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Attleboro City


Attleboro City Hall is located at 77 Park Street, Attleboro MA 02703; phone: 508-223-2222.

Beginnings [1]

Attleboro, Massachusetts, derived its name from the market town of Attleborough, County Norfolk, England, whence some of the early inhabitants of the Massachusetts city emigrated to America, giving their settlement this name in remembrance of their native place. This origin of the name is further confirmed by the fact that in the English town there is a river called Bungay of about the same size as the one of that name in Attleboro, Massachusetts. The name of the Massachusetts city was formerly spelled the same as the town in England from which it took its name, but to conform, apparently, with the American idea of time saving and efficiency the final "ugh" was left off some time ago.

The first inhabitant within the original limits of Attleboro was the celebrated William Blackstone, who was also the first settler and sole proprietor of "Shawmut," now Boston. He was a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, and had been a clergyman in England, emigrating about the year 1625 to this country that he might enjoy his own religious opinions here unmolested. He even found Governor Winthrop's colonists too intolerant, so he sought another retreat, selling his right and title to his old home on "Blackstone's Neck," as the Peninsula of Boston was then called, to the new inhabitants, each one paying him six shillings and some of them more, amounting in all to £30. With the purchase money he bought a "stock of cows" which he took with him to his new home on the banks of the Pawtucket River, now called Blackstone River in his honor. The Valley of the Blackstone has become justly celebrated as a manufacturing district, and contributes, by the advantages of its water-power, to the wealth and industry of New England. The place where he settled was within the ancient limits of Attleboro, in that part called "The Gore," now Cumberland, Rhode Island, where he died in 1675. His house he called "Study Hall," and the eminence on which it was built was named "Study Hill," being so called to this day. The site of his dwelling and grave is now occupied by the Ann and Hope Mill of the Lonsdale Company, there being a monument in the mill yard in line with his grave, erected by his descendants in 1889. Blackstone is best known through his connection with Boston, though he lived in the latter place but ten years as compared with forty years in Attleboro. He was fond of study and contemplation, and preached sometimes for Roger Williams at Providence. He was also skillful in horticulture and woodcraft, caring more for solitude than for society. The library of one hundred and eighty-four volumes in his wilderness home was remarkable for those early days in this country. He was a man of many eccentricities and among other things is recorded as keeping a trained bull which he is pictured as riding up and down the sandy shore of Charles Street in Boston. Later, after he had moved from the latter city, he used to visit his friends in Providence, similarly mounted, such animals being used quite frequently in those days for carrying burdens of all kinds.

  1. Forbes, Allan, Towns of New England and Old England, Ireland and Scotland, Part II, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1921.
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