Halifax Massachusetts, 1890

Halifax lies in the central part of Plymouth County, 28 miles southeast of Boston by the Old Colony Railroad, which passes along its northeastern border. It has for its boundaries Hanson and Pembroke on the north; Jones River Pond and Plympton on the east; the latter and Middleborough on the south; and Bridgewater and East Bridgewater on the west. Its assessed area is 9,378 acres; about one half of this being more or less wooded.

The land in the eastern part of the town is level; in the western; part diversified by gradual swells and valleys. Monponset Pond, a beautiful sheet of water about two miles long by half a mile broad, lies in the northern part of the town; and there are a series of small ponds across the town from this to Robbin's Pond, in Bridgewater, just over the western line. Great Cedar Swamp extends from the centre of the town over the northern line. The Winnetuxet River, a narrow and circuitous stream, flows through the southwestern section of the town, and joins the Titicut in Bridgewater. Vessels were formerly built upon this river, and floated down to the Taunton River and thence to Newport. There are some valuable beds of peat in this place, and graywacke and granite constitute the geological formation. The soil is sandy loam. The greenhouse and hotbed products are large in comparison to the usual crops. The value of the aggregate product of the 103 farms, in 1885, was $65,940. There are several saw mills and a wooden-box mill in the town, the last employing from seven to ten persons. A few persons are engaged in making boots and shoes; and there are two or three other articles made in small quantities. The aggregate value of manufactured products in the last census year was $37,821. The valuation in 1888 was $247,464; and the tax-rate was $13.60 on $1,000. The inhabitants numbered 530; and their dwellings, 142. There are 140 legal voters. The public schools occupy four buildings, valued at upwards of $1,500. There is a public library of upwards of 1,500 volumes. The Congregationalists, Baptists and Universalists have churches here. The town is very healthful, and the wealth is distributed among the people very equally.

The place was originally settled by the direct descendants of the Pilgrims; and among the names of its early citizens are those of Sturtevant, Thomson, Bosworth, Briggs and Waterman. A church was built in 1733; and John Cotton, author of "The History of Plymouth Church," was the first minister. In the great swamp in this town Captain Benjamin Church captured the Monponsets in the summer of 1676," and brought them in, not one escaping. From this tribe the place had its early name. Its present name was given at the incorporation, July 4, 1734, in honor of the Duke of Halifax. Its territory was taken from Plympton, Middleborough, Pembroke and Bridgewater.

Halifax bore its part handsomely in the war of the Revolution; and for the war of 1812 it furnished an entire company, under Captain Asa Thompson, who was known as the "Tall Captain," being six feet and six inches in height. This company was chartered by Governor John Hancock in 1792. Its existence was maintained continuously; and it served also in the late Rebellion. In this war the town lost 24 out of the 96 men furnished. In 1867 it erected on the square in front of the Congregational church, at an expense of $1,000, a granite monument to their memory.

pp. 351-352 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890