Dear Mr. History Person,
I did not get to see the Historical Society’s presentation about "Fair-haven’s First Sex Scandal," but a friend of mine told me that it wasn’t the first. There was some kind of scandal about Joshua Slocum. Is that right?
In September 2009, Historical Society member Beth Luey, who lives in the Isaiah Weston house at 31 Middle Street, gave a talk about the scandal that came to light when Rev. Weston, the minister of the First Congregational Church, was accused of improper behavior toward a young babysitter, Miss Phebe Tobey, while Mrs. Weston was away caring for the sick. Phebe said the unclothed minister got into bed with her, acted indecently, offered to "lift her linnen" and "took her hand and put an indecent thing into it." Phebe was fourteen.
Whether or not the Weston/Tobey incident in 1802 or ‘03 was Fairhaven’s first sex scandal may be open to debate, but it’s certainly earlier than anything related to Joshua Slocum, who was born in Nova Scotia in 1844.
And the Slocum business didn’t take place anywhere near Fairhaven. In 1906, years after his round-the-world voyage in the Spray, Slocum was charged with exposing himself to a twelve-year-old girl in New Jersey. He pleaded "no contest" and was released after forty-two days in jail.