Attleborough Massachusetts, 1890

Attleborough is a town of many villages, devoted to a great variety of manufactures. It is situated in the northwestern part of Bristol County, having North Attleborough on the north, Norton on the east, Rehoboth and Seekonk on the south, and the town of Cumberland, in Rhode Island, on the west. Its assessed area is 14,809 acres, of which about one-third is woodland, consisting of oak, maple, chestnut and elm. The population by the last census (1885) of the undivided town was 13,175. The returns of the assessors, in 1888, give the present town of Attleborough 1,858 assessed polls, and 1,190 assessed dwelling-houses ; and, to the new town, North Attleborough 1,691 assessed polls, and 1,111 assessed dwelling-houses. The census returns in 1885 gave the towns (undivided) 2,469 dwellings. The post-offices are Attleborough, South Attleborough, Hebronville, Dodgeville and Brigg's Corner. Attleborough, Hebronville and Dodgeville are stations on the Old Colony Railroad system, the first being 32 miles from Boston on the line of the Boston and Providence Railroad. A branch railroad connects with North Attleborough on the northwest and with Taunton on the east.

The underlying rock in this town is carboniferous. The surface is in parts quite level and in others undulating. In the southeast portions are several swamps, but the central and western parts have four or five pleasant ponds, one containing about 100 acres, another 46, the others being still smaller. The streams are Ten Mile River

with the Bungay River as a branch, Seven Mile River, Four Mile Brook, Thatcher Brook, Abbot's Run and Chartley Brook; all except the last flowing in southerly courses, and affording water-power. Ten Mile River, rising in Wrentham, runs centrally through the town into Seekonk Cove, and is the most valuable stream. Attleborough has long been celebrated for its jewelry, and by the last State census (1885) had 282 manufactories of this and other kinds of goods. In addition to all articles of jewelry there were made clocks, watches, silver ware, braid, and cotton, woollen and worsted goods, buttons, hats, undertakers' trimmings, various ma chines, carriages and small vessels. The articles produced in largest value were iron, and wood and metal goods, $38,325 ; clothing, $49,749 ; food preparations, $65,455 ; leather, $141,339 ; building materials and stone work, $321,524 ; textiles, $786,159 ; metallic goods (chiefly jewelry) $4,629,199 ; giving in the aggregate the sum of $6,241,757. At the same time the 254 farms (containing 16,868 acres, of which 7,604 were woodland) yielded $309,331. The dairies are credited with $107,751 ; wood products, $32,584 ; poultry, $24,606 ; and cereals, $7,257. There were 15,827 fruit trees. These statistics of production relate to the town just previous to its division, no complete returns having since been made.

The valuation of Attleborough (since the division) in 1888 was $3,779,212; the rate of taxation being $15 on $1,000. The First National Bank had, by the last report of the comptroller, assets to the value of $486,283, of which $100,000 was paid-in capital. With so many kinds of manufactories, and all active, every one living in the town readily finds work, generally at a liberal rate ; so that poverty to the degree of want is rarely known.

There is a graded system of public schools ; having, in 1885, 23 school-houses, valued, with appurtenances, at $153,900. There were also two private schools. The ten libraries contained about 10,000 volumes. The town public library (free) had nearly 3,000 ; an association about the same number ; a private circulating library about 1,000 ; and the Sunday schools the remainder. The weekly paper, "The Attleborough Chronicle Advocate," has a valuable patronage.

There are several fine public association and church buildings. The churches in 1885 were the First Congregational, at West Attleborough (organized in 1712), the Second Congregational, at Attleborough (1748), the Methodist Episcopal, Attleborough (1 866) and the same at Hebronville, where is also a Union church ; the Universalist, at Attleborough (1874); the African Methodist, at the same place (1873); and the Roman Catholic, St. John's (1883), at East Attleborough.

The town (undivided) sent 469 men into the late war, of whom 37 were lost. In 1885, there were living in the town seventy-eight persons over 80 years, and five persons over 90 years of age.

The settlement of this place was commenced by Mr. John Woodcock and his sons in 1669; and the same persons built the public house on the Bay Road. His house was licensed, and also occupied by a garrison, in 1670. He was a bitter enemy to the Indians, and they reciprocated in kind, seven bullet holes being found in his body after his death. His garrison was one in the line of fortifications from Boston to Newport. The old garrison, whose timbers bore the marks of many a bullet was destroyed in 1806. This town formerly included Cumberland in Rhode Island. It was called "North Purchase," and incorporated October 19, 1694. Its name is the same as that of a market-town in Norfolk County, England. Eminent names of this town are Naphtali Daggett, D. D. (l727-1780), David Cobb (1748-1830), David Daggett, LL.D. (l764-1851), Jonathan Maxcy, D.D. (1768-1820) Ezekiel Gilman Robinson, D.D., LL.D. (1815).

[Attleboro Station, Old Colony Railroad]

Pp. 124-127 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890