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Chapter 13: Plymouth County.

This ancient and historic county is bounded north-east and east by Massachusetts Bay, north by Norfolk county and Boston harbor, north-west by Norfolk county, west by Bristol county, and south-east and south by Buzzard's Bay and Barnstable county. ‘The North River, emptying into Massachusetts Bay, and numerous branches of the Taunton are its chief rivers.’ The shire town of the county, at which the courts are held, is Plymouth. The county has a sea coast on Massachusetts Bay of between thirty and forty miles. The land is not so fertile as in some of the other counties in the Commonwealth, yet there is considerable good land within its limits. The population of Plymouth county in 1860 was 64,758; in 1865, it was 63,074, being a decrease in five years of 1,684. The valuation in 1860 was $29,160,937; in 1865 it was $27,932,058, being a decrease in five years of $1,228,879.

The county is divided into twenty-five townships, which, according to the returns made by the several selectmen in 1866, furnished seven thousand six hundred and fifty-two men for the war, which we think is above five hundred in excess of the number that was credited. Every town in the county furnished its contingent of men upon every call made by the President during the war, and each had a surplus at the close of the Rebellion, which in the aggregate amounted to five hundred and twelve men (512). The total expenditure of the several towns on account of the war, exclusive of State aid to the families of enlisted men, was $627,010.67. The total amount of money raised and expended by them during the war for State aid, and repaid by the Commonwealth, was $502,881.40; making a [536] grand total of expenditure of one million, one hundred and twenty-nine thousand eight hundred and ninety-two dollars and seven cents ($1,129,892.07.) The following is the war record of each town:—


Incorporated June 10, 1712. Population in 1860, 8,527; in 1865, 8,576. Valuation in 1860, $3,279,465; in 1865, $3,059,801.

The selectmen in 1861 and 1862 were Marcus Reed, Zenas Jenkins, Samuel B. Thaxter; in 1863, 1864, and 1865, Marcus Reed, Zenas Jenkins, Henry A. Noyes.

The town-clerk during all the years of the war was N. T. Hunt. The town-treasurer in 1861 was N. T. Hunt; in 1862, Bela T. Nash; in 1863, Zenas Jenkins; in 1864, George A. Beal; in 1865, Bela E. Faxon.

1861. The first legal town-meeting to act upon matters relating to the war was held on the 6th of May, at which six thousand dollars were appropriated for aid to the families and dependants of volunteers; and N. T. Hunt, J. M. Underwood, Elbridge Sprague, and O. G. Healey, together with the selectmen, were appointed with discretionary power to distribute the money. May 15th, Sixteen hundred dollars were appropriated to furnish uniforms for ‘the Harlow Guards,’ Company K, Fourth Regiment Massachusetts Militia,1 and for a new military company forming in the centre of the town, to be given them when the company is ready for service. June 13th, The treasurer was authorized to borrow five thousand dollars for aid to soldiers' families, and one thousand dollars to fulfil any contract entered into with Captain Blanchard's company at East Abington.

1862. April 28th, Resolutions were presented by Hon. Levi Reed, in regard to the death of Corporal John M. Sewall, Company E, Twenty-third Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, who died at Newbern, North Carolina, April 9, 1862. He was the first citizen of Abington who died in the service. The resolutions were unanimously adopted, and were directed to be placed [537] on the town records, and a copy sent to the family of the deceased. July 17th, Voted to pay a bounty of one hundred dollars to each volunteer for three years service when credited to the quota of the town. The treasurer was authorized to borrow twelve thousand dollars to pay the same. ‘Voted, that we endorse the sentiments of General Hunter's letter to Secretary Stanton.’2 July 24th, The treasurer reported that the ‘banks in this vicinity’ require some responsible men to indorse the notes of the town, ‘owing to the illegality of towns raising money by taxation for such a purpose.’ A number of gentlemen immediately volunteered to indorse the notes to the amount of $78,000, and others to loan in cash $13,000. Fifty dollars additional was added to the soldier's bounty. A series of patriotic resolutions were reported by B. Hobart, Esq., and adopted; one of which was the following:—

Resolved, That while the North have always acquiesced in the constitutional election of the officers of the General Government, whether resident in the South, or Northern men with Southern principles, the South have violated all courtesy and faith, especially in the late election of the present President of the United States, and without waiting to test the measures of his administration have trampled upon the Constitution and repudiated it as vile. Against such perfidy, piracy, and rebellion the North have taken up arms, not to conquer the South, but to protect the Constitution of our country and enforce the laws passed under it; and we will never lay them down until this is accomplished, and treason and rebellion forever extirpated from our land.

August 5th, A bounty of one hundred dollars was authorized to be paid to volunteers for nine months service. September 5th, The treasurer was authorized to borrow fifteen thousand dollars to pay bounties to volunteers. September 22d, The bounty to nine months men was raised fifty dollars.

1863. August 3d, The treasurer was authorized to borrow money to aid the families of deceased and disabled soldiers, and the families of men who may be drafted.

1864. March 30th, Voted, to raise four thousand seven [538] hundred dollars to refund money paid by private citizens for bounties and to encourage recruiting. The bounty to volunteers for three years service was fixed at one hundred and twenty-five dollars. August 3d, This amount was directed to be paid to all persons who furnished substitutes to fill the quota of the town.

1865. June 30th, Voted to have a celebration in honor of those who had served in the army and navy, including their families. A committee of twenty was appointed to make arrangements.

Abington furnished about ten hundred men for the war, which was a surplus of seventy-one over and above all demands. Forty-four were commissioned officers. The whole amount of money appropriated and expended by the town on account of the war, exclusive of State aid, was one hundred and five thousand two hundred dollars ($105,200.00).

The amount of money raised and expended during the war by the town for State aid to soldiers' families, and repaid by the Commonwealth, was as follows: In 1861, $7,045.08; in 1862, $17,651.89; in 1863, $22,038.08; in 1864, $20.000.00; in 1865, $14,000.00. Total amount, $80,735.05.

The ladies of Abington formed a Union Aid Society as early as April 23d, 1861. This was followed soon after by the ladies in the various parishes. The soldiers' work performed by them was very great. The contributions consisted chiefly of quilts, pillow-cases, sheets, drawers, handkerchiefs, shirts, lint, bandages, and money. They were distributed to the soldiers through the agency of the Christian and Sanitary Commissions.


Incorporated June 3, 1656. Population in 1860, 3,761; in 1865, 4,196. Valuation in 1860, $1,878,831; in 1865, $1,992,756.

The selectmen in 1861 and all through the war were Van R. Swift, Spencer Leonard, Elbridge Keith. The town-clerk and town-treasurer during the same period was Lewis Holmes.

1861. The first legal town-meeting to consider matters relating to the war was held on the 29th of April, at which it was voted to hold in reserve fourteen hundred dollars appropriated [539] at a previous meeting for the improvement of highways; that the selectmen request the county commissioners not to lay out any new road in the county ‘until such time as we shall be able to see with reasonable certainty to what extent we shall be obliged to exert ourselves for the defence of the country.’ That the treasurer be authorized to borrow six thousand dollars ‘as it shall from time to time be needed.’ Voted, to pay each volunteer belonging to the town ten dollars a month while in the military service; also proper aid to his family; and if any volunteer shall be killed in battle or die in the service of disease, his children shall receive proper education, and be ‘put to some honest and honorable calling or pursuit, not as a charity but as a debt due.’ Voted, that each volunteer be furnished with a uniform, ‘and a revolver and Bowie knife.’3 Artemas Hale, Joseph A. Hyde, Mitchel Hooper, Lafayette Keith, and Joshua E. Crane were appointed to carry the foregoing votes into effect. Rev. Mr. Douglas was invited to close the meeting with prayer. May 20th, Further provision was made for the comfort of the families of soldiers. The committee appointed to recruit a military company reported that eighty-five native citizens of the town had signed a roll, but no more three-months men would be accepted; many of the men enlisted for three years and were sent to Fortress Monroe under the command of Captain Libeas Leach, and afterwards were part of the Twenty-Ninth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.

1862. July 17th, Voted, to pay a bounty of one hundred dollars to each volunteer enlisting to the credit of the town within thirty days, and the treasurer was authorized to borrow money to pay the same. August 16th, The bounty was fixed at one hundred and sixty dollars to each volunteer enlisting for three years service. It was also voted, “that the trustees of the Plymouth Agricultural Society be requested to offer to the Government their building and grounds as a hospital for sick and wounded soldiers. August 26th, Voted, to pay a bounty of one hundred and fifty dollars to each volunteer who shall enlist to the credit of the town for nine months service.” [540]

1863. March 9th, Voted, to pay to each three-years volunteer from the town one hundred and sixty dollars with interest from date of muster in, provided he has received an honorable discharge, and deducting the bounty he may have already received.

1864. Several meetings were held during the year, at which money was appropriated to pay bounties and State aid, and measures taken to procure recruits.

Bridgewater furnished about four hundred and eleven men for the war, which was a surplus of forty over and above all demands. Ten were commissioned officers. The total amount of money appropriated and expended by the town for war purposes, exclusive of State aid, was twenty-nine thousand and nine hundred dollars ($29,900.00). This does not include the amount raised by private subscription to encourage recruiting, which was quite large.

The amount of money raised and expended during the war for State aid, and repaid by the

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