The History of Native Americans in Bedford


Sharon Lawrence McDonald

Fifteen thousand years ago, glaciers covered the northern regions of the continent. Bedford would have been under a mile of ice.  But then, it began to melt. By 12,000 years ago, the glaciers had retreated up past the St. Lawrence River. There was land here, but it was tundra. Mammoths, mastodons, huge bears and other large mammals roamed. (Mastodons??? In New England?? Yes! A six and a half foot long mastodon tusk was found in Arlington’s Spy Pond just a few years ago!)

Over many hundreds of years, the weather warmed further, and the icy tundra melted. The large mammals went extinct or retreated north. And then, about 11,000 years ago, pushing northward and eastward from the Ohio Valley into the newly habitable land of the northeast, came the Earliest Peoples. Continue reading “The History of Native Americans in Bedford”

The Story of the Joseph Fitch Homestead

The Joseph Fitch Homestead,

The Historical Society has received a glimpse of almost three centuries of the Joseph Fitch homestead’s history through the generosity of Ned and Susan Leeming, who have donated many artifacts (most recently some last month) that were found in the house.

First, a  bit of history.  The Joseph Fitch Homestead, formerly at 27A Carlisle Road, was located within Governor John Winthrop’s 1638 land grant.  Job Lane1 had acquired the Winthrop land grant in 1664, and upon his death a quarter was deeded to his grandson, Samuel Fitch3.  Samuel’s share was a parcel on the north end, where he settled when he married in 1695, and about 280 acres on the south end of the Winthrop Farm along the Old Concord Line (running west from Willson Park).  When the town was incorporated in 1729, he became Bedford’s first Town Clerk.

His oldest son, Joseph (1702-1769), was a house-wright.  He built Bedford’s First Meetinghouse (1729) and probably Domine Manse (ca.1733).  Joseph is also believed to have built the sawmill on Peppergrass Brook on his father’s land, which provided lumber for the buildings constructed in Bedford Center around the time of the town’s incorporation.  The southern end of North Road that connected between Fitch Tavern on The Great Road and Job Lane’s homestead (site is now 130 North Road) was built in 1734 and ran through Samuel Fitch’s land, opening it up to development.    Continue reading “The Story of the Joseph Fitch Homestead”