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More Information About Chiltonville
Chiltonville is a community in Plymouth, MA that was originally called Eel River. It was originally occupied by the Pokanokets, also called the Wampanoags. The area of Chiltonville was a desirable place to live for the Wampanoags due to the Alewife and Eels which were plentiful in the waterways. This also drew in the Pilgrims when they reached Plymouth. This lead to conflict between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags. Starting in the 1620’s, the Pilgrims claimed the land of Chiltonville. About 5 members aboard the Mayflower owned property in this area.
In 1622, the land at the mouth of the river was granted to Stephen Hopkins. Servants of Hopkin’s, Edward Doty and Edward Leister also settled nearby in this area. In 1627, Thomas Clark came to the area and obtained 20 acres of land named the Saltash. Also in 1627, Richard Warren received 400 acres of land close to Manter’s Point and constructed a home at the end of Clifford Rd. In the mid 18th century, James Warren Jr. married Mercy Otis and settled on a farm and built the Clifford-Warren House. Other notable families moved in to this area in the 17th century including Edward Winslow, the eventual governor of Plymouth colony. In 1649, Dr. Robert M. Bartlett, built a house in the area as well.
The “Road from Sandwhich” was built in Plymouth in 1666 and travelled through Chiltonville on present day Sandwich Street. After the King Phillip’s War in 1676, white settlement in Chiltonville grew rapidly. On March 12, 1676 10 Native Americans broke down a garrison at William Clarks home and killed 11 settlers. During this time, nearly every house in the area of Chiltonville was destroyed. The first formal religious institution in Chiltonville was established in 1814 with the establishment of the 4th Congregational Church. The first minister of this church was Benjamin Whitmore. Due to controversy surrounding the reverend, the congregation divided and his followers formed a new church, the 5th Congregational Church (Burned down in 1922). In 1894, disagreements between the 2 churches were resolved and both churches combined into one called the Chiltonville Congregational Church.
There were 4 main stores that provided the Chiltonville residents with food and other household goods. The only one that is still standing is Bramhall’s Store. By the year 1857, there were 5 schools that provided education to the Chiltonville children. Only the Cliff Street School remains in existence today located on 61 Cliff Street. Nathaniel Russel, a key factor in the industrial development of Plymouth, constructed a nail works venture in Chiltonville. A forge as well as a second nail factory were constructed on Shingle Brook. The forge was possibly the earliest industry in Chiltonville. The nail industry in Chiltonville continued to flourish but was rapidly being replaced by the textile industry. Agriculture served and still serves an important role in Chiltonville. Tourism eventually replaced agriculture and maritime activities as the main economic source in the area.
In 1889, there was a streetcar line from Plymouth Village to North Plymouth and extended toward Manomet Beach which caused many of the towns most affluent citizens to build cottages in Chiltonville. Large hotels such as the Pilgrim (demolished in 1955) also drew in summer tourists. In the year 1895, A large estate called the Forges was developed by Eben Jordan, Jr. who was the son of the founder of Jordan Marsh in Boston. Beginning in the later 19th century up until the 1920’s the Forges was a luxurious estate on Forges pond that included a trout hatchery, a 60-acre game preserve, the Casino, and a music hall that seated 400 guests among other luxuries. This estate was a popular recreational location for Jordan’s close friends and associates. By the end of the 1910’s, Jordan was in poor health and he moved to England while the Estate was purchased by Sherman Leland Whipple.
In 1920, the Pilgrim Tercentenary removed many of the waterfront activities and wharves. This lead to the economy to turn to one based largely on tourism instead of maritime and industry. Rail lines were largely abandoned in the 1920’s and replaced by the improvement of highways. Chiltonville continued to be an agricultural and tourist area that was effected very little by the post World War II development taking place in other parts of the town. Forges field is now owned by the town of Plymouth.
Information Source > MA Historical Society
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