Dartmouth Massachusetts, 1890


Dartmouth
is a large farming, fishing and manufacturing town in the southern part of Bristol County, bordering on the other section of Buzzard's Bay [sic]. It is bounded on the north by Fall River and Freetown, on the east by New Bedford, on the west by Westport, and south by Buzzard's Bay. The shore line is quite irregular, being broken by Apponaganset Bay, Pamanset River Bay, and others, and projecting far into the sea at Mishaum and Barney's Joy points. The assessed area is 34,848 acres.

The Old Colony Railroad station at New Bedford is near and just opposite the middle of the town, and the Fall River and New Bedford Branch has stations at Hicksville and North Dartmouth. The villages are on Apponaganset Bay at the southeast, on the Pamanset River near the eastern line, in the north part of the town on the main branch of the Westport River, and at Westport Mills, on the same river, where it leaves the town on the western side. The villages by their latest names are Apponegansett, Nonquitt, North also South Dartmouth (Padanaram) [sic], Hixville, Bakerville, Russell's Mills, Smith's Mills, and Westport Factory village. The first four are post-offices.

Two broad hills or elevated sections are found in line north of the middle, and two ranges of small hills in the southwestern part of the town. The land elsewhere is generally undulating, and the soil very good. The geological formation is felspathic gneiss. More than 13,500 acres are woodland. The farms number 382. In 1885 the aggregate product of the farms was $362,407. Fish is used to a large extent as a fertilizer on the farms.

Many of the inhabitants are mariners, and more are engaged in the shore fisheries. The fishing craft belonging in the town are one schooner, one sloop, three sail-boats, six dories, and eleven seine boats. The product of the fisheries of all kinds in 1885 was $17,794. About $400 of this was from shellfish, and $1,960 from whales.

The manufactures consist of oils, small cotton goods, paper, carriages and wagons, building stone, lumber in numerous forms, iron and other metallic goods, fertilizers, salt and food preparations of fish and of grain, etc.; the aggregate product for the last census year having the value of $696,531. The valuation of the town for 1888 was $1,822,000, and the tax-rate $12 on $1,000. The inhabitants numbered 8,448, and were sheltered in 836 dwelling-houses. The number of voters was 969.

The town has a complete system of graded schools, provided for in 18 school-houses, -- these having a value of upwards of $30,000. There are seven Sunday-school libraries, and these, with the fine new "Southworth Library," at South Dartmouth, provide well for the literary appetite. The churches are one Congregationalist, one Roman Catholic, four of the "Christian Connection," and four of Friends.

The Indian names applied to various parts of this town were Apponaganset, Achushena, and Coakset. They had a fort on the bank of Apponaganset River; and several of their burial places are still known. Dartmouth was named for a seaport in Devonshire, England, and was incorporated June 8, 1664. It then embraced the territory of the present towns of Westport and Fairhaven, together with the city of New Bedford. The place suffered severely from the incursions of the Indians during King Philip's War; many people being killed and the settlements laid in ruins. About 160 Indians surrendered to the commander of Russell's garrison at Apponaganset, and were sold and transported, contrary to the promise at their surrender. The remains of this fort are still visible.

Henry C. Crapo, governor of Michigan from 1865 to 1869, was born in this town May 24, 1804. He died in Flint, Mich., July 23, 1869.

pp. 263-264 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer