OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE
DESCRIPTIVE AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF
PREPARED AND PUBLISHED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF
FALL RIVER NEWS
WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF
HON. ALANSON BORDEN
OF NEW BEDFORD
THE BOSTON HISTORY COMPANY, PUBLISHERS
Retyped for the web by Stephanie Anderson
Westport. - This was the fourteenth town formed in Bristol county. It was formerly a part of
old Dartmouth and was set off and incorporated July 2, 1878. On February 25, 1793, a small tract of Dartmouth was
annexed; a second tract was annexed on February 28, 1795, and a third on March 4, 1805. The change made in 1862
in the boundary between the States of Massachusetts and Rhode Island added certain lands to this town. The boundary
between Fall River and Westport was finally fixed June 14, 1894. West port is the southeast corner town in the
county and is bounded on the north by Fall River, on the east by dartmouth, on the south by Buzzard's Bay, and
on the west by Little Compton and Tiverton, R. I. The town contains a population of 2,678 by the census of 1895,
and 511 registered voters by the census of 1897. It forms a part of the Thirteenth Congressional District, and
with the First and Second wards of Fall River forms the Ninth Representative District, with 5,402 legal voters,
entitling the district to two representatives.
In earlier years Westport had a considerable whaling industry, its fleet comprising eight vessels, which sailed
from Westport Point about the year 1849. The town now has five post-offices, namely Head of-Westport, Westport
Point, North Westport, South Westport, and Central Village. Westport Point is a hamlet at the extreme end of the
point of land extending south between the east and west branches of Westport River. It has a population of 172,
and contains a Methodist church, a school, two stores, and the Hotel Westport, built in 1888, and has always had
an important fishing industry. This is an important summer resort and many cottages have been built.
Central Village, as its name would indicate, is situated in the central part of the town and has a population of
91. It contains the town hall, one store, Christian church, and a Frieds' meeting-house.
Westport Factory (Westport P. O.) is a considerable hamlet on the line between this town and Dartmouth, and on
the electric railroad between Fall River and New Bedford; its population is 1,922. It takes its name from the fact
that there has been a cotton factory there many years, which is now used for the extensive manufacture of carpet
warp, wrapping twine, bats and lamp wicking. The business, as now conducted, was established in 1854 by William
B. Trafford, E. R. Lewis and G. W. Lewis. It is now conducted by G. W. Lewis, William C. Trafford, Andrew K. Trafford
and the estate of William B. Trafford and the estate of E. R. Lewis, who died in July, 1897. A second mill, manufacturing
the same product, is situated a little farther down the stream, which was started by the same firm in 1872. About
two hundred hands are employed in both. The company also conducts the only store in the place. There is a union
grammar school here for this town and Dartmouth, with two departments; one church of the Christian denomination.
At the head of the Westport River is a hamlet, the post-office bearing the name, Head of-Westport, where there
are a number of dwellings, three school houses, two blacksmiths shops, two general stores and a Congregational
church. There is a grist mill at the head of the river.
South Westport is a small settlement and post-office in the southwest part of the town; its business interests
have never been important. North Westport is a small settlement in the extreme north end of the town, with population
of 392. It contains two stores, a church and a few shops.
There was formerly a post-office at Westport Harbor, a settlement at the mouth of the harbor in the southwest part.
As thus indicated, Westport is largely an agricultural district in which mixed farming and a little dairying is
carried on. Many acres are overgrown with trees and brush and a few farms have been abandoned. Some of these have
in recent years been taken up by Portuguese settlers. A public library is maintained at the Head-of-Westport and
one at Central Village.