Town of Rochester, MA

Rochester (MA) Town History

Rochester was first settled in 1638 and was named for Rochester, England, the home of some of its first settlers. The Town of Rochester was founded in 1679 and incorporated on June 4, 1686. In the initial town grant issued to Rochester, its large land area included the western shore of Buzzards Bay as far as Wareham and Dartmouth, and the present towns of Mattapoisett, Marion, Rochester, and parts of Wareham.

Rochester Massachusetts Town History
North Rochester Church
Rochester Massachusetts Town History
Rochester Common (1909)
Rochester Massachusetts Town History
North Rochester

Prior to 1852, Rochester had a busy coastal trade from its harbors on Buzzards Bay. But Rochester's coastline was lost when Marion (originally known as Sippican) became a separate town in 1852 and Mattapoisett followed suit in 1857. Marion became known as the home of many wealthy sea captains, Mattapoisett established itself as a major shipbuilding town, and Rochester found its future in farming and logging.

Rural Rochester still retains many of the farms that began in the town over 300 years ago. Rochester's agricultural character, winding roads, and open space are evident as one travels throughout the town and views scenic pastures, meadows, woodlands, ponds, and cranberry bogs.

Rochester is landlocked within the borders of Lakeville and Middleboro on the north, Wareham and Marion on the east, Mattapoisett on the south, and Acushnet and Freetown on the west. The town has an area of 36.39 square miles, of which 33.93 square miles is land.

Rochester Center, at the Town Common, is where the town’s history began. The site of the first meeting house is marked by a stone, the old cemetery has gravestones dating back to 1707, and Rochester's World War II memorial are all nearby. The Town Hall, First Congregational Church, Joseph H. Plumb Library, the post office, a bakery, and Plumb Corner Mall are also located at Rochester Center.

Rochester Historical Society

The Rochester Historical Society was founded in 1967 for the purpose of promoting knowledge, interest and research in Rochester. New members are always welcome to help preserve Rochester’s rich historic legacy and creating the sense of pride in the Rochester community. Membership forms are available at the Plumb Memorial Library and the Town Hall.

Watch for our upcoming special exhibits and programs advertised in the Wanderer. Our monthly meetings are held the 3rd Wednesday at 7:00 P.M. at the museum. We are always looking for historical artifacts and paper items such as wills, pictures and letters to display in our museum. If you have any paper items to donate please call our librarian, Susan LaFleur at 508-295-8908. All other items please call our museum curator, Pam Robinson at 508-763-2035. The Old East Rochester Church located at 355 County Road is now the Rochester Historical Society Museum. The museum is open every Sunday 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. from June to August. Built in 1857, our charming, quaint country church is a must to visit.