It can be argued that Yarmouth dates back to 1000 A.D., Many
archeologists and historians are convinced that the Vikings, led by
Leif Ericson, came here and explored Bass River and Follins Pond.
This makes for great conversation. But Yarmouth, as we now know it,
began in the winter of 1637-38, as so many Cape towns began, when a
group of parishioners, unhappy with lives elsewhere, would set out
for a new place to settle and worship the way they wanted to.
Unfortunately, the group from Lynn who followed the Reverend Stephen
Bachiler lasted only one year before moving on again. But they were
followed by another group in 1639 which included Anthony Thacher who
was used to overcoming adversity. Thacher lost his first wife and
five of his nine children in England before coming to the new land
in 1635 with his second wife and remaining children.
He and his new wife then lost these children and all their worldly
possessions in a shipwreck on route to Marblehead from Ipswich.
After their son John was born they moved to Yarmouth in 1639 and
became one of its true founding families. Son John fathered
twenty-one children and the history of this on-going family is
showcased at the ancestral homestead, the Colonel John Thacher
House, open to the public in Yarmouthport.
Yarmouth, when founded, was bigger than it is today. Once again, the
founding of new churches was the reason. An East Parish was begun in
1721 and eventually the fathers of this new parish incorporated in
1793 as new town called Dennis.
Quakers arrived in Yarmouth in the early 1800s and their Meeting
House still holds services on North Main Street, South Yarmouth in
the area once known as Friends Village.
Yarmouth was the home of the second temperance society in the United
States. Perhaps hard to believe today, with all the restaurants and
lounges that have proliferated in Yarmouth, but in 1817 the town
laws allowed only one pub "for the accommodation of travelers."
Yarmouthport, as its name implies, was once a bustling seaport with
packets sailing for Boston and other ports. Nothing of this activity
survives except for the remains of the old wharf on Wharf Lane.
Times changed as the railroad arrived in the 1870s. And times
changed again when the railroad abandoned passenger service beyond
Hyannis, ushering in the era of the automobile which leads us to
wonder, as we sometimes wait in long lines for a Route 28 light to
turn green, just how much of a blessing the era of the automobile
However, Yarmouth has many true blessings for us. Wonderful beaches
on both the north side (Cape Cod Bay) and the south side (Nantucket
Sound). Two fine public golf courses. Free tennis courts.
Playgrounds. Conservation areas and walking trails. Biking trails.
Fishing and cruising. And, for a scenic drive, one of the handsomest
streets in the U.S. - Route 6A, the Old King's Highway.