Rehoboth Massachusetts, 1890

Rehoboth is a large and prosperous agricultural town in he western part of Bristol County, 39 miles south of Boston. Attleborough and Norton are its boundaries on the north; Taunton, Dighton and Swansey on the east; the latter on the south; and Seekonk on the west. Its form is nearly a parallelogram, extending north and south about nine miles. The area is about 70 square miles, with but 26,993 acres of assessed land. Nearly one-half the area is forest, containing oak, maple and cedar.

There are several extensive cedar swamps in the town; two of which in the eastern part Squannakonk and Mamwhauge contain about 2,500 acres each. The surface of the town is undulating; the highest eminences being Great-meadow Hill in the northeast, 266 feet high; and Great Rock in the northwest, 248 feet. The northern, middle and southwestern sections are drained by Bliss, Wolf-plain, Bad-luck and Carpenter brooks; which form Palmer's River, a beautiful stream, that, receiving other streams, becomes Warren River, meeting the tide between Warren and Barrington in Rhode Island. The visible rock is a conglomerate. The soil is divided between clay and sandy loam.

Milk and strawberries form a proportionately large part of the sales. In 1885 the former amounted to $64,497, and the latter to $26,325, requiring 314,452 quarts of the berries. According to the last State census there were in the town 367 farms; whose product in the year mentioned was $301,365. The largest manufactory was the wood-turning mill, employing 25 men. Jewelry-making employed 11 men and 5 girls. Other manufactures were lumber, carriages, metallic goods, paper boxes, carpeting, boots and shoes, fertilizers, and food preparations. The aggregate value of all goods made was $57,669. The population was 1,788, including 476 legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $735,885, with a tax-rate of $13.20 on $1,000. There wore 414 taxed dwelling-houses.

The villages are Rehoboth (centre) North and South Rehoboth, Harris and Perryville, all post-offices except the last. There were 15 public school-houses, valued at about $7,000. The Blanding Library contains nearly 1,000 volumes. The Congregationalists, Baptists, Free Baptists, Christian Baptists and Methodists each have a church here. One of the finest buildings is the Goff Memorial Hall.

The Indian name of this place was Seconet, and the first white settler was Rev. William Blackstone, who had also been the first settler of Boston. The Rev. Samuel Newman (author of a "Concordance of the Bible") removed here from Weymouth, with a part of his church, in 1644. He selected the Hebrew "Rehoboth" as the name for the place; because, he said, "the Lord hath made room for us;" and under this name the town was incorporated June 4, 1645. It then embraced Seekonk and Pawtucket. In the ensuing year forty of its dwellings were reduced to ashes by the Indians. On the death of King Philip his ablest chieftain, Annawon with a band of warriors, encamped near a huge rock in the northern part of Squannakonk Swamp, since known as Annawon Rock. Captain Benjamin Church, guided by captive Indians, found and reconnoitred the camp by the light of the supper fires. He and one or two of his soldiers climbed the rock, having an Indian and a squaw with baskets on their shoulders in advance as a screen. The party then descended quickly to the lodge of Annawon on the opposite side. It consisted of bushes leaned against a tree, one end of which rested on the rock. The chieftain's son, discovering Church, drew his blanket over his head; while his father, springing up, cried out "Howoh!" ("I am taken !"). He made no resistance; and the whole party were soon secured with little trouble.

Benjamin West, LL.D. (l730-1813), an eminent astronomer; and Daniel Reed (1757-1836), an eminent composer, author of "Greenwich," " Windham," and other popular tunes, were natives of this town.

pp. 561-563 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890