A Brief History

In 1620, the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth. The ranks of the pilgrims were augmented by colonists landing from the "Fortune" in 1620, and the "Ann" in 1623, and several other ships of later date. In the meantime patents had been granted by the king for various colonies, called the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the land called New England became widely settled. These were the hard and stern times and stringent laws were made by the Plymouth colony as to the worship of God and the general conduct of the colonists. Gradually a certain group rebellion against the orthodox religion of the colony sought to break away from Plymouth, and swelled by the ranks of the members of the Society of Friends, commonly called the Quakers, settled in the present town of Dartmouth.

Dartmouth was settled about November, 1652, but the purchase had evidently been made some six months before because on March 7, 1652, a meeting was held at Plymouth of the proprietors, thirty-four in number, each share comprising about 3,200 acres. This deed is signed by Wamsutta, and for the colonists by John Winslow and John Cooke. The deed in part reads as follows:

"Massasoit and Wamsutta sold to William Bradford, Captain Myles Standish, Thomas Southworth, John Winslow, John Cooke, and their associates, for thirty yards of cloth, eight moose skins, fifteen axes, fifteen hoes, fifteen pairs of breeches, eight blankets, two kettles, one clock, two English Pounds in Wampum, eight pair of shoes, one iron pot, and ten shillings, that land called Dartmouth"

The first settlements were in Russells Mills, Slocum Neck, and Smith Neck, called Nomquid by the Indians. Shortly after, however, the colonists ranged from the mother settlement and established in Smith Mills, Fairhaven and lastly New Bedford.

On March 20, 1661, John Russell purchased from Myles Standish his full share of Dartmouth. Standish seems to have made a reasonable profit on his holdings, as his share in the original purchase was about $5 to $10, which after holding for nine years, he sold for about $210. This share comprised what is now called Padanaram, that is from Bush Street northerly to Russell's Mills Road, and taking in Bliss Corner and vicinity. In all it comprised about 3,200 acres.

In 1664, King Philip, Sagamore of Pokannockett, often called Metacomet, who was the son of Massasoit, definitely fixed the bounds of the township and the charter reads as follows:

"Dartmouth made a towne"

At the General Court of Election holden at Plymouth eighth of June, 1664.

"At this court, all that tracte of land commonly called and knowne by the name Acushena, Ponagansett, Coaksett is allowed by the court to bee a townshipe, and the inhabitants thereof haue libertie to make such orders as may conduce to theire common goode in towne concernments and that the said towne bee henceforth called knowne by the name of Dartmouth."