By Dr. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff
The portion of Massachusetts territory now called Carver, was settled about the year 1638, by families belonging to the Colony of New Plymouth. Towns in the Old Colony were formed in a peculiar manner; when a town became too large for one parish, a second was started, and in due course of time a new precinct was established; this in time was incorporated by the General Court of the Colony, on condition that a minister should be supported. Carver was therefore for many years a constituent part of the old town of Plymouth. On the 4th of June, 1707, the precinct in which Rev. Isaac Cushman, a son of the venerable Elder of the Plymouth Church, had gathered a church, and over which he was ordained in 1698, was incorporated as the town of Plympton. On the decease of Mr. Cushman, in 1732, another church was formed in the southern part of the town, and Rev. Othniel Campbell, a native of Bridgewater, and a graduate of Harvard College, was ordained over it in the year 1734. This new parish became the South Precinct, and on the 9th of June, 1790, was incorporated by the General Court as a town, and was named Carver, a very appropriate name, in honor of the memory of the first Governor of the Plymouth Colony, and very judiciously, as this very excellent man left no descendents to carry his name to posterity.
Carver is about eight miles S. S. W. of Plymouth, and about thirty-eight S. E. from Boston. The town is bounded on its north by Plympton on a line of about four miles; east by Kingston, one and a halt miles, and by Plymouth seven miles; S. E. four miles by Plymouth; and S. W. by Wareham, about four miles; and west by Middleboro, about eight miles.
The town is not much noted for its rich soil and productions, the chief growth of wood being pitch pine, with a proportion of red and black oat. Nature, however, has in some degree compensated for this neglect by providing a large tract of about seven hundred acres of valuable white ceder swamp in the centre of the town. It is well supplied with streams, the South Meadow and Weweantic furnishing part of its boundary on Middleboro and Wareham. Wankonquag Brook on the Plymouth line, and Beaver Dam Brook and Cedar Brook meandering through its fields and forests. Sampson’s Pond, near which is the “Charlotte Furnace” is rich with iron ore. Mohootset Pond with its brook, where is the ancient “Pope’s Point Furnace,” and Crane Brook Pond where was the “Federal Furnace,” which was erected in 1794, are evidences of the well watered condition of the town. Beside these are “Wenham, Cooper’s, Muddy, John’s, Vaughan’s, Flax, Clear and Barrett’s Ponds. The town is well supplied with necessary mills, and with workshops for the products of industry. It is said that the first cast-iron tea-kettle was made in Carver, not far from 1762; and it is certain that the furnaces have ever been famous for their hollow iron ware.
The succession of ministers of the old Congregational Church, have been:
Othniel Campbell, 1734-1743
John Howland, 1746-1804
John Shaw, 1807-1815
Luther Wright, 1821-1825
Plummer Chase, 1828-1835
Paul Jewett, 1836-1839
Jona. King, 1839-1846
Ebenezer Gay, 1846-1851
Stillman Pratt, 1851-1854
William O. Whitcomb, who afterwards served as Chaplain in the army, where he died; Henry L. Chase, (present pastor.)
Of the other churches in Carver, the Baptist, at the Centre, was organized in 1791. Present Pastor, Wm. Leach. Their house of worship is very old, having been occupied one or more Sabbaths by Whitfield. There is in connection with the Society a fund for supporting Congregational preaching.
The Methodist Church at the South, was organized in 1831, and in a flourishing condition.
The Union Society, at the South, was organized in 1858, and is composed of various denominations. They have a good house of worship.
When the town was incorporated in 1790, the most numerous names of the inhabitants were: Shurtleff, Cobb, Atwood, Shaw, Cole, Ransom, Dunham, Lucas, Vaughan, Sherman, Barrows, Savory, Hammond, Tillson, Murdock, Crocker, and Ellis; at the same time there were about one hundred and fifty families, which included eight hundred and forty-seven persons, twelve of whom were persons of color.
The South part of Carver was for a long time known as “Sampson’s Country,” because in 1705, 200 acres, together with various special privileges, were reserved for the Sachem and his wife.
The people of South Carver have taken great pains in adorning and embellishing their Cemetery, until there are few, if any, more beautiful spots in the County. The first burial here was in 1776.
Died in Revolutionary Service From Carver
Carver lost severely in the late war. Among the Soldiers who died in service were:
Lucius E. Griffith died at Washington, D. C, Nov. 6th, 1863, of disease
James H. Stringer died at Yorktown, Va., April 29th, 1862, of Typhoid Fever
George E. Bates died at Baton Rouge, La., May.21st, 1863
Joseph E, Stringer, killed at second Bull Run, August 29th, 1862
William H. Barrows, killed at Gettysburg, Penn., July 2d, 1863
1st. Serg’t Bartlett Shaw, killed at Bull Run, Va., August 30th, 1862
Corporal Eli Atwood, Jr., died from wounds received at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 14th, 1862
Elbridge A. Shaw, died at Gains’ Mills, Va., of Camp Fever, June 14th, 1862
Corporal Wilson McFarlin, killed at the Battle of Bull Run, Va., August 30th, 1862
Corporal Levi Shurtleff, Jr., died at Governor’s Island, N. Y., of Camp Fever, Oct. 7th, 1862
Benj. W. Dunham, died at Alexandria, Va., of Chronic Diarrhea, Oct. 26th, 1802
Allen S. Atwood, died at Washington, D. C, of wounds received at first Bull Run, Sept. 7th, 1862
Harry Finney, died at Campbell Hospital
John S. Bobbins, killed at Bull Run, Va., August 30th, 1862
George H. Pratt, died from wounds received in battle, Oct. 19th, 1864 date of death unknown;
Josiah E. Atwood, Brashear City, La., of Fever, July 11th, 1863
John Breach, died at New Orleans, May 11th, 1863
Alonzo D. Shaw, died at Newborn, N. C, of Measles and Chronic Diarrhea, April, 18th, 1863
Corporal Lucien T. Hammond, died at Harrison’s Landing, Va., Billious Dysentery, July 30th, 1862;
Archibald Stringer; James McShea, died at Fortress Monroe, Va., of Small Pox, Jan. 13th, 1863
Wm. H. O’Connell, died Sep. 30, 1863, of Consumption and Diarrhea.