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flag  History of Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

Journey back in time to Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

Visit Watertown, Massachusetts, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Watertown, Massachusetts, USA - Charles River, Watertown, Mass.

Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA

Watertown, first known as Saltonstall Plantation, was one of the earliest of the Massachusetts Bay settlements. It was begun early in 1630 by a group of settlers led by Richard Saltonstall and George Phillips and officially incorporated that same year.
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Watertown includes: Arsenal, Bemis Station, and Union Market Station.


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There is MUCH more to discover about Watertown, Massachusetts, USA. Read on!

Watertown Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

Charles River, Watertown, Mass.
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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Charles River, Watertown, Mass.
St. John's M. E. Church, Watertown, Mass.
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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St. John's M. E. Church, Watertown, Mass.
Mt. Auburn St. (1905)
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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Mt. Auburn St. (1905)
The Charles River, 1905
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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The Charles River, 1905
Main St., looking West, 1905
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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Main St., looking West, 1905
Mt. Auburn Street, 1905
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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Mt. Auburn Street, 1905
The Perkins Institution - Boy's Close

Perkins School for the Blind, in Watertown, Massachusetts,
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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The Perkins Institution - Boy's Close

Perkins School for the Blind, in Watertown, Massachusetts, was founded in 1829 and is the oldest school for the blind in the United States. It has also been known as the Perkins Institution for the Blind. The school was originally named the New England Asylum for the Blind and was incorporated on March 2, 1829. The name was eventually changed to Perkins School For the Blind... wikipedia
Francis School, 1910

The Francis School was built in 1896 and designed by Charles Brigham. The Fr
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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Francis School, 1910

The Francis School was built in 1896 and designed by Charles Brigham. The Francis School was demolished in ca.1952. digitalcommonwealth.org
Main Street, Town Hall to Beacon Square
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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Main Street, Town Hall to Beacon Square
First Baptist Church, Mount Auburn Street, built in 1899
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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First Baptist Church, Mount Auburn Street, built in 1899
High School
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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High School
B. & M. R.R. Station, 1920
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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B. & M. R.R. Station, 1920
Perkins Institution for the Blind

... John Dix Fisher first considered the idea of a school for b
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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Perkins Institution for the Blind

... John Dix Fisher first considered the idea of a school for blind children based upon his visits to Paris at the National Institute for the Blind and was inspired to create such a school in Boston,[5] but it was founded by Samuel Gridley Howe, who had also studied education for the blind in Europe.

The school is named in honor of Thomas Handasyd Perkins, one of the organization's incorporators. He was a Boston shipping merchant who began losing his sight about the time the school was established. In 1833, the school outgrew its first location, the Pleasant Street house of the father of founder Howe. That year Perkins donated his Pearl Street mansion as the school's second home. In 1839, Perkins sold the mansion and donated the proceeds... wikipedia
St. Patrick's Church
Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

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St. Patrick's Church

Discover Watertown: History, News, Travel, and Stories

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1630 - In July of 1630, a group led by Sir Richard Saltonstall, rowed up the Charles River from Charlestown and established the settlement that became Watertown.

ma-watertown2.civicplus.com/ index.aspx?NID=360

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General Henry Knox and his troops passed through Watertown, Massachusetts in the winter of 1775-76 with a load of 59 cannons pulled by teams of oxen.
The cannons were captured from the British at Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point. They were transported from Lake Champlain to Dorchester Heights, Massachusetts and used by George Washington's army on March 17, 1776 (Evacuation Day) to free Boston from British control during the American Revolutionary War.

General Henry Knox Trail - Historic Marker reads:
"Through this place passed General Henry Knox in the winter of 1775-1776 to deliver to General George Washington at Cambridge the train of artillery from Fort Ticonderoga used to force the British army to evacuate Boston."


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1831 - Mount Auburn Cemetery, founded in 1831, is listed by the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboretum, as the second oldest public garden of any kind in the United States.
Thought by many to be in Cambridge, it has the vast majority of its graves and all its buildings in Watertown.
ma-watertown2.civicplus.com/ index.aspx?NID=360
1839 - Watertown
Watertown, Massachusetts
Middlesex county. Charles river gives this town a valuable water power, which is well improved. The river is navigable to the centre of the town for vessels of 6 or 7 feet draught of water.

The surface of the town is diversified by hills and valleys, which is rendered very beautiful by a high state of cultivation, and by the numerous villas, neat farm houses, cottages, and delightful gardens which meet the eye in every direction. A part of the beautiful sheet of water, called "Fresh Pond," and a part of the celebrated Mount Auburn Cemetery lie in this town.

On the north bank of the river, a short distance below the principal village, the United States Arsenal, containing a large amount of munitions of war, occupies a site of 40 acres of ground. At the commencement of the revolutionary war, this place was the chosen seat of the continental congress. That body of patriots was in session at Watertown on the day of the battle of "Bunker Hill."

There are... Read MORE...

1845 - WATERTOWN. [Pop. 1,810. Inc. 1630.]
The Indian name was Pigsguesset. When the first settlers of Charlestown scattered in search of water, some removed to Boston, and others to Water-town, and hence the name is probably derived.

This ancient town originally included Waltham, Weston, and part of Lincoln. The Territory is small, but the manufactures are considerable, and the land well cultivated.

Watertown is chiefly situated on the north bank of the Charles, which is navigable for small vessels only to the U. S. Arsenal, about a mile below the village.

During the siege of Boston, the Provincial Congress, of which Warren, Hancock, and Samuel Adams were members, held two sessions in Watertown; and one object of the expedition to Lexington and Concord, was probably to surprise and capture some of these patriots.

Distance from Concord, 10 miles ; from Boston, 7.
An Elementary Geography for Massachusetts Children by William Bentley Fowle and Asa Fitz, 1845
1848 - Watertown
This is an ancient town, it being settled the same year as Boston, in 1630. The first Englishmen who are known to have visited the place were Mr. Wareham and some of his people, who afterwards settled Dorchester; for an account of which the reader is referred to the history of that town in this work. The place in Watertown where they remained a few days is stated yet to bear the name of Dorchester Fields. Shortly after their removal, a permanent establishment was effected by another company. A party of the adventurous emigrants who came in Winthrop's fleet, with Sir Richard Saltonstall and Rev. George Phillips at their head, selected a place on the banks of Charles river for their plantation. On the 7th of Sept., 1630, (O. S.) the court of assistants, at Charlestown, "ordered that Trimountain be called Boston, Mattapan, Dorchester, and the town on Charles river, Watertown."

The name of Watertown is said to have originated from the circumstance of its being a "well watered place,"... Read MORE...

1854 - Watertown
Watertown, a post-township in Middlesex co., Massachusetts, intersected by the Fitchburg railroad, 8 miles W. by N. from Boston. Charles river, which washes its southern border, affords water-power, and is navigable for vessels of six feet draught. It contains various manufactories, a United States arsenal, and Mr. Cushing's beautiful garden, comprising 60 acres. The arsenal is situated on the N. bank of the river, near the village, and covers 40 acres of ground. The village is very pleasant, and connected with the Fitchburg railroad at West Cambridge by the Watertown Branch railroad. Population in 1840, 1810; in 1850, 2837.
A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States: Giving a Full and Comprehensive Review of the Present Condition, Industry, and Resources of the American Confederacy ... Thomas Baldwin (of Philadelphia.) Joseph Thomas January 1, 1854 Philadelphia : Lippincott, Grambo & Company 1854.
Watertown Massachusetts, 1890
Watertown, on the north bank of the Charles River, in the southeasterly section of Middlesex County, is one of the most ancient and beautiful towns in the Commonwealth. It has Belmont on the north, Cambridge on the northeast, the Brighton District of Boston on the southeast, Newton on the south, and Waltham on the northwest. Its length east and west is some 3½ miles; and its width about 1½ miles. The assessed area is 2,030 acres. A branch of the Fitchburg Railroad winds through the entire length of the town; this and the West End Street Railway furnishing convenient and frequent communication with Boston.

The Charles River forms the boundary line on all sides except the north and west, and is navigable for sloops to the dam near the middle line of the town. Cook's Pond and the lake-like expanses of the river afford many fine water views. There are several beautiful elevations occupied by elegant private mansions and villas embowered by ancient trees. The Cushing and the Adams... Read MORE...

1895 - Watertown
Watertown, a post-village in Watertown township, Middlesex co., Mass., on the Charles River, and on the Fitchburg Railroad, 8 miles W. of Boston. It has a national bank, a savings-bank, a newspaper office, a high school, a paper-mill, a woollen-factory, a stove-foundry, a national arsenal of construction, 5 churches, several beautiful residences and gardens, and manufactures of stockings and Cardigan jackets. Pop. of the township in 1890, 7073
Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ... Joseph Thomas January 1, 1895 J.B. Lippincott
1906
Watertown, a post-village in Watertown township (town), Middlesex co., Mass., on the Charles River and on the Boston and Maine R., 7 miles W. of Boston, of which it is a residential suburb. It has a national arsenal, and manufactures of paper, rubber goods, woollens and shoddy, soap and starch, stoves, etc. Pop. of the town in 1900, 9706.
Lippincott's New Gazetteer: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World, Containing the Most Recent and Authentic Information Respecting the Countries, Cities, Towns ... in Every Portion of the Globe Publisher J.B. Lippincott Company, 1906
1916 - ENDS LIFE IN POTOMAC - Edwin Coobs, Watertown, Mass., Victim of Nervous Troubles
Arrived With Specialist En Route to Florida and Vanished from Hotel. Body Found Two Hours Later.

The body of Edwin Coombs, 50 years old, librarian, of Watertown, Mass., was recovered from the Potomac River at the Tenth street wharf southwest, at 9 o'clock last night, two hours after he had disappeared from the Congress Hall Hotel.

Mr. Coombs, suffering from a nervous trouble, accompanied by Dr. Co. O. Chase, a specialist in such maladies, from Watertown, Mass., en route to St. Augustine, Fla., arrived in Washington earlier in the evening in a special car. A stop was made here for rest. Dr. Chase and his patient registered at the Congress Hall Hotel, intending to leave for Florida some time today.

While the doctor and his patient were at dinner, Mr. Coombs arose, saying he intended to go to his room. When Dr. Chase followed he could find no trace of Mr. Coombs. Dr. Chase immediately notified the police. Mr. Coombs left the hotel without an overcoat or hat. Two hours later his... Read MORE...

2023 - Here's a list of places to visit and things to do in Watertown:
Arsenal Yards: This is a recently developed shopping and entertainment district. You can shop at various boutiques, enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants, or catch a movie at the cinema. It's a great place to spend an afternoon or evening.

Historical Tours: Watertown is steeped in history, and you can explore it by taking a historical walking tour. Visit sites like the Edmund Fowle House, the birthplace of the American flag, and the Watertown Arsenal, which played a significant role during the American Civil War.

Mount Auburn Cemetery: This isn't your typical cemetery. Mount Auburn is a beautiful, tranquil place with rolling hills, ponds, and stunning foliage. It's a popular spot for birdwatching and taking peaceful walks.

Watertown Farmers' Market: If you're in town during the summer or early fall, don't miss the local farmers' market. It's a great place to sample fresh, locally grown produce and artisanal products.

Charles River Greenway: Enjoy a leisurely bike ride or... Read MORE...

Discover MY Roots: Watertown Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

We currently have information about 706 ancestors who were born or died in Watertown.

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Ancestors Who Were Married in Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were married in Watertown.

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male ancestorRichard BEERS (1607 - 4 September 1675) and female ancestorElizabeth FIRMAN (1615 - 16 June 1706 ) married 1633
male ancestorPhillip TABER (1 September 1604 - 11 December 1669) and female ancestorLydia MASTERS (1615 - 1664) married 21 December 1634
male ancestorRoger WELLINGTON (1609 - 11 March 1697/98) and female ancestorMary PALGRAVE (1619 - 21 January 1695) married abt. 1636
male ancestorRobert JENNISON (1607 - 4 July 1690) and female ancestorGrace UNKNOWN (12 March 1614 - 26 November 1686) married 1637
male ancestorJohn STONE (31 July 1618 - 5 May 1683) and female ancestorAnn ROGERS (1625 - 20 May 1719) married 1640
male ancestorThomas BOYLSTON (12 February 1614 - 4 October 1653) and female ancestorSarah GILBERT (1618 - 14 September 1704) married 26 January 1643
male ancestorJoseph KNIGHT (10 December 1624 - 13 August 1687) and female ancestorHannah LAMB (28 December 1633 - 13 January 1694) married 10 December 1649
male ancestorRichard NORCROSS (11 December 1621 - 10 October 1709) and female ancestorMary BROOKS (1628 - 24 February 1672) married 24 June 1650
male ancestorJohn FISKE (1630 - 28 October 1684) and female ancestorSarah WYETH (28 October 1632 - aft. July 1701) married 11 December 1651

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Updated: 9/15/2023 5:13:47 PM