Falmouth Massachusetts, 1890

Falmouth is a delightful seaboard town occupying the southwest corner of Cape Cod and of Barnstable County. Along its entire western side extends the Woods Holl Branch of the Old Colony Railroad, terminating 72 miles south of Boston. Its boundaries are Bourne and Sandwich on the north, Mashpee on the east, Vineyard Sound (here six miles wide) on the south, and Buzzard's Bay on the west. Its assessed area is 21,903 acres, including 6,202 acres of woodland. The territory extends as a peninsula at the southwest; and on a harbor at the extremity of this is Woods Holl, noted as the eastern of the two railroad connections for the Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket steamers, and as the location of the government works for fish-breeding, and as a principal government station for marine surveys and investigations. At the south-most point of this peninsula is Nobska Point and Hill, bearing its well-known light. Eastward is a fine beach, extending in a concave line to the first of three nearly enclosed basins of salt water, the eastward one of which constitutes a harbor for Falmouth Village. Waquoit Bay lies on the eastern angle of the town, partially separating it from Mashpee; having at its northern extremity Waquoit Village, where the extensive Pacific Guano Works are located. Near the middle of the south shore are the friths called Great, Green and Bowen's ponds; and between the last two is the village of Davis Neck, or Davisville.

The western shore of the town has, at the north, Cataumut Harbor, near which is the village of North Falmouth; and next southward Wild Harbor, then Hog Island Harbor, at West Falmouth; while Quamquisset Harbor laves the northern side of Woods Holl peninsula. A range of hills of moderate elevation diversify the western part of the town, rising at one point to an altitude of 193 feet. From many points near the coast most charming views of maritime scenery are obtained; while many of the inland scenes are also very beautiful. More than forty salt and fresh water ponds give variety and beauty in every quarter of the town. They abound in fish, as do the woods in game. The most noted are Ashunet Pond in the northeast, Coonemossett Pond in the midst of the northern section, Crooked, Jenkins, Spectacle, Nares and Long ponds; besides a scattered group about the centre, and several salt ponds on the south shore.

The geological formation is drift and alluvium, over which many bowlders have been strown. The land is for the most part level, and the soil is as good as any in the county. There are 118 farms, with the usual products, except that the cranberry product is very large, that of 1885 (an average crop) having been 2,234 barrels, bringing $17,379. The aggregate farm product of that year was $99,901. The town has a few vessels engaged in the coastwise trade, and a small number of boats and men in the fisheries; the latter yielding a product, in the census year mentioned, of $16,078. Much the largest catch was of bass and bluefish. The manufactures consist of carriages, leather, stone and timber, salt and other food preparations, and fertilizers, the latter constituting about nine-tenths of the aggregate product, which had a value of $902,555. There is a national bank with $100,000 capital. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $4,095,586, with a tax of $6.65 on $1,000. The population was 2,520, of whom 695 are voters. The dwelling-houses number 646.

Other villages not already mentioned are Quisset, Hatchville, High-field, Succonesset and Teatickett. The higher parts of the shores have many summer residences which adorn and enliven the scene. There is a new town-hall which cost $12,000. There are four public school-houses, valued at about $7,500, for the use of the schools, which are graded. The Lawrence Academy, at Falmouth Village, serves the town as a high school. There is an association library of about 3,000 volumes; with a church library and three possessed by the Sunday schools. The churches here are numerous; the Congregationalists having five; the Methodists, four; the Roman Catholics, two; the Friends, one; and the American Episcopal Church, also one. The Universalists have a camp-meeting ground at "Menauhant."

The Indian name of this place was Succannesset. It was early settled by white people, and was incorporated June 4, 1686, under its present name, which was derived from Falmouth in England. The first church was organized in 1708. This town was bombarded by the British ship-of-war "Nimrod"in August, 1814, seven balls being shot into the house of the Rev. Henry Lincoln, minister of the church from 1790 to 1823. Other houses also were damaged, but there were no lives lost.

Falmouth sent 71 soldiers and seamen into the national service during the war for the Union, of whom 19 were lost. The town has been the birth-place of many men distinguished for energy and excellence of character, as well as for patriotism and talents. Among those are General Joseph Dimmick, a soldier of the French and Indian War and of the Revolution; and Samuel Lewis, lawyer and preacher, and esteemed the father of the common school in Ohio.

 [Views along Buzzard's Bay]

From Nason's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890, pp. 302-305

Barnstable county 1890, Gazetteer 1890