Timeline

Westport Historical Timeline

as Published in “A look at Westport Through Four Centuries” and “Westport Enters its Fifth Century”

17th Century 18th century 19th century 20th Century 21st Century

(Note: As the rest of this site evolves this timeline will serve as another menu device. That is, items in the timeline will link directly to text and images in other sections of the site. )

17th Century

1602
Batholomew Gosnold settles at Cuttyhunk, visits mainland including Westport.

1652
Plymouth settlers buy Acoaxet from Wampanoag Indians.

1671
Richard Sisson settles at the Head – the first family in Westport.

1674-1675
King Philip’s War; settlers driven out.

1676
Sisson home burned by Indians; many houses leveled.

1694
Wm. Southworth and Wm. Soale buy “meadow land” from Mamanuah.

18th Century

1700
Wm. Southworth and John Rogers buy Westport Harbor area (Stephen Neck) from Indians. First roads – Hix’s Bridge, lower Drift, Adamsville, Horseneck.

1709
Henry Howland makes stocks and whipping post.

1712
Mills built by Waite, Tripp, and Lawton.

1713
First survey of the town.

1716
First Meeting house in Central Village on land bought from George Cadman for three pounds.

1722-1724
Two selectmen imprisoned for one and a half years because town refuses to pay the tax for support of Orthodox minister. Money is raised to send two representatives to England to plead case before George I.

1724
Dartmouth receives right to appoint its own minister (King of England overrules Province of Massachusetts Bay).

1761
Quaker house of worship is erected in north part of town.

1765
Slave population is 21.

1774
Town meeting resolves that patriotic women will discontinue use of tea.

1775
Two companies of troops formed and go to Boston. “Union” is sloop at Point; Thomas Case, master.

1780
Old Dartmouth votes 1,057 pounds and 16 shillings, silver money, for purchase of beef for Continental Army.

1780
Capt. Paul Cuffe petitions legislature that all persons of color have equal privileges with other citizens including voting.
Paul and brother John Cuffe arrested for non-payment of taxes; in jail a few hours; released on a writ of habeas corpus.

1780-1781
Four young men, members of Westport Friends Meeting, refuse to be drafted as soldiers or pay taxes instead; they are fined 41 pounds.

1781
The militia of old Dartmouth is divided into 5 companies, on of which embraces the “train band” and “alarm list” of Westport.
Westport Militia Officers are Capt. Robert Earl, Lt. Sylvester Brownell, Ensign John Hix.
Voted about $200 to each soldier enlisting for three years.

1783
Massachusetts passes act which gives Negroes full legal rights and privileges.

1787
Town of Westport formed from part of Dartmouth.
First Town Meeting.

1788
Decide to build a Town House.
Prairie Schooners bound for Ohio pass through Northern part of town.
William Almy represents Westport at Constitutional Convention; he supports it.
Davis house at Acoaxet shot with cannon by British sea captain, angry because he could not find way into harbor to burn the Point.

1792
Voted that William Hicks, town treasurer, take the old Continental money and dispose of it to the best advantage of the town.

1795
William Rotch, Jr. purchases 20 acres at the Head, including grist mill, saw-mill, forge, utensils, toll house, store-house, blacksmith shop and dwelling for $3,000.

19th Century

1800
Town meeting votes that no neat cattle or horses shall be permitted to run at large on highways.

1806
First baptism by Elder Daniel Hix in Westport.

1808
Vote to petition the President of the United States to suspend “the Embargo” against British goods either wholly or partially.

1810
Paul Cuffe received a certificate from the Friends Meeting to visit Africa.

1812
Cuffe appeals to President Madison over seizure of one of his ships; he is received at the White House. Land is purchased for the Bell School.

1816
Cotton mill built at Westport Factory.

1818
Methodists hold services in homes at the Point.

1819
First Christian Church forms at Head, an outgrowth of the work of Elder Daniel Hix.

1822
Petition that Latin and Greek be taught in the Purchase High School not accepted.

1837
The cotton mill with 3,072 spindles consumes 300,000 pounds of cotton.

1838
Second Christian Church at South Westport.

1839
Third Christian Church at Central Village.

1841
Bell School erected.

1842
Fire destroys cluster of mills near Head.

1842-1843
Excitement over Millerites’ belief that the world will end April, 1843.

1843
Fourth Christian Church at Brownell’s Corners.

1854-1855
$2,000 voted for support of schools ($428.66 from State).

1855
William B. Trafford, Augustus Chase, Elijah A. Lewis purchase mill at Westport Factory, known as Westport Cotton Manufacturing Co.
Pacific Union Church at Head.

1857
Eighteen whaling vessels working out of the Point.

1858
First Christian Church of North Westport.

1860
Mr. Gould and Mr. Ely will continue to deliver letters leaving it up to each individual whether he wishes to pay 1 cent or 2 cents per letter.
Good cranberry lots for sale at Upper Horseneck; $5 to $20 an acre.

1861
Parts of Portsmouth, Tiverton, and Little Compton become part of Westport.
Allen Gifford sues Abraham Brownell for taking his pile of seaweed at Horseneck Beach; case to Supreme Court.
Scow arrives at the point – 60 ft. long, 20 ft. wide, 2 _ ft. deep, propelled by stern wheel. Designed for raking eel-grass.

1862
Vote to raise Enlistment Bounty from $175 to $250, in effort to secure Civil War volunteers.

1864
Forty boats went out and caught between 7,000 and 8,000 lbs. Of tautog.

1861-1865
In the Civil War – 267 soldiers and sailors from Westport.

1869
“Alexandria Hump”, popular dance in which very high heel is worn on one foot, flat on other.
Stage coaches run form New Bedford to Little Compton.
A party of a dozen, including Harriet Beecher Stowe and two daughters make an excursion to Westport and Gayhead.

1872
Free Chapel Association is formed in Acoaxet.

1873
Westport Sabbath School Association formed.1875
First passenger train between Fall River and New Bedford.

1878
First camp meeting at Cadman’s Neck.

1880
High School held at Head in winter, at Point in summer.

1884
New Westport Point Methodist Episcopal Church is dedicated.

1890
Loyal Temperance Legion organized at Brownell’s Corner Church.
Stables at Third Christian Church enlarged.

1892
1500 teams and 6,000 people at “Big Sunday” at Cadman’s Neck.
Dartmouth and Westport Street Railway opened for passenger service.

1893
Bridge built from Point to Horseneck.

1894
A portion of Fall River on North and South Watuppa Ponds become part of Westport.

1896
Voted $25 reward for catching every Hen Thief.

1898
Terrible flue epidemic.
Blizzard.
Seventy-five Westporters in Spanish-American War.

1899
Annual meeting of North Westport Church postponed due to severe storm.
Massachusetts – Rhode Island line relocated.

20th Century

1900
Calvary Bible Church built on Union Ave.1908
Measles epidemic.

1910
Cleaning up Horseneck Beach is health job for the year. Rid beach of pigs, decaying swill and manure heaps.

1912
So many cases of smallpox town must build a temporary isolation hospital.

1913
In Central Village, St. John the Baptist Church is built after meeting in homes, Westport Factory Chapel, Grange Hall and Town Hall.

1914
First police added to corps of Constables, Dept. of Protection of Persons and Property.

1917-1918
Westport supports World War with 185 men.

1923
St. George Church is built.

1924
Police Dept. organized with first chief.
First causeway to Gooseberry Neck built.

1925
Westport man held in $800 bail on liquor charge.

1927
Volunteer Fire Dept. organized; First House built in Central Village.

1931-1932
Franklin D. Roosevelt spends much time on Westport Horseneck Beach visiting advisor Louis Howe, for therapy after polio attack.

1938
Hurricane – rated among the costliest disasters in life and property in U.S. History. Worst hit area Horseneck Beach and Westport Harbor.
Hundreds of summer homes destroyed and 22 lives lost.

1941-1942
Gooseberry Military Installation put in under emergency measures following attack on Pearl Harbor. Land taken by eminent domain; causeway enlarged.

1941-1945
Westport sends 598 men and women to World War II.

1944
Hurricane; Waite-Potter house, oldest in S.E. Mass. Damaged.

1945
Town meeting votes to pass over an article on zoning.

1948
Well Church Clinic organized by interested citizens and Board of Health.

1952
Town By-Law – that Board of Health must issue a building permit to that one citizen’s sewage may not pollute the drinking water of another.

1954
Our Lady of Grace Church founded.
Hurricane, Carol.

1955
Salk Vaccine Clinic held.

1956
State takes over Horseneck Beach.

1957
Permanent closing of town infirmary.
Route 88 started.

1958
New Bridge at Point built, part of Route 88. Old bridge demolished.

1964
Route 195 is built.

1967
Westport united Congregational Church established by merge of North Westport and Brownell’s Corner Churches.

1972
Powder House dedicated at the Head; it was built after War of 1812 and used up to and during the Civil War.

1973
Cornerstone of the new Calvary Bible Church laid.

1974
New zoning regulations go into effect.

1950-1974
Korea and Vietnam summon 510 Westporters.

1976
Westport celebrates the Bicentennial of the United States.