Easton is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 23,112 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Greater Boston area, but is also part of the 6-county definition of the Providence MSA.
Easton is governed by an elected Board of Selectmen. Open Town Meeting acts as the legislative branch of the town. The Selectman choose a Town Administrator to run the day-to-day operations of the town.
Easton was first settled in 1694 and was officially incorporated in 1725.
In 1694, the first settler, Clement Briggs, established his home near the Easton Green. In 1711, the Taunton North Purchase area became Norton, and in 1713, the sixty-nine families settled in Easton and hired Elder William Pratt as their first minister. Prior to the settlers' establishment, the area was occupied by Native Americans as a hunting area and a burial ground. During King Philip's War, Metacom, also known as King Philip, used part of Easton as a headquarters for his troops. There was no legal parish in Easton until 1722, when the East Precinct of Norton was recognized. In 1725, the area was incorporated as the Town of Easton; it was so named because it was formerly called the "East End" of the Taunton North Purchase and was shortened by pronunciation to Easton. During the Revolutionary War, General George Washington stayed at the Benjamin Williams Tavern on Bay Road, which is now the second oldest existing house in Easton, while on his way to negotiate for cannonballs at the old Perry Foundry in Taunton.
In 1803, the Ames Shovel Works was established and became nationally known as having provided the shovels which laid the Union Pacific Railroad and opened the west. In 1875, the shovel production of the Ames plant was worth $1.5 million. The most notable of the Ames family were Oakes Ames, a key figure in the Crédit Mobilier of America scandal, and Oliver Ames(R), governor of Massachusetts from 1887–1890.
The Ames family shaped the town's economy, and was responsible for the presence of a number of landmark buildings in the town designed by H. H. Richardson, originator of the Richardsonian Romanesque style and designer of Trinity Church in Boston.
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