The first English colonists to settle in the area that makes up the town of Middleton today were William Nichols, arriving in 1651, followed by John Gingell (alternately spelled Gingel, Gengell, Gingle) and Bray Wilkins, who arrived in 1659. Wilkins and Gingell were business partners, at least; a few historians suggest they may have been brothers-in-law. According to historian Lura Woodside Watkins’ 1970 book Middleton, Massachusetts: A Cultural History, the difficulties clearing the land in this woody, swampy area “…were so great that no one attempted to settle this wilderness until the Wilkinses and Fullers, near Middleton Pond, and the Nicholses and Hobbses farther east arrived in the mid sixteen-hundreds.” The town was incorporated as Middleton in 1728, formed from parts of Salem Village (now Danvers), Topsfield, Boxford, and Andover. The name denotes the fact that the town is halfway between Salem and Andover. Its central location made it a perfect location for stagecoaches to stop in the 1800s – the historic Estey Tavern at the intersection of today’s Route 62 and Route 114 provided lodging for drivers, while their horses were penned across the street, near where the Flint Public Library stands today.