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Early Beginnings

Marstons Mills walling map 1856

Marstons Mills was called Mistic by the Indians, also spelled Mistick or Misteake means "stream or still waters".  The stream which flows through the village and the ponds to the north from which the stream originates were called Mistic by the Indians.  The largest pond is still called Mystic Lake.  The first white settler to inhabit  this area was Roger Goodspeed, who migrated from the area now called Cobb's Hill in Barnstable Village, in 1653.  This area of Marstons Mills called Marstons Mills Center has always been the heart of the village.  From the early beginnings of Marstons Mills this area was the nucleus of the settlement. The Marstons Mills River, called Goodspeed's River during the Colonial Era, with its grist and fulling mills, the first on Cape Cod, played a vital role in this village’s development.  The first settler named Marston was Benjamin, who came from  Salem in 1738  and ran the fulling mill which had been built in 1689. Benjamin married a Goodspeed and it is from their descendants that Marstons Mills received its current name. Nymphas Marston (1728-1788). the first of that name, was prominent in civic affairs during the 1700's and a justice of the Court of Common Pleas. The second Nymphas Marston became an influential lawyer and later Judge of Probate 1828-1854.  Charles Marston, brother of the second Nymphas was a member of the Senate, high sheriff and Indian Commissioner for Mashpee. George Marston, son of Charles became a Representative, Judge of Probate and  Attorney General of Mass. 1879-1883. A succession of Marstons ran the grist mill for over a century after Benjamin's arrival. Settlers came from as far away as Plymouth to have their corn ground.  The  mill was not used after   c. 1920 and it blew over during a severe windstorm c.1930.

Several important community buildings are located in this area of the Mills. The Marstons Mills Methodist Church, now called the Community Church, was moved by oxen from Yarmouth to land on Main Street donated by Allen Marston and Ebenezer Scudder. Members came from Osterville and  Cotuit Port as well as Marstons Mills. The church building was sold in 1970 and converted to a dance studio and later a day care center for preschool children, however after a decade the building was once again rededicated to a house of worship. ​


Liberty Hall, built in 1859 nearly opposite the church, has been used for a variety of functions through the years: Village Dramatic Club, meetings, dances, parties, auctions, etc.  Any event that needed a large hall was held there.

Marstons Mills Library was founded in August 22, 1891,  housed in a tiny one-room building  built in 1894 . As the village grew so  did the library building.

Many of the homes in this area are typical of farming communities during  the mid 1800's. The Greek Revival style of architecture, so popular on the Cape between 1820-1860, is prevalent in the center of Marstons Mills.

Marstons Mills cemetery and Hearse House are also located within this area. The cemetery contains the graves of the early settlers of Marstons Mills -- Hinckleys, Goodspeeds, Marstons, Laphams and also the remains of  the early inhabitants of Cotuit--Crockers, Hawleys.  The Marstons Mills Hearse House, one of two surviving hearse houses in Barnstable was built in the late 1800's, stands adjacent to the cemetery’s entrance as a visual reminder of the village's past.

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