|56||HISTORY OF THE|
[Thanks to Betty White for transcribing the History section]
water for them in many instances during the winter and spring seasons.
Taunton River is called great only in comparison with its branches and tributaries, but is nevertheless large enough, even so high up as the south parish of Bridgewater, as to admit of ship building. Vessels of near one hundred and fifty tons were formerly built there, and carried down in time of freshets.
SOIL, AGRICULTURE, AND MANUFACTURES.
BRIDGEWATER is a very level township, having few or no great hills. The only one, which may be properly so called, is Sprague's Hill, anciently called the Great Hill, situated between the east and south parishes, and this is but small. The westerly part of the north parish, commonly called the "West Shares," is perhaps the highest land in the town.
The soil, as might well be supposed in so large an extent of territory, is various. In some parts, and particularly in those adjoining the rivers and brooks, it is a good quality and very productive. In other parts, as on the plains, it is suitable for tillage, being of a light mould, and produces good crops of grain with a moderate quantity of manure and little labor. Owing to the numerous water courses and large tracts of swampy grounds, the town, and particularly West Bridgewater, abounds with low meadow lands, producing a great supply of coarse hay, which formerly was held in great estimation, but since the great improvements in agriculture, and increased attention to the cultivation of English and other approved foreign grasses, it is considered of less value. These extensive meadows are still, however, of vast importance, and constitute one of its peculiar privileges as an agricultural town.
It has always had the reputation of a good farming town, and might therefore be supposed to be almost wholly engaged in husbandry, yet it abounds in mechanics and manufacturers. Iron manufactures of almost every description have always been largely carried on here. The making of small arms in New England, if not in the United States, commenced here. Many
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