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Gloucester, Massachusetts

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Location: Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, United Statesmap
Surname/tag: Massachusetts
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Gloucester, 1623 (Dorchester Company)

Gloucester is a city on Cape Ann in Essex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. It is part of Massachusetts' North Shore. An important center of the fishing industry and a popular summer destination, Gloucester consists of an urban core on the north side of the harbor and the outlying neighborhoods of Annisquam, Bay View, Lanesville, Folly Cove, Magnolia, Riverdale, East Gloucester and West Gloucester.

Early Gloucester

Gloucester was founded at Cape Ann by an expedition called the "Dorchester Company" of men from Dorchester (in the county of Dorset, England) chartered by James I in 1623. It was one of the first English settlements in what would become the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and predates both Salem in 1626 and Boston in 1630. The first company of pioneers made landing at Half Moon Beach and settled nearby, setting up fishing stages in a field in what is now Stage Fort Park. This settlement's existence is proclaimed today by a memorial tablet, affixed to a 50-foot (15 m) boulder in that park.

Life in this first settlement was harsh and it was short-lived. Around 1626 the place was abandoned, and the people removed themselves to Naumkeag (what is now called Salem, Massachusetts), where more fertile soil for planting was to be found. The meetinghouse was even disassembled and relocated to the new place of settlement. At some point in the following years - though no record exists - the area was slowly resettled. The town was formally incorporated in 1642. It is at this time that the name "Gloucester" first appears on tax rolls, although in various spellings. The town took its name from the city of Gloucester in South-West England, perhaps from where many of its new occupants originated but more likely because Gloucester, England, was a Parliamentarian stronghold, successfully defended with the aid of the Earl of Essex against the King in the Siege of Gloucester of 1643.

Gloucester’s "address" over time (See: North American Place Names & Interactive map )
From Until Name Notes
1623 1627 Dorchester Company, New England As opposed to Plymouth Colony, New England
1628 1642 Massachusetts Bay Colony
1642 1643 Gloucester, Massachusetts Bay Colony Gloucester is founded
1643 1686 Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts Bay Colony The Shire of Essex is created
1686 1689 Gloucester, Essex, Dominion of New England
1689 1692 Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts Bay Colony
1692 1775 Gloucester, Essex, Province of Massachusetts Bay
1776 1788 Gloucester, Essex, Crown Colony of Massachusetts Bay
February 6, 1788 Present Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, United States of America Massachusetts becomes the sixth state
1840 Present Rockport founded Rockport was established as a separate town

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