A short History of Newton, MA, USA

The following dates and wording were quoted from:

Francis Jackson,  History of the Early Settlement of Newton, County of Middlesex, Massachusetts: From 1639 to 1800, Boston, 1854. 

Where is Newton, MA

Where is Newton, Massachusetts

1631, The settlement of Newtown (Cambridge) began in 1631, p. 1.

1632, Its town records commenced in November, 1632, and its Proprietors’ [land] records in 1635. p. 1.

1634, The court granted very large tracks of land north and south of the river. On the south side of the Charles River, they obtained all of what is now Brighton and Newton. This tract was first called “The south side of the Charles River,” and sometimes “Nonantum”, (the Indian name,) and after religious meetings were regularly held on the south side of the river, about 1654, it was called “Cambridge Village” until 1679. p. 6.

1635, Newtown (Cambridge) proprietors’ records (land records) commenced, p. 1.

1638, When Harvard College was established, in 1638, the General Court “ordered that Newtown should henceforward be called Cambridge.” p. 6.

1654, Religious meetings were regularly held on the south side of the river, it was called “Cambridge Village” (1654-1679) [which is the city of Newton today], p. 6. [also see 1634].

1661, The inhabitants of the village petitioned the Court again, to be releases from paying church rates to Cambridge. The erection of the new Meeting-house in the village had greatly strengthened their case, and accordingly the Court “granted them freedom from all church rates for the support of the ministry in Cambridge, for all lands and estates which were more than four miles from Cambridge Meeting-house; the measure to be in the usual paths that may be ordinarily passed.” p. 48.

New England Colonies

1662, In 1662, a parish line was established by the Court, between Cambridge and Cambridge Village, about four miles from the Cambridge meeting-house. p. 7. 

1679, On the 27th of August, 1679, Cambridge Village was set off from Cambridge, and organized as an independent town, “by virtue of an order of the General Court.” After which it was more often called “New Cambridge,” until 1691. p. 7.

1691, On the 8th of December, 1691 the General Court passed the following order. In answer to the petition of the inhabitants of Cambridge Village, sometime called New Cambridge, lying on the south side of Charles river, being granted to be a township, praying that a name may be given unto the said town, — It is ordered, that it be henceforth called “New Town.” p. 7. 

1766, All the town clerks of Newtown, followed the Court’s order in the spelling of the town’s name, until 1766, when Judge Fuller was town clerk; he spelt it on the Town records, “Newton.” There was no vote – usage in the town and by the public had been seventy-five years preparing the way for him to assume the responsibility of making the contraction, by omitting the ” w ” from the last syllable. p. 8.

1838, In 1838, eighteen hundred acres of Newton at the extreme southerly part of town bounding south-west about two hundred and ninety rods upon the river, was set off to Roxbury;[1] p. 20.

1847, and in 1847, about six hundred and forty acres, at the extreme northerly part of the town, bounding northerly ten hundred and eighty rods upon the river, was set off to Waltham. The town contained fourteen thousand five hundred and thirteen acres, in 1838.[1] p. 20.

1873, [Newton became a city.]



  1. “These dimensions and contents are taken from the map of E. F. Woodward and W. F. Ward, of 1831, revised and corrected by James B. Blake, in 1848.” p. 20.