Westport Massachusetts, 1890

Westport is a large agricultural town, with some manufactures, forming the southwest corner of Bristol County, adjoining Rhode Island. The extreme length of the territory, north and south, is about 15 miles; and the width about 5 miles. The assessed area is 28,529 acres. Fall River bounds it on the north, Dartmouth on the east, Buzzard's Bay on the south, and Tiverton and Little Compton, in Rhode Island, on the west. The woodland embraces 10,735 acres; the trees being chiefly oak and maple. Parts of Watuppa Pond and Sandy Pond, connected at the south, divide the land of the northern section from that of other towns on the west. Acoaxet River enters it at the northeast from Dartmouth; and on, this stream, on the line between the towns, is the village called Westport Factory or Westport Mills. Acoaxet River West Branch enters at the southwest, and joins the main river on the north of Horse Neck. Each stream becomes a broad arm of the sea for about 3 miles, and both here contain many islands. Between them lies a broad peninsula, at whose southern extremity is the village of Westport Point, having a good harbor. Central Village is on the river near its broadening; and on the river northward is Westport Village. These, with South Westport at the southeast extremity, are the post-offices. Other village names are Acoaxet, Horsneck, Quansett, Indian Town and Westport Harbor. The south side of Horse Neck is a fine long beach, curving from the western point southeastward, and ending at the long southward projection of Gooseberry Neck. The land is level and the soil productive. A few low hills about Central Village are the principal elevations. The underlying rock is granite and felspathic gneiss. There are a large number of apple trees, which yield well. Cranberries, strawberries, cereals, corn and vegetables are large crops. The wood product in 1885 amounted to $19,482; and the poultry product to $51,218. The value of the aggregate product of the 330 farms was $338,556. Only 118 farms exceeded 60 acres in extent, and only 10 contained over 150 acres. The cotton factory, in 1885, employed nearly 150 persons. There are one or more saw and grist mills, a carriage factory and a shipyard. The manufactures consisted chiefly of cordage and twine, carpeting, carriages, metallic goods, and food preparations. Textiles amounted to $200,288. The value of all goods made was $321,533. The fisheries, consisting of tautog, swordfish, alewives, bluefish and bass, yielded $4,986. The population was 2,706; of whom 732 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $1,312,525, with a tax-rate of $12.80. There were 702 taxed dwelling-houses. The public schools are graded, and include a high school. They occupy 18 buildings, valued at $21,000. A public library was established in the early part of 1889. The local newspaper is the "Westport News," issued weekly. The Congregationalists, Methodists, and Friends each have a church in the town; and the Christian denomination has five [?].

This town was formerly a part of Dartmouth; from which it was set apart and incorporated, July 2, 1787. Its early name was Acoaxet, of Indian origin.

Pp. 691-692
in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer