Dedham

Dedham is home to the Fairbanks House, the oldest surviving timber-frame house in the United States, scientifically dated to 1637. On January 1, 1643, by unanimous vote, Dedham authorized the first taxpayer-funded public school, “the seed of American education.”[12] Its first schoolmaster, Rev. Ralph Wheelock, a Clare College graduate, was paid 20 pounds annually to instruct the youth of the community. Descendants of these students would become presidents of Dartmouth College, Yale University and Harvard University.

The first man-made canal in North America, Mother Brook, was created in Dedham in 1639. It linked the Charles River to the Neponset River. Although both are slow-moving rivers, they are at different elevations. The difference in elevation made the canal’s current swift enough to power several local mills.

In 1818, though citizens were still taxed for the support of ministers and other “public teachers of religion”, Dedham set a precedent toward the separation of church and state. Residents of the town selected a minister different than that chosen by the church members; the selection by residents was confirmed by the Supreme Judicial Court. This decision increased support for the disestablishment of the Congregational churches.

In 1921, the historic Sacco and Vanzetti trial was held in the Norfolk County Courthouse in Dedham.

Dedham is a town in and the county seat of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States.[4] The population was 24,729 at the 2010 census.[1] It is located on Boston’s southwest border. On the northwest it is bordered by Needham, on the southwest by Westwood and on the southeast by Canton. The town was first settled in 1635.

Settled in 1635 by people from Roxbury and Watertown, Dedham was incorporated in 1636. It became the county seat of Norfolk County when the county was formed from parts of Suffolk County on March 26, 1793. When the Town was originally incorporated, the residents wanted to name it Contentment.[5] The Massachusetts General Court overruled them and named the town after Dedham, Essex in England, where some of the original inhabitants were born.[5] The boundaries of the town at the time stretched to the Rhode Island border.