Fairhaven Massachusetts, 1890

Fairhaven lies on the eastern side of Acushnet River and of New Bedford Harbor, forming the southeast corner of Bristol County, 60 miles south of Boston by the Fairhaven Branch of the Old Colony Railroad. It is bounded on the north by Acushnet, east by Mattapoisett, south by Buzzard's Bay and New Bedford Harbor and west by New Bedford.

The assessed area is 6,985 acres, including 1,685 acres of wood-land. The streets, also, are well shaded elms. The land slopes gently to the south; and a narrow peninsula called " Sconticut Neck," with its little village, juts far out into Buzzard's Bay; on its eastern side lie West's and several smaller islands. The town has a fine harbor, an expansion to the northeastward of New Bedford Harbor. Upon its shore is the principal village, where the railroad terminates, and where is the post-office of Fairhaven. North of this, the harbor is divided by islands, and here a convenient bridge nearly a mile in length connects the town with the city of New Bedford. Near, on the north of the bridge, on the shore of the Acushnet, is the village of Oxford. Two others, in the eastern part of the town, are named Naskatucket and New Boston.

The soil is loamy and fairly fertile. The farms number 102, producing perhaps a larger revenue from the poultry yard ($14,459) and the vegetable garden ($17,181) than is usual. The aggregate farm product for the census year of 1885 was $117,414 The place was formerly largely engaged in the whale fishery, but the pursuit has greatly declined; the entire fisheries product in the last census year having been only $24,914; and cod, alewives and mackerel made up more than half of this sum. The manufactures, however, have flourished; and the American Tack Works, with its solid stone factory, and the Fairhaven Iron Foundry, in a substantial structure of brick, still lead the industries of the place. There are also four ship-yards, a cordage factory, picture-frame, clothing, and boot and shoe factories; a printing establishment, and a lively weekly newspaper, —the "Fairhaven Star." The aggregate product of the manufactures in 1885 was valued at $241,730. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $1,509,532, with a tax of $14.27 on $1,000. The National Bank, Fairhaven, has a capital stock of $120,000; and the Fairhaven Institution for Savings, at the close of last year, held deposits to the amount of $422,685. The population was 2,880, of which 833 were voters; and the dwelling-houses numbered 653.

The public schools include all the grades, and are supplied with six good buildings, one of which, the "Rogers Grammar School" building, cost about $100,000; it was a gift to the town from H. H. Rogers, of New York city, a native of Fairhaven. There are houses of worship of the Congregationalists, Methodists, Unitarians, Adventists and Friends. The first church here was organized July 23, 1794. The town sent its full quota of soldiers into the war for the Union, and has honored those who fell with a suitable monument.

The Riverside Cemetery, a beautiful resting-place for the remains of the departed, was consecrated in 1850.

Attracted by the beauty of the place, settlements were made in this town as early as 1764; and ten years later it had come to he an important village.

On the night of the 7th of September, 1778, the British troops made a demonstration on this place, with the design of reducing it to ashes, but were repulsed and driven away by the militia under Major Israel Fearing. Major Fearing, to whose valor the village owed its deliverance from sack and ruin, afterwards became brigadier-general of the militia of Plymouth County, and mustered his entire brigade at Halifax in 1803.

On February 22, 1812, the place was separated from New Bedford and incorporated as a town; its name being suggested by its beautiful bay.

Hon. John A. Hawes, United States senator, was a citizen of Fairhaven.

Pp. 297-298 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890