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About The Town Of Dracut MA
Before Europeans arrived in the mid-17th century, Dracut and the surrounding area were known as Augumtoocooke. Important Pennacook Indian settlements were served by fishing at Pawtucket Falls on the Merrimack River and abundant game in the surrounding marsh areas. From the late 16th to mid-17th centuries, the powerful sachem Passaconaway and his family spent much of their lives on this land.
Europeans began to settle in the area around 1653, and established the town of Chelmsford, incorporated in 1655, on the opposite side of the Merrimack River from modern Dracut. In October 1665, Bess, wife of Nobb How and daughter of Passaconaway, sold the Augumtoocooke land to Captain John Evered, also known as Webb of Draucutt of Norfolk County (the Webb family is associated closely with the town of Dreycot Foliat in Wiltshire, England) for four yards of duffill and one pound of tobacco. Webb had months earlier sold 11,000 acres (45 km2) of the land — which he did not then own — to Samuel Varnum for 400 four hundred pounds; the deed for “Drawcutt upon Mirrimack” was dated 1664. Webb also sold land to Richard Shatswell, who traded it to Edward Colburn (also spelled “Coburn” or “Colborne”) for his home and land in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Colburn and his family were probably the first settlers in Dracut who owned land with the intention of permanently living on it. (Samuel Varnum lived on the Chelmsford side of the Merrimack River.) Even though this area, now known to the new settlers as Dracut (Draucutt), was across the Merrimack River from the Chelmsford town center, they agreed to pay taxes and relied on Chelmsford for protection, according to 1667 Middlesex Court documents.