Mansfield Massachusetts, 1890
Mansfield is an agricultural and manufacturing town lying on northern border of Bristol County, 24 miles southwest of Boston by the Providence Railroad. This is intersected at Mansfield centre by the Taunton and New Bedford line and by the Framingham and Mansfield branch, all being parts of the Old Colony Railroad system. Mansfield is bounded on the northwest by Foxborough, on the east by Easton, on the southeast by Norton, and on the southwest by Attleborough and North Attleborough. The assessed area is 11,207 acres, of which 3,326 acres are woodland.
The scenery is beautified by several small ponds. Canoe, Rumford and Wading rivers, tributaries of the Taunton, flowing southerly, drain the town and furnish several mill-powers. A coal mine was opened here in 1836, and shafts sunk 60 or 70 feet; but the enterprise was abandoned. A deposit of yellow ochre has been discovered which promises better results. The geological structure is sienite and carboniferous. The land varies little from a level and is not very fertile. Both the black and the white whortleberry grow here. The poultry product was very large. The farms number 130; and their aggregate product in 1885 was $140,266. There is much variety of manufactures, bakers' products leading. Iron and metallic goods aggregated $313,526, and consisted mainly of stoves and furnaces, windlasses, artisans' tools, cutlery, tacks and brads, and jewelry. Straw goods amounted to $280,500; wooden goods, consisting of basket work, lumber, etc., $29,813. Other articles were arms, ammunition, carriages, stone, soap and tobacco. There are two printing offices which do a large amount of business. The aggregate value of goods made was $993,732. There are 673 dwelling-houses and a population of 2,939, including 769 legal voters. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $1,353,962, with a tax-rate of $16.50 on $1,000.
The post-offices are Mansfield (centre) and West Mansfield. The other village is Whiteville, in the northeasterly part of the town. There are primary, intermediate and grammar schools, which occupy eight buildings valued at about $12,000. There is a public library of some 1,500 volumes; also a circulating and six Sunday-school libraries. The Baptists, Congregationalists, the New Jerusalem Church, the Unitarians, Universalists and Friends have each a church edifice, and the Methodists have two.
Until its incorporation, April 26, 1770, this town was the north precinct of Norton; both having been originally included in Taunton North Purchase. It was named in honor of William Murray, Earl of Mansfield.
Mansfield Centre, the principal village, is a brisk and thriving place, having unusual railroad facilities, well-shaded streets, handsome residences and churches. Asa Clapp (1762-1848), Rev. Samuel Deane (1784-1834), and William Reade Deane (1907-1871), were natives of this town.
p. 438 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890