The town is on the west side of the Cape: it is neatly built, and although it is surrounded by sand hills and almost entirely destitute of vegetation, it makes a handsome appearance. Wellfleet bay sets into the town from the south, and is separated from Cape Cod bay by several islands, which form a good harbor, at a place called "Deep Hole."
In 1837 there were 120 vessels, measuring about 6,000 tons, belonging to this place, employed in the cod and mackerel fisheries, and a number engaged in the coasting trade. The fishermen took 3,100 quintals of cod fish, and 17,500 barrels of mackerel: the value of which was $128,500. The quantity of salt used was 29,350 bushels: the number of hands employed was 496. During that year there were 39 establishments for the manufacture of salt in this place; the quantity made was 10,000 bushels.
There are several ponds and streams in the town, which afford water power sufficient for a large cotton mill. There are some manufactures of leather, boots and shoes; but the people are principally employed in the fishery, coasting trade and manufacture of salt.
Wellfleet was incorporated in 1723. Population, 1830, 2,044; 1837, 2,303.
Dr. Morse stated in 1797, that "since the memory of people now living, there have been in this small town thirty pair of twins, besides two births that produced three each."
This is one of the most thriving towns in the state. One of its former residents, Col. Elisha Doane, is said to have acquired a fortune of 120,000 pounds sterling on this sandy spot. The Indian name of the town was Rinonakannit.