Kingston Massachusetts, 1890

Kingston is an ancient seaboard town in the easterly part of Plymouth County, 33 miles southeast of Boston by the Old Colony Railroad. On its north are Pembroke and Duxbury; on the east, the latter and Kingston Bay; Plymouth lies on the southeast, and Plympton and Halifax on the southwest and west. The assessed area is 10,583 acres, including 5,148 acres of woodland.

[arrival of the Mayflower.]

The town has a good harbor for small vessels, which opens into Duxbury and Plymouth Bay. Silver Lake (formerly Jones River Pond) lies partly in the northwestern corner, and partly in the towns of Pembroke, Halifax and Plympton, here adjoining. From it flows Jones River southeastward to the harbor; receiving on the north, Miles, Tusseck and Pine brooks, and on the south, Jones-River Brook and Smelt Brook. Several other beautiful ponds in different parts of the town impart life and variety to the scenery. Great Indian, Muddy and Smelt ponds, in the southern part of the town, range in size from 60 to about 100 acres. The land is handsomely diversified by hill and valley, forest, field and fertile meadow. In the southeast is Monk's Hill, 313 feet in height; commanding a magnificent view of Plymouth, Captain's Hill and the Gurnet in Duxbury, and of the ocean. Pine Hill, overlooking Great Indian Pond, also has its peculiar beauty. The bed rook of this town is principally granite and sienite. Veins of volcanic trap are thrown up in some localities almost like walls of masonry, especially at the "Devil's Stair" near Rocky Nook, in the southeast. The soil in general, is a red loam, intermingled with sand and gravel.

According to the census of 1885 there were 114 farms whose product for that year was $58,391. Fishing is pursued to some extent; the catch (chiefly of cod) was valued at $8,115. The manufactures are quite numerous, consisting of hollow ware, rivets, tacks, carpenters' boring implements, and other iron and steel goods, aggregating in the sum of $268,960; also lumber, wooden boxes, cotton thread, cordage, leather, shoes, woollen goods, carriages, clothing, food preparations and stone. The value of all goods made was $308,837. The dwelling-houses were 381 in number, The valuation in 1888 was $1,703,215, and the tax-rate $9 on $1,000 The population was 1,570, including 453 legal voters.

The schools are graded from primary to high, and are held in six buildings valued at some $15,000. The Kingston Library Association has upwards of 1,500 volumes. The Unitarians, Congregationalists, Baptists and Roman Catholics have each a church edifice in the town. Kingston (centre) and Silver Lake (in the northwest) are the postal villages and railroad stations. Another station is Seaside. Other villages are Indian Pond, Rocky Nook, Stony Brook and Wapping.

Kingston was incorporated June 16, 1726; having been known for more than a century as the "North End" of Plymouth. In 1857 it had an accession of land from Duxbury. The place was a favorite resort of the Indians, and two of their burial places are still pointed out. Several of the more prominent of the Pilgrims settled in this town; and many of the present families trace their line of descent directly back to the first English occupants. Gov. William Bradford, and his sons John and Joseph; Thomas Cushman (whose wife was the last survivor of those who came over in "The Mayflower"); John Howland; Francis Cooke; Edward Gray (a noted merchant); Francis Billington, whose name is perpetuated by " Billington Sea," in Plymouth, and by certain rocks in the bay; Isaac Allerton; and others of their company, were residents of North Plymouth, now Kingston. The Rev. Joseph Stacy, the first minister, was ordained in 1720.

The town furnished 154 men for the war of the Slaveholders' Rebellion; 14 of them losing their lives in the army or in consequence of injury suffered in the country's service.

Kingston is noted for its numerous college graduates and others of large intelligence. John Holmes, an able lawyer and United States senator, was horn here in March, 1773, and died in Portland, Maine, July 7, 1843. Joseph R. Chandler, an accomplished scholar, editor, and M.C. from 1849 to 1855, was born here in 1792. The Hon. Ichabod Washburn, of Worcester, and the Hon. E. S. Tobey, a liberal and intelligent merchant, and, later, postmaster of Boston, are also natives of this place.

pp. 397-398 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890