Lakeville, Plymouth County,
By Harrison Staples, Esq.
Lakeville was incorporated May 13th, 1853. The most of its territory was
embraced in the West Precinct of Middleboro. Its area is supposed to be about
19,000 acres, over 4,000 of which is water. The chain of Ponds or Lakes, parts
of which are in Middleboro, Rochester and Freetown, have an area of about 6,000
acres, being by far the largest Lake region in the State. They give to many
places in this vicinity fine natural scenery, and have a perceptible influence
on the climate of the locality, especially in the exemption from early autumnal
frosts. Middleboro, before the division, was the largest township in the State,
having a surface of nearly 100 square miles. Its large territory was one of the
main causes of the separation of Lakeville.
The borders of its Ponds were famous resorts for the Indians. Here was a fine
place to raise their maize and beans; to chase the deer, and catch their fish,
and this was one of the last places they abandoned. At "Betty's Neck," on the
south side of Assawampsett, quite a number of Indians lived within the memory of
the present generation and there is some doubt whether all their titles to land
One of their number, Benjamin Simonds, is especially recollected as a noble
specimen of his race; he was of fine physical proportions, weighing we should
judge about 200. He was in the war of the Revolution, and after receiving a
pension of $96 per annum, he moved to the north side of the pond, where he lived
at a place known as "Ben's Island." He died in 1836, and was buried in the
Cemetery, about a mile west of Lakeville Depot, where, by the enterprise of one
of the citizens, a fitting monument marks his sepulchre.
The murder of Sausaman, a friendly and Christian Indian, on the Assawampsett,
hastened Philip's war. During that war, the famous Captain Church had a severe
skirmish with the Indians, on the west side of the same pond, resulting in their
We think there was no settlement in the town till about 1700. One of the name
of Peirce, came from Scituate and built near Myrickville, in 1705, whose
descendants are very numerous. The Nelsons were the first white settlers on
Assawampsett Neck, in 1717; the Southworths settled the part near Middleboro;
Strowbridges, Richmonds, Canadys, Horrs, Sampsons and Pickenses, were early
comers and large landholders.
There are in Lakeville, very considerable quarries of granite, that have
already been worked quite extensively.
In 1688 the missionaries of the Society for the propagation of the Gospel
among the Indians, reported: "There are at Assawampsit and Quittaub twenty
houses and eighty persons. John Hiacoomes, preacher and constant schoolmaster.
Mr. Jocelyn preached at Assawampsit. At Kehtehticut are forty adults, to whom
Charles Abram preached."
The first church was formed, ("The Precinct,") in 1725. Their first house was
built a little east of the present one. Their second one near the present site.
The last, was built in 1835. The succession of ministers have been Benjamin
Ruggles, Caleb Turner, Thomas Crafts, John Shaw, Homer Barrows, Mr. Bragg,
Calvin Chapman, Augustine Root, Q. G. Perkins, and the present pastor James W.
Ward. The ministry of the first three, covered nearly a century. The parish has
always embraced a part of Taunton. The Second church was Baptist, formed in the
westerly part of the town, in 1751. Elder John Hinds, and Elder Simeon Coombs,
each served many years as pastors.' There were times when large congregations
were gathered. After continuing about a century it became extinct.
In that vicinity, a Freewill Baptist Church was formed about 1828, through
the labors of H. N. Loring, Rev. Mr. Steere preached at a more recent period. It
is now extinct.
A second Baptist Church was formed about 1796. They built a fine house of
worship on the west shore of the Assawampsett, their first pastor's name was
Abbott, we believe, after which, the Rev. E. Briggs, held that relation for
about forty years, till near the time of his death.
The Christian Church was formed February, 1842. Elders Shurtleff, Bryant,
Tyler, Chadwick, and Jackson, have been pastors. E. W. Barrows is present
pastor. Their house is in the westerly part of the town.
Three hundred and fifty volumes, the nucleus of the Lakeville Library, were
donated to his native town, by Hugh Montgomery of Boston, in 1866.
Lakeville furnished 85 men for the Union Army, and 6 for the Navy.
NOTE, - For list, see Appendix,
Notes About Book:
Source: Plymouth County Directory and Historical Register of the Old Colony,
Middleboro, Mass: Published By Stillman B. Pratt & Company, 1867.
Notes about Online Publication: This manuscript has been ocr'd and heavily
edited. Many of the Native American words have been reproduced as clearly as
online publication will allow us, but not all are exactly the way they were in
the original work. The structure of this manuscript has been changed to allow
better online presentation.