Before the Europeans made their claim to the area, the local Indians referred to the area as Manamooskeagin, which means Land of Many Beavers.
Abington was first settled by European settlers in 1668. The lands included the current towns of Bridgewater, Rockland, Whitman, and parts of Hanover. The town was officially incorporated in 1712, having been named six years earlier by Governor Joseph Dudley as a tribute to Anne Venables-Bertie, Countess of Abington, Cambridgeshire, who helped him secure the governorship of the colony from Queen Anne.
In 1769, an iron foundry was established within the town. In 1815, Jesse Reed invented a machine that mass produced tacks, which in turn lead to the shoe industry becoming established in the town. During the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the manufacture of boots and shoes was its primary industry, with nearly half of the footwear provided for the Union Army during the Civil War being provided by Abington factories. From 1846 to 1865, Abington was a center of the abolitionist movement. In 1874 and 1875, the towns of Rockland and Whitman, respectively, separated and incorporated as towns.
In 1893, the town was the site of a riot between town constables and workers from the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, over the town's rights to build a streetcar line that crossed the railroad's tracks. The town eventually built the line, and as a "peace offering," the railroad built the North Abington Depot building, which was built in the style of H. H. Richardson.