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United States Gotoarrow.png Massachusetts Gotoarrow.png Plymouth Gotoarrow.png Bridgewater

This is a historical and genealogical guide to the town of Bridgewater. You will find help with town histories, vital records, city directories, cemetery records and cemeteries, churches, town records, newspapers, maps, and libraries. There are detailed guides for the towns set off from Bridgewater: Abington, East Bridgewater, North Bridgewater (now Brockton), and West Bridgewater.

Contents

Brief History

This area was established as a part of Duxbury in 1645 by purchase from the Native Americans by 54 proprietors - most who did not settle there. Bridgewater was created on 3 June 1656 from Duxbury in Plymouth Colony. The town was placed in Plymouth County when counties were formed in 1685. For a brief time, the town was part of the Dominion of New England from 1686 to 1689. The town is still in Plymouth County, though was in limbo, until the "Colony" was merged with Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691 that became the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Historical Data

The basic data is from the "Historical Data" publication series[1] with additions from various sources.

Associated names

Bridgewater at times has been called Duxburrow Plantation, Foords Farm, Hockomock, Ketiticut, New Plantation, Nunketest, and Titicut.

Village or section names include Bridgewater Iron Works, Bridgewater Junction, Dublin, Japan, Nippenicket Park, Paper Mill Village, Pratt Town, Scotland, South Bridgewater, Sprague's Hill, Stanley, State Farm, and Titicut.

Border changes
Dates Events
3 June 1656 Bridgewater established from Duxbury. "Ordered, that henceforth Duxborrow New Plantation bee allowed to bee a townshipe of yt self, destinct from Duxburrow, and to bee called by the name of Bridgewater ...." [Plymouth Colony Record, 3: 101]
3 June 1662 Hockomock granted to Bridgewater.
1 June 1675 Boundary line established between Bridgewater and Middleborough. [Plymouth Colony Record, 11: 241]
11 Feb. 1691 Annexed land between Bridgewater and Weymouth called "Foords Farms" and adjacent lands.
10 June 1712 Foord's Farms set off as part of new town of Abington.
20 Nov. 1770 Part of Stoughton annexed.
8 Feb. 1798 Part of Stoughton annexed.
15 June 1821 Fourth or North Parish set off as new town of North Bridgewater [now Brockton].
16 Feb. 1822 First or West Parish (formed in 1716 as North parish) set off as new town of West Bridgewater.
14 June 1823 Third or East Parish (formed in 1723 from First Parish [which changed its name then to West Parish] and a small portion of South Parish) set off as new town of East Bridgewater.
20 Feb. 1824 Part annexed to Halifax.
23 Feb. 1838 Border between Bridgewater and East Bridgewater established.
20 Mar. 1846 Border between Bridgewater and East Bridgewater established and part of each annexed to the other.
21 Apr. 1931 Border between Bridgewater and East Bridgewater established.
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Town Histories

Works written on the town include:
Barnstable CountyBristol CountyPlymouth CountyNorfolk CountySuffolk CountyFalmouthMashpeeSandwichBourneFairhavenAchushnetNew BedfordDartmouthWestportFall RiverFreetownBerkleyTauntonRaynhamEastonStoughtonAvonHolbrookCantonRandolphWeymouthCohassetBraintreeQuincyMiltonBostonHullHinghamScituateNorwellRocklandAbingtonBrocktonWest BridgewaterWhitmanHanoverMarshfieldDuxburyPembrokeHansonEast BridgewaterBridgewaterHalifaxPlymptonKingstonPlymouthCarverMiddleboroughLakevilleRochesterWarehamMarionMattapoisett
Town of Bridgewater in Plymouth County, Massachusetts.


The family sketches include the families: Alden, Aldrich, Alger, Allen, Ames, Angiers, Bacon, Bailey, Barber, Barrell, Barrett, Bartlett, Bass, Bassett, Bates, Battles, Beal, Bearce, Belcher, Benson, Bessee, Bicknell, Bisbee, Blanchard, Blossom, Bolton, Bonney, Bowditch, Bosworth, Bradley, Brett, Brown, Bryant, Buck, Bowker, Burr, Butterfield, Byram, Carr, Carver, Cary, Caswell, Chamberlain, Chandler, Cheesman, Chipman, Churchill, Cleveland, Clift, Cobb, Cole, Colwell, Conant, Cook, Copeland, Corthrell, Cowing, Crafts, Crane, Crocker, Crooker, Cross, Curtis, Daniels, Davenport, Dawes, Dickerman, Dike, Downie, Drake, Dumphrey, Dunbar, Dyer, Eaton, Eddy, Edson, Egerton, Erskin, Faxon, Fearing, Field, Fillebrown, Fitzgerald, Flynn, Fobes, Freelove, French, Fuller, Fullerton, Gannett, Gay, Gilbert, Gilmore, Godfrey, Gould, Groves, Gurney, Haines, Hale, Hall, Hanks, Hamlin, Hanmer, Harden, Hamlin, Harlow, Harris, Hartwell, Harvey, Hatch, Hathaway, Hayden, Hayford, Hayward, Hearsey, Heiford, Hegene, Henry, Hewett, Higgins, Hill, Hobart, Holden, Holloway, Holman, Holmes, Hooper, Horton, How, Howard, Hudson, Hyde, Inglee, Jackson, Jacob, Jameson, Jenkins, Jennings, Johnson, Jones, Joslyn, Keen, Keith, Keyser, Kiff, King, Kingman, Kinsley, Knapp, Knowlton, Landers, Latham, Lathrop / Lothrop, Lawrence, Lawson, Lasell / Lazell, Leach, Lendall, Leonard, Lincoln, Lindsay, Littlefield, Loring, Lovell, Loveridge, Lowden, Manly, May, McBride, Mehurin, Mitchell, Monro / Munroe, Moore, Morse, Morton, Muxam / Maxim, Nash, Newbury, Newell, Newhall, Niles, Norton, Noyes, Orcutt, Orr, Osborne, Packard, Parris, Perkins, Perry, Pettingill, Phillips, Phinney, Pierce, Pinson / Pincin, Pool, Pope, Porter, Powers, Pratt, Price, Prior / Pryor, Ramsdell, Ratchford, Rathburn, Read / Reed, Rea, Reynolds, Richards, Richardson, Rickard, Rider / Ryder, Ripley, Robbins, Robinson, Rogers, Russell, Ryon, Sanger, Sawin, Seabury, Sealy / Seeley, Sears, Sever, Shaw, Shelly, Sherman, Shepard, Shurtliff, Silvester / Sylvester, Skinner, Smith, Snell, Snow, Soper, Sorein, Soule, Southworth, Sprague, Standish, Staples, Starr, Stetson, Storrs, Sturtevant, Swift, Taylor, Thaxter, Thayer, Thomas, Thompson, Tilden, Tilson, Tirrell, Tolman, Tompkins, Torrey, Trask, Tribou, Trow, Turner, Vail, Vaughn, Vickery, Vinton, Wade, Waldo, Wales, Ward, Warren, Washburn, Waterman, Wentworth, Wesley, West, Weston, Wharton, White, Whiting, Whitman, Whitmarsh, Wilbor, Williams, Willis, Wilmarth, Winslow, Wood, Woodward, Woodwiss, Wormal, and Young.
Next is more brief family sketches of some original proprietors of Bridgewater, but were never residents. These sketches include Allerton, Barnes, Bartlett, Bonney, Bradford, Brewster, Brown, Carver, Chandler, Church, Clark, Collier, Cushing, Cushman, Delano, Eaton, Faunce, Ford, Hall, Hobart, Howland, Hunt, Irish, Loring, Merrick, Morton, Nash, Partridge, Paybody / Peabody, Pierce, Prince, Sampson, Simmons, Soule, Wadsworth, West, Weston, and Winslow.
  • Records of John Cary, the first town clerk of Bridgewter, Mass., from 1656 to 1681 (Brockton, Mass., 1889), 14 pp.
    Digital version at Internet Archive.
  • Bridgewater Normal Association, Brief Sketch of the Pioneers in Establishing the First State Normal School in America [and] A Brief Sketch of the First Principals of the State Normal Schools, 1839-'40 (S.l., 1907), unpaginated.
    No digital version.
  • A Coppying Out of ye Olde Recordes Beginning With ye 4th Chh of Christ in Bridgewater - 1740 ([Brockton, Mass.], 1980), 837 + [80] pp.
    WorldCat (Other Libraries); FHL book 974.482/B1 K2c.
    These are the verbatim transcript of the Fourth Parish Church of Bridgewater that became the First Parish Church of North Bridgewater in 1821 when that part of town broken off to form a separate town and that town was renamed Brockton in 1874.
  • Bridgewater Wikipedia page.
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Vital Records

The town's vital records are available in many locations:

Original records
Published records
This includes, in part, church records from the Unitarian Church (C.R.1), Trinity Church (C.R.2), Central Square Congregational Church (C.R.3), Scotland Trinitarian Congregational Church (C.R.4), and Church of the New Jerusalem (C.R.5). Deaths are included from Mt. Prospect Cem. (G.R.1), Pratt-town Cem. (G.R.2), Cherry Street or Harlow Cem. (G.R.3), Conant Street Cem. (G.R.4), Hillside Cem. (G.R.5), Scotland Graveyard (G.R.6), Old Graveyard (G.R.7), Alden or Vernon Street Graveyard in Titicut (G.R.8), Keith or South Street Graveyard in Titicut (G.R.9), Trinity Church Graveyard (G.R.10), Japan Graveyard (G.R.11), Great Woods Graveyard (G.R.12), and Small Pox Graveyards (G.R. 13).
  • "Bridgewater Records" in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 53 [1899]: 246.
    Private marriage record book, 1777, likely included in town records.
  • "Timothy Fobes His Book" in Pilgrim Notes and Queries, 2 [1914]: 152-154.
    Records from 1747 to 1803 (bulk 1774-1776).
  • "James Cary His Book 1720" in the Mayflower Descendant, 32 [1934]: 156-162.
    From an account book in the West Bridgewater Historical Society with records to 1786.
  • Missing from the published vital records are six marriages from county court records for 1692 and 1693 published in Pilgrim Notes and Queries, 3 [1915]: 120-122 at 122.
Online records
  • Bridgewater vital records, 1656-1853 and 1843-1905 are browsable (i.e. not indexed as of Nov. 2012) on FamilySearch.
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City Directories

Brockton was published in 1869/70, 1872/3, 1874-1880, 1882, 1884-1885/6, 1887/8, 1889-1890, 1892, 1894/5, 1896/7, 1898-1919, 1921-1922, 1924-1927, 1929-1933, 1935-1958.

The Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.) has one of the largest collections of city directories in the country. They are likely to own most of the years listed above. Their collection is in microfiche, microfilm, and books, but there is no online inventory of their holdings except for microfilm. See their guide online.

Other holdings:

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Cemeteries

The following is a list of cemeteries in present-day Bridgewater. Remember that the "old" town included present-day East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, and Brockton. For location of cemeteries, see PlymouthColony website. For more details regarding these cemeteries, see the state guide under cemeteries for books on the subject.

  1. Alden's Bridge or Great Woods Cemetery, 1815. (A)
    Transcription online.
  2. Auburn Street Cemetery, 18th century.
  3. Benson Town Cemetery, 19th century.
  4. Cherry Street / Harlow Cemetery, 1826. (B)
    Transcription online.
  5. Conant Street Cemetery, 1821. (B)
    Transcription online.
  6. First / South Parish Cemetery, 1716. (A)
  7. Hillside Cemetery, 1813. (B)
    Transcription online.
  8. Japan Graveyard, 1766. (B)
    Transcription online.
  9. Jennings Hill Cemetery, 1750. (A, B [as Old Graveyard])
    Transcription online.
  10. Mount Prospect Cemetery, 1842. (B)
  11. Orange Street Cemetery, 1825.
    Transcription online.
  12. Pine Street Cemetery, 1833.
  13. Pratt Town Burial Ground, 1828. (B)
  14. Roman Catholic Cemetery, 1867.
  15. St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Burial Ground, 1854.
  16. Scotland Burial Ground, 1753. (A, B)
    Transcription online.
  17. Small Pox Cemetery, 1785. (A, B)
    Transcription online.
  18. South Street / Keith Cemetery, 1756. (A, B)
    Transcription online.
  19. Titicut / Great Woods Cemetery, 1793. (A, B)
  20. Trinity Episcopal Church Cemetery, 1748. (A, B)
    Transcription online.
  21. Vernon Street / Alden Cemetery, 1751. (A, B)
    Transcription online.

Abstracts of the cemeteries above are marked and keyed to:
(A). William Latham, Epitaphs in Old Bridgewater, Massachusetts (Bridgewater, Mass., 1882) -- a digital version at Google Books.
(B). Vital Records of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 (Boston, 1916) [see links above under Vital Records].

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Churches

The following is a list of churches established in town in order of organization date (if known) and condition of records in the 1889 survey if listed.

  1. First Congregational Church (now First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church), 1716, records good.
  2. Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church, 1747, records good.
  3. Bridgewater Congregational Church (now Central Square Congregational Church [United Church of Christ]), 1821, records good.
  4. New Jerusalem Church [Swedenborgian], 1833, records good.
  5. Scotland Congregational Church (now Scotland Trinitian Church), 1836, records good.
  6. Saint Thomas Aquinas's Roman Catholic Church, 1855, older records to 1908 at Archdiocese of Boston Archives.
  7. Methodist Episcopal Church (now Gammons Memorial United Methodist Church), 1874, records good.
  8. Christian Science Church, no date.
  9. Faith Chapel Assemblies of God, no date.
  10. First Baptist Church, no date.
  11. South Shore Community Church, 1994.
  12. Trinity Covenant Church, 1983.
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Newspapers

  1. Plymouth County Republican (first as We, the People and Old Colony Press, then Bridgewater Republican and Old Colony Press), 1832-1837.
  2. Bridgewater Banner, 1862-aft. 1866.
  3. Bridgewater Independent, 1884-present, available at NewsLibrary ($) from 13 June 2007 to present (search free, pay for articles).
  4. Bridgewater Townsman, 1985-present.
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Libraries and Historical Societies

The following is a list of research facilities in town:

Bridgewater Public Library
15 South St.
Bridgewater MA 02324
Phone 508-697-3331

Maxwell Library
Bridgewater State College
10 Shaw Rd.
Bridgewater MA 02324
Phone 508-531-1394

Old Bridgewater Historical Society
162 Howard St.
West Bridgewater MA 02379
Phone 508-559-1510

Thanks to the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants for their contributions to this page

References

  1. William Francis Galvin, Historical Data Relating to Counties, Cities and Towns in Massachusetts (Boston, new ed., 1997), 25. WorldCat (Other Libraries); FHL book 974.4 H2h 1997
Adjacent towns: Plymouth Co: East Bridgewater | Halifax | Middleborough | West Bridgewater | Bristol Co: Easton | Raynham


 

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  • This page was last modified on 9 September 2013, at 15:24.
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