Dighton was originally part of Taunton's South Purchase and other surrounding towns. It was separated in 1672, officially incorporated in 1712. It was named for Frances Dighton Williams, wife of Richard Williams, a town elder. At the time of incorporation, the town included land on both sides of the Taunton River, including the land of Assonet Neck, which includes Dighton Rock, a rock found in the shallows of the river which includes cryptic carvings whose origins are debated to this day. However, in 1799, that land on the east bank of the river was annexed by Berkley, thus giving that town the claim of being the home of the rock.
As it was located at the beginning of the tidewater of the river, Dighton was a shipbuilding community, and even had status as a port of call. Because of this, and its centralized location, it became a shipping hub for southeastern Massachusetts. There were also cotton mills, manufacturers and farming concerns in the town. With time, however, many of these industries left, leaving the town as a rural suburban community with some small farms.