Welcome to the History of Massachusetts Blog! This site is dedicated to the history of the Bay state.

Massachusetts is a truly historic state. Indigenous people lived in Massachusetts for over ten thousand years before it was colonized by the English in the 17th century.

The 17th century brought a mass migration of Puritan immigrants into the area while the preceding centuries brought new waves of immigrants.

Each century brought more and more change to Massachusetts until it finally evolved into the state that you see today.

The following is an overview of the History of Massachusetts, categorized by century. Each section includes numerous articles about the Massachusetts people, places and events of that century:

17th Century Massachusetts

Massachusetts was colonized in the 17th century. The beginning phase of this colonization was very difficult for the colonists and they suffered many hardships such as disease epidemics, starvation, war, political struggles and a massive witch hunt brought on by mass hysteria.

Although the New England colonies began as separate, privately-run colonies, by the end of the century the British government took them over and turned them into one large royal colony heavily regulated and ruled by the crown.

This section includes articles on the early explorers to Massachusetts, the Great Puritan Migration,  the Mayflower, Plymouth Colony, the First Thanksgiving, Massachusetts Bay Colony, the New England Confederation, the Dominion of New England, King Philip’s War and the Salem Witch Trials.

18th Century Massachusetts

In the 18th century, Massachusetts was still plagued by war, disease epidemics and political strife. The colonies in Massachusetts had become very successful but the colonists continued to struggle with the British government over control of them. This struggle came to a head in the late 18th century and turned into an outright war with Britain.

This section contains articles on the French and Indian War, Salutary Neglect and the American Revolution.

19th Century Massachusetts

The 19th century was a century of growth and change for Massachusetts. Wars raged on in various parts of the country and many Massachusetts citizens fought and died in these conflicts.

The industrial revolution began in Massachusetts and brought many factories and manufacturing jobs to the state. As a result, Massachusetts quickly became the manufacturing hub of the country.

State of the art hospitals and medical facilities were established in the state and it soon became the medical mecca of the country as well.

With the abundance of ivy league universities and an emphasis on education and literacy, the state also became home to an impressive literary scene which produced a number of notable authors.

Various public works projects during this time period also changed the shape, size and the infrastructure of the state permanently. New waves of immigrant also began to pour into Massachusetts during this century, which helped shape the culture.

This section includes articles on the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, Massachusetts writers, immigration history and Massachusetts public works projects.

In addition, the site also features reviews of popular historical attractions in Massachusetts and product recommendations for history books, games, costumes etc. in each related section.

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History of Massachusetts

Thank you for visiting!

17 thoughts on “

  1. Virginia

    Was anyone living in Massachusetts in 1577? I have some genealogy here that says one of my ancestors was born in 1577 in Scituate, MA. Is that possible???

    Reply
  2. MA DJ Kellogg

    Virginia, did you try ancestry.com? I’ve used them and I was able to trace my family back to the 1700s here in Massachusetts.

    Reply
  3. Geoff

    Many years ago, i found a website that showed two brothers having my surname were recorded as signing an Oath of Allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts I think in the 18th century. Can anyone suggest a web site that might allow me find this information again?

    Reply
    1. Rebecca Beatrice Brooks Post author

      Perhaps it was J.L. Bell’s blog: Boston 1775. Or maybe it was a site belonging to one of the local historical organizations like the Massachusetts Historical Society.

      Reply
  4. Janet Turner

    This is not a comment. It’s an inquiry:

    My grandfather was born in Northampton,Ma. in 1884. I was trying to find the schools he might have gone to. He later beame a pharmacist and had a rug store in Springfield,Ma. I wondered where he might have gotten his education.

    Reply
  5. Martha

    I would like to determine which of the Browns who have been present in Massachusetts since Peter on the Mayflower, are my ancestors. How do I begin to ascertain this? Thanks for any suggestions.

    Reply
    1. Rebecca Beatrice Brooks Post author

      Hi Martha, the best way to do that is to check out one of the genealogy sites like ancestry.com. Start by looking up your parents and grandparents and then go from there.

      Reply
  6. Jack M. Baskin

    I came across this site while looking for information about early Massachusetts and the Minutemen. My ancestor, Col William Brown was among the first settlers in Hatfield and built the first house there in the late 1600’s. His Grandson, my 5th Great Grandfather, Benjamin Brown, son of John Brown, joined the Minutemen Feb. 18,1775 as the quartermaster, Sgt. Benjamin Brown, along with 2 of his brothers, answered the Lexington Alarm but because of the distance. they did not make it to North Bridge in time to participate there. They did make it in time to help chase the British back to Boston where they stayed during the Siege of Boston,. Sgt Brown was promoted to Lieutenant before the Battle of Bunker (Breed’s) Hill and all three were at the Battle. Lt Brown was among the group that removed the cattle from Noodles Island and engaged the British Packet Diana which they burned after the tide went out grounding the ship and after relieving it of ammunition, powder and guns. He later joined the 8th Regiment Massachusetts Line of the Continental Army and was promoted to Captain I traveled to Ma. in 2015 but was unable to see, visit and research everything I wanted. I do know the family was involved in the town of Leicester. After the War Capt Brown went to Ames Ohio and the family became involved in the area of Athens etc I can find very little about Capt Brown and his exploits during the War but I have read that because of his exploits he was offered the position of Aid de Camp to Baron Von Stuben which he turned down because of his limited military knowledge. If some of your research contains anything about the Brown Family I would appreciate the information

    Reply
    1. Hal from East Boston

      A couple of corrections to your text: cattle were removed not from NOODLES Island but NODDLE’S Island.
      And the DIANA was not a “packet” but “His Majesty’s Armed Vessel” (HMAV) DIANA. A six-gun schooner, to be exact. I live not far from the site of that engagement, the so-called Battle of Chelsea Creek, otherwise known as the Battle of Noddle’s Island. Which was a very important but lesser-known engagement that took place after the Concord and Lexington fights in April and before the Battle of Bunker Hill in June. A cracking good story, with important implications for the Bunker Hill fight. You should look up the whole story (if you haven’t already) if you had an ancestor in it.

      Reply
  7. Joyce Slattery

    Is there any records of

    the death’s in Danvers Hosptial for December 25 th 1939? How do I get them?

    Are there records available for Danvers State Hosptial from 1939?
    Thank You,
    Joyce

    Reply
    1. Rebecca Beatrice Brooks Post author

      There are annual reports and such online but a lot of the records were left behind in the building when it was closed and were either stolen by vandals (some of them even ended up for sale on ebay) or were just left to decay with the rest of the building. Also, the names of patients are supposed to be kept confidential for privacy reasons so I don’t know if or how you could find them if they do still exist.

      Reply

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