Framingham is a New England town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 66,910 at the 2000 United States Census. Framingham, sited on the ancient trail known as the Old Connecticut Path, was first settled when John Stone settled on the west bank of the Sudbury River in 1647. In 1660, Judge Thomas Danforth, of the Salem Witch Trials fame, an official of the Bay Colony, formerly of Framlingham, Suffolk, England received a grant of land at "Danforth's Farms" and began to accumulate over 15,000 acres (61 km). He strenuously resisted petitions for incorporation of the town, which was officially incorporated in 1700, following his death the previous year. Why the "L" was dropped for the new town's name is not known. The first church was organized in 1701, the first teacher was hired in 1706, and the first permanent schoolhouse in 1716.