E/MS Unit II

Activity 2: Multiplying Towns

Read aloud the story of Marblehead. Do students see similarities between Marblehead and another town about which they recently learned?


  1. How does this information add to their understanding of what Puritan towns were like?
  2. Why did the English create new towns out of old ones? Why did they also establish other new towns further inland?

Display a map of eastern Massachusetts that shows town borders. Ask students to indicate the area that was included in Newtowne in 1644. Have them do the same for Salem and Concord, which were among the earliest and largest towns in the colony. Invite your town historian or someone from the local historical society to visit the class and/or find books on your town’s early history.

  1. When was the town settled and when was it incorporated? What drew the first settlers to the area?
  2. If the town was settled very early, what were its original boundaries? When did they change?
  3. How many times has the town been subdivided? When and why did the divisions occur?
  4. If the town was once a part of another town, what town was it part of? Why did the “new” town break away from the old one? (For example, if students live in Beverly, this was once a part of Salem. If they live in Lexington, the town was originally part of Cambridge.)
  5. Did people from the students’ town establish one or more new towns? Where? How did the new town(s) get their names?

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