Community Historian

North Attleboro and Mannvile

The hotel owner was honored to have such a distinguished guest. The road could be hot and dusty or cold and icy, depending, and in either circumstance, the hotel was a good place to stop. Owner and guest talked, but only they knew what about -- small talk about weather and food, or maybe deep discussions of current events and an uncertain future. Shoe buckles were the fashion of the day, and the two men admired each other's buckles. After some talk, they decided to swap shoe buckle sets, and this was how George Washington's shoe buckles came to be on display in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, only to be stolen a few years later.

Historians, proud of their New England roots, say a little girl had played in the North Attleboro streets. Sarah Orne didn't know that over 200 years later, people would be driving powerful, horseless machines over a street named for her. Orne Street connects US 1 and its older alignment, US 1A, to each other. The young United States' scent of freedom partly gave birth to North America's industrial revolution, and a little of that freedom was owed to Paul Revere whose "midnight ride" is celebrated in history, legend, and poetry and whose industrial innovations in silversmithing, copper plating, and currency printing are in use to this day. Paul Revere married Sarah Orne in 1757, and she would bear him eight children before her death at age 37.

That early industrial revolution spread west into northern Rhode Island's Blackstone River Valley where the giant textile-producing Manville Jenks Mill spawned the village of Manville.

Donia Mandeville took over a business in Manville, Rhode Island and moved it to North Attleboro, apparently making her the first woman to sign on as dealer-operator of a Chevrolet franchise.