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Winter 2002
A Publication of the St. Louis Public Library

Vol. 2   No. 1

THEY CAME FROM Massachusetts!
They Came From…highlights dates in the history of a particular place. It also lists addresses of institutions holding public records of that state or country.



1602 Bartholomew Gosnold explores and names Cape Cod (for the type of fish that swarmed in it).
1620 The Pilgrims set sail for North America and establish a colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
1628 A shipload of emigrants known as Puritans leave England and establish a colony at Salem, Massachusetts.
1629 A royal charter is granted to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1640 Population of Massachusetts Bay Colony is approximately 16,000.
1643 Suffolk County is created.
1643 Middlesex County is created.
1643 Essex County is created.
1643 The start of keeping military records Massachusetts men involved in various colonial wars (1643-1774).
1662 Hampshire County is formed from Middlesex County.
1683 Dukes County is created.
1685 Barnstable County is formed from New Plymouth Colony.
1685 Bristol County is formed from New Plymouth Colony.
1685 Plymouth County is formed from New Plymouth Colony.
1691 Massachusetts becomes a Royal Province with a governor appointed by the English monarch.
1695 Nantucket County is created.
1731 Worcestor County is formed from Suffolk and Middlesex Counties.
1761 Berkshire County is formed from Hampshire County.
1764-1765 The Sugar Act (1764) and Stamp Act (1765) serve to heighten tensions between England and its North American colonies.
1770 British troops in Boston fire on a crowd of citizens which had been taunting them, killing five. This event becomes known as "The Boston Massacre."
1773 The Tea Act is opposed by Bostonians led by Samuel Adams. Members of this group disguised as American Indians dump the cargoes of three East India Company ships into Boston Harbor.
1775 The American Revolution begins. It ends with a treaty in 1783. The first shots of the war were fired on April 19th at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.
1786-1787 Records of participants in Shays’ Rebellion.
1790 The first Federal Census is taken. Only heads of household are listed by name.
1793 Norfolk County is formed from Suffolk County.
1811 Franklin County is formed from Hampshire County.
1812 Hampden County is formed from Hampshire County.
1812 The War of 1812 begins. It ends with a treaty in 1815. A British blockade nearly halts foreign trade and leads many in Massachusetts to oppose the war, which is called "Mr. Madison’s War." Records of Massachusetts men called for anticipated militia duty for an expected British attack on Boston in 1814 are held in the Massachusetts Archives.
1841 Many cities and town create registration books for births, marriages, and deaths or the period 1841-1910.
1848 Massachusetts started recording the names of immigrants arriving at its ports and continued the practice until 1891, when federal record-keeping superseded that of the state. The Massachusetts Archives has copies of these records for the port of Boston only (arrangement is chronological by ship arrival date).
1850 The Federal Census taken is the first to list all members of a household by name.
1855 Massachusetts takes a State Census.
1861 The American Civil War begins. Massachusetts furnishes numerous regiments to the Union cause, among them the famed 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. The Massachusetts Archives holds various muster lists, clothing and descriptive rolls, recruiter correspondence, and materials documenting pro- curement of substitutes for many Massachusetts Civil War soldiers.
1865 Massachusetts takes a State Census.
1890 A Special Federal Census of Massachusetts Union veterans and their widows is undertaken.
1910 Vital records for 1910-present are kept by the various municipal clerks and by the Department of Public Health in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

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