Norwell Massachusetts, 1890
Norwell lies in the northern part of Plymouth County, and is bounded on the north by Hingham, northeast by Scituate, southeast by Marshfield, south by Pembroke, and south and southwest by Hanover, with Rockland on the west for a small space north of Hanover. The assessed area is 12,340 acres; of which 2,900 are woodland.
There are several extensive swamps in the town, of which the most noted are Valley Swamp in the northwest, Black-pond Swamp in the north, Dead Swamp in the east, Hoop-pole Swamp in the centre, and Old-pond Meadows in the southwest. Jacob's Pond, in the west, receives a stream from Valley Swamp, and sends out Third Herring Brook, which, flowing southeastward, forms a divisional line from Hanover, and enters North River at the southern border of the town. The latter is a tidal stream dividing Norwell from Pembroke and Marshfield, and receiving Second Herring Brook from the eastern section of the town. Norwell has a good harbor for small vessels on this river, where formerly many vessels were built, using the white oak and pine from the neighboring forests. The surface of the town is uneven, but without great eminences. Mount Blue in the north and Wild Cat Hill in the south, are the most conspicuous hills. The underlying rock is sienite, and the soil is stony.
The value of the aggregate product of the 92 farms in 1885 was $87,579. Only 66 persons reported as farmers. There are six boot and shoe factories, employing upwards of 160 persons, and making goods in 1885 to the amount of $174,618. The other manufactures are tacks, artisans' tools, textiles, trunks and valises, carriages, lumber and food preparations. The value of the aggregate product was $280,585. The savings bank, at the close of last year, carried deposits to the amount of $477,055. The population was 1,589, including 486 legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $873,187, with a tax-rate of $11.50 on $1,000. The number of taxed dwelling-houses was 436.
There are a good town-hall and seven school-houses. The latter are valued at some $6,000. The association called the "James Library " has a building valued at $5,000 and a collection of upwards of 1,700 volumes. It is sustained by a fund and fees. The churches are one each of the Methodists, Unitarians and Universalists. The "News" is the local paper.
The first settler of this place was probably Cornet Robert Stetson, who came here as early as 1634, and chose for his residence a beautiful plain near North River. He was cornet of the first light-horse corps raised in the colony. He with others built the first saw mill in the town on Third Herring Brook. It was burned by the Indians, May 20, 1676. Joseph Copeland came to this place in 1730; and the average age of his 12 children was 86 years. Edward Delano and Benjamin Delano, U.S. naval constructors, were natives of this town. Norwell sent 239 men into the Union service during the late war, of whom 21 were lost; and to the memory of these a handsome monument has been raised.
This town was formerly the southwestern part of Scituate, and was incorporated February 14, 1849, as South Scituate. The name was changed to Norwell, March 5, 1888. The post-offices are Norwell, Ridge Hill and Mount Blue. Assinippi Village, at the northeast corner of Hanover, and Church Hill and Queen Anne's Corner, at the Hingham border, are the other villages. The nearest railway stations are those of the Old Colony Railroad in the adjoining towns of Hanover, Hingham and Scituate.
pp. 520-521 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890