OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE
DESCRIPTIVE AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF
PREPARED AND PUBLISHED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF
FALL RIVER NEWS
WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF
HON. ALANSON BORDEN
OF NEW BEDFORD
THE BOSTON HISTORY COMPANY, PUBLISHERS
Retyped for the web by Stephanie Anderson
Attleborough. - This was the sixth town formed in Bristol county, the date being October 18,
1694, when it was taken from Rehoboth as the North Purchase. On September 10, 1697, the bounds between Attleborough
and Rehoboth were established. February 18, 1830, the bounds between Attleborough and Wrentham were fixed and a
part annexed to Wrentham. On June 14, 1887, the town was divided and North Attleborough erected. The town is in
the Twelfth Congressional District, and with North Attlborough, Norton, Rehoboth and Seekonk, forms the First Representative
District, with 4,663 legal voters, entitling the district to two representatives. It is the northwest corner town
in Bristol county, and by the State census of 1895 contains a population of 8,288, with 1,511 registered voters
in 1897. The Providence division of the Old Colony Railroad crosses the town, and the Attleborough branch road
extends from Attleborough village to Taunton. There are four post-offices in the town, namely , Attleborough, South
Attleborough, Hebronville and Dodgeville.
Attleborough is a large and thriving village, centrally located in the town, with a population of about 6,000.
Its reputation, with that of North Attleborough, is world-wide as one of the largest jewelry manufacturing centers
of the country. Most of all of these industries have been adequately described in these pages.
In Attleborough are six churches, besides the All Saints' Mission. Of these the Davis Centenary Methodist was organized
in May, 1866, and the building erected the same year and dedicated February 23, 1869. It was burned December 23,
1883, and the present edifice erected in 1885. The First Congregational Church is situated at Old-town and dates
from the first settlement of the town and has been noticed in earlier pages. The town was divided into two parishes
in April, 1743, and in the same year a meeting-house was commenced "on the plain where the roads meet or cross
each other." In 1825 this structure gave place to another, which is now the Second Congregational church.
The First Baptist Church in the town was formed in the last century, and when North Attleborough was set off, in
1887, was taken into the new town. The First Baptist Church of Attleborough was organized October 5, 1895, and
now worships in a building on North Main street. The Central Congregational church at Attleborough Falls (North
Attleborough) was dedicated May 5, 1874. the Hebronville Methodist Church was organized in 1875 and erected a meetin-house
in 1881. Other churches in the town are St. Stephen's Catholic at Dodgeville; Zion A. M. E. Church at Attlebourough;
St. John The Evangelist, Attleborough; Murray Universalist (before noticed).
The town of Attleborough has thirty-five schools, as follows: One high school, eight grammar schools, eighteen
primary schools, three semi-graded schools, four upgraded schools and one kindergarten. The total enrollment for
1897 was 2,028, an increase from 1888 of about 600. There was expended for all schools in 1897, $32,695.25. In
1895 there was about $10,000 expended on new buildings and repairs.
Attleborough village has an excellent water supply system, which had its inception in 1873. The town acquired the
works in 1892, since which year large extensions have been made. The increase in consumption from 1893 to present
has been as follows: 1893, 217,860 gallons; 1894, 271,606; 1895, 306,357; 1896, 315,612; 1897, 352,086. The old
cement pipe has been largely supplanted by iron pipe and other modern improvements made.
The Attleborough Steam and Electric Light Company was incorporated in 1887. The plant was originally built at North
Attleborough, but in 1888 was removed to Farmers, a suburb of the village. The company supplies electric lights
for the village and power for various industries. The Attleborough Gaslight Company is still in existence and supplies
lights and gas for domestic purposes.
In December, 1883, a public meeting was held and the Attleborough Free Public Library Association was founded,
succeeding two or three small circulating libraries. It received support from voluntary subscriptions during about
four years, and at the first town meeting after erection of North Attleborough, in 1887, the library came under
public control with a board of nine trustees.
Attleborough has an efficient fire department, the apparatus consisting principally of two hose carts and a hook
and ladder truck, with ample hose, ladders, etc. The water pressure in the mains is sufficient to throw powerful
streams wherever needed. There are four fire department houses, two of which are in the village, one at South Attleborough
and one at Farmers. The Gamewell fire alarm system is in use.
The Attleborough Advocate was established as a weekly newspaper in 1875 by David L. Lowe, who was succeeded by
E. H. Sweet & Co., and later by Sweet & Sturdy. The publication of a daily edition was begun in 1889, with
the title, Attleborough Daily Sun. the two editions were continued for a time, but the weekly subsequently ceased
publication. The daily has passed through several changes of management, and in 1898 the Sun Publishing Company
was incorporated. The editor was John W. Waters. The Sun is Republican. The corporation publishes, also the Jeweler's
Herald, a weekly.
The village in this town next in importance to Attleborough village is South Attleborough, situated in the western
part of the town and is connected with North Attleborough by electric cars. It is a small hamlet containing a post-office,
a church, school house, a few stores, and a few industries. Among these is the tannery of William Coupe & Company
and three jewelry manufacturers, Sadler Brothers, William P. Shaw & Company, and another.
Hebronville is a small village in the southern part of the town with a station on the railroad, a post office,
a church (Methodist), a school, and a few shops. There is a large foreign element in the population employed mostly
in the cotton mills of the Hebronville Manufacturing Company. These mills employ about 600 operators, have 21,760
spindles. The company conducts a general store. This company operates also a cotton mill at Dodgeville, a small
hamlet on the railroad about a mile northeast of Hebronville. These mills contain 23,168 spindles, and the company
has also a general store here.
Briggs Corner is a settlement in the southeast part of the town where there is a school house, a church, and the
carriage manufactory of Darius Briggs.
The principle interests of this town among agriculturists are in the vicinity of South Attleborough. Market gardening
is carried on to a considerable extent, with general farming.
Attleborough village is connected by three electric car lines with North Attleborough, Plainville and Pawtucket.
On the night of May 18, 1898, Attleborough village suffered an unparalleled calamity in the burning of a large
number of her manufacturing establishments, causing a loss of nearly three-quarters of a million dollars and destroying
the industries of some fifteen firms and individuals, engaged principally in the manufacture of jewelry. These
were located in buildings wih were generally covered by insurance, saving about $80,000 of the loss. About 1,500
employees were thrown out of work. The heaviest losers were the firm of Bates & Bacon, $250,000, and W. &
S. Backinton, $150,000; other losses were Dagget & Clapp, $30,000; J. T. Inman & Co., $20,000; C. H. Allen
& Co., $10,000; Bay State Optical Co., $30,000; S. O. Bigney & Co., $40,000; W. E. Heyward, $20,000; Williams
Seamless Wire Co., $15,000; Regnell & Bigney, $20,000; Attleborough Manufacturing Co.,$15,000; J. C. Cummings
& Co., $15,000; Henry Wexel & Co., $15,000. Immediate preparations were made by most of these manufacturers
to resume business and the burned buildings are rapidly being replaced by new structures.