1646-1909; bulk: 1725-1805
Guide to the Collection
|Creator:||Green, Samuel A.,
|Title:||Groton (Mass.) historical
|Physical Description:||3 document
boxes, 1 oversize box, and 3 bound volumes
|Call Number:||Ms. N-1340
|Repository:||Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02215
This collection consists of papers relating to the
town of Groton, Mass., collected by Samuel A. Green in preparation for his
Groton Historical Series. Dating from 1646 to
1909, the records include deeds, indentures, wills, receipts, accounts,
warrants, petitions, muster rolls and other military papers, as well as the
military and professional papers of Col. William Lawrence, the military papers
of Capt. Thomas Lawrence, and scrapbooks relating to Groton events.
The Groton historical papers consist of 3 document boxes, 1 oversize box,
and 3 bound volumes dating from 1646-1909 with the bulk of the material from
1725-1805. Gathered by Dr. Samuel A. Green in preparation for writing his
Groton Historical Series, the papers include
deeds, indentures, wills, receipts, accounts, tax records, warrants, petitions,
muster rolls, and correspondence. Prominent names within the collection include
the Blood, Flint, Lakin, Lawrence, Prescott, Shattuck, Sawtell, and Tarbell
families. Many of the records were created by the offices of the Groton town
clerk and justice of the peace, and include papers of Justices of the Peace
Benjamin Prescott (1696-1738) and William Lawrence (1697-1764).
The papers of Col. William Lawrence are especially prominent within the
collection and contain many records relating both to his role as justice of the
peace and to his military service. Lawrence began his military service during
Dummer's War in 1723, rising to colonel in 1754, and served under General
Amherst at Fort Ticonderoga in 1759. Records relating to Lawrence's military
career include appointments, promotions, and receipts documenting salaries paid
to his soldiers. Many of the deeds included in his papers document Lawrence's
land purchases in the Groton area. Records relating to the construction of the
Groton meetinghouse, 1751-1761, are included in his papers and consist largely
of receipts, account books, and meeting minutes.
Other highlights of the collection include documentation of the early and
persistent conflicts with local Native Americans, as evidenced by a 1675
petition to the Massachusetts General Court requesting aid against increasing
Indian hostilities. The collection also documents many of the military units
raised by the town, during both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary
War. Of particular note are the papers relating to the company of Capt. Thomas
Lawrence, Ebenezer Nichols's regiment, of the Massachusetts militia in the
French and Indian War. They include muster rolls, pay receipts, and inventories
of the belongings of soldiers killed in action. Also of note are the military
warrants of the South Company of militia, calling for members to attend drills
In addition to his Groton Historical Series,
Green used his collected documents as sources for his published historical
sketches in the Proceedings of the Massachusetts
Historical Society and in his weekly newspaper column, "Turner's Public
Spirit." The collection contains several reprinted documents, with Green's
commentary and explanations, as well as pamphlets containing topical historical
sketches of Groton.
Three bound scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings, programs, and
correspondence. The "Groton, Mass." scrapbook (1874-1892) contains clippings of
historical sketches written by Green, especially for his weekly column
"Turner's Public Spirit," as well as obituaries, wedding notices, and programs
relating to Groton events. The "Bi-Centennial" scrapbook (1855-1888) contains
documents relating to the celebration of Groton's 200th anniversary in 1855.
The third scrapbook, "Fires at Groton" (1892-1893) contains newspaper clippings
relating to two fires which occurred in July 1892 and the litigation that
The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) holds the following collections
related to the Groton (Mass.) Historical Papers:
Samuel A. Green papers, 1700-1916. Ms. N-1330.
First Parish (Groton, Mass.) records, 1713-1883. Ms. N-1341.
Groton Invincible Club records, 1843-1866. Ms. N-1343.
Groton (Mass.) School records, 1806-1869. Ms. N-1342.
The bulk of this collection consists of loose documents that were bound into
nine volumes in 1908-1909, and disbound in 1976. Documents were numbered in the
back lower left corner, indicating the page number and volume in which they
were bound. The volumes were originally divided into the following four
categories: Miscellaneous, volumes 1, 2, and 9; Col. William Lawrence, volumes
3-6; Military, volume 7; and South Company, volume 8.
These categories have largely been preserved in the collection's present
organization. It now consists of the following five series: Groton town papers;
Col. William Lawrence papers; Military papers; Samuel A. Green papers; and
Bound scrapbooks. Documents previously labeled Miscellaneous are now organized
into the Groton town papers series. The documents in the Military and South
Company volumes have been brought together in the Military papers series, but
the distinctions have been retained with the sub-series. Green's notes relating
to documents in each volume, as well as several of his published pamphlets,
have been gathered into a separate series.
Gifts of Dr. Samuel A. Green and others,
The collection is organized into the following series:
|I. Groton town papers, 1646-1849
|II. Col. William Lawrence papers, 1702-1789
|III. Military papers, 1748-1804
|A. Thomas Lawrence Company records, 1756-1759
|B. South Company records, 1796-1804
|C. Miscellaneous military papers, 1748-1779
|IV. Samuel A. Green papers, 1880-1909
|V. Scrapbooks, 1855-1893
|Box 1||I. Groton town papers 1646-1849
This series consists of deeds; indentures; wills; receipts; accounts; tax
records, especially from Ebenezer Prescott; petitions to the Massachusetts
General Court; and warrants and other records from the offices of the justice
of the peace and the town clerk. Included are a collection of papers given to
Green by Frederick Shattuck regarding the Shattuck family (1780-1834). This
series also includes documents regarding the establishment of Flintstown, later
known as Baldwin. Other documents of particular interest include a 1675
petition to the General Court requesting aid against increasing Native American
hostilities; records from a 1712 Council of Churches; Justice of the Peace
Benjamin Prescott's record book, 1729-33; a list of "such as was Torys in
Groton," 1775; Revolutionary War enlistment and training records, 1776; a
letter from Oliver Prescott to Gen. Benjamin Lincoln relating to Shays'
Rebellion, 1787; and an 1832 letter regarding an incident of racism at a local
school. Genealogical papers in this series include records relating to the
Prescott, Lane, and Lawrence families.
|II. William Lawrence papers, 1702-1789
The bulk of this series consists of papers relating to the activities of
William Lawrence (1697-1764) including his military career, his role as justice
of the peace, and his acquisition of land in and near Groton. Lawrence began
his military career as a private during Dummer's War (1721-1725) and had risen
to the rank of Colonel by the time of the French and Indian War (1754-1763). He
served as justice of the peace from 1739 through 1762, and many of the records
in this series are warrants issued and signed by him. Other records include
both military and civil appointments issued to Lawrence, deeds, indentures,
surveys of Groton, requests and receipts of payments, wills, warrants,
accounts, records of court costs, and town meeting minutes. Of special note are
the papers relating to the construction of the Groton meetinghouse dating from
1751-1761, which include receipts, account books, and meeting minutes. Also of
interest are the 1751 town meeting minutes of Township No. 1, New Hampshire,
regarding the construction of their meetinghouse.
|Box 3||Folders 1-13||1758-1789
|III. Military papers, 1748-1804
This series has been divided into three sub-series: Thomas Lawrence company
records, South Company records, and Miscellaneous military papers.
|Box 3||Folders 14-19||A. Thomas Lawrence company records, 1756-1759
This subseries contains papers relating to the company of Thomas Lawrence,
of Col. Ebenezer Nichols' regiment during the French and Indian War. When
Lawrence and twenty other soldiers in the regiment were killed in a battle at
Half-Way Brook on 20 July 1758, command of the company was assumed by Ephraim
Wesson. This sub-series consists of muster rolls, inventories of the
possessions of slain soldiers, including Lawrence, and pay receipts. Of special
note are a 1756 pay schedule listing each position within a regiment and
Lawrence's 1758 military orders.
|Box 3||Folders 20-27||South Company records, 1796-1804
This subseries relates to the militia company raised in Groton and led by
Capt. Timothy Bigelow. It consists entirely of military warrants issued by
Bigelow calling for enlisted men to present themselves for drill sessions and
other activities of the militia. Of special note is the warrant dated 12 Feb
1800 calling for the presence of the men at a memorial parade to honor General
|Box 3||Folder 28||Miscellaneous military papers, 1748-1779
This subseries consists of various papers relating to military companies
raised in Groton. It includes payrolls for the companies of Capt. Humphrey
Hobbs, Capt. John Burk, and Capt. Silvanus Smith in the regiment of Col.
Timothy Bigelow; a 1748 list of men "ordered out on a scout after the enemy";
muster rolls of men "enlisted for his Majesty's service for the total reduction
of Canada, 1760"; a 1757 billeting roll of invalids; and a 1761 account of
|IV. Samuel A. Green papers, 1880-1909
Arranged by subject
Editorial and research notes, title pages from the original bound volumes of
manuscripts, and notes and correspondence relating to the donations of various
papers both to Green and the Massachusetts Historical Society have been
collected into a separate series. Also within this series are historical
pamphlets written by Green, including "The Lakin Family" and "The Lawyers of
Groton," containing biographical information about Benjamin Prescott, William
Lawrence, and others. The pamphlet entitled Papers
relating to Capt. Thomas Lawrence's Company raised in Groton Massachusetts,
during the French and Indian War, 1758 gives a brief background sketch
of the company in addition to reprinted documents, many of which are found in
|Box 3||Folders 29-30||Groton town papers, 1880-1909
|Box 3||Folder 31||William Lawrence papers, 1892-1908
|Box 3||Folder 32||Thomas Lawrence company papers, 1888-1908
|Box 3||Folder 33||South Company papers, 1906
|V. Scrapbooks, 1855-1893
This series consists of three bound volumes: "Groton Bi-Centennial
Celebration" scrapbook, "Groton, Mass." scrapbook, and "Fires at Groton"
|Volume 1||"Groton Bi-Centennial Celebration" scrapbook, 1855-1888
This volume contains announcements, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and
other material relating to the celebration held on 31 October 1855 of the 200th
anniversary of the incorporation of Groton, also referred to as the "Jubilee of
Groton." Much of the material consists of correspondence between George H.
Brown, secretary for the Committee of Arrangements, and invited guests. Also
included in this volume are written copies of the speeches given at the
celebration. Two pamphlets written by Green in 1884 and 1888 as part of his
Groton Historical Series discuss the 1855 celebration, and include the
recollections of Samuel Lawrence (1801-1880), as well as essays on slavery in
Groton, Lawrence Academy, Walter Dickson's family, the Eldridge family, and
Groton Junction. A note from Green at the front of the volume indicates that
the bulk of the documents belonged to Brown, and were given to Green by Brown's
|Volume 2||"Groton, Mass." scrapbook, 1874-1892
This volume consists of newspaper clippings and programs relating to the
town of Groton. Among the papers represented are the Boston Daily Globe, Boston Daily
Advertiser, Boston Journal,
Boston Post, Boston
Herald, Boston Transcript,
Lowell Weekly Journal, Fitchburg Daily Sentinel, and The Times (Marlboro, MA). Many of the newspaper
articles were written by Green himself, including clippings of his weekly
column, "Turner's Public Spirit." These articles contain brief historical
sketches about Groton and the surrounding area, often based on specific
documents that are reprinted with the article. The volume also contains many
obituary and wedding notices, as well as programs from various Groton events.
|Volume 3||"Fires at Groton" scrapbook, 1892-1893
This volume contains newspaper clippings relating to two fires occurring in
the house of Dr. George P. Hurd on 5 and 8 July 1892. Papers represented
include Boston Daily Advertiser,
Boston Daily Globe, Boston Journal, Boston
Herald, Boston Post, and
Lowell Daily Courier. The clippings date from 6
July 1892 through 26 May 1893 and cover the fire itself, as well as the
resulting inquest held 18-25 July 1892 to determine the cause of the fires and
the lawsuit filed by Dr. Hurd against his insurance company in May 1893.
Groton (Mass.) historical papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in
the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers
desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should
search the catalog using these headings.
|Brown, George H.
|Green, Samuel A. (Samuel Abbott),
|Lawrence, Thomas, 1720-1758.
|Lawrence, William, 1697-1764.
|Massachusetts. Militia. Regiment, Ebenezer
|Groton (Mass.)--Centennial celebrations,
|Groton (Mass.)--Church history.
|Justices of the Peace--Massachusetts--Middlesex
|United States--History--French and Indian War,