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
Somerset. - This is the fifteenth town formed in Bristol county. It was originally called the
Showamet Purchase and was a part of Swansea, from which it was set off on February 20, 1790. There was no territorial
change until April 4, 1854, when a small part of Dighton was annexed. The population by the census of 1895 is 1,983,
and the number of registered voters in 1897 was 422. The town is situated in the central western part of the county,
an is bounded on the north by Dighton, on the east by Taunton River, on the south by Mt. Hope Bay, and on the west
by Swansea. It is a part of the Thirteenth Congressional District, and with Wards 8 and 9 of Fall River, and the
town of Swansea, constitutes the Eleventh Representative District, with 6,827 legal voters, entitling the district
to three representatives.
Taunton River is navigable for vessels of considerable burden far past the eastern boundary of Somerset, which
is past years gave the town quite a degree of commercial importance and activity. There were 1,200 tons of shipping
here in 1840 and in the five years preceding 1837 there were built twelve vessels. The town has also had important
manufacturing interests, some of which are still continued; in about the middle of the century there were seven
stoneware potteries in operation in the town. Two fishing privileges are sold annually, and the catch varies from
1,000,000 to 2,000,000 a year.
Somerset contains two post villages, one of which takes the name of the town and the other is Pottersville. The
village of Somerset is on the Taunton River, in the northeastern part of the town, and has four churches, Methodist,
Baptist, Congregational and Catholic, all of which have been noticed. The educational advantages are excellent,
consisting of a high school, a grammar school and two common schools. There is a Methodist church at the village
and another south of the village, which is the third one on that site, one having been demolished and one burned;
a Baptist church, a Congregational church and St. Patrick's Catholic church. A fire company is maintained with
a steamer and a hook and ladder company. The Somerset Stove Foundry, described in earlier pages, was burned in
1897 and rebuilt. There are six stores of various kinds and a few shops. A library was established in 1897, which
is free to the public, and now contains about 1,000 volumes. The first board of trustees were Abbie Morrill, Jane
E. bowers and Julia E. Hathaway.
Pottersville is centrally situated and has a Friends' church and a Christian church and school. There is a small
store, two earthenware potteries, one stoneware pottery, one enameled brick works, and a blacksmith shop. W. F.
Hathaway, John B. Sanford, Benjamin Chase and Dennis Cartwright were former merchants here. A part of the ship-building
of early times was carried on at Town Landing, where Joseph Gray built the last brig in 1822.
South Somerset is a small settlement in the southern part of the town, with a store and a Methodist church.
The principal agricultural product of Somerset is hay, and small fruits are grown. There is a large foreign element
in the population, which has come in recent years.