Eastham, Massachusetts, 1890

Eastham lies at the middle of the outer arm of Cape Cod, in Barnstable County, 97 miles from Boston by the Old Colony Railroad, which passes through the town, having stations at Eastham and North Eastham, which are also the post-offices. The territory is about six miles long by three wide. The assessed area is 4,892 acres, of which 623 are woodland.

The town is indented with inlets, and diversified by several freshwater ponds. The sea is visible on either hand from the cars. The soil is sandy, and at some points is so blown about as to present tracts that are entirely sterile; yet there is good land in the eastern part of the town, which is well cultivated by some of the best farmers on the Cape.

The farms number 54; and their aggregate product, in 1885, had the value of $54,098. The cranberry crop was valued at $2,355; and the poultry product was $9,420. The manufactures consisted of salt, prepared fish, leather and several others of slight extent; the aggregate value being $5,860. The entire fisheries product was $39,453. A great variety of fish was taken, though in small quantities. Bluefish formed the bulk of the catch, reaching 367,938 pounds, worth $26,057. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $227,608, and the rate of taxation $11.90 on $1,000. The population was 638, of whom 175 were voters. The number of dwelling-houses was 144.

The town has three school-houses, valued at about $4,000. The Eastham Public Library contains some 700 volumes, and one Sunday school has a library of 500 volumes. The church is Methodist Episcopal. "Millennial Grove," in this town, was incorporated as a camp-meeting ground in 1838. The town sent 36 men into the war for the Union; and a monument has been erected to the memory of the five who were lost.

This town was settled in 1644, by Governor Thomas Prince and others from Plymouth, whose surnames were Doane, Snow, Cook, Higgins, Smalley and Bangs; and from these are descended many of the present citizens. Governor Prince took up land from sea to sea. In 1873, his house was still standing. About 30 feet distant from it was a pear tree more than two centuries old, which still yielded its tribute of fruit. The town was incorporated June 2, 1646, under its Indian name, Nauset; but on June 7, 1651, it was authorized to take the name it now bears. Part of Harwich was annexed to it in 1772; and in 1797 part of Eastham was established as the town of Orleans.

In 1672, the town settled the Rev. Samuel Treat as its first permanent minister. He translated the "Confession of Faith" into the Nauset (Indian) language, and was faithful to his ministry, both to the English and the Indians.

From Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890, pp. 285-286

Barnstable county 1890, Gazetteer 1890