Barnstable County, Massachusetts
|Barnstable County, Massachusetts|
Barnstable County Courthouse
Location in the state of Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location in the U.S.
1,305.62 sq mi (3,382 km²)
395.51 sq mi (1,024 km²)
910.10 sq mi (2,357 km²), 69.71%
545/sq mi (210.8/km²)
Barnstable County is a county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts, consisting of Cape Cod and associated islands. (Some adjacent islands are in Dukes County and Nantucket County.) As of the 2010 census, the population was 216,902. Its county seat is Barnstable.
Barnstable County was formed as part of the Plymouth Colony on 2 June 1685, including the towns of Falmouth, Sandwich and others lying to the east and north on Cape Cod. Plymouth Colony was merged into the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1691.
Discovery and naming of the cape 
The shores of North America were known to the Norsemen as Vinland from about 1000 CE, but were generally unknown in Europe. The voyages of the Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus, starting in 1492, on behalf of the Spanish crown, opened the central and southern coasts of the New World to exploration and colonization by Spain.
Giovanni da Verrazzano 
Cape Cod is described in a letter from the Italian explorer, Giovanni da Verrazzano to Francis I of France, relating the details of a voyage to the New World made on behalf of the French crown in the ship, Dauphine, the only surviving of a fleet of four. Sailing from Madeira in 1524, the Dauphine made land in North Carolina in March. It sailed north to Newfoundland, mapping the coast and interviewing the natives, whom he found friendly south of the cape, but unfriendly north of it. To the north of an island that reminded Verrazzano of Rhodes, the Dauphine made its way with difficulty over shoals "never less than three feet deep" extending "from the continent fifty leagues out to sea," which Brevoort, based on their extent, has identified as Nantucket Shoals. Verrazzano called them Armellini. On the other side was a promontory, Pallavisino, which is probably the cape, as they sailed along it for "fifty leagues." Details of the north end are not given, but subsequently they came to a "high country, full of very dense forests, composed of pines," which, according to Brevoort and others, resembles the coast of Maine.
Bartholomew Gosnold 
After Verrazzano the eastern United States acquired the map label of New France, but France had no way to develop it. Scattered colonies in the wilderness of a few dozen men could not be supported until the foundation of Quebec in 1608. Meanwhile the paper claim did not deter entrepreneurs. In March, 1602, Bartholomew Gosnold set sail from Falmouth, Cornwall, in the ship, Concord, transporting a crew of 8, an exploration party of 12, and 20 colonists, with the intent of establishing a trading post in the New World. Intersecting the coast of Maine, they turned to the south, encountered what appeared to be an island, and dropped anchor in Provincetown Harbor. Gosnold at first called the land Shoal Hope, but after discovering it was a cape, and acquiring a hold full of cod from the abundant schools in Cape Cod Bay, he changed the name to Cape Cod.
Gosnold explored the cape, establishing good relations with the natives there, approximately 1500 members of the Nauset Tribe, closely related in language and custom to the Wampanoag people of the mainland, and under their sovereignty. John Brereton, chaplain of the expedition, reported that they were dark-skinned, customarily nude except for deerskins over the shoulders and sealskins around the waist, and wore their long, black hair up in a knot. They painted their bodies. Some knew a few English words, which is something of a historical problem, as Gosnold and his companions are believed to have been the first English to land in America. Gosnold made a point of describing how healthy the people appeared.
Subsequently Gosnold sailed around the cape to discover an island, "full of wood, vines, goosebury bushes, whortleberries, rasberries, eglantines, etc.," as well as large numbers of shore birds. He named it Martha's Vinyard after his daughter. Another island nearby, Cuttyhunk Island, he named Elizabeth Island, in honor of Elizabeth I of England, from which the Elizabeth Islands take their name. He intended to place a trading post there, but when the time came for the return voyage, the colonists decided not to remain. Gosnold ventured a second time to the New World in 1608 as Captain John Smith's second in command of the Jamestown expedition. After three months there he died of malaria.
Martin Pring 
In 1603 another mercantile expedition set sail from Bristol, England, in two ships, the Speedwell and the Discoverer, commanded by a 23-year-old captain, Martin Pring. Elizabeth I had died two weeks earlier, but Pring had secured permission from Sir Walter Raleigh, who held from the queen exploration rights to all of North America.
Barnstable County is not co-extensive with Cape Cod. The latter is a geophysical term defined by its insular or peninsular landmass. According to Freeman, it is a "long, irregular peninsula" between 65 mi (105 km) and 75 mi (121 km), measured along the north or the south shores respectively, and between 5 mi (8.0 km) and 20 mi (32 km) wide. Originally, he points out, only the tip was considered the cape, but as it was settled the name extended from its tip to the shortest line across the isthmus. Barnstable County, on the other hand, is a geopolitical and legal term. It is the area contained within the borders of all cities and towns defined to be in the county by the Massachusetts General Court. These borders were located in multiple episodes of disputed legislation during the centuries since the foundation of Plymouth Colony.
According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 1,305.53 square miles (3,381.3 km2), of which 393.72 square miles (1,019.7 km2), or 30.16%, is land and 911.81 square miles (2,361.6 km2), or 69.84%, is water. It has approximately 550 miles (890 km) of shoreline. The main difference between Cape Cod and Barnstable County is the band of water up to several miles wide extending from the shoreline to the outermost county border. The offshore area contains significant maritime life, as well as being a recreational and transportational medium, and containing historical material lost with sunken ships. It is true that the landmass of Barnstable County includes and consists mostly of Cape Cod.
National protected areas 
As of the census of 2000, there were 222,230 people, 94,822 households, and 61,065 families residing in the county. The population density was 562 people per square mile (217/km²). There were 147,083 housing units at an average density of 372 per square mile (144/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.23% White, 1.79% Black or African American, 0.56% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.11% from other races, and 1.66% from two or more races. 1.35% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 24.0% were of Irish, 15.6% English, 9.4% Italian, 5.9% German and 5.0% "American" ancestry according to Census 2000. 93.6% spoke English, 1.7% Portuguese, 1.4% Spanish and 1.0% French as their first language.
There were 94,822 households out of which 24.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.20% were married couples living together, 9.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.60% were non-families. 29.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.82.
In the county the population was spread out with 20.40% under the age of 18, 5.20% from 18 to 24, 25.00% from 25 to 44, 26.20% from 45 to 64, and 23.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 89.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $45,933, and the median income for a family was $54,728. Males had a median income of $41,033 versus $30,079 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,318. About 4.60% of families and 6.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.60% of those under age 18 and 5.00% of those age 65 or over.
Demographic breakdown by town 
The ranking of unincorporated communities that are included on the list are reflective if the census designated locations and villages were included as cities or towns. Data is from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 13, 2010|
|Party||Number of Voters||Percentage|
|2012||53.2% 70,822||45.4% 60,446|
|2008||56.1% 74,264||42.1% 55,694|
|2004||54.6% 72,156||44.3% 58,527|
|2000||51.5% 62,363||41.0% 49,686|
Cities, towns, and villages 
Cities and towns have been legally incorporated as such under the laws of the State of Massachusetts. They include the entire territory of the state. A city may continue to name itself a town even though legally a city. Villages are subordinate to cities or towns. In addition to and not necessarily based on these legal municipalities are the arbitrary divisions of the United States Census Bureau. Villages are census divisions, but have no separate corporate existence from the towns they are in. Other arbitrary divisions may be in use. For example, the City of Barnstable has five fire districts that cover the seven villages - each village has its own fire department except that Centerville, Osterville and Marstons Mills have combined their efforts into the COMM Fire Department.
- City of Barnstable
- Barnstable Village (a village of Barnstable)
- Cummaquid (a part of Barnstable Village)
- Centerville (a village of Barnstable)
- Craigville (a part of Centerville)
- Cotuit (a village of Barnstable)
- Hyannis (a village of Barnstable)
- Marstons Mills (a village of Barnstable)
- Osterville (a village of Barnstable)
- West Barnstable (a village of Barnstable)
- Ferris Fields (a part of West Barnstable)
- Barnstable Village (a village of Barnstable)
- Town of Bourne
- Town of Brewster
- Town of Chatham
- Town of Dennis
- Town of Eastham
- North Eastham (a village of Eastham)
- Town of Falmouth
- Falmouth (CDP) (a village of Falmouth)
- East Falmouth (a village of Falmouth)
- North Falmouth (a village of Falmouth)
- Teaticket (a village of Falmouth)
- West Falmouth (a village of Falmouth)
- Woods Hole (a village and part of Falmouth)
- Town of Harwich
- Town of Mashpee
- Town of Orleans
- Town of Provincetown
- Town of Sandwich
- Town of Truro
- North Truro (a village of Truro)
- Town of Wellfleet
- Town of Yarmouth
Government services 
The planning agency of Barnstable County is the Cape Cod Commission.
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Barnstable County, Massachusetts|
- Barnstable County Correctional Facility
- Barnstable County Courthouse
- Barnstable County Fairgrounds
- Barnstable County Hospital
- Barnstable Municipal Airport
- Cape Cod
- Cape Cod Commission
- Church Rock
- Massachusetts Military Reservation
- Nantucket Sound
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Barnstable County, Massachusetts
- Registry of Deeds (Massachusetts)
- Scusset Beach State Reservation
- Shawme-Crowell State Forest
- USS Barnstable County (LST-1197)
- Forstall, Richard L. (27 March 1995). "Massachusetts: Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". Washington, D.C.: Population Division, US Bureau of the Census.
- "Historical Census Browser". Charlottesville, Virginia: University of Virginia Library. 2007.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Giovanni da Verrazzano (2006). "Letter to King Francis I of France, 8 July 1524: Excerpts". National Humanities Center. p. 8. Text reproduced by permission from Wroth, Lawrence C., ed. (1970). The Voyages of Giovanni da Verrazzano, 1524-1528. New Haven: Yale University Press.
- Brevoort, James Carson (1874). Verrazano the Navigator. New York: American Geographical Society of New York. pp. 135–136.
- Conway 2008, pp. 31–32
- Conway 2008, pp. 33–35
- Freeman 1860, p. 27
- A history of this extensive legislation through 1860 on a town-by-town basis can be found in Freeman 1862, passim
- "2010 Census Gazeteer Files, National Counties Gazeteer File". Geography. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- In an effort to protect this area, Barnstable County created the Cape Cod Commission, giving it control over the oceanic waters within county jurisdiction, to exclude the bays and river mouths as well as the Cape Cod Canal. Its final plan, completed in 2011, includes maps showing the total extent of Barnstable County, most of which is oceanic, including most of Cape Cod Bay, half of upper Buzzard's Bay, and some of the waters to the south of the cape. "Cape Cod Ocean Management PLan" (pdf). Cape Cod Commission. 13 October 2011. p. 33.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
- "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
- "HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
- "2010 State Primary Party Enrollment Statistics" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
- "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11.
- Conway, Jack North (2008). The Cape Cod Canal. Charlestown, South Carolina: The History Press.
- Freeman, Frederick (1860). The History of Cape Cod: the Annals of Barnstable County and of its Several Towns, Including the District of Mashpee. Volume I. Boston: Geo. C Rand & Avery.
- Freeman, Frederick (1862). The History of Cape Cod: the Annals of the Thirteen Towns of Barnstable County. Volume II. Boston: Geo. C Rand & Avery.
- Whalen, Richard F. (2007). Truro. Charlestown, South Carolina: The History Press.
- Barnstable County Registry of Deeds
- Cape Cod Commission official site
- USGenWeb Genealogical Site for Barnstable County
- OASIS Online Archival Search Information System; Barnstable County
||Plymouth County||Cape Cod Bay||Gulf of Maine|
|Cape Cod Canal||Atlantic Ocean|
|Buzzards Bay||Nantucket Sound||Atlantic Ocean|