town (township), Norfolk county, eastern Massachusetts, U.S., on the Charles River, just southwest of Boston. One of the oldest inland settlements of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, it was founded in 1635 and named for Dedham, Essex, England, and incorporated in 1636. Its Fairbanks House (1636) is believed to be the oldest existing frame dwelling in the United States. A convention to draw up the Suffolk Resolves (protesting the Intolerable Acts of Britain against the colonists) met in September 1774 in the Woodward (Fisher) Tavern, which is no longer standing but is commemorated by a tablet on the County Registry building. Dedham was made the county seat in 1793. The Norfolk County Courthouse was the scene of the famous Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti murder trial of the 1920s. The town is primarily residential, and its economy is based on services and light manufacturing. Area 11 square miles (28 square km). Pop. (1990) 23,782; (2000) 23,464.
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