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Chapter 4: Bristol County.

The county of Bristol is bounded north by Norfolk County, east by Plymouth, south-east by Buzzard's Bay, and west by the counties of Providence, Bristol, and Newport, Rhode Island. It is divided into nineteen municipalities, of which New Bedford, Fall River, and Taunton are cities. The entire population of the county in 1860 was 93,794, in 1865 it was 89,339; being a decrease in five years of 4,455. The population in 1870 was 102,886, being an increase in five years of 13,191. The total valuation of the county in 1860 was $66,294,526, in 1865 it was $87,428,503; being an increase in five years of $21,133,983.

This county gives rise to several streams, which fall into Massachusetts and Narragansett Bays, the most important of which is ‘Taunton Great River,’ that in times past was famous for its herring fisheries. New Bedford and Dartmouth are well known as being the chief seats of the whale-fishery. Fall River and Taunton are largely engaged in manufactures of various kinds. The aggregate value of articles manufactured in the county in 1865 was $55,038,314. The surface of the county ‘is somewhat broken, but generally level; its soil in many parts is of an inferior quality. It has a maritime coast of considerable extent, indented with numerous headlands, small bays and harbors;’ and its people are extensively engaged in navigation and the fishery, though of late years the attention of its capitalists has been more generally given to manufacturing. The county is also well provided with railroad accommodations.

Bristol County furnished full nine thousand men for the army and navy during the four years of the war. Every city and [116] town filled its quota upon every call for men made by the President; and each one had a surplus at the end of the contest, which, in the aggregate, amounted to fifteen hundred men, of which number eleven hundred and ten belonged to New Bedford. This large surplus, in a good degree, was occasioned by the navy credits, which were allowed by act of Congress passed July 4th, 1864.

The aggregate of war expenses incurred by the cities and towns in the county during the four years of the war, exclusive of State aid, was $904,175.03. The amount of private contributions in aid of recruiting were $50,500.00. The total amount of money raised and expended by the entire county for State aid to the families of volunteers in the army and navy during the four years of the war, and which was repaid by the Commonwealth, was $553,043.12.


Formerly part of Fairhaven; incorporated Feb. 13, 1860. Population in 1860, 1,387; in 1865, 1,251. Valuation in 1860, $784,837; in 1865, $656,500.

The selectmen in 1861, 1862, and 1863, were Cyrus E. Clark, Benjamin Wilson, Benjamin White; in 1864 and 1865, Cyrus E. Clark, Walter Spooner, Pardon Tabor.

The town-clerk and town-treasurer during each year of the war was Jabez Wood.

1861. No action appears to have been taken by the town, in its corporate capacity, in relation to the war during this year.

1862. At a legal town-meeting, held on the 19th of July, the town voted to pay each person who shall enlist in the military service for three years, and be mustered in and credited to the quota of the town, a bounty of one hundred and fifty dollars. George S. Russell, Rodolphus Swift, and James Hammet were chosen a committee to assist the selectmen in recruiting volunteers to fill the contingent of the town. The selectmen were authorized to borrow money to pay the bounties. Another meeting was held on the 19th of August, at which it was voted to increase the bounty fifty dollars; and, at an adjourned meeting held on the 28th of November, it was voted to pay a bounty of two hundred dollars to each volunteer who [117] shall enlist for nine months service, and be credited to the quota of the town. The selectmen were authorized to borrow money to pay the same. Godfrey C. Macomber, Charles G. Davis, Joseph R. Davis, and Adoniram Gilmore were added to the recruiting committee. On the 29th of December the selectmen were authorized to borrow whatever sums of money may be necessary for the payment of State aid to the families of volunteers belonging to Acushnet.

1863. No action appears to have been necessary for the town, in its official capacity, to fill its quota and pay bounties and State aid during this year.

1864. A meeting was held on the 4th of April, at which it was voted ‘to raise eight hundred dollars for the payment of bounties, and to reimburse citizens who had advanced money to assist in filling the quotas of the town.’ It was further voted, that the selectmen furnish a statement of the amount of money raised by individuals by voluntary contribution, to encourage volunteers to enlist; and where they have fully obtained the whole amount so paid, they shall hand it over to the assessors, who shall assess the amount upon the property of the town. At a meeting held on the 6th of June, the selectmen were authorized to make a contract with the city authorities of New Bedford, to have a portion of their surplus of volunteers transferred to Acushnet, under the pending call.1 The town voted to pay a bounty of one hundred and twenty-five dollars to each volunteer who should enlist prior to March 1, 1865, and be credited to the town. The selectmen were authorized to borrow money to pay the same. It was also voted ‘that so much as may be necessary to furnish our town's quota under the present call be assessed at the next annual assessment.’

The selectmen in 1866 reported that Acushnet had furnished one hundred and six men for the war, which is probably thirty less than the actual number; as the town furnished its full quota on every call made by the President, and at the end of the war had a surplus of twenty over and above all demands. None [118] were commissioned officers. The whole amount of money appropriated and expended by the town on account of the war, exclusive of State aid, was eleven thousand two hundred and fifty one dollars, and fifty-two cents ($11,251.52).

The whole amount of money raised and expended by the town, during the years of the war, for State aid to the families of volunteers, and which was afterwards repaid by the Commonwealth, was as follows: In 1861, $21.14; in 1862, $783.35; in 1863, $1,250.09; in 1864, $764.66; in 1865, $600.00. Total amount, $3,419.24.


Incorporated Oct. 19, 1694. Population in 1860, 6,066; in 1865, 6,200. Valuation in 1860, $2,466,316; in 1865, $2,206,660.

The selectmen in 1861 were Handel W. Daggett, A. H. Robinson, Lewis L. Read; in 1862, Handel W. Daggett, A. H. Robinson, Joseph A. Perry; in 1863 and 1864, H. N. Richardson, A. H. Robinson, Joseph A. Perry; in 1865, Willard Blackinton, A. H. Robinson, Joseph A. Perry.

The town-clerk in 1861 and 1862 was Shepard W. Carpenter; in 1863 and 1864, H. A. Richardson; in 1865, Willard Blackinton. The town-treasurer in 1861 and 1862 was George Price; in 1863 and 1864, George D. Hatch; in 1865, Handel W. Daggett.

1861. The first legal town-meeting, to act upon matters relating to the war, was held on the 3d of May; at which it was—

Voted, That the treasurer be authorized to borrow ten thousand dollars, to be used for military purposes as fast as required; that from it those men who enlist in this town and are called into actual service shall be paid a bounty of fifteen dollars a month, in addition to the Government pay; and that each man who is accepted for service shall be paid ten dollars a month while drilling, and shall be furnished such uniform as the military authorities require.

Voted, To present a vote of thanks to the ladies of Attleborough for their kind offer to prepare clothing for those who may leave this town to serve their country, and record in the town-books the following letter received from them:—

‘The ladies of Attleborough wait only an opportunity of testifying [119] their deep interest in the cause of freedom, and their earnest faith that our flag shall be kept unsullied. They rejoice that the present crisis has proved, beyond doubt, that brave, unselfish heroism still exists in our land, roused by no pulse of passion, but beating with the calm, determined will that treachery has roused, and only victory shall appease. Their wishes and sympathies are with our brave troops; and in preparing clothing for those who go from their midst, they offer speedy, cheerful, and zealous hands.’

This communication was signed by Mrs. Cherra M. Blackinton, and thirty-three others of the most respectable and influential ladies of Attleborough. Another town-meeting was held on the 25th of May, at which it was voted that the selectmen have full charge of the expenditure of the military fund appropriated at the last town-meeting. At a meeting held on the 12th of June, it was voted ‘to instruct the selectmen to furnish such additional items of uniform as they may legally do under the appropriation of May 3d for such purposes; also, that they pay to our volunteers for drilling the sum of ten dollars, or such part thereof as corresponds with the vote referred to;’ and authority was given them to draw upon the fund to pay the same. At a meeting held on the 5th of September, the treasurer was authorized to borrow such sums of money as may be required, in anticipation of the same being raised by taxation, to pay State aid to the families of volunteers.

1862. At a special town-meeting held on the 21st of July, the following resolutions were read by Hon. John Daggett, and unanimously adopted:—

Resolved, That we, the inhabitants of Attleborough, fully appreciating the value of the free institutions under which we have so long lived and prospered, and alive to the dangers which threaten their existence and the dismemberment of the Republic, are ever ready to do our part in sustaining those institutions, and transmitting them unimpaired to those who shall come after us.

Resolved, That we deem it our duty to take immediate measures to furnish the quota of volunteers for this town, under the recent call of the President of the United States; therefore—

Resolved, That the selectmen be, and they hereby are, authorized to pay from the treasury of the town a bounty of one hundred dollars to each person who shall enlist in this town as a volunteer, and shall be duly enrolled and accepted. [120]

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