Meet at 99 Restaurant for a 9 AM start.
The city of New Bedford was free city during the time of the slavery. They were welcome and protected from the slave hunters by local residents and it’s mayor Rodney French.
French was a Free-Soiler – a pre-Civil War political party that opposed slavery and the admission of slave states into the Union. His actual political affiliation is dubious. I have come across documents that state he was a Democrat and others that state he was a Republican. We do know that he was a delegate to Republican National
Convention from Massachusetts in 1856 and that he was considered a “Black” Republican because of his anti-slavery or abolitionist platform.
His anti-slavery stance did not make him very popular among his peers and the aristocrats of society. In fact, this put his career and life in harm’s way often. He lost many a business relationship and opportunity, surely including revenue, and especially in pro-slavery North Carolina.
We will be riding around the point of New Bedford on Rodney French Boulevard. Clarks Cove will be on our right at the beginning of the Blvd. At the end of the point we will enter Fort Rodman, whereon September 5th and 6th, 1778, the British
landed 4000 troops marching through and destroying much of New Bedford. The troops marched inland along the west shore of the Acushnet River to Acushnet, then came south through Fairhaven to Sconticut Neck.
At this time the British drove a group of 34 local militiamen under the command of Timothy Ingraham from Fort Phoenix, burned the barracks, broke up the gun platforms and smashed all but one of the cannons.
When the fort was rebuilt following the 1778 attack, it was named Fort Phoenix after the mythical bird which rose from its own ashes.
The original fort was built by Capt. Benjamin Dillingham and Eleazer Hathaway between 1775 and 1777. It was outfitted with eleven cannon, several of which had been captured in the Bahamas by John Paul Jones.