Fairhaven, Ma












Retyped for the web by Stephanie Anderson

Fairhaven. - This was the seventeenth town organized in Briston county. It was set off from New Bedford on February 22, 1812, and then included the territory of the present town of Acushnet, which was organized February 13, 1860. Fairhaven is bounded on the north by Acushnet, on the east by Plymouth county, on the south by Buzzard's Bay and on the west by Acushnet River. In June, 1815, small part of Freetown was annexed, and on April 8, 1836, a small part of Rochester was annexed, and on April 9, 1836, a small part of Rochester was annexed. The population in 1895 was 3,338. The only post-office is Fairhaven in the village of that name, which is situated in the southwestern part of the town, directly opposite the city of New Bedford. The number of legal voters in 1895 was 893, and the number of registered voters in 1897 was 684. Fairhaven, Freetown, Acushnet, and Dartmouth constitutes the Sixth Representative District of Bristol county, with 2,409 legal voters, entitling the district to one representative. Fairhaven contains the First Congregational Church, organized in 1794; the Washington Street Christian (Unitarian), November 30, 1820; a Methodist Episcopal Church, December, 1819; the Friends' meeting house, built in 1849; a Second Advent Society, formed in 1841; and an Episcopal chapel, which has been recently formed as a branch of Grace Church in New Bedford.

What is now the National Bank of Fairhaven was incorporated as the Fairhaven Bank in June, 1831, with the following officers: E. Sawin, president; D. M. B. Thaxter, cashier; E. Sawin, F. R. Whitwell, Asa Swift, Nathan Church, Lemuel Tripp, Abner Pease, William P. Jenney, Wilson Barstow, and Timothy J. dyer, directors. The capital was then $100,000 and is now $120,000. In 1864 the bank was reorganized as a National bank. The Fairhaven Institution for Savings was organized in 1832 with the following incorporators: Ezekiel Sawin, Asa Swift, jr., Nathan Church, Lemuel Tripp, Phineas Terry, Duncan M. B. Thaxter, I. F. Terry, George Hitch, Sylvanus Allen, Philemon Fuller, Jr., James Tripp, Joshua Hitch, James Tripp 2d., Joseph Bates, James Neil, Hiram H. Stackpole, W. Barstow, f. R. Whitwell, Noah Stoddard, Jabez Delano, jr., Joseph Tripp, Levi Jenney, A. P. Wilcox, Z. M. Allen, Enoch S. Jenney, James Wing, Philip Nye, Ansel Allen, Ansel Gibbs, William P. Jenney, William L. B. Gibbs, rowland Rogers, Lebbeus Bailey, Bartholomew Taber, John Howland, Abner Pease, Elihu Wood, jr., O. S. Irish, Arthur Cox, Rowland Gibbs, Franklin Bates, Joseph Whelden and Sampson Perkins.

The land on which the beautiful Riverside Cemetery was established, a tract of about fourteen acres, was originally a part of the Jonathan Nye farm, and was purchased in the winter of 1846-7 by Warren Delano, jr., and in the following spring work was begun on the ground to fit it for a burial place, under Mr. Delano's direction. Improvement continued until the summer of 1850 when, on the 7th of July, the cemetery was dedicated. Since that time the grounds have been greatly beautified in various ways.

The Fairhaven Improvement Association had its inception at a meeting held December 4, 1882, at which the project was discussed. A public meeting was called for January 25, 1883, when a large number joined, and on the 29th of that month a constitution and by-laws were adopted. The association was incorporated in 1885. it has been productive of great benefit to the community through the planting of large numbers of trees, the establishment of public bath houses, the founding of a bureau of information, establishment of a drinking fountain, etc.

The last report of the School Committee of this town makes the assertion that the schools are not surpassed by the schools of any other town in this Commonwealth. The schools now include the Rogers School, the High School, the Oxford School, and one each at Naskatucket and New Boston. These employ seventeen teachers, eight of whom are in the Rogers School. Under a recent statute the towns of Fairhaven, Acushnet and Mattapoisett form a district, with Edward B. Gray, district superintendent. The Rogers, the Oxford and the High School buildings are creditable to the town. The school enrollment is very large in proportion to the number of inhabitants.

Fairhaven has been blest to an extraordinary degree by the residence within its limits of Henry H. Rogers. The Rogers School, above mentioned, was presented to the town by him in 1885, the gift representing a building which cost, probably, $100,000 or more. The beautiful and costly Millicent Library building was founded and given to the town by Mrs. William E. Benjamin, Mrs. Bradford F. Duff, Mary H. Rogers and H. H. Rogers, jr., children of H. H. and Abbie P. Rogers. The site was acquired in the fall of 1890 and the corner stone of the building was laid September 21, 1891. The structure was dedicated January 30, 1893. This splendid gift is a memorial to a daughter of Mr. Rogers and bears her name. Moreover, the present beautiful town hall, which has a valuation of about $150,000, was a gift to the town from Mr. Rogers, through his wife, Abbie P. Rogers, whose death took place three months prior to the public presentation on February 22, 1894. This stone structure is a fine specimen of architectural work and admirably adapted to its purposes.

With the decline of the whaling industry Fairhaven lost much of its industrial importance. Those remaining may be briefly noticed. The Boston and Fairhaven Iron Works was incorporated in 1863 and was succeeded in 1879 by the Fairhaven Iron Works. This corporation was followed by the preset Fairhaven Foundry Company, which built its present plant in 1894. About thirty hands are employed in general foundry work. The American Tack Company was incorporated in 1867, occupying a building on Fort street, erected for the manufacture of sperm candles. The business was prosperous and a number of other large structures were afterwards erected. The works were merged in the Atlas Tack Company, a syndicate formed in 1891. The firm of Thatcher Brothers, glass manufacturers and cut glass makers, is the successor of George T. Thatcher, who founded the business about 1890. the firm employs sixty-five hands and the beautiful ware produced has an extended reputation.

The Fairhaven Star is a Republican newspaper that is a credit to its publisher, Charles D. Waldron. He founded the paper in 1891, as a small advertising medium. It met with a warm welcome and was three times enlarged within the first year.

One of the most important pieces of public work ever undertaken in Bristol county is now in progress in the construction of the splendid stone and steel bridge between New Bedford and Fairhaven. The act authorizing this work was passed in August, 1893, permitting the expenditure of $350,000. In 1895 this sum was increased to $450,000, and in 1898 another increase brought the gross sum authorized up to $800,000. The first contract for construction was let to Stewart & McDermott, of New York, in August, 1896; other contracts have since been let to various firms. The bridge has a draw of 290 feet width, over the middle of the river, instead of in the old channel covered by the draw. The entire deck of the bridge is covered with asphalt; double car tracts, two 8-foot sidewalks and two 25-foot driveways extend through the bridge. This bridge is a long-needed and valuable improvement, and reflects credit upon all who have been instrumental in securing it.

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