Lakeville Massachusetts, 1890

Lakeville lies in the southwest part of Plymouth County, 35 miles south of Boston. It is bounded on the north and east by Middleborough, on the south by Rochester and Freetown, on the west by the latter, and on the northwest by Berkley and Raynham. The assessed area (which excludes water surfaces) is 17,274 acres; and of this 9,834 acres are woodland, consisting of oak, pine and cedar. Tributaries of Taunton and Assonet rivers rise in this town, affording some water-power. The land is level in the main, the soil indifferently good, and the rigor of the climate somewhat softened by the water of the ponds. Alden's Hill, near the centre, rises to the height of 173 feet and commands a fine water view. The principal stone is granite, of which there is a valuable quarry. Assawompsett is the largest pond. This, and Pocksha, Great and Little Quittacus, and Long Ponds, partially enclose, and almost form an island of, an extensive territory in the southeast section of the town. Elder's, Loon and Clear are smaller ponds. Their aggregate measurement is very nearly 4,780 acres.

The 140 farms of this town reported in the last census aggregate products to the value of $133,680. Large items in this were the wood product ($17,908), eggs and feathers ($10,214), and strawberries (of which 23,523 quarts were marketed). There is a boot and shoe factory, employing some 33 persons, and three saw mills making boxboards. A considerable quantity of straw braid is made in the families. The aggregate of manufactures reached the value of $34,700. The Old Colony Railroad has a station at the Middleboro line; one at Lakeville on the west side; and Myrick's is near the southeast corner of the town.

The number of dwelling-houses in 1888 was 250; the population 980; and the legal voters numbered 250. The valuation of the town in that year was $435,356, with a tax-rate of $10 on $1000 The schools were provided for in eight buildings, valued at some $4,000. Mr. Hugh Montgomery, a native of the town, gave it in 1866 a library of 350 volumes, as a nucleus for a large collection. There is now a library of about 7,000 volumes.

The Congregationalists have a church at Lakeville, and another at Union Grove. The first church in the town was organized on the 6th of October, 1725, when the Rev. Benjamin Ruggles was ordained pastor.

The ponds of Lakeville were a noted resort of the Indians, who planted maize upon their borders, and supplied themselves with fish from their waters. John Sausaman, having informed the English of the plans of Philip, was murdered by three Indians on a frozen pond at Assawompsett; and, by the execution of the murderers, the war was hastened. During the war, Philip sent an army to waylay Captain Benjamin Church at Assawompsett Neck, but failed in taking him. Anterior to the war, there was an Indian church at this place, and the Rev. Mr. Jocelyn was the preacher. The Indians long continued living at Betty's Neck, south of the pond; and of their number, Benjamin Simonds, a noble specimen of the aborigines, fought in the Revolutionary War, and afterwards received an annual pension of $96 from the government. He died in 1836, and a monument has been erected to his memory. The first white settler at Assawompsett Neck was Mr. Thomas Nelson, in 1717; other landholders were the Sampson, the Richmond, and the Pickens families.

Lakeville was taken from Middleborough and incorporated May 13, 1853, receiving its name from its large extent of water surface.

Lakeville furnished 91 men for the late war, of whom nine were lost.

pp. 399-400 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890