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by Jacob Marmor (pseudonym)

Friday, July 18, 1941

in What's New In Town

W. J. Sidis


        Massachusetts has done more than its share of colonizing―in fact, started from the earliest Puritan days. The Rhode Island settlements were founded by religious refugees, led by such residents of our present Metropolis as Roger Williams of Salem, and Anne Hutchinson of Boston.

        Connecticut, likewise, was originally a colony of Greater Boston. Newtown (now called Cambridge) sent out its quota of colonists in 1636, as did Watertown and Dorchester; these colonists, settling on the Connecticut River across from the Indian city of Podunk, started villages named for the home town on Massachusetts Bay. When these villages federated (the first federation ever adopted by white people), the villages changed their names, and Cambridge’s colony became Hartford, while the other two were called Windsor and Weathersfield (now suburbs of Hartford).

      During the American Revolutionary period, the usual penalty for pro-Britishers in Massachusetts was to be “sent to Halifax.” (Note the present-day expression “Go to Halifax.”) And so half Nova Scotia, and many settlements elsewhere in Canada, were colonized from here; and to many Nova Scotians, Massachusetts represents the old homeland their ancestors, to which they often like to return. At the time of the evacuation of Boston, nearly ten thousand Bostonians “went to Halifax.”

        The War for Independence was not over before colonization of the Ohio Valley was organized here, the “Ohio Company,” having been formed in 1782 at the site of the present Stock Exchange Building at 53 State Street. The first Ohio settlement colonized from Boston was Marietta. Massachusetts colonies also went to Michigan and Wisconsin, and transported the institution of the town meeting to Wisconsin―the only place outside New England where it is in use.

        Northern emigration to Kansas in 1855 was largely sponsored from here, and the covered wagons going to Kansas were given a song of their own, printed and distributed from Boston, and still a favorite in Kansas:

“We come across the prairies as of old,
The Pilgrims crossed the sea,
To make the West, as they the East,
The homestead of the free.”

       In the languages of the Indians of the North Pacific Coast, from San Francisco north to Alaska, the word for an American is “Boston.”

        American settlement in Hawaii originally started with missionaries sent out from Boston, and many is the book printed in Hawaiian and dated “Bosetona” on the title page.

        The President of the Hawaiian Republic, in fact, was descended from a Boston family, still to be found in Jamaica Plain.

        And even in China, the Tai-Ping Rebellion of 1851, which gave China its first ideas of liberty and democracy, was led by a Salem sea captain―maybe in return for the tea once shipped to Boston from China.


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