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Norton, Massachusetts: A brief history

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Date: 1637 to 1725
Location: Norton, Bristol, Massachusetts, United Statesmap
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Plymouth Colony
In 1640 Miles Standish and John Browne surveyed a tract of land the native people called Cohannet. This became known as the Taunton North Purchase and included the current towns of Norton, Easton, Mansfield, Taunton, Dighton and others. See map from from William L. Chaffin, History of the Town of Easton, Massachusetts (Cambridge, MA: John Wilson & Son, 1886) Taunton North Purchase map.

(See also map Massachusetts Town Map.)

This diamond-shaped tract lay between modern-day Bristol and Norfolk counties and the northernmost section is known as Cobbler's Corner. According to Clark's History of Norton (1859), "It is said to have been so called from the fact that, in making the bounds, when Myles Standish and his men came to this corner, one of them mended or 'cobbled' his shoes." [1]

Was originally incorporated in 1639. See: WikiTree resources on Taunton

Originally called North Taunton, this 50-mile tract was settled in 1669 and included the current towns of Norton, Easton and Mansfield. The deed was issued June 1, 1668. [2] See text of deed.

As the seventh town established in Bristol County, North Taunton was incorporated as Norton 12 Jun 1711. [3] [Author's note: I can't help but hear the New England accent as folks abbreviated North Taunton to nau'- ton. Winter snowstorms are still referred to a nor'easters today.]

Rev. Joseph Avery was ordained as the first minister of the First Church of Christ in Norton. In later years, Mansfield and Easton were formed from the north and east sections of Norton. [4]

The first settlers came in 1685 [5] and the area was established as Mansfield on April 26, 1770 [6]

Here's a local news article about settlers Thomas & Esther Brintnall.

Easton began as a hunting, fishing and lumbering preserve of early Taunton settlers. [7]

In 1713, the sixty-nine families settled in Easton and hired Elder William Pratt as their first minister... 21 Dec 1725, the East End of the Taunton North Purchase was incorporated as the Easton. [8]

See Map of Easton ca. 1750, from William L. Chaffin, History of the Town of Easton, Massachusetts (Cambridge, MA: John Wilson & Son, 1886) showing roads and locations of houses. 1750 Map of Easton.

Author's Note

I became interested in the history of this area in relation to genealogy research of a possible ancestor Josiah Blanchard (1733-1817). Originally living in Norton, it was noted that this later became Mansfield, MA, so I wanted to document this timeline to support the research on Josiah and his descendants. (Who removed to Berkshire County in the western part of Mass after the Revolution.)

I've tried to rewrite the above in my own words (so as not to plagiarize) - hope that you find this useful.

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Categories: Norton, Massachusetts