William H. Whitfield grave site

Captain William H. Whitfield (1804-1886)

A whaling captain, Whitfield commanded the ship John Howland when its crew discovered five stranded Japanese fishermen, including 14 year old Manjiro Nakahama, on an island in the Pacific Ocean. Manjiro returned to Fairhaven with Whitfield and was the first Japanese person to live in America. Whitfield served as a Selectman in 1871, 1872 and 1873 and was a State Representative 1872 and 1873. One of two side-by-side houses owned by Capt. Whitfield on Cherry Street in the Oxford Village area was purchased in 2007 by a group of prominent Japanese people and on May 7, 2009 it was presented to the Town of Fairhaven to be used as a museum and cultural center, the Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship House. Japanese visitors to Fairhaven often visit the graves of Captain Whitfield and his family. Whitfield’s first wife Ruth and second wife Albertina are also buried here.

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