Marion Massachusetts, 1890

Marion is an interesting seaboard town in the southerly extremity of Plymouth County, 50 miles south by southeast of Boston. It has Rochester and Wareham on the north, Buzzard's Bay on the east and southeast, Mattapoisett on the south of the western half, and the same and Rochester on the west, The assessed area is 7,698 acres; and of this 3,196 acres are woodland.

The town is very irregular in form; sending three long peninsulas southeastward into Buzzard's Bay. Bird's Island Light marks the entrance of Sippican Harbor, which has about 11 feet of water, and runs up past the centre of the town. On its western side is Charles' Neck, beyond which is Coot Cove. The eastern peninsula is divided into Great Neck and Great Hill Neck by Wing's Cove. Great Hill Neck has a beach on its east side, washed by the waves of Buzzard's Bay Great Hill rises 127 feet above the sea, and is one of the survey stations. Sippican River forms a part of the line with Wareham, and here flows eastward, and joins the Weweantit in a wide inlet from the bay. Great Swamp in the east, Bear Swamp in the northwest, and Lawrence Swamp in the south, embrace a large extent of territory. The surface generally is level, and rocky and hard to cultivate.

The 27 farms yielded in 1885 an aggregate product valued at $17,909. The fisheries amounted to $5,819; the catch consisting of alewives, bluefish, oysters and scallops. There is a small saw mill, and an establishment preparing sea products for food, to the value of $14,000. The aggregate value of goods made was $19,225. The dwelling-houses number 225; sheltering a population of 965, of whom 279 are legal voters, The valuation in 1888 was $822,750; and the tax-rate $8 on $1,000.

The post-office is Marion; and other villages are Bay View, East Marion, Old Landing and Sippican. The Fairhaven Branch of the Cape Cod Division of the Old Colony Railroad, passing by the head of the harbor, affords convenient land connections. The schools are partially graded, occupying six buildings, valued at some $10,000. Tabor Academy has two buildings, valued at $20,000. The Tabor library consists of a building valued at $9,000, containing about 15,000 volumes. The churches are the Congregationalist, Methodist and Universalist.

This town was originally part of the territory of King Philip, the Wampanoag chieftain, and its Indian name was Sippican. The first white settlements were made at Little Neck as early as 1680. The first minister was the Rev. Samuel Shiverick, in 1683. The church was organized October 13, 1703; and its first place of worship was a "corn-house" at Little Neck, in the vicinity of a great rock around which the Indians used to hold their horrid powwows. During King Philip's War, the gallant Captain Benjamin Church met Queen Awashanks and her tribe at the Great Hill at the southeast; being then on their way to Sandwich to arrange terms of peace with the white authorities. Captain Church found the Indians having a general good time here, "running races on horseback," "playing at football," "catching eels and flatfish," or " plunging or frolicking in the waves" on the beach. The queen entertained him cordially with "fried eels, bass, flatfish, and shellfish; and then, around a huge bonfire of pine knots, herself and warriors pledged their allegiance to the English, and thus sealed the fate of Philip."

Marion was formerly a part of Rochester, and was set apart and incorporated May 14, 1852. The name is that of a noted Southern leader in the Revolution, Colonel Francis Marion; or it may have been chosen for its euphony alone. The town furnished 63 men for the Union forces in the war of the Rebellion.

pp. 441-442 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

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