Rochester Massachusetts, 1890
Rochester is a large farming town in the southwesterly part of Plymouth County, 50 miles southeast of Boston. It is bounded on the north by Lakeville and Middleborough, east by Wareham and Marion, south by Mattapoisett, and west by Acushnet and Freetown. The assessed area is 18,410 acres; and above 10,000 acres are occupied by forests of oak, pine and cedar. There are several extensive swamps; the ponds are Snipatuit in the northwest section, with Great and Little Quittacus lying on the northern border; a considerable hill between the three affording a fine view of them and their surroundings. Mary's Pond lies in the east, and in the west is another fine pond with a long hill in the cast, and one or two grist mills near by. Sippican River drains the eastern, and Mattapoisett River the western section of the town.
In the eastern section are other grist mills, and saw mills are found in all parts of the town. There are manufactures of nails, boots and shoes, carriages, etc.; and the value of these products in 1885 was $17,663. The soil is generally light and sandy. The wood and poultry products are large; and apples, strawberries and cranberries are important crops. The aggregate value of the products of the 144 farms was $106,402. The population was 1,021; and of these 311 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $469,370, with a tax-rate of $15.50. The number of taxed dwelling-houses was 262.
The post-offices are Rochester (village), somewhat south of the centre, and North Rochester in the northwest section. The other village is Pierceville. The Cape Cod Division of the Old Colony Railroad crosses the northeast corner of the town, having its Tremont station near the border, in Wareham. Marion, at the southeast, on the Fairhaven Branch, is the station most used. Rochester village is a quiet and pleasant place, having a town-hall, a Congregational church, and a free public library of upwards of 1,200 volumes. There is another Congregational church at North Rochester. There are 7 public school-houses, valued at nearly $10,000.
The Indian name of the township is said to have been Menchoisett. Its present name was given in honor of Rochester in England, whence many of its early settlers came. The town (then including Marion and Mattapoisett), was incorporated June 4, 1686. It sent 125 men into the Union service during the late war of whom 10 were lost.
pp. 565-566 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890