How Egypt Got Its Name

Boston Journal, 1874

On the southern shore of Massachusetts Bay, and projecting out into the sea, is a portion of the town of Scituate, known as "Egypt." Various have been the stories ascribed for the derivation of this Biblical and geographical application, but few of our readers, we opine, have ever heard the true solution of the conundrum "Why was it called Egypt?"

The land is remarkably fertile, and has borne abundant harvests of Indian corn ever since the early Puritans settled there. Another section of the town, which at a later date was populated, was not so productive, hence the inhabitants were frequently compelled to resort to their more fortunate neighbors of the shore farms for supplies. The triune symbols of the Masonic fraternity are corn, wine, and oil. The wine of the period to which reference is now had, was good old New England rum, and Esquire Pierce, the father of the well known Boston grocer, supplied the sturdy yeomanry of Scituate with the beverage which constituted the eleven and four o'clock "nippers" of the hard-fisted farmers of the Old Colony.

It is related that on one occasion the inhabitants of the non-producing section being short of corn, while en route in a body with men and teams to obtain a supply, halted one morning in front of the store of Esquire Pierce and waited patiently for the old gentleman to take down his shutters. After a while he made his appearance, and thus facetiously addressed his crowd of thirsty patrons: "Well, boys, are you going down into Egypt to buy corn?" Ever after when the customers of Esquire Pierce went to fill their black bottles or to North Scituate for corn, they gave out that they were going to Egypt to buy corn, and thus the section derived its name.