Easton, Ma












Retyped for the web by Stephanie Anderson

Easton. - This is the ninth town organized in Bristol county, was formerly a part of the Taunton North Purchase, and was set off from Taunton December 21, 1725; its territorial boundry has no since been materially changed. It is in the Twelfth Congressional District, and with Mansfield and Raynham, constitutes the Second Representative District, with 2,459 legal voters, entitling the district to one representative. The town lies in the extreme northeast corner of the county and is bounded on the north by Norfolk count; on the east by Plymouth county, on the south by Raynham and Norton, and on the west by Norton and Mansfield. The State census of 1895 gives the population as 4,452, and the number of registered voters in 1897 was 1,012. There are four post-offices in the town, namely, Easton, Eastondale, North Easton and South Easton.

The most important village in this town is North Easton, the population of which is given as 2,937. It is situated in the northeast part of the town on the line of what was the central division of the Old Colony Railroad. The village is pleasantly situate in near proximity to Brockton, with which and with Taunton it is connected with electric cars. The village contains six churches, Methodist, Swedish Lutheran, Swedish Methodist, Catholic, Unitarian and Baptist. The two Swedish churches have come into existence mainly to accommodate a large element of that nationality which has been attracted to the place by the profitable field for their skilled labor in the Ames Shovel Works. The schools of the village are liberally supported and a handsome high school building, erected in 1896, was presented to the community by Oliver Ames, whose death took place in July before the building was dedicated. This is called the Oliver Ames High School. There are seventeen stores in the village, including hardware, clothing, dry goods, groceries, confectionery, etc.and the usual complement of shops of various kinds. There is a newspaper printed once a week, named the Easton bulletin and edited by Orville Tilden.

The Ames Free Public Library was founded by Oliver Ames and opened in March, 1883. It occupies a handsome stone building in which more than 10,000 volumes are placed. Near the Ames Memorial Hall, erected in 1881 by the children of Oakes Ames as a memorial to their father.

The Oliver Ames High School was a gift to the town by Oliver Ames and was dedicated December 12, 1896, with impressive exercises. The Easton High School was founded in March, 1868, under the principalship of Rev. George G. Withington. The other principals to the present time have been E. H. Peabody, C. M. Barrows, C. C. Sheldon, Charles R. Ballard, and M. C. Lamprey. A training school and evening schools are maintained. The cost of the schools for the year 1897 was almost $20,000. The numbrer of schools in the town is ten besides the high school. North Easton has many fine private residences, among which are those of the Ames, Gilmore, French and Lothrop families.

North Easton has a number of important manufactures, the principal beig the Ames Shovel Works, founded in 1852 by Oliver Ames, and now employting several hundred hands. This establishment is known throughout the world. Other industries were the cutlery facory of Capt. John Ames; a grist mill near the site of the present shovel works; another near the present site of the Ames office; still lower down was the cotton mill of the Easton Manufacturing Company. At the lower end of Stone's Pond steel was being manufactured at the beginning of the century. A grist mill was soon built at that point and later a nail factory. Elijah Howard and William G. Andrews began manufacturing cotton yarn here, and later began making cotton cloth. This business was carried on by different proprietors until 1839, when tack machines were put in. Edward J. W. Morse subsequently rented a part of the works and manufactured knitting cotton. In 1852 the works were acquired by Oliver Ames, as before stated. Near this place in early years was also a mill for breaking flax. At the lower end of what is now called Shovel shop Pond was a dam with a grist mill, nail shop, and a forge. This property was also purchased by Oliver Ames. In 1852 the old factory became too small for the business and Mr. Ames erected a stone building five hundred and thirty feet long and two stories high, to which additions were subsequently made.

The manufacture of hinges was begun in this town in 1854 by E. W. Gilmore, in association with Oakes and Oliver Ames. In 1871 Mr. Gilmore purchased the Ames interest and then built the large works with he now occupies, moving thither in 1872. When the hinge trust was formed the business was absorbed by it and the factory is now used for the manufacture of wire for hanging pictures.

In 1851 A. A. Gilmore & Co. (Oakes A. Ames and Elisha T. Andrews) began the manufacture of fine calfskin boots and shoes. Oakes Ames succeeded to the interest of Oakes A. Ames, and in 1870 Messrs. Gilmore and Andrews acquired his interest. This business was abandoned in 1879. In 1855 Ward L. Foster and William Andrews began makin shoes; this business closed in 1857. The firm of Pratt, foster & Company manufactured for a period in the same building. In 1863 George Brett manufactured shoes in the same building. In 1865 John B. King and P. A. Gifford began making boots and shoes.

The New England Novelty Company is now engaged in the manufacture of screw drivers, cutlery, hinges, etc.,

South Easton, Eastondale, and Easton Center are so closely connected that they are practically one settlement. Easton Center is a small hamlet with a station on the railroad. Here is a cluster of houses, a blacksmith shop, a school house, and an Evangelical Congregational church. South Easton is a small village on the line of the Taunton and Brockton electric railway. It formerly had the old thread factory of E. J. W. Morse & Co., who removed to Roxbury in 1893. the principal industry at the present time is the manufacture of heels for shooes. The Ross Heel Company has employed as many as three hundred hands, but now has about sixty. A new shoe factory has recently been started by Theodore Darling. J. f. Randall also manufactures heels, employing about twenty hands, and J. O. Dean & Company conduct a grist mill. About two miles southwest of the settlement is a large incubator manufactory conducted by J. Rankin & Company, who also are extensive poultry raisers. The village has a post-office, carriage shop, grist mill and a general store. This store was formerly conducted by the Copelands (Horatio copeland, the father, and George Copeland, the son), who sold the business to H. Y. Mitchell. Eastondale is a scattered settlement along the Brockton turnpike, containing a post-office, wheelwright and paint shop, and a general store conducted for many years by J. W. Howard & Son. The old Morse shoddy mill was situated here on what is still called the Shoddy-mill Pond. At what is know as Square-Top neighborhood, which is practically a part of North Easton, is the heel factory of Willis Drew, employing one hundred hands. A Methodist church building is also located here.

The principal farming interests of Easton are the production of milk, market gardening and poultry raising. Among the leading farmers are Gilbert Phillips, Albert Ashley, John B. Marshall, W. H. McCloud, H. W. Willis, John Beattie, William P. Howard, W. E. Drake, L. Howard, the Morse brothers and L. C. Randall.

Return to [ MA Towns ][ History at Rays Place ]