Truro Massachusetts, 1890

Truro occupies a cross section of the outer portion of Cape Cod, in Barnstable County, lying somewhat in the form of a slightly curved finger, with Provincetown at its tip and Wellfleet as its base. Its length is 14 miles; its width at the south is 4 miles; and at the northern extremity about half a mile. The assessed area is 5,450 acres; the total farm land being 2,198 acre; and there are nearly 500 acres of pine woods.

East Harbor Pond, changed from a tide-harbor by the viaduct of the railroad, occupies more than half the width of the peninsula, near the northern extremity; and Pamet River, flowing from the east to Cape Cod Bay, nearly divides the town in halves. At its mouth is a good harbor for small craft; and on its northern shore is the principal village, Truro (centre), 111 miles from Boston on the Old Colony Railroad. Other villages are South Truro and North Truro, and all are post-offices and railroad stations. Still further north is Pond Village. The elevation of the surface is frequently varied, but to a slight extent. The soil is sandy, with the exception of some marshes and a range of clay hills in the east. These are called "The Pounds," a term having reference to the action of the waves upon them, and because many vessels have been pounded to pieces against them. They seem to have been formed by nature for the preservation of this section of the Cape against the encroachments of the sea. Small's Hill, in this vicinity, is the highest point of land in the town; and the view of the ocean from its summit, especially after a great storm, is grand in the extreme. Several beautiful fresh-water ponds diversify the scenery of the southern part of the town.

Cranberries are cultivated to some extent, and there is a considerable variety of other fruits and berries. The value of the aggregate product of the 48 farms in 1885 was $38,399. The only manufactory is a fish-canning establishment, employing from 10 to 25 persons during the warm season. The product was valued in the year mentioned at $24,014. The fisheries yielded $89,616. The catch consisted chiefly of mackerel, herring, flounders, bluefish and pollock. Five sail-boats, 34 dories and 8 seine-boats are employed in this pursuit. The population was 972; of whom 234 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $290,860, with a tax-rate of $16.20 on $1,000. The eight public school buildings were valued at some $5,000. There is a public library of about 300 volumes.

The Indian name of this place was Meeshawm also Pawmet (from the tribe which resided chiefly about the river). The name is variously spelt, as Payomet, Paomet and at last Pamet. Before its incorporation, July 16, 1709, the place was called "Dangerfield," on account of its exposure to the vicissitudes of the ocean. The British ship-of-war "Somerset" was cast away on the eastern shore in 1779; and the crew were taken prisoners and sent to Boston. In the great gale of October, 1841, 57 young men of this place were lost at sea, leaving as many as fifty children fatherless. Half a century ago, great quantities of salt were made on the Cape; and in 1837 there were 37 salt works in Truro. Every breezy summit about Pamet had its windmill. Wharves and stores also were numerous; and there was even a shipyard.

The churches consist of two Congregationalist, one Methodist, a Methodist and Congregationalist in union, and a Roman Catholic. The first church was organized here, and the Rev. John Avery ordained, November 11, 1711. He was a physician as well as pastor. "The honest, pious, virtuous Friend" -- his epitaph says.

pp. 644-645 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Barnstable county 1890, Gazetteer 1890