Bedford is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. It is within the Greater Boston area, 15 miles (24 km) north-west of the city of Boston. The population of Bedford was 13,320 at the 2010 census.
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
|• Type||Open town meeting|
|• Town Manager||Sarah Stanton|
|• Total||13.9 sq mi (35.9 km2)|
|• Land||13.7 sq mi (35.6 km2)|
|• Water||0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)|
|Elevation||135 ft (41 m)|
|• Density||959.6/sq mi (369.3/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|Area code(s)||339 / 781|
|GNIS feature ID||0619395|
The following compilation comes from Ellen Abrams (1999) based on information from Abram English Brown's History of the Town of Bedford (1891), as well as other sources such as The Bedford Sampler Bicentennial Edition containing Daisy Pickman Oakley's articles, Bedford Vital Records, New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Town Directories, and other publications from the Bedford Historical Society.
The land now within the boundaries of Bedford was first settled by Europeans around 1640. In 1729 it was incorporated from a portion of Concord (about 2/5 of Bedford) and a portion of Billerica (about 3/5 of Bedford).
In 1630 came the arrival of John Winthrop and Thomas Dudley of the Massachusetts Bay Company. Aboard the Arabella from Yarmouth, England, Winthrop and Dudley sailed, and after a difficult ten-week voyage, they landed on the shores of the New World, with Salem and Boston Harbor being the Arabella's earliest destinations. In 1637, the General Court of Massachusetts granted some 2,200 acres (9 km²) of land, including Huckins Farm land to the first governor, John Winthrop, and to Deputy Governor Thomas Dudley. The following year, the two men agreed to divide the land so that the parcel south of the two large boulders by the Concord River (Brothers Rocks) belonged to Governor Winthrop and north of the Rocks was to belong to Deputy Governor Dudley. Later, Dudley became governor. Dudley's son Rev. Samuel Dudley and Winthrop's daughter Mary were married; thus Brothers Rocks were so named because of this marriage of families.
Governor Winthrop's grandson, Fitz John Winthrop, in 1664, sold 1,200 acres (5 km²) of this land (including what is present-day Huckins Farm) to Job Lane (1), a skilled artisan and house builder, in exchange for a house that Lane built for him in Connecticut. (Note: The numbers appended to the names of Lane family members indicate the generation number beginning with Job Lane (1), who immigrated from Mill End, Rickmansworth, England.) Upon his death, he passed all of this land to his son, John Lane (2), who left it to his three sons, John Lane (3), Job Lane (3), and James Lane (3). John Lane and his wife, Catherine (Whiting), lived on the site, and after she died, he married Hannah Abbott. Upon his death in 1763, their son, Samuel Lane, inherited the land now known as Huckins Farm. Some time after Samuel Lane died in 1802, the house was removed and Peter Farmer built the present farmhouse in the 1840s. It is known that Peter and Dorcas Farmer had two children in the late 1820s and 1830s. Later, Banfield succeeded Farmer as the owner.
Samuel W. Huckins, born in 1817, settled on the land about 1870. Huckins was respected for his good judgment and was honored with various offices in town. Maps circa 1875 indicate that what is now known as Dudley Road was once called Huckins Street. Samuel Huckins lived there until his death in 1892. He had a son, Henry, who was born in 1849, and was living in Bedford in 1910.
In the late 19th century, Dudley Leavitt Pickman, descendant of an old Salem merchant family, and his wife Ellen fell in love with the land. They bought a substantial parcel (mostly Winthrop's land and a portion of Dudley's grant). Huckins Farm was a part of this purchase. A direct descendant of both Winthrop and Dudley, Pickman bought the land without knowledge of the Winthrop-Dudley grant. He discovered later that he had purchased his ancestors' lands. About 1889, he had the Two Brothers Rocks inscribed with the names "Dudley" and "Winthrop" as well as the year 1638, as noted in the Bedford Town Report in 1889.
The land was used as a dairy farm and apple orchard, in addition to the fields, pasture land, bog garden, and ponds. Chestnut trees lined the old road between the fields. A portion of Dudley Road was named Chestnut Avenue around that time. Today's Dudley Road and Winthrop Avenue in Bedford, as well as Pickman Drive, are named for these families.
A large portion of the Pickman land, Huckins Farm, was sold to a developer for condominium development in 1987, and other parcels including the large Pickman house (Stearns Farm) were sold to private parties.
"By the rude bridge that arched the flood, their flag to April's breeze unfurled - here once the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard 'round the world." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Bedford flag on display at the Bedford Free Public Library is the oldest known surviving intact battle flag in the United States. It is celebrated for having been the first U.S. flag flown during the American Revolutionary War, as it is believed to have been carried by Nathaniel Page's outfit of Minutemen to the Old North Bridge in Concord for the Battle of Concord on April 19, 1775.
Though the flag previously had a border of silver tassels, the tassels were cut from it to adorn the dress of Page's daughter.
The Latin motto on the flag, "Vince Aut Morire", means "Conquer or Die."
When Governor Winthrop and his Deputy Thomas Dudley viewed their lands in early 1638, they decided to use two great stones on the eastern bank of the Concord River to divide the property. Winthrop claimed the land to one side of one rock; Dudley claimed the land on the other side of the other rock. They named the rocks "The Two Brothers." Over the years, the two men had many differences; however, they learned to work together and even considered themselves "brothers" by their children's marriage. The rocks have come to symbolize the men's spirit of cooperation and democracy. The Two Brothers Rocks can still be seen near the banks of the Concord River in the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. This site has recently been restored for an Eagle Scout project by Dennis Warner in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, and the Bedford Historic Preservation Commission. The area around the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010 as the Two Brothers Rocks–Dudley Road Historic District.
The early settlers called this area along the Concord River the "Great River Meadow" because they could harvest hay along the grass banks when the water retreated each summer. Today, this 12-mile (19 km) stretch of freshwater wetlands is a sanctuary for migratory birds and wildlife. Deer, cottontail rabbit, fox, raccoon, muskrat, beaver, weasel and over 200 species of birds may be seen here.
This traditional saltbox-style home at 295 North Road dates back to the early 18th century and was built by Job Lane (3), the grandson of one of Bedford's earliest settlers, Job Lane (1), a master carpenter. Job Lane (3) was a church deacon and also a town officer. His son Job Lane (4) was a Minuteman; he was wounded in the battle of Concord. The house and grounds, not far from Huckins Farm, has been restored and is open to the public from 2-4 pm on the second and fourth Sunday of the month, May through October.
Early on the morning of April 19, 1775, an alarm sounded warning the people of Bedford that British soldiers were marching from Boston to Concord. Their captain, Jonathan Willson, told them, "It is a cold breakfast boys, but we'll give them a hot dinner." The Fitch Tavern is located in Bedford center, a little over a mile from Huckins Farm.
The ruins of this old mill over Vine Brook (on Wilson and Old Burlington Road) were added to the national historical register in 2003 (see photo). A 1972 "Bedford Landmark Tour" says, "Site of the Wilson mills dating from about 1685; mills, dam, and pond passed from the Wilson family about 1770 to Oliver Bacon, then bought by Jonas Gleason (1782) and by Simeon Blodgett (1816); through the years, the site was operated as a grist mill, a saw mill, and later a cider mill."
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 13.9 square miles (36 km2), of which 13.7 square miles (35 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 0.94%, is water. Bedford is approximately 15 miles (24 km) away from the coast.
In addition to the Concord River which forms part of the town's borders, the Shawsheen River flows through town. Vine Brook flows from Lexington, Massachusetts, through Burlington, Massachusetts, and into the Shawsheen in Bedford. In the 1840s, a large paper mill was built on Vine Brook, that supplied many of the jobs in town.
|* = population estimate. |
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,595 people, 4,621 households, and 3,419 families residing in the town. The population density was 916.7 people per square mile (353.9/km²). There were 4,708 housing units at an average density of 342.7 per square mile (132.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 91.19% White, 1.65% African American, 0.22% Native American, 5.40% Asian, 0.34% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.80% of the population.
There were 4,621 households out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.4% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.0% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the town, the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 3.9% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 26.3% from 45 to 64, and 18.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.3 males.
The median income for a household was $87,962, and the median income for a family was $101,081. Males had a median income of $65,697 versus $45,181 for females. The per capita income for the town was $39,212. About 1.4% of families and 2.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 4.0% of those age 65 or over.
Bedford was the home of a Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP). It was the part of an initiative by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide mail order prescriptions to veterans using computerization at strategic locations throughout the United States. It has moved to the Lowell area as a result of the Veterans Administrations Cares Mission and is no longer in Bedford.
Bedford Public Schools operate Bedford's public school system. It consists of four buildings: Lt. Eleazer Davis Elementary (K–2), Lt. Job Lane Elementary (3–5), John Glenn Middle School (6–8), and Bedford High School (9–12). Some students from Hanscom Air Force Base, which is partially located in Bedford, join Bedford residents at Bedford High for 9th grade and beyond. There is a METCO program, where students from Boston come to the Bedford schools, starting in kindergarten and staying with the class until graduation. Bedford is also part of the school district of Shawsheen Valley Technical High School which is in nearby Billerica.
The former Center School was deactivated in the 1970s, and is today the Town Center and Recreation Department Nathaniel Page School was similarly deactivated in about 1982 and today is a condominium community. Davis, Lane, and Page elementary schools were all k–6 at one time.
John Glenn Middle School (originally called Bedford Junior High School) is named for John Glenn, formerly the Superintendent of Schools in Bedford, not for the U.S. Senator and astronaut. The Davis and Lane (and former Page) schools are named for local officers who took part in the Battle of Concord on April 19, 1775.
The town is served by the 62 and 62/76 lines of the MBTA's bus service. The MBTA operates the Route 351 express bus service, from Alewife; the bus terminates at Oak Park Drive, Bedford Woods, and EMD Serono; this service operates only on the morning and evening weekday rush hour times, and connects to the Red Line at Alewife.
A snowstorm on January 10, 1977, prompted the end of passenger service on the Lexington Branch of the Boston & Maine Railroad (see additional notes under Boston and Lowell Railroad). The line was embargoed four years later. In 1991, the branch was railbanked by the Interstate Commerce Commission. It is now used for the Minuteman Bikeway. In the early 20th century, the Middlesex & Boston Street Railway line ran generally down Great Road (Routes 4 and 225), with lines from as far west as Hudson running into Lexington and beyond.
Arnold “Lucky Arnie” Oliver (May 22, 1907 in New Bedford, Massachusetts – October 16, 1993 in New Bedford, Massachusetts) was a U.S. soccer inside forward. He spent at least six seasons in the American Soccer League. He was a member of the U.S. team at the 1930 FIFA World Cup and is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.Bedford High School (Massachusetts)
Bedford High School is a public high school in the town of Bedford, Massachusetts. Students come primarily from Bedford. Other students that attend Bedford High School come from the neighboring Hanscom Air Force Base or from Boston through the use of the METCO system. Some Bedford students attend Shawsheen Valley Technical High School.Charles S. Randall
Charles Sturtevant Randall (February 20, 1824 – August 17, 1904) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts.
Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts on February 20, 1824; died in New Bedford, Massachusetts, August 17, 1904. Randall is interred in the Rural Cemetery.Coast Guard Station New Bedford
United States Coast Guard Station New Bedford was a United States Coast Guard station located in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
The station was a sub-unit of Sector Southeast New England.David Garrow
David J. Garrow (born May 11, 1953 in New Bedford, Massachusetts) is an American historian and author of the book Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1986), which won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. He also wrote Liberty and Sexuality (1994), a history of the legal struggles over reproductive rights in the U.S. prior to the Roe v. Wade decision, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama (2017), and other works.Garrow writes frequently on the history of the United States Supreme Court and the history of the Civil Rights Movement, and regularly contributes articles on these subjects to non-academic publications including The New York Times, The Nation, The Financial Times, and The New Republic.
Garrow was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He graduated magna cum laude from Wesleyan University in 1975 before receiving his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1981.Garrow served as a senior adviser for Eyes on the Prize, the award-winning PBS television history of the Civil Rights Movement covering the years 1954–1965. He has taught at Duke University (Instructor of History; 1978–1979), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Assistant Professor of History; 1980–1984), the City College of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center (Associate and full Professor of History; 1984–1991), The Cooper Union (Visiting Distinguished Professor of History; 1992–1993), the College of William and Mary (James Pinckney Harrison Visiting Professor of History; 1994–1995), American University (Distinguished Historian in Residence; 1995–1996) and the Emory University School of Law (Presidential Distinguished Professor; 1997–2005). From 2005 to 2011, Garrow was a senior research fellow at Homerton College, Cambridge. From 2011 until 2018 he served as Professor of Law and History and John E. Murray Faculty Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.Garrow is also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.Decatur Rock
Decatur Rock is a small barren island located in Buzzards Bay in New Bedford, Massachusetts.Effie M. Morrissey
Effie M. Morrissey (now Ernestina-Morrissey) was a schooner skippered by Robert Bartlett that made many scientific expeditions to the Arctic, sponsored by American museums, the Explorers Club and the National Geographic Society. She also helped survey the Arctic for the United States Government during World War II. She is currently designated by the United States Department of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark as part of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. She is the State Ship of Massachusetts.Fort Rodman
Fort Taber District or the Fort at Clark's Point is a historic American Civil War-era military fort on Wharf Road within the former Fort Rodman Military Reservation in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The fort is now part of Fort Taber Park, a 47-acre town park located at Clark's Point. Fort Taber was an earthwork built nearby with city resources and garrisoned 1861-1863 until Fort Rodman was ready for service.Joe Lacob
Joseph Steven Lacob (born January 10, 1956) is an American business executive who is currently a partner at Kleiner Perkins and the majority owner of the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA).Joseph Grinnell (politician)
Joseph Grinnell (November 17, 1788 – February 7, 1885) was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts and friend of Abraham Lincoln, and the brother of Moses Hicks Grinnell.National Register of Historic Places listings in New Bedford, Massachusetts
List of Registered Historic Places in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 10, 2019.Naval Auxiliary Air Facility New Bedford
Naval Auxiliary Air Facility New Bedford was a United States Navy facility located in New Bedford, Massachusetts operational from 1942 to 1945. It existed as an auxiliary air facility of Naval Air Station Quonset Point.Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant, Bedford
Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant, Bedford (NWIRP) was a government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO) facility which had the mission of designing, fabricating, and testing prototype weapons and equipment from 1952 until December 2000, located in Bedford, Massachusetts It is located just north of Hanscom Air Force Base. It is currently a Superfund site undergoing environmental cleanup.New Bedford, Massachusetts
New Bedford is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 95,072, making it the sixth-largest city in Massachusetts. New Bedford is nicknamed "The Whaling City" because during the 19th century, the city was one of the most important whaling ports in the world, along with Nantucket, Massachusetts and New London, Connecticut. The city, along with Fall River and Taunton, make up the three largest cities in the South Coast region of Massachusetts and is known for its fishing fleet and accompanying seafood producing industries as well as having a high concentration of Luso Americans (Portuguese or from a former Portuguese colony).New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (NBWNHP) is a United States National Historical Park in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is maintained by the National Park Service (NPS). The park commemorates the heritage of the world's preeminent whaling port during the nineteenth century.
Established in 1996, the park encompasses 34 acres (fourteen hectares) dispersed over thirteen city blocks. It includes a visitor center, the New Bedford National Historic Landmark District, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the Seamen's Bethel, the schooner Ernestina, and the Rotch–Jones–Duff House and Garden Museum.
As a National Park, the NBWNHP is rather unusual in that the only properties owned by the NPS are the Visitor Center and the Corson Maritime Learning Center. Rather, the park is a historic district administered under a partnership between the NPS, the City of New Bedford and private building owners to preserve the historic landscapes, structures, and collections and promote research and educational programming associated with the history of whaling. The enabling legislation also established a formal affiliation with the Inupiat Heritage Center in Utqiagvik, Alaska, to commemorate the more than 2,000 whaling voyages from New Bedford to the Western Arctic. The city promotes visitation to the park through advertising that calls it "New England's real seaport", as opposed to Connecticut's Mystic Seaport Museum which is a collection of historic buildings and vessels moved from various other locations throughout the region.
Although the famed Whaleman Memorial (commonly called the "Whaleman's Statue") is not within the park's boundaries, it is located only two blocks beyond its western boundary at the corner of William and Pleasant Streets in front of the New Bedford Public Library.Shawsheen River
The Shawsheen River is a 26.7-mile-long (43.0 km) tributary of the Merrimack River in northeast Massachusetts. The name has had various spellings. According to Bailey's history of Andover, the spelling Shawshin was the most common in the old records, although Shawshine, Shashin, Shashine, Shashene, Shawshene, and later, Shawsheen, are found. The name, says Bailey, is said to mean "Great Spring".The river runs generally northward through the towns of Bedford, Billerica, Wilmington, Tewksbury, Andover, and Lawrence, where it joins the Merrimack. Like its parent, the river has played an important role in the development of the area, including industrial development, with many mills built to take advantage of the river's power. Today there are trails and parks located along several sections of the river, and a preservation effort is carried out by the Shawsheen River Watershed Association.
In June 2001, the Merrimack River Watershed Council determined that the Shawsheen River failed to meet water quality standards. This situation was largely attributed to stormwater runoff via town, private and state storm drain systems. As a result of increased pollutants, major portions of the Shawsheen River are now listed as impaired waters on the 303(d) list of the Clean Water Act.The removal of the Marland Place Dam (originally built in the 1700s) and Balmoral Dam (originally built in the 1920s) allowed alewife and blueback herring to spawn upstream to the Ballardvale Dam in spring 2017, for the first time in over 200 years.WBSM
WBSM is an AM radio station broadcasting in the New Bedford/Fall River market area with a News/Talk/Sports format. It broadcasts on 1420 kilohertz and is under ownership of Townsquare Media, with studios in Fairhaven shared with WFHN.WCTK
WCTK (98.1 FM, Cat Country 98.1) is a Country formatted radio station serving Southern New England, with studios in Providence, Rhode Island, and transmitter in New Bedford, Massachusetts.William W. Crapo
William Wallace Crapo (May 16, 1830 – February 28, 1926) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts. He was elected to fill the vacancy caused by the death of James Buffinton. He served slightly more than three terms in congress from November 2, 1875 to March 3, 1883Born in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, died in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Crapo is interred in the Rural Cemetery. He was a prominent attorney in New Bedford. Among his clients was Hetty Green.
William Wallace Crapo was a brother of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity in his undergraduate years at Yale University. He graduated in 1852 and was a member of Skull and Bones. On April 15, 1851, Crapo visited Brown University, on which date he is credited with initiating 17 members of the provisional chapter there, re-activating the ten-years-dormant Brunonian Chapter.
In 1903, Crapo (pronounced cray-poe) was a founding member and first president of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, governing body of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
Places adjacent to Bedford, Massachusetts
Municipalities and communities of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
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