Groton is a town in northwestern Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 10,873 at the 2012 town census. It is home to two prep schools: Groton School, founded in 1884, and Lawrence Academy at Groton, founded in 1793. The historic town was a battlefield in King Philip's War and Queen Anne's War, experienced incidents of insurrection during Shays's Rebellion, and was the birthplace of William Prescott, who commanded the rebel forces at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
The area had for thousands of years been the territory of various cultures of indigenous peoples. They settled along the rivers for fishing and transportation. Historic tribes were Algonquian-speaking Nipmuc and Nashaway Indians.
The Anglo-American Groton started with the trading post of John Tinker, who conducted business there with the Nashaway at the confluence of Nod Brook and the Nashua River. The Nashaway called the area Petapawag, meaning "swampy land." Other pioneers followed the Algonquian trails from Massachusetts Bay, as Tinker had. They found the region productive for fishing and farming.
The town was officially settled and incorporated in 1655, named for Groton in Suffolk, England. Called The Plantation of Groton, it included all of present-day Groton and Ayer, almost all of Pepperell and Shirley, large parts of Dunstable, Littleton, and Tyngsborough plus smaller parts of Harvard and Westford, as well as Nashua, New Hampshire and Hollis, New Hampshire.
During King Philip's War, on March 13, 1676, Indians burned all buildings except for four Groton garrisons. One of those killed was John Nutting, a Selectman at Groton. Survivors fled to Concord and other safe havens, but two years later returned to rebuild. Native Americans attacked the town again during Queen Anne's War.