Captain Waterman was born at Hudson New York on March 4,1808. He lived in Fairfield Connecticut. Captain Robert Waterman made record runs around Cape Horn. Once, Robert was told to climb the mast to look for land. The winds were strong that day and were blew off the mast. He managed to quickly grab on to a rope but he ripped out all of his fingernails! In 1829, Robert was said to be the youngest First Mate on record. A First Mate is rank just under the captain of the ship.
Captain Waterman is the founder of Fairfield. Founder means organizer, so Waterman is the organizer of Fairfield.
While Waterman's ship was being built, Waterman met Cordelia Sterling at the engagement party of her brother to his sister. Soon after in December of 1846, they were married. On December 8, 1846 the "Sea Witch" was launched. Waterman was sure that she would be the fastest ship on the seas. In 1846 the "Sea Witch" left the New York harbor on December 23, to start her first voyage to China. On March 25, 1849 Waterman brought the Sea Witch from Hong Kong to New York in just 74 days. In 1849 Waterman gave up the "Sea Witch" and decided to be a farmer.
In 1850 he moved to Suisun Valley. He raised cattle and grew lima beans to sell to minors that were at the Gold Rush. In 1851 he invited to sail a new clipper ship called the "Challenge". Because all of the good sailors went to the Gold Rush he had a crew of criminals and sick people. While at sea his First Mate was stabbed and Waterman had to fight to get control of his ship back. When he got back he was accused of being cruel treatment of his crew and went to trial. He was eventually found innocent of the charges, but gave up being a captain.
In 1853 he moved back to Suisun Valley and raised cattle from Texas. In 1856 Fairfield was named Fairfield after the town where Waterman grew up. He also named the town of Bridgeport and renamed that town to Cordelia. He named the town after his wife. On August 8th, 1884 Captain Waterman died at his Suisun Valley home.
"Captain Waterman. Founder of Fairfield" a booklet published by the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, 2001.
"The Historic ABC's Of Solano County", written by Jackie Albright and Jackie Lillis, Illustrated by Tina Akuda. Published by the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, 1997 on April 16, 2002.
Image of Waterman is from:
author is unknown, "The Way It Was. A Program for Historic Preservation", a book prepared by the Department of Environmental Affairs, City of Fairfield, CA March 1975 page 27