The following is from the Dorechester Reporter, dotnews.com, History of Dorchester, MA http://www.dotnews.com/history.html
Settled one month before its neighbor, Boston, in May of 1630, Dorchester has a history nearly as old as that of America. For its first two hundred years, Dorchester remained apart from Boston, existing primarily as a farming community with small commercial and industrial outposts along the Neponset River at Lower Mills and Mattapan Square, and along Dorchester Bay at Commercial Point.
The patterns of Dorchester's earliest settlement are preserved today in its road system. Pleasant Street linked the original settlement area of Allen's Plain (where the Old Blake House built in 1648 still stands) to the fortifications atop Rock (now Savin) Hill. Adams Street (then called the Lower road) connected the meeting house on Meeting House Hill to Israel Stoughton's grist mill on the Neponset River at Lower Mills.
The earliest of Dorchester's roads is Norfolk Street, which follows a pre-settlement Indian trail.
The development of the railroads in the 19th century tied Dorchester closer and closer to Boston. The Old Colony Railroad's stops in the Dorchester countryside brought suburban development, first to hilltops such as Pope's, Harrison, Jones', Savin, and Ashmont. The suburbanization process was formalized with Dorchester's annexation to Boston in 1870 and completed with the extension of the streetcar lines throughout Dorchester around the turn of the century, and the subway line in the 1920's.
Other historic places in Dorchester include the site of the Triumphal Arch in Lower Mills where then Ambassador John Adams was welcomed back to America in 1798: the site of the Battle of Dorchester Heights (now called South Boston); Roswell Gleason's famous pewter and silver works on Washington Street north of Codman Square; and Walter Baker's chocolate mill on River Street in Lower Mills.
Dorchester has also been home to many famous Americans. The patriarch of the Mathers in Colonial times and three Harvard University Presidents came form Dorchester. Suffragette Lucy Stone lived on Pope's Hill and statesman and orator Edward Everett was born near the square that now bears his name. More recently, notable Dorchesterites have included: Speaker of the House John McCormack; historians Theodore H. White, Francis Russell and Thaddeus Mason Harris; Rose Kennedy; Ray Bolger; Leonard Nimoy; Norm Crosby and Donna Summer.
The true glory of Dorchester's history - besides its people - is in its "firsts." Dorchester was the first town to support a public school by taxation, and the site of the first town meeting. Other firsts include the first water mill and powder mill in America, and even the site of the world's first supermarket.