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THIS town was originally a part of Stoughton; it was incorporated in 1778. The Rev. Thomas Kendall, the first
minister, was ordained here in 1786. The church was embodied in 1779. Mr. Kendall continued its pastor till. 1800.
The Rev. Daniel Loring, his successor, was settled here in 1804, and resigned in 1806. Rev. Thomas Skelton, the
third minister, continued here about four years; his successor, Rev. Thomas Williams, was installed in 1816. Rev.
Willard Pierce, the next minister, was ordained in 1824.
In the center of the town there are two churches, 1 Congregational and 1 Baptist, and a village of about 25 well-built
dwelling houses. Distance, 1.5 miles from Deciham, 15 to Taunton, 5 to Wrentham, 37 to Worcester, 20 to Providence.
and 24 to Boston. Population, 1,416. The manufacture of straw bonnets is a very important branch of business in
this place. In 1S37, there were 133,654 straw bonnets manufactured, valued at $121,571. There were 2 cotton mills;
17 hands were employed., and $12,350 worth of goods manufactured two woollen mills, cloth manufactured, 46,000
yards, valued at $48,000 one air and. cupola furnace; iron castings made, 300 tons, value, $30,000; hands employed,
20. The value of shovels, spades, forks or hoes manufactured, was $15,000.
John Shepherd, who died in Attleborough in 1809, at the age of one hundred and nine years, was a native of this
town. “He retained all his faculties of mind and body, except his eye-sight, to the last, and was just able to
walk, with a little assistance, till a few days before his death.* He lived over a hundred years on his native
spot. He was a man of pious character; cheerful in disposition, jocose, witty, and of a quick understanding. He
was deprived of his eye-sight on a sudden, during the night, and was not himself aware of it until the next morning,
when he sought in vain for the light of day. He could distinctly recollect events which had. occurred a century
before. He had one son and several daughters. Two of his daughters lived to upwards of 80 years; and another, Mrs.
Mary Mann, of Wrentham. who died in 1828, lived to the age of 97 years. She retained all her faculties and usual
cheerfulness and vivacity till the last fifteen years of her life. She abstained almost wholly from animal food,
and never was in the habit of drinking tea or coffee, and wondered how peopie could love either. Her most common
food was milk. She adhered to the same fashion in dress for 80 years.”
It is of him that the well-known anecdote is told, that he lived in two counties and four different towns, and
yet never moved [during that time] from the spot where he was born.
The annexed engraving is a representation of a very singular monument standing in the grave yard in the center
of this town. In order to read the inscription, it is necessary to raise the lid or cover, which turns up like
the lid of a tea pot, and lays on the rest by the side. The cover is of iron, and is kept to its place by hooks;
the date, 1810, is cut upon it. The following is the inscription
This monument was erected by Doct. N. Miller, to the memory of his friend, Mr. ZADOCK HOWE, who died 1819, AE 77,
and who fought under the great Washington. To those who view, before your'e gone, Be pleased to put this cover
1810. On the inside of the cover, on a piece of sheet iron, the following is in gilt letters
The grave is waiting for your body,
And Christ is waiting for your soul.
0. may this be your cheerful study,
To be prepared when death doth call.
The lower part of this monument is of granite. This, with the apparatus at the top, was made by Mr. Howe, who
kept it in his house some years before his death.
Historical Collections Relating to the
History and Antiquities of
Every town in Massachusetts with
By John Warner Barber.
Published by Warren Lazell.