Taunton was founded by settlers from England and officially incorporated as a town on September 3, 1639.Most of the town's settlers were originally from Taunton in Somerset, England, which led early settlers to name the settlement after that town.The Taunton Locomotive Works (begun in 1846) also operated in the city during this time.Taunton was also home to several textile mills (Whittenton Mills) and other industries, such as felt (Bacon Felt) and brick making.The original boundaries of Taunton included the land now occupied by many surrounding towns, including Norton, Easton, Mansfield, Dighton, Raynham, Berkley, and Lakeville.Possession of the latter is still noted by the naming of Taunton Hill in Assonet.The National Weather Service operates a regional weather forecast office that serves much of Massachusetts, all of Rhode Island, and most of northern Connecticut there.
and owning it a great mercy of God to bring us to this place, and settling of us, on lands of our own bought with our money in peace, in the midst of the heathen, for a possession for ourselves and for our posterity after us." Plymouth Colony was formally divided into counties on June 2, 1685, with Taunton becoming the shire town of Bristol County.
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Several major companies operate within the industrial park and in other parts of the city.
In October 2005, the Whittenton Pond Dam north of the downtown area threatened to fail following a week that brought 9 inches (230 mm) of rain to the city.
Over 2,000 city residents were evacuated,all downtown businesses were ordered closed and Mayor Robert Nunes issued a state of emergency.