Fairhaven Chronology: 1800-1849

1800: Abner Pease begins building ships south of the new bridge.

The New Bedford Academy
1800, May 1: The New Bedford (later Fairhaven) Academy opens. This private school is located on the west side of Main Street, north of Bridge Street.

1807, August 2: The Methodist Episcopal Church of Fairhaven is organized and meets at Head-of-the-River.

1808: Fort Phoenix is reconstructed with granite walls under the supervision of Sylvanus Thayer, later known as the “Father of the Military Academy” at West Point.
     After learning the building trade from Abner Pease, Joshua Delano starts building ships on the waterfront of Fairhaven Village. His shipyard is north of Union wharf.

1809, November 23: The sloop Thetis en route from Fairhaven to Georgia is wrecked off Cape Hatteras and twenty-nine of the thirty-four men on board are lost.

1812, February 22: The town of Fairhaven, including Acushnet, is incorporated as a town separate from New Bedford and John Hawes esq. is instructed to moderate the first town meeting for the election of officers. The Act to establish Fairhaven is signed by Governor Elbridge Gerry.

1812, March 20:  The New Bedford Mercury reports the first officers of the newly established Town of Fairhaven are Joseph Tripp, Town Clerk, and Stephen Tripp, James Taber and Benjamin Tripp, Selectmen.

1814, June 13: In the early morning hours an attack on Fairhaven is attempted by landing boats launched from the British raider Nimrod. The militia gathers, alerted by the firing of the guns at Fort Phoenix. The British do not come ashore.

1815, September 23: In the morning, a hurricane strikes, raising the level of the tide more than ten feet above normal, destroying the Fairhaven-New Bedford Bridge, wiping out Samuel Borden’s bridge to Crow Island and damaging a great deal of property along the shore. Town Clerk Levi Jenney’s office is washed off Union Wharf and the first three years of Fairhaven’s town records are lost.

1820: Fairhaven's population is 2,733.

1824: The town buys property in North Fairhaven from Noah Spooner for use as a “Poor Farm.”

1824, February 29: Elizabeth Sprague Pitcher of Rochester married clockmaker Stephen Taber of Fairhaven. Her husband and three children will die before her. Elizabeth Taber will found Tabor Academy and make other benefactions to the town of Marion.

Oxford Village School
1828, March 17: A contract is signed by a committee from Oxford Village, for the construction of a stone schoolhouse in District No. 11. The building on North Street is the first of the district schools to be built in Fairhaven.

1828, June 30: The town pays Enoch Jenney $75 for about an acre of his property on Main Street in North Fairhaven for the creation of Woodside Cemetery. Jenney sells burial lots privately on a second acre immediately to the south.

1830: A Methodist Church is built on the west side of Main Street.

1831, April 19: The Fairhaven Bank (later the National Bank of Fairhaven) is incorporated. The following day, Ezekiel Sawin is elected as the bank president.

1831, November 26: The town votes to hold future Town Meetings at the Fairhaven Academy.

1832: The Centre Street School is built on the north side of Center Street between Walnut and Green streets on land purchased from William Rotch Jr. for $493.50. The building houses an “Infant” and a “Medium” school. About this time the South Primary School is built on the east side of Green Street between Church and Farmfield streets.

Washington St. Meetinghouse
1832, February 10: The Fairhaven Institution for Savings is incorporated.  Ezekiel Sawin is elected president of the bank.

1832, July: The Union Hotel at Main and Union streets is opened ny James Wing.

1832, December 15: Built with funds provided by Warren Delano I, Jabez Delano Jr. and Joseph Bates Jr., the Washington Street Christian Meetinghouse on the northwest corner of Washington and Walnut streets is dedicated. (This will later become a Unitarian Church.)

1833, May 6: The sloop Helen begins service as a ferry between Fairhaven and New Bedford.

1838: This year Fairhaven is ranked the second largest whaling port in America. Twenty-four vessels sailed from town during the course of the year.
Pease District School
     The Pease District School opens in a building on the east side of Middle Street near Bridge Street that was donated to the town by Abner Pease. Mr. Pease later left $5,000 in his will for the upkeep of the school.

1840: Fairhaven's population is 3,951.

1840, January 29: Henry Huttleston Rogers is born to Rowland and Mary E. (Huttleston) Rogers.

1840, October 14: Joseph Bates Jr. participates in the first “General Conference on the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ,” held in Boston.

1841: A faction that split from the First Congregation Church builds its own church at the northeast corner of Walnut and Center streets.

1841, January 3: Herman Melville sails from Fairhaven aboard the new whaleship Acushnet.

1841, March 15: At the invitation of Joseph Bates Jr., William Miller begins presenting a series of 15 lectures on the Second Coming of Christ at the Washington Street Christian Church. A number of worshippers break from the church and form a Second Advent Society.

1841, June 27: Five Japanese fishermen, including young Manjiro Nakahama, are rescued from an island in the Pacific Ocean by the whaleship John Howland, under the command of Capt. William H. Whitfield.

1843: A new Town House is built on the northeast corner of Main and Hawthorn streets for $2,300. It is the location of Town Meetings until it is burned in 1858.
     The North Primary School is built at Bridge and Jefferson streets.

1843, May 7: The whaleship John Howland returns to port with young Manjiro Nakahama. Staying with the family of Capt. William Whitfield, Manjiro becomes the first Japanese person to live in America. He later gains prominence upon his return to Japan.

First Congregational Church
1845: The South Medium School is built on the west side of Green Street.

1845, September 3: the new, brick First Congregational Church, built on the northwest corner of Center and William streets at a cost of $30,00o, is dedicated. The old church will be extensively remodeled and become the Phoenix building.

1846: Most likely while boarding at the home of Capt. John Bunker at 199 Main Street, Joseph Bates Jr. writes a 48-page pamphlet, “The Seventh-day Sabbath, A Perpetual Sign” outlining the founding principle of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. The tract is published in August by New Bedford printer Benjamin Lindsey.

1847: Because of population growth in Oxford Village, a second schoolhouse is built on Oxford Street between the Union Chapel and the firehouse. It is known as the “Oxford Street School.”

1849, May 1: A charter is granted to seven prominent citizens for the creation of the Fairhaven Branch Railroad.

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