History of East Bridgewater Massachusetts

By William Allen, Esq.

On the 23d of March, 1649, the Indian chief Massasoit deeded to Miles Standish, Samuel Nash, and Constant Southworth, Commissioners appointed by the Colonial government at Plymouth, a tract of land which now includes the four Bridgewaters, a part of Abington, and also of Hanson, for 7 coats, a yard and a half in a coat, 9 hatchets, 8 hoes, 20 knives, 4 moose-skins, and ten yards and a half of cotton. This contract was made and executed on a small hill in East Bridgewater, a little distance south-east of where the E. Carver & Co’s Gin Works now stand, and on the farm now owned and occupied by Mr. Thomas Hewett. This territory was called Satucket.

The settlement of that part of the above described domain which is now called East Bridgewater, began in 1660, when Samuel Allen, jr., son of Samuel Allen of Braintree, emigrating hither, built a house a few rods from where the Bridgewater Branch of the Old Colony Railroad crosses Matfield River. The next settlers were Nicholas Byram, Thomas Whitman, William Brett, jr., and Robert Latham. These were the only inhabitants here previous to 1676, the time of King Phillip’s war, when the dwelling houses of all the residents were burned by the Indians, except that of Nicholas Byram, which stood on the spot where is now the residence of Mr. Jotham Hicks.

On the 14th December, 1723, the east end of the North Parish of Bridgewater, which then included what is now the towns of West and North Bridgewater, together with 9 persons of the South Parish, (now Bridgewater), viz: Barnabas Seabury, Thomas Latham, Charles Latham, Nicholas Wade, Nathaniel Harden, Thomas Hooper, William Conant, Isaac Lazell, and Joseph Washburn, was made by the General Court, the East Parish of Bridgewater. The first meeting-house was built before the parish was formed, having been raised March 14th, 1720.

The church was gathered Oct. 28th, 1724, and consisted of thirty-three members, twelve male, twenty-one female. On the same day, Rev. John Angier, a native of Watertown, was ordained Pastor. He died April 14th, 1787, aged eighty-five years, and in the sixty-third year of his ministry. His son Samuel Angier, was settled as his colleague, Dec. 23d, 1767, and succeeded him as Pastor. He resigned his office March 25th, 1804, and died Jan. 18th, 1805, aged sixty-two years. The next Pastor, Rev. James Flint, was ordained 1806, and dismissed, 1821. His successors have been Rev. Benjamin Fessenden, ordained 1821, dismissed 1825; Rev. John A. Williams, ordained 1826, dismissed 1828; Rev. Eliphalet P. Crafts, ordained 1828, dismissed 1836. Rev. Nathaniel Whitman, installed 1844, dismissed 1852; Rev. Joseph H. Phipps, installed 1853, dismissed 1861; Rev. Silas Farrington, installed 1861, dismissed 1864. The present Pastor, Rev. Francis C. Williams, commenced his labors here 1865.

East Bridgewater was incorporated a town, June 14th, 1823. It is 25 miles south of Boston, and 17 from Plymouth, and contains 18 1-7 square miles. It has four villages, the Center, Joppa, Northville, and West Crooks, besides several other clusters of dwelling houses, which might perhaps properly be called villages. There have been eight religious societies within the limits of the town, in addition to the First Congregational, already mentioned, viz:

  • The Union Congregational formed 1826.
  • The New Jerusalem, in Joppa village, formed 1831.
  • Universalist formed 1834, not in operation.
  • Methodist, (Protestant), formed about 1843, not in operation.
  • Trinitarian Congregational, formed 1849, not in operation.
  • First Methodist Episcopal (in Northville), formed 1849, not in operation.
  • Second Methodist Episcopal (Centre Village), formed 1857.
  • Catholic, formed in 1862.

The town is generally rather level, but is well watered by rivers and brooks, and the soil is favorable for agriculture. There is a pond in the south-east part of the town called “Robin’s Pond,” about half a mile wide, with a small island near the central part, which, in, Summer is a resort of pleasure parties. There are several small rivers in the town, the principal ones, the Satucket in the south-easterly part, and the Matfield in the westerly unite near the Bridgewater line, on the southerly side, and form Taunton River. The Satucket is formed by a stream passing through Monponset Pond, in Halifax, and after-wards through Robin’s Pond, and then uniting with Poor Meadow river, which flows through Abington and a part of Hanson, and enters this town on the east side, and with Black Brook. The Matfield, is formed by the union of ‘Salisbury river, which rising in Stoughton, and flowing through North Bridgewater, enters East Bridgewater on the west side; Beaver Brook, which rises in East Randolph, and passing through North Bridgewater enters this town on the north-west, and with Snell Meadow Brook, which comes from Abington, on the north side.

This town has been famous for its early manufactures. Hon. Hugh Orr, who was born in Scotland in 1717, came to reside here at the age of twenty-one, constructed the first trip-hammer in this part of America, and began the manufacture of scythes. He was the first manufacturer of edge tools in this section. About 1748, he made five hundred muskets for the use of the Province of Massachusetts. Early in the Revolution he manufactured and furnished for the aid of the Colonies, in their struggles against the oppressions of the mother country, a great number of iron cannon and several of brass. These guns were cast solid, in Titicut, (the first of the kind in America,) and then taken and bored out at Mr. Orr’s manufactory, which stood on the Matfield River a few rods from his house, now the residence of one of his decedents, Mr. “William Vinton. Here, too, under the supervision of Mr. Orr, were made the first machines ever used in America for the carding, spinning and roping of cotton. The first nails ever made by machinery in this county were manufactured in this town. “Probably the first nail completely cut and headed by machinery at one operation in the world, was made by the late Mr. Samuel Rogers,” of this town.

To the inventive genius of Hugh Orr, Samuel Rogers, and Melville Otis, all residents of East Bridgewater, the civilized world is under lasting obligations.

In 1829, there were sixteen water privileges, on nearly all of which were manufactories of tacks or nails. The present number of mill-seats is eleven. In only one of these, tacks are now manufactured, in another nails. The forging of iron is carried on to a considerable extent. The chief business of the town for several years past has been the manufacture of boots and shoes.

The town paid for bounties to the soldiers, under all the calls for men from April 13th, 1861, to Dec. 19th, 1865, $51,605.00.

Died in Revolutionary Service From East Bridgewater

Hartwell Atkinson, C, 22d, June 20th, 1862
Wm. W. Blanchard, A, 40th, of Chronic Diarrhea, in hospital at Hampton, Va., Aug. 19th, 1864
George D. Brown, C, 29th, killed on picket duty at Fair Oaks, Va., June 15th, 1862, age 26
John Bryant, A, 1st H. A., killed at Spottsylvania, May 19th, 1864, age 37
Bertrand Burgess, D, 38th, of Scarlet Fever, in Marine Hospital, New Orleans, March 20th, 1864, age 20
William Curwin, in Navy, at Pensacola, on board ship Nightingale, 1862, age 27;
Sergt. Alfred B. Cummings, C, 29th, taken prisoner at Morristown, Tenn., Nov. 1868, died at Andersonville, May, 1864, age 26
Allen B. Dunbar, B, 33d, at Chattanooga, June 22d, 1864
Charles E. Dyer, D, 38th, of Typhoid Fever, at Chesapeake Hospital, Hampton, Va., Nov. 16th, 1862, age 24
Myron Gould, D, 38th, at Baton Rouge, La., of sunstroke, Aug. 29th, 1863, age 20
Charles Jaquith, 40th Reg’t, killed near Fredericksburg, July, 1864
Aaron M. Keen, 1st Reg’t Artillery, of wounds near Spottsylvania, May 19th, 1864, age 41
James Kingman, D, 38th, in Marine Hospital, at New Orleans, of Chronic Diarrhea, June 14th, 1863, age 30
David H. Lincoln, 0, 29th, of exhaustion on the battle field at Antietam, Sept. 18th, 1862, age 26
Charles McCarter, 1st Reg’t, mortally wounded in battle near Spottsylvania, Va., May 19th, 1864, and died soon after, age 44
Lieut. Morton D. Mitchell, I, 38th, of Typhoid Fever, on board steamer City of Bath, June 17th, 1863, age 29;
Color Sergt. William H. Mosher, B, 29th, killed in battle at Spottsylvania, May 12th, 1864, age 22
Patrick Mahoney, murdered at Washington
John M. Nason, C, 29th, at Convalescent Camp, Nicholasville, Ky., March, 1864
Peleg Osborne, jr., D, 38th, of Cholera Morbus, at Camp Stanton, Lynnfield, Mass., Aug. 29th, 1862, age 45
Sergt. Edmund T. Packard, C, 29th, of Chronic Diarrhea, at Annapolis, Md., April 24th, 1864, age 37
Sergt. Josiah Richmond, E, 4th, of Congestive Chills, at Marion, Ohio, Aug. 15th, 1863, age 37
Wallace E. Ripley, Co. 0, 29th Reg’t, died of Typhoid Fever, at Newport News, Va., Aug. 9th, 1862, age 23 years
Eugene Sanger, Co. D, 38th Reg’t, died of wounds received in battle of Bisland, April 13th, 1863, age 20
Charles F. Shaw, Co. E, 4th Reg’t, died of Chronic Diarrhea, at Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 9th, 1863, age 38
Sergt. J. F. Steingardt, Co. C, 38th Reg’t, died of Chronic Diarrhea, at Baton Rouge, La., Sep. 2d, 1863, age 34
Sergt. Andrew J. Stetson, Co. D, 38th Reg’t, was killed at Winchester, Va., Sept. 19th, 1864, age 27
Corporal Elijah H. Tolman, Co. C. 29th Reg’t, died of wounds at Antietam, Sept. 18th, 1862, age 23
Color Corporal George H. Trow, Co. D, 38th Reg’t, was killed in battle at Bisland, April 13th, 1863, age 22
James O. Underwood, Co. D, 58th Reg’t, killed in battle at Shady Grove Church, June 3d, 1864, age 35
Horace Vosmus, 2nd Reg’t, died of wounds at Hospital, Winchester, Va., June 4th, 1862, age 26
Benjamin r. Harden, 4th Cavalry;
Daniel W. Harden, C, 29th at U. S. General Hospital, Annapolis Junction, Sept. 22nd, 1862
Sergt. Silas N. Grosvenor, C, 29th, in battle before Petersburg, Va., June 16th, 1864, while carrying the colors of the Regiment, he was shot in the forehead and instantly killed
Nahum C. Hale, A, 40th, of Typhoid Fever, at Fort Ethan Allen, Md., Oct. 14th, 1862, age 32
Sergt. Calvin Francis Harlow, C, 29th, in battle at Fort Stedman, Va., March 25th, 1865, on the capture of the Fort he refused to surrender and was immediately shot down
Lieut. Elisha S. Holbrook, 0, 29th, of Typhoid Fever, at Fortress Munroe, Aug. 20, 1861, age 21
Caleb L. Hudson, C, 29th, of Intermittent Fever, at Camp Dennison, Ohio, Sept. 11th, 1863, age 19
John Hudson, D, 38th, of Chronic Diarrhea, while on a furlough at home; Nov. 1st, 1863, age 38
Galen Otis Hudson, D, 38th, mortally wounded in battle at Opequan Creek, Va., Sept. 19th, 1864, never heard from afterwards, aged 20
William W. Josselyn, K, 7th, of wounds, near Fredericksburg, Va., May 7th, 1863, age 31.

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