Houses for Sale in Barneyville

Barneyville Home for Sale

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More Information About Barneyville

Barneyville is a community in Swansea, MA and was first settled in the 17th Century. The beginning of this settlement occurred when Reverend John Myles, one of Swansea’s first settlers, built his home in this area in 1663. Myles bridge connected East Swansea to Rhode Island allowing for colonial development. At the location of the first bridge in this area, Swansea and Barrington were told to construct a cart bridge. The town of Swansea raised funds through a lottery in 1749 and used these funds to maintain the bridge. The bridge was replaced multiple times over the years with an iron replacement in 1878 and the current concrete replacement in 1938.

The village got its name, Barneyville, from the Barney shipyard that was established in the 18th century in this area by Jonathan Barney. In 1750, Barney constructed a homestead in the area. He also built a double house at the address 22-24 Barneyville Rd. He built these houses on suspicion that upon success of his shipyard that the surrounding area would grow in population. Barney’s business consisted of small boats for local fishermen and farmers until it was taken over by Jonathan’s son, Mason, and began to develop rapidly. Mason’s shipyard consisted of over 5 acres of land. By the time the last vessel was launched from this shipyard, 137 ships had been built under supervision of Mason. Included in these ships, were gunboats constructed for the Mexican War of 1846, Whaling ships, Chinese merchant ships, slave ships and barges used on the Blackstone Canal. These ships were made from trees from nearby Dighton and Rehoboth. These ships became known as “Bungtown” ships and are associated with Barneyville to this day.

A village began developing around Barney’s shipbuilding business where he began serving as a landlord, employer, and postmaster among other titles. With Barney’s great financial success, he built the largest house in the village between 1802 and 1812 at 1 Barneyville Rd which is still in existence today. At one point, Barney even tried to start his own currency by minting coins known as “Bungtown Coppers.” Barney’s shipyard was forced to close in 1861 when the financial panic of 1858 occurred and the demand for iron ships rather than wooden ships grew.

Jewelry grew to replace shipbuilding as the main industry in Barneyville in the later 19th Century. This industry began when a carpenter by the name of Daniel R. Child went to Providence Rhode Island to learn all about the jewelry business. Upon his return to Barneyville, he created a jewelry factory (no longer extant) on the shipyard lot then later moved it to Old Providence Road. The factory produced goods such as cuff links and collar buttons that were shipped all over the country. Child married the granddaughter of Mason Barney, Elisabeth Barney, and built a home together. The accessibility to Barneyville through the Providence and Fall River Railway allowed for a steady influx of employees to the village. The Jewelry business was sold first to J. L. Eeinmore, then to Lorenzo P. Sturtevant and finally to B.F. Norton and J.A. Wheeler in 1911 (who changed the name to the North Swansea Manufacturing Company). The factory was shut down in the 1920s when the street railroad, which brought in employees, went out of business.

Along with the shipbuilding and jewelry industries that supported Barneyville, agriculture and farming were also practices by Barneyville residents. Of the extant Barneyville buildings, most were used for residential purposes except for the Building standing at 77 Barneyville Rd which was used as a chapel. Algernon Barney obtained this building and in 1903 deeded it to the catholic church. At an unknown point between then and now the building reverted to residential use.

 Information Source > MA Historical Society

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