Stoughton Massachusetts, 1890

Stoughton lies in the southwesterly part of Norfolk County, 18 miles south of Boston. The Stoughton and Easton Branch from the Providence Railroad runs through the centre and connects with the Taunton and New Bedford line in the southern part of the town, all being of the Old Colony Railroad system. The post-offices are Stoughton and North Stoughton. The other villages are Belcher's Corner, Dry Pond and West Stoughton.

Canton hounds the town on the north, Randolph and Avon on the east, Easton on the south, and Sharon on the west. The assessed area is 9,028 acres; in which are included 2,765 acres of woodland. Cedar is found in the swamps and deciduous trees in the uplands. The surface is pleasantly diversified with hill and valley; the highest point of land being "The Pinnacle," from which may be seen the islands in Boston Harbor, a wide extent of sea coast and many pleasant landscapes. The rock is sienite, in which beds of iron-ore occur in several localities. In the northwest is a group of several small ponds, and between the hills in the southwest section lies the long "Ames Pond," the reservoir for the principal power at North Easton. The drainage of the town is by affluents of the Neponset and Taunton rivers.

[Stoughton Central, Old Colony R.R.]

The value of the products of the 78 farms, reported in the census for 1885, was $82,866. There are 12 boot and shoe factories, employing nearly 900 persons, and making goods to the amount of $884,516; and a woollen mill and dyehouse, employing nearly 200 persons. Other manufactures were leather, knit hose, rubber goods, shoe lasts, machinery, artisans' tools, paper boxes, carriages, clothing and dress trimmings, soap, and food preparations. Steam is the chief power used. The value of the textiles made was $419,000; and of all manufactures, $1,469,185. There is here a co-operative bank, aiding the people in establishing homes. The population was 5,173; of whom 1,376 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $2,031,731, with a tax-rate of $15.50 on $1,000. There were 908 taxed dwelling-houses. The school system is graded, consisting of primary, grammar and high; occupying 11 buildings, valued at some $50,000. There is also a private school— "St. Mary's." There is a commodious town-hall, erected in 1881 at a cost of $45,000. The public library contains nearly 5,000 volumes. The local newspapers are the "Record," "Sentinel," " Journal" and "Citizen,"— all weeklies. The churches are one each of the Congregationalists and Universalists, and two each of the Methodists and Roman Catholics.

The Indian name of Stoughton was Punkapoag, meaning "a spring that bubbles up from red soil." Here the Rev. John Eliot had a village of "praying Indians." Of this place Major Daniel Gookin wrote, in 1674: —

"This is a small town, and hath not above 12 families in it and so about sixty souls. This is the second praying town. The Indians which settled here removed from Neponset Mill. The quantity of land belonging to this village is about 6,000 acres; and some of it is fertile, but not generally as good as in other towns."

This town was detached from Dorchester, and incorporated, December 22, 1726, being named from Lieut.-Gov. William Stoughton. The whole or parts of 11 towns have been formed from its territory. A church was organized in Stoughton August 10, 1744; and in 1746 the Rev. Jedediah Adams was ordained as pastor. He held his office 53 years. During his ministry much attention was bestowed upon the cultivation of sacred music; and in 1786 was formed the Stoughton Musical Society, which has had a continued existence. To its influence largely may be attributed the musical culture of the citizens.

pp. 620-622 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890