Lincoln is a town in the historic area of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 6,362 at the 2010 census, including residents of Hanscom Air Force Base that live within town limits.
Lincoln was settled by Europeans in 1654, as a part of Concord. It was split from Concord, and incorporated as a separate town in 1754. Due to their "difficulties and inconveniences by reason of their distance from the places of Public Worship in their respective Towns," local inhabitants petitioned the General Court to be set apart as a separate town. The new town comprised parts "nipped" off from the adjacent towns of Concord, Weston and Lexington, it was sometimes referred to as "Niptown."
Chambers Russell, a Representative in the Court in Boston, was influential in the town's creation. In gratitude, Russell was asked to name the new town. He chose Lincoln, after his family home in Lincolnshire, England. His homestead in Lincoln was later known as the Codman House property, which was occupied after his death by his relatives, the Codman family.
Lincoln is reportedly the only town in America named after Lincoln, England (and not the Revolutionary War Major General, Benjamin Lincoln or President Abraham Lincoln), although Lincoln, New Hampshire was named for the 9th Earl of Lincoln, an English nobleman and founded long before Abraham Lincoln's birth.
Paul Revere was captured by British soldiers in Lincoln on the night of April 18, 1775. Minutemen from Lincoln were the first to arrive to reinforce the colonists protecting American stores of ammunition and arms in Concord. Colonel Abijah Pierce of Lincoln led his troops, armed with a cane. He upgraded his weapon to a British musket after the battle. Several British soldiers who fell in Lincoln are buried in the town cemetery.
Reverend Charles Stearns (1753–1826), a Harvard-trained minister, served the Congregational Church in Lincoln from late 1781 until his death. Only a handful of his sermons were printed, most in the early 19th century. In addition, Stearns was principal of the Liberal School, a relatively progressive and coeducational institution that opened in early 1793. While at the school, Stearns wrote and published a number of education-related works, including Dramatic Dialogues for Use in Schools (1798), a collection of 30 original plays that were performed by the students. After the school closed in 1808, Stearns continued to tutor students privately. Among his pupils were Nathan Brooks, a Concord lawyer, and George Russell, a Lincoln physician. Stearns's published works can be accessed at Early American Imprints, a microform and digital collection produced by the American Antiquarian Society. A summary article that surveys Stearns as a producer of children's drama is The Dramatic Dialogues of Charles Stearns: An Appreciation by Jonathan Levy, in Spotlight on the Child: Studies in the History of American Children’s Theatre, ed. Roger L. Bedard and C. John Tolch (New York: Greenwood, 1989): 5-24.