The Millicent Library
Cara Leland Rogers (1867-1939) purchased the waterfront property at Fort Phoenix, presenting it to the town of Fairhaven in memory of her father Henry Huttleston Rogers. While a resident of England, Cara was named president of the Board of Trustees of the Millicent Library.
Cara Leland Rogers (1867-1939), one of five children of philanthropist Henry Huttleston Rogers, was brought up in Fairhaven. Her grandparents resided in town for many years and the family visited regularly. In1884 Henry also bought a home in town. The children learned the legacy of philanthropy when their father donated money for a town library. The Millicent Library was named in memory of Henry’s daughter Millicent Rogers, who died at the early age of 17.
After an early marriage to Bradford Duff in 1890, Cara became a widow the next year when he died at only 24 of a lung disease. She married again in 1895 to Englishman Urban Broughton who had been working as an engineer for her father. The couple stayed in the United States until the prospect of World War I appeared. They returned to England with their two sons. There were many return visits to Fairhaven, but they did not live again in the United States.
Cara commented on the English ladies of her acquaintance, “They take a real, vital interest in anything pertaining to government . . . and many are brilliant conversationalists.” She remained true to these words in her own life and philanthropy.
She took great pride in being an American and a New Englander. She said “I am a New Englander born on Cape Cod. I have loved the sea and sailed it all my life.” She had a great affection for the city of New Bedford, taking interest in its mills and the general well-being of the city, even to the cleaning of its streets.
Cara continued her philanthropic giving for various causes. On one occasion she sent $1000 to the Congregational Church for repairs and upkeep. She also donated $1000 to the survivors of the 1938 hurricane. Her greatest contribution to Fairhaven was made in memory of her father. She learned that the waterfront property at Fort Phoenix was going to be sold and likely become a housing development. She bought the property presenting it to the town of Fairhaven. In a letter to Selectman John I. Bryant she said, “I cannot tell you how pleased I am to have the property belong to the town for since my childhood it has been a spot which I have always remembered.”
Local school children decided to make the presentation a very special event. Six hundred children marched to the Fort behind the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack flags carried side by side. While the children lined the road, cheerleaders led their school cheers, the buglers sounded “Taps” and the great Rogers’ yacht Sapphire dipped the royal ensign at her stern. It was the first time in over 100 years that the British flag was admitted to Fort Phoenix.
Cara’s husband had served in Parliament and completed significant engineering work in Britain. He was scheduled to be honored with a British title but died before it could be bestowed. When it was conferred to the family Cara chose the name Fairhaven. She became Lady Fairhaven. Her oldest son became Baron Fairhaven. Once again, philanthropy was demonstrated by the family when she and her sons bought Runnymede Meadow where the Magna Carta had been signed. They presented it in memory of her husband to the National Trust of England.
Cara continued her interest in her hometown of Fairhaven and was delighted to be named president of the Board of Trustees of the Millicent Library. She wrote “I have received your letter telling me of my election. I need not say how much it pleases me to accept this office and to feel that I am so closely connected with the Millicent Library even though I am so far away.”
After her death her sons continued to make periodic visits to Fairhaven. Even today relatives continue to visit. Both sides of the Atlantic appreciate the ongoing legacy of Lady Fairhaven.
Knight, Mable Hoyle. Fairhaven Star (1880-1930).