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Groton is a town in northwestern Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, within the Greater Boston metropolitan area. The population was 10,873 at the 2012 town census. It is home to two prep schools: Groton School, founded in 1884, and Lawrence Academy at Groton, founded in 1792 and the third-oldest private school in Massachusetts.
The town was a battlefield in King Philip's War and Queen Anne's War, with children taken captive in a raid by Abenaki and French; it had incidents of insurrection during Shays' Rebellion, and was the birthplace of William Prescott, who commanded the colonial forces at the Battle of Bunker Hill during the American Revolution.
The area surrounding modern-day Groton has, for thousands of years, been the territory of various cultures of indigenous peoples. They settled along the rivers, which they used for domestic tasks, fishing and transportation. Historic tribes were the Algonquian-speaking Nipmuc and Nashaway Indians.
The Anglo-American Groton started with the trading post of John Tinker, who conducted business there with the Nashaway at the confluence of Nod Brook and the Nashua River. The Nashaway called the area Petapawag, meaning "swampy land." As Tinker had, other pioneers followed the Algonquian trails from Massachusetts Bay. They found the region productive for fishing and farming.
The town was officially settled and incorporated in 1655, named for Groton in Suffolk, England. Called The Plantation of Groton, it included all of present-day Groton and Ayer, almost all of Pepperell and Shirley, large parts of Dunstable, Littleton, and Tyngsborough, plus smaller parts of Harvard and Westford in Massachusetts, as well as Nashua and Hollis, New Hampshire.
During King Philip's War, on March 13, 1676, Native Americans burned all buildings except for four Groton garrisons. Among those killed was John Nutting, a Selectman at Groton.