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Town Descriptions are excerpted from state gazetteers written in the 1800s. A town description might typically include a description of the land in a town, bodies of water and rivers (ex. The waters of Bristol are unrivalled for their beauty or the navigable advantages which they afford), villages, types of agriculture and industry (ex. Mount Holly has two grist-mills, 12 saw-mills, one tannery, four mills for cutting out chair stuff, two butter-tub factories, and one rake factory.), number of inhabitants, schools, dwelling houses. The origin of the town name and names of early settlers are often mentioned. Different authors have different styles, and where there was more material about a town than would fit in our format, we have tried to choose the information of most interest today.
The author of the Massachusetts town descriptions, The Rev. Elias Nason, was one of the most enthusiastic writers eve to put pen to paper. His descriptions of Massachusetts towns are great fun to read.