History and Facts of Massachusetts Counties
List of Massachusetts Counties
Massachusetts is divided into 14 counties.
|County||Created||Created From||Named For||County Seat||Notes|
|Barnstable County||02 Jun 1685||one of three original counties created in the Plymouth Colony||Named after its county seat of Barnstable, which is named after the English town of Barnstaple||Barnstable|
|Berkshire County||21 Apr 1761||Hampshire County||English county of Berkshire||Pittsfield|
|Bristol County||02 Jun 1685||One of three original counties created in the Plymouth Colony||Its original county seat of Bristol, Massachusetts, which is named for the English port city of Bristol - when the Town of Bristol joined Rhode Island, the name of the county was kept||Taunton|
|Dukes County||22 Jun 1695||Dukes County, New York||Dukes County, New York, the land at one time was literally the possession of the Duke of York||Edgartown||Dukes County was established twice, the first was by New York on November 1, 1683 until 1691 and the second time by Massachusetts on June 22, 1695 from Martha's Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands, which had been part of Dukes County, New York until Massachusetts gained it in 1691|
|Essex County||10 May 1643||One of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony||English county of Essex||Salem & Lawrence|
|Franklin County||24 Jun 1811||Hampshire County||In honor of Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), early American scientist, diplomat, and politician||Greenfield|
|Hampden County||25 Feb 1812||Hampshire County||In honor of John Hampden (1595—1643), the famous 17th century English parliamentarian||Springfield|
|Hampshire County||07 May 1662||Middlesex County||English county of Hampshire||Northampton|
|Middlesex County||10 May 1643||One of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony||English county of Middlesex||Cambridge & Lowell|
|Nantucket County||22 Jun 1695||Dukes County||The town of Nantucket, itself derived from a Wamanoag word meaning "place of peace"||Nantucket|
|Norfolk County||26 Mar 1793||Suffolk County||English county of Norfolk||Dedham|
|Plymouth County||02 Jun 1685||One of three original counties created in the Plymouth Colony||English port city of Plymouth||Plymouth & Brockton||Plymouth Colony divided into three counties in 1685. The entire colony joined with Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691 to form the commonwealth|
|Suffolk County||10 May 1643||One of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony||English county of Suffolk||Boston|
|Worcester County||02 Apr 1731||Hampshire, Middlesex, and Suffolk Counties||Its county seat of Worcester, which is named in honor of the English city of Worcester and the English Civil War Battle of Worcester in 1651, a Parliamentarian victory||Worcester|
List of Old Former / Extinct Massachusetts Counties
Massachusetts has counties that no longer are in existence. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the 19th century; county borders have modified very little since 1900 in the vast most of states.
The below Massachusetts counties no longer exist:
?? County, Massachusetts
- Cornwall County: Was a county of the former Province of New York, established on September 5, 1665 from 25,100 Square Miles of land that had been granted to the Duke of York in modern Maine. As established, the grant ran all the way from the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean,and produced what today is most of Aroostook, Piscataquis, Washington, Hancock, Penobscot, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Kennebec, Somerset, and Sagadahoc Counties. On October 7, 1673, 200 Square Miles of this grant along the border with then existing Massachusetts was partitioned to form Devonshire, Massachusetts. The remainder of this grant was lost to the Abnaki Indians in a war in the Autumn of 1675.
Cornwall County was recreated on November 1, 1683, conforming to the original grant, still part of New York. Cornwall continued unchanged until the Spring of 1687, when Cornwall was transferred to the expanded Dominion of New England. Cornwall County was transferred to Massachusetts in 1692 and called Yorkshire. Much of this region became part of Maine when that state was admitted in 1820.
- Devonshire County: District of Maine, Massachusetts Bay Colony was a short-lived county formed during the colonial territorial disputes between the Province of Massachusetts and the Province of Maine. The county existed from 1674 to 1675.
- Dukes County: Dukes County, New York was formed on November 1, 1683 by New York from the Elizabeth Islands, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Island, all beyond the eastern end of Long Island in the Province of New York. It was formed at the same time as Kings County, Queens County and Dutchess County, New York. The entire county was transferred to the newly formed Province of Massachusetts Bay, where it formed Dukes County and Nantucket County.
- Norfolk County: One of the original four counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The county existed from 1643 to 1679. In 1680 the towns of this county were divided between Essex County, Massachusetts and the newly formed state of New Hampshire so that the county ceased to exist. The former Norfolk County is often referred to as “Old Norfolk County.” A new county was established as Norfolk County, Massachusetts from most of the southern portion of Suffolk County in 1793.
- York County: A county in what is now Maine. In 1760, it was divided into three counties: York, Cumberland and Lincoln counties. In 1778, the Continental Congress divided the District of Maine, the northernmost of three districts in Massachusetts.
Map of Massachusetts County Boundary Changes from 1683 to 1947
This Interactive Map of Massachusetts Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of Massachusetts from 1683 to 1947.
Fun Facts about Massachusetts Counties
County Name Facts
The County names:
- 0 of them named for Native American words or people,
Counties by Year
Facts for County Size
- ? County (000 sq mi) is the largest county in Massachusetts.
- ? County (000 sq mi) is the smallest county in Massachusetts.
Facts for County Population (2017 Est.)
- ? County (000) is the most populated county in Massachusetts.
- ? County (000) is the least populated county in Massachusetts.
Facts for Massachusetts Counties and Cities
Massachusetts’s 10 largest cities (2010) are: