Abington Massachusetts, 1890

is an important and thrifty manufacturing town the northwesterly part of Plymouth County, having an area of 6,000 acres. Holbrook and Weymouth lie on the north, Rockland on the east, Whitman on the south, and Brockton on the west. It is twenty miles southeast of Boston, on the Cape Cod line of the Old Colony Railroad, which has stations at Abington, and North Abington; each of which also have post-offices. The population in 1885 was 3,699; when there were about 70 farms and 759 dwellings. On May 1st, 1888, the latter had increased to 812.

The geological formation is sienite, and carboniferous. In some localities blue slate, bog-iron ore, and peat are found. The land is somewhat elevated, and forms the water-shed between the North and Taunton rivers. The pond, with its groves, at the southern village is a charming place, and much frequented by pleasure parties.

The soil is in some parts very good, and the farms are fairly fertile, — the dairies, in 1885, yielding $15,740, and the aggregate product being $46,046. About 2,309 acres are woodland; the principal growth of which is oak, maple, birch and pine. The chief manufactures are shoes, and the material and machinery requisite. The aggregate value of all goods made during the year of the last state census was $2,053,538. Other manufactures are clothing, furniture, lumber and wooden goods, — the last item amounting to about $ 75,000. The valuation in 1888 was $2,080,926, with a taxation of $17.80 on $1,000. The Abington National Bank, by the last statement of the comptroller, had resources to the amount of $278,414. The Abington Savings Bank, on January 1, 1889, had deposits and undivided earnings to the sum of $1,394,357. There is here a good weekly newspaper — the "Plymouth County Journal," several libraries aggregating some 10,000 volumes; of which number, the town public library has about 6,000 volumes, the Young Ladies' Sodality Library nearly 700, and the four Sunday schools have the remainder. The town has graded schools with seven school-houses, valued, with appurtenances, at $50,000. The first Congregational church here was organized in 1712; the fourth at North Abington in 1839. The New Jerusalem church was organized in 1835, and the Universalist in 1863 There is also a Roman Catholic church, bearing the name of St. Bridget's.

Abington (including the southern section, now the town of Whitman) sent about 1,100 men into the armies of the Union in the late war; of whom about 100 were lost. Among its men were thirty three commissioned officers. The town had, in 1885, twenty-seven citizens over 80 years of age.

The Indian name of Abington was Manamauskeagin, — "many beavers." The first grant of land was made in 1648 to Nathaniel Souther. Grants were also made to Peregrine White (the first man born in the Plymouth Colony) and others anterior to 1660. The first saw-mill was built at South Abington, then called "Little Comfort," in 1698. The town was formed from part of Bridgewater and certain lands adjoining, and established in 1712 as "Abington,"— from the town of that name in Berkshire County, England. At that time it contained about 300 inhabitants. In 1827 a part of its territory was taken to form Hanover. In 1874 the eastern side of the town was set apart and established as Rockland. In 1875 the southern part was taken to form South Abington, which has since been renamed Whitman.

The first minister here was the Rev. Samuel Brown, ordained December 8, 1711. The house in which he preached had neither steeple, bell, nor pews. The second edifice was erected in 1751; the third in 1819; and the present one in 1849. The Rev. Mr. Brown had five negro slaves, some of whom attained a remarkable longevity. Church bells were cast in the town as early as 1769; and cannon were made here for the State during the Revolution. The celebrated frigate " Constitution" was built, in part, from white oak timber furnished by the Abington woods.

One of the eminent men of a generation now passed away was Aaron Hobart, a leading lawyer, author, state senator and member of Congress, who was born in this place, June 26, 1787.

pp. 99-100  in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Plymouth County, Gazetteer