Ebenezer Weaver Peirce, Historic Sketches of Hanson, Lakeville, Mattapoisett, Middleboro, Pembroke, Plympton, Rochester, Wareham, and West Bridgewater (Boston, MA: E. W. Peirce, 1873), 1-3.
Digital copy available at Archive.org.
This town was detached or set off from Pembroke and incorporated as a new and distinct town in 1820, or about fifty-three years since. Its incorporated limits had formerly been those of a religious parish in Pembroke, and over which, in the gospel ministry, had been ordained and settled Rev. Gad Hitchcock in 1748. He continued to break the bread of life and dispense the word of God among the people of this (then parish now) town for the long term of fifty-five years, and was succeeded in the ministerial office by Rev. George Barstow, who continued in the pastoral relation eighteen years, and died in 1821, aged 51 years. The next minister was Rev. Mr. Howland. Rev. Gad Hitchcock was a finely educated man, a collegian, but better than that he possessed what so many “book worms” are wofully deficient in viz, good practical sense, that called “common sense“, although the most uncommon of all sense existing then, or now extant.
To use the language of one writer concerning the Rev. Mr. Hitchcock “He was sociable, friendly, and hospitable; esteemed as a man of talents, and many in his old age profited by his instructions.”
Many stories are still told of Mr. Hitchcock that serve to give an idea of his social and even fun loving qualities. The parish that subsequently became a town, by some means acquired the unpoetic name of Tunk and Mr. Hitchcock being in company with a sailor, of whom he had asked a great many questions concerning what he had seen and suffered, was by the old tar requested to tell him his name, occupation, and place of residence; when the reverend gentleman replied, “My name is Gad Hitchcock, I am a minister of the gospel, and preach to the people of Tunk;” to which the sailor answered, “Gad Hitchcock of Tunk! Well, damn me, if I ever before heard such words put together in my life.” *
Isaac Peirce,† a soldier in the Narragansett expedition of King Philip’s war, is believed to have resided in that part of Pembroke now Hanson. He removed to that part of Middleborough now Lakeville, where he died Feb. 28, 1732, in the 71st year of his age. His father Abraham Peirce, the emigrant, owned considerable tracts of land in this town. He died in or about 1673.
A company of uniformed militia existed here for several years. It was commanded by Capt. Ebenezer B. K. Gurney, and belonged to the third regiment of Light Infantry, in second Brigade, First Division, Mass. Volunteer Militia, Colonel Eliab Ward, of Middleborough, commanding the Regiment. Brigadier General Henry Dunham, of Abington, the Brigade, and Major General Appleton Howe, of Weymouth, the Division. Capt. Gurney was succeeded by Capt. William H. Bryant.
*Rev. Gad Hitchcock served as Chaplain of Col. Thomas Doty’s Regiment in 1758. Sergeant Seth Tinkham, clerk of Capt. Benjamin Pratt’s company in Col. Doty’s Regiment, kept a diary of the marching and fighting done by that regiment, and made several allusions to Rev. Mr. Hitchcock as follows: 1758, August 9. “I went with a part to Load Battoes and heard Mr. Hitchcock preach from Psalms.” “Sept. 3d I heard Mr. Hitchcock preach in the Dutch meeting House from Hosea, Chapter 13th, 9th verse.”
† Isaac Peirce, the Narragansett soldier, was ancestor to most the Peirces living in Middleborough and Lakeville. His great grand son Abial Peirce was a captain in the French and Indian War, and Capt. Abial and three brothers or four of one family were captains in the Patriot Army in American Revolution.
TOWN OFFICERS, 1873-4.
Town Clerk. – Josephus Bryant.
Selectmen, Assessors, and Overseers of the Poor – E.B.K. Gurney, Joseph B. Howland, Joseph Holmes.
Treasurer and Collector. – Josephus Bryant.
School Committee. – John W. Pratt, Mrs. W. I. Holmes, Otis L. Bonney.
Constables. – Elias C. Poole, Charles C. Wiley, Charles Atwood.
Appropriated $1,500 for school, $1,300 for the poor, $1,200 for roads, $500 for town officers, $100 for abatement, $1000 for debts, $800 for interest, $300 for incidentals; $7,700.
Unitarian Church. – Meet at Unity Hall, no settled Pastor.
Baptist Church. – Rev. J. B. Reed, Pastor.
Congregational Church. – Rev. S. L. Rockwood, Pastor.
Justices of the Peace – with date of appointment. – Nathaniel Cushing, July 3, 1820; Thomas Hobart, Aug. 28, 1828; Charles Cushing, Feb. 20, 1929 [sic, 1829]; Oliver Whitten, Aug. 27, 1829; Isaac B. Barker, Jan. 6, 1830; Joshua Smith, Oct. 1, 1833; David Prouty, Feb. 4, 1842; Charles Cushing, Dec. 17, 1842; Thomas Smith, Feb. 9, 1846; Isaiah Bearce, Feb. 26, 1851; Joseph Smith, May 20, 1856.