Located approximately 20 miles northwest of Boston and 30 miles inland from the Massachusetts coast, the area where the town of Billerica is located was known as Shawshin after the nearby river, or Shawshinock to the Indigenous people, when the first colonial settlement was established around 1653. As early as 1638, Governor John Winthrop and Deputy Governor Thomas Dudley were granted 1,000 or more acres each in this area six miles north of Concord, along the Concord River. Winthrop’s widow was granted another 3000 acres in 1640. The following year, Shawshin was granted to Cambridge, “provided they make it a village, to have 10 families there settled within three years…” Settlement of this wilderness area was slow, however, and the grant was extended. While farms were laid out in the late 1640s, the Shawshin grant was actually held by the Cambridge church, who began, in 1652, to divide the Shawshin lands. Among the Cambridge grantees were Thomas Danforth, Daniel Gookin, and William Manning.