History of Weymouth, Massachusetts

Weymouth is the second oldest town in Massachusetts. It was first inhabited by natives from the Massachusetts tribe before being settled by English colonists and then abandoned in the early 1620s. It was eventually absorbed into the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The following is a timeline of the history of Weymouth:

1622:

  • In April, an expedition funded by London merchant Thomas Weston sets sail with two vessels, the Charity and the Swan. On board are about 60 settlers, mostly men from the migratory population of London.
  • In June, the expedition lands at Plymouth and makes plans to continue on to Weymouth.
  • In August , the expedition sets sail again for Massachusetts Bay. The settlers sail up the Weymouth River to Weymouth where they establish the Wessagusset Colony.
  • In September, one of the ships, the Charity, returns to England, while the other, the Swan, remains moored in the Weymouth River for the use of the colony.
  • Before winter even begins, the colonist’s winter supplies have already run out and they propose a trading expedition with the Plymouth colonists.
Town Seal of Weymouth, Mass
Town Seal of Weymouth, Mass
  • In October, members of Plymouth Colony, including Squanto and Miles Standish, and members of the Wessagusset Colony embark on a trading expedition along the south coast of Massachusetts. Standish becomes ill early on in the expedition and the ship returns home.
  • In November, Governor William Bradford takes Standish’ place on the expedition and it embarks again for the south coast of Massachusetts. The expedition trades with some natives at a settlement called Monomoy, which is now modern day Chatham, in Pleasant Bay. Just before sailing home, Squanto suddenly becomes ill and dies and is reportedly buried in Chatham.
  • During the winter, the Wessagusset colonist’s supplies run out again and they begin working for, begging and eventually stealing from the local Massachusetts tribe. Knowing that the colonists are in a weakened state, the natives begin taunting and robbing the colonists.
  • In late February, the governor of the Wessagusset colony, John Sanders, sends a letter to Governor Bradford asking for his military assistance in robbing the tribe of their food supplies. Bradford refuses and advises Sanders that the colonists will be killed if they even attempt it.
  • The tribe accuses one of the Wessagusset colonists of theft and demands justice. The colonists offer to hand the thief over to the tribe but they refuse to take him so the colonists hang him themselves.

1623:

  • In April, colonist Phineas Pratt flees Wessagusett, which is being closely watched by the Massachusetts tribe, and travels to Plymouth where he informs the colony of rumors that the Massachusetts tribe plan to attack Wessagusett and Plymouth Colony.
  • Governor Bradford decides to preempt the attack by sending Standish to Wessagusett to attack the natives and end the threat.
  • On March 26, Standish and eight colonists sail to Wessagusset and talk with the natives, assessing the situation.
  • On March 27, Standish gets some of the natives alone in the stockade, kills them and then proceeds to kill the Indian chief Pecksuot and several of his men including Wituwamet.
  • In April or May, Thomas Weston hears of the massacre at Wessagusett and sails to North America to find out what has happened at his colony. After surviving a shipwreck and falling into the hands of the natives, he eventually reaches Wessagusett.
  • After the attack, the Wessagusset colonists abandon the colony and join nearby Plymouth Colony as well as colonies in Maine.
  • In September, a second colony is established in Weymouth by Robert Gorges. The colony consists of 120 colonists which includes Reverend William Blackstone.

1624:

  • The colony at Wessagusset fails and Robert Gorges and many others return to England. William Blackstone relocates to the Shawmut Peninsula, now modern-day Boston, where he settles by himself. Some of the colonists remain at Wessagusset and keep the village going.

1635:

  • In March, Reverend Joseph Hull and 21 families arrive in Weymouth to join the existing village.
  • On September 2, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony that the village of Wessagusset be incorporated into the Massachusetts Bay Colony and renames it Weymouth.

1636:

  • The town’s first constable is appointed.
  • The Old North Cemetery is established when Zachariah Bicknell is buried there.

1638:

1641:

  • The first recorded town meeting is held in Weymouth.

1642:

  • The title to the town is purchased from the natives.

1643:

  • About 40 families leave Weymouth.

1650:

  • The Bicknell House is built on Sea Street.

1663:

  • Several houses in Weymouth are burned by the natives.

1669:

  • A tide mill is constructed near Mill Cover in North Weymouth.

1674:

  • The Matthew Pratt II House is built on Green Street.

1676:

  • On February 25, Weymouth is attacked by natives during King Philip’s War and eight houses are burned.
  • On April 19, Weymouth is attacked again during King Philip’s War when natives burn down seven houses in Weymouth and kill Sergeant Thomas Pratt while en route to attack Plymouth.

1681:

  • A schoolhouse is built on what is now modern day Church Street.
  • Weymouth Common is established on Church Street.

1682:

  • The North Meeting House is built.

1685:

  • Reverend Samuel Torrey builds a house on the corner of North and East Streets that later becomes known as the Abigail Smith Adams Birthplace.

1693:

  • The first wool mill is established by Gideon Tirrell near Washington and Middle Streets.
  • The Blanchard House is built on what is now modern-day Commercial Street.

1694:

  • The E. White House is constructed on county road, which is now Commercial Street.

1696:

  • The Thomas White House – Thayer’s Landing is built on Commercial Street.

1715:

  • The Deacon Josiah Waterman house is constructed on Pleasant Street.

1720:

  • The Frederick Cushing House is built on Front Street.

1725:

  • The Old South Union Parsonage is built on Pleasant Street.

1737:

  • The Simon Joy House is constructed on Pleasant Street.

1744:

  • On November 11, Abigail Smith is born in Weymouth in the old Reverend Samuel Torrey house.

1750:

  • The Major Elias Hunt House is built on Front Street.
  • The E. Kingman House is built on Summer Street.
  • The Miller House is built on Randolph Street.
  • Rice Tavern is built on Broad Street.

1751:

  • The North Meeting House, which was being used to store gunpowder, burns down.
  • An epidemic of “throat distemper” breaks out in Weymouth and kills at least one eighth of the population.

1760:

  • The Hovey Tavern is built on Pond Street.
  • The C.P. Hunt and Company is established on Sterling Street.

1764:

  • On October 25, Abigail Smith and John Adams are married at what is now the Abigail Smith Adams Birthplace.

1775:

  • On May 21, the Battle of Grape Island takes place in North Weymouth.

1780:

  • The William S. Wallace House is constructed on Front Street.

1790:

  • The Captain William Wildes House is built on Commercial Street.
  • The Selima Wildes House is built on Commercial Street.
  • The Daniel Hunt House is built on Summer Street.
  • The Warren Shaw House is built on Union Street.
  • The population of Weymouth is 1,469.

1795:

  • The Jared White House is built on Commercial Street.

1798:

  • The D. and C. Ford House is constructed Sea Street.

1800:

  • The Old Toll House is built on Washington Street.
  • The population of Weymouth is 1,803.

1810:

  • The population of Weymouth is 1,889.

1817:

  • The David Richards House is constructed on Washington Street.

1820:

  • The Addison Chessman House is constructed on Front Street.
  • The population of Weymouth is 2,407.

1827:

  • The Jacob Shaw House on Shaw Street is constructed.

1830:

  • The Noah Tirrell Shoe Factory is built on Broad Street.
  • The Essex Street Poor Farm is constructed on Essex Street.

1830:

  • The population of Weymouth is 2,839.

1833:

  • The Old North Church is constructed on what is now Church Street.

1837:

  • The population of Weymouth is 3,400.

1838:

  • The parsonage for the Old North Church is constructed on East Street.
  • The R.W. Cleverly House is constructed on Sea Street.
  • The Abigail Smith Adams Birthplace is moved from the corner of North and East Streets to Bridge Street.

1840:

  • The population of Weymouth is 3,738.

1845:

  • The Weymouth Iron Company – Carpenter Shop is built on Iron Hill Street.

1850:

  • The Elias Richard Insurance Office and Shoe Manufacturing building is constructed on Washington Street.
  • The population of Weymouth is 5,221.

1852:

  • The Pilgrim Congregational Church is constructed on Athens Street.

1853:

  • The Old South Union Church is built on Columbian Road.

1854:

  • The John Adams School is constructed on Church Street.

1855:

  • The Elias S. Beals Shoe Factory is built on Sea Street.

1856:

  • A schoolhouse is built on Randolph Street.

1857:

  • The John S. Fogg Boot Manufacturing Building is constructed on Union Street.

1860:

  • The Wales Hotel is built on Commercial Street.
  • The Robson’s Funeral Home is built on Sea Street.
  • The population of Weymouth 7,742.

1864:

  • The James H. Clapp Boot Factory Double Worker Housing is built on Middle Street.

1865:

  • The Warren Dyer Shoe Factory is established on Athens Street.
  • The Weymouth Pumping Station is built on Hollis Street.
  • The Benjamin F. Shaw building is built on Broad Street.
  • The Third Universalist Church of Weymouth is built on Sea Street.
  • The Rhines Lumber Company is built on Commercial Street.

1867:

  • The first issue of the Weymouth Gazette is published.

1868:

  • The Civil War Monument in Old North Cemetery is dedicated.

1870:

  • The Pond Street Railroad Station is built on Pond Street.
  • The Old Village Cemetery Chapel is built on Washington Street.
  • The population of Weymouth is 9,010.

1876:

  • The Lemuel Torrey Shoe Company building is built on North Street.
  • The George H. Pratt Shoe Manufacturing Company building is built on North Street.

1877:

  • The Weymouth Central Fire Station is built on Broad Street.

1880:

  • The A.T. Cushing Boot and Shoe Factory is built on Glines Ave.
  • The Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church is built on Washington Street.
  • The population of Weymouth is 10,570.

1881:

  • The Odd Fellows Hall is built on Main Street.
  • A wooden school house is built on Broad Street.

1885:

  • The Porter Methodist Episcopal Church is built on Mutton Lane.
  • Grange Hall is built on Front Street.

1887:

  • The Washington School is built on School Street.

1888:

  • The Fogg Building is built on Columbian Street.

1889:

  • The Weymouth Odd Fellows Building is constructed on Cottage Street.
  • The Jefferson School is built on Middle Street.

1890:

  • The Weymouth Light and Power Company Generator House is built on Iron Hill Street.
  • The population of Weymouth is 10,866.

1897:

  • The Fogg Library is built on Columbian Square.

1900:

  • The population of Weymouth is 11,324.

1901:

  • The Athens School is built on Athens Street

1903:

  • The Davis Bates Clapp Memorial Building is built on Middle Street.

1905:

  • The Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway Waiting Room is built on Sea Street.
  • The Congregational Church of East Weymouth is built on Commercial Street.

1906 – 1913:

  • The United States Naval Department acquires land along the Hingham and Weymouth shores of the Black River and razes several homes in order to build a naval supply base.

1910:

  • The Weymouth Telephone Exchange is built on Middle Street.
  • The Old North Burial Ground Receiving Tomb is built on North Street.
  • The U. S. Post Office – North Weymouth Branch is built on Sea Street.
  • The population of Weymouth is 12,875.

1913:

  • The Masonic Temple is built on Broad Street.

1914:

  • On Palm Sunday, the First Saint Jerome Church, on the corner of Bridge and Neck Streets, burns down.

1915:

  • The Second Saint Jerome Church is built on the corner of Bridge and Neck Streets.
  • The Hunt School is built to replace the wooden school house on Broad Street.

1917:

  • On September 14, the Essex Street Poor Farm burns down. One inmate, 87 year-old Mary E. Rose, dies in the fire. The poor farm is rebuilt later that year.

1919:

  • The Church of the Holy Nativity is built on Columbian Street,

1920:

  • The Weymouth Savings Bank is built on Washington Street.
  • The Old Village Cemetery Maintenance Garage is built on Washington Street.
  • The population of Weymouth is 15,057.

1923:

  • The Immaculate Conception School is built on Commercial Street.
  • The Weymouth Almshouse is built on Essex Street.
  • The Pond Plain Improvement Association building is constructed on Pond Street.

1923-25:

  • An electric power generating plant, called the Charles L. Edgar Station, is built on Bridge Street by the Boston Edison Company.

1925:

  • The Weymouth Light and Power Company Office is built on Commercial Street.

1926:

  • The Weymouth Industrial School is built on Middle Street.
  • The Bicknell School is built on Sea Street.

1927:

  • The Pratt School is built on Pleasant Street.
  • The Louis Puopolo House is built on Middle Street.
  • The Forest Whilliker House is built on Roosevelt Road.

1928:

  • The Pond Street School is built on Pond Street.
  • The Citgo Gas and Service Station is built on Bridge Street.
  • The Edmund S. Hunt Fireworks Company Building is constructed on King Ave.

1929:

  • The Weymouth Town Hall is built on Middle Street.
  • The Weymouth Fire Station #3 is built on Broad Street.
  • The Dizer Shoe Factory on the corner of Broad and Madison Streets is torn down.
  • The N.Y., N.H. & H. Railroad Bridge is built on Columbian Street.
  • Ruggles Block is built on Main Street.
  • The South Weymouth Savings Bank is built on Pleasant Street.

1930:

  • The Weymouth Fire Station #2 is built on Broad Street.
  • The population of Weymouth is 20,882.

1935:

  • On April 10, one person is killed, four buildings are destroyed and 31 buildings are damaged during a gas explosion at the Weymouth Landing.

1936:

  • The North Weymouth Fire Station is built on Athens Street.
  • The Weymouth Fire Station #5 is built on Pleasant Street.
  • The Weymouth Police Department is built on Pleasant Street.

1938:

  • The Hannaford Building is constructed on Columbian Street.

1940:

  • The population of Weymouth is 23,868.

1941:

  • The U. S. Post Office – Weymouth Landing Branch is built on Washington Street.

1942:

  • The South Weymouth Air Station opens.

1947:

  • The Abigail Adams Historical Society is formed and buys the Abigail Smith Adams Birthplace.
  • The society moves the Abigail Smith Adams Birthplace from Bridge Street to Norton Street.

1950:

  • The Weymouth Vocational Technical High School is built on Commercial Street.
  • Jackson Square Auto Repair is built on Commercial Street.
  • The population of Weymouth is 32,690.

1954:

  • The Tufts Library is built on North Street.
  • The Abigail Smith Adams Birthplaces opens as a historic house museum.

1959:

  • The Abigail Adams Birthplace Visitor Shop is built on Norton Street.

1960:

  • The population of Weymouth is 48,177.

1965:

  • A Native-American canoe is discovered in the Great Pond when the water level drops during a drought.
  • The U.S. Post Office – North Weymouth Branch is built on Sea Street.

1966:

  • The Old North Burial Ground – Pratt – Rogers Chapel is built on North Street.

1970:

  • The population of Weymouth is 54,610.

1980:

  • The population of Weymouth is 55,601.

1990:

  • The population of Weymouth is 54,063.

2000:

  • The population of Weymouth is 53,988.

2003:

  • On June 15, the Abigail Adams State Park on Bridge Street is dedicated.

2007:

  • The South Shore Railroad Electrical Shed is built on Commercial Street.

2010:

  • The population of Weymouth is 53,743.

2019:

  • The population of Weymouth is 57,746.

Sources:
MACRIS, The Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, Massachusetts Historical Society, mhc-macris.net/
Crowley, Michael. “Tales from the fire barn – Weymouth poor farm.” Wicked Local, 19 Feb. 2010, wickedlocal.com/article/20100219/news/302199780
“South Shore Wonders: Abigail Adams House, Weymouth.” Patriot Ledger, 14 July. 2017, patriotledger.com/news/20170714/south-shore-wonders
“Weymouth, MA, Gas Explosion, April 1935.” GEN Disasters, gendisasters.com/massachusetts/13940/weymouth-ma-gas-explosion-apr-1935
“Squanto Indian Guide.” The Historical Marker Database, hmdb.org/m.asp?m=159026
“The Massacre at Wessagusset.” The Massachusetts Tribe, massachusetttribe.org/the-massacre-at-wessagusset
“A Brief History of Weymouth Ma.” Boston University School of Public Health, sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/Weymouth/
“Historical Sketch of Weymouth.” Weymouth Historical Society, weymouthhistoricalsociety.org/historical_sketch_of_weymouth.htm

About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is the author and publisher of the History of Massachusetts Blog. Rebecca is a freelance journalist and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Visit this site's About page to find out more about Rebecca.

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