Littleton, Massachusetts

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Littleton (historically Nipmuc: Nashoba) is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 8,184 at the 2000 census.

For geographic and demographic information on the neighborhood of Littleton Common, please see the article Littleton Common, Massachusetts.

Contents

History

Originally supposed to be called "Lyttleton," the town's name gained its current spelling due to a misspelling in the newspaper. Littleton was first settled by white settlers in 1686 and was officially incorporated by act of the Massachusetts General Court on November 2, 1714.

The town was also the location of the sixth Praying Indian village established by John Eliot called Nashoba Plantation, on the land between Lake Nagog and Fort Pond. Daniel Gookin, in his Historical Collections of the Indians in New England, (1674) chapter vii. says :

"Nashobah is the sixth praying Indian town. This village is situated, in a manner, in the centre, between Chelmsford, Lancaster, Groton and Concord. It lieth from Boston about twenty-five miles west north west. The inhabitants are about ten families, and consequently about fifty souls."[1]

At the time of King Phillip's War, the General Court ordered the Indians at Nashoba to be interned in Concord. A short while later, Concordians who were hostile to the Nashoba solicited some Militia to remove them to Deer Island. Around this time, fourteen armed men of Chelmsford went to the outlying camp at Wameset (near Forge Pond)and opened fire on the unsuspecting Nashoba, wounding five women and children and killing outright the only son of John Tahattawan, a boy twelve years old. During this war, the Indians were rounded up and sent to Deer Island, where most subsequently perished of starvation and disease. Upon their release, most survivors moved to Natick and sold their land to white settlers.[2]

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