Joseph Bates Boyhood Home

Joseph Bates Boyhood Home (1742)
191 Main Street, Fairhaven
Hours by Appointment

The front part of this house was built about 1742 by William Wood, who had purchased the entire Oxford area from Philip Taber a year or two earlier. The house was bought in 1793 by Joseph Bates, Sr. a prominent businessman who helped found the New Bedford (later Fairhaven) Academy in 1798. 

Bates’ son, Joseph Bates Jr., grew up here before going to sea at the age of fifteen. After retiring as a sea captain, Bates began the local temperance movement and was one of the builders of the Washington Street Meetinghouse. He became a follower of William Miller who was predicting the Second Advent of Christ. Following the “Great Disappointment” when the predicted event did not occur, Bates wrote a treatise proposing that in order for the Biblical prophecies to come to pass, the Sabbath should be celebrated on Saturdays, the seventh day of the week. Thus Bates founded of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which was officially established in 1863.

The house, visited by thousands of Seventh-day Adventists over the years, was purchased in 2006 by the Adventist Historical Properties, Inc., which has undertaken a restoration. It is open to the public by appointment during the spring, summer and early fall. You may call 774-328-6247 to arrange a group tour or email You may visit the website at

On the property, directly to the east of the Bates house, stand the remains of the Capt. Thomas Taber house (ca. 1678).

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