POVERTY POINT (Old Oxford Village)—- A trip to Poverty Point, formerly known as Oxford Village is a visit to colonial 18th century. It was one of Old Dartmouth’s first real estate developments known as “Ye Little Town at Ye Foot of William Woods Homestead. John Cook, a passenger on the Mayflower, at age sixteen built a home and garrison a short distance north of Oxford Village on land originally owned by Captain Thomas Tabor, whose first wife, Hester, was John Cook’s daughter.
Oxford Village was the business and shipbuilding center as early as 1710. At least 15 great ships were built in the yards at the point and whalers set out directly from Oxford. With the construction of the New Bedford bridge in 1790, transport to the open sea was cut off plunging the area into economic collapse, thus the name Poverty Point was associated with the area. Most of the commerce moved south to the growing Fair-Haven Village.
1760, December 12: William Wood sells Elnathan Eldredge 6 acres of land on the Acushnet River west of present-day Cherry Street. This “little town at ye foot of William Wood’s homestead,” with its thirty lots, becomes the nucleus of Oxford Village.
1778, September 5-6: The British land 4,000 troops on the west side of the Acushnet River. They burn ships and warehouses in Bedford Village, skirmish at the Head-of-the-River bridge, and march through Fairhaven to Sconticut Neck, burning several homes along the way. The fort is abandoned and it is destroyed by the enemy troops. An attack on Fair-Haven Village is repelled by militia under the command of Major Israel Fearing who had marched from Wareham with additional militiamen.
1800, May 1: The New Bedford (later Fairhaven) Academy opens. This private school is located on the west side of Main Street, north of Bridge Street.
1828, March 17: A contract is signed by a committee from Oxford Village, for the construction of a stone schoolhouse in District No. 11. The building on North Street is the first of the district schools to be built in Fairhaven.
Fairhaven is the resting place of John Cook the last surviving male passenger of the Mayflower. Cook died on November 23 1695 at the age of 88.
Fairhaven is also the home of Joshua Slocum, the first man to sail around the world alone. He left Fairhaven in 1895 and completed his voyage in 1898