Bristol County was created by the Plymouth Colony on June 2, 1685, and named after its "shire town" (county seat), Bristol. The Plymouth Colony, along with the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Maine Colony and several other small settlements were rechartered in 1691, by King William III, to become The Province of Massachusetts Bay.
The towns of Bristol, Barrington, and Warren were awarded to Rhode Island in 1746 as part of the settlement of a long-running boundary dispute, 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 shire town 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, a part of Seekonk (that portion of which is 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.
This category has the following 2 subcategories, out of 2 total.