Duxbury Massachusetts, 1890


Duxbury,
one of the oldest and most notable towns of the State, is situated midway of the eastern shore of Plymouth County. It is 27 miles southeast of Boston on the South-shore Branch of the Old Colony Railroad, and about six miles north of Plymouth, from which it is separated by the town of Kingston and Plymouth Harbor. Its bounding town on the west is Pembroke, on the north and northeast Marshfield, and on the east are Duxbury Bay and the ocean.

[the Miles Standish monument, Duxbury.]

The land is generally level, sandy and unproductive; yet there are some very fertile spots, especially at South Duxbury, where it rises into a beautiful and commanding eminence, on which is a monument to the memory of Captain Miles Standish. From this point is a fine view of the village of Duxbury, in which the Unitarian church, the Partridge Academy and the Town House, contrast finely with the deep-green forest on the north; of Duxbury Harbor with picturesque points, the long, narrow strip of land called Duxbury Beach, which separates the harbor from the open sea on the east, the Gurnet Light, Saquish Neck; of Clark's Island, Plymouth Harbor, and the blue ridge of Manomet beyond; the town of Plymouth with its spires upon the south; and Rocky Nook and Kingston toward the west. In clear weather, the Blue Hills of Milton, on the one hand, and on the other the curving shores of Cape Cod, are distinctly visible. Near this monument, at the foot of the hill, is the well from which the famous captain of the Plymouth Pilgrims drank, and also the cellar of the house in which lie lived. The quaint old house of his neighbor Mr. Souther, still standing near, well represents that of the doughty captain. Near Captains Hill is the old burial I place where

"The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep."

The eastern part of the town is almost destitute of stone and timber; and hence a cluster of pines upon the sandy beach, and another at Powder Point, are noticeable objects in the landscape. The westerly part of the town is well wooded with white pine and oak. Here the trailing arbutus grows abundantly, and the holly (Irex glabra) now and then appears. The villages of North and South Duxbury are built chiefly upon a long and pleasant street on which are some fine old mansions of various architecture. The street is crossed in the northern village by the Blue-fish River, on which there is a ship-yard and a tide-mill. Duxbury Harbor is of unusual beauty; and well protected from easterly gales by a remarkable promontory, which, starting from the borders of Marshfield runs out southward, like a slender top-boot, seven miles, terminating heel and toe with the Gurnet and Saquish.

[the Miles Standish house, Duxbury.]

The terminus of the Anglo-American Submarine Cable Company is on the street just mentioned; and from a modest building where some dozen intelligent and obliging operators are employed in tending the delicate registering instruments, messages are sent by day and night to every part of the world.

The railroad stations are Duxbury, South Duxbury, and Island Creek; these and West Duxbury are post-offices; and other villages are Ashdod, Crooked Lane, High Street, Mill Brook and Tinkertown.

The area of the town is 13,665 acres, of which 3,870 are woodland. The farms number 120. There were raised in the census year of 1885, 683 barrels of cranberries, valued at $3,771. Other crops were those common to our towns; the entire farm product having a value of $80,577. The manufactures are shoes, metallic goods, oils and chemicals, fertilizers, food preparations, and others, to the aggregate value of $132,521. . The fisheries yielded $21,150, of which $7,710 was for shellfish. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $1,157,606, with a tax-rate of $14.50 on $1,000. The population is 1,924, of whom 577 are voters. The number of dwelling-houses is 567.

The public schools are graded, and provided for in ten buildings worth upwards of $10,000. The Partridge Academy, established in 1843, has a building and associated property valued at $8,000. There is a public and private school library of about 500 volumes, and two Sunday schools have nearly the same number. The "Duxbury Pilgrim," a weekly journal, is devoted to the interests of the place in all its various departments. The churches here are the Pilgrim Church (Trinitarian Congregationalist), the Unitarian, the Friends and the Methodist Episcopal.

This town was originally known by the Indian name Mattakeeset. It was incorporated June 7, 1637, then embracing an extensive territory from which several other towns have been taken. Among the early settlers were Captain Miles Standish; John Alden, who built his house near Eagletree Pond; Thomas Prence, who removed to Eastham; George Soule, Joshua Pratt, William Brewster, and William Bassett. Hobomock, a Christian Indian, whose life has furnished Mrs. L. M. Child with material for her beautiful story "Hobomok," had his home with Captain Standish. Ralph Partridge was settled over the church here in 1637. The Unitarian church here was organized in 1632; the Methodist, West Duxbury, in 1831; and the Friends previous to 1762.

Duxbury sent 236 men into the war for the Union, of whom 37 died in the service. A beautiful granite shaft in the cemetery hears the inscription, "Memoria in Eterna : the Soldiers and Sailors who gave their Lives for their Country in the War of 1861. Honor to the Brave."

pp. 280-283 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer