United States Army engineer in charge of the construction of the fort
upon Clark's Point, were secured to assist the city engineer. George A.
Briggs, and William F. Durfee, in making the first surveys and measure-
ments. The first report of the committee, made December 21, 1861,
clearly set forth the practicability of the plan to give the city a good
water system, and recommended the Acushnet river as the source of
supply. Public sentiment approved the plan, and an act for supplying
the city of New Bedford with pure water was passed by the General
Court on April 18, 1863. The act provided for the issue of water bonds
to the amount of $500,000, and conferred all needed authority for the
prosecution of the work. The act was accepted by the city at an election
held April 14, 1864, seven hundred and eighty-two votes being cast for,
and five hundred and ninety-four against. The first board of water com-
missioners organized December 13, 1865, with William W. Crapo, chair-
man ; Warren Ladd, David Kempton, and James B. Congdon, clerk. A
dam was built across the valley of the .A.cushnet, seven miles north of
204 NEW BEDFORD
the city : miles and miles of pipe were laid ; and during the closing weeks
of 1869 the great undertaking was finished. The first superintendent of
the water works was George A. Briggs, who served until 1871.
The decline of the whaling industry, begun by the ravages of the
Civil War and completed by the discovery of petroleum, belongs in part
to this period, as does the quick recovery from the stunning blow, and
the fight for life and prosperity as a manufacturing city. New Bedford
in this transition from an industry which was her very life, and upon
which her wealth was founded and bound up, gave evidence of the great-
ness of her merchants, her business men and her manufacturers. First
in the whaling industry which betrayed her, a substitute was found in
cotton manufacturing, and the city grew to as proud a position among
manufacturing cities. Mills began operation in various parts of the city,
and each year saw an increase in their number. In 1870 the Wamsutta
corporation installed in a newly-finished mill a Corliss engine, which was
then the largest stationary engine in the world.
In March, 1868, Charles Dickens visited the city and gave a' public
reading from "Pickwick Papers." The New Bedford Choral Association
was organized in April, 1869, and began rehearsals for their part in the
great Peace Jubilee held in Boston the following June. On September
8, 1868, a destructive southeast gale swept over the city which did a
great deal of damage on the river and again destroyed the New Bedford
and Fairhaven bridge. Although the damage was very great, there was
some compensation in the fact that a result was the acquisition by the
city of the franchise of the bridge corporation, at a cost of $20,970.31. A
new bridge was erected, the entire cost being about $45,000, which in
June, 1870, was completed and thrown open to the public, free of toll
In 1872 a public meeting was held to aid the Chicago fire sufferers,
and within two weeks $20,000 in money and clothing had been sent to
the stricken city.
Street railways, operated by horse-power, were inaugurated in 1872,
and in 1873 the New Bedford & Taunton railroad passed under the con-
trol of the Boston, Clinton & Fitchburg Railroad Company.
On August 31, 1874. President Grant visited New Bedford, coming
up the bay from Nantucket on the steamer "Monohansett," Captain
Charles H. Smith. He was given a most hearty reception, immense
crowds lining the streets through which the Presidential party passed,
escorted by the Bedford City Guards and the Schouler Guards. At the
City Hall, after an address of welcome by Mayor George B. Richmond,
briefly responded to by General Grant, a reception was held, hundreds
of citizens were introduced, and the greatest good feeling and enthusiasm
were displayed. A dinner was served the distinguished guests at the
NEW BEDFORD 205
On December 31, 1874, King Kalakua, King of the Hawaiian Islands,
visited New Bedford, accompanied by his retinue. His welcome by the
city authorities and citizens was most cordial, and the greatest courtesy
shown him. The royal party were entertained at the Parker House,
were shown the wonderful manufacturing establishments of the city, and
were entertained at a noon reception at Mayor Richmond's home, where
about one hundred shipmasters met the King, after which, under mili-
tary escort, the party proceeded to the City Hall, where a public recep-
tion and banquet were given.
Several changes in the city charter were made in 1875, changes made
necessary by the constantly increasing importance of New Bedford as a
manufacturing city. The Citizens' National Bank was incorporated in
1875; the Fall River railroad was opened to travel on December 15 of
the same year; and in the spring of 1876 the New Bedford railroad ex-
tended its tracks to the steamboat wharf to connect with the steamship
line to New York, which had been established in June, 1874, with the
new steamers, "City of New Bedford" and "City of Fitchburg."
The Fourth of July, 1876, the centennial year of American Independ-
ence, was observed with unusual ceremonies. Congress on March 13
passed a resolution recommending "the people of the several States to
assemble in their counties and towns on the approaching centennial anni-
versary of our national independence, and that they cause to have de-
livered on that day an historic sketch of said county or town from the
date of formation, and that copies of said sketch be filed in the clerk's
ofifice of said county, and in the office of the librarian of Congress." In
accordance with this resolution the city council appointed a committee
of arrangements and made an appropriation of $4,000. The main feature
of the day was a procession in three divisions, including the military and
firemen of the city. Grand Army posts, disabled veterans in carriage,
city officials. United States officers, and invited guests. At Liberty Hall
an historical address was delivered by William W. Crapo, and which cov-
ered the entire period from the first settlement of the town of Dartmouth
in 1664. The eloquent peroration may well be repeated here, as its noble
sentiments are particularly pertinent in this day of armed conflict in the
cause of democracy against autocracy : "The memory of the heroism
and the patriotic devotion of those who struggled for our independence,
and of those who gallantly contended for the preservation of the National
Union, stirs our blood and arouses our emulation. We remember the
brave men who would not be trampled on by tyranny, and the loyal men
who suffered to perpetuate free institutions. We cannot forget the rec-
ord, and we ought not to forget it. It inspires us with faithfulness and
determination to meet the needs and requirements of the coming age ; it
stimulates us to labor strenuously for the highest welfare of our coun-
try, believing that America holds in trust the destinies of the world. We
2o6 NEW BEDFORD
are descended from a noble ancestry. We are proud of their achieve-
ments, and their history incites us to effort. Our birthright, this inherit-
ance of the principles and sentiments which have made the Republic
great imposes upon us grave responsibilities."
In October, 1876, the whaling industry again received a crushing
blow in the loss of twelve ships in the Arctic ocean.
The years 1876 and 1877 were particularly notable in city growth
and business development. Many new streets were opened, and the city
was prosperous, although a period of general financial depression pre-
vailed all over the country.
The gale of October 12, 1878, was the severest since 1869 and caused
much damage. The bark "Sarah" sailed that morning on a whaling
voyage, and when about forty miles off Block Island foundered and was
In January, 1879, the railroad passed under the control of the Old
Colony corporation, and in 1880 the Pairpont Manufacturing Company
joined the Morse Twist Drill and Machine Company, the Wamsutta
Mills, Potemska Mills, New Bedford Copper Company, and other manu-
facturing plants, in creating a newer and better New Bedford than had
existed under its one industry of whaling and its allied branches. In
1881 came the telephone, introduced by the Southern Massachusetts
Telephone Company ; and in July of the same year the New Bedford
Cooperative Bank was added to the city's financial institutions.
In 1882 the Acushnet Mills corporation, the Grinnell Manufacturing
Company and the Oneko Woolen Mills Company were incorporated, and
many important street extensions marked the year.
In 1884 the New Bedford Manufacturing Company was incorporated,
and the New Bedford Board of Trade organized.
The year 1885 saw extensive street and sewer extensions. In July,
1886, the Edison Illuminating Company located an electric plant in the
city. In 1887 the New Bedford Safe Deposit and Trust Company was
incorporated. The same year land was purchased upon which the city
In December, 1888, the Hathaway Manufacturing Company was
organized; the Rowland Mills were established the same year; the City
Manufacturing Company, organized in April, began the erection of a
mill in December, 1S88, and the New Bedford Clearing House was
formed September ist.
In 1889 the Bennett Manufacturing Company was formed and on
November 15 of the same year the Acushnet Cooperative Bank was
Thus the city grew, and the first quarter century after the Civil War
closed with New Bedford in number of spindles in operation standing
third among the manufacturing cities of the county, Fall River being
NEW BEDFORD 207
first, and Lowell second. In number of looms, she was fourth, Man-
chester. New Hampshire, outranking her, with the two cities just named.
But in quality of product, architectural design, construction and equip-
ment, New Bedford mills then, as now, owned no superior.
While cotton manufacturing in New Bedford began in 1846 and 1S47
the thousands of workers in her mills, factories, trades and professions
were particularly identified with industries pertaining to whaling and
the demands of the merchant marine. But the period 1S65-90 reversed
conditions and from the ruins of a structure built upon an uncertain
foundation arose a great and stable manufacturing city. Modern ideas in
civic government also prevailed, and a progressive American city was in
the making. The city had grown from the village of 1790, with its 3,000
population, to 40,000 in 1890 ā a century of remarkable progress. The
men who had borne the burden and heat of the day in the earlier history
had passed to their reward and a new generation had arisen which in
turn had been gathered to their fathers, and the business of the city had
passed into the hands of sons and grandsons of the founders, while the
advantages offered had attracted capital and strong men from outside.
A necrological list from 1853 to 1890 includes many names well
known and prominent in the city during their day and generation. A
partial list includes the following:
1853 ā John Coggeshall, Job Eddy, John A. Parker, Mark B. Palmer.
1854 ā Jethro Hillman.
1855 ā Charles Grinnell.
1857 ā Joseph Congdon, John C. Haskell, Jireh Swift, Frederick Parker.
1858 ā Asa R. Nye, Paul Kempton.
1859 ā Robert Ingraham, William Hussey, Charles Haffords, Henry Sul-
lings, John Perkins.
i860 ā Ezra S Kempton, Joseph Davis, Rev. Asa Kent, Humphrey Nye,
Leonard Macomber, Calvin Staples.
1861 ā Charles W. Morgan, Elisha W. Kempton, Benjamin Tucker, Hay-
den Coggeshall, James Howland, Benjamin R. Alny.
1862 ā Andrew Robeson, Job Shaw, Franklin Tobey, Stephen Taber,
Isaac T. Taber, Henry C. Kelley, Stephen N. Potter, John
1863 ā Rev. Nathan Paine, Bethuel Penniman, Ephraim Kempton, George
M. Eddy, Henry Cannon, Benjamin Cummings.
1864 - Captain Latham Cross, J. B. King. Robert Bennett, Nathaniel
Perry, Clothier Pierce, Dr. Arnold Cornish, Tucker Damon,
A. Sydney Howland.
1865 ā Cornelius Howland, George G. Chase, Philip Cannon, Edward
Mott Robinson, Willard Nye, Southward Potter, J. H. W.
Page, Dr. Lyman Bartlett, Thomas Bennett.
1866 ā James Cannon, Warren Delano, William Gift'ord, F.li Haskell, Rev.
Sylvester Holmes, Timothy R. Cushman, Rev. Timothy Stowe,
William Whippey, Joseph R. Shiverick.
1867 ā Zachariah Hillman, Rev. Benjamin Sayer, Captain Barton Ricket-
son. Paul Ewer, William G. Gordon, Alexander Gibbs, Thomas
2o8 NEW BEDFORD
A. Green, Rev. John Girdwood, Benjamin B. Howard, Abra-
ham H. Howland, Obed Sherman.
1868 ā Henry P. Willis, Joseph Wilcox, Andreas Thorup, Samuel Leon-
ard, Rev. Wheelock Craig, Kelley S. Eldredge, George Hussy,
Captain Arthur Cox, Philip Menage, James H. Mendall.
1869 ā Jacob L. Porter, Nathaniel Nye, Nehemiah Leonard, Lemuel Wil-
liams, Joshua C. Stone, Captain Abraham Gardner, Francis S.
1870 ā Cephas Cobb, Rodman Howland, Borden Wood, Ezekiel Sawin.
1871 ā Jacob Parker, Gideon Richmond, Loum Snow, Pardon Tilling-
hast, William A. Dana, Isaac Case, John Goodspeed, William
Cranston, Abraham Barker, Ivory H. Bartlett.
1872 ā William Cummings, Nathan Durfee, George Hussey, Jr., John M.
Hathaway, William Beetle, William T. Russell, James A.
Tripp, William A. Robinson, Martin Pierce, Allen Lucus,
Zenas Whittemore, James B. Wood, Benjamin Rider, Tilson
Wood, William Penn Howland.
1873 ā Thomas B. White, Daniel Wood, Benjamin Rider, Pardon Potter,
James Harper, Sherman White, Abraham Delano, Joseph C.
Grinnell, Isaac D. Hall, John Briggs.
1874 ā Jabez Delano, Elijah H. Chisholm, Jonathan P. Lund, James Rider,
Andrew (2) Robeson, Caleb T. Sullivan, Captain F. A. Stall.
1875 ā Gideon Nye, Cuffee Lawton, Caleb Anthony, James H. Collins,
1876 ā Joseph Knowles, Marsena Washburn, Robert Earle, William C.
Taber, Benjamin Rodman, Samuel Rodman, Joseph S. Till-
inghast, Edmund Maxfield, Simpson Hart.
1877 ā Rufus Sherman, Thomas Knowles.
1878 ā Thomas S. Hathaway, Gideon Allen, David Wood, Dennis Wood,
Obed Nye, Edward L. Baker, Charles Hitch.
1879 ā H. G. Ricketson, W. N. Reynard, Elias Sampson, Hiram Webb.
Elisha Thornton, Jr., Samuel Watson, Joseph Brownell, Ed-
ward W. Howland, Henry T. Leonard, David R. Greene.
1880 ā Nathan Johnson, Walter Spooner, Elisha Haskell, Charles M.
Pierce, William N. Taylor, James B. Congdon, William G.
Blackler, Edward C. Jones, Wright Brownell, Otis Seabury,
Henry F. Thomas.
1881ā C. L. Wood, Rev. Moses How, W. H. Jenney, Ward M. Parker.
1882 ā Andrew Craigie, Thomas Nye, Jr., Jonathan Howland, Stephen
G. Driscoll, Joseph Tabor, Caleb Kempton.
1883ā Henry T. Wood, Daniel Thorton, Joshua Richmond, John A.
Hawes, William H. Ulen, Frederick P. Shaw, John H. Perry.
1884 ā Matthew Howland, James Howland, Edward Merrill, Amasa
1885 ā Horatio A. Kempton, Abraham Russell, Benjamin Russell, W. A.
Wall, Joseph Grinnell, William Hathaway, Alfred Kempton.
1886 ā Joseph C. Delano, William Phillips, W. C. Tobin, Oliver Swain,
1887ā William Tallman, Jr., A. H. Howland, Jr., Charles Taber.
1888 ā Seth A. Aiken, William Ingalls, Henry R. Wilcox, Ambrose Vin-
cent, Cyrus W. Chapman, Alanson Williston, Niles Tilden,
Lemuel Kollock, Dr. Charles Swasey, Timothy D. Cook, Ben-
jamin F. Howland.
NEW BEDFORD 209
1889 ā R. C. Topman, Rev. James D. Butler, Joseph W. Cornell, Elisha
Dunbar, Joseph Tillinghast, David B. Wilcox, Thomas Cog-
geshall, Henry J. Taylor.
ā 1890 ā Thomas Cook, Nathaniel Gilbert, Josiah Holmes, Jr., Colonel A.
D. Hatch, Charles P. Seabury, Charles Tucker, B. F. H. Reed,
1890 to the Close of 1916.
The greatest celebration in the city's history occurred on October
10, II, 12, 13 and 14, 1897, when the semi-centennial of the incorporation
of the city was carried out. The committee on the celebration was
headed by Mayor Charles S. Ashley as chairman ; Stephen A. Brownell,
vice-chairman ; Zephaniah W. Pease, secretary, and James L. Hathaway,
treasurer. Upon the opening day William W. Crapo and George F.
Tucker delivered addresses and a great chorus sang a semi-centennial
ode. Upon succeeding days there were processions and sports. A din-
ner was an incident at which addresses were delivered by Attorney-
General Hosea M. Knowlton, Governor Roger Wolcott and Senator
Henry Cabot Lodge.
It has now been sixty-nine years since New Bedford incorporated as
a city, with a population of about 13,000. Its population in 1890 was
40,733, and it is now 118,158, according to the United States Census
Bureau, and the fourth city in the State in number of inhabitants.
The city ranks first in the United States in the manufacture of fine
cotton goods and fine cotton yarns, and first among the fine goods mills
in the number of spindles in operation. During 1916 the number of
spindles increased net 244,942, the number now being 3,259,793. The
number of looms increased 912, bringing the number now installed up
to 54,645. The number of cotton mill employes increased 3,543, swell-
ing the total to 35,663. The present capitalization of the Cotton Mill
Corporation is $47,525,000, owning 67 mills. It would cost at least
$200,000,000 more than that capitalization to build and equip the 67 mills
at present prices. Higher wages are paid operatives in New Bedford
cotton mills and they are kept better employed than in other cotton
manufacturing centers. Wages were increased in 1916 by twenty-seven
and a half per cent., making the amount paid for the year to cotton mill
workers about $21,100,000 ā about $406,800 weekly.
The total wages paid in all industries in New Bedford aggregate
about $40,000,000, and the raw material used costs about $80,000,000.
The cotton mills ran to full capacity all through the year, mechanics
and laborers were better employed than for several years, merchants
wholesale and retail experienced a generally prosperous year, while the
national and savings banks of the city and the trust company did the
largest business in their history. The credit of New Bedford's cotton
mill corporations is unsurpassed, as during the sixty-nine years they
have been engaged in the manufacture of cotton cloths and yarns they
have paid one hundred cents on every dollar of indebtedness and their
NEW BEDFORD 2ii
1916 statements show them stronger financially than ever before. Also
their reputation for producing goods of the highest quality has been fully
But there is manufacturing of many kinds conducted in the city.
The New Bedford Cordage Co., with $400,000 capital, is a survival of
the early days, when the outfitting of ships and the marine trade was at
its zenith. The company was founded in 1842 by Joseph Ricketson,
William J. Rotch and Benjamin S. Rotch, and incorporated in 1846 with
a capital of $60,000, which was increased in 1849 to $75,000, later to
$200,000, and still later doubled.
Other great corporations are the Taunton & New Bedford Copper
Co., first organized in i860 with $250,000 capital ; the Morse Twist Drill
and Machine Co., incorporated in 1864 with $30,000, increased January
I, 1883, to $600,000. Stephen A. Morse, the inventor of the twist drill
manufactured by the company, began business in East Bridgewater,
Massachusetts, and removed to New Bedford in 1865.
The manufacture of glass was begun in New Bedford in 1861 by
the New Bedford Glass Co. In 1869 the plant was bought by W. L. Lib-
bey & Co., became the Mt. Washington Glass Co. in 1871, was reorgan-
ized in 1876, and in 1894 became by consolidation a part of the Pairpont
Art manufacturing began early, the Tabers being early booksellers
and art dealers. The firm of Charles Taber & Co. was a leader in that
business for forty-five years. The Taber Art Co., incorporated January
I. 1893, with a capital of $300,000, became a part of the Taber-Prang Art
Co. in 1897, and in 1898 the business was removed to Springfield, Massa-
Shoe manufacturing has long been a city industry, the Gushing &
Boucher and the E. E. Taylor companies being the present representa-
tives of the business.
Carriage building was begun a century ago by Josiah Brownell in a
small shop on the corner of Fourth and Spring streets, became an exten-
sive industry at one time, and yet survives.
The demands of the seafaring men created a great demand for ship
bread, and from 1822 until 1867, when the demand from whalers prac-
tically ceased, its manufacture was an important item in New Bedford's
business totals. Samuel Watson carried on for forty years the bakery
established in 1822 by Enoch Horton, who passed it on to Watson &
Manchester, by whom it was sold to Mr. Watson. David Snell gained
the widest reputation as a baker, he first establishing a bakery at the
corner of William and North Water streets in 1857. He sold out in 1859
and at once established a patent oven and bakery, the first in New Eng-
land, and during the Civil War operated his plant in executing large
212 NEW BEDFORD
contracts for furnishing supplies to the army. The Snell & Simpson
Biscuit Co. is founded on that business.
One of the great manufacturing and business houses of New Bed-
ford is the Pairpont Corporation, whose capitalization has recently been
increased to $2,000,000. This corporation was originally the Pairpont
Manufacturing Co., organized in 1880, T. J. Pairpont, from whom the
corporation takes its name, being the first superintendent. He resigned
from the company in 1885 and was succeeded by Thomas A. Tripp. The
first buildiiig was erected in 1880 and additions have been constant until
the plant now covers an immense area. The original capital, $100,000,
became $400,000 in July, 1887, $1,000,000 in 1896, and $2,000,000 in 1917.
The corporation acquired the Mt. Washington Glass Co. in 1894 and
both in New Bedford and in New York City maintain magnificent dis-
plays of their line of manufacture in large show rooms. Their five exclu-
sive lines there exhibited are cut glass, silver plate, electroliers, Sheffield
reproductions and prize cups. Their products are unsurpassed for
beauty of design and quality of workmanship, facts attested by their
Other large and important manufacturing corporations of the city
are the Blackmer Cut Glass Co., capital $20,000; Continental Wood
Screw Co., $150,000; E. E. Taylor Co., $1,000,000; George Kirby Jr.
Paint Co., $50,000; Morse Twist Drill and Machine Co., $600,000; New
Bedford Cordage Co., $400,000; New Bedford Gas & Edison Light Co.,
$1,590,000; Snell & Simpson Biscuit Co., $400,000; Standard Ring Trav-
eler Co.. $20,000; Taunton-New Bedford Copper Co., $800,000; W. C.
Jones Co., $100,000, and many others.
All the foregoing, however, pale into insignificance in comparison
with the immense textile manufacturing business which has won for
New Bedford greater fame than was taken from her by the collapse of
the whaling industry. That industry reached high-water mark in 1857,
when the fleet consisted of three hundred and twenty-nine vessels of all
kinds, requiring crews aggregating 10,000 men. The capital invested
was about $12,000,000 and the value of the 1857 catch in oil and bone
was $6,178,728. The decline may best be understood by comparing the
fleet of 1857 with that of the present day when a few old ships and a
dozen small craft comprise the fleet. In 1916 the value of the sperm
oil catch by vessels owned in New Bedford was $180,000. No whale oil
nor whale bone was taken. Whale and sperm oil is yet refined and
sperm candles and spermaceti manufactured by the Frank L. Young Co.
It was this great whaling industry of the years prior to 1857 which
was the stumbling block in the way of the Wamsutta Mills, the first
cotton factory established in New Bedford. As it is now one of the
greatest of the city's textile plants and known wherever cotton goods
are used, a more extended history is proper. In the fall of 1846 Joseph
NEW BEDFORD 213
Grinnell, then Congressman from the New Bedford district, headed a
subscription list with $10,000 and secured for New Bedford a cotton mill
which was intended for Georgia. A charter secured in 1846 by Abraham
H. Rowland from the Massachusetts Legislature for a company styled
the Wamsutta Mills was turned over to Mr. Grinnell and his associates,
who intended to secure $300,000 capital and erect a cotton mill of 15,000
spindles and three hundred looms. But capital was enamored with whal-