Bristol County, Massachusetts
|Bristol County, Massachusetts|
Location in the state of Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location in the U.S.
|Founded||June 2, 1685
(from Plymouth Colony)
|Largest city||New Bedford|
691.19 sq mi (1,790 km²)
556.00 sq mi (1,440 km²)
135.19 sq mi (350 km²), 19.56%
962/sq mi (371/km²)
Bristol County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, adjacent to the state of Rhode Island. As of the 2010 census, the population was 548,285. Some governmental functions are performed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, others by the county, and others by local towns and cities. See Administrative divisions of Massachusetts. Despite multiple seats being displayed on some maps, the formal county seat is Taunton; Fall River and New Bedford are not county seats, but there are some courthouses and other county-operated facilities in those two places. The property deed records are kept in Taunton, Attleboro, Fall River, and New Bedford. The adjacent counties are Plymouth County; Norfolk County; Bristol County, Rhode Island; Newport County, Rhode Island; Providence County, Rhode Island; and Dukes County.
The county offices are located in the superior courthouse in Taunton at the Taunton Green.
Elected county officials 
|2012||59.2% 142,962||38.8% 93,752|
|2008||60.4% 146,861||37.2% 90,531|
|2004||63.5% 147,854||35.4% 82,524|
|2000||64.5% 136,325||29.7% 62,848|
- Maria Lopes—Chairperson of County Commission
- Paul B. Kitchen—County Commissioner
- John R. Mitchell—County Commissioner
- C. Samuel Sutter—District Attorney
- Thomas M. Hodgson—Sheriff
- Christopher T. Saunders—County Treasurer
- Barry Amaral—Register of Deeds, Northern District
- Bernard McDonald—Register of Deeds, Fall River District
- J. Mark Treadup—Register of Deeds, Southern District
- Marc Santos—Clerk of Courts
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 13, 2010|
|Party||Number of Voters||Percentage|
The towns of Bristol, Barrington, and Warren were awarded to Rhode Island in 1746 as part of a long-running boundary dispute (see History of Massachusetts), forming Bristol County, Rhode Island. At the same time, Cumberland, Rhode Island was carved out of Attleborough, Massachusetts and annexed to Providence County, Rhode Island; Tiverton and Little Compton were transferred to Newport County, Rhode Island. East Freetown was officially purchased by Freetown, Massachusetts, from Tiverton in 1747, and so remained on the Massachusetts side.
After the departure of Bristol, Taunton was made the capital of the county. A second county courthouse was constructed in 1828 in the growing town of New Bedford (designed a "half-shire town"). In 1862, part of Seekonk (now East Providence, Rhode Island) and the entirety of East Pawtucket were transferred to Providence County, Rhode Island. At the same time, land ceded from Rhode Island was added to Fall River and Westport. The growing Fall River became the site of the third county courthouse in 1877.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 691.19 square miles (1,790.2 km2), of which 556.00 square miles (1,440.0 km2) (or 80.44%) is land and 135.19 square miles (350.1 km2) (or 19.56%) is water. The highest point in Bristol County is Sunrise Hill (Watery Hill) at 390 feet (120 m) above sea level located in World War I Memorial Park in North Attleborough. It is also to note that Bristol, Plymouth and Taunton are all places in South West England. Their Massachusetts cousins were named after the originals as South West England was the focal point for sailing and descovery at the time of Americas discovery. John Cabot set sail from Bristol and sailed down the Severn on which lies Newport over in Wales. He then stumbled across mainland U.S.A.
Adjacent counties 
- Norfolk County, Massachusetts—north
- Plymouth County, Massachusetts—east
- Newport County, Rhode Island—southwest
- Bristol County, Rhode Island—west
- Providence County, Rhode Island—northwest
Bristol County in Massachusetts and Bristol County in Rhode Island are two of twenty-two counties or parishes in the United States with the same name to border each other across state lines. The others are Union Parish, Louisiana and Union County, Arkansas, Big Horn County, Montana and Big Horn County, Wyoming, Sabine County, Texas and Sabine Parish, Louisiana, Kent County, Maryland and Kent County, Delaware, Escambia County, Alabama and Escambia County, Florida, Pike County, Illinois and Pike County, Missouri, Teton County, Idaho and Teton County, Wyoming, Park County, Montana and Park County, Wyoming, San Juan County, New Mexico and San Juan County, Utah, and Vermilion County, Illinois and Vermillion County, Indiana. respectively. (Note, despite the different spellings, the source of the name is the same for Vermilion County, Illinois and Vermillion County, Indiana--the Vermillion River which flows through both counties.)
||Providence County, Rhode Island||Norfolk County|
|Bristol County, Rhode Island||Plymouth County|
|Newport County, Rhode Island||Buzzards Bay|
National protected area 
As of the census of 2000, there were 534,678 people, 205,411 households, and 140,706 families residing in the county. The population density was 962 people per square mile (371/km²). There were 216,918 housing units at an average density of 390 per square mile (151/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 90.98% White, 2.03% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.26% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.12% from other races, and 2.34% from two or more races. 3.60% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. 29.7% were of Portuguese, 13.0% Irish, 8.9% French, 8.2% English, 6.8% Italian and 6.4% French Canadian ancestry according to Census 2000. 79.1% spoke English, 13.9% Portuguese, 2.9% Spanish and 1.6% French as their first language. The United States Census Bureau reported Bristol County as being one of two counties in the United States with a plurality of people of Portuguese ancestry (the other being the contiguous Bristol County Rhode Island).
There were 205,411 households out of which 33.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.60% were married couples living together, 13.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.50% were non-families. 26.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the county the population was spread out with 24.60% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 30.50% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 14.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 92.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $43,496, and the median income for a family was $53,733. Males had a median income of $39,361 versus $27,516 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,978. About 7.80% of families and 10.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.00% of those under age 18 and 12.00% of that age 65 or over.
Government and infrastructure 
The Bristol County Sheriff's Office maintains its administrative headquarters and operates several jail facilities in the Dartmouth Complex in North Dartmouth in Dartmouth. Jail facilities in the Dartmouth Complex include the Bristol County House Of Correction and Jail, the Bristol County Sheriff's Office Women’s Center, and the C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center. The office also operates the Ash Street Jail and Regional Lock-Up and the Juvenile Secure Alternative Lock Up Program (JALP) in New Bedford.
The Bristol County House Of Correction and Jail has room for 1,100 prisoners. It houses men convicted of crimes who have been sentenced to 2 1/2 years or less. It also houses high-security male pre-trial prisoners, high-security female prisoners, and pre-trial female prisoners.
The women's center, a medium security jail, can house up to 106 women. The self-contained women's center had opened as a minimum security pre-release center for male prisoners in 1990 which could house up to 106 prisoners. When it was a pre-release facility it only housed an average of 60 prisoners because the county sheriff imposed strict conditions upon the pre-release program. In 1999 the sheriff received a federal grant to convert the pre-release center into a women's center, and he moved the pre-release program to modular units at the main jail.
The Carreiro jail houses detained individuals who are scheduled for deportation and individuals who are engaging in proceedings with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Ash Street jail houses over 200 pre-trial prisoners and a few sentenced inmate workers for the system. JALP houses up to 12 pre-arraingment juvenile prisoners.
Transportation authorities providing public bus service include the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority; and the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority serving the Fall River and New Bedford areas.
Airports include the Mansfield Municipal Airport, Myricks Airport, New Bedford Municipal Airport and Taunton Municipal Airport; of these, the New Bedford airport is a commercial airport, with flights serving the Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard area.
The Providence/Stoughton Line of the MBTA commuter rail has stops in Mansfield, Attleboro, and South Attleboro. The line provides connections to Providence and Boston (at Back Bay Station and South Station), as well as intermediate stops. An extension has been completed that connects to T.F. Green Airport.
Cities, towns, and villages* 
- Acushnet Center (a village in Acushnet)
- South Attleboro (a village in Attleboro)
- Myricks (a village in Berkley)
- North Dighton (a village in Dighton)
- Fall River
- Mansfield Center (a village in Mansfield)
- New Bedford
- North Attleborough
- North Attleborough Center (a village in North Attleborough)
- Norton Center (a village in Norton)
- Raynham Center (a village in Raynham)
- Tracy Corner (a village in Raynham)
- North Raynham (a village in Raynham)
- Squawbetty (a village in Raynham)
- Prattville (a village in Raynham)
- Gushee Pond (a village in Raynham)
- Pleasantfield, Massachusetts (a village in Raynham)
- Ramblewood, Massachusetts (a village in Raynham)
- Pleasant Street, Raynham, Massachusetts (a village in Raynham)
- Titicut, Raynham, Massachusetts (a village in Raynham)
- Four Corners (a village in Rehoboth)
- Hornbine (a village in Rehoboth)
- Kingmans Corner (a village in Rehoboth)
- North Rehoboth (a village in Rehoboth)
- Pecks Corner (a village in Rehoboth)
- Perrys Corner (a village in Rehoboth)
- Perryville (a village in Rehoboth)
- Rehoboth Village (a village in Rehoboth)
- South Rehoboth (a village in Rehoboth)
- North Seekonk (a village in Seekonk)
- Pottersville (a village in Somerset)
- Ocean Grove (a village in Swansea)
- East Taunton (a village in Taunton)
- Weir Village (a village in Taunton)
- Whittenton Junction (a village in Taunton)
- Britannia (a village in Taunton)
- North Taunton (a village in Taunton)
- Oakland (a village in Taunton)
- Westville (a village in Taunton)
- Wade's Corner (a village in Taunton)
- Whittenton (a village in Taunton)
- North Westport (a village in Westport)
* Villages are census division, but have no separate corporate existence from the towns they are in.
See also 
- Registry of Deeds (Massachusetts)
- Bristol Community College
- Horseneck Beach State Reservation
- Freetown-Fall River State Forest
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Bristol County, Massachusetts
- Southern New England School of Law
- Taunton River
- Taunton River Watershed
- University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
- Wheaton College
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11.
- "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 13, 2010" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA
- History of Bristol County, Massachusetts with Biographical Sketches of many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Part 1 edited by Duane Hamilton Hurd. J.W. Lewis and Co., 1883. . p. 1.
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- University of Virginia Library
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Facilities." Bristol County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved on January 30, 2012. "400 Faunce Corner Road, Dartmouth, MA 0274" and "Bristol County House Of Correction and Jail 400 Faunce Corner Road North Dartmouth, MA 02747" and "Bristol County Sheriff's Office Women’s Center 400 Faunce Corner Road North Dartmouth, MA 02747" and "C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center: 400 Faunce Corner Road North Dartmouth, MA 02747" and "Juvenile Secure Alternative Lock Up Program 323 Mill Street New Bedford, MA 02740 " and "Ash Street Jail and Regional Lock-Up 226 Ash Street New Bedford, MA 02740 "
Further reading 
- The Bristol County Directory, Boston, Mass.: Dean Dudley & Co., 1878
- History of Bristol County, Massachusetts with Biographical Sketches of many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Part 1 edited by Duane Hamilton Hurd. J.W. Lewis and Co., 1883. 
- The Bristol County Directory, Boston, Mass.: Briggs & Co., 1885, OCLC 8750817
- A history of Bristol County, Massachusetts, Volume 1 by Frank Walcott Hutt. Lewis Historical Pub. Co., Inc., 1924.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Bristol County, Massachusetts|
- Bristol Community College's Home Page
- Bristol County Convention & Visitors Bureau's Official Home Page
- Bristol County Superior Courthouse (in Taunton)
- Map of cities and towns of Massachusetts[dead link]
- Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development's Official Home Page
- Taunton River Stewardship Program: The Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts' Official Home Page
- Taunton River Watershed Alliance's Official Home Page
- Bristol County Quidditch Club
- Bristol County Sheriff's Office
- Taunton Northern District Registry of Deeds
- Fall River Southwest District Registry of Deeds
- New Bedford Southeast District Registry of Deeds
- Bristol County Retirement System
- Wall & Gray. 1871 Atlas of Massachusetts. Map of Massachusetts. USA. New England. Counties—Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden, Worcester, Middlesex, Essex and Norfolk, Boston-Suffolk,Plymouth, Bristol, Barnstable and Dukes (Cape Cod). Cities—Springfield, Worcester, Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill, Newburyport, Salem, Lynn, Taunton, Fall River. New Bedford. These 1871 maps of the Counties and Cities are useful to see the roads and rail lines.
- Beers, D.G. (1872). Atlas of Essex County, Map of Massachusetts Plate 5. Click on the map for a very large image.