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Town of Swansea History and Resources

 

Photo: Martin House Farm

 
The Town of Swansea is a suburban/rural community founded on the premise of religious tolerance for all. Unfortunately, the town also turned out to be the starting place of King Philip's war in 1675 and the site of the first bloodshed of the war. Before that war there were several historic Indian settlement sites and trails in the town. Colonial settlement began in 1663 and the town was named after a minister's home village in Wales. In 1664, King Philip had conveyed the land in the community to William Brenton of Newport and by the start of the Indian war, there were 70 people staying in the garrison fortified house in town and several occupied houses on the Neck. During the war, Indian attacks destroyed every house in town including the garrison. After the war, forges, ironworks and fishing on the town's rivers made up a substantial part of the community's economy. The small villages that made up the community were the sites of stores, cotton mills, grist and yarn mills and fishing boats. When the bigger industrial cities such as Fall River, Taunton and Providence absorbed the town's industries, Swansea's large agricultural capacity remained important. In the 1890's, the street trolley connected Swansea to Fall River and Providence and suburban and summer homes were developed. A picnic grove called Shady Isles was established by the streetcar company and brought city people out to the country on day trips. Now a suburban community with much of its agricultural land still open, Swansea also retains 16 impressive and significant examples of intact Colonial houses. 
Narrative based on information provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
                      
Federal Census, 1790, Swansey Swansea Free Public Library
Federal Census, 1850, Swansey Swansea History
Federal Census, 1860, Swansey
Historic Maps Covering Swansea
King Philip's War around Swansea
Martin House Farm  
Old Photos  
Panoramic Views of Swansea