Weymouth Massachusetts, 1890

Weymouth is a busy industrial and progressive town situated at the southerly extremity of Boston Harbor (or Bay), in the northeasterly section of Norfolk County. An arm of the sea, called Weymouth Fore River, separates the territory from Quincy and partly from Braintree, which form the western boundaries; and another arm, called Weymouth Back River, separates it from Hingham, which is the boundary on the east; both bodies of water being nearly three miles in length and receiving streams as their interior formation. That on the east is the outlet of Whitman's Pond, near the centre of the town, having an area of some 240 acres. This receives the outlet of Great Pond, in the southwest part of the town; which contains about 280 acres, and has a pretty island in the centre. The Shore Line of the Old Colony Railroad runs through the northern part of the town, having a station at Weymouth Landing (W. P.O.), in the west, a station for North Weymouth, and one at East Weymouth, where are located the iron-works; and the Hanover and Plymouth Branch, running through the southern section, has a station at South Weymouth. The post offices are Weymouth (village and landing) Weymouth Centre, East, North and South Weymouth. Other villages are Lovell's Corners and Old Spain. On the southern border of the town is Abington; and the northern extremity is a, peninsula called "Lower Weymouth Neck." Off the northern point is Grape Island; and the passage of water between the two is called "Lower Narrows." The length of the territory, north and south, is about eight miles, with east and west lines parallel, and all straight except on the water side. The assessed area is 9,224 acres; of which 2,724 were forests. Along the village streets and about some old country mansions are many handsome shade trees. There is an elm at East Weymouth whose trunk is 22 feet in circumference at the base and 20 feet 2 inches at the point of branching. The surface of the town is agreeably diversified by hills, valleys and plains, but is without high elevations. The underlying rock is almost entirely metamorphic granite, with some archæn slate formations in the north part. Many rough ledges appear. The surface material is largely a coarse gravel of glacial formation; and in the north part are some fine moraines ("horse-backs"). The soil in most parts is poor.

The product of the 148 farms in 1885 was valued at $138,552. There were then, according to the recent census, 54 boot and shoe factories, employing 1,920 persons. There were 141 men employed in making fertilizers; 103 men were ironworkers; 66, nail makers; 21, quarrymen; 31, tanners; 23, wooden-box makers; and 20 girls were engaged in making paper boxes. Some other manufactures were food preparations, glue, polishes and dressing, clothing, carriages, fireworks, and cordage and twine. There are two printing offices; and there is a weekly newspaper entitled "The Weymouth Weekly Gazette," of good circulation. The value of the boots and shoes made was $3,355,878; of iron and metallic goods, $303,342 food preparations, $123,930; leather, $58,228; and of wooden goods, $74,134. The value of the aggregate was $5,294,183. The fishing product was but $142. The Union National Bank of this town has a capital of $400,000; and the Weymouth Savings Bank, at the close of last year, held $566,055 in deposits. The population was 10,740, of whom 2,930 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $5,901,114, with a tax-rate of $16.40 on $1,000. There were 2,194 assessed dwelling-houses. There are a good town-house and several halls for entertainments. The 24 public school-houses were valued at $115,000; and attached was $12,000 worth of other property for school use. The system is graded, and includes a high school. The 'Tufts Library contains nearly 10,000 volumes. The Congregationalists have six churches in this town; the Roman Catholics, four; the Universalists, three; the Methodists, two; the Baptists, one; the Unitarians, one; and the Protestant Episcopal Church, one.

Weymouth was incorporated September 2, 1635.

In 1622, Thomas Weston, a merchant of good reputation in London, having procured for himself a patent for a tract of land in Massachusetts Bay, sent two ships, with 50 or 60 men, at his own charge, to settle a plantation. Many of the adventurers being sick on their arrival at Plymouth, most of the company remained there during the greater part of the summer, and were treated with hospitality and kindness by the inhabitants. Some of their number, in the meantime, finding a place in the Bay of Massachusetts, named Wessagusset, which they judged convenient for a settlement, the whole company removed to it, and began a plantation. This was a rather disorderly company, there being, it is stated, "many of them rude and profane;" and, being badly governed, they fell into disorder, and experienced much suffering from their extravagance, and conduct toward the natives, such as taking their corn. The Indians were so incensed against them, that they entered into a conspiracy to destroy the whole company. This was prevented by a daring exploit of Captain Standish. Such, however, was the reduced state of the colony, and their danger from the natives, that it was deemed prudent to break up the settlement. It appears, however, there were a few inhabitants here in 1624; as it is stated "that the few inhabitants of Wessagusset receiving an accession to their number from Weymouth in England, the town is supposed to have hence been called 'Weymouth.'"

The town was attacked by Indians on February 25, 1676, when several dwelling-houses and barns were reduced to ashes. Weymouth sent its full quota of soldiers to the defence of the Union in the late war; and to the 99 who were lost in the service it has erected a handsome monument. Of the noted persons born in this town were Abigail Smith (1744-1818), who in 1764 became the wife of John Adams, second president of the United States; William Cranch, LL.D. (1760-1855), an able jurist; and Joshua Bates (1788-1864), a successful financier.

Pp. 695-697
in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890