On this day in 1781, Natick was formally incorporated, but the town already had a long history. In 1651, a group of Christianized Indians had founded a "Praying Town" in what is now South Natick. Led by the missionary John Eliot, the Indians built an English-style village. For 25 years the town prospered. Then, with the outbreak of King Philip's War, the colonial authorities imprisoned all Christianized Indians on an island in Boston Harbor. After the war, the Natick Indians struggled to re-establish their community. They failed, but their history was not forgotten. In 2001, the people of Natick observed the 350th anniversary of the "Praying Indian" settlement that gave birth to their town.