Episode 64: Harvard Indian College, Promises Broken… and Kept

There’s an oft forgotten clause written into Harvard’s 1650 charter promising to educate the Native American youth of Massachusetts.  This week’s episode looks at the early, mostly unsuccessful efforts to create an Indian College on the Harvard campus, the abandonment of that plan after King Philip’s War soured the English settlers on their earlier plans for Christianizing local Native American tribes, and how modern scholarship is helping to rediscover this legacy and rededicate Harvard to embracing Native Americans.  


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Episode 63: Puritan UFOs

What did TV character Fox Mulder have in common with John Winthrop, the Puritan founder of Boston? They both recorded strange lights in the sky and other unexplained phenomena in extensive detail. This week, we’re going to explore the close encounters Winthrop described in 1639 and 1644. There were unexplained lights darting around the sky in formation at impossible speeds, ghostly sounds, and witnesses who claimed to have lost time. It’s a scene straight out of the X-Files, except these are considered the first recorded UFO sightings in North America.

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Episode 59: Corn, Cotton, and Condos; 378 Years on the Mother Brook

Everyone knows the Charles River and the Neponset River, but have you ever heard of the Mother Brook?  It is America’s first industrial canal, built by Puritan settlers in the earliest days of Massachusetts Bay Colony, and vital to the development of Dorchester, Hyde Park, and Dedham.  Plus, by connecting the rivers on either side, it turns the landmass occupied by Newton, Brookline, and most of Boston into an island!


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Episode 44: Perambulating the Bounds

Since 1651, Boston has had a legal responsibility to mark and measure its boundaries every few years.  Despite advances in technology, the practice of “perambulating the bounds” means that someone has to go out and walk the town lines.  This law is one of the oldest still on the books, but when was the last time Boston perambulated its bounds?  Listen now!


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Episode 34: Boston in the Golden Age of Piracy, part 1

Shiver me timbers!  This is the first in a two-part series about Boston’s role in the Golden Age of Piracy, from 1650 to 1726.  A few pirates set sail from our city, some preyed on the shipping coming in and out of our port, and even more met their ends on the gallows in Boston.  We’ll hear stories of daring raids and buried treasures, of mutiny, jailbreak, and double crossing.


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Episode 27: Burned at the Stake!

Despite what a lot of people think, the victims of the Salem witch trials were hanged, not burned at the stake.  However, in the history of Massachusetts, two women were executed by burning them at the stake, one in 1681 and another in 1755.  If witchcraft was a crime against both the state and God, what crime could be worse in Puritan Boston?  A note about the content this week.  We frankly describe acts of brutal violence, and we at times use the racial language of our 17th and 18th century sources.  If you usually listen with children, you might want to listen to this episode alone first and decide if it’s appropriate for them.

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Episode 13: Katherine Nanny Naylor, Boston’s Original Nasty Woman

Boston in the 1600s was a theocracy, where the Puritan church ruled, and women were seen in many ways as the property of their husbands or fathers.  Against that backdrop, a woman named Katherine Nanny Naylor stands out.  She was able to win a divorce against her abusive and unfaithful husband, then spent the next 30 years as an entrepreneur.  She provided herself and her family with a prosperous lifestyle, while living her life independently.  Listen to this week’s episode, and celebrate Boston’s original nasty woman!

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Episode 10: The Grisly Fairbanks Murder

In August of 1801, a young man named Jason Fairbanks showed up on his sweetheart’s doorstep.  He was covered in blood, and telling the story of a suicide pact gone wrong.  This tale of a rich kid gone astray could be ripped from today’s tabloid headlines.  Fairbanks and his presumed sweetheart Eliza Fales were the center of a sensational trial, a daring escape from jail, and a manhunt that stretched to the Canadian border.  Does this story of star crossed lovers have a happy http://healthsavy.com/product/cialis/ ending?  Listen to this week’s show to find out!

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Episode 6: The First Boston Revolution

Early one April morning, Boston rose up in revolt, overthrowing the widely hated royal governor.  A provincial militia surrounded the city, while the Royal Navy backed British authorities.  But this wasn’t Lexington or Concord.  This was the 1689 revolt against Governor Edmund Andros, 86 years to the day before Paul Revere’s ride.  Listen to this week’s episode to learn more!

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