Early American History
Life in the British Colonies
New England town
Key Concepts
In New England, most towns were self-sufficient communities. The people grew their own food and made most of what they needed.

The earliest New England towns were built on a narrow road. Each family in the town had a house on this road. Families had their own gardens,and pens for cows, sheep, chickens, or pigs. In the fields near the town, the people grew their crops to sell and to use for themselves.

The meetinghouse was at the center of most New England towns. People went to the meeting house several times a week to worship together. The meetinghouse was also used for town meetings. At a town meeting, male landowners made the decisions of how to run their community.

Each town had a herder and a constable. The herder took care of the
animals on the town common. The town common was an open area
where the livestock grazed. The constable was a police officer who made
sure people obeyed the town's laws. Each town also had a militia. The
militia was a volunteer army of men and boys.
New England Towns
New England
town meeting
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Additional Information
house - The houses nearest the meetinghouse belonged to the most
important people in town, like the minister and the church leaders.

town common - It was called the common because it was a field that was shared by everyone in the town. If the town had sheep that grazed on the common, then the grass was kept short and it was called a green.