back How Carlisle became “Carlisle” next
Our fifth great-grandmother Hepzibah Munroe was a little girl, not yet six years old in 1757, when her father, Billerica resident (6GGF) Nathan Munroe, along with fifty neighbors, signed a petition to the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony to create a separate township or district for them. Two of Nathan’s brothers, Hepzibah’s uncles Joseph Munroe, Jr., and Joshua Munroe were also signatories. Their father, Joseph “Corporal Joe” Munroe, seems already to have sold the homestead to Joshua and to have moved back to his native Lexington.
Why did they want a new town? So that they wouldn’t have to go so far to get to church. According to Hazen (p.224), the petitioners complained that they, “By the Disposal of the Providence of that God who setteth Bounds to Men’s Habitations, Live very Remote from the Meeting Houses of the Several Towns to which we Respectively belong, By Reason whereof we and our Families are subject to Many Difficulties in the Discharge of the Duty Incumbent on us; And Especially the Great and Important Duty of Attending upon the Public Worship of God.” ActonHeald
The first District of Carlisle had already been established in 1754 from a part of Concord, but it was reabsorbed a couple of years later. They named it, by the way, after the English home town (in Cumberland County) of James Adams, the first white settler of that section of Concord and our ninth great-grandfather. His properties lay about a mile to the south of the Munroes’.

The second District was incorporated 28 April 1780, including pieces of Acton, Billerica, Chelmsford, and Concord. Carlisle subsequently lost a couple of chunks to Chelmsford (1783) and to Concord (1789) but finally became the Town of Carlisle in 1805.

With the result that the sites of the historic homesteads that the Munroe family established in colonial Billerica now lie on or near the main drag of Carlisle. That’s State Route 225. Westward from the Centre,1 as you can see from the map, it’s Westford Street. Back the other way, it’s the Bedford Road. Toward (you guessed it) Bedford.

The Second District’s founding officers1 included our 6GGF Nathan Munroe, then aged 64, in two roles: as a member of the Committee of Safety and also as a Tythingman. Whatever that entailed. It’s on
1Yes, we do spell it “Centre” hereabouts, albeit inconsistently; a curious Briticism, perhaps, in a neighborhood with such solid Revolutionary credentials.
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