List of counties in Massachusetts
There are 14 counties in Massachusetts. Massachusetts has ended eight 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. Counties are still generally recognized as geographic entities if not political ones.
List of current counties[change | change source]
||FIPS code||County seat||Established||Origin||Meaning of name||Population||Area||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||215,888||
396 sq mi|
( 1,026 km2)
|Berkshire County||003||Pittsfield||1761||From part of Hampshire County. Government abolished in 2000.||For the English county of Berkshire||131,219||
931 sq mi|
( 2,411 km2)
|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||548,285||
556 sq mi|
( 1,440 km2)
|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||16,535||
104 sq mi|
( 269 km2)
|Essex County||009||Salem and Lawrence||1643||One of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Government abolished in 1999.||For the English county of Essex||743,159||
498 sq mi|
( 1,290 km2)
|Franklin County||011||Greenfield||1811||From part of Hampshire County. Government abolished in 1997.||For Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), early American scientist, diplomat, and politician||71,372||
702 sq mi|
( 1,818 km2)
|Hampden County||013||Springfield||1812||From part of Hampshire County. Government abolished in 1998.||John Hampden (1595—1643), the famous 17th century English parliamentarian||463,490||
618 sq mi|
( 1,601 km2)
|Hampshire County||015||Northampton||1662||From unorganized territory in the western part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Government abolished 1999.||For the English county of Hampshire||158,080||
529 sq mi|
( 1,370 km2)
|Middlesex County||017||Cambridge and Lowell||1643||One of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Government abolished in 1997.||For the English county of Middlesex||1,503,085||
824 sq mi|
( 2,134 km2)
|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"||10,172||
48 sq mi|
( 124 km2)
|Norfolk County||021||Dedham||1793||From part of Suffolk County.||For the English county of Norfolk||670,850||
400 sq mi|
( 1,036 km2)
|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||494,919||
661 sq mi|
( 1,712 km2)
|Suffolk County||025||Boston||1643||One of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Government abolished in 1999.||For the English county of Suffolk||722,023||
58 sq mi|
( 150 km2)
|Worcester County||027||Worcester||1731||From parts of Hampshire County, Middlesex County and Suffolk County. Government abolished in 1998.||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||798,552||
1,513 sq mi|
( 3,919 km2)
Former counties[change | change source]
|Cumberland County||1760||1820||Transferred to Maine|
|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]
- "General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 34B. Abolition of County Government". Massachusetts General Court. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 8 June 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
- "Historical Data Relating to the Incorporation of and Abolishment of Counties in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 14 January 2007.
- "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". EPA.gov. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
- National Association of Counties. "NACo - Find a county". Retrieved 30 April 2008.
- Brown, Richard and Tager, Jack (2000). Massachusetts: A Concise History. University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 1-55849-249-6.
- Beatty, Michael (2001). County Name Origins of the United States. McFarland Press. ISBN 0-7864-1025-6.