Hello! For all you fans of winter, it looks like there is something to look forward to! The recent snow and arctic cold snap brought opportunities for sledding, ice skating, and even a little ice fishing today on Shovel Shop Pond. As I write this, we are getting ready for another storm Sunday. Get your snowshoes out, we’re going to need them!
Today’s historical item has to do with building a road. Roads in Easton, like many other towns, came by way of necessity. The early maps of Easton show the early roads (there are not many) and a close look reveals roads that are no longer in use, or roads whose paths changed over time.
Our case in point today is Depot Street. Running from the Five Corners easterly to Turnpike Street, it was built up in sections as it was needed. The earliest part of Depot Street was in existence by 1703, running from South Easton Green (where Depot Street intersects Washington Street) east to about where Pine Street begins today. That makes sense, as that area was the first part of town settled, and would run by the homestead of our first settler Clement Briggs. As a matter of fact, it probably began as a cart path from the Briggs home near Pine Street to the early mills at the former Dean Pond. By 1716, the road was extended west to the area of Easton Center where it would intersect with Center Street. The section of road from the Five Corners as far east as Black Brook was in place by 1752, and by 1838 a connecting cart path completed Depot Street, making it possible to travel a more direct route from Easton Furnace Village, past the Town Hall near Center Street, crossing Washington Street at the Green, and finally ending at Pine Street.
By the 1840’s a small mill and a few small shoe shops were built near the Shoddy Mill site on Turnpike Street. That, coupled with a need to get to North Bridgewater (now Brockton) for business purposes, brought the immediate neighborhood together to try and get a road built that would connect between Pine Street and Turnpike Street. In 1847 a number of residents began the process of petitioning for the extension of Depot Street to Turnpike Street. A hand written paper was sent to the Bristol County Commissioners, requesting a hearing on the possible extension of the road. A newspaper posting was made, as well as a notice of the petition being posted in town, and County Commissioners came to Easton to view the land over which the road would run. More than likely, there was already a cart path along the same general direction where the new road would run. Once approved by the County Commissioners, who would also oversee any surveying and laying out of the road way, the Town would be asked to approve the road at Town Meeting and fund its construction. The new road was completed in 1848, and what we know today as Depot Street was finished. I do not know the cost to build the road, and the earliest example I could find in a Town Report referred to building part of Williams Street from Main Street to about Reynolds Street at a cost of $500 in 1871.
Attached is a scan of the handwritten document to the County Commissioners, as well as the original printed notice. Note that there were no street names in those days, and the description of the roadway refers to places where the road would run from, go to, and where it would pass by. This can be pretty confusing to follow! A list of the signers is included below. Also attached is a scan of two maps. The 1825 map details the area around Washington Street and Turnpike Street, showing that Depot Street ended where Pine Street begins today. Residents would be required to take a more circuitous route to get to Brockton. The 1855 map details the same area with the addition of the new extension to Depot Street, providing a more direct route to the Turnpike.
I hope you all stay well and safe as we prepare for more stormy weather.
Until next week, all the best,
Barzillai Dean, William Reed, Jacob Williams, Thomas H. Dean, Samuel Simpson, Daniel Randall, Solomon Stone, Silas Phillips, Napoleon B. Dawes(?), James Guild, Samuel Guild, Edwin A. Randall, Lucius Howard, Rotheus Reed, Joshua Littlefield, Abijah Read, Bernard Alger, Cyrus Alger, Nahun Pratt, Leander Ripley, Edward Dean, John Pool, S. W. Morse, B. F. Johnson, Alanson White, Caleb Lothrop, Albert Lothrop, Joseph Lothrop, Caleb S. Lothrop, John B. Lothrop, Martin Guild, Lincoln Drake, Thomas F. Davidson, H. W. Wrightman, Daniel Edson.
Anne Wooster Drury