Do you know just how old your town is? The United States is a relatively young nation, but some American towns have been around for over three centuries, and some longer still. They contain rich histories and have been home to over a dozen generations.
Throughout New England, the Mid-Atlantic and the South; From Kittery, Maine — founded in 1647 — to St. Augustine, Florida — founded in 1565, there are towns and cities with pasts that stretch back much further even than this country’s independence.
24/7 Wall St. selected 100 towns that were founded, chartered, established, or incorporated before the American Revolutionary War.
The historical towns on this list got their start in different ways. Some, such as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Providence, Rhode Island, were founded as refuges for those fleeing political and religious persecution in Europe and the American colonies. Others got their start as trading posts that eventually received charters from English royalty.
By the time of the Revolutionary War, colonial America was already very well established, with millions of people living in thousands of small to medium-sized settlements. This list is not meant to be an attempt to provide a comprehensive tally of every town founded before the American Revolution. Due primarily to a lack of documentation, identifying every town founded prior to 1776 would prove nearly impossible. From a repository of several hundred towns, we compiled a list of 100 pre-Revolutionary War towns that we believe represent the diversity of the American experience.
It is important to note that these founding dates only include colonial settlements. Many of these towns, or the areas where they were established, had been settled and occupied by Native Americans long before European settlers arrived. The interaction between the newcomers and the local population often dictated the future course of the towns that still exist today.