List of counties in Massachusetts

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Massachusetts counties

There are 14 counties in Massachusetts. Massachusetts has ended eight[1] of its fourteen county governments. This leaves five counties with county-level local government (Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Norfolk, Plymouth) and one, Nantucket County, with combined county/city government.[2] Counties are still generally recognized as geographic entities if not political ones.[3]

Eleven other historical counties have been in Massachusetts. Most ended when their lands were absorbed into the colony of New Hampshire or the state of Maine.

List of current counties[change | change source]

County
FIPS Code
[4]
County seat
[5][6]
Established
[5]
Origin
[6]
Meaning of name
[7]
Population
[5]
Area
[5]
Map
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 &&&&&&&&&0215888.&&&&&0215,888 &&&&&&&&&&&&0396.&&&&&0396 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01026.&&&&&01,026 km²)
State map highlighting Barnstable County
Berkshire County 003 Pittsfield 1761 From part of Hampshire County. Government abolished in 2000.[3] For the English county of Berkshire &&&&&&&&&0131219.&&&&&0131,219 &&&&&&&&&&&&0931.&&&&&0931 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&02411.&&&&&02,411 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 Town of Bristol joined Rhode Island, the name of the county was kept &&&&&&&&&0548285.&&&&&0548,285 &&&&&&&&&&&&0556.&&&&&0556 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01440.&&&&&01,440 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, New York until 1691, the land at one time was literally the possession of the Duke of York &&&&&&&&&&016535.&&&&&016,535 &&&&&&&&&&&&0104.&&&&&0104 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&&0269.&&&&&0269 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.[3] For the English county of Essex &&&&&&&&&0743159.&&&&&0743,159 &&&&&&&&&&&&0498.&&&&&0498 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01290.&&&&&01,290 km²)
State map highlighting Essex County
Franklin County 011 Greenfield 1811 From part of Hampshire County. Government abolished in 1997.[3] For Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), early American scientist, diplomat, and politician &&&&&&&&&&071372.&&&&&071,372 &&&&&&&&&&&&0702.&&&&&0702 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01818.&&&&&01,818 km²)
State map highlighting Franklin County
Hampden County 013 Springfield 1812 From part of Hampshire County. Government abolished in 1998.[3] John Hampden (1595—1643), the famous 17th century English parliamentarian &&&&&&&&&0463490.&&&&&0463,490 &&&&&&&&&&&&0618.&&&&&0618 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01601.&&&&&01,601 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.[3] For the English county of Hampshire &&&&&&&&&0158080.&&&&&0158,080 &&&&&&&&&&&&0529.&&&&&0529 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01370.&&&&&01,370 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.[3] For the English county of Middlesex &&&&&&&&01503085.&&&&&01,503,085 &&&&&&&&&&&&0824.&&&&&0824 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&02134.&&&&&02,134 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, itself derived from a Wampanoag word meaning "place of peace" &&&&&&&&&&010172.&&&&&010,172 &&&&&&&&&&&&&048.&&&&&048 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&&0124.&&&&&0124 km²)
State map highlighting Nantucket County
Norfolk County 021 Dedham 1793 From part of Suffolk County. For the English county of Norfolk &&&&&&&&&0670850.&&&&&0670,850 &&&&&&&&&&&&0400.&&&&&0400 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01036.&&&&&01,036 km²)
State map highlighting Norfolk County
Plymouth County 023 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 &&&&&&&&&0494919.&&&&&0494,919 &&&&&&&&&&&&0661.&&&&&0661 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&01712.&&&&&01,712 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.[3] For the English county of Suffolk &&&&&&&&&0722023.&&&&&0722,023 &&&&&&&&&&&&&058.&&&&&058 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&&0150.&&&&&0150 km²)
State map highlighting Suffolk County
Worcester County 027 Worcester 1731 From parts of Hampshire County, Middlesex County and Suffolk County. Government abolished in 1998.[3] For 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 &&&&&&&&&0798552.&&&&&0798,552 &&&&&&&&&&&01513.&&&&&01,513 sq mi
(&&&&&&&&&&&03919.&&&&&03,919 km²)
State map highlighting Worcester County

Former counties[change | change source]

County
Created
[6]
Abolished
[6]
Fate
[6]
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; one of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
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 ended, 1664 to 1668 and 1680 to 1691

References[change | change source]

  1. "General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 34B. Abolition of County Government". Massachusetts General Court. http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/gl-34b-toc.htm. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 8 June 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070608061239/http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/state.cfm&statecode=ma. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 "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 14 January 2007.
  4. "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". EPA.gov. http://www.epa.gov/enviro/html/codes/ma.html. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 National Association of Counties. "NACo - Find a county". http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/state.cfm&statecode=ma. Retrieved 30 April 2008.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Brown, Richard and Tager, Jack (2000). Massachusetts: A Concise History. University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 1-55849-249-6 .
  7. Beatty, Michael (2001). County Name Origins of the United States. McFarland Press. ISBN 0-7864-1025-6 .