In the Beginning

[No copy of the May 1975 issue of Ashland Directions has been found. The following history selection may have been the one printed.]

So far as is known, the first white men to visit the territory which Ashland now embraces were John Oldham, Samuel Hall, and two others, who in 1633 traveled from Watertown to the Connecticut River in search of a suitable place for settlement. These pioneers followed the old Indian trail, which later became known as the Connecticut Path, or the Bay Path and which formed the principal line of communication between Massachusetts Bay and the lower Connecticut valley. For many years thereafter, although the section became well known to the planters eastward, no permanent settlement was established within the boundaries of present-day Ashland. This was due, in part, to the ever-present Indian menace, and also to the fact that there were to be found no extensive lowlands like the Sudbury marshes, where the self cured wild marsh hay grew.

This remote wilderness, too far from the established centers of colonization to attract many white men, was however, an ideal situation for one of John Eliot’s towns of praying Indians, and it is with the settlement of Magunko Hill that the history of Ashland properly begins [1].

Directions – May 1975

[1] History of the Town of Ashland, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1942, p. 7