Open main menu

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Braintree (Massachusetts)

BRAINTREE, a township of Norfolk county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., on the Monatiquot river about 10 m. S. of Boston. Pop. (1890) 4848; (1900) 598l, including 1250 foreign-born; (1905, state census) 6879; (1910) 8066. The New York, New Haven & Hartford railway crosses the town and has stations at its villages of Braintree, South Braintree and East Braintree, which are also served by suburban electric railways. In South Braintree are the Thayer Academy (co-educational; opened 1877) and the Thayer public library, both founded by and named in honour of General Sylvanus Thayer (1785 – 1872), a well-known military engineer born in Braintree, who was superintendent of the United States Military Academy in 1817 – 1833 and has been called the “father of West Point.” There are large shoe factories and other manufactories. Bog iron was early found in Braintree, and iron-works, among the first in America, were established here in 1644. Braintree was first incorporated in 1640 from land belonging to Boston and called Mount Wollaston, and was named from the town in England. At Merry Mount, in that part of Braintree which is now Quincy, a settlement was established by Thomas Morton in 1625, but the gay life of the settlers and their selling rum and firearms to the Indians greatly offended the Pilgrims of Plymouth, who in 1627 arrested Morton; soon afterward Governor John Endecott of Massachusetts Bay visited Merry Mount, rebuked the inhabitants and cut down their Maypole. Later the place was abandoned, and in 1634 a Puritan settlement was made here. In 1708 the town was divided into the North Precinct and the South Precinct, and it was in the former, now Quincy, that John Adams, John Hancock and John Quincy Adams were born. Quincy was separated from Braintree in 1792 (there were further additions to Quincy from Braintree in 1856), and Randolph in 1793.

See D. M. Wilson, Quincy, Old Braintree and Merry Mount (Boston, 1906); C. F. Adams, Jr., Three Episodes of Massachusetts History (Boston, 1892 and 1896); W. S. Pattee, History of Old Braintree and Quincy (Quincy, 1878).