Groton, Massachusetts

Groton is a town in northwestern Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, within the Greater Boston metropolitan area. The population was 10,873 at the 2012 town census.[3] It is home to two prep schools: Groton School, founded in 1884,[4][5] and Lawrence Academy at Groton, founded in 1792 and the third-oldest private school in Massachusetts. Lawrence Academy was founded with a charter from John Hancock.[6]

Near the former border with Maine, the historic town was a battlefield in King Philip's War[7] and Queen Anne's War, with children taken captive in a raid by Abenaki and French;[7] it had had incidents of insurrection during Shays' Rebellion,[8] and was the birthplace of William Prescott, who commanded the colonial forces at the Battle of Bunker Hill during the American Revolution.[9]

Groton, Massachusetts
Town Hall
Town Hall
Official seal of Groton, Massachusetts

"Faith, Labor"
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°36′40″N 71°34′30″W / 42.61111°N 71.57500°WCoordinates: 42°36′40″N 71°34′30″W / 42.61111°N 71.57500°W
CountryUnited States
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Administrative OfficerJean E. Kitchen[1]
 • Board of
George F. Dillon, Jr.[2]
Peter S. Cunningham
John L. Saball
Mihran Keoseian, Jr.
1 Vacancy
 • Total33.7 sq mi (87.3 km2)
 • Land32.8 sq mi (84.9 km2)
 • Water0.9 sq mi (2.4 km2)
320 ft (98 m)
 • Total10,646
 • Density320/sq mi (120/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area codes351/978 (978 Exchanges: 448, 449)
FIPS code25-27480
GNIS feature ID0619399


The area surrounding modern-day Groton has, for thousands of years, been the territory of various cultures of indigenous peoples. They settled along the rivers, which they used for domestic tasks, fishing and transportation. Historic tribes were the Algonquian-speaking Nipmuc and Nashaway Indians.[10]

Groton, Mass. (2673647237)
Lithograph of Groton from 1886 by L.R. Burleigh with list of landmarks

The Anglo-American Groton started with the trading post of John Tinker, who conducted business there with the Nashaway at the confluence of Nod Brook and the Nashua River. The Nashaway called the area Petapawag, meaning "swampy land." As Tinker had, other pioneers followed the Algonquian trails from Massachusetts Bay. They found the region productive for fishing and farming.[10]

The town was officially settled and incorporated in 1655, named for Groton in Suffolk, England. Called The Plantation of Groton, it included all of present-day Groton and Ayer, almost all of Pepperell and Shirley, large parts of Dunstable, Littleton, and Tyngsborough, plus smaller parts of Harvard and Westford in Massachusetts, as well as Nashua and Hollis, New Hampshire.[10]

During King Philip's War, on March 13, 1676, Indians burned all buildings except for four Groton garrisons. Among those killed was John Nutting, a Selectman at Groton. Survivors fled to Concord and other safe havens, but two years later returned to rebuild.[10] Native Americans attacked the town again during the Raid on Groton in 1694 (during King William's War).

In 1704 during Queen Anne's War, a French-Abenaki raid captured three children of Thomas Tarbell and his wife, among others, taking them overland about 300 miles to the Mohawk village of Kahnewake south of Montreal, where they would be held for ransom or adopted into the tribe by individual Mohawk families. The trade in captives was a thriving business between the opposing colonies of the English and French. The two Tarbell boys, John and Zachariah, were adopted by Mohawk families and became fully assimilated, later marrying into the tribe, having families, and becoming chiefs.[11] They were among the founders in the 1740s of Akwesasne, after moving up the St. Lawrence River from Kahnewake. The brothers' older sister Sarah Tarbell was ransomed by a French family, and converted to Catholicism. She joined a Catholic teaching/nursing religious order in Montreal and served with them for the rest of her life.[11][12][13] There are Tarbell-named descendants among Mohawk of Kahnewake and Akwesasne in the 21st century.

In 1775, the common in front of the First Parish Church was an assembly area for Minutemen who fought in the Battle of Lexington and Concord.[10]


According to the United States Census Bureau, Groton has a total area of 33.7 square miles (87.3 km²), of which 32.8 square miles (84.9 km²) is land and 0.9 square miles (2.4 km²) (2.79%) is water. Groton is the largest town in Middlesex County in terms of square mileage. The town is drained by the Nashua River and Squannacook River. The center of the town is dominated mainly by Gibbet Hill, with several other large hills throughout the town.

Groton is served by state routes 40, 111, 119 and 225. It borders the towns of Pepperell, Dunstable, Tyngsborough, Westford, Littleton, Ayer, Shirley, and Townsend.


See also: Groton (CDP), Massachusetts

Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23]

As of the census[24] of 2000, there were 9,547 people, 3,268 households, and 2,568 families residing in the town. The population density was 291.3 people per square mile (112.5/km²). There were 3,393 housing units at an average density of 103.5 per square mile (40.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.22% White, 0.35% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.97% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.27% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.14% of the population.

There were 3,268 households out of which 46.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.0% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.4% were non-families. Of all households 17.1% were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.31.

The age distribution of the town's population was 32.6% under the age of 18, 4.2% from 18 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 7.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $118,041, and the median income for a family was $136,653. Males had a median income of $101,117 versus $60,402 for females. The per capita income for the town was $44,756. About 1.1% of families and 1.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.0% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.[25]


Groton annually hosts the National Shepley Hill Horse Trials, an equestrian competition. The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders high school football team also competes in the town.


The town is governed by an open Town Meeting and administered by an elected Board of Selectmen and appointed Town Manager.[26]

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of February 15, 2012[27]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
Democratic 1,659 22.30%
Republican 1,239 16.66%
Unaffiliated 4,508 60.60%
Green-Rainbow 4 0.05%
Total 7,439 100%


Public schools

District schools

  • Boutwell School
  • Florence Roche Elementary School
  • Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School
  • Groton-Dunstable Regional High School
  • Prescott Elementary School (closed after the 2007–2008 school year due to budget cuts)[28]

Other public schools

Private schools

Points of interest

First Parish Church in Groton
First Parish Church
1831 Groton Massachusetts BPL3856243266
1831 map of Groton
Gibbet Hill, Groton MA
Gibbet Hill

Buildings and structures

Conservation land

Over 30% of the land in Groton, Massachusetts is protected open space.[37] The majority of this open space is accessible to the public. Groton also has over 100 miles of trails. Many of these trails can be walked and biked, others are availably for hunting and/or camping. The trails are made and maintained by the Groton Trail Committee and the land itself is managed by the Groton Conservation Trust.

Notable people


  1. ^ [1] Archived September 14, 2003, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ [2] Archived April 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Groton town, Middlesex County, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  4. ^ Laneri, Raquel. "Best Prep Schools 2010". Forbes. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  6. ^ "A Brief History of Lawrence Academy". Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  7. ^ a b "A Brief History of Groton, MA". Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  8. ^ Szatmary, David. Shays' Rebellion: The Making of an Agrarian Insurrection (Reprint ed.). University of Massachusetts Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0870234194.
  9. ^ "William Prescott". Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Town of Groton, Massachusetts". Retrieved May 30, 2006.
  11. ^ a b John Demos, The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994, pp. 186 and 224
  12. ^ Darren Bonaparte, "The History of Akwesasne", The Wampum Chronicles, accessed 1 Feb 2010
  13. ^ Darren Bonaparte, "First Families of Akwesasne", The Wampum Chronicles, accessed 21 Feb 2010
  14. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  15. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  18. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  19. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  20. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  21. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  22. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  23. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  24. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  25. ^ [3] Archived April 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ About Groton
  27. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of February 15, 2012" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  28. ^ Gunderson, Matt (March 6, 2008). "Officials forge on with Groton school closure". Boston Globe, MA. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  29. ^ "Country Day School of the Holy Union". Country Day. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  30. ^ Knight, An Examination of the Lowthorpe School of Landscape Architecture for Women, Groton, Massachusetts, 1901-1945
  31. ^ "Groton Historical Society". Archived from the original on October 5, 2008. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  32. ^ "Groton Wood". Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  33. ^ "Old Groton Inn". Archived from the original on September 6, 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  34. ^ "Groton Public Library". Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  35. ^ Nelson, Laura J. "Boston Globe Correspondent". NY Times Co. Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  36. ^ "The Groton Inn". The Groton Inn. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  37. ^ "Groton Trails Network". Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  38. ^ "Andy Anderson Bio". Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  39. ^ "National Rowing Hall of Fame". National Rowing Foundation. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  40. ^ Hoddeson, Lillian; Daitch, Vicki (11 November 2002). True Genius: The Life and Science of John Bardeen. Joseph Henry Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0309095112.
  41. ^ Shelley Olds Picked For US Olympic Cycling Team | The Groton Line

Further reading

External links

Abbott Lawrence

Abbott Lawrence (December 16, 1792, Groton, Massachusetts – August 18, 1855) was a prominent American businessman, politician, and philanthropist. He founded Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Dan Shaughnessy

Dan Shaughnessy (born July 20, 1953) is an American sports writer. He has covered the Boston Red Sox for the Boston Globe since 1981. In 2016, he was given the J.G. Taylor Spink Award by the Baseball Hall of Fame. Shaughnessy is often referred to by his nickname "Shank," given by the 1980s Boston Celtics team for the often unflattering and critical nature of his articles.

Ether Shepley

Ether Shepley (November 2, 1789 – January 15, 1877) was an American politician.

Shepley, a Democratic-Republican, served in the Maine State House before becoming one of the state's U.S. Senators. Shepley resigned from the Senate after two years to become a Justice (and later Chief Justice) of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Shepley was born in Groton, Massachusetts. He attended Groton Academy, (now Lawrence Academy at Groton) and in 1814 graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

He later studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1814. Shepley began practicing law in Saco, Maine (at the time, Maine was part of Massachusetts.) Shepley became a member of the Massachusetts General Court in 1819; the following year, he was a delegate to the Maine constitutional convention, which drew up the constitution for Maine when it became a state.

From 1821 until 1833, Shepley was the U.S. attorney for the District of Maine. Later Shepley moved to Portland. He was elected as a Jacksonian Democrat to the U.S. Senate and served from March 4, 1833, until his resignation on March 3, 1836.

During Shepley's time in Congress, he served as chairman of the Committee on Engrossed Bills (23rd and 24th Congresses).

On October 28, 1836, Shepley became a justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court; in 1848 he was elevated to Chief Justice. He served on the Court until October 22, 1855 (he was not a candidate for renomination). The following year he was appointed as the sole commissioner to revise the public laws of Maine. Later he resumed practicing law.

Sheply died in Portland and is interred in Evergreen Cemetery in Portland, Maine.

His son was George Foster Shepley.

Groton-Dunstable Regional High School

Groton-Dunstable Regional High School (GDRHS) is located in Groton, Massachusetts and serves the communities of both Groton and Dunstable in the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District. While GDRHS is the only public high school located within those communities students from Groton may also attend the public Nashoba Valley Technical High School and students from Dunstable may attend the public Greater Lowell Technical High School. Approximately 810 students attend GDRHS and they are primarily graduates of Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School. GDRHS has a primarily college preparatory curriculum with approximately 87% of its students attending four-year colleges and over 90% attending two- or four-year colleges upon graduation in 2010.

Groton School

Groton School is a private Episcopal college preparatory boarding school located in Groton, Massachusetts, United States. It enrolls about 380 boys and girls, from the eighth through twelfth grades. Tuition, room and board and required fees in 2014–15 amounted to $56,700 (with books extra); 38% of the students receive financial aid. The school is a member of the Independent School League. There are many famous alumni in business, government and the professions, including Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Lawrence Academy (Groton, Massachusetts)

The Lawrence Academy at Groton is a private, selective, nonsectarian, coeducational college preparatory school located in Groton, Massachusetts, in the United States. Founded by a group of fifty residents of Groton and Pepperell, Massachusetts in 1792 as Groton Academy, and chartered in 1793 by Governor John Hancock, Lawrence is the tenth oldest boarding school in the United States, and the third in Massachusetts, following Governor Dummer Academy (1763) and Phillips Academy at Andover (1778). The phrase on Lawrence Academy's seal is "Omnibus Lucet": in Latin, "Let light shine upon all." As of 2019, Lawrence Academy had a reported acceptance rate of 25%.

Lost Lake (Groton)

Lost Lake also known as Knop/p/s Pond is a reservoir in Groton, Massachusetts, United States. It was formed from three lakes by the headwaters of Salmon Brook. The southern part of the lake is known as Knops Pond where it is near 30 feet deep. It is stocked with rainbow, brown and brook trout every spring and fall and is home to several species of warm water fish. There is also a boat launch located on the northeastern side of the lake.

Otto Piene

Otto Piene (pronounced PEE-nah, 18 April 1928 – 17 July 2014) was a German-American artist specializing in kinetic and technology-based art, often working collaboratively. He lived and worked in Düsseldorf, Germany; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Groton, Massachusetts.

Paul Matisse

Paul Matisse (born 1933) is an artist and inventor known for his public art installations, many of which are interactive. Matisse also invented the Kalliroscope.

Peter Gammons

Peter Gammons (born April 9, 1945) is an American sportswriter and media personality. He is a recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award for outstanding baseball writing, given by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Samuel Abbott Green

Samuel Abbott Green (March 16, 1830 – December 5, 1918) was an American physician-turned-politician from Massachusetts who served as a medical officer during the American Civil War and as mayor of Boston in 1882.

Samuel Dana

Samuel Dana (June 26, 1767 – November 20, 1835) was an American lawyer and politician who served in both branches of the Massachusetts General Court, as President of the Massachusetts Senate and as a United States Representative from Massachusetts.

Samuel Willard

Reverend Samuel Willard (January 31, 1640 – September 12, 1707) was a colonial clergyman. He was born in Concord, Massachusetts, graduated Harvard in 1659, and was minister at Groton from 1663–1676, whence he was driven by the Indians during King Philip's War. Willard was pastor of the Third Church, Boston from 1678 until his death. He opposed the Salem witch trials, and served as acting president of Harvard from 1701. He published many sermons; the folio volume A Compleat Body of Divinity was published posthumously in 1726.

Shelley Olds

Shelley Olds (born September 30, 1980) is an American racing cyclist.

Olds was born and raised in Groton, Massachusetts. She studied health and human performance at Roanoke College in Virginia, and was captain of their women's soccer team. She was introduced to cycling by her future husband after moving to California and began track racing soon afterwards. She turned professional in 2007.She registered with the UCI under her married name of Shelley Evans for the 2010 season, but reverted to her maiden name in later seasons.

Olds rode for the US in the road race at the 2012 Olympics in London. She was one of the four riders in the winning breakaway group that split from the peloton with 50 km to go, but suffered a puncture 20 km later and crossed the finish line with the peloton in seventh place.Olds joined the Bigla Pro Cycling Team for the 2015 season. However, in June 2015 Bigla announced that Olds had parted with the team by mutual agreement, and the following day her former team Alé–Cipollini announced that they had re-signed her. In November 2015 she was announced as part of the inaugural squad for the Cylance Pro Cycling team for the 2016 season.

Squannacook River

The Squannacook River is a 16.4-mile-long (26.4 km) river in northern Massachusetts. It is a tributary of the Nashua River and part of the Merrimack River watershed flowing to the Atlantic Ocean.

The river rises within West Townsend, Massachusetts, at the juncture of Walker Brook, Locke Brook, and Willard Brook. Walker and Locke Brooks rise within Greenville, New Ipswich, and Mason, New Hampshire, while Willard Brook rises in Ashby, Massachusetts. The Squannacook flows east and southeast through Townsend and West Groton, Massachusetts, and joins the Nashua River in wetlands just east of Woodsville. The river is dammed three times in Townsend and twice in West Groton. Its watershed covers 73 square miles (190 km2), of which 18% is permanently protected. It has been designated an Outstanding Resource Water.

There has been a conversion of one of the former mills on the Groton portion of the river. The former E.H. Sampson Leather Board Mill became a senior citizen/ nursing home. Riverside is located next to West Groton Square.

Steve Kornacki

Stephan Joseph Kornacki Jr. (born August 22, 1979) is an American political journalist, writer, and television host. Kornacki is a national political correspondent for NBC News. He has written articles for Salon, The New York Observer, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, The Boston Globe, and The Daily Beast. Kornacki was the multimedia anchor and data analyst for much of MSNBC's The Place for Politics campaign coverage, airing throughout 2016.

William L. Chaplin

William Lawrence Chaplin (October 27, 1796 – April 28, 1871) was a prominent abolitionist in the years before the American Civil War. Known by the title of "General," he was an agent for the New York Anti-Slavery Society.In 1850 in Washington, DC, Chaplin aided two of the slaves of then congressman Robert Toombs in an attempted escape. The slaves were Lousia and, possibly, Garland H. White. During the pursuit of the escapees, Toombs said that he was more concerned about Lousia than White, as he did not care for White. Both were caught when a posse of six slave catchers chased Chaplin's carriage out of Washington. During the chase, the posse shot into the carriage, wounding the occupants. When they were caught, Chaplin was beaten and held in D.C. for six weeks. Chaplin was bailed by prominent abolitionist Gerrit Smith and others. The money was forfeited, as Chaplin skipped bail and returned to New York.

William M. Richardson

William Merchant Richardson (January 4, 1774 – March 15, 1838) was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts and chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

William Prescott

William Prescott (February 20, 1726 – October 13, 1795) was an American colonel in the Revolutionary War who commanded the patriot forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Prescott is known for his order to his soldiers, "Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes", such that the rebel troops may shoot at the enemy at shorter ranges, and therefore more accurately and lethally, and so conserve their limited stocks of ammunition. It is debated whether Prescott or someone earlier coined this memorable saying.

Municipalities and communities of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
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