Brockton Massachusetts, 1890

is a very enterprising and thrifty city, occupying the northwest extremity of Plymouth County, and having Stoughton, Avon and Holbrook on the north, Abington, Whitman and East Bridgewater on the east, West Bridgewater on the south and Easton on the west. It is 20 miles south of Boston, on the Old Colony Railroad, which has a fine station house at Brockton (centre), one at Montello, two miles north, and another at Campello one mile south of the Brockton station. Territorially, its greatest length is about one and a half miles from east to west, and five miles from north to south. The assessed area is 14948 acres; and of this 2,965 are woodland.

The villages are Brockton, Brockton Heights, Campello and Factory Village; the first and third being the post-offices. The central portion of the territory is quite level, and contains the two principal villages; but rises on the east in Carey's and Tower's hills, from both of which there is a pleasing view of the village; and towards the northwest is Prospect Hill and an eminence at West Shores, commanding one of the finest inland prospects in the country. The geological basis is sienite. "The most elegant specimen of porphyritic sienite that I have met with in the State," said Prof. Edward Hitchcock, " occurs in North Bridgewater (now Brockton) and in Abington and in other parts of Plymouth County. Its base consists of quartz and felspar, with an abundance of epidote, disseminated and in veins." Peat is found in several places.

Stone-house Hill, on the Easton line, is noted for a cave eight or ten feet deep in a ledge of solid rock, which is said to have been occupied as a dwelling by an Indian family. Trout Brook and Salisbury Brook, coming in from Stoughton, unite in the central portion of the town, and form the Salisbury River, whose waters reach the Taunton River at Halifax, affording some motive power in its course. Beaver Brook, on the eastern line, Cowsett Brook, and two ponds of 10 and 25 acres near the centre, complete the list of Brockton's natural waters. The city water-works are supplying the houses at the centre generally, from an elevated source not far distant.

The principal settlements cluster about Main Street, a wide, beautiful and well-shaded avenue, which runs from north to south, parallel with the railroad, entirely through the town. The road track is kept hard and smooth, and forms one of the most delightful drives in this region.

The principal business of the city is the manufacture of boots and shoes. This was commenced here by Micah Faxon, who came from Randolph in 1811. There are now 97 factories; turning out in 1885 a product valued at $11,035,238. There are also numerous small establishments of associated industries; the entire manufactories in the city numbering 310, and having a product valued at $13,370,828. The 104 farmers contributed to the income of the town the value of $143,801. The valuation in 1888 was $15,117,528; and the tax-rate $15.90 on $1,000. The population is 20,783, accommodated by 3,599 dwelling-houses. The Brockton National Bank has a capital of $100,000; the Home National Bank, $200,000; and the Brockton Savings Bank, at the close of business last; year, had $853,513 in deposits.

[Montello Station, Old Colony R.R.]

The public schools are graded, and make use of 23 buildings, valued, with accompanying property, at $115,950. Evening drawing schools have been established, to which other branches of study are being added. There are 20 libraries accessible to the public, that of the town containing about 12,000 volumes There are several private circulating libraries, and the others belong chiefly to churches and Sunday schools. There are 17 churches in the city and suburban villages. The Trinitarian Congregationalists were the earliest here, the First Congregational society having been organized in 1740. Their society at Campello dates from 1837, and the Porter Evangelical society from 1850. The Baptists organized in 1877, and have a Swedish society at Campello. There are also at this village the Swedish Evangelical Independent and the Evangelical Lutheran societies. The Methodists have a church at Campello, one at West Brockton, and one at the centre.

In the city also are churches of the New Jerusalem Church, the Unitarians, Universalists, Free Baptists, Latter Day Saints, the Protestant Episcopalians and the Roman Catholics.

This township was settled mainly by people from the West Parish of Bridgewater, and was incorporated In 1738 as the North Parish; and in 1740 Rev. John Porter, the first minister, was ordained. There were so many people of the name of Packard and Howard here in the early period, that it was facetiously said that every citizen here bore the name Packard or Howard except one, whose name was Howard Packard. The precinct voted in 1756 that "the rume on the wemen's side of the gallery should be for the wemen," and in 1789 it was voted to build pews in the porch and belfry for the negroes. In 1818 the parish voted against the introduction of a stove into the meeting-house as a sinful luxury. Fifty-five of the inhabitants served in the French and Indian wars, and many more in the Revolutionary War. Several citizens early removed from this place to Cummington, among whom was Dr. Peter Bryant (born in 1767), the father of William Cullen Bryant, the poet, The Rev. Eliphalet Porter, D.D. (1758-1833), an ;able clergyman and scholar, was a native of this place; also Jesse Reed (1778), an inventor of various machines.

A post-office was first established here in 1816. The railroad was built to this place in 1846, and, ten years later, the magnetic telegraph. The town was incorporated as North Bridgewater, June 15, 1821; the population being then about 1,480. It was authorized to change its name on March 28, 1874, and on May 5th following adopted Brockton as the new name. In 18175, part of the town was annexed to South Abington (now Whitman), and parts of the same and of East Bridgewater were annexed to Brockton. The act of incorporation as a city was passed April 9, 1881, and was accepted on May 23 following. Of the men furnished for the late war fifty-six were lost. The city has 100 residents who are over eighty years of age. Swedish immigrants have settled in the place in successive companies for a score of years past, and now form a large, orderly and thrifty part of the community.

Two excellent newspapers, the "Enterprise" and the "Evening Gazette," both having daily and weekly issues, vie with each other in serving the interests of the city.

pp. 203-206 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890