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P.O. Box 1355 Saugus, MA 01906     
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CANVAS ART WORKSHOP at Saugus Public Library
November 19, 2019 (4:00 pm)

November 30, 2019 (3:00 pm)

December 5, 2019 (3:00 pm)

Saugus River Watershed Council ANNUAL MEETING
December 5, 2019 (6:30 pm)

December 6, 2019 (3:00 pm)

SARAH GARDENER WINTER SONGS at the Saugus Public Library
December 19, 2019 (10:30 am)

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Saugus Historical Society
Our "home" (pictured above) is located at 30 Main Street, Saugus Center.

Saugus Historical Society
30 Main Street
P.O. Box 1209
Saugus,  MA   01906-1209 
For information, please call
(781) 233 - 7232 and leave a message.

Founded in 1928, the purpose of the Historical Society is to cultivate an interest in the history
of Saugus and to collect and preserve all matter pertaining to the town’s
history and citizenry. 
It is a 501c3 corporation which presents educational programs about local history. 
The Saugus Historical Society sponsors the popular Strawberry Festival held each year
on the third Saturday in June, and it publishes a calendar (available at Town Hall,
the Senior Center, and the Library) with historic photographs of town sites and people.

Saugus Historical Society President
Laura Eisener   (781) 231 - 5988 

Any Saugus resident who would like to discuss joining the Historical Society board
is welcome to contact President Laura Eisener (781) 231-5988     


Meetings are held 6 times per year on the second Wednesday of the month
in March, April, May, September, October,
and November.

Doors open at 6:45 pm    -    Meeting starts at 7:00 pm

Light refreshments will be served and treats are always appreciated.
Visitors are always welcome. 

A business meeting and refreshments precede the main program.  
The main program
typically includes a speaker and often a slide-show. 
Members, their guests, and the
general public are invited to attend.
There is no charge.


Do you know who North America's first female poet was and where she lived?
Anne (Dudley) Bradstreet's poetry was published on both sides of the Atlantic
although at the time some of her neighbors thought women should stick to
domestic tasks.  She was born in 1612 in Northampton England and married
to Massachusetts governor Simon Bradstreet with whom she had 10 children! 
After moving to the New World, the family lived in several Massachusetts
towns including Salem, Ipswich, and Andover. 


Do you know why "The Spirit of 76" hangs on a Marblehead wall
when the artist had no obvious ties to the area?  The Ohio schoolboy who
modeled for the young boy on the left in the painting was the son of
Civil War General John H. Devereux, whose ancestors came from Marblehead.
He donated the painting to the town after it was shown in several American
cities, and exhibited at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. 
More recent history is being made in the county as 2 Essex County cities have
each installed over 20 pieces of new outdoor public art in the last 2 years. 
Both Lynn (particularly downtown) and Salem (in the point section) have had
large scale murals and other work created by local and international artists.


Saugus archives available for research
The Saugus Historical Society's collection of documents,
photographs, books,
postcards, newspapers, and artifacts have been carefully indexed and preserved
over the past eight years by Fred Brooks.
They may all be utilized for research purposes dealing with the history of Saugus.
Please call the Historical Society (781) 233-7232 for an appointment.


Saugus officially became a town separate from Lynn
on February 17, 1815

By Laura Eisner, President
Saugus Historical Society

In 1629, the area then known as Saugus was founded.  The name Saugus was the
Native American name for the area.  It was a large territory which included what we
now call Lynn, Reading, Swampscott, Nahant, Wakefield, and Lynnfield.  A few years
later, the name was changed to Lynn, after a town in England. As more settlers came
in, clusters of residents and businesses developed in different parts of the town.

In its heyday, Saugus ironworks was often known as the Ironworks at Lynn, since
that was the accepted name of the town during most of the 17th and 18th century.

The town center, and the church which people were required to support, was near
what we now consider Central Square in Lynn.  Those who lived far away did not
find it convenient to walk or ride their horses to the center, so as populations increased
they began to talk of setting up separate church districts, or parishes, and eventually
to separating into different towns.  By the 1730’s, people living near what we now call
Saugus Center successfully petitioned to form a separate parish, which was known as
Second Parish or West Parish, since it was west of the town center.  This meant they
could erect their own local church so they would not have to travel so far each week.
They still had to travel to town hall in Lynn for meetings regarding government of the
town, and taxes were paid to Lynn.

Not surprisingly, the farther away from town center people were, the more quickly they
became discontented with the travel distance. Reading was the first town to officially
split from Lynn - it did so in 1644. For over 100 years there were no further separations
but by the 19th century there were several communities at some distance from Lynn’s
seat of government, and more new towns were proposed.   The 19th century saw many
widespread towns split up.   Lynnfield was incorporated February 28, 1814, and Saugus
followed almost a year later, to be officially recognized as a separate town on February
17, 1815.  A few decades later Swampscott and Nahant also became separate towns.

In 1814 and 1815the War of 1812 was still raging, but it was more local concerns that
prompted the petition by Saugus residents to become a separate town.  10 years had
passed since the opening of the Newburyport Turnpike (our Route 1), and so far people
were still complaining about the amount of money the turnpike had cost the state. 
While the new road may have facilitated travel north and south, it did nothing to help
the citizens who lived near it get to Town Meeting in Lynn, to the east, or to travel to the
western part of the state.

When Saugonians put forth the petition in 1814 to become a separate town, Saugus
was not the first name they thought of.  The petition asked  the state senate and
legislature that the new town be set off from Lynn  "with all rights and privileges
accorded to towns in the Commonwealth,  by the name of Westport, if that shall seem
to Your Honors right and  expedient….“   Presumably the name occurred to them
because the second parish was also sometimes referred to as West Parish.  
Sometime between 1814 and early 1815 however, they decided to reuse the name
Native American name Saugus which had been Lynn’s name before 1637.

The signers of the 1814 petition were William Jackson, Daniel S. Oliver, Peter Davis, 
Thomas Mansfield,  Thomas Mansfield Jr., Robert Ames, Richard Mansfield,
Nathaniel Tarbell, John Southwick, Benjamin Wilson, James Johnson, Abijah Hawkes,
William Hawks, Ebenezer Hawks, John Raddin, Nathan Hawks, Abner Cheever,
John Felch, Henry Cheever, William Sweetser Jr., John Butts, Joseph Danforth,
Jacob Newhall, and J.I Newhall, Ebenezer Bancroft, Jonathan Makepeace,
Thomas Raddin, and James Oliver.  These men were already active in the town,
and several would continue to be involved in the government of the new town of Saugus.

Thomas Mansfield Sr., Jacob Newhall, and Jonathan Makepeace were all on the new
school committee.  Richard Mansfield became the first Town Clerk, and along with
Jonathan Makepeace and Alijah Hawkes served as Overseer of the Poor.  Major
Jonathan Makepeace, who ran an important snuff company in Saugus, was also the
Sealer of Weights and Measures.  John Felch and Thomas Mansfield were both Hog Reeves,
and William Sweetser was a Constable. Benjamin Wilson was one of 3 Surveyors of the
Highway.  Ebenezer Bancroft, Ebenezer Hawks, and John Raddin were Fence Viewers. 
Many of these men had ancestors who were early settlers in the town, but at least one,
William Jackson, was a fairly new resident who only arrived in Saugus in 1808. 
Jackson Street was named for him.  William Sweetser Jr. was another man who was
involved in the snuff business which was a major industry in Saugus at this time.

For many years, Cliftondale was known as Sweetser’s Corner, and there was an
elementary school known as the Sweetser School to honor the family.

Makepeace Street in the Pleasant Hills area near Saugus Center was named for
Major Makepeace.  Danforth Ave. and Raddin Terrace are both in the Pleasant Hills
area as well.  Many Newhall’s lived in Saugus and Lynn through the years, and they
are remembered with Newhall Street in East Saugus and Newhall Avenue which loops
around Saugus Commons off Main Street.

The town grew considerably in the next 100 years.  The Newburyport Turnpike had
become an established transportation route bringing more people through Saugus
regularly.   By 1915, the population was larger and much more diverse, and the
townspeople were ready to celebrate their centennial in style.  Since February in New
England is apt to be cold and snowy, outdoor celebrations were scheduled for later in
the year when the weather could be expected to be more pleasant. 
The 100th anniversary plans in 1915 included 3 days of events (July 3, 4, 5), which were
eventually stretched out because rain caused postponement of some of them.  A special
pageant was performed depicting key moments in Saugus’ history up to 1915. This
pageant involved many leading citizens in costume representing historic local figures,
choirs singing appropriate songs for each scene, and dancers of all ages displaying
traditional dances from the many ethnic groups that contributed to our population.  There
was a parade, and the whole town took part in celebrating and taking pride in our town.

Horace Atherton wrote a book that year to commemorate the anniversary -
The History of Saugus” which still is a rich source of information about our town’s past.
Despite the World War going on in 1915, people managed to muster enough enthusiasm
to celebrate that milestone year.

2015 presents us with a wonderful opportunity to come together as a community and
do the same.   Despite a bit of turmoil in the current town government and the many
demands being made on our time, it would do us some good to come together to
remember Saugus’ long history and to enjoy the fact that for however long we are here,
we are part of it.

Whether you grew up in Saugus or moved here recently, Saugus is your home town now!
Those of us who make our homes here, whether we expect to  move on to another place
shortly or expect to spend the rest of our  lives here, it is our hometown in this
anniversary year - so let’s all do something to make it memorable.  Saugus is truly
someplace special.    Let’s feel happy that we’re here, and all add our voices to the
cheers for Saugus’ 200th!


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