Place:Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States


Alt namesGroton Centresource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS25003970
Coordinates42.6°N 71.567°W
Located inMiddlesex, Massachusetts, United States     (1655 - )
Contained Places
Old Burying Ground
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Groton is a town in northwestern Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, within the Greater Boston metropolitan area. The population was 11,315 at the 2020 census. It is home to two prep schools: Lawrence Academy at Groton, founded in 1792 and the third-oldest private school in Massachusetts; and Groton School, founded in 1884.

The town was a battlefield in King Philip's War and Queen Anne's War, as England and France competed through their North American colonies from the 17th century well into the 18th century.[1] It was the birthplace of William Prescott, who commanded the colonial forces at the Battle of Bunker Hill during the American Revolution. In postwar years, it had incidents of insurrection during Shays' Rebellion (1786–1787).


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The area surrounding modern-day Groton has, for thousands of years, been the territory of various cultures of indigenous peoples. They settled along the rivers, which they used for domestic tasks, fishing and transportation. Historic tribes were the 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." As Tinker had, other pioneers followed the Algonquian trails from Massachusetts Bay. They found the region productive for fishing and farming.[2]

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 in Massachusetts, as well as Nashua and Hollis, New Hampshire.[2]

During King Philip's War, when English colonists and Native Americans tried to destroy each other, on March 13, 1676, Native Americans raided and burned all buildings except for four Groton garrisons. Among those killed was John Nutting, a Selectman at Groton. Survivors fled to Concord and other safe havens. Two years later, many returned to rebuild.[2]

Abenaki warriors attacked the town again during the Raid on Groton in 1694 (during King William's War). Lydia Longley and two of her siblings were taken captive; the rest of their family was killed. Lydia was taken to Montreal where she was ransomed, converted to Catholicism, and joined the Congregation of Notre Dame, a non-cloistered order.

In June 1707 during the years of Queen Anne's War, a French-Abenaki raid captured three children of the large family of Thomas Tarbell and his wife Elizabeth (Wood), cousins to the Longleys. The raiders took them overland and by water to the Mohawk mission village of Kahnawake (also spelled Caughnawaga) south of Montreal. There they could be held for ransom or adopted into the tribe by individual Mohawk families. The trade in captives was carried on for years given the continued warfare between the English and French in Europe and North America.

The two Tarbell boys, John and Zachariah, were adopted by Mohawk families and became fully assimilated. They later each married chiefs' daughters, had families, and became respected chiefs themselves. They were among the founders in the 1750s of Akwesasne, after moving up the St. Lawrence River from Kahnawake to escape the ill effects of traders. The brothers' older sister Sarah Tarbell was ransomed by a French family, and converted to Catholicism. Renamed as Marguerite, she followed Lydia Longley in joining the Congregation of Notre Dame, and served with them for the rest of her life.[3] In the late nineteenth century, a plaque was installed about the Tarbell children at the site of the family's former farm in Groton. Descendants with the Tarbell surname are among the Mohawk living at Kahnewake and Akwesasne in the 21st century.

In 1775, the common in front of the First Parish Church was an assembly area for Minutemen who fought in the Battle of Lexington and Concord.[2]

19th century to present

In the 19th century and early part of the 20th century, Groton was a largely white and Christian town and may have been a sundown town. The town became a center of Ku Klux Klan activities after World War I; this second Klan expressed primarily anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant prejudice, while opposing ethnic minorities. In September 1924, Klansmen gathered in the town, arriving in approximately fifty automobiles, with identity-protected professionals and merchants from the area. Many townspeople opposed the Klan, and their active protest resulted in some violence. In October 1926, a group of 400 Klansmen were meeting in a field in the town when they were fired upon with guns used by a group of approximately 100 people opposed to the Klan. The police reported that over 100 gunshots were exchanged between the two groups, but no casualties were reported.

In 2017, following the negativity of the campaign for the 2016 presidential election, the town adopted the motto "All Are Welcome" as a statement of its openness and tolerance. Six stones were engraved with this motto and placed on the major roads entering the town from neighboring communities[4] In 2020, nearly 100 years after the Klan events of the mid-1920s and in recognition of earlier violence and the contemporary social justice movement, Groton unanimously approved a measure denouncing racial bigotry and advocating equality.

Research Tips

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Groton, Massachusetts. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.