Captain Robert K. Wright, Jr. 116th Military History Detachment Virginia Army National Guard

19 July 1986

Departments of the Army and the Air Force Historical Services Branch Office of Public Affairs National Guard Bureau Washington, D.C. 20310



New England's political and social evolution during the seventeenth century did not occur under tight centralized control. Vague grants and charters, lack of British supervision, caused in part by a civil war, and an essentially independent attitude on the part of the various colonizing groups all contributed to haphazard growth. Territorial boundaries of the various governmental jurisdictions underwent substantial change. The first entity to emerge was Plymouth Colony (1620) which exercised control over what is today the southeastern portion of Massachusetts. The second was the Massachusetts Bay Colony which established an outpost in Salem in 1628, and began its main settlement sequence in 1630. This colony established the largest territorial claim and backed it up with the most substantial population. Throughout the early portion of the century it- exercised control over all of Massachusetts (excluding Plymouth Colony), Maine (which became a separate governing entity only in 1820), and New Hampshire. Offshoot colonies which were derived from, but independent of, Massachusetts followed in Connecticut and Rhode Island. New Haven Colony existed briefly as a separate entity before being annexed by Connecticut in the rechartering process following the 1660 Restoration of Charles II; New Hampshire separated from Massachusetts as a colony shortly thereafter. Individual towns changed colonies into the early years of the eighteenth century as commissions finally settled precise intercolonial boundaries. Prior to the capture of New Netherlands (New York) from the Dutch, Connecticut and New Haven also exercised jurisdiction over various settlements in eastern Long Island, and a number of New Englanders moved to Dutch-sponsored settlements in western Long Island and present-day Westchester County, further complicating issues.

To properly assess the evolution of the New England militias' force structure, it is necessary to keep these various changes in mind, and to track units through the records of various colonies. It is also important to carefully study the histories of individual communities to determine the evolution of the town governmental structure, since towns changed names and often were subdividied, splitting existing companies. Note well that each colony followed slightly different patterns within an overall regional context.

Also bear in mind that contemporary records for the New England jurisdictions of the 17th Century follow the Julian Calendar (old style, or o.s.), not the Gregorian Calendar (new style, or n.s.) in use today. The British Empire formally changed systems in September of 1752; the date 2 September was followed by 14 September. To convert o.s. dates to n.s., one adds ten (10) days when dealing with the 17th Century, eleven (11) for the 18th. Also note that New Year's Day in o.s. came on 25 March; in n.s. on 1 January. Therefore, o s. dates falling between 1 January and 25 March give two years, erg. 1628/9, which means on that date the year was considered to be still 1628, but by modern accounting it would be 1629. This usage occurred during the 17th Century as Englishmen realized that most of the rest of Europe had already shifted to the Gregorian Calendar, and a concession to practical commerce and diplomacy was necessary. All dates given below are given as they occur in the records, which is to say in old style.



Bay Colony- 17th Century


On 4 March 1628/9 the Bay Colony received its charter, which included total control over internal military and political organization. The governing body (then still located in England) issued its "First General Letter" of instructions on 17 April of that same year (ref. Records Mass. 1:37i-39, 386-398) to CPT John Endecott appointing him governor" of the "plantation" at Naumkeag (Salem) and directing him to undertake the military organization of the trading post and settlement, which had been established the previous year. Endecott had travelled to Salem in 1628. At his request weapons and uniforms for 100 men were shipped over in 1629 to outfit a company organization which corresponded to contemporary European norms and included 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 1 ensign, 3 sergeants, 3 drummers, possibly 1 corporal, and 90 or 91 privates. Uniforms were extensive, and included most noticably 100 green coats bound with red tape, deliberately copying a pattern common in contemporary operations in Ireland where a form of camouflage was required. Weapons for the company included 8 cannon for the defensive fortification; 100 firearms (80 snaphances which were primitive flintlocks; 10 long fowling pieces; and 10 larger caliber matchlocks—again an arms mix of very modern content); 100 swords; 83 pole arms (3 halberds for the sergeants; 60 pikes; and 20 half-pikes); plus 60 corselets (upper torso body armor) (ref. Records Mass. 1:23-6, 31). No exact date for implementation of this organizational table is preserved, but the absence of detail implies strongly that it was adopted in 1629, and, since the instructions from internal evidence indicated that they were merely approving Endecott's recommendations, the date 17 April 1629 can be considered acceptable as a starting date for the Salem Company. Note here that Rutmants suggestion that the company organized in England prior to departure is incorrect; like all initial ventures of commercial nature, a commercial company organization was in place prior to shipment, but not a military company.

The General Court moved with the charter to the Bay area in the summer of 1630 as large migration started. The first General Court (legislative session) in the New World took place on 25 August 1630 (ref. Records Mass. 1:73-4; Johnson, Wonder Working Providence, p. 37). On 22 March 1630/1 the General Court established the first military legislation—a simple requirment for universal military service phrased as a requirement for all adult males (except ministers and magistrates) to possess arms; towns were to furnish arms (and later collect the costs) to indigents (ref. Records Mass. 1:84). This law implemented a concept fundamental in England since the Assize of Arms (1185), and marked the first of a long series of laws attempting to enforce this requirement (for ex. on 12 April 1631 a basic load of ammunition was specified; see Records Mass. 1:85). Two military veterans from Europe were hired to train the colony's militia — Captains Daniel Patrick and John Underhill (ref. Records Mass. 1:99, 103). Other 1630 residents of the colony with prior service in Europe included Endecott, Robert Weldon, and William Southcot.

The initial 1630 migration established several different towns in the Bay proper to go along with the original Salem settlement. Militia


organization followed almost as rapidly. The first explicit reference which appears in the records, and which therefore is used as a start date for the original companies is the 12 April 1631 (ref. Records Mass. 1:85) General Court directive "It is ordered, that every captains shall traine his companie on Saterday in everie weeke". On 7 November 1632 training was cut back to once a month, and on 3 September 1634 to once a month excluding the agricultural months of July and August, although captains had the right to require additional individual training up to three days a week for persons not judged proficient (ref. Records Mass. 1:102, 124). Note that initially some companies were split between several towns (ref. Records Mass. 1:127), that captains appointed their noncommissioned officers (ref. Records Ma. 1:109), and that by 1635/6 each company had its own colors which were carried by the ensign (ref. Records Mass. 1:169).

Significant "firsts" include the 26 July 1631 initial commissioning of junior officers by the General Court (ref. Records Mass. 1:90); the first reference to split training (which included reference to the fact that drill started at 1300 hours) by Captain John Underhill's company which was spread between Boston, Roxbury, Charlestown, Mystick, and New Town (ref. Records Mass. 1:90); John Finch and Henry Lynn being the first men fined, on 7 November 1632, for missing drill (ref. Records Mass. 1:102); Sergeant Perkins being fined on 1 October 1633 for being drunk at drill (ref. Records Mass. 1:108); the first integration on 3 September 1634 when an Indian who was residing in Dorchester was allowed to train with the company there (ref. Records Mass. 1:127); and the first release of three individuals from the requirement to train because of their age, although they were still required to keep arms (ref. Records Mass. 1:133). On 4 March 1634/5 (ref. Records Mass. 1:137) the Court directed that militia fines be used by the individual companies to purchase arms and equipment, and on 3 September 1634 it specified (ref. Records Mass. 1:125) that no one was to fire a weapon on training day unless under the orders of an officer during marksmanship practice. Beginning on 14 May 1634 (ref. Records Mass. 1:117, 138) the General Court asserted its right to appoint all military officers down to the rank of ensign, although on 4 March 1634/5 it did delegate appointment authority to a military committee when the court was in recess. This latter provision accounts for the fact that throughout the seventeenth century a roster of officers based solely on the Records Mass. will be incomplete. The Bay Colony's first "combat" came in 1632 (ref. Johnson, Wonder- Working, 50-51) when Richard Walker was ambushed near Lynn during a changing of the guard; he was not injured, but was struck twice by arrows before firing his weapon and scaring the Indians off. (Walker later became a militia lieutenant, and Johnson applies the title prematurely in his brief account.)

Colony population grew rapidly during the first decade to an estimated level of about 20,000 persons. Towns began proliferating, a process which the General Court controlled carefully. Normally, a group of citizens would obtain a permit to settle an area, would be granted a "plantation" with certain conditions attached (such as achieving a fixed number of resident families within a specified time limit), and eventually would be granted full township status. Militia organization followed town evolution. According to the


pattern revealed in the Records Mass. (for ex. 1:160) and other sources, normally the male inhabitants would first be grouped for mandatory training under an appointed non-commissioned officer, and then would begin growth towards full company status under one captain, one lieutenant, and one ensign. On the other hand, "out-migration" to Connecticut began in 1635, producing some immediate changes in company organization, with new arrivals in the colony buying out the improved homesteads of the departing individuals and communities. This had a particular impact on Dorchester and Cambridge.

Subsequent to December 1636 (when regiments were created—see next section) several pieces of legislation were passed to deal with issues of rank and status. On 9 March 1636/7 (ref. Mass. Records 1:188) the General Court ruled that although only freemen (a political term meaning full citizenship individuals) could be elected as officers, all members of the trained band (i.e. those males required to both own weapons and to attend the musters) could vote in the company elections provided that they had taken the oath of loyalty to the General Court known as the "residents' oath." Voting fraud (balloting was by either colored beans or names on slips of paper) immediately became a problem, and the first law punishing it was passed on 17 October 1643 (ref. Records Mass. 2:48). A further clarification issued on 26 May 1647 (ref. Records Mass. 2:191; 3:108) opened the voting process to include other freemen in the town who were exempted from the requirement to train with the company. Formats for commissions for the various offices from general officer to company clerk and statements of their duties were formalized during the early 1640's, and subsequently refined (ref. Records Mass. 1: 355-6; 2: 63-65, 76-78, 117-20; 3:2-3, 14, 32-36).

On 2 June 1641 (ref. Mass. Records 1:329, 355-6; 2:42-43, 49-50, 267; 3:156, 236; 4 part 1:56) overall command was vested in "Sergeant Major General" John Humphrey (an English term; the rank was in the process during the century of being shortened to Major General, and Massachusetts references use the two interchangeably). On 14 May 1642 a select committee was established (ref. Records Mass. 2:3) by the General Court to "putt the countrey in a poture of warre." This started a procedure of having experts develop new laws to upgrade the defensive potential of the colony to deal primarily with threats posed by conditions in England, and only secondarily with threats from the Indians. Initially, laws on 8 and 27 September 1642 (ref. Records Mass. 2:2026, 2~29, 31) tightened up various topics. A census of all male inhabitants aged 16 to 60 was ordered on 10 May 1643 and another in 1646 (ref. Records Mass. 2:37, 151; 3:74) to provide better data for decision makers. Political organization of the colony changed on that same day with the subdivision of the colony into four counties or shires (ref. Rewords Mass. 2:38). It contributed to a new approach to the militia discussed below.

The colony's first comprehensive militia law was passed on 7 September 1643 (ref. Mass. Records 2.42-43). It consisted of ten sections which confirmed or reworked the earlier piecemeal legislation, and was intended to parallel many of the features of English shire system of militia organization. One Sergeant Major General for the colony was permitted, along with one Shire Lieutenant per shire, and one Sergeant Major (again an English term which was in the process of being shortened to Major; Massachusetts used both interchangeably) per shire. The Shire Lieutenant was an administrative


official (also known in English usage as the Lord Lieutenant; in other colonies in America as the County Lieutenant); the Sergeant Major the operational leader of the armed force of the county. The law provided for the Sergeant Major to assume the duties of the Shire Lieutenant in his absence, and in fact Massachusetts never appointed any Shire Lieutenants. The Sergeant Major replaced both the colonel and lieutenant colonel in a regiment. Each shire or regiment (a usage which indicates that, like the English would shortly after, Massachusetts assumed that each county would have a single regiment) was to be divided into companies (by the military authorities) with several small towns being joined to form a single company if necessary. As an afterthought, an amendment (ref. Records Mass. 2:45) said that in such a case one individual in each town was to be named to supervise training for the town's soldiers. Regiments were to conduct an annual assembly as a regiment for large-unit training. The 1643 law also relaxed the requirement to own firearms for men who were training as pikemen, and a reference by the General Court on 18 June 1645 (ref. Records Mass. 3:32-36) indicated that 2/3 of the force would train with firearms, 1/3 with pikes, a ratio in keeping with contemporary European professional armies. The September law caused some confusion, for clarifications were issued on 17 October 1643 and 7 March 1643/4 (ref. Records Mass. 2: 49-50, 56, 62) dealing with electoral procedures for the new officers. Implied in the laws and the phrasing of the commissions, and explicitly stated by Johnson (ref. Wonder-Working, p. 207), was one key point about officers: other than the Major General who was elected annually at the same time as the Governor and other colony-wide civil officials, all officers held their commissions until removed for cause by the General Court, until they petitioned the General Court for a discharge and had the petition granted, or until they died. Another law passed on 12 August 1645 (ref. Records Mass. 2:122; 3:41) is the first Massachusetts "minuteman" law, for it required every company commander to have 30% of his unit ready with full packs, ammunition, etc., and capable of turning out for active duty on a halfhour's notice. Other men in the frontier towns were to be paid to serve as "scouts for ye rainging of ye woods upon ye borders of their several! towns" (ref. Records Mass. 3:40). Boys aged 10-16, with their parents' permission, could receive basic training from an officer or veteran solider on training day beginning in 1645 (ref. Records Mass. 2:99, 3:12).

Additional laws were passed on the 11 November 1647 session of the General Court. One (ref. Records Mass. 2:221-224) amended and remodified provisions of the 1645 law to allow each company to set its own dates for training provided that they trained eight days a year and that they did not train during the agricultural months of July and August. it also clarified requirements for which weapons would meet legal standards, which individuals were required to own weapons but exempted from training, and company officer election procedures, but restated a requirement for a court to certify the election results. The second law (ref. Records Mass. 2:216) stated that time spent marching to and from a regimental assembly counted in the eight-day training requirement. A law of 27 October 1648 reduced the regimental drill from an annual requirement to every third year in regimental rotation (ref. Records Mass. 2:256; 3:137). A law of 10 May 1648 provided for the organization of cavalry units, called troops of horse, whose members were exempted from infantry training and given certain other benefits in exchange for the expense of furnishing their own horses and more complex equipment.


The law was enacted for a three-year trial period, with minor modifications on 4 May 1649 and 14 October 1651—the latter extending to the troops the same election rights enjoyed by the infantry companies (ref. Mass. 2: 243-4; 3:127-8, 154, 236; 4 part 1: 56).

Yet another comprehensive militia law was enacted on 26 May 1652 to codify the various features which had crept in through amendments and special purpose laws (ref. Records Mass. 3:267-70; 4 part 1:86-88). This one furnished new forms of commissions for the regimental officers; specified that a company would be entitled to a full set of three officers only if it had at least 64 members, otherwise it would have proportional reductions and be commanded by an individual of lieutenant or lesser rank. Majors had the right to order several small towns combined to form a single company, but were not required to do so. When a company reached a strength of 200 or more men, it was to be split into two or more companies (ideally 100 men each). This law required for the first time that all minorities (defined in the act as Scotsmen, Negroes and Indians) living in a town either as settlers or servants of settlers participate in training as members of companies. The law allowed a company commander to authorize separate training for groups of men who lived too far from the center of town to conveniently join with the main body on training days (the ancestor of a current ARNG concept called "split training"). It also specified that a major could not march his regiment outside of his county without the express orders of the General Court or the Major General, but gave him the right to mobilize the regiment without orders if under actual attack, and stated that whenever a regiment had a vacancy in the major's position, the senior captain would assume acting command. A companion law (ref. Record Mass. 3:265, 286-7; 4 part 1:80, 108) with clarification on 19 October 1652 included the horse troops (which had to have a minimal strength of 30 men) in the same general guidelines. Procedures for determining seniority among officers, and for ruling that an individual could not hold simultaneous commissions in both the infantry and cavalry were also passed on 19 October, when directions were issued to the company in Boston to divide itself into four separate companies, a "first" (ref. Records Mass. 3:284-6; 4 part 1: 106-7). A ruling on 3 May 1654 (ref. Records Ma. 3:344; 4 part 1: 183, 186) clarified a question by stating categorically that horse troops were part of the regiment in whose geographical bounds they fell.

Benefits to the cavalrymen were reduced somewhat on 14 May 1656, at the same time that Indians and Negroes were excluded from participating in the militia and the franchise in company elections was reduced to freemen and householders who took the oath of residency, although current unit members were "grandfathered" and allowed to retain their voting rights (ref. Records Mass. 3:397; 4 part 1:257-8). Lesser procedural amendments came on 30 August 1653, 11 May 1659, 21 October 1663, 29 April 1668, 19 May 1669, 15 May 1672, 2 October 1678, 28 May and 15 October 1679, 4 February 1679/8G, and 19 May 1680 (ref. Records MOOR. 3:320-1; 4 part 1:155-6, 366; 4 part 2:97, 368, 422, 510-1; 5:194, 211-3, 242-3, 261, 266, 290-1, 306). Key among these steps was the one in 1668 to reassert complete control over commissions (but not to the initial election) by the General Court. Training was cut back to six days a year on 31 May 1660 and to four (with a commander at his discretion allowed up to two additional days) on 28 May 1679 (ref. Records Mass. 4 part 1:420; 5:211-13). A war scare with the Dutch led to 23 May 1666 amendments


to stiffen weapons-owning requirements, and to clarify (restated on 7 October 1674) that the Major General was responsible for supervising non-regimental companies (ref. Records Mass. 4 part 2:295; 5:16). The modernization of weaponry continued on 10 October 1666 when body armor for pikemen was ruled unnecessary, and, in a key step which placed the colony well ahead of contemporary European armies, on 24 May 1677, after the bloody experience of King Philip's War, when every soldier was required to own a flintlock firearm (ref Records Mass. 4 part 2:319; 5:135).

The colony's first offensive military operation came in 1635 when a force of 120 men, drawn out from the militia but not by the mobilization of intact units, under CPT John Endicott, assisted by CPTs Underhill and Turner, sailed to Block Island to punish local Indians for the murder of a trading group (unrelated to the Bay Colony). In 1637, as a result of escalating tensions, full warfare erupted between the New Englanders (Connecticut, the separate trading outpost at Saybrook, Plymouth, and the Bay Colony) and Narragansett and Mohegan allies on the one side, and the Pequot tribe on the other. The Pequots, the most powerful southern New England tribe, were centered in present-day New London County, Connecticut. All colonies used provisional forces rather than mobilizing intact militia units to carry out the two offensive operations required to destroy the Pequots as a military entity. In the initial action ("the fort fight") CPT Underhill was present as an individual volunteer and 40 Bay Colony men under CPT Patrick covered the withdrawal of the main party (Connecticut, Saybrook, and allied Indians). In the second ("the swamp fight"), the Bay furnished 120 men under CPTs Israel Stoughton, Patrick and Trask, ENS Davenport, and SGTs Palmer, Davis, and Jeffries (ref. esp. Mason; Orr; Vaughan; and Records Mass. 1: 191-197). Similar procedures were followed in much smaller expeditions to the Narragansetts in 1650 and 1654 (ref. Records Mass. 3:218-9, 359; 4 part 1:35, 207), and in large planned, but never executed, attacks on the Dutch in Manhattan in 1664 and 1673 (ref. Records Mass. 4 part 2:12~3, 167, 572-5). King Philip's War (1675-77) was a total war for survival, and involved extensive operations by both provisional and standing militia units which are documented best in Records Mass. 5 and Bodge, Soldiery. Numerous secondary sources cover the war from both a broad perspective and a town-study view.


The Bay Colony's original company organizations are slightly vague, since the men of the colony trained and carried out guard duty from the day the ships anchored. The following dates of organization for the original town trained bands are therefore somewhat arbitrary, and reflect the first legal reference (which in every case is worded in such a way as to make clear that a unit was in fact in being).

Salem dates from 17 April 1629 under Captain John Endecott. This date is based on the letter of general instructions. By 1634 Endecott had been succeeded as company commander by Captain William Trask. (Ref. Records Mass., 1:386-98, 85, 93, 95, 120; Johnson, Wonder - Working, 19-22; Shelley, Underhill, 133-4.)

The companies in the Bay proper, covering the 1630 settlements, are all


ruled to have an organization date of 12 April 1631, based on the law requiring training passed by the General Court. These companies were: Captain John Underhill's (Boston and Roxbury); Daniel Patrick's (Watertown, Medford and Newtown); Richard Southcot's (Dorchester); and John Endecott's (Salem). Note that Underhill and Patrick had dual status as both company commanders and as hired "technicians." By 1635 the force had grown to 800 or so men in at least five companies: Underhill's (Boston); Patrick's (Newtown); CPT John Mason's (Dorchester); CPT William Trask's (Salem) and CPT Nathanial Turner's (Saugus).

In December 1636, with the colony facing war with the Pequots, a regimental organization was adopted for the colony's approximately 1,500 men. Under the overall command of the Governor as "chiefe general!" three geographically-based permanent regiments were set up, each commanded by a colonel and a lieutenant colonel, and each with a paid training officer (mustermaster). All regiments and companies were directed by the General Court to hold elections of officers prior to the next Court session and to report the results. Note that these units predate by six years the regiments of England. The act to execute this organization was passed on 13 December 1636 (ref. Records Mass. 1:186-187). The organization of 13 December 1636 with the results of commissions issued on 9 March 1636/7 (ref. Records Mass. 1:186-187) was as follows:


COL John Winthrop, Sr.; LTC Thomas Dudley
Mustermaster CPT John Underhill
Boston: CPT John Underhill
Dorchester: CPT Israel Stoughton
Roxbury: (Note: Commander unidentified)
Weymouth: (Note: Commander unidentified)
Hingham: (Note: Commander unidentified)

EAST REGIMENT (101st Egr Bn)

COL John Endecott; LTC John Winthrop, Jr.
Mustermaster CPT William Trask
Salem: CPT William Trask
Saugus (renamed 1637 as Lynn): CPT Daniel Patrick
Ipswich: CPT Daniel Dennison
Newbury: CPT John Spencer
(NOTE: Missing is Marblehead which had town status 1633)

NORTH REGIMENT (181st & 182d Inf)

COL John Haynes; LTC Roger Herlakenden
Mustermaster CPT Daniel Patrick
Charlestown: CPT Robert Sedgwick
Watertown: CPT William Jennison
Newtown (Renamed in September as Cambridge): CPT George Cooke
Concord: LT Simon Willard
Dedham: (Note: Commander unidentified)
(NOTE: Missing is Medford which had town status 1630)


Accounts of exactly what was accomplished by this act tend to be misleading and reflect unfamiliarity with force structuring concepts. The law, like other Bay Colony organizational laws during the century, lists the towns contributing manpower to the regiment, not the companies. The most frequently cited modern source for this information is Rutman's dissertation (pp. 675-678); the older secondary source is G.M. Bodge's Soldiers of King Philip's War (reprinted 1896 from a long series of articles in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register), pp. 471-472. Note that Rutman incorrectly switches the regimental names; Bodge, on the other hand, assigns numerical designations to the regiments without any justification. Accurate reconstruction of the nature of the internal organization of the regiments requires a full review of all six volumes of Records Mass., combined with the other primary and secondary (biographical) sources listed below. The most illuminating of these accounts is the 1654 London publication (reprinted at Andover in 1867) of Captain Edward Johnson's Wonder-Working Providence, since Johnson was a company commander in the 1640's. It must be used with some caution, however, for he uses military terminology in both technical and theological contexts, and applies rank titles that men held in 1650 to earlier points in their lives. The listing of officers given above is based on all the sources.

The three existing regiments changed names when the shires (counties) were created as political entities. Most secondary sources have incorrectly stated that the redesignation was effective on 10 May 1643 (o.s.) when the political law passed (ref. Mass Records 2:38); actually a separate law was passed on 7 September 1643 (o.s.) to bring the regiments into conformity (ref. Mass. Records 2:42-3). This interpretation is verified by the subsequent actions of the General Court on 17 October 1643 and 7 March 1643/4 (ref. Mass Records 2:49-50, 56) which directed the vacating of old regimental commissions to allow new elections. Therefore, on 7 September 1643 the South Regiment became the Suffolk Regiment, the East the Essex Regiment, and the North the Middlesex Regiment.

Secondary sources have had the most organizational trouble with the remaining geographical areas of the colony, misidentifying regimental organization and missing key facts and dates. The fourth shire, Norfolk County, created on 10 May 1643 was specifically exempted from regimental organization by the 7 September 1643 act. Inhabitants of the towns forming Norfolk continued in a separate, non-regimental status under the general supervision of the commander of the Essex Regiment (geographically the closest senior officer) for nearly three decades (ref. Mass. Records 2:226; 4pt2:295; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-195). On 31 May 1670 (ref. Mass. Records 4pt2:452) the General Court ruled that the population of Norfolk and the adjacent Piscataqua region had achieved sufficient density to justify establishment of a regimental organization and therefore created the Norfolk Regiment, appointing CPT Robert Pike as its Sergeant Major. The Norfolk Regiment was disbanded on 4 February 1679/80 when Norfolk County was "extinguished" (ref. Mass. Records 5:263-4) and its territory (except for a few towns transferred into Essex County) recognized as a separate colony (New Hampshire).


The fifth shire, York County, was created on 18 May 1653 for the tract beyond (i.e. north and east of) the Piscataqua River (ref. Mass. Records 4pt1:124-6). The towns comprising this shire were similarly left in unregimented status under the supervision of a designated individual (ref. Mass. Records 3:409; 4pt1:273; 4pt2:75-76,295,370-3,452). As in the case of Norfolk, population density had to reach a critical mass before higher echelon military organization was permitted. On 31 May 1671 the York Regiment came into being (ref. Mass. Records 4pt2:486 -- note that this is one year to the day after Norfolk gained regimental status). York during this period included the area that today is the state of Maine.

On 7 May 1662 a sixth shire, Hampshire County, was created (ref. Mass. Records 4pt2:52) extending intermediate governmental organization to towns in the western part of the colony previously directly subordinate to the General Court. Once again the companies from these towns were explicitly left outside of any regimental organization until population density grew (ref. Mass. Records 4pt2:295). On 31 May 1671 the Hampshire Regiment was established by law under John Pynchon as Sergeant Major (ref. Mass Records 4pt2: 486,488). This date is the correct organization date of the 104th Infantry.

The seventh early shire was created as Devonshire County on 7 October 1674 (ref. Mass Records 5:16-20, 236) at the request of the inhabitants of the "eastern parts" of present-day Maine living in the vicinity of Kennebec, Pemaquid, Saggedehock, Damerill Cove, and the vicinity. It never received regimental status during the period under consideration.

Troops of Horse were authorized as distinct companies within regiments by legislation passed on 10 May 1648 (ref. Mass. Records 2:243-4; 3:127-8, 344; 4pt1:183, 186; also see discussion in first section.) The first subdivision of companies within a single town took place on 19 October 1652, when the Boston company was split into four companies in implementation of a 26 May 1652 change in the law (ref. Mass. Records 3:285; 4pt1:106).

The colony's confidence in and understanding of its military capability was contained in a report furnished to authorities in London on 16 May 1665 (ref. Mass. Records 4pt2:203):

"Our militia is ordered into three regiments of foote, besides some supernumary companies, under three majors & one major generall, together with our troopes, consisting of about fower thousand ffoote & ffower hundred horse, tho possibly more may be in the lists, our orders requiring all men to be armed & listed."

Marginal notes in the record book kept by the General Court indicate that the horse were organized in four troops at this time.

A major reorganization of the colony's armed forces took place on 13 October 1680 (o.s.), incorporating lessons-learned during King Philip's War and reacting to the population changes caused by that conflict. The act of the General Court (ref. Mass. Records, 5:294-296) has caused secondary source authors considerable trouble, largely because it left two regiments (Hampshire and York) untouched, and made no reference to the recently disbanded Norfolk Regiment. The colony's total force under the reorganization consisted of


Devonshire's separate companies and eight regiments: Hampshire (104th Inf); York; and two each formed by the division of Suffolk (MAJ Thomas Clark), Essex (MG Dennison), and Middlesex (MAJ Daniel Gookin). The new organization (based on towns) was as follows:

Boston Regiment (MAJ Thomas Clark) (101st FA)
Boston (8 companies) and a Troop of Horse (CPT Thomas Brattle; from Suffolk Regiment)

Suffolk Regiment (MAJ William Stoughton)
Dorchester; Roxbury; Weymouth; Hingham; Dedham; Braintree; Medfield; Hull; Milton; Other small villages in the rest of the county (NOTE: especially in all probability Wrentham); and a Troop of Horse at Hingham (lately raised)

1st (Lower, eastern) Middlesex Regiment (MAJ Daniel Gookin) (182d Inf)
Watertown; Charlestown (2 companies); Cambridge; Cambridge Village and Woburn (probably typo; are same place); Reading; Malden; and a Troop of Horse (CPT Thomas Prentice)
(NOTE: Medford, org. as town 1630 is missing)

2d (Upper, western) Middlesex Regiment (MAJ Peter Bulkley) (181st Inf)
Concord; Sudbury; Lancaster; Groton; Billerica; Chelmsford; Marlborough; Dunstable; and a Troop of Horse (CPT Thomas Hinchman)
(NOTE: Missing Natick organized 1650; Mendon 1667; Brookfield 1673; Sherborn 1674; and Framingham 1675)

1st (south) Essex Regiment (MG Dennison) (101st Egr Bn)
Salem; Lynn; Marblehead; Ipswich (3 companies); Gloucester; Wenham; Salem Village (i.e. a second company in Salem); Beverly; and any troop of horse from this geographical area

2d (or north) Essex Regiment (MAJ Nathanael Saltonstall) (101st Egr Bn)
Newbury (2 companies); Rowley; Salisbury; Haverhill; Andover; Topsfield; Amesbury; Bradford; and anv troop of horse from this geographical area
(NOTE: Missing Manchester organized 1645)

In 1689 (per mss. copy in 101st Engineer jacket) Essex was regoranized into three regiments: 1st (Salem, Lynn, Marblehead, Beverly, Manchester); 2d (Ipswich, Gloucester, Rowley, Wenham, Topsfield, Boxford); and 3d (Newbury, Salisbury, Haverhill, Andover, Amesbury, Bradford).

This study does not include information on the Plymouth Colony, whose records were separately edited by Shurtleff; research in those materials is required to adequately deal with claims by the 211th Field Artillery to early


history. Data on individual companies is arranged in the following section. However, note that in addition to the militia organization, there were several other formations of a military nature. One was the permanent fortification system based upon the "Castle" in Boston Harbor. A paid staff (both full and part-time) was authorized for it beginning on 1 March 1630/1, with the officer in charge being eventually referred to as the "Captain of the Castle." (Refs. Records Mass. 1:83, 105, 123-5, 165, 332; 2:107-8; 3:1; 4 part 2:276-8 and numerous other citations throughout). The second consisted of a prototype volunteer militia organization which was established on the model of the London Artillery Company, and which was originally called the "Military Company of the Massachusetts" although it is more commonly known as the "Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company." The "artillery" is a seventeenth century military technical term and refers to training rather than to cannon. The company was formed to provide for training for the elite within the colony who would go on to (or who actually did) command within the militia system. It was chartered on 13 March 1638/9 (ref. Records Mass. 1:250-1).



North Regiment

13 December 1636 organized Mass. Records 1:186-7, 190-1
7 September 1643 renamed Mass. Records 2:42-3, 49-50, 56
13 October 1680 split Mass. Records 5:294-6
Other References Mass. Records 2:116, 256; 3:38, 137; 4pt1:107, 149; 4pt2:73, 276, 333, 486, 568; 5:53, 83, 236; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5

East Regiment

13 December 1636 organized Mass. Records 1:186-7, 190-1
7 September 1643 renamed Mass. Records 2:42-3, 49-50, 56
13 October 1680 split Mass. Records 5:294-6
Other References Mass. Records 1:343; 2:149, 256; 3:68, 137, 377; 4pt1:224; 4pt2:73, 333, 486; 5:236, 263-4; Johnson, Wonder- Working, 190-5

South Regiment

13 December 1636 organized Mass. Records 1:186-7, 190-1
7 September 1643 renamed Mass. Records 2:42-3, 49-50, 56
13 October 1680 split Mass. Records 5:294-6
Other References Mass. Records 1:343; 2:116, 124; 3:38, 137, 265; 4pt1:85, 107, 149, 229; 4pt2:35, 73, 333, 486, 571; 5:53, 236; Johnson, Wonder- Working, 190-5


Norfolk Regiment

31 May 1670 created Mass. Records 4pt2:452
4 February 1679/80 disbanded Mass. Records 5:263-4
Other References Mass. Records 2:42-3, 49-50, 226; 4pt2:295, 486, 549; 5:236; Johnson, Wonder- Working, 190-5

York Regiment

31 May 1671 created Mass. Records 4pt2:486
Other References Mass. Records 3:409; 4pt1:124-6, 273; 4pt2:75-76, 295, 370-3, 452; 5:22, 236, 294-6

Hampshire Regiment

31 May 1671 created Mass. Records 4pt2:486
Other References Mass. Records 4pt2:52, 295, 488; 5:236, 294-6

Boston Regiment (from South Regiment above)

13 October 1680 created Mass. Records 5:294-6
Other References Mass. Records 5:418

Suffolk Regiment (from South Regiment above)

13 October 1680 created Mass. Records 5:294-6
Other References Mass Records 5:306

1st Middlesex Regiment (from North Regiment above)--East or Lower

13 October 1680 created Mass. Records 5:294-6

2d Middlesex Regiment (from North Regiment above)--West or Upper

13 October 1680 created Mass. Records 5:294-6

1st Essex Regiment (from East Regiment above)--East or South

13 October 1680 created Mass. Records 5:294-6
Other References Mass Records 5:380

2d Essex Regiment (from East Regiment above)--West or North


Troops of Horse

Three County Troop

26 May 1658 constituted (Lynn, Redding, Rumly Marsh) Mass. Records 4pt1:341
Other References Mass. Records 4pt1:369; 4pt2:66, 149, 488, 558, 567; 5:6, 17, 151, 294-6, 327

Essex Troop

19 October 1652 organized Mass. Records 3:286
7 May 1662 split Mass. Records 4pt2:44


1st Essex Troop (from Essex Troop above)

7 May 1662 organized (Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Andover, Topsfield) Mass. Records 4pt2:44
16 May 1683 part split off(Now Ipswich only) Mass. Records 5:409-10
Other References Mass. Records 4pt2:380; 5:419, 432

2d Essex Troop (from Essex Troop above)

7 May 1662 organized (Salem, Manchester, Lynn, River Head) Mass. Records 4pt2:44
1 June 1677 disbanded Mass.Records 5:147 (at own request)
9 May 1678 reorganized Mass. Records 5:187
7 October 1678 Salem only Mass. Records 5:206
Other References Mass. Records 4pt2:62, 82, 95, 277; 5:90-91, 104, 321, 419, 442

Andover and Topsfield Troop (from 1st Essex Troop above)

16 May 1683 organized Mass. Records 5:410

Newbury and Rowley Troop (from 1st Essex Troop above)

16 May 1683 organized Mass. Records 5:409-10; 432

Lynn Troop (from 2d Essex Troop above)

22 October 1677 organized Mass. Records 5:174
Other References Mass. Records 5:232, 359

Beverly and Wenham Troop (from 2d Essex Troop above)

16 May 1683 organized Mass. Records 5:409

Norfolk Troop-- Later Salisbury, Haverhill and Amesbury Troop

14 October 1656 organized Mass. Records 3:419; 4pt1:279
Other Refs. Mass. Records 4pt2:440, 517, 549
4 February 1679/80 disbanded Mass. Records 5:263-4
27 May 1681 reorganized in 2d Essex Regiment with men of Salisbury, Amesbury, Haverhill Mass. Records 5:321
Other References Mass. Records 5:419, 438

Middlesex Troop

Organized unknown date Mass. Records 4pt2:50 (7 May 1662) refers to unit as already in being
13 October 1680 assigned 1st Middlesex Regiment Mass. Records 5:294-6

2d Middlesex Troop (Upper or Western Troop)

12 October 1669 organized (Concord, Chelmsford, Billerica, Lancaster, Groton) Mass. Records 4pt2:439
Other References Mass. Records 4pt2:459, 487, 567; 5:142, 294-6


Suffolk Troop—Later Boston Troop

Organized unknown date Mass. Records 3:264; 4pt1:85 (26 May 1652) refers to unit as already in being
13 Oct 1680 ass. Boston Regt Mass. Records 5:294
Other References Mass Records 3:286, 299; 4pt1:107; 4pt2:148, 452; 5:52, 87, 418

 Hingham, Weymouth and Hull Troop (i.e. 2d Suffolk Troop)

15 October 1679 organized Mass. Records 5:254
Other References Mass. Records 5:281, 294, 301

Hampshire Troop

8 October 1662 organized Mass. Records 4pt2:66
Other References Mass. Records 4pt2:82, 381, 548; 5:207, 394, 490

Chartered Companies

The Military Company of The Massachusetts (Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company)

13 March 1638/9 chartered Mass. Records 1:250-1
Other References Mass. Records 3:186-7; 4pt1:5; 5:151-2

The Military Company of Salem and Lynn

14 May 1645 chartered Mass. Records 2:110-2
No Further References  

The Military Company of Ipswich, Newbury, Rowley, Salisbury and Hampton

14 May 1645 chartered Mass. Records 2:110-2
No Further References  

The Military Company of Middlesex

14 May 1645 chartered Mass. Records 2:110-2
No Further References  

Town (Foot) Companies--See APPENDIX

Basic Sources Consulted: Bodge, Soldiers in King Philip's War; Cook, Counties, Cities and Towns in Massachusetts; Johnson, Wonder-Working Providence; Mason, Brief History of the Pequot War; Millar, "Independency and Militia" (Ph.D. Dissertation); Orr, editor, History of the Pequot War; Rutman, "Militant New World" (Ph.D. Dissertation); Shelley, John Underhill; Shurtleff, Records Colony Massachusetts Bay (5 vols. in 6); Vaughan, Puritans and Indians; Regimental histories at US Army Center of Military History (DAMH-HSO) submitted in interwar years
NB: Complete research would have required examination of all published town and county histories

19 July 1986





Salem (formerly "Naumkeag")

As Town 23 August 1630 Cook
As Company 17 April 1629 Mass. Records 1:386-98; Johnson, Wonder- Working, 19-22
First Cdr: CPT John Endecott Mass. Records 1:85, 93, 95, 120; Shelley, Underhill, 133-4
Other References Mass. Records 1:191; 2:38, 70; 3:28, 66; 4pt2:104, 133, 137, 146, 517; Johnson, Wonder- Working, 190
Split 7 October 1674 into 1st (East) Co 2d (West) Co Mass. Records 5:22, 33, 127, 151, 172, 205, 233, 295, 317, 394, 419
2d Co split 22 Oct 1677 3d (Salem Farms/Village) Mass. Records 5:172, 204

Newbury (formerly "Wessacucon")

As Town 6 May 1635 Cook
As Company 9 March 1636/7 Mass. Records 1:146, 191; 2:26; Johnson, Wonder- Working, 68-69
First Cdr: CPT John Spencer Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 1:195, 279, 302; 2:38, 215, 240; 3:122, 160-1, 254, 386; 4ptl:47, 67, 362; 4pt2:425, 454; 5:206; Johnson, Wonder- Working, 190-5
Split 13 Oct 1680 into 2 cos Mass. Records 5:295, 409, 431, 483

Ipswich (formerly "Agawam")

As Town 5 August 1634 Cook
As Company 9 March 1636/7 Mass. Records 1:103, 110, 123, 191; 2:26; Johnson, Wonder- Working, 66-67
First Cdr: CPT Daniel Dennison Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 2:38, 100; 3:27; 4pt2:106; 5:33; Johnson, Wonder- Working, 190-5
Split 13 Oct 1680 into 3 cos Mass. Records 5:294-6, 394

Lynn (Saugus; renamed 20 November 1637)

As Town 5 July 1631 Cook; Mass. Records 1:211; 2:26
As Companyl631 Mass. Records 1:89, 91, 93, 95, 99, 110
First Cdr: CPT Daniel Patrick Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 1:112, 190, 208, 212; 2:38; 5:295; Johnson, Wonder- Working, 190-5

Gloucester (Cape Ann; renamed 18 May 1642)

As Town 13 March 1639 Cook; Mass. Records 2:2, 26, 38
As Company 18 May 1642 Mass. Records 2:2, 67; 3:5; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 169, 190-5
First Cdr: Unknown; as late as 1680/1 no CPT yet identified
Other References Mass. Records 5:295, 307



As Town 2 July 1633 Cook
As Town 4 May 1649 from Salem Mass. Records 1:93, 147, 165; 2:67, 266; 3:6, 153
As Company 2 June 1653 Mass. Records 3:304; 4pt1:148
First Cdr: LT Francis Johnson Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 4pt2:299; 5:69, 233, 419

Rowley (originally Ezekiel Rogers' Plantation)

As Town 4 September 1639 Cook; Mass. Records 1:271; 2:26
As Company 13 May 1640 Mass. Records 1:291
First Cdr: CPT John Remington Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 2:187; 3:110; 4pt2:380, 526, 567; 5:172, 295, 483; Johnson, Wonder- Working, 129-30, 190
27 May 1685 Rowley Village set off as separate (2d) company, but no officers cited (Mass. Records 5:16, 455, 479-80, 497-8)

Andover (from "Cochichawick" purchase)

As Town 6 May 1646 Cook; Mass. Records 1:141; 2:38, 159
As Company ca 1648 ?
First Cdr: Unknown ?
Other References Mass. Records 5:151, 419 (1 June 1677 CPT Dudley Broadstreet); Johnson, Wonder- Working, 190-5,210

Wenham (from "Enon")

As Town 7 September 1643 Cook; Mass. Records 1:279; 2:38, 44; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5
First Reference 10 Oct 1683 CPT Thomas Fiske Mass. Records 5:295, 419

Topsfield (from "New Meadows" of Ipswich)

As Town 1s October 1648 Cook; Mass. Records 2:48-9, 73, 258; 3:139
As Company 27 May 1668 Mass. Records 4pt2:376
First Cdr: LT Francis Peabody Ibid
Other References Mass. Records 5:16, 295, 394, 455

Beverly (from "Basse River" part of Salem)

As Town 7 November 1668 Cook; Mass. Records 4pt2:407
As Company 1 June 1677 Mass. Records 5:151
First Cdr: CPT John Hawthorn Ibid
Other References Mass. Records 5:170, 295, 311

Manchester ("Jeffryes Creeke" part of Salem)

As Town 14 May 1645 Cook
As Company: NONE  

Bradford (annex to Haverhill 4 January 1897)

As Town 13 October 1675 Cook
As Company: NONE  


NORFOLK COUNTY (Haverhill, Salisbury and Amesbury reverting to Essex 4 February 1679/80 when county extinguished; Mass. Records 5:262-3)


As Town 2 June 1641 Cook
As Company c. 1645 Mass. Records 2:38; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5; 197
First Cdr: Unknown  
Full Co-CPT Nathaniel Saltonstall 23 May 1666 Mass. Records 4pt2:300
Other References Mass. Records 4pt2:438; 5:295, 325

Salisbury (as Colechester; renamed 7 October 1640)

As Town 4 September 1639 Cook; Mass. Records 1:210, 271, 291, 305; 2:26; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 135-6
As Company 13 May 1640 Mass. Records 1:291
First Cdr: CPT Christopher Batt Ibid
Other References Mass. Records 2:38, 231, 284; 3:171; 5:283, 195; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5

Amesbury (as "Salisbury-new-town"; renamed 27 May 1668)

As Town 23 May 1666 Cook; Mass. Records 4ptl:341-2; 4pt2:300, 376
As Company 11 June 1680 Mass. Records 5:283
First Cdr: LT Philip Chalice Ibid

Hampton (formerly "Winnocunnet")

As Company 13 May 1640 Mass. Records 1:291
First Cdr: SGT William Howard Ibid
Other References Mass. Records 1:259, 271; 2:26, 59; 5:252



As Company 26 May 1647 Mass. Records 2:188
First Cdr: SGT Thomas Pettit Ibid
Other References Mass. Records 3:105; 4pt2:440 -- LT John Gilman on 12 Oct 1669 first recorded commissioned officer

Portsmouth ("Strawberry Bank"; renamed 18 ,May 1653)

As Company 2 June 1653 Mass. Records 4ptl:147
First Cdr: CPT Brian Pendleton Ibid
Other References Mass. Records 1:332; 2:38; 3:309; 4ptl:329, 338; 4pt2:139, 326, 555; 5:21, 263



As Town 7 September 1630 Cook; Mass. Records 1:75, 85, 93, 95, 103, 146; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 46; Shelley, Underhill, 297-304
As Company 3 September 1635 Mass. Records 1:160, 190-1
First Cdr: CPT Daniel Patrick Ibids (subs CPT William Jennison)
Other References Mass. Records 1:346; 2:38, 98, 209; 5:282-3, 295; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5 (N.B.: Town involved in initial CT migration)


As Town 28 September 1630 Cook
As Company 7 October 1674 Mass. Records 5:15
First Cdr: --- ---
Other References Mass. Records 1:93, 103, 186-7, 190-1; 2:38; 4ptl:339-40; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5 (NB: Initially part of Charlestown company; subsequently part of Cambridge company)

Cambridge (as Newtowne; renamed 8 September 1636 or 2 May 1638)

As Town 26 July 1631 Cook; Mass. Records 1:90, 93, 95, 103; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 60-1
As Company Mass. Records 1:190; Johnson, WonderWorking, 75-77
First Cdr: CPT George Cooke Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 2:38, 137, 187, 217, 227; 3:47, 109; 4ptl:339-40; 5:15, 151; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5; originally part of Boston company; town heavily involved in CT migration
Cambridge Village separate co 7 October 1674 (LT James Trobridge) Mass. Records 5:15, 73, 295


Concord (renamed from "Musketequid")

As Town 3 September 1635 Cook; Mass. Records 1:157, 186-7; 2:26; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 79-80
As Company 9 March 1636/7 Mass. Records 1:191
First Cdr: LT Simon Willard Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 2:146; 3:62-3; 5:151, 295, 315, 504; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5 (full CPT quota 6 May 1646)


As Town 4 September 1639 Cook; Mass. Records 1:238, 242, 271; 2:26
As Company 13 May 1640 Mass. Records 1:291
First Cdr: SGT Brian Pendleton Ibid
Other References Mass. Records 1:343; 2:28, 38, 124; 3:42; 5:6, 45, 295; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 141-2, 190-5 (27 Sep 1642 ENS; 12 Aug 1645 CPT William Pelham)


Woburn (from "Charlestown Village")

As Town 27 September 1642 Cook; Mass. Records 2:38; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 175-81, 190-5
As Company 1642 Ibids
First Cdr: CPT Edmund Johnson Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 4pt2:516; 5:295

Reading (from "Lynn Village")

As Town 29 May 1644 Cook; Mass. Records 2:38; 3:7
As Company 1644 Mass. Records 2:259; 5:127
First Cdr: LT -- Walker Mass. Records Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 5:151, 233, 295, 452; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5 (full CPT status by 1 Jun 1677)

Malden (from part of Mystic)

As Town 2 May 1649 Cook
As Company 1650 Mass. Records 2:274; 3:162; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5, 211
First Cdr: Joseph Hill Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 1:90 (1631 part of Boston co); 5:483 (4 Jun 1685 attain full CPT status)


As Town 23 May 1650 Cook
No References  

Lancaster (from "Nashaway")

As Town 18 May 1653 or 14/15 May 1654 Cook; Mass. Records 3:301, 351; 4ptl:139-40, 189
As Company 21 February 1675/6 Mass. Records 5:73, 452
First Cdr: --- Not clear

Groton (renamed from "Petapawoge")

As Town 23 May 1655 Cook; Mass. Records 3:388, 404; 4ptl:235, 263
As Company 7 May 1673 Mass. Records 4pt2:556
First Cdr: LT James Parker Ibid
(Other references indicate older; Oct 1673 full CPT co; Mass. Records 4pt2:567)

Billerica (from "Shawshin" tract)

As Town 29 May 1655 Cook; Mass. Records 1:330; 3:390-2, 405; 4pt 1 :237-40
As Company 13 October 1675 Mass. Records 5:56
First Cdr: LT Jonathan Danforth Ibid
Other References Mass. Records 5:189, 295, 419 (full CPT co 1 Oct 1683)



As Town 29 May 1655 Cook; Mass. Records 4ptl:237
As Company 12 October 1670 Mass. Records 4pt2:466
First Cdr: ENS William Fletcher Ibid
Other References Mass. Records 4pt2:307 (implied earlier 23 May 1666); 5:189, 275, 358, 419; 27 May 1682 full CPT co status

Marlborough (from "Whipsufferage" plantation)

As Town 31 May 1660 Cook
As Company 12 September 1684 Mass. Records 5:452
First Cdr: ENS Henry Kerly Ibid
(Other references indicate possibly earlier)

 Mendon (from "Qunshapage")

As Town 15 May 1667 Cook; Mass. Records 4ptl:445; 4pt2:3412, 496-7
No References
(NB in Middlesex until 8 Jun 1671 shift to Suffolk)

Brookfield (from "Quobauge")

As Town 15 October 1673 Cook; Mass. Records 4ptl:242; 4pt2:568
No References  


As Town 17 October 1673 Cook
No References  

Sherborn (from "Boggestow")

As Town 7 October 1674 Cook; Mass. Records 5:23
As Company 11 October 1682 Mass. Records 5:377-8 (in 1st Middlesex)
First Cdr: LT Edward West Ibid

Framingham (13 October 1675 as plantation)

As Town 24 June 1700 Cook
No References  

Charlestown (annexed to Boston 5 January 1874)

As Town 23 August 1630 Cook; ,Mass. Records 1:73-4, 85, 90, 93, 95, 103; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 37-41
As Company 3 September 1635 Mass. Records 1:160, 190 (NB: Originally part of Boston co)
First Cdr: CPT Robert Sedgwick Ibids
Other References Mass. Records; 2:38, 116, 166, 209; 3:38, 84, 394; 4ptl:250, 339-40; 4pt2:382, 438; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5
Split into 2 cos 13 Oct 1680 Mass. Records 5:295-6, 306-7


Boston (initially "Trimountain")

As Town 7 September 1630 Cook
As Company 12 April 1631 Mass. Records 1:75, 85, 90, 93, 95, 103, 110, 112, 120, 129, 160, 191; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 42-3, 212
First Cdr: CPT John Underhill ibids (Boston, Roxbury, Charlestown, Mistick, New Towne)
3 Sep 1635 Charlestown and Watertown separated out Mass. Records 1:160
15 Nov 1637 Underhill ousted in Antinomian turmoil Mass. Records 1:208, 231
Other References Mass. Records 2:38, 102, 116; 3:27, 38; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5
19 Oct 1652 expand to 4 cos Mass. Records 3:285; 4ptl:106 (apparently numbered but also given CPTS names) 3d AKA North Co; 4th AKA South Co
Other References Mass. Records 3:291, 296, 299, 385; 4ptl:114, 231, 349-50; 4pt2:91, 105, 148, 488, 505, 555, 575-6
12 May 1675 ea co split in 2 Mass. Records 5:16, 32-33
Other References Mass. Records 5:75, 151, 127, 173, 189, 205, 278-80, 283, 294, 297-8, 306, 311, 325, 419, 426-7, 432, 510
NB: Winettsemt is separate settlement before being absorbed by Boston on 3 September 1634 (Mass. Records 1:89, 93, 119-20, 125)

Dorchester (from "Mattapan"; annexed to Boston 3 January 1870)

As Town 7 September 1630 Cook; Mass. Records 1:75, 93, 95; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 41-42
As Company 12 April 1631 Mass. Records 1:85, 90, 100, 110, 148
First Cdr: CPT Richard Southcot Ibids (subs. CPT John Mason and then in 1636 CPT Israel Stoughton)
Other References Mass. Records 1:190, 290; 2:38, 146; 5:151, 394; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5

Roxbury (annex 5 January 1868 to Boston)

As Town 28 September 1630 Cook; Mass. Records 1:89-90, 93, 95, 103; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 43-45
As Company 3 September 1634 Mass. Records 1:127
First Cdr: ENS -- Perkins Ibid
Other References Mass. Records 1:130, 146, 165, 181, 190-1; 2:192; 3:327; 4ptl:173; 5:73, 151, 294; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5
(Initially part of Boston Co; Ct. Migration leaves in mess; attain full company size again in 1647)


Weymouth (as "Wessaguscus"; renamed 2 September 1635)

As Town 28 September 1630 Cook; Mass. Records 1:89, 93, 149, 156; 2:26
As Company 10 May 1643 Mass. Records 1:190-1, 210, 279; 2:98; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 127-8
First Cdr: ENS --- Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 4pt2:63; 5:294, 306; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5


As Town 8 September 1636 Cook; Mass. Records 1:156, 179-80, 190 - 1; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 125-6
As Company 27 October 1648 Mass. Records 2:257-8; 3:319; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5
First Cdr: CPT Eliazer Lusher Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 4pt2:567

Braintree (from "Mount Woollaston" part Boston)

As Town 13 May 1640 Cook; Mass. Records 1:291; 2:26; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 161 -2
As Company 27 October 1647 Mass. Records 2:199; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5
First Cdr: CPT William Ting Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 4pt2:495; 5:294, 459

Medfield (from part of Dedham)

As Town 23 May 1651 Cook; Mass. Records 3:28; 4ptl:46, 67
As Company 26 October 1652 Mass. Records 3:290; 4ptl:114
First Cdr: SGT George Barber Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 4pt2:382, 576; 5:294;
(Barber rose to CPT)

Milton (from "Uncataquissett" part Dorchester)

As Town 7 May 1662 Cook; Mass. Records 4pt2:50-1
No References  

Wrentham (from "Wollonopaug")

As Town 15/17 October 1673 Cook; Mass. Records 4pt2:569
No References  

Hingham (as Barecove; renamed 2 September 1635)

As Town 25 September 1634 Cook
As Company 20 November 1637 Mass. Records 1:156, 190-1; 2:26; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 85-6
First Cdr: ? Ibids
Other References Mass. Records 2:114, 124, 148, 163, 252; 3:17-27, 42, 65; 4ptl:47; 5:294, 315, 380, 394; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 190-5


Hull (from "Nantascot", a fishing village of Hingham until 26 May 1647)

As Town 29 May 1644 Cook; Mass. Records 1:89, 320-2, 326-7; 2:38, 74, 189
As Company No Officers Recorded thru 1685


As Town 16 May 1683 Cook; Mass. Records 5:408-9
No References  

Springfield (from "Agawam")

As Town 2 June 1641 Cook; Mass. Records 1:320-1; Johnson, Wonder-Working, 199-202
As Company 18 May 1653 Mass. Records 4pt 1:135
First Cdr: LT John Pynchon Ibid
Other References Mass. Records 4ptl:314, 335, 379; 4pt2:52, 82, 382; 5:236, 311, 490 (NB full CPT's co 23 Oct 1657)


As Town 14 May 1656 Cook; Mass. Records 2:32; 3:400, 414; 4pt 1:271, 335
As Company 8 October 1662 Mass. Records 4pt2:63
First Cdr: LT William Clarke Ibid
Other References Mass. Records 5:504


As Town 22 May 1661 Cook; Mass. Records 4pt2:11-12
As Company 9 May 1678 Mass. Records 5: 189
First Cdr: CPT Aaron Cooke, Jr. (Possible earlier: LT Samuel Smith) Ibid

Westfield (from "Woroncake" part Springfield)

As Town 19 May 1669 Cook; Mass. Records 2:224; 4pt2:432
As Company 27 May 1674 Mass. Records 5:6
First Cdr: ENS Samuel Loomis Ibid
Other References Mass. Records 5:189, 352

Hatfield (from part of Hadley)

As Town 31 May 1670 Cook; Mass. Records 4pt2:460
As Company 7 October 1674 Mass. Records 5:22
First Cdr: ENS Daniel Warner Ibid


As Town 22 October 1677 Cook
No References  


As Town 3 June 1674 Mass. Records 5:12
As Company 12 October 1681 Mass. Records 5:327
First Cdr: LT Anthony Austin Ibid (from SGT)
(Now part of Connecticut)


Enfield (from part of Springfield)

As Town 16 May 1683 Mass. Records
No References (Now part of Connecticut)  



York (formerly "Accomenticus")

As Company: 22 November 1652  
First Cdr: --  
References Mass. Records 4pt 1:128-30


As Company: 4/5 July 1653  
First Cdr: SGT John Suanders  
References Mass. Records 3:332-9; 4ptl:157-61


As Company: 14 July 1658  
First Cdr: --  
References Mass. Records 4ptl:357-62


As Company: 5 July 1653  
First Cdr: SGT Richard Hitchcock  
References Mass. Records 3:332-9; 4ptl:161-4


As Company: 7 May 1673  
First Cdr: CPT Richard Cutts  
References Mass. Records 4pt2:554

Falmouth (renamed 19 October 1658 from Spurwincke and Casco Bay)

No Data  
References Mass. Records 4ptl:357-62

Cape Porpoise

Probably never company  
References Mass. Records 3:332-9; 4ptl:164-5

Apledoore (Isle of Shoales till 22 May 1661

Probably never company  
References Mass. Records 4pt2:8



Capenawaghen (22 July 1674) SGT Robert Gamon Mass. Records 5:19
Damerill Cove (22 July 1674) SGT John Bissell Mass. Records 5:19
Monhegin (22 July 1674) SGT John Dolling Mass. Records 5:19
Sagadahoc (22 July 1674) SGT Thomas Humphreys Mass. Records 5:19
Pemaquid (22 July 1674) LT Thomas Gardiner Mass. Records 5:17-20



PLYMOUTH COLONY of 17th Century

Plymouth (Plymouth County) 1620
Scituate (Plymouth County) 1 July 1633
Duxbury (Plymouth County) 7 June 1637
Barnstable (Barnstable County) 5 March 1638
Sandwich (Barnstable County) 6 March 1638
Yarmouth (Barnstable County) 7 January 1639 from "Mattacheeset"
Taunton (Bristol County) 3 March 1639 renamed from "Cohannett"
Marshfield (Plymouth County) 2 March 1640 from "Greens Harbour" or "Rexhame"
Eastham (Barnstable County) 2 June 1646 as Nawsett (refs. early as 1643); renamed 7 June 1651
Rehoboth (Bristol County) 4 June 1645 from "Seacunck"
Dartmouth (Bristol County) 5 October 1652
Bridgewater (Plymouth County) 3 June 1656 from part Duxbury
Swansea (Bristol County) 30 October 1667 as Wannamoisett; renamed 5 March1668
Middleborough (Plymouth County) 1 June 1669 from "Namassakett"
Edgartown (Dukes County) 8 July 1671 from "Great Harbor"
Tisbury (Dukes County) 8 July 1671 from "Middletown"
Bristol (Bristol County) 3 June 1679 as Mount Hope; renamed 28 Oct 1631

Painting: The First Muster

 The First Muster

Salem, Massachusetts, 1637

The history of the National Guard began on December 13, 1636, when the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony ordered the organization of the colony's militia companies into three regiments: the North, South and East Regiments. The colonists had adopted the English militia system which obligated all males, between the ages of 16 and 60, to possess arms and participate in the defense of the community. The early colonial militia drilled once a week and provided guard details each evening to sound the alarm in case of attack. The growing threat of the Pequot Indians to the Massachusetts Bay Colony required that the militia be in a high state of readiness. The organization of the North, South, and East Regiments increased the efficiency and responsiveness of the militia. Although the exact date is not known, the first muster of the East Regiment took place in Salem, Massachusetts. The National Guard continues its historic mission of providing units for the first-line defense of the nation. The 101st Engineer Battalion, Massachusetts Army National Guard, continues the East Regiment's proud heritage of 350 years of service.

NGB-85-179A, APRIL 1989, U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE:1990     725-947