Historic Timeline 1700 - 1799


Peleg Wissell  becomes the new schoolmaster.


Samuel Long and Ebenezer Breed build fine houses on the Market Square on lots set off from the Great House parcel.

The first women teachers are hired to teach the children of the poor and pupils living in remote areas of Charlestown beyond the Neck.  The first school committee consisting of Samuel Phipps and Jonathan Dowse is appointed to “inspect and regulate” the school and solve overcrowding.


A clock is installed in the Town House cupola.


A new larger school is erected atop Town Hill on the site of the previous one.

Parker Pottery begins production of redware using local clays.


A new Meeting House with a steeple is erected in the Market Square.  The Market Square is paved with cobblestones.


A Court House with cupola is built in the Market Square.

The first school building is constructed “beyond the Neck.”


Parker Pottery adds stoneware to its pottery line.


Nathaniel Brown purchases the Three Cranes tavern and operates it until its destruction during the Battle of Bunker Hill, 1775.


A permanent school committee is appointed to conduct quarterly inspections of the schools and examinations of the students.


Josiah Harris buys Parker Pottery which becomes Harris Pottery.


School overcrowding is resolved by the conversion of the old Town House to a school building and the hiring of additional teachers.  The days of the one-room schoolhouse occupied by a single schoolmaster are at an end.


Charlestown has become a principal port of the Bay Colony.  The town manufactures rum, sugar loaves, candles, pottery and leather goods and exports those items plus fur, lumber, pipe staves, and building frames. . . . Charlestown defies Parliament’s newly-passed Stamp Act and conducts its own “Tea Party” by destroying a quantity of tea in a bonfire eight years before the “Boston Tea Party” dumps tea in the harbor in a similar protest in 1773.


Charlestown suffers great hardship under the Boston Port Bill which closes the port to trade in retaliation for the Boston Tea Party.  Aid is sent from other towns and colonies.


Charlestown patriots, Col. William Conant, Richard Devens, and John Larkin are involved in the planning and execution of Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride, April 18.  Revere asks church sexton Robert Newman to show lantern signals from Old North Church to alert the Charlestown patriots that British troops are coming out so they can send their own rider to alarm the countryside in case Revere fails to reach Charlestown.  Revere is rowed from Boston and lands safely near Charlestown Battery.  John Larkin provides Revere with a horse for his ride to Lexington and Concord.  In this Revere and other riders activated by his alarm succeed.  Assembled patriot militias battle the British troops at Lexington and Concord thus beginning the Revolutionary War.  Battle weary British troops, ranks thinned by the battles  and harassing sniper fire along their line of march, return to Boston through Charlestown, April 19.

The Battle of Bunker Hill is fought on Breed’s Hill in Charlestown on June 17.  Though defeated when their ammunition runs out, the patriots inflict a significant number of casualties causing the British to make no more forays out of besieged Boston prior to their evacuation in 1776.  During the battle, Charlestown, ignited by British cannon-fire, burns down.


John Hay rebuilds his house at Thompson Square: the first frame house to be built in Charlestown after the Battle of Bunker Hill conflagration.  Occupied by the apothecary shop of Elias Crafts, Jr. in 1828, the location becomes known as Crafts Corner (now Thompson Square).


Revolutionary War activity moves south, Charlestown’s population returns and begins rebuilding the town in earnest.  The Warren Tavern is built by Eliphalet Newell.  The Edes House on Main Street is built by David Wood, Sr. (now site of The Cooperative Bank).  The James Russell mansion house is built on the Market Square.  A handsome house of wood with corner pilasters and a cupola, it later becomes a public house known as the “Mansion House” before being demolished in 1866 for an extension of Waverlev House.


The Revolutionary War ends with the Battle of Yorktown, Virginia.  Charlestown rebuilding continues.


The Town begins the clean-up and assembly of parcels to create a large open market square (now City Square).


A new Congregational Meeting House is erected atop Town Hill.  A steeple by Charles Bulfinch is later added. . . .The First Masonic Lodge in Charlestown, King Solomon’s Lodge, is founded in a room of the Warren Tavern (later known as Mason’s Hall) in September.


Paul Revere, a frequent guest, was present at King Solomon’s Masonic Lodge Consecration Ceremonies on January 7, 1784.


General George Washington visits Charlestown.

The Charles River Bridge is built, replacing the ferry.

The Charlestown Artillery, a militia company, is founded.

Nathaniel Gorham, a prominent Charlestown merchant and politician, whose house faces the Market Square (now City Square) is elected President of the Continental Congress.  Gorham was later a signer of the U.S. Constitution. .

Warren Hall is built as an addition to the Warren Tavern by the tavern’s owner, an avid Mason, to house King Solomon’s Masonic Lodge meetings.


The Malden Bridge opens across the Mystic River.


Rev. Jedidiah Morse, Father of American Geography and Congregational minister, becomes pastor of the First Church of Charlestown.  He and his family live at the Edes House on Main Street while a parsonage is being built on Town Hill. . . . The Timothy Thompson house (now 9 Thompson Street) is built.


The Deacon John Larkin house is built on Main Street at Winthrop Street.


Telegraph inventor and painter Samuel F. B. Morse is born in the Edes  House.

Samuel  Dexter, Jr., U.S. Senator and, later, Secretary of War and Treasury in the Adams and Jefferson Administrations, builds his mansion house on Green Street (still extant though much altered).


The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company donates the former Three Cranes tavern parcel to the town to become part of the market square.

King Solomon’s Masonic Lodge erects a monument to Joseph Warren on the Battle of Bunker Hill site.  Warren was a surgeon, Mason, Major General and President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress who served as a private at the Battle of Bunker hill and was killed at batttle’s end as British troops overwhelmed the redoubt.  A marble replica of the original Masonic monument exists in the well-room at the base of the present monument.

The Benjamin Thompson house (now 119 Main Street) is built by Timothy Thompson for his son.


The Hurd House on Main Street, corner of Monument Avenue, is built.


The Thomas Russell mansion house is completed on Charles River Avenue (Water Street) according to plans by Charles Bulfinch.  A Federal style brick building, it has a hipped roof, balustrade and domed cupola.  It later became a public house with a succession of owners and names, the last of which were James Walker and Middlesex House, respectively, before it burned in the great fire of 1835.