Middleton Massachusetts, 1890
Middleton is a small and pleasant town situated on the western border of Essex County, 19 miles north of Boston, on the Lawrence Branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad. It is bounded on the north by North Andover and Boxford, east by Danvers and Topsfield, south by the latter, Peabody and Lynnfield, and west by North Reading. The assessed area is 8,295 acres, of which 1,871 are forest, consisting of oak, maple, birch and pine.
The Ipswich River, flowing southeast, then northeast, forms the southern line of the larger part of the town, then flows northward through the eastern section, and passing the centre, turns again and leaves the town on the northeast side, at the angle known as the "Disputed Territory." Boston Brook, from North Andover, enters it at the northern bend, and nearer the centre it receives a stream from Swan Pond in the edge of North Reading; and on this are two or more saw mills. Potts' Pond is on this stream, with Will's Hill on the south between it and Middleton Pond. The latter is a beautiful sheet of water covering about 100 acres, its outlet being also tributary to the Ipswich. East of this pond lies Middleton village, at the centre. There are other considerable hills at the cast and southwest. The principal rock is sienite.
The soil is very good, and the farms well cared for. They are 66 in number; and their product, according to the census of 1885, aggregated in the sum of $77,783. The leading articles were of the dairy, and vegetables. Apples, cranberries and strawberries were largely raised. There were a boot and shoe factory in the town, employing 121 persons, a wooden-box factory employing 18 men, and two saw mills employing nine men. Other manufactures were soap, metallic goods (two factories), glue and starch, and several of lesser importance. The value of the aggregate product is stated at $259,039. The population was 899, including 254 legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $568,661; with a tax-rate of $10.40 on $1,000. There were 211 assessed dwelling-houses.
The post-office is Middleton; and this and Howe's are the railroad stations. Paper Mill Village has the enterprising factory which gives it name. There are primary and grammar schools, provided for in three buildings valued at about $10,000. The Flint Public Library contains upwards of 3,000 volumes. The Congregationalists, Methodists and Universalists each have a church here.
This town was formed from parts of Andover, Boxford, Topsfield and Salem, and incorporated June 20, 1728. Its name was probably suggested by its locality. Previously the inhabitants were spoken of as "Will's Hill men," from the elevated ground near the centre. The westerly part of the town was settled in 1660, and localities on Pierce's and Nichol's brooks about 1663. The Rev. Andrew Peters, the first minister, was ordained in 1729.
Charles L. Flint, late secretary of the State Board of Agriculture, was born in this town in 1824. Of the men it furnished for the war for the Union, 15 were lost, of whom three died in Andersonville prison.
pp. 463-464 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890