History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts
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Lexington was originally a part of Cambridge, and was known by the designation of "Cambridge Farms," supplying the main village with wood and hay. It is difficult to say when the settlement proper began. Several persons spent most of the farming season here, and still retained their residence in Cambridge. There was no permanent settlement at the "Farms" till about 1640. The early settlers came mostly from Cambridge and Watertown; but at first they were few in number. Without attempting to state the order in which the first settlers came to the place, we must be content with saying that the Bridges, Winships, Cutlers, Fisks, Stones, Bowmans, Merriams, and Russels were among the earliest and the most numerous families. It was not till after the close of Philip's War that there was any considerable increase of population. In 1670 there could not have been over eighty-five or ninety inhabitants at the Farms; but in 1690 there was probably three times that number. Among the first wants of every New England settlement were those of church privileges. In 1682 the settlers petitioned the. General Court to be set off as a distinct precinct. The old parish in Cambridge opposing, it was not till 1691 that the court granted the Farms a separate corporate existence. Their first object after being made a precinct was to provide permanently for religious instruction. They had had preaching somewhat regularly before. But in 1693 they had erected a meeting-house and employed a minister.