Plymouth County, Massachusetts Trivia

  1. Plymouth is home to the longest-assembled church in the U.S., First Parish Church and in 2006 celebrated 400th year of continuous membership. English Separatists, later to be known as the Pilgrims, formed the Church in 1606 in England.

  2. Plymouth was already named Plymouth when the Pilgrims arrived in 1620. Captain John Smith (of Pocahontas fame) had named it Plymouth in 1614 due to its physical resemblance (in reverse) to Plymouth, Devon, England.
  3. In 1635 Samuel Lincoln originally of Hingham, Norfolk, England was one of the founders of Hingham, Massachusetts.  174 years later, his great, great, great, great grandson and future President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was born.
  4. The oldest church/meetinghouse and wooden courthouse are in Plymouth County. Old Ship Church in Hingham built in 1681 and the 1749 Courthouse in Plymouth.
  5. America’s oldest Lighthouse, Boston Light, was established on Little Brewster Island in Hull on Sept. 14, 1716.
  6. The oldest men’s club in America is the Old Colony Club in Plymouth, having been organized on January 16, 1769.
  7. The “Columbia”, the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe (1790) was built at Hobart’s landing on the North River in Norwell in 1773.
  8. Capt. John Ames, a blacksmith from West Bridgewater, forged the first iron shovels in the colonies in 1774 on the site that is now the town park.  Ames Shovels were eventually used to dig the Erie Canal (1817), during the California Gold Rush (1849), at the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad (1860s), and the building of the Panama Canal (1904/14).
  9. The ship “Beaver” that was used in the Boston Tea Party, Dec. 16, 1776 was built on the North River in Pembroke.
  10. Hannah Thomas was the 1st Female Lighthouse Keeper (Plymouth Light), after her husband left to fight in the Revolution in 1776.
  11. In 1782, Deborah Samson of Plympton was the first woman to serve in a U.S. military uniform.  She disguised herself as a man and fought in the American Revolutionary War.
  12. Scituate is home to the oldest; most complete lighthouse facility in the United States, meaning it has the oldest keeper’s quarters, 1811.
  13. The Pilgrim Society was founded in 1820 and their Pilgrim Hall Museum was completed in 1824 and is considered the oldest public museum in the USA.
  14. Bridgewater is the site of the first State Normal School building in America 1846, now home to Bridgewater University.
  15. The F.B. Washburn Company is the oldest, large-volume producer of ribbon candy (Sevigney’s) in the world.  The business has been around since 1856.
  16. The catcher’s mitt was invented in 1875 by William H. McGunnigle, of Brockton a shoemaker who had the idea to use a protective leather glove for catching a speedy baseball.
  17. The City of Brockton became the first city to have a three-wire, underground electrical system in 1883, as well as having the first theater and fire station to operate using electricity.
  18. The US Life-Saving Service, later to become the US Coast Guard, which began when Hull farmers rowed out to shipwrecks, was founded at Point Allerton in Hull in 1889 not becoming the US Coast Guard until 1915.
  19. Brockton’s merchant, James Edgar (Edgar’s Department Store) was the first department store Santa Claus in America in 1890.
  20. King Gillette dreamed up the idea for a disposable razor while staying with family on Nantasket Beach in Hull in the 1890s.
  21. Wareham was the home of the first recorded 18-hole golf course in America, constructed in 1895. Layouts ranged from 132-350 yards and were playable until the early 1940s.
  22. In 1906, Reginald A. Fessenden made the first two-way radio communication across the Atlantic Ocean from the Brant Rock section of Marshfield to Macrihanish, Scotland.
  23. December 24th, 1906 the first radio broadcast of music to a general audience took place from a tower in the Brant Rock section of Marshfield.  Reginald Fessenden played a phonograph record of Handel’s “Largo” and his own violin solo of “O Holy Night”.
  24. The Buffum Model K Touring Car was manufactured in Abington circa 1907 by Herbert H. Buffum. It was the first V-8 engine made.  It sold 27 years before Ford made the V-8 engine available to the masses.
  25. The 1930 Dyer Memorial Library in Abington is a landmark depository for old records and maps and Civil War photographs.
  26. The Toll House Cookie originated in 1937 in Whitman when restaurant owner and baker, Ruth Wakefield attempted to make chocolate cookies by placing Nestlé’s chocolate bar chunks in the batter instead of Baker’s Chocolate.