Elias Nason and George J. Varney, A Gazetteer of the State of Massachusetts. With Numerous Illustrations. By The Rev. Elias Nason, M.A. Revised and Enlarged by George J. Varney (Boston, Mass.: B.B. Russell, 1890), 356-358.
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Hanson is a very pleasant and industrious farming and manufacturing town, situated in the northern part of Plymouth County, about 25 miles south by southeast of Boston. The Plymouth Branch of the Old Colony Railroad runs diagonally through the town, having stations at two postal villages, Hanson (centre) and South Hanson. The other villages are North Hanson and Gurney’s Corners. The Hanover Branch of the Old Colony Railroad has a station within a few rods of the northeast angle of the town. The boundaries of Hanson are Rockland and Hanover on the north, Pembroke on the east, Halifax on the south, and East Bridgewater and Whitman on the west. The assessed area is 9,030 acres, of which 6,014 are devoted to forest. The trees are almost exclusively pine and oak. There are low hills at the north, three on the eastern side, and an extended elevation at the centre; but with these slight exceptions the surface is nearly a level plain. It embraces several extensive ponds and cedar swamps,— Oldham Pond on the eastern line; and further south, Indian-Head Pond, a beautiful sheet of water covering 156 acres. Its outlet, on which are several mill sites, flows north to North River. Poor Meadow Brook, a very crooked stream, flowing southward to Satucket River, drains the western section of the town.
Beds of iron ore are found in these ponds; and there is also a valuable stone quarry in the town. Cranberries and strawberries are largely cultivated. There are 127 farms, whose aggregate product in 1885 was $67,193. The manufactures are boots and shoes, tacks, and shoe nails, carriages, straw goods, wooden boxes and leather. There are several mills for sawing house lumber, box-boards and small articles, and for grinding grain. Some 50 persons are employed in making tacks, and nails, and about 150 in shoemaking. The valuation in 1888 was $578,905, with a tax-rate of $14.30 on $1,000. The population was 1,227, and there were 318 houses. The legal voters numbered 368.
The town-hall cost, for building and furnishing, about $8,000; the seven school buildings, valued at upwards of $5,000, accommodate two grammar and five primary schools. There are a small association library and two Sunday-school libraries. The churches are two — Congregational and Baptist.
Hanson — previously the West Parish of Pembroke — was incorporated a town February 22, 1820. Its name was chosen, without any regard of significance, out of many that were suggested; and it seems to be a very good one,— brief, good-looking and euphonious. Nearly all the territory was embraced in a purchase made by Major Josiah Winslow of the Indian sachem, Josiah Wampatuck, on the 9th of July. 1692. Many Indian relics have been discovered in the neighborhood of the ponds, and the line of an Indian trail through Great Cedar Swamp is shown. Among the early settlers were Josiah Browne, who lived in the southern, and Edward Thomas, in the northern, parts of the town.
A church was organized here August 31, 1748; and the Rev. Gad Hitchcock, D.D., was then ordained pastor; remaining in this ministry until his death, August 8, 1803. The Baptist church was organized in 1812, and the Rev. Joseph Torrey was the first pastor. This town furnished the sum of $19,502 and 131 men for the late war, 21 of whom lost their lives there from, either in or after leaving the service.