Area Information - Tiverton, RI

Geography

Tiverton stands on the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay, opposite the northern end of Rhode Island proper, meaning the largest island in the said bay, which has lent its name to the state as a whole. The channel separating this island from the mainland, Sakonnet River, narrows to a width of half a mile or less, near Tiverton. According to the United States Census Bureau, Tiverton has a total area of 36.3 square miles (94.1 km²), of which 29.4 square miles (76.0 km²) is land and 18.0 km² (7.0 sq mi; 19.16%) is water.

The northern portion of greater Tiverton is North Tiverton, Rhode Island.

History

Tiverton was originally incorporated in 1694, as part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1746, in the final settlement of a long colonial boundary dispute between Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Tiverton was annexed to Rhode Island by Royal Decree (together with its fellow towns along the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay, Barrington, Bristol and Little Compton, and the town of Cumberland, to the north of Providence). Tiverton was then incorporated as a town of Rhode Island, in 1747. Until that same year, Tiverton controlled the area of East Freetown, Massachusetts, as an outpost. The boundary settlement of 1746 had put East Freetown in Massachusetts, and in 1747 it was purchased by Freetown, Massachusetts.

Men from that erstwhile Tiverton outpost took part in the Battle of Freetown, on May 25, 1778, during the Revolutionary War. For about three years of that war, December 1776 – late 1779, Rhode Island proper (also known as Aquidneck Island, historically) was occupied by the British. During this time, Tiverton was a refuge for Americans fleeing this occupation, and a mustering place for Colonial forces, gathering to drive away the British. (The occupying forces eventually were withdrawn strategically, as General Clinton marshalled his forces for the 1780 British invasion of South Carolina.[3])

In its early days, Tiverton was chiefly a farming community with some fishing and boat construction. Until 1900 the manufacture of menhaden oil, a fish derivative, was one of the primary industrial pursuits. Cotton and woolen mills were established as early as 1827. As of 2006, trade establishments are the major employers in the town. Recent years have seen Tiverton grow as a summer resort and residential area. New development has been concentrated in the area known as North Tiverton, adjacent to Fall River, Massachusetts.