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historic Ipswich settler squaw sachem painting

Chelsea in the 17th Century

"History of the the indigenous people that once lived in Chelsea and neighboring areas are limited due to stories relying on 17th century colonial historical records. For the Pawtucket Confederation of Abenaki Peoples who held this territory, there is even confusion on the proper name of the group. They are variously referred to in European documents as Pawtucket, Naumkeag, Wamesit, or Mystic Indians, or by the name of their current sachem or sagamore."


"In the years immediately prior to English settlement of Chelsea, the leader of the Pawtucket Confederation was Nanepashemet (New Moon) (1580-1619). His territories were bordered by the Charles River, the White Mountains and the Concord River. The areas included Winnisemet with Rumney Marsh and Pullen Point (Chelsea), Saugus or Swampscott (Lynn), Naumkeag (Salem), Agawam (Ipswich), Pentucket (Haverhill), and from the coast going up the Merrimack. Perhaps also Piscataqua (Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Eliot, Maine) and Accominta (York, Maine), Mishawum (Charlestown), Mistic (Medford), Musketaquid (Concord, MA) and Pannukog (Concord, New Hampshire). Sagamore Hill (today known as Mount Washington in Everett) was likely a primary fort."

More on Chelsea's History

The City of Chelsea has a long and interesting history, from the original settlement in 1624 to major fires in 1908 and 1973, and a state-imposed receivership in 1991. In 1970, the Chelsea Public Library instituted the Historical Archives as a depository for any resources relating to Chelsea’s history.

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