Fairhaven Chronology: The 1600s

1652, November 29: Thirty-six Plymouth colonists buy the territory that makes up present-day Fairhaven, Acushnet, New Bedford, Dartmouth, Westport and parts of Tiverton, RI, from Wampanoag chief Massasoit and his son Wamsutta. The property is paid for with ‎"thirty yards of cloth, eight moose skins, fifteen axes, fifteen hoes, fifteen pair of breeches, eight blankets, two kettles, one cloak, £22 in wampan [wampum], eight pair of stockings, eight pair of shoes, one iron pot, and ten shillings in another commodite." The tract is divided into thirty-four shares. Each share equals more than 3,300 acres. One of the purchasers is John Cooke, who came to America with his father Francis aboard the Mayflower in 1620. For several years the territory, known as “Cushena,” remains unsettled. 

1660: Three men pay taxes in “Cushena”--Arthur Hathaway, James Shaw and (probably) Samuel Cuthbert. Arthur Hathaway, a son-in-law of John Cooke, settles on the east side of the Acushnet River in present-day Acushnet. 

1661: Arthur Hathaway buys one-half share of land from Samuel Cuthbert. Massasoit dies. Wamsutta becomes sachem.

1662: Taxes are paid by Arthur Hathaway, James Shaw, Samuel Cuthbert, William Spooner, Samuel Jenney, John Russell and (probably) Ralph Earle. Samuel Jenney is appointed constable of “Acushena.” It is probably in this year that John Cooke, his wife Sarah and three unmarried daughters move here from Plymouth. Wamsutta dies. His brother Philip becomes sachem.

1663: It is likely that by this year Lt. Jonathan Delano, son of Philippe De La Noye, has settled in the Nasketucket area, where he built a mill on the Nasketucket River. He is a cousin of John Cooke, Cooke’s mother and Delano’s grandmother being sisters.

1664, June 8: The territory is incorporated as the township of Dartmouth.

1666: William Palmer is appointed constable. He is said to have lived in the vicinity where Fort Phoenix was later built. John Cooke is appointed Representative to Plymouth Court, a position held by either Cooke or John Russell during the town’s first twenty years.

1667: Arthur Hathaway, John Russell and Samuel Hickes are selectmen. Hester Cooke, daughter of John and Sarah Cooke, marries Thomas Taber.

1670: John Cooke is elected selectman and will serve in this office nine times between now and 1683, with consecutive terms broken only by the destruction of the town during the King Philip War.

1672: By this year, Thomas Pope and his wife Sarah (Jenney) have moved here, settling near Sconticut Neck. John Cooke is given Ram [Pope’s] Island by the town in return for services.

1673: Jacob Mitchell, son-in-law of Thomas Pope, is appointed as constable and is named an ensign-bearer of the militia.

1675, June 20: The King Philip War begins when hostile natives controlled by Wampanoag sachem Philip attack and kill settlers in Swansea. In July, Dartmouth is attacked and all thirty homes within the township are destroyed. William Palmer, Jacob and Susannah Mitchell and John Pope are killed. The town is abandoned for about three years. Lt. Jonathan Delano serves under Benjamin Church during the war.

1678, June 20: Dartmouth holds its first Town Meeting since the beginning of the King Philip War. 

1678: About this time, Thomas Taber builds a house, about 16 feet by 20 feet, with the south end made up of a huge fieldstone fireplace and chimney. The location is to the east of present-day Main Street, north of Massasoit Avenue. The chimney will stand until the late 1800s and part of the fireplace remains to the present day.

1685: Plymouth Colony is divided into three counties. Dartmouth is part of Bristol County. 

1695, November 23: John Cooke, the last surviving male passenger of the Mayflower dies at the age of 88. Cooke’s grandson, Thomas Taber Jr., inherits Ram [Pope’s] Island. Cooke’s homestead, near the modern intersection of Adams Street and Howland Road, is inherited by his daughter Mercy and her husband Stephen West. 

© COPYRIGHT 2003, 2011 by Christopher J. Richard. All rights reserved.