Dartmouth was first settled in 1650 and was officially incorporated in 1664. It was named for the town of Dartmouth, Devon, England, from where the Puritans originally intended to depart for America. The land was purchased with trading goods from the Wampanoag chiefs Massasoit and Wamsutta by elders of the Plymouth Colony; reportedly thirty yards of cloth, eight moose skins, fifteen axes, fifteen hoes, fifteen pairs of shoes, one iron pot, and ten shillings' worth of assorted goods. 
It was sold to the Religious Society of Friends or Quakers, who wished to live outside the stringent religious laws of the Puritans in Plymouth. There are still Quaker meeting houses in town, including the Smith Neck Meeting House, the Allens Neck Meeting House, and the Apponegansett Meeting House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The town's borders were originally named in the charter (and set by King Philip) as the lands of "Acushnea, Ponagansett[disambiguation needed], and Coaksett." This includes the land of the towns of Westport, Fairhaven, and Acushnet, and the city of New Bedford. In 1789, the towns of Westport and New Bedford, which included Fairhaven and Acushnet, separated and were incorporated as towns themselves. [2}
Dartmouth's history was that of an agricultural community, but during the late 19th century its coastline became a resort area for the wealthy members of New Bedford society.
-  "Philbrick,_Nathaniel._Mayflower._Penguin,_2006._p.171_ISBN_978-0-14-311197-9"
-  Zinn, Howard. A People's History of the United States. Perennial, 2003. p.89 ISBN 0-06-052837-0