Highlights of Early Hanover
If "William Barstow was the first white man to settle within the present bounds of Hanover" according the historian, John Barry. Barstow was here are early as 1649 and built a rough shelter near the North River close to the present Four Corners. Barstow constructed the first bridge to span the North River and kept this bridge "in repair sufficient for the transportation of passengers, horses and cattle" until he died in 1668. The historian, Jedediah Dwelley reports that the so-called Barstow Bridge "was the first to span an important stream in the Colony." The present bridge on Washington St. is the fourth located on this early site.
In William Barstow's time this area was part of Scituate, but as mills were built, villages were settled, the town of Hanover was incorporated in 1727. In 1728 the first meeting house (church) was constructed, and a minister and school master were procured. Later settlements were located near Luddam's Ford and the dam at the Indian Head River, (South Hanover), by the Drinkwater River (West Hanover), near the Third Herring Brook (Assinippi), along Long Water Brook (North Hanover), and in Center Hanover. Soon each village had its own district school, general store and later post office.
Shipyards were early located on the banks of the North River and became well known for the many ships launched in the Four Corners area. Near the smaller streams early mills ground corn, sawed lumber, forged iron, and later used the water power for tack factories, At the end of the 1800's the Clapp Rubber Mill and shoe factories employed many of the former farmers. In the first part of the 20th century, the National Fireworks was the largest employer in West Hanover.
Hanover sent its men to the Revolution in 1776, Col. John Bailey, who served with Washington, being the most famous. Men volunteered for the later Civil War and the First and Second World Wars, and memorials have been erected honoring its veterans.
The early settlers built their sturdy houses and barns to shelter their families and live stock, and many old capes and colonial homes can be found on the old main roads. Open space is valued and help preserve the small town image that Hanover projects.
Most of the manufacturing and farming are part of the past, and Hanover has grown into a fine residential town, which is proud of its schools, library, churches and its involved citizens who serve on committees to maintain Hanover as a fine town to live in.
~ By Barbara Barker, Hanover Historical Commission