Barnstable county. A noted fishing town on the extreme point of Cape Cod; including Race point, which lies 3 miles N.W. from Provincetown village. It comprises Cape Cod, or Provincetown harbor, which opens on the S. This ocean harbor is very large, exceedingly easy of access, and has sufficient depth of water for the largest ships of war. This is the first harbor the "Mayflower" touched at on her passage to Plymouth in 1620.
An elaborate and highly interesting report of a survey of this harbor and the extremity of Cape Cod, by Major J.D. Graham, has recently been printed by order of congress.
The report is accompanied by a series of tables, showing the result of a long course of observations on the tide, which are not only curious, but may be useful to those who are in a situation for pursuing their speculations on this subject, by comparing them with the results of similar observtions in other places. The fullness and precision of these tables indicate the care and labor with which the work has been prosecuted. The result is of a nature to show the great importance of this position, both as a naval and commercial station.
The value of Cape Cod harbor to our naval and mercantile marine in time of war is inappreciable. In possession of an enemy, it would afford facilities for annoying our commerce, without exposure to the gales that so often sweep along the coast. Fortified, and in the occupancy of a portion of our navy, it offers a secure retreat, accessible at all seasons, and sheltered from every storm.
The soil of this town, in common with many others on Cape Cod, is very sandy; indeed, it may be said to possess no soil, for its vegetable qualities are very deficient.
During the year ending April 1st, 1837, there were belonging to Provincetown, 2 vessels employed in the whale, and 98 in the cod and mackerel fishery, besides a large number in the freighting business. The value of fish and oil taken was $298,407. Hands employed, 1,113. During that year 48,960 bushels of salt were made, employing 156 hands, the value of which was $18,360. Provincetown lies 50 miles N.E. from Barnstable by land, and 50 E.S.E. from Boston by water. Incorporated, 1727. Population, 1830, 1,710; 1837, 2,049.