The town of Bridgewater was originally known as “Duxborrow New Plantation” until it was incorporated into a town June 3, 1656. On June 15, 1821, part of Bridgewater was established as North Bridgewater. North Bridgewater was officially changed to Brockton on May 5, 1874. On February 16, 1822, another portion of Bridgewater was established as the town of West Bridgewater. And finally on February 20, 1823, part of Bridgewater was established as the town of East Bridgewater. - David Lambert, the NEHGS Online Genealogist
Bridgewater, Mass. Plymouth co. This township was formerly very large. It is now divided into four distinct towns. Not content with attaching the cardinal points of the compass to the names of three divisions of this ancient and respectable town, this remnant of the old territory is often improperly called South Bridgewater. The Indian name of this township was Nunketest. Bridgewater contains some very good land, and is well watered by branches of Taunton river. It lies 27 miles S. by E. from Boston, 20 S.S.W. from Plymouth, and 17 S. from Weymouth landing. Population, 1830, 1,855; 1837, 2,092. This town was first settled in 1651, and incorporated in 1656. The settlements were nearly all destroyed by the Indians, in 1676. Manufacturing operations commenced here at an early period. Hugh Orr, an eminent Scotchman, carried on the manufacture of cannon and small arms during the revolutionary war. The present manufactures consist of boots, shoes, hats, paper, anchors, bar iron (from native ore,) iron castings, nails, tacks, axes, cotton ginns, straw bonnets, &c. The value of these manufactures, in one year, amounted to about $250,000, and gave employment to 400 hands. — John Hayward, The New England Gazetteer, 1839.