Pembroke Massachusetts, 1890

Pembroke is an old town lying in the northeasterly part of Plymouth County, about 26 miles southeast of Boston. The Hanover Branch of the Old Colony Railroad skirts the northwestern line, and the Plymouth Branch runs close upon the southwestern corner. The villages and post-offices are Pembroke (centre), North Pembroke, East Pembroke and Bryantsville. The town is bounded on the north by Hanover and Norwell, on the northeast by Marshfield, on the east by Duxbury, on the south Kingston, Plympton and Halifax, and on the west by Hanson. It is 7 miles long and 5½ miles wide.

There are 6,999 acres of woodland, containing mostly oak and pine. Along the roads, especially in the villages, are many well-grown trees oak, elm and maple. There are a few small hills near the centre, and in the northeast. The rock is sienitic and the best soil a sandy loam. There is an extensive marsh in the northern section, and in the western and southern parts are Oldham, Furnace, Hobomoc, Great and Little Sandy ponds. These discharge by Herring Branch into North River, which forms the northern line of the town, and is navigable by small vessels. Jones River Pond (or Silver Lake) lies on the southern line, and is as large as all the others put together. This and Stetson Pond, in the southwest corner, discharge by Jones River into Plymouth harbor.


The value of the aggregate product of the 152 farms of this town in 1885 was $68,659. There were one boot and shoe factory employing 78 persons and two box factories employing 20 men. Other articles made were house lumber, nails and tacks and other metallic goods, carpetings and carriages. The value of the aggregate was $47,067. The population was 1,313, of whom 363 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $632,895, with a tax-rate of $13 on $1,000. There were 345 taxed dwelling-houses.


The town had eight public school-houses, valued at $8,500. The public library contains upwards of 1,500 volumes. The Friends, Methodists and Unitarians each have a church edifice in the town.

The records say, on March 21, 1712, that "a part of Duxbury called Mattakeeset, a tract of land known as the Major's Purchase, and the land called Marshfield Upper Lands at Mattakeeset, are established as Pembroke." Parts of it have since been taken to form Halifax and Hanson. The first saw mill and the first furnace for smelting iron in the country were erected here. The first church was erected in 1703. The old brick "Garrison House " here is said to be one of the oldest standing. Captain Seth Hatch of this town ran the blockade of the St. Lawrence and conveyed supplies to Gen. James Wolfe, whose thanks he publicly received.


There was. erected in Pembroke the present year a handsome monument of granite, bearing the names of all her soldiers of the late war, 136 in number, and surmounted by a white bronze statue of a Union soldier, with musket, at parade rest.

pp. 533-534 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer