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The Town of Dover began as the Fourth Precinct of Dedham, Springfield Parish, in 1748.

It was separated as the District of Dover in 1784 and became the Town of Dover in 1836.
The history of Dover can still be seen in buildings and sites existing today.

The first Meetinghouse was raised in 1754 and its first minister, the Reverend Benjamin
, accepted the call in 1762, serving for fifty years. At this time, there were 352 inhabitants and 49 houses in Dover. (The image below, left, shows the First Parish Church, c. 1910)

In addition to ministering to his parishioners, Benjamin worked his farm and prepared young men for college. His theology appears to be standard for the period, but it is noteworthy that in his sermons he changed his opinion regarding involvement in the American Revolution. In
December 1766 he suggested the Parish

"be sensible of the mercy of God in continuing to us our sovereign and the happy government which at present we are under."

But by March 1776, he thought that

"[w]e doubt not that the omnipotent hand of our heavenly Father is ready to stretch forth and save us."

After the Meetinghouse, the next most prominent building in a Colonial town was the tavern.

The Whiting Tavern (later known as the Williams Tavern under the ownership of John Williams), was lost to fire on January 24, 1908. It was originally built by Daniel Whiting in 1761.

Daniel served in the French and Indian Wars of 1758-1763. He reentered military service when he answered the Lexington Alarm on 19 April 1775. His tavern served as the meeting place of the Sons of Liberty.

The Training Ground, where Minutemen drilled, is across the street from the tavern's site. The image on the left, below, shows the Training Field c. 1910.

On April 19, 1775, 66 Dover Minutemen marched to fight along Battle Road under the command of Captain Ebenezer Battelle.

Elias Haven had been at work harrowing a field on the Chickering farm (still operating at 56 Haven Street) that morning. According to tradition he left his harrow in the field to answer the call to arms, and "was [later] shot down while standing beside his brother-in-law,
Aaron Whiting, at a corner of the Arlington meeting-house and is buried near the spot."

He was the only Dedham man killed that day. The harrow he abandoned is now in the Fisher Barn.

Daniel Whiting led a company at the Battle of Breed's Hill in 1776 as a major, ending the war as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Continental Army.

Private Thomas Larabee, according to Dover tradition, helped row General George Washington across the Delaware River, at Trenton, New Jersey, on December 26, 1776.

His powder horn (see image above) and numerous artifacts from an archaeological dig on his property in the 1970's are on display at the Sawin Museum.

Slate gravestones mark the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers in the front rank of the Highland Cemetery, on Centre Street, across from The Old Training Ground.

Visit for more information on other
Historic Sites in the Boston area.

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The Dover Historical Society
PO Box 534
Dover, MA 02030