Historical Timeline

Important Historical Events Relevant to the Massachusetts’ History and the Mohawk Trail

Massachusetts is a state of many firsts; in history and technology. Check out a few of the firsts – including the first scenic route -the Mohawk Trail. Just click on the underlined words and dates for more information on each of these topics. In many cases the hyper-linked sites are sites created for or by students from around our country. All dates in red are events directly related to the Mohawk Trail. Please click on the back arrow to return to our web site.

15th century

• 1498 – English explorer John Cabot sails along Massachusetts coast.

17th century

• 1602 – Bartholomew Gosnold explores coast.

• 1604 – Samuel de Champlain explores and maps coast.

• 1606 – James I grants charter to Plymouth Company to colonize Northern Virginia.

• 1607 – Three ships arrived from England with 104 men and boys. The settlers named the nearby river James, after their king and then settled on a narrow peninsula of the river, and named it Jamestown.

• 1614 – Capt. John Smith maps coast.

• 1620 – The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, England, arriving on the coast of Cape Cod instead of Virginia. After exploring the coast, the ship finally anchored in Plymouth harbor, and the Pilgrims established a settlement.

• 1621 – The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Plymouth. This feast, after the first Plymouth harvest, set the model for our current day feast.

• 1629 – Massachusetts Bay Company chartered.

• 1630 – In September 1630, Governor John Winthrop and the Massachusetts Bay Colony settlers traveled to the peninsula, known as Shawmut by the Algonquins, and founded Dorchester, the first part of the city of Boston.

• 1632 – Boston made capital of Massachusetts Bay Colony.

• 1662 -The English in New York and western Massachusetts complained that the Mohawks had attacked the Penobscots. In 1664 Mohawk ambassadors were killed by the Kennebeeks and in 1669 three hundred New England Indians attacked them but were repulsed and their leader killed. In return the Mohawks made a raid into New England. In all this warfare the attacking parties crossed the mountains over the Hoosac Trail. Dr. Beauchamp claims that the Mohawks of the Five Nations did not arrive in New York until about 1590-from which we may understand that their raids over this trail were not “from time immemorial.” What occurred before 1590 we shall never know.

• 1675 – King Philip’s War brings Indian attacks on settlers.

• 1676 – The end of King Philip’s War

• 1691 – Massachusetts granted new charter; becomes royal colony including Maine and Plymouth.

• 1692 – Witchcraft trials begin in Salem.

• 1693 – Society of Negroes is founded in Boston, Massachusetts.

18th century

. 1745 – Fort Massachusetts was built and burned down the following year.

• 1753 – The first rough road, made presumably by Hawley, for horses and ox carts, that followed an ancient Indian footpath, was built over Hoosac Mountain. This road would later become the Mohawk Trail.

• 1763 – End of Indian Wars in 1763 allows expansion in Western Massachusetts to a total of 184 towns by 1763.

• 1770 – Tensions aroused from British troops’ presence in Boston, culminated in 5 men dying, when troops fired at colonists at the Customs House on March 5.

• 1773 – Boston Tea Party dumps tea into bay – Colonists at Faneuil Hall, in Boston, opposes taxes.

• 1775 -The first battles of the American Revolution. British troops fight American Minutemen at Lexington, killing eight. The British then move to Concord where they again engage the colonials. By the end of the battle, 93 colonists are dead. The British, having lost 273, retreat to Boston.

1775, June 17 – Actually fought on Breed’s Hill, the Battle of Bunker Hill saw a greatly outnumbered American army hold their position for 2 1/5 hours before retreating. British casualties outnumbered American 2 to 1.

• 1780 – State constitution adopted; John Hancock becomes first elected governor.

• 1783 – American Deborah Sampson, dressing as a man and taking the identity Robert Shurtleff, serves in the Revolutionary War.

• 1785- Daniel Shay led a rebellion by farmers protesting excessive taxes, oppressive governmental systems and unfair laws and treatment of working people.

• 1788 – Massachusetts is sixth state to ratify the United States Constitution on

Feb. 6, 1788.

• 1795 – State House built in Boston.

• 1796 – John Adams, born 1735 in Quincy, elected 2nd president of United States.

19th century

• 1806 – The first church built by free blacks in America, the African Meeting House, opened on Joy Street in Boston.

• 1820 – Maine separated from Massachusetts.

• 1822 – Lowell set up as factory town – Boston chartered.

• 1824 – John Quincy Adams, born 1767 in Quincy, elected 6th president of United States.

• 1826 – The first American railroad built in Quincy.

• 1831 – The first abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, published in Boston by William Lloyd Garrison.

• 1837 –Samuel Morse invented the electric telegraph based on Morse Code, a simple pattern of “dots” and “dashes.” Mount Holyoke Seminary, the first college in the United States specifically for women, opens.

• 1839 – The first vulcanized rubber produced by Charles Goodyear in Woburn.

• 1840 – The typewriter was invented by Charles Thurber in Worcester.

• 1845 – The first sewing machine made by Elias Howe in Boston.

• 1850 – The first National Women’s Rights Convention convenes in Worcester.

• 1861 – America’s greatest internal conflict – 3 million fought and 600,000 died in the War Between the States before General Lee surrendered his Confederate Army to General Grant at the village of Appomattox Court House General Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865.

• 1863 – University of Massachusetts chartered at Amherst.

• 1866 – The first African-American legislators in New England elected to the General Court.

• 1875 – The first American Christmas card printed by Louis Prang in Boston.

• 1876 – The first telephone demonstrated by Alexander Graham Bell in Boston.

• 1877 – Helen Magill White becomes the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in the U.S. (Boston University)

• 1888, March 11-14 – hitting Western Massachusetts the hardest, the Great Blizzard causes $20 million in property damage and kills 400.

• 1891 -The first basketball game played in Springfield. The Kennedy Biscuit Works (later Nabisco) used a machine invented by James Henry Mitchell to mass- produce the first Fig Newton Cookies and named it for the town of Newton, MA.

• 1892 – The first successful gasoline-powered automobile perfected by Charles and Frank Duryea in Springfield.

• 1895 – The first volleyball game played in Holyoke.

• 1896 – The first American public beach established in Revere.

• 1897 – The first successful American subway system opened in Boston.

20th century

• 1903 – First Trans-Atlantic Radio Broadcast made by from Marconi Station at Wellfleet when President Theodore Roosevelt and King Edward VII of Great Britain exchanged greetings. Henry Ford starts the Ford Motor Company, making way for the mass production of the automobile, thus making it affordable for auto travel and the need for scenic roads, suc as the Mohawk Trail.

• 1907 – World’s first motorized fire wagon developed by Knox Manufacturing Company.

• 1912 – Textile workers go on strike in Lawrence

• 1914 – At the dawn of the automobile age, the Mohawk Trail was declared a scenic route, the first such one.

• 1920 – Governor Calvin Coolidge elected vice-president; becomes 30th president of United States in 1923. 1923

1923 – June 17 the Elk on the Trail is dedicated in Florida, Massachusetts with over 10,000 in attendence.

• 1924 – L. Sherman Adams introduced the world’s first mutual fund.

• 1925 – Edith Nourse Rogers was the first woman to serve in the U. S. House of Representatives. She was the longest serving women in House and introduced the GI Bill of Rights among other major initiatives

• 1926 – The first successful liquid fuel rocket launched by Dr. Robert Goddard in


• 1927, April 26 – The Swift River Act legislates for the building of the Quabbin Reservoir. The towns of Enfield, Dana, Greenwich and Prescott are depopulated and destroyed in the process.

• 1928 – The first computer, a non-electronic “differential analyzer,” developed by Dr. Vannevar Bush of M.I.T. in Cambridge.

• 1930 -Clarence Birdseye conducted first test of his quick-freezing process, including twenty-six different vegetables, fruits, fish, and meats. Ruth Wakefield invented the first chocolate chip cookie at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Ma. by adding cut up pieces of chocolate to her butter drop cookies.

• 1947 -Percy Spencer of Raytheon Corp. invented the microwave oven, the Radarange.Edwin Land demonstrates “one-step photography system” – the first Polaroid Land Camera.

• 1957 – Massachusetts Turnpike opened.

• 1960 – John F. Kennedy, born 1917 in Brookline, elected 35th president of United States; assassinated 1963.

• 1961 – The first nuclear-powered surface vessel, USS Long Beach CG(N) 9,launched at Quincy.

• 1966 – Edward W. Brooke is first black elected to United States Senate by popular vote.

• 1971 – Ray Tomlinson of Beranek & Newman sent the first email. The first email message was “QWERTYUIOP” and was sent between two side by side computers connected via ARPANET.

• 1974 -Federal court orders the integration of Boston public schools. Busing program to integrate Boston public schools sparks white boycotts

and violent demonstrations.

Adapted and ammended from Massachusetts timeline of state history web site –

http://www.shgresources.com/ma/timeline/ but all hyperlinks added by Gabriel Abbott Memorial School