Fairhaven Chronology: The 1700s

1713/14, March 25: John Jenney deeds land to “the people of God called Presbyterians” for a burial ground next to the meetinghouse at the village of Acushnet.

1720, December 18: Lt. Jonathan Delano dies in his seventy-third year. He is buried at Acushnet Cemetery. His descendants include Ulysses S. Grant, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and astronaut Alan Shepard Jr.

1724: A road is laid out from Susannah Hathaway’s orchard to the vicinity of Lt. Seth Pope’s house. It will be known as the Back Road and Head-of-the-River Road before getting the name Alden Road.

1727, March 17: Lt. Seth Pope dies at the age of 79. He had been one of the most prominent land owners in Dartmouth and was elected selectman eight times between 1685 and 1705. He is buried at Acushnet Cemetery.

1728, February 25: A road is laid out from Susannah Hathaway’s orchard southward along what is now northern Main Street and Adams Street to about Spring Street.

1730, March 26: Stephen West deeds the south half of West Island to his son Stephen Jr.

1730, November 11: Capt. Thomas Taber dies. Taber had been a son-in-law of John Cooke, a prominent land owner, a militia captain, and a selectman. Shortly after the King Philip War he built a “stone ender” house, of which part of the huge fireplace still stands alongside the house at 191 Main Street.

1731/32, March 7: Stephen West deeds the north half of West Island to his son John.

1740: William Wood, a glazier originally from Little Compton, buys the south half of Capt. Thomas Taber’s homestead from Taber’s son Philip. About two year later his house, now numbered 191 Main Street would be built.

1760, October 20: Elnathan Pope sells twenty waterfront acres of his farm to Noah Allen and thirteen other investors. Divided into 40 lots, the “Twenty-Acre Purchase” develops into Fair-Haven Village.

1760, December 12: William Wood sells Elnathan Eldredge 6 acres of land on the Acushnet River west of present-day Cherry Street for £96.6.8. This “little town at ye foot of William Wood’s homestead,” with its thirty lots, becomes the nucleus of Oxford Village. The deed for this sale contains the first known reference to "ye Burial Place" at Oxford, located east of Cherry Street.

1765, May 30: Elnathan Pope sells whaling merchant Joseph Rotch about 86 acres of farmland directly east of Fair-Haven Village. The Rotch family will keep this land off the market for about 65 years.

1771: Caleb Church dies of smallpox and becomes the first person interred at the burial ground that will later be known as the “Railroad Cemetery,” Willow Park and Leonard E. Pierce Memorial Park. The cemetery develops from both Church family land and land owned by William Rotch.

1773, May 14: William Wood writes his will, again mentioning "the little Hummock or Island in the Meadow at the foot of my homestead commonly called the burying hill." He notes that buried there were "some persons that were persons of good account in their day."

1775, April 21: Two days after the “Lexington Alarm,” three companies of Dartmouth militia march to Roxbury to join forces from throughout New England who are gathering outside Boston.

1775, May 13-14: Under the command of Nathaniel Pope and Daniel Egery, a group of 25 Fairhaven minutemen aboard the sloop Success capture two British vessels in Buzzards Bay. This is the first naval battle of the American Revolution.

1775, June: Construction begins on a fort at Nolscott Point under the supervision of brothers-in-law Eleazer Hathaway and Benjamin Dillingham.

1778, September 5-6: The British land about 4,000 troops on the west side of the harbor. They burn ships and warehouses in Bedford Village, skirmish at the Head-of-the-River bridge, and march through Fairhaven to Sconticut Neck, burning several homes along the way. The fort is abandoned and it is destroyed by the enemy troops. An attack on Fair-Haven Village is repelled by militia under the command of Major Israel Fearing who had marched from Wareham with additional militiamen.

1787, February 23: The town of New Bedford, including Fairhaven and Acushnet, is incorporated.

1790, June 7: The proprietors of a Congregational meeting house purchase a lot on the northeast corner of Main and Center streets from Benjamin and Joseph Church for the construction of a church. The Second Church of Christ, later known as the First Congregational Church, is built in 1794.

1793: Joseph and Deborah (Nye) Bates move from Rochester to the house now numbered 191 Main Street, which they purchased from the family of William Wood who had built the house in 1742. The Bates' son Joseph Jr. would one day become one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

1795, May 6: The town votes to lay out a road to connect Fairhaven Village to Oxford. A bridge is built across the Herring River and Main Street is extended northward.
1796 Building of the first Fairhaven-New Bedford Bridge is begun. In Fairhaven, the bridge connects from Popes Island to Bridge Street.

© COPYRIGHT 2003, 2011, 2017 by Christopher J. Richard. All rights reserved.