Fairhaven - Encyclopedia

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FAIRHAVEN, a township in Bristol county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., on New Bedford Harbor, opposite New Bedford. Pop. (1890) 2919; (1900) 35 6 7 (599 being foreign-born); (1905, state census) 4235; (1gio) 5122. Area, about 13 sq. m. Fairhaven is served by the New York, New Haven & Hartford railway and by electric railway to Mattapoisett and Marion, and is connected with New Bedford by two bridges, by electric railway, and by the New York, New Haven & Hartford ferry line. The principal village is Fairhaven; others are Oxford, Naskatucket and Sconticut Neck. As a summer resort Fairhaven is widely known. Among the principal buildings are the following, presented to the township by Henry H. Rogers (1840-1909), a native of Fairhaven and a large stockholder and long vice-president of the Standard Oil Co.; the town hall, a memorial of Mrs Rogers, the Rogers public schools; the Millicent public library (17,500 vols. in 1908), a memorial to his daughter; and a fine granite memorial church (Unitarian) with parish house, a memorial to his mother; and there is also a public park, of 13 acres, the gift of Mr Rogers. From 1830 to 1857 the inhabitants of Fairhaven were chiefly engaged in whaling, and the fishing interests are still important. Among manufactures are tacks, nails, iron goods, loom-cranks, glass, yachts and boats, and shoes.

Fairhaven, originally a part of New Bedford, was incorporated as a separate township in 1812. On the 5th of September 1778 a fleet and armed force under Earl Grey, sent to punish New Bedford and what is now Fairhaven for their activity in privateering, burned the shipping and destroyed much of New Bedford. The troops then marched to the head of the Acushnet river, and down the east bank to Sconticut Neck, where they camped till the 7th of September, when they re-embarked, having meanwhile dismantled a small fort, built during the early days of the war, on the east side of the river at the entrance to the harbour. On the evening of the 8th of September a landing force from the fleet, which had begun to set fire to Fairhaven, was driven off by a body of about 150 minute-men commanded by Major Israel Fearing; and on the following day the fleet departed. The fort was at once rebuilt and was named Fort Fearing, but as early as 1784 it had become known as Fort Phoenix; it was one of the strongest defences on the New England coast during the war of 1812. The township of Acushnet was formed from the northern part of Fairhaven in 1860.

See James L. Gillingham and others, A Brief History of the Town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts (Fairhaven, 1903).

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