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List of counties in Massachusetts

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Massachusetts counties

This is a list of Massachusetts counties, consisting of the 14 Massachusetts counties. Massachusetts has abolished seven of its fourteen county governments, leaving five counties with county-level local government and two, Nantucket County and Suffolk County, with combined county/city government.[1] Vestigial judicial and law enforcement districts still follow the old county boundaries in the counties where county-level government has been disestablished, and the counties are still generally recognized as geographic entities if not political ones.[2]

Eleven other historical counties have existed in Massachusetts, most becoming defunct when their lands were absorbed into the colony of New Hampshire or the state of Maine, both of which were created out of territory originally claimed by Massachusetts colonists. The oldest counties still in Massachusetts are Essex County, Middlesex County, and Suffolk County, created in 1643 with the original Norfolk County which was absorbed by New Hampshire and bears no relation to the modern Norfolk County. When these counties were created, they were a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which would remain separate from the Plymouth Colony and that colony's counties until 1691. Hampden County, created in 1812, is the most recently created county still in Massachusetts, although Penobscot County bore that distinction until Maine broke off from Massachusetts in 1820.[3] The majority of Massachusetts counties are named in honor of English place names, reflecting Massachusetts' colonial heritage.[4]

The term shire town is the statutory term for the Massachusetts town having a county court and administration offices. County seat is the standard term used in general communications by the Massachusetts government.

Alphabetical list Edit

County
FIPS Code[5] County Seat
[3]
Created
[1]
History
[3]
Etymology
[4]
Population
[1]
Area
[1]
Map
[1]
Barnstable County 001 Barnstable 1685 One of three original counties created in the Plymouth Colony After its county seat of Barnstable, which is named after the English town of Barnstaple &&&&&&&&&0222230.&&&&&0222,230 &&&&&&&&&&&01305.6000001,305.6 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&03381.&&&&&03,381 km2)
State map highlighting Barnstable County
Berkshire County 003 Pittsfield 1761 From part of Hampshire County. Government abolished in 2000.[2] For the English county of Berkshire &&&&&&&&&0134953.&&&&&0134,953 &&&&&&&&&&&&0946.300000946.3 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&02451.&&&&&02,451 km2)
State map highlighting Berkshire County
Bristol County 005 Taunton 1685 One of three original counties created in the Plymouth Colony For its original county seat of Bristol, Massachusetts, which is named for the English port city of Bristol - when the city of Bristol joined Rhode Island, the name of the county was kept &&&&&&&&&0534678.&&&&&0534,678 &&&&&&&&&&&&0691.200000691.2 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01790.&&&&&01,790 km2)
State map highlighting Bristol County
Dukes County 007 Edgartown 1695 From Martha's Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands, which had been part of Dukes County, New York until Massachusetts gained it in 1691 Formerly a part of Dukes County until 1691, the land at one time was literally the possession of the Duke of York &&&&&&&&&&014987.&&&&&014,987 &&&&&&&&&&&&0491.&&&&&0491 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01272.&&&&&01,272 km2)
State map highlighting Dukes County
Essex County 009 Salem and Lawrence 1643 One of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Government abolished in 1999.[2] For the English county of Essex &&&&&&&&&0723419.&&&&&0723,419 &&&&&&&&&&&&0828.500000828.5 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&02146.&&&&&02,146 km2)
State map highlighting Essex County
Franklin County 011 Greenfield 1811 From part of Hampshire County. Government abolished in 1997.[2] For Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790), early American scientist, diplomat, and politician &&&&&&&&&&071535.&&&&&071,535 &&&&&&&&&&&&0724.700000724.7 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01877.&&&&&01,877 km2)
State map highlighting Franklin County
Hampden County 013 Springfield 1812 From part of Hampshire County. Government abolished in 1998.[2] Possibly named for John Hampden (1595—1643), the famous 17th century English parliamentarian &&&&&&&&&0456228.&&&&&0456,228 &&&&&&&&&&&&0634.100000634.1 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01642.&&&&&01,642 km2)
State map highlighting Hampden County
Hampshire County 015 Northampton 1662 From unorganized territory in the western part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Government abolished 1999.[2] For the English county of Hampshire &&&&&&&&&0152251.&&&&&0152,251 &&&&&&&&&&&&0545.400000545.4 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01413.&&&&&01,413 km2)
State map highlighting Hampshire County
Middlesex County 017 Cambridge and Lowell 1643 One of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Government abolished in 1997.[2] For the English county of Middlesex &&&&&&&&01456396.&&&&&01,456,396 &&&&&&&&&&&&0847.500000847.5 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&02195.&&&&&02,195 km2)
State map highlighting Middlesex County
Nantucket County 019 Nantucket 1695 From Nantucket Island which had been part of Dukes County, New York until Massachusetts gained it in 1691. The Town of Nantucket &&&&&&&&&&&09520.&&&&&09,520 &&&&&&&&&&&&0303.600000303.6 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&&0786.&&&&&0786 km2)
State map highlighting Nantucket County
Norfolk County 021 Dedham 1793 From part of Suffolk County. For the English county of Norfolk &&&&&&&&&0650308.&&&&&0650,308 &&&&&&&&&&&&0443.900000443.9 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01150.&&&&&01,150 km2)
State map highlighting Norfolk County
Plymouth County 23 Plymouth and Brockton 1685 One of three original counties created in the Plymouth Colony. For its seat of Plymouth, which is named for the English port city of Plymouth &&&&&&&&&0472822.&&&&&0472,822 &&&&&&&&&&&01093.4000001,093.4 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&02832.&&&&&02,832 km2)
State map highlighting Plymouth County
Suffolk County 025 Boston 1643 One of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Government abolished in 1999.[2] For the English county of Suffolk &&&&&&&&&0689907.&&&&&0689,907 &&&&&&&&&&&&0120.200000120.2 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&&0311.&&&&&0311 km2)
State map highlighting Suffolk County
Worcester County 027 Worcester and Fitchburg 1731 From parts of Hampshire County, Middlesex County and Suffolk County. Government abolished in 1998.[2] For its county seat of Worcester, which is named in honor of the English town of Worcester and the English Civil War Battle of Worcester in 1651, a Parliamentarian victory &&&&&&&&&0750963.&&&&&0750,963 &&&&&&&&&&&01579.&&&&&01,579 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&04090.&&&&&04,090 km2)
State map highlighting Worcester County

Defunct counties Edit

County
Created
[3]
Abolished
[3]
Fate
[3]
Cumberland County 1760 1820 Transferred to Maine
Devonshire County 1674 1675 Abolished
Hancock County 1789 1820 Transferred to Maine
Kennebec County 1799 1820 Transferred to Maine
Lincoln County 1760 1820 Transferred to Maine
Old Norfolk County 1643 1679 Abolished - most of its territory was absorbed into New Hampshire
Oxford County 1805 1820 Transferred to Maine
Penobscot County 1816 1820 Transferred to Maine
Somerset County 1809 1820 Transferred to Maine
Washington County 1789 1820 Transferred to Maine
York County 1652 1820 Transferred to Maine - there were two periods when York County was abolished, 1664 to 1668 and 1680 to 1691

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/state.cfm&statecode=ma. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Historical Data Relating to the Incorporation of and Abolishment of Counties in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cisctlist/ctlistcounin.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Brown, Richard and Tager, Jack (2000). Massachusetts: A Concise History. University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 1558492496. 
  4. ^ a b Beatty, Michael (2001). County Name Origins of the United States. McFarland Press. ISBN 0786410256. 
  5. ^ "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". EPA. http://www.epa.gov/enviro/html/codes/ma.html. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 

See also Edit

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at List of counties in Massachusetts. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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