes. He successfully argued against the stamp act a few years earlier. One of the taxes that England raised was on tea imported into the American Colonies. Tea was one of the most imported products in America and England hoped it could raise a lot of money this way. A few Americans were opposed to the tax and issued this as a protest.

Eyewitness account from George Twelves Hewes of Wrentham:

The tea destroyed was contained in three ships, lying near each other at what was called at that time Griffin's wharf, and were surrounded by armed ships of war, the commanders of which had publicly declared that if the rebels, as they were pleased to style the Bostonians, should not withdraw their opposition to the landing of the tea before a certain day, the 17th day of December, 1773, they should on that day force it on shore, under the cover of their cannon's mouth.

On the day preceding the seventeenth, there was a meeting of the citizens of the county of Suffolk, convened at one of the churches in Boston, for the purpose of consulting on what measures might be considered expedient to prevent the landing of the tea, or secure the people from the collection of the duty. At that meeting a committee was appointed to wait on Governor Hutchinson, and request him to inform them whether he would take any measures to satisfy the people on the object of the meeting.

To the first application of this committee, the Governor told them he would give them a definite answer by five o'clock in the afternoon. At the hour appointed, the committee again repaired to the Governor's house, and on inquiry found he had gone to his country seat at Milton, a distance of about six miles. When the committee returned and informed the meeting of the absence of the Governor, there was a confused murmur among the members, and the meeting was immediately dissolved, many of them crying out, "Let every man do his duty, and be true to his country"; and there was a general huzza for Griffin's wharf.

It was now evening, and I immediately dressed myself in the costume of an Indian, equipped with a small hatchet, which I and my associates denominated the tomahawk, with which, and a club, after having painted my face and hands with coal dust in the shop of a blacksmith, I repaired to Griffin's wharf, where the ships lay that contained the tea. When I first appeared in the street after being thus disguised, I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped and painted as I was, and who fell in with me and marched in order to the place of our destination.

When we arrived at the wharf, there were three of our number who assumed an authority to direct our operations, to which we readily submitted. They divided us into three parties, for the purpose of boarding the three ships which contained the tea at the same time. The name of him who commanded the division to which I was assigned was Leonard Pitt. The names of the other commanders I never knew.

We were immediately ordered by the respective commanders to board all the ships at the same time, which we promptly obeyed. The commander of the division to which I belonged, as soon as we were on board the ship appointed me boatswain, and ordered me to go to the captain and demand of him the keys to the hatches and a dozen candles. I made the demand accordingly, and the captain promptly replied, and delivered the articles; but requested me at the same time to do no damage to the ship or rigging.

We then were ordered by our commander to open the hatches and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard, and we immediately proceeded to execute his orders, first cutting and splitting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water.

In about three hours from the time we went on board, we had thus broken and thrown overboard every tea chest to be found in the ship, while those in the other ships were disposing of the tea in the same way, at the same time. We were surrounded bv British armed ships, but no attempt was made to resist us.

We then quietly retired to our several places of residence, without having any conversation with each other, or taking any measures to discover who were our associates; nor do I recollect of our having had the knowledge of the name of a single individual concerned in that affair, except that of Leonard Pitt, the commander of my division, whom I have mentioned. There appeared to be an understanding that each individual should volunteer his services, keep his own secret, and risk the consequence for himself. No disorder took place during that transaction, and it was observed at that time that the stillest night ensued that Boston had enjoyed for many months.

During the time we were throwing the tea overboard, there were several attempts made by some of the citizens of Boston and its vicinity to carry off small quantities of it for their family use. To effect that object, they would watch their opportunity to snatch up a handful from the deck, where it became plentifully scattered, and put it into their pockets.

One Captain O'Connor, whom I well knew, came on board for that purpose, and when he supposed he was not noticed, filled his pockets, and also the lining of his coat. But I had detected him and gave information to the captain of what he was doing. We were ordered to take him into custody, and just as he was stepping from the vessel, I seized him by the skirt of his coat, and in attempting to pull him back, I tore it off; but, springing forward, by a rapid effort he made his escape. He had, however, to run a gauntlet through the crowd upon the wharf nine each one, as he passed, giving him a kick or a stroke.

Another attempt was made to save a little tea from the ruins of the cargo by a tall, aged man who wore a large cocked hat and white wig, which was fashionable at that time. He had sleightly slipped a little into his pocket, but being detected, they seized him and, taking his hat and wig from his head, threw them, together with the tea, of which they had emptied his pockets, into the water. In consideration of his advanced age, he was permitted to escape, with now and then a slight kick.

The next morning, after we had cleared the ships of the tea, it was discovered that very considerable quantities of it were floating upon the surface of the water; and to prevent the possibility of any of its being saved for use, a number of small boats were manned by sailors and citizens, who rowed them into those parts of the harbor wherever the tea was visible, and by beating it with oars and paddles so thoroughly drenched it as to render its entire destruction inevitable.

– George Twelves Hewes


Paul Revere made his famous ride to warn his fellow patriots of the British arrival. The battles of Lexington and Concord were fought starting the Revolutionary War and General George Washington took command of the Continental Army in Cambridge.

Dedham raised a company of 60 Minute Men.

Elisha Ware was operating a small mill with a water wheel on Dirty Brook across the street from the Warelands.


On March 17th, British army and Loyalists evacuate Boston.

George Washington and a guard of soldiers spent the night at the Tavern of Josiah Ware in Norfolk (North Wrentham). The tavern later was known as the Mann's Store and was situated where the sovereign Bank is now located. His troops camped under the pitch pines then covering Town Hill. Miss Tilpka Smith drew water from her well on Back Street (now Lincoln Street) for General Washington as he passed her home.


On March 2nd, the West Precinct of Wrentham officially became an independent town. The name for the new town would be Exeter. The treaty of France, a project Ben Franklin had been working on for 3 years, had just been signed. Because of this, Jabez Fisher, a local patriot had the new town's name switched to Franklin, prior to its incorporation.

On June 10th, Foxborough incorporated.

The first permanent school house was constructed on the northwest corner of Town Hill. Prior to that time school classes were held in private homes.


Massachusetts adopted its own state constitution.


Major Eli Richardson was born in the area of City Mills.


After the Revolutionary War ended many farmers suffered economically. They could not pay their taxes or debts. Daniel Shay led a group of angry farmers to the courthouse in Springfield. Fighting broke out between the government troops and the farmers beginning Shay's Rebellion.

A donation of books from Ben Franklin to act as the start of a Franklin town library arrived in Franklin.
Joseph Robichaux died on Lovell's Island in Boston Harbor when his ship grounded in a blizzard and he froze to death.


The farmers surrendered and Shay's Rebellion ended.

The first cotton mill in the United States is built in Massachusetts.


Massachusetts ratified the United States Constitution. They became the sixth state to join the union.


Eli Whitney patents his spike cotton gin.


Reverend David Avery was dismissed by the Wrentham Church and took up residence in North Wrentham on the south side of Cleveland Street in the vicinity of what is now Village Green. He conducted services in his home there for his followers.


In January, a committee in Franklin was chosen to locate new schoolhouses and six districts were laid out, River End was mentioned first.

North Parish Association formed and $1244 pledged by its parishioners to build a Meeting House in North Wrentham.

Elisha Ware and the heirs of Ebenezer Ware carried out their father's dying wish and legally deeded the four acres on the North Hill and a nearby woodlot to the newly formed North Parish Association.


Elisha Ware, carries out his father's charge and at 81, old and feeble, sitting on a chair on a nearby knoll, he watches the construction of the North Parish meeting house commence.


John Adams of Massachusetts became president of the United States.

Dr. Nathaniel Miller married Hannah Boyd of Franklin. Two of their three sons became eminent surgeons.
On July 10th, the Montgomery Lodge of Masons held their first meeting in the house of Dr. Nathaniel Miller. Paul Revere, patriot, as Most Worshipful Grand Master, signed the charter of the Montgomery Lodge and officiated at the chartering ceremonies.The Nathaniel Miller house originally built in 1681 at River End, Norfolk was enlarged. This was one of the original five houses built on the Indian Trail from Medfield to Wrentham.

Reverend John Cleaveland was named as the first Pastor of the newly formed North Parish in North Wrentham.
Period of 1800 to 1899
1800 (circa)

Dr. James Mann inoculated his oldest daughter and two of her cousins against smallpox. He later exposed them to a man sick with the disease. Luckily the vaccine took as this was the first experimentation with smallpox vaccine in US.


The meeting house is completed and a formal dedication is conducted.


A library was located at the house of Alfred Harding Metcalf for the benefit of North Franklin and River End districts. These books were in later years donated to the library in East Medway (Millis).


Thomas Jefferson persuaded Congress to pass the Embargo Act. The act caused huge hardships upon the people of Massachusetts.

Eli Richardson built the Stone Store as it was called located between his mill and home on Main St in City Mills.

Josiah Ware of the Tavern marries Mehitable Richardson, daughter of Eli Richardson, and moves to Oxford where he opens a trading store.


Asa and David Thayer open a store at City Mills, selling the oat straw braid that they receive in exchange for goods to Fischer, Day & Co.

Josiah Ware of the Tavern sells the dwelling at what is today 5 Union Street to Reverend Cleaveland, first Pastor of the North Parish and this becomes the First Parsonage or as it frequently called the "Old Parsonage".


Eli Richardson establishes the first post office in the area at City Mills. He becomes the first postmaster in town, built the stone store city factory and became a prominent citizen in the community.


War of 1812 begins.

Asa and David Thayer's store operations moved to Franklin center.

Josiah Ware, future Station Agent in North Wrentham for the Norfolk County Railroad, is born in Oxford, Massachusetts. He is the son of Josiah and Mehitable Ware.


Salmon Mann and Daniel Cook established a cotton factory at Stony Brook.


The Battle of New Orleans.

Francis Cabot Lowell built the first factory in the United States in Waltham. It was a textile factory.


War of 1812 ends.


Charles Slocomb who made the first straw braid hat for men in this country was born in Wrentham, now a part of Norfolk, MA. One day while at a Boston millinery store, he watched the process in which a woman's bonnet was created. He conceived the idea that straw braid could be converted in a similar manner into a hat for men. The next day he had some of the braid sent to his factory and as a result he appeared with a straw hat, the first of its kind ever made.

Eli Richardson builds his house on the hill next to his factory, in City Mills. He also builds a stone store on the property, at this time. The house and stone store were later owned by William Sweatt, another prominent businessman in town, in the next century.


Maine separated from Massachusetts.


Boston English high school was the first public high school in the United States.


The River End School District was divided in two.


The Pond Home built by General Lucas Pond.


John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts became President of the United States.


William Lloyd Garrison began publishing the Liberator, an anti-slavery newspaper, in Boston.


The New England Anti-Slavery Society in Boston was formed. The society helped slaves escape to Canada.
The Cleaveland Religious Society in North Wrentham was formed at a meeting at the hall over the store of Ebenezer Blake, Esq. and began planning to build a second Meeting House at the foot of the hill on the corner of Union and Main.


Enoch Stollard, Negro, was employed as an office worker North Union Church office from 1833–44.


Reverend Moses Thacher was elected Vice President of the Massachusetts Anti Slavery Society and served in that office from 1835–1838.


Josiah Ware of the Tavern dies at age 94.


In the 1840s, Nathaniel Miller had a thread mill at River End, with young relatives working in it. It was powered by the water from a dam at Toil's End Brook built by John Boyd Jr. Later Dr. Miller and Caleb Sayles operated the mill under the firm name of Sayles and Miller. There is even mention of a lawsuit, against the Wollomonopoag Manufacturing Company, by Sayles and Miller, to recover a small sum of money.


Norfolk County Railroad bond issued. Railroad would run through the center of Norfolk.


Massachusetts became the first state to require that all children must attend school.


The Medway Branch Railroad opened for service in January and a little engine, the "Hooksett" built in June of 1842, and 2 wooden coaches ran 26 round trips between North Wrentham (Norfolk) and Medway, via Rockville (where stage connection could be made to East Medway) that day. Wood was burned for fuel. The other locomotive used on the line was named Queechee (probably the Otta Queechee), after the town of the same name in Vermont. In addition to the aforementioned rolling stock there were also 2 boxcars. The coaches could be dimly lighted with coal-oil lamps and heated by sheet-iron stoves. There was also a turntable built in Norfolk to turn the locomotives around.


The Norfolk Farmer's Club was established.


Adam Daniels listed as owner of the City Mill's mill and privilege; including 6 houses, barns and stock houses.


The Civil War begins. Massachusetts supplies more than 125,000 soldiers to the Union Arm over the course of the war.

In May, Company E of the Massachusetts Volunteers were the last passenger traffic carried over the Medway Branch rails.


The Medway Branch Railroad was discontinued with the rails "being taken up in the night".

Upon suspension of the Medway Branch Railroad, Charles Holman of Milford started a stage route from Medway through Rockville and North Wrentham to Wrentham Village. He had a 6 horse span and a bright green coach.


The Civil War ends.


Bertha Fales, author of "A History of Norfolk" was born on Avery Street in Norfolk, MA.


Alexander Graham Bell developed the telephone in Boston.

S. M. Aldrich of Woonsocket, RI was taxed for $5000 worth of machinery, 10 houses, a barn and 1 store at City Mills.

John Fischer Torrey appointed postmaster of Franklin City (City Mills).

Norfolk, previously known as North Wrentham, was incorporated. See: Act to Incorporate the Town of Norfolk


Town meeting discussed building a lock-up for confinement of persons arrested and for the lodging of tramps.


On January 12th the fifth annual reunion and festival of the Norfolk Farmer's Club held in the Lyceum Hall.
Stephen M. Weld was taxed for $6800 worth of machinery, a factory, 11 houses, 1 store and 35 acres of land, beside woodland and pasture, at City Mills.

In the spring the dam burst leading to an overflow of Whiting's Pond at City Mills. Mr. Edwin Alonzo Morse was washed away 20-30 rods, in a mass of earth, railroad ties and rails, into the pond. He was brought to safety by Mr. Shields, Wood and Fischer, just as another torrent of water brought enough to bury them all alive, if they had been a moment later. It is said to have destroyed the original felt mill at City Mills.


Town meeting discussed providing a building for tramps and discussed washout of City Mills and overflow of mill ponds.


On March 9th, Horatio N. Kingsbury murdered in his home in Pondville.

Town meeting discussed gravelling the road from the Medfield line to the house of Cyrus Morse.


Miller Hall, Dr. Nathaniel Miller's private hospital burned. It was quite a celebrated institution in its day, before public hospitals had been founded and it had a very wide patronage. Its granite columns still stand on Myrtle Street.


The parish meeting house was deeded to the town of Norfolk for use as a new Town House. The building is remodeled at a cost of $3175 and Holbrook and Sons of East Medway recast the bell at a cost of $ 130.
The town was asked to accept a gift consisting of about 200 volumes from the Norfolk Library Association to be used as a Town Public Library. An additional loan of the books owned by the Norfolk Farmer's Club was also included.

Town meeting discussed laying out a road between Cleveland St. and Holbrook St.


The City Mills Company of Franklin was taxed for $10,000 worth of machinery, $7500 for a factory and an engine, $800 for a house, 10 houses, 1 store, 2 barns, privilege and 62.5 acres of land, divided into pastures, tillage and unimproved land at City Mills.


A telephone line was set up between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island.

Town meeting discussed buying a place for an almshouse and discussed the binding out of children to suitable persons for a term of years.


Town meeting discussed buying or building a lock-up.


Town meeting discussed buying shade trees to set in the public streets and squares; furnishing books and stationery free of cost to the schools; granting money to enlarge and improve the library and the licensing of intoxicating liquors.


Town meeting discussed what to do about prosecuting illegal sellers of intoxicating liquors.


The City Mills Company of Franklin was taxed for a steam boiler and engine, more machinery, a boiler house and chimney, a stock house besides the smaller house for tenants and the usual amount of land, at City Mills.


Town meeting discussed charging organizations for use of the Town House, $2 a night for the upper hall, $1 a night for the lower and giving the janitor of the Town House $100 a year.


In September, John B. Ricker was killed by a train.


Town meeting discussed accepting the road as laid out from Grove St. to the railroad bridge near City Mills and enforcing the law in regard to hunting on Sunday.


The City Mills Company of Franklin was taxed for $22,000 for machinery, a new mill, 2 stock houses, 6 new houses and the Comey House and stable beside the old plant, at City Mills.

Town meeting discussed hunting and fishing on Sunday and making a well for the Center School and the Town House.


Schools at Stony Brook and Pondville consolidated with the Center School.


On February 13th, James A. Mann, age 20, residing in Norfolk, was struck by the outward bound train and killed instantly. His brother John D. Mann was killed at Savin Hill that morning. James was on the way to make arrangements for his brother's funeral.


The City Mills owners were taxed for a dye house and water tower and 2 stables and 1 barn, at City Mills.
On October 11 the last entry was made in the book of the Norfolk Farmer's Club.

Robert Allison Ware married Charlotte Clement Barrell and their old farm came back into the family.


North School consolidated with the Center School.

Schools at Felting Mills consolidated with the City Mills School.

Town meeting discussed erecting a permanent watering trough.


On July 10th, the Montgomery Mason Lodge celebrated the 100th anniversary of their first meeting, at the site of the original meeting, the Dr. Nathaniel Miller House in Norfolk on "Toils End Brook" on Myrtle St.
Town meeting discussed abolishing the office of highway commissioner; establishing electric light service and procuring a poor farm.


Spanish American War begins.

Town's electric light bill was $68.75.

Town meeting discussed lighting the streets at Norfolk Centre and City Mills and wiring the Town Hall for electric lights.


Town meeting discussed accepting a Hook and Ladder Truck presented by the citizens of the town.
Period of 1900 to 1999

The American Felt Company of Boston, MA was taxed $30,000 for machinery and the real estate at City Mills, as listed below in 1905.


Town meeting discussed reimbursing the Norfolk Brass Band for wiring the band stand.


Town meeting concurred on change in boundary line between Norfolk and Medfield and Foxborough.


The pupils of the Center Intermediate School collected $2.25 for a beginning purchase of 6 books for the Gertrude A. Bly school library. Within a year the collection had grown to 53 volumes.


Norfolk Fire Department consists of 2 Hook and Ladder trucks and one chemical wagon, well equipped with fire buckets, force pumps and suitable tools for fighting forest fires and carry 30 chemical extinguishers. The chemical wagon carried twenty 10 quart cans of water.


The American Felt Company of Boston, MA was taxed $30,000 for machinery, houses consisting of 17 tenements, tree barns and 10 stock houses besides the store, at City Mills.

Town meeting discussed erecting a band stand; fire escapes for the Town House and Centre School and paying a yearly salary to members of the Fire Department.


Town meeting discussed employing a school physician.


Town meeting discussed making a contract with the Edison Company for street lighting.


Town meeting discussed purchasing a piano for the Town House.


The Pondville Chapel (Cressy Memorial) was built of natural field rock and dedicated as a memorial to Oliver Sawyer Cressy (1835–1900), husband of Harriet L. Pond. The daughter of General Lucas Pond.
Norfolk Woolen Company has a plant operating at Stony Brook.

J. F. Wall & Son, makers of building papers, operate a mill near Highland Lake.

Town meeting discussed appropriating money to destroy the elm tree beetles and putting a sidewalk in front of the church and school house.


The American Felt Company of Boston, MA was taxed $42,000 for machinery. The old mill and machinery was taxed for $21,300, the new mill and machinery for $17,200, at City Mills.

Town meeting discussed appropriating $100 for the completion of the state road at City Mills.


Town meeting discussed appropriating $160 for the salary of a domestic science and cooking teacher and appropriating $25 to install an approved heating and ventilation system in the Centre School.


A textile strike took place in Lawrence. It brought nationwide attention to the poor working conditions in textile factories.

Town meeting voted to appoint a Citizens Advisory Board and to appoint a town Finance Committee to attend to town business and voted to reconsider the new heating plant at the Centre School to see what could be done in way of repairs.


Town meeting discussed posting street signs.


William Swett tore down the stone store on his property that was built by Eli Richardson in 1819. Mr. Swett wanted to extend his front yard (of the Richardson House) down to the road with an unobstructed view.
World War I begins.


The American Felt Company of Boston, MA was taxed $67,000 for machinery. The old mill was taxed for $48,000, the new mill for $70,000 besides the former buildings, at City Mills. The dam was estimated at $10,000 and the mill site and water rights for $72,000.

Town meeting discussed building a high school.


On October 1st, the Highland Lake train station moved from near Campbell's house location to Seekonk St.
Town meeting discussed installing a well and watering trough at the junction of Seekonk and Avery Streets.


The United States entered World War I - The Yankee (26th) Division of Massachusetts was the first National guard unit to reach the battlefields in France.

Town meeting discussed installing a water supply in the Centre School house.

Town meeting discussed purchasing a motor truck for fighting forest fires.


Town meeting discussed a memorial for soldiers and sailors of the World War: abandoning Myrtle St. from the junction of Dean St. to the Millis line; leasing the Baptist Church (Grange Hall) for the use of a Public Library and purchasing a public dump.


World War I ends.

A Welcome Home celebration for returning World War I veterans was held on the grounds of the Town Hall.
The mayor of Boston refused to let the city's police form a union. Around three fourths of the police force went on strike. Governor Calvin Coolidge had to send in the National Guard to end the strike.

Town meeting discussed purchasing a power sprayer and a stone crusher.


The American Felt Company of Boston, MA was taxed $312,400 for the City Mills plant.
Town meeting discussed fixing a license fee for slaughtering and discussed the transport of high school pupils by motor truck.


Town meeting discussed enlarging the Town Hall.


On March 19th, Abby Frances Day died. She had begun a scrapbook of Norfolk events in 1870.

On Dec 5th, the Norfolk Town Hall burned to the ground shortly after 3:00 AM. The contents of the clerk's safe survived.


Town meeting discussed building a new Town Hall; establishing a town forest, purchasing a motor-driven fire truck, sanitation in the Centre School and the transportation of pupils to Centre School by motor bus.

On April 19th, the Weber Duck Inn opened on the new State road Route 1 (now Route 1A).


Town meeting discussed completion of the Miller St. bridge and purchasing a ton dump truck.


A new fire fighting combination pumping and chemical engine apparatus had been purchased for a cost of $5,975.

Town meeting discussed changing the name of East St. to Marshall St.; installation of electric lights in the school buildings and the laying out and rebuilding Pond St. from North St. to Dedham St.


City Mills train wreck. No injuries.

Land purchased on Main St. from Mrs. Edna Thompson Hubbard to build new fire station.
Town meeting discussed purchasing a truck and road roller.


Pondville Hospital opens.


The greatest Depression in the history of the United States begins. Massachusetts sets up its own employment-relief program.

Town meeting discussed furniture and heating for the police station and the purchase of a forest fire truck and equipment for it.


Beginning employment of a District Nurse.

Town meeting discussed insurance of firemen, the purchase of a new hose for the Fire Department, the purchase of a snow plow and the trimming of trees by the road side.

Urge of early employment of married men and other dependents for work on the roads.

In the 1930s William Swett's expansive front yard was used to host at least one Norfolk Day celebration.


The old road from Medfield to the plantations is still clearly traceable through Warelands Woods and Fales properties. It was named Avery Street in the late 18th century, in honor of the Reverend David Avery, a chaplain in General Washington's army and first minister of the north Parish (Norfolk) of Wrentham, whose home was there. It is now known as Boardman St.


Bertha Fales wrote "A History of Norfolk".

Leon Pini left the Weber Duck Inn to start running the Lafayette House in Foxborough.

Norfolk prison building finished.


William Swett sells the home built by Eli Richardson in City Mills in 1819, to the wreckers. There are reports that the house was re-constructed as the Pond House - this has yet to be confirmed or denied. The Richardson house and stone store are no longer on site but Eli Richardson's 1819 barn still remains overlooking the City Mills Pond.


The Great Hurricane of '38 hit Massachusetts killing hundreds of people and causing millions of dollars in property damage.


Eva Day died. Daughter of Abby Francis Day.

World War II begins.


The National Bank of Wrentham started foreclosure proceedings on the Weber Duck Inn.


World War II ends.

Norfolk’s population approximately 1600.


The Cornelius Murphy house, on the current site of Daley's Sunoco station, was razed.

The Korean Engagement begins.

Bertha Fales, author of "A History of Norfolk" dies at age 83, in Wrentham, MA.

Norfolk Central School, later known as the A. J. Freeman School opens.

Norfolk’s population approximately 2000.


Land purchased for a well field for future Town use at Gold Street. (see 1980)


1st addition added to the Norfolk Central School.


The state legislature prohibited segregation in public housing.


The United States Navy launched its first nuclear surface ship from Quincy.


Several polio clinics were held during the year due to the threat of an epidemic in Rhode Island. The response was very good with a large percentage receiving their full quota of three shots.

The Little League field house was erected.

The boys and girls of Norfolk have earned, and justly so, a reputation for being an orderly, responsible, well-behaved group - H. Olive Day from Norfolk’s Central School Report.

Norfolk’s population approximately 2678.


The John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts became president of the United States.

Several polio clinics were held during 1961 and it is hoped that oral vaccine will take its place in the future.
A new Town Garage was built - Highway Department service should be better during storms.

We request that you dump in the designated areas at the town dump - not in the traveled road or turn arounds.

Norfolk Police engaged in combat revolver training - as one Norfolk Police officer was found to have never fired his service revolver in over ten years.


An addition to the Library was completed that more than doubles the previous floor space and a completely new heating system and toilet facilities were installed.

The Federated Church had a very serious fire - the building was saved from total loss by the prompt and efficient answering of the alarms by the all call fireman of the Norfolk Fire Department.

The special Town Meeting approved the School Building Committee’s appropriation plan of $356,000 to create an addition to the Norfolk Central School.


John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, TX by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Segregation in private housing became illegal in Massachusetts.

Chief of Police Johnston reports that since the erection of the speed limit signs, the incidents of speeding have dropped to almost nil on our two main thoroughfares - Main Street and Route 115.

The board of Health ran three Oral Sabin Polio Vaccine Clinics.


"This was a year filled with excitement; what with national and local elections, space advancement, supersonic planes, electronic improvements and most of important the "Cold War" is still cold." – A. Bruce Wood from Norfolk’s Civil Defense Agency Report

Main Street was widened and a sidewalk was constructed from town center to St. Jude’s Church.

The Town voted to purchase a street sweeper to alleviate the unsightly and dangerous accumulation of sand along the edges of our streets.

It was concluded that the Norfolk Airport was never officially abandoned and as such was entitled to continue operation as a non-conforming business.

A 2nd addition was added to the Norfolk Central School.


The Norfolk Historical Committee was appointed.

Natural gas mains were installed on Everett Street by the Brockton-Taunton Gas Co. - the beginning of another service to the Town of Norfolk.

A Town Swimming Pond was excavated and filled with water for recreation, outings, picnics, etc.

The sidewalk was completed from town center to the intersection of Main and Seekonk Streets.

The Girl Scouts planted honeysuckle on roadside slopes and banks to control erosion and effect beautification.

The Master Plan Report for the Town of Norfolk was completed predicting that the town could reach a population of 4,000 by 1980. (see 1970)


The new Norfolk Fire Station opens on 117 Main Street. The old fire station has been renovated for use as town offices.

The new Norfolk Police Station opens. The old police station has been turned over too the Welfare Board for their offices.

Despite opposition, Norfolk’s new swimming pond was used extensively during the summer and although there were rumors that it was polluted the Board of Health certified that it was not.

The Highway Department delivered sand to the Mirror Lake Beach.

Main Street became dangerously slippery after it was oiled, a second application of tar and sand stone cover had to be applied to correct it.


The lowering of Kingsbury Pond, ostensibly by a well operated by the Town of Franklin and the damage resulting therefrom that affected both the assets and the character of the Town, the beauty of the beach and the pond was the most pressing issue effecting the town in this year.


The town hall exterior underwent a face lift to give it a more colonial appearance.

Over 400 tons of sand were added to the Town swimming pond beach area as well as the addition of picnic tables.


Land purchased at the request of the Norfolk School Committee for the new elementary school site.
A sidewalk was constructed from the center of town about one half mile southerly on North Street - the Town of Norfolk thanked the loyal resident who donated the money for this project and "his faith in the future of the town which this gift demonstrates".


The 1965 Master Plan Report for the Town of Norfolk predicted that the town could reach a population of 4,000 by 1980 - that figure was reached this year.

Town Hall renovations completed.

All burning of dumps discontinued in the state.

The Lord and Jealous Co. was still operating at City Mills.

More and more people are asking that the picturesque, winding narrow country roads be renovated for safer travel for the 1970 automobile. Dangerous curves need to be straightened, hills, ledges and trees which obstruct the driver’s view have to be removed.

Norfolk celebrates its 100th anniversary with a parade and celebrations - the Centennial Committee conducted the events in line with their charge from the Board of Selectman to "put on a celebration, that is, one in good taste and not costing all outdoors".

The Centennial School addition to the A.J. Freeman school opens.

Norfolk Historical Commission re-established.

Dr. Philip White was appointed to the permanent post of Town Historian - a post established by vote at a special town meeting.


Norfolk’s population approx. 4005.

"The days of the obnoxious smelling Town Dump may soon be a not so fond memory" - as the Highway Department is striving to put the State’s "Regulations for the Disposal of Solid Wastes by Sanitary Landfill" into operation.

Approximately 47% of the homes in Norfolk are now served with town water.

A new law that makes it illegal to burn in the open was put into force.


The students of Norfolk for the first time are enjoying the benefits of a hot lunch program.

Lights were installed at the town tennis courts.


Norfolk vs. Franklin battled in the courts as to the rights of Kingsbury Pond. Norfolk lost the case.

Park Street Bridge closed for eight months because of bad timber.

It was voted not to light the Town Common at Christmas and to shut off all unnecessary lights in town due to the energy shortage.

"The town is bursting at its seams in some areas" - Board of Selectmen


The Board of Selectmen vigorously objected to a solid waste management proposal promulgated by the Norfolk County Commissioners for a sanitary landfill operation and an incinerator to be located in Norfolk as other towns should not "expect to place every type of state and county institution within the boundaries of our town".

Town Meeting approved the name Harold E. Campbell Town Forest for the 42 acre conservation area near the center of town.


Hearings begun on the application of Camger Chemical, Inc. of Franklin, MA to open a paint manufacturing plant in the old Lord and Jealous Mill on Main Street.

Horace Hamlin presented the town with an oil painting of the old Town Hall that used to stand on the Town Hill until it burned down.

The Housing Authorities Hillcrest Village project to establish 64 units for the elderly was completed and fully occupied.

Norfolk Historical Commission reactivated after several years of retirement - historical inventory of buildings begun.


1776–1976 USA Bicentennial Year and the Town of Norfolk’s Bicentennial Parade and town wide celebrations.

Main Street Bridge in City Mills became undermined and an emergency appropriation of funds was appropriated for the highway Department to correct the situation.

Arthur R. Keenan, Norfolk Fire Department Lieutenant and EMT commended by the town for saving the life of a man choking on a piece of food in a restaurant in Andover, MA.

The first taxi cab company in Norfolk was established.


The Bicentennial Park was opened on the 8 acres formally known as the Buckley Land.

The Warelands on Boardman Street was appointed by the National Park Service to the National Register of Historic Places.


Highway Department moved to a new Highway Garage on Medway Branch.

With the Northeast’s worst blizzard in history in February, Norfolk received 44 inches of snow with drifts up to eight feet. Traffic was stopped and schools were closed for six days and cross country skiers on main roads were a common site.

Mrs. Emily Jacques donated a schoolhouse clock from the old Diamond Street School in working order to the Historical Commission.


MBTA completed the long awaited renovation of the Railroad Station in the center of Town, the Lions Club painted the old station building a colonial red that really complimented the MBTA’s restoration project.
The Conservation Commission initiated the purchase of a six acre parcel of land at City Mills which includes Comey’s Pond.


Norfolk’s Water Department’s new well on Gold Street placed into operation giving Norfolk its own water supply for the first time in its history. (see 1952)

Norfolk’s Water Department adopts a computer system for billing.


Pondville Hospital sold to Norwood Hospital changing it from a state owned and operated facility to a private non profit organization.

Freedom Trail and Liberty Lane street names were selected in a street naming contest by pupils at the Freeman Centennial School to honor the hostages returned from Iran.

Mann's Store - formally known as Mann's Tavern and more recently the site of St. Jude's Rectory - a spot where George Washington and a guard of soldiers spent the night in 1775, when it was then known as The Tavern of Josiah Ware, was demolished to make way for the Country Crossing buildings - the site of the current Sovereign Bank.

New dam constructed at Mirror Lake.

Pickwick’s Pub was destroyed by fire.

The Eagle Brook Saloon opens on 258 Dedham Street.

Norfolk’s population approximately 5643.

Thelma Ravinski, of the Norfolk Historical Commission begins interviewing and recording long time Norfolk residents which would result in the publication of "Norfolk Stories, Recollections of Our Century".


MBTA installed rubberized grade crossings in the center of town and on Seekonk Street to minimize the noise.

Sanitary Landfill Committee institutes a sticker program which decreases traffic as out of towners have been prohibited from using the landfill.


Norfolk Historical Commission begins recording oral history of the Town for future publication.

Bids for a computer system for the Town were opened and several units installed.

A parking lot to provide better public access to the Campbell Town Forest was constructed off North Street.

The Norfolk Fire Department received delivery of their first 85’ Aerial Ladder Truck - "this has added a great deal of safety to the hazardous tasks of fire fighting".


Bill filed with Legislature to accept Pondville Cemetery as a town cemetery.

The Tramp House was given to the Norfolk Historical Commission

Construction on a new Library building began.

Police Department four car garage constructed and opened.

Massachusetts Cablevision Systems, Inc. built the Town’s first cable system but due to technical difficulties it will not be on line until 1985.


Roger McGuinn, founding member of The Byrds and one of the most influential bands in Rock 'N Roll history, plays at The Eagle Brook Saloon in Norfolk – twice.

Town Hall painted by inmates at Bay State Correctional Center.

The new expanded Library facilities opened.

The Tramp House was moved from beside the Library to its current spot very near its original location on Town Hill.

Norfolk Growth Study Commission established to project the impact of future growth on the Town.
Police and Fire Departments building expansion additions were completed.

Water Department completed the 1,000,000 gallon water tower standpipe, that will store a five day supply of water at adequate pressure to protect the town in the event of an emergency.


The Town recycling and transfer station opened.

The Tramp house was painted by David Burns as part of his work towards becoming an Eagle Scout - an historic plaque was also mounted on the building.

Funding proposal for a new Town Hall to be built behind the Town Offices on Main Street for $1,708,000 was not approved.

Funding proposal to reshape, regrade and lower the Town Hill for $49,800 was not approved.

New high quality beach sand was used to improve the Town Pond beach.


Installation of water mains to expand water delivery to the Populatic Lake/Kingsbury Pond area was begun.


Massachusetts celebrated its statehood bicentennial.

Wheelabrator Energy Corporation withdrew its proposal for a wood burning cogeneration plant near the intersection of Route 115 and Baltimore Street after vigorous opposition by Norfolk residents.

Opposition to the Massachusetts Resource Authority’s proposal to construct an ash, grit and screenings landfill on Department of Corrections land in Walpole but close to Norfolk vigorously opposed by residents and Town officials.

Philip White, Norfolk Town Historian died.

The Grange Hall was offered to the Town by the Grange Hall members.

The "Fay" (Ware) crypt located near the library will be preserved and the land contours around it will be restored by Mr. Musto.

The Norfolk Land Acquisition Committee was formed.


The Bay State Correctional Center was changed from a minimum security facility to a medium security facility.

A four way stop for all vehicles was installed at the intersection of Main Street and Rockwood Road which although it has taken a little getting used to, it has decreased the number of "fender benders" at this site.
Inmates of MCI Norfolk installed a new roof on the Tramp House.

The Town Pond remained closed this year because of problems encountered last year due to lack of rainfall.


Park Street Bridge closed by the Commonwealth of MA.

Norfolk Lions applied for and received a Beano License.

Downtown Revitalization Committee received a technical assistance grant to aid in revitalizing and beautifying the center of Town.

The town encompasses 15 square miles and has 9270 residents according to the 1990 census.


The H. Olive Day School opens.

The new Norfolk Post Office opens at 208 Main Street.


Norfolk Stories, Recollections of Our Century published by The Norfolk Historical Commission - the first ever oral recollections of our town's history.

The Town of Norfolk celebrates its 125th anniversary with parades and ceremonies.

The town bandstand that had graced Town Hill and weathered two World Wars was removed from it's proud location as work commenced on a new replacement destined like its predecessor to become a new town landmark.

Norfolk secures the deed for land in the town center behind Town Hill for a new town hall.

Substantial sewage discharge from a leak at the correctional facilities pollutes Highland Lake.

The 17 acre Kunde Conservation Forest at the rear of the H. Olive Day School is formally dedicated.

The ancient Ware Crypt next to the library is destroyed by some careless bulldozing by the Roadstar Construction Company - reconstruction will be in line with old photographs of the site.


The new Norfolk Town Hall opens on Liberty Lane. Time capsule buried in front of the new Town Hall, to be opened in 50 years.
Period of 2000 to 2099

The time capsule buried in front of the old town hall on Liberty Lane will be opened.