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Burrillville; as it was, and it is 

3 T1S3 007MEE71 E 

|0k Island l^ibrarg. 







Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, 

By Horace A. Reach, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of 

Rhode Island. 









This Yolume, about the past and present of my native 
town, was penned during a few weeks of recreative leis- 
ure in the summer of 1856. In a rural district there are 
no centres of information, few and meagre public records, 
and no historic compilations to which one can resort for 
aid. A chaos of poor traditions is to be reduced to order, 
and incoherent chronicles of popular events arranged to 
tell their story as time told it. 

I have said nothing in regard to the original purchases 
of our land from the Indians. I preferred to leave it un- 
til I could include a larger territory. Those purchases 
often included tracts that were lying in several towns, and 
their importance demands a more elaborate notice, than 
would seem consistent with a sketch of so small a portion 
of north western Rhode Island. The same remark will 
apply to the long controversy about the west line. 

I have not found anything printed in relation to Burrill- 
ville except ephemeral sketches which I prepared a few 
years ago for the Providence Journal. The command of 


Sydney's muse was " Look into thy heart and write." I 
have followed a like impulse, which will account for the 
prominence given to the subject of Reforms. My fellow 
citizens, who love our town will rejoice with me at all signs 
of progress, and strangers who ask tvhat we have in Bur- 
rillville, will be glad to learn of our prosperity. To record 
our gradual but sure advancement, has been to me a pleas- 
ure, and my humble labor done, I commend it to the favor 
of an indulgent public. 


BURRILLVILLE, Oct. 1, 1856. 





Few traces of the Indians — The Nipmucs — Pas-co-ag — 
Black Hut — Herring Pond Woods — Indian Barbari- 
ties — Indian Skeleton eight feet high — Indian Corn- 
field and Wigwam — Mahungunog Swamp — Comb 
Basket one hundred and fifty years old, 9-16 



Two hundred and twenty years ago — John Smith — The 
Williams Family — Deer — Fish from the sea^— Wolf 
Pits— Early Settlement in Herring Pond Woods,. . .17-23 



Shay's Rebellion — Taxes and Tories — Primitive Cus- 
toms — Old Burrillville Meeting House, 24-34 



Money Rocks — Snake Dens — Smith Battey's Diamonds — 
Bark Mill and Turning Lathe — The Old Paul 
House, 35-42 




Animated Nature — Little Birds — Bald Eagle — Rattle- 
snakes — White Squirrel, 43-45 



Biirrillville a part of Providence— Burrillville included in 
Glocester — Corn in the Town Treasury — Petition to 
divide the town — Petition granted, and Act passed — 
Another vote to divide Glocester 46-53 



Hon. James Burrill — Books presented to the town — Yote 
to pay Grand Committee — First Taxes — Sale of the 
Poor — Sale of the Town Meeting — Town Council 
sold — Extra pay to the soldiers of 1812 — Sale of 
Town Meeting becomes a nuisance — A thwack at 
Office Seekers — Small Pox in 1825 — A slice from 
Glocester in 1844 — The License Question — Fiftieth 
birth day of Burrillville, 54-61 


OLD :M E N . 

The Harringtons — Joktan Putnam — Captain William 

Rhodes— Our Mysterious Visitor, 62-65 



The roads of Burrillville—" The Air Line "— " The indo- 
mitable Mac" — The Woonasquatucket, 66-70 




Old School houses — Mutiny — Smashing Windows — 
Hon. Henry Barnard— School District Boundaries 
— Rude Boys and smiling School Marms — Libra- 
ries — Decision under the School Law, 71-77 



Old Drinking Customs — Washingtonianism — The Hon- 
est Quaker — Temperance Songs — Dr. Harrington 
and his trial — Harvey P. Brown — The Maine 
Law — Round Top, — Singular Outrage, destruc- 
tion of books — Extract from our " Scrap Book " — 
The Wreckers, 78-90 



Fugitive Slave Law in Burrillville — Slaves at work in 
Herring Pond woods — " Jack's Grave " — Women's 
Rights— Angel's Visits, 91-95 



Eld. John Colby's mission to Burrillville — First F. B. 
Church in Rhode Island — Clarrissa Danforth — 
First Pastor — Millerism — Church meeting in the 
Esten neighborhood — Smith's Academy — Liberal- 
ity of Nicholas Brown Esq. — " New Lights " — 
Huntsville Em.porium — Methodists — Church of 
Enorland — Friends — Universalists, 96-108 




Divining Rods — Wallum Lake — Bathing Beach — A 
race through Wallum Lake — Canal company claim 
the Lake — Largest forest in Rhode Island — Win- 
ter scene on Buck Hill — September Gale — Apples 
"from a tree that fell 40 years ago" — Southern 
Pictures, 108-117 



Burrillville Cotton Gin— The first factory— Old Burrill- 

ville Bank— Mapleville, 118-123 



Our Climate — Changes in the Seasons — Employments 
— Land at 12^ cents per acre — Two dozen facto- 
ries — "Five miles to the store" — "Away to 
school" — Our buildings — "The nicely sanded 
floor" — Wooden Clocks — Our Parlors — Barns — 
AVood piles — Living out in the lots — Rhode Island 
Brown Bread — A good Dinner — The Farmer's 
dress — Factory Girls — Books — " Such a nice car- 
riage " — Parties — " Ring Plays " and " Round the 
Chimney " — Sleigh Rides — Quilting Bees — Husk- 
ing frolic — Rabbit Hunting — Going to the Shore — 
At rest, at last, 124-145 

SUPPLEMENT, 146-16 7 

APPENDIX, 169-170 



Tlie following are the obseryations of M. De 
TocQUEYiLLE; npoii the American system of muni- 
cipal bodies. Ideas are presented that will be 
new to some, and interesting to all. The author 
was a member of the Institute of France, and of 
the Chamber of Deputies, and his admirable work 
upon the Political Institutions of America, has at- 
tracted attention, not only in our country but 
throughout Europe. We may here remark that 
the counties of our northern States are divided 
into Towns, those of the southern into Parishes. 
There are many regulations which belong exclu- 
sively to our New England towns, and the peculiar 
municipal franchises of the North have not been 
without important social results. 

" The village or township is th^ only association 
which is so perfectly natural, that wherever a num- 
ber of men are collected, it seems to constitute 
itself. The town or tithing, as the smallest divis- 


ion of a community, must necessarily exist in all 
nationS; whatever their laws and customs may be } 
if man makes monarchies, and establishes republics, 
the first association of mankind seems constituted 
by the hand of God. But although the existence 
of the township is coeval with that of man, its lib- 
erties are not the less rarely respected and easily 
destroyed. A nation is always able to establish 
great political assemblies, because it habitually 
contains a certain number of individuals fitted by 
their talents, if not by their habits, for the direc- 
tion of affairs. The township is, on the contrary, 
composed of coarser materials, which are less 
easily fashioned by the legislator. The difficulties 
which attend the consolidation of its independence 
rather augment than diminish with the increasing 
enlightenment of the people. A highly-civilized 
community spurns the attempts of a local inde- 
pendence, is disgusted at its numerous blunders, 
and is apt to despair of success before the experi- 
ment is completed. Again, no immunities are so 
ill-protected from the encroachments of the su- 
preme power as those of municipal bodies in gen- 
eral ; they are unable to struggle single-handed, 
against a strong or an enterprising government, 
and they cannot defend their cause with success un- 
less it be identified with the customs of the nation 
and supported by public opinion. Thus, until the 
independence ©f townships is amalgamated with 
the manners of a people, it is easily destroyed ; 
and it is only after a long existence in the laws 
that it can be thus amalgamated. Municipal fi-eedom 
eludes the exertions of man ; it is rarely created ; 
but it is as it were, secretly and spontaneously en- 
gendered in the midst of a semi-barbarous state of 


society. The constant action of the laws and the 
national habits, peculiar circumstances and above 
all, time, may consolidate it; but there is certainly 
no nation on the continent of Europe which has 
experienced its advantages. Nevertheless, local 
assemblies of citizens constitute the strength of 
free nations. Municipal institutions are to liberty 
what primary schools are to science ; they bring it 
within the people's reach, tliey teach men how to 
use and how to enjoy it. A nation may establish 
a system of free government, but without the spirit 
of municipal institutions it cannot have the spirit 
of liberty. The transient passions, and the inter- 
ests of an hour, or the change of circumstances, 
may have created the external forms of inde- 
pendence; but the despotic tendency which has 
been repelled will, sooner or later inevitably re- 
appear on the surface. 

In the township, as well as everywhere else, the 
people is the only source of power : but in no stage 
of the government does the body of citizens exer- 
cise a more immediate influence. In America the 
people is a master whose exigencies demand obe- 
dience to the utmost limits of possibility. 

Municipal independence is a natural consequence 
of the principle of the sovereignty of the peo- 
ple in the United States : all the American repub- 
lics recognise it more or less ; but circumstances 
have peculiarly favored its growth in New England. 

In this part of the Union the impulsion of polit- 
ical activity was given in the townships ; and it 
may almost be said that each formed an independ- 
ent nation. When the kings of England asserted 
their supremac}^, they were contented to assume 
the central power of the state. The townships of 


New England remained as tliey were before ; and 
although they were now subject to the state they 
were at first scarcely dependent upon it. It is im- 
portant to remember that they have not been in- 
vested with privileges, but they seem on the con- 
trary, to have surrendered a portion of their inde- 
pendence to the state. The townships are only 
subordinate to the state in those interests which I 
shall term social, as they are common to all the 
citizens. They are independent in all that con- 
cerns themselves ; and among all the inhabitants 
of New England I believe that not a man is to be 
found who would acknowledge that the state has 
any right to interfere in the local interests. The 
towns of New England buy and sell, prosecute or 
are indicted, augment or diminish their rates, with- 
out the slightest opposition on the part of the ad- 
ministrative authority of the state. 

They are bound however, to comply with the 
demands of the community. If the state is in the 
need of money, a town can neither give nor with- 
hold supplies. If tlie state projects a road, the 
township cannot refuse to let it cross its territory ; 
if a police regulation is made by the state, it must 
be enforced by the town. A uniform system of in- 
struction is organized all over the state, and every 
town is bound to establish the schools which the 
law 'ordains. 

The New Englander is attached to his township, 
not only because he was born in it, but because it 
constitutes a strong and free social body of which 
he is a member, and whose government claims and 
deserves the exercise of his sagacity. 

In Europe the absence of local spirit is a fre- 
quent subject of regret to those who are in power ; 


every one agrees that there is no surer guarantee 
of order and tranquility, and yet nothing is more 
difficult to create. If the municipal bodies were 
made powerful and independent the authorities of 
the nation might be disunited and the peace of 
the country endangered. Yet, without power and 
independence a town may contain good subjects; 
but it can have no active citizens. 

Another important fact is, that the township of 
New England is so constituted as to excite the 
warmest of human affections without arousing the 
ambitious passions of the heart of man. The offi- 
cers of the county are not elected, and their au- 
thority is very limited. Even the state is only a 
second-rate community, whose tranquil and obscure 
administration offers no inducement sufficient to 
draw men away from the circle of their interests 
into the turmoil of public affairs. The federal 
government confers power and honor on the men 
who conduct it ; but those individuals can never be 
very numerous. The high station of the presidency 
can only be reached at an advanced period of life j 
and the other federal functionaries are generally 
men who have been favored by fortune, or distin- 
guished in some other career. Such cannot be the 
permanent aim of the ambitious. But the town- 
ship is a centre for the desire of public esteem, the 
want of exciting interests, and the taste for author- 
ity and popularity in the midst of the ordinary re- 
lations of life ; and the passions which commonly 
embroil society change their character when they 
find a vent so near the domestic^ hearth and the 
family circle. In the American states power has 
been disseminated with admirable skill, for the 
purpose of interesting the greatest possible num- 


ber of persons in the public weal. Independently 
of the electors who are from time to time called 
into action, the body politic is divided into innu- 
merable functionaries and officers, who all, in their 
several spheres, represent the same powerful cor- 
poration in whose name they act. The local ad- 
ministration thus affords an unfailing source of 
profit and interest to a vast number of individuals. 
The American system, which divides the local au- 
thority among so many citizens, does not scruple 
to multiply the functions of the town officers. For 
in the United States it is believed, and with truth, 
that patriotism is a kind of devotion which is 
strengthened by ritual observance. In this manner 
the activity of the township is continually percep- 
tible ; it is daily manifested in the fulfilment of a 
duty or the exercise of a right ; and a constant 
though gentle motion is thus kept up in society 
which animates without disturbing it. 

The American attaches himself to his home, as 
the mountaineer clings to his hills, because the 
characteristic features of his country are there 
more distinctly marked than elsewhere. The ex- 
istence of the township of New England is in gen- 
eral a happy one. Their government is suited to 
their tastes and chosen by themselves. In the 
midst of the profound peace and general comfort 
which reign in America ; the commotions of muni- 
cipal discord are infrequent. The conduct of local 
business is easy. The political education of the 
people has long been complete ; say rather that it 
was complete when the people first set foot upon 
the soil. 

In New England no tradition exists of a distinc- 
tion of ranks; no portion of the community is 


tempted to oppress tlie remainder ; and the abuses 
which may injure isolated individuals, are forgot- 
ten in the general contentment which prevails. 

If the government is defective (and it would no 
doubt be easy to point out its deficiencies,) the 
fact that it really emanates from those it governs, 
and that it acts, either ill or well, casts the pro- 
tecting spell of a parental pride over all its faults. 
No term of comparison disturbs the satisfaction of 
the citizen ; England formerly governed the mass 
of the colonies, but the people were always sov- 
erign in the township, where their rule is not only 
an ancient but a primitive state. 

The native of New England is attached to his 
township because it is independent ; and his co- 
operation in its affairs ensures his attachment to 
its interest ; the well-being it affords him secures 
his affection j and its welfare is the aim of his am- 
bition and of his future exertions ; he takes a part 
in every occurrence in the place ; he practices the 
art of government in the small sphere within his 
reach ; he accustoms himself to those forms which 
can alone ensure the steady progress of liberty ; 
he imbibes their spirit ; he acquires a taste for 
order, comprehends the union of the balance of 
powers, and collects clear practical notions of the 
nature of his duties and the extent of his rights. 



The town of Burrillville lies in the extreme 
north western corner of the state of Rhode Island. 
It is in latitude 42^, and about twenty miles from 
the city of Providence. 

The adjacent towns upon the north are Douglas 
and Uxbridge in Massachusetts; on the east is the 
ancient town of Smithfield ; Glocester lies along 
its southern border, and Thompson in Connecticut 
is upon the west. It is of this territory, compris- 
ing an area of fifty-three and two-tenths square 
miles, that we propose to give the history. 

The lapse of two centuries and a quarter, since 
this region was first claimed by the whites, has 
obliterated most traces of the aboriginal inhabi- 
tants. Now and then the farmer's plow turns up 
some rude weapon of Indian warfare, or broken 
fragments of their domestic utensils. Their hunt- 
ing grounds are forsaken, their Cabins are decayed, 
and only purblind tradition tells where they once 


But while Wallum Lake smiles among our 
northern hills, and the Chepachet and Fas-coag 
flow through our valleys, they will never be for- 

Their language is linked with the beautiful 
brooks, whose silvery cascades brighten our hill- 
sides, and it is graven on the imperishable granite 
of the craggy battlements that will forever frown 
over Saxonvale. 

At the time our State was settled, the region 
about here was occupied by the Nipmuc Indians. 
The country was called the Nipmuc dominion. 

This tribe were tributary to the Narragansetts, 
but took advantage of the arrival of the English, to 
shake off their dependence. 

When King Philip, the sachem of the Narragan- 
setts, from his seat on Mount Hope, he ard of their 
defection, he was surrounded by so many bitter 
and implacable enemies, that he could spare no 
warriors, to bring back the deserting tribe to their 

There is a stream in the northern part of Bur- 
rillville, that has always been called the Nipmuc 
River. Certain lands, devised in the will of John 
Inman, an old settler here, are bounded by the 

The river is formed by the union of three little 
rills. One rises in Shockalog Swamp in Uxbridge^ 
Mass., one in Baiting Pond in Douglas, and the 


other has its source in Maple Sap Swamp. The 
river formed by these^ flows southerly through the 
Arnold and D. Salisbury estate^ running through a 
wood called the Pine Swamp, and uniting with Clear 
River at Shippee Bridge. 

There was another tribe called Pas-co-ag In- 
dians. One of our chief villages still retains this 
name. It is a ledgy place, and furnishes among 
the rocks around, a secure retreat for snakes. In 
the Indian dialect, the term coag meant a snake, 
and when they went by this locality they said 
Pass Coag. 

The Mohawk Indians, prior to the old French 
War, were often basking about this region, visiting 
their relatives among our tribes, and uniting with 
them in trapping the Otter on the banks of the 
Iron Mine and Round Pond Brook. 

On the farm once called the "David Inman Place," 
now owned by Smith Wood, Esq. was a cabin, cal- 
led by the old settlers the ^^ Black Hut." This 
was always supposed to be an old Indian wigwam. 
From this settlement they could readily fish in 
Herring Pond or Clear River, or hunt in the ex- 
tensive adjacent forest. 

At the first settlement around Herring Pond the 
whites found only saplings in the woods. There 
were a few great chestnuts and oaks, but the In- 
dians had set fires in the forests, and our ancestors 
fed their cattle upon the wild grass that readily 
sprung from the charred soil. 


Like most frontier settlements, the hamlets of 
the early pioneers in these north-western woods 
were exposed to the incursions of the ruthless sav- 
ages. Their dwellings were furnished with em- 
brasures, and a constant guard was kept against 
the cunning tactics of the red men. But the dan- 
ger could not always be averted, and the horrid 
war-whoop sometimes sounded at midnight around 
the burning home of some white family. Mothers 
with their infants fell beneath the tomahawk, and 
strong men were struck down while bravely de- 
fending their hearthstones. 

Those were still more unfortunate who were pre- 
served alive. After long and weary marches to 
reach some Pequod or Mohegan village, the miser- 
able captives perished under barbarous torture. 
Friendly visitors from the Nipmuc tribe found the 
habitations of their allies a blackened heap of ruins. 
Those who left the settlement at Providence to 
visit their friends on the verge of the wilderness 
broke their hearts when told that they had fallen 
victims to the murderous vengeance of the savage 

We who live in these peaceful times have ever 
been strangers to the hardships and dangers of 
border life. Our dwellings are unguarded, and 
our lives and property secure. Our ancestors had 
the poisoned arrow and the crimsoned tomahawk 
without, and fears and terror within, while we, who 


dwell on the sites of their fallen settlements, have 
none to molest, or make us afraid. The danger is 
past. Tales of sanguinary warfare may occupy a 
winter's evening, but the terrific reality threatens 
no more. Tis only like the memory of some hor- 
rid dream. 

A few years ago a discovery was made by one 
of our citizens which reveals the physical character 
of those with whom our ancestors had to contend. 
In 1836, Capt. Samuel White, in excavating be- 
neath his wood house, found the remains of a hu- 
man skeleton of proportions altogether unlike our 
modern inhabitants. He called several of his 
neighbors to view it, and among them was Doct. 
Levi Eddy. The body was lying upon the side, 
with arms folded, head bent forward, and the knees 
drawn upward. It was exhumed, the bones were 
put together, and all parties were surprised at its 
gigantic height. After surveying it awhile the 
Doctor exclaimed, " He was a bouncer ! he must 
have been as much as eight feet high." 

Was he some tall sachem that ruled in the Nip- 
muc forest before the Pilgrim Fathers landed at 
Plymouth? Had he fallen in the chase, was he 
shot down by a hidden foe, or was this the site of 
a battle field; where he fell shouting his warriors 
, on to the conflict ? Tradition is silent, echo has 
no answer. 

At the base of Snake Hill is a field that has 


always been called the " Indian's Cornfield." Here 
were little mounds, where it appeared that the 
Indians planted their Maize, putting it in the same 
hill each year. The hills are much larger than the 
" Indian Hills " of the whites, which they make 
when they sow rye among their corn at the last 
hoeing. The points were much further apart than 
our present mode of planting. It is now over- 
flowed by a Factory Pond. 

Upon the lower part of the farm now occupied 
by Nelson Armstrong, Esq. are the remains of an 
Indian Wigwam. Within the memory of Moses 
Cooper, who died in 1837, aged ninety-five, there 
was a wigwam there, but it has crumbled away and 
there is only a pile of stones left. These are sup- 
posed to be the material of their chimney. 

Here in the valley, sheltered from the winds, 
and near the confluence of the " Chepa's Sack ' ' 
and " Clear," was a good location. The Indians 
.have always been noted for the selection of the 
best sites, and for hunting and fishing this would 
-be a convenient situation. 

In the Mehunganug Swamp are Cedars more than 
vtwo hundred years old, counting by the grains. In 
these are found a great many bullets. When the 
largest cedar logs are sawed, bullets are taken out 
near the heart. If these were shot into the young ^ 
trees by hunters, it must have been when game 
was larger than at present, for most of our sports- 


men now use sliot for the rabbits, squirrels, and 
" such small deer." 

There is a rumor of a fight between the Whites 
and Indians at this place, but when we were told 
that it was with the Narragansett Tribe, we thought 
our informant might have confounded it with the 
" Swamp Fight," on the banks of the Miskianza or 
Chickaseen river in the western part of the town 
of South Kingston. 

Dea. Duty Salisbury, the oldest man in our town 
at present, has a comb basket or case, given to his 
mother by the Indians of Metaka woods. It is 
woven like a basket, and must be at least one hun- 
dred and fifty years old. 

About thirty years ago, while the Deacon was 
digging for a gate post, he found a bundle of ar- 
rows and several other implements. They were 
in a pile together about two feet under ground. 
One of these was composed of a Porphyritic stone 
of a character unlike any at present to be found in 
this vicinity. 

These scanty relics are all that we can now dis- 
cover of the aboriginal race. Again, we regret 
that in our town the record of legendary lore is so 
barren of romantic incident. Through what mu- 
tations did that race pass who were dominant here 
three hundred years since ? 

Man loves the spot that gave him birth. The 
Switzer clings to his mountain home j old Scocia's 


liills are vocal with the songs of Burns in their 
praise, who joined with the immortal Scott in 
poetic worship of " the land of the mountain and 
the flood j" England; " Merrie England " has pa- 
triot peasants and cultured scholars on the banks 
of the Avon and the margin of the Thames, who 
love the hallowed memories that are woven into 
the lovely scenes of their native land. 

In our New England homes we love to look out, 
over the vallies and up to the hills,, that claim our 
reverence by virtue of the great deeds enacted in 
their presence. And as we walk through the glens, 
or look from the hill-tops of our native town, we 
sigh that there is no story of the life and love, of 
the strong free men, and the dark eyed maidens 
who worshipped the Great Spirit beneath these 
skies three centuries ago. 




Two hundred and twenty years have gone by 
since the axe of the pale faces startled echoes in 
the forest of the Nipmuck, and the wilderness has 
been made to " blossom like the rose." The In- 
dians have disappeared; and the whirr of the spindle 
and the din of the factory bells tell us the Anglo 
Saxons rule here. 

The smoke from the red man's cabin no longer 
curls above our pine tree tops and the chiefs who 
ruled in northern Ehode Island have gone to sleep 
with their fathers. 

It was not long after the settlement of Provi-- 
dence, before the whites made inroads upon the 
wilderness in this direction. John Smith came 
from the northern part of that settlement, with his 
axe and wallet of victuals, and felling trees across 
the streams, he traversed the woods till he came 
to a spot near what is now called the " Tar Kiln 
Saw Mill." Here he found the stream — on which 


several mills liave since been built- — and thinking 
it a good site, concluded to settle there. 

He looked the forest over, going out into Horse 
Head Woods, and around the foot of Hen Hill, but 
at last pitched upon a spot in the side of a hill 
near where the Urania Smith house now stands. 

When his victuals was gone he went back to the 
city and his brother and several other adventurers 
came out with him. The spot they had selected 
was sheltered from the windS; and water was 
easily had from the brook near by. 

There was game in the forest then, and they 
managed to live by an occasional visit to the city^ 
until they had made a clearing and the yellow 
maize gave them the staff of life. 

At one time almost all that part of the town 
was occupied by the Smith family. They are all 
descendants of the hardy pioneer, who felled the 
first tree and built the first cabin in East Burrill- 

There is a family in our town, who trace their 
pedigree directly to the founder of Rhode Island. 
Eufus Williams, Esq. dwells on the site of the old 
house erected by his ancestors, when the settle- 
ment at Providence was new. Belonging to the 
original farm was a large part of the land that 
now constitutes four. Two large oaks that tradi- 
tion had assigned, for part of its boundary, have 
been felled within twenty years. The old house 


stood a few feet to tlie East of the present one, 
just at the edge of the garden. No vestige of it 
now remains. 

When the forest was but partially cleared, our 
ancestors must have derived a great portion of 
their subsistence from the animals then abundant. 
They depended much upon venison. In A. D. 1728, 
in the reign of King George the Second, the colo- 
ny made a law to preserve deer in this State. No 
deer were to be killed between January and June. 
A violation of this decree was punished by a fine 
of thirty dollars. 

To a citizen of this modern town, it will not 
seem improbable when we suggest that the last 
deer of Rhode Island was shot on the margin of 
Wallum Lake. The hunter who pursues a few 
half starved rabbits, among the bushes in the 
northern part of the town, is vexed as he remem- 
bers that the lofty hill that lifts its bosky summit 
above Eagle Peak, has always been called Buck 
Hill. If he could see the red deer bound along 
the banks of Pascoag river, or dash through Doug- 
las woods, he would be better paid for his toilsome 
sport. The prowess of our factory boys now 
manifests itself in a terrible slaughter of chip- 
mucks and pigeon woodpeckers, it may be with the 
same old iron bound smooth bore that their ances- 
tors used<, to shoot Nipmucs and black bears. 

The only deer that has been seen in Burrillville, 


within the memory of the " oldest inhabitant/' was 
a tame one, owned by Capt. William Rhodes. He 
placed it in the centre of a load of goods, giving 
it a chance to put its head out; and so it was 
brought from Providence, to Rhodesville. For 
many years it was kept upon his premises, and 
was a great curiosity to the country people, many 
of whom had never seen a menagerie. 

There is a man at Brandy Hill in Thompson, 
Connecticut, whose grandfather told him about 
seeing deer in that region. They came out upon 
the plains between the Wallum Lake woods and 
the hill. A man in the eastern part of our town, 
who is himself old, tells us what the old people 
used to tell him about the animals of those parts. 
One man saw nine deer at one time run out from a 
clump of wood, near what is now called Mount 
Pleasant, and he could watch the tossing of their 
antlers but a few moments before they were so 
far down the valley as to be lost to his view. 

Many years ago, before the factory dams were 
built, certain kinds of fish came up our streams in 
the Spring, to deposit their spawn in our ponds, 
and in the Fall the new stock would descend to 
the sea. Alewives and Herring were among the 
varieties, and one of our ponds still bears the 
name of Herring Pond. 

Sometimes they have been known to fill the 
streams at the fording-places so that it was diffi- 


cult to cross while the slioal was passing. They 
were taken by the farmers in considerable quanti- 
ties and used as fertilizers. 

Since the factories were built here our stock in 
the rivers is limited. In the ponds the sport is 
better. An expert can get a " mess " in a short 
time in Wallum Lake or Sucker Pond, but the 
" fisherman's luck " of those not used to it is small. 
Sometimes when "it rains so hard we cannot work" 
we take a boat and frequent the coves of these 
ponds, and a full string rewards us for our pains. 

There were once wolves in Burrillville. There 
are " wolf pits " on the west of Paulson's shingle 
mill. The old settlers used to trap them by dig- 
ging deep pits, with the bottom full of sharp stakes, 
and the surface lightly covered and well baited. 
A hill in this region still retains the name of " Wolf 

The Salsbury family were among the first who 
settled in the central parts of Burrillville. Ed- 
ward Salsbury the father of Duty Salsbury, of 
Pascoag, was formerly a resident of Smithfield, 
E. I. He enlisted in the old French war, with 
the assurance that he would not be called upon to 
leave the town; but his regiment was soon or- 
dered to New York, and out to Lake Erie. He 
was engaged in building Port Stanwix. He care- 
fully saved his wages, and at the close of the war 
purchased three hundred acres of land on the east 
side of Herring Pond. 


Not a rood of it was cleared. He built a rude 
cabin, and removed his family to it. Duty Sals- 
bury remembers when they come across the Branch 
Bridge in a cart drawn by oxen. There were no 
wagons then, and those who had horses only used 
them with the saddle. 

The boy sat at his mother's feet, and his father 
guided the oxen along the rude paths until they 
come to the solitary hut, which was to be their 
future home. There were five other children, and 
these trudged along in sturdy defiance of bushes 
and brakes. 

A little spot was cleared around their cabin; 
they had one cow ; the woods supplied them with 
game, and the pond with fish. The revolutionary 
war began. Edward Salsbury had six bushels of 
corn. He took this to Hunt's mill, at the place 
now called Eound Top, and brought home six 
bushels of meal. A day had scarcely past when 
three guns were fired at Providence, and answer- 
ed at various points, untilt he echoes went over 
Herring Woods. They were the alarm guns to 
call the minute men. The woodman must lay by 
his axe and shoulder his musket. Edward, taking 
a hasty farewell of his family, telling them he did 
not know when he could return, if ever, and bid- 
ding them be frugal of their little stock of pro- 
visions, shouldered his knapsack and joined his 
comrades in arms. 


For six weeks the family lived on such food as 
could be prepared from Indian meal, with salt and 
water, for their cow was dry. When they had 
milk they fared much better, for they could then 
have " hasty pudding, pudding and milk, and milk 

Twenty years later the youngest boy, whom we 
now always call "Deacon," (he holds that office in 
the Baptist Church,) left the homestead and mov- 
ed to the place now called Pascoag. It is almost 
seventy years ago that he began to battle with the 
wilderness there. Now there are seven factories 
in a circuit of a mile, coaches run through the 
valley where he snared the first partridge, and the 
mason's hammer rings on the ledge where the fox 
hid himself from the pioneer's rifle. Nothing re- 
mains of the old, save the rocky hill, whose thun- 
der splintered battlements seem to fortify the vil- 
lage, and the name the Indian gave to the river 
and the valley. 

We shall never forget the worthy Deacon, with 
his silver hair, stern independence and sturdy piety. 
His stereotyped exhortation of " I believe religion 
is a good thing, the Lord has been good to me," 
has been repeated for three-fourths of a century, 
and now, in his second childhood, he repeats it 




That resistance to legal authority that finally 
ripened into the " Shay's Rebellion," was com- 
menced in Burrillville. There was a class at the 
revolution, called reformation men, who would not 
fight, and refused to pay the onerous taxes imposed 
to defray the expenses of the war. 

One day an officer, with three men to aid him, 
distrained some cattle belonging to farmers, in the 
neighborhood of what is now called the Phillips 
place. A mob was formed to rescue them. The 
officers were pursued, and overtaken just as they 
crossed the bridge to the N. E. of Pascoag village. 
Beyond the bridge was a dense wood. 

Here commenced a scuffle, the farmers well 
knowing that if the cattle went over the bridge 
some of them would be carried away. The offi- 
cers were overpowered, and the animals were 
driven back to the farm yards. My informant 
stood by and saw it all. He was a lad of thirteen 


then, and in the employ of the man resident on 
the Phillips place. 

The next morning an officer called upon the 
principal conspirator. The officer was a well 
known neighbor, and not being suspected was wel- 
comed into the house. " Have you any tobacco ?" 
asked the agent of the powers that were. " By 
the Lord ! no," was the reply of the insurgent, who 
answered with his favorite phrase ; but he said he 
would call his fellow, he believed he had some. 
The comrade was called, and here the rest of the 
officials rushed in, and the chiefs were taken. Here 
were two of them. Four more were soon secured,, 
and they were marched to Chepachet, to undergo 
an examination. The people of the vicinity assem- 
sembled, and followed them, intending to rescue 
them, as they had their property. 

An eye witness says, he " never saw so many 
folks in Chepachet, except in the Dorr time.'.' The 
mob entered the CoTirt Room, and set the prisoners 
free. A messenger was sent to consult Judge 
Steere. He was a man of considerable influence 
and a resident not far from Chepachet. 

Said he to the nuncio, " I must see the Governor." 
The Judge ordered his horse, and posted to Provi- 
dence to lay the case before Governor Fenner, 
This was not the only time that neWs was to be car- 
ried to the occupant of the gubernatorial chair that 

treason was rampant in Chepachet. 

26^ BlfRUlLLYlLL-£^j 

The Governor sent a message to the leaders of 
the rioter S; that if they would proceed no further^ 
the pcist should be overlooked. The smnesty was 
accepted, but it did not prevent the occurrence of 
another riot, soon after. Several were arrested 
and lodged in the State Jail, but they were soon 

The excitement went over the border. A fight 
with fists and clubs took place in Douglas, and in 
the western and northern towns of Massachusetts;. 
powder and balls were used. But, after the defeat 
af Daniel Shays, wlio taok the lead of the movement 
in that State, the riataus proceedings abated. 

In those days there were many tories. No mars 
knew who might be his enemy. The officers often 
abused their authority. The taxes were exorbi- 
tant, but the extortions of the tax gatherers were 
a greater grievance. 

A cow would be sold at auction, to pay a tax-, 
and if it brought fifteen silver dollars, the Stat© 
might get five, the officer five, and five paid the 

The same animal wo-uld bring one liundred dol- 
lars of the paper continental currency. The peo- 
ple had been often cheated. The large woods, now 
called the " Pine Woods," east of Harrisville, was 
ofnce sold for fifteen hundred dollars of the conti' 
nental money, but a tender being made of a pair 
of oxen the lot was regarded as paid for. 


John Inman the first, as he was called, could 
point to twenty cows in his yard when the war be- 
gan. At its close he had but one. A gray-haired 
furnier tells us, he has killed a calf, tied the meat 
an a bag, and slinging it across his horse's back, 
gone through the woods, a score of miles, to the 
city of Providence, and sold it to get money to help 
pay his taxes. We, of later days, know little of 
the privations of tliose who lived in " the times 
that tried men's souls," and who have cleared the 
forests, dammed the streams, and fenced the land, 
for their less hardy descendants. 

Perhaps such brief review as we may be able to 
give of the customs of our ancestors, may not be 
altogether uninteresting. No record has ever been 
collated that gave us an .account of the manners 
and habits of the primitive inhabitants of Burrill- 
ville, and what little we have been able to gather 
of ancient modes of living, has been by transient 
conversation with our old people, and the hered- 
itary rumors of traditional gossip. We have en- 
joyed the privilege of several conversations with 
Dea. Duty Salisbury, whose great age and very ex- 
cellent memory well fit him for a review of long- 
ago. The Deacon's father could remember when 
there was but one house from Providence bridge 
to Olneyville. 

The men of those olden times were much larger 
than mo^t of our young men. 


Their stalwart forms would present quite a con- 
trast with the trim appearance of their degenerate 
posterity. Among tlie amusements of olden times 
were trials of strength, in various ways. Lifting, 
wrestling, or mowing, were some of the modes by 
which those feats were performed. 

Most of the inhabitants of Burrillville will re- 
member Otis Wood, Esq., one of the men, who, in 
his massive physical proportions, resembled the old 
settlers. He was once at a Cattle Fair, at Wor- 
cester, Mass., where the power of a yoke of oxen 
to sustain a weight upon their necks had been 
tested, by attaching them to a cart heavily loaded 
with stones. The oxen were detached and several 
men in the crowd tried to lift the cart-tongue with 
the stones still aboard. No single man had done 
it. Otis stepped forward, and putting his brawny 
•hands under it, took it right up. " Where did you 
come from?" was the inquiry, on all sides. ^'From 
Burrillville, in Rhode Island." ^^Have you any 
more men like yourself down there ?" ^^ Oh, yes ! 
some who are a good deal stouter than I am." 
" Well ; we don't want to see them, then." 

In those days of giants, Esek Phetteplace was 
considered the stoutest man in town. These great 
men loved to exhibit their power. If they heard 
of a rival anywhere, they would take some pains to 
meet him. 

I have heard an old man tell of those matches 


Emong the old wrestlers. At one time, Paul Dud- 
ley took hold with Stout Raymond. The place 
where they met was upon a barn floor. The scaf- 
folds on either side were covered with eager and 
noisy partisans. Brandy was esteemed a luxury 
then, and at these gladiatorial combats, all hands 
were merry. 

Dudley " filed " his opponent, which sporting 
term then meant, bringing him upon his knees. 
Dudley's admirers hurrahed, and the friends of 
Stout Raymond clenched their teeth, as they in- 
tently watched the scuffle. Again Raymond got 
^^ filed." The spectators crowded to the edge of 
the soaffold to peer over upon the combatants, and 
swear their defiance at the opposite party, Ray- 
mond's case looked doubtful for '^ three files made 
a throw," and the powerful Dudley, stimulated by 
his success, grasped him with confidence. In a 
moment Raymond was stretched at full length upon 
the threshing floor. The scaffolds were instantly 
cleared, the men of each party attacked the others, 
and a furious and bloody medley ensued. 

Such were the brutal pastimes, in this portion 
of the " Plantations," among the rough old settlers, 
who had developed their burly strength by wrest- 
ling with our forest oaks. 

At the period that succeeded the Revolution, the 
food of the people here was coarser than at pres- 
ent. They had enough, but it was not tortured 



into tlie unhealthy compounds that modern cookery 
has devised, to the ruin of the human stomach. 
Boys and girls grew fat on mush and milk, our 
grandmothers relished their own home-brewed and 
brown bread, and our sturdy, paternal grand ances- 
tors became tall and stout by virtue of pork and 

When the war broke out, they were deprived of 
the few foreign luxuries they had before enjoyed. 
They could get no tea, and they found a substitute 
in a beverage made from Red Root, sometimes 
called Even Root. They made sage tea, and from 
the inside bark of the chestnut they prepared a 
kind of chocolate. While our brave sires were on 
the field of battle, their wives at home were gos- 
sipping patriotically as they sipped a beverage for 
which they thanked no British king. 

Our men, in those times, wore a sort of pants 
called " Petticoat Trousers." They are sometimes 
seen now upon the stage. What would one of our 
modern fops think, could he meet a fine gentleman 
of the old school, with his small clothes, bright shoe 
buckles, military platckets, and powdered wig. 

The ladies could not indulge in the fashionable 
finery of modern extravagance. The first calico 
gown worn in Burrillville was the acquisition of a 
belle of Pascoag, a sister of Duty Salisbury. Calico 
was calico in those days. Ten acres of land would 
be given for a single dress. 


It may seem superfluous to refer to the liooped 
petticoats, once so fashionable among the dames of 
Burrillville. We have seen the custom as large 
as life. Our modern maids and matrons have rus- 
tled through our drawing rooms, and promenaded 
our streets, in all the munificence of the antique 
garb, while we demurely whispered ', 

" Can such things be, and overcome us like a summer cloud, 
Without our special wonder?" 

The shoes of the girls of 1750 were made of vel- 
vet, and sometimes of a stuff called durant. They 
were home-made. They would tie them in their 
pocket handkerchiefs when they went to meeting, 
and put them on when almost there. Many old 
women went all the way barefoot. 

Men rode much on horseback in those days. They 
learned their horses to pace, and their gentle gait 
would be as easy as a cradle. There were no 
wagons here then, and on Sunday morning, John 
and Judy would mount the same horse, and jog 
away to church, conversing , in friendly phrase, as 
man and wife should. A modern riding- dress would 
have cost a farm. 

When men began to ^^wait for the wagon" they 
took pains to break up the racking gait of their 
low-stepping nags. They would place rails in their 
path, twenty feet apart, these would compel them 
to abandon their shuffle trot, and pick up their 
limbs, as the steeds of our day do. 


The dwellers in tlie east part of Burrillville, two 
hundred years ago, lived in log huts. Old John 
Esten had a log house, in the neighborhood where 
a number of families of this name still reside. 

It was all woods, and the woods were full of 
bears. There were only small clearings around 
each hut, and the gun and fishing rod were used 
as often as the hoe and axe. 

The food of the pioneers was of the coarsest 
quality. They often made bean porridge, a dish 
never tasted by this generation. The old pantry 
chorus : 

" Bean Porridge hot, and bean porridge cold, 
Bean Porridge best, when nine days old,** 

is oblivious of meaning to the moderns. 

Sometimes this plural aliment became sour, then 
old Zebedee Hopkins used to boil walnut chips 
with them " to sweeten 'em." People were " rug- 
geder then than they are now." Mr. John Esten 
made chocolate of maple sap. The trees grew by 
a brook near the residence of George Walling, Esq. 
When the maple sap ceased running, he boiled 
maple bark, to make his daily beverage. 

Among the first wants of the new settlers was a 
place for public worship. The few who had not 
imbibed the infidel sentiments, so prevalent during 
the war, were desirous of erecting a church. The 
first church was built by the Freewill Baptists. A 


lottery was instituted, and tlie proceeds devoted 
to the erection of the building. It is now used for 
our Town House, but for a great many years it was 
called the " Burrillville Freewill Baptist Meeting 

It was apparent that the revenue from the lot- 
tery would not complete the edifice, and a sub- 
scription was set on foot. They had not agreed 
upon its location. The dwellers at Rhodesville 
wanted it at that place ; the people around Pas- 
coag would like to have it nearer them. It was at 
last decided that the side of the river where the 
people subscribed the largest sum should have the 
house. The greatest amount was obtained upon 
the west side, and the house was begun. 

When raised, and partly covered, the funds gave 
out, and the work stopped for some years. An- 
other effort was made to finish the lower part, but 
when half the pews were up the exchequer was 
again empty, and the Society offered to give Dea. 
Salisbury the upper story if he would finish the 
house. He was a carpenter, had a saw-mill near 
Pascoag, owned plenty of timber, and he accepted 
the offer. A high steeple was first put upon it, but 
about 1812 it was found to be leaky around it, and 
it was sawed off. A great crowd gathered to see 
it come down. 

A long rope was attached to it, hundreds of 
hands seized it, and it came to the ground with a 


crash that splintered it into kindling wood. When 
it fell it reached almost to the road, which those 
who have been by there will remember, is a good 
way from the house. The house was covered anew, 
and the porch built to it. A few years later it was 
offered to the town, upon condition that they would 
keep the outside in repair. The inside is a curi- 
osity. There is a lofty pulpit, above which is a 
painting representing cherubim, but a most rude 
and shabby daub. The pews are square pens, with 
seats on the four sides ; a third of the congrega- 
tion sitting with their backs to the speakers. Per- 
haps there is no building in our town so heavily 
built. The timber is massive, and its appearance 
will give us some index to the character of Burrill- 
i^ille forests an hundred years ago. 




On tlie margin of Round Fond, in Buck Hill 
Woods, is a cave, where a nest of counterfeiters 
once worked. They called the place Newport; 
when they talked with each other before strangers* 
It was only a new jport on the shores of the round 
frog pond. The members of the gang lived in the 
region now called Burrillville, and in the adjacent 
towns. Silver money was rare then. They made 
old Eighty-six, and Spanish milled dollars.. 

The cavity in the rock that led to their den was 
hidden behind the trunk of a large rock birch, and 
covered by a flat stone. Parts of the forge and a 
pile of cinders were lately to be seen there. The 
aperture where the smoke came out was about 
thirty feet from the door. 

They made two sorts, plated and mixed. The 
plated were easily tested. If suspected, a knife 
soon cut through the thin silver coat and revealed 
the copper on the amalgram. One of the gang 


went one evening to a hotel at Brandy Hill. He 
became very tipsy and having the ready in his pos- 
session, he lavished it freely and spent several sil- 
ver dollars in treats. The large crowd stared. 
Where did he get so much specie ? The thriving 
farmers around could hardly find enough to pay 
their taxes with, and how could the idling swag- 
gerer be so flush ? The rumor of a swindling game 
gained credence. The bar keeper looked at the 
dollars and found them ^all of the same date. 

The man was arrested, and when charged with 
the crime, confessed it. Several of his confeder- 
ates were taken and brought before a justice at 
Chepachet. The cave was searched. The tools 
were found and produced in the court room. The 
old " bogus " was produced and the chief of the 
gang brought forward for examination. He was 
cool and cunning and evaded the questions. 

Critical mechanics had examined the modus-ope- 
randi of the counterfeiting apperatus, and it was 
suggested to the court that the key that pressed 
the die must be struck fairly and squarely or one 
side of the coin would be thicker than the other. 
The court would know whether the chief was an 
expert or not. The ordeal was known only to a 
few who were conducting the prosecution. 

The prisoner could only see the game by his 
quick shrewd musing, when the hammer was put 
into his hand. The dies were placed in the "bogus," 


t-iie prisoner was asked to strike the key, and the 
adroit schemer did strike a blow, that, to use his 
own language as he told it afterwards, '- brought 
the dollar clean to an edo-e on one side." 

Some were satisfied that the bungling specimen 
before them was the work of an innocent man. But 
others knew the craft of the chief, and the exam- 
ination went on. Soon a witness said that one of 
his neighbors, who was a clothier, had promised 
his cloth screw to the counterfeiters. This clothier 
was son-in-law to the justice. He looked around 
the court room, and saw sympathy for the prison- 
ers, for already many of the first families for miles 
around had been implicated. The rigor of the 
questioning was abated and the accused soon dis- 

In later years, common report linked one and 
another with the plot, but no legal process was 
used to bring them to justice. The visions of 
wealth grew dim, that had lured men from the 
path of honest toil, to secure ill-gotten gold — the 
bubble burst, and left them poorer than ever. A 
stain was upon their reputation for all their after 

Among the natural curiosities of this town, one of 
the most singular is a cave sometimes called " Coop- 
er's Den." It is located on the road leading from 
Glendale to the old Stephen Cooper house, now 
occupied by John Paine. There is a high jagged 


ledge just in tlie verge of a wood. We remember 
ten years ago, standing on the summit of this pre- 
cipice, with Calvin S. Keep, an old teacher of Bur- 
rillville. We dropped a stone while Calvin held 
his watch, to see how many seconds it took for it 
to fall, that he might thus calculate the distance. 
We have forgotten how far it was, but it is the 
highest rock in Burrillville. A few days ago we 
went there again, to explore the cave. Climbing 
half way up the cliff, by clinging to the rocks and 
bushes, we found a narrow opening through which 
we crawled and soon found ourselves in an irregu- 
lar room about 8 feet wide, 12 high and 30 in 
length. There are apertures where the light can 
enter. It looks as though the rocks had been vio- 
lently cleft asunder by some tremendous subter- 
ranean convulsion. It was a fearful looking 
place. It was twilight when we entered, and the 
dim shadowy appearance made ns shiver; we 
remembered the rumors we had heard of snakes, 
our fancy made frightful forms of every jutting 
'Crag, and we were glad to emerge- into sunlight. 
'The rocks were so poised as to seem in momen- 
tary danger of falling. There is a tradition that 
here too silver money was coined. It was when 
all this region was forest, and the lonely cavern 
afforded a secure retreat to the company. No 
one would be likely to find them, unless some hun- 
ter might chance to stumble upon them in pursuit 
of game that should run into this ledgy covert. 


The place is sometimes called ^ The Forger's Cave.' 
Standing outside, the frowning rocks seem prop- 
ped by the chesnut trees that lean against their 
sides. Large fragments appear to have been bro- 
ken off by the frost, and rolled down the hillside. 

Parties picking berries often come to this locali- 
ty and merry shouts peal among the rocks. The 
broken echoes rustle down the valley startling the 
timid hare in the brake and causing the crows to 
make their way farther into the rooky wood. 

On the farm of Smith Battey, are found beauti- 
ful specimens of chrystalised quartz. They are 
regular in form, and although not so dense as some 
diamonds, they will make a slight mark on glass. 
They are translucent, some of them are deli- 
cately tinged with purple hues, while a few of the 
smallest are yellow. 

Lapidaries find them too minute to work to ad- 
vantage while they can get those of the same quali- 
ty from the Old World in large blocks. Some of 
the jewellers of Providence obtain stones of the 
ame sort at Bristol R. L, which they set in gold 

A few years ago. Dr. Cliandler, Dentist, of Paw- 
tucket, paid a visit to Burrillville, and examined the 
diamonds on the Battey farm. He has made some 
experiments with them, as a material for the man- 
ufacture of mineral teeth. They worked well and 
he has already composed several complete sets. 


111 tlic same locality we found shining particles 
of earth resembling silver, which an analysis proves 
to be decomposed isinglass. A little to the north- 
west of Smith Battey's residence, on his farm, is a 
large rock upon which an excavation is to be seen 
which will hold several quarts, and it is rumored 
that it was made hj the Indians as a sort of mor- 
tar in which to pound corn. It is evidently artifi- 
cial. The position makes it improbable that it 
could have been made by the action of water. Per- 
haps this was the red man's grist mill, when the 
Nipmucks ruled lord of the ascendant in the forest 
of the Shining Brook. 

In the valley of " Muddy Brook," about half a 
mile from its source, was once a bark mill. Unlike 
the mills of our time, the bark was ground between 
stones, and by horse power. One of these stones 
is now the curb-stone of a well near by. The mill was 
small, about a hundred hides a year being tanned, 
besides the woodchuck and squirrel skins that the 
boys prepared, to make whip lashes and money 
purses. It is about thirty years since it was used 
and it gradually crumbled away, its moss grown 
roof fell in, and it assumed an aspect altogether 
interesting in the eyes of the antiquarians. 

A little below the bark mill is the site of the 
turning lathe of Shadrach Steere. Here were 
made spinning wheels, the piano forte of our in- 
dustrious grandmothers. Those solid, oak, higl^ 


backed chairs still to be found in the farm houses 
of Burrillville and the adjoining towns were most- 
made here. Heavy old men who would break 
down in the light fancy chair of modern times 
were safe in the old substantial seat of the quaker 
pattern. At last hoe handles, scythe-nibs and bob- 
bins were turned here. 

The little mill has rotted down, the dam is gone 
and the speckled trout play undisturbed in the 
crannies of the pool where the old floom once 

A few moments at the " Old Paul Place " and 
we close our cursory glances, at old places. 

Not far from the centre of the town, is a house, 
fast crumbling down, which has long been known 
by the above title. It was originally the residence 
of an ancient family of Ballous, a common name in 
this town. A little to the east of the old castle 
are four graves where they were buried. 

It was afterward occupied by Paul Smith. The 
old man met with many misfortunes which gives 
the place a romantic interest. His wife was in- 
sane for many years. She was confined in a lonely 
room, and with none of the appliances with which 
modern science and philanthropy sooth and im- 
prove the stricken mind, she ^ank into hopeless 
idiotcy. One of the sons, an athletic young man^ 
was engaged in a foot race at Slatersville, when he 
burst a blood-vessel and died in a short time. 

42 BURRlLLVlLLir. 

Several families have resided there since Paiit 
Smith died, but the edifice is at present forsaken, 
the moss-grown roof has partly fallen, the massive 
chimney is breaking down and the wild wind shrieks 
through the crazy fabric like the pitiful wail of its 
ruined mistress. The forest is growing up all 
around it, and timersome people do not like to fre- 
quent the place after nightfall. The raven croaks 
hoarsely from the open gable, and the twilight bat 
flits undisturbed through the forsaken and desolate 




We are lovers of nature, and if we do not al- 
ways look witli the critical eye of scientific accu- 
racy, we view with interest the animated creation 
that inhabit our woods and meadows. We hear* 
the whip-poor-will wail out his plaintive story and 
see the night hawk wheel his circling flight. The 
bat is flitting his eccentric course through the twi- 
light, the owl is shrieking out his discordant notes, 
or the wheatear is making shrill music with his rare 

Early dawn gives us the songs of the robin, the 
twitter of the lively wren, and the harsh scream 
of the beautiful jay. A few mornings ago, we saw 
a bald eagle sweep in lofty magnificent curves over 
Pascoag Pond, and launch like an arrow of light 
through the sky far over the wild waste of Mala- 
vera woods. 

We have orioles and humming birds, and then 
we have animals of which we are not so fond, 


The rattle-snakes are not all gone. The ledgy 
summit of Buck Hill, can boast a few of these ven- 
omous reptiles. There is a point, on the North 
side of the road leading from Pascoag to Thomp- 
son, where the cautious hunter does not like to ven- 
ture at some seasons of the year. Occasionally 
one of these snakes may be seen hanging from the 
side of an old barn in that region, where he has 
been nailed by the boys. 

We heard of one a few years ago that was kept 
alive for some months. He was brought to the 
village of Pascoag, where he was looked upon at a 
safe distance by many. Those who did not know 
his clumsy habits thought him a dangerous thing 
to have at liberty. It could not glide rapidly like 
some snakes, and its active keeper could watch its 
contortions and avoid its fangs, while he left him 
to show all his natural motions. But most of our 
readers will agree with us that the deadly Crotalus 
ought not to be at large without having his poison 
teeth extracted. 

Among the unique animals that we have seen in 
this town, was a white rodent. It was caught by 
a brother of the author in a box^rap, set upon the 
top of an old stone wall. It was a little smaller 
than our ordinary red squirrel, but resembled it in 
all other respects except its color. Its eyes were 
red, and its fur as white as snow. 

We kept it in a cage for several months. It 


learned to turn a'wlieel and appeared as active as 
the red, black or grey variety. It was presented 
to a gentleman of Providence, and we have not 
heard of it since. Wliether its hue changed as it 
grew older, whether it still attracts the curiosity 
of amateurs in natural history, or whether it has 
died in its loneliness, we are not able to inform 
our readers, but we assure them an animal more 
perfect in form and motion has never been seen in 
Bur rill ville. 

Black squirrels so numerous in the middle and 
western states are never seen in our woods. The 
grey variety are plenty. 




From 1636 to 1730, the territory wliicli forms 
our town was included within the limits of Provi- 
dence. In the latter year an act was passed by the 
General Assembly of His Majesty's Colony of Rhode 
Island " to incorporate the outlands of Providence 
into three towns." A Committee had been sent 
out by Roger Williams, to survey the parts north 
of the city, and when they looked from Solitary 
Hill, near Triptown, over the barren lands, they re- 
turned and made their report, that " no one would 
ever settle " beyond that point. 

But after the lapse of almost a century, there 
were inhabitants enough to warrant new towns, and 
Smithfield, Scituate, and Glocester, were formed ; 
because " the prudential affairs of Providence had 
become heavy, and burdensome." 

The orio^inal town of Providence extended from 


Seekonk Plains to Douglas. The act of incor- 
poration gave us the liberties and privileges of 
other towns of the State. The franchises and 
protection of the Charter were ours. We could 
elect our officers, we could send two deputies to 
the next General Assembly ; we could send one 
grand and one petit juror to the superior courts ; 
and we could have our proportion of the interest 
of the bank money appropriated to the use of the 
towns of this colony, according "to the sums that 
the lands, lying in our town, were mortgaged for." 
The expense of surveys, roads over our rocky hills, 
money paid to the Indians, for the poor, of which 
there were more than at present, and the many 
burdensome taxes that oppressed the colony prior 
to the Declaration of Independence, had compelled 
the town to mortgage their lands. 

In 1806, Glocester was divided. Since the ju- 
risdiction of Glocester extended over our territory 
for a period of seventy-six years, her archives must 
be searched, that we may form proper ideas of the 
condition of public affairs at the time we commenc- 
ed our corporate existence. 

In 1798 the British currency was employed, and 
pounds, shillings and pence, were the familiar 
terms of financial parlance. A little prior to this 
corn seemed to be a standard of value, and we find 
the town treasury filled with it. December 10th, 
1787, licenses were granted by the town council, 

48 B U R R I L L V I L L E . 

in these words : " To tlie six above named persons 
to keep a tavern in the house wherein he lives for 
one year from this time, provided they maintain 
good order and rule, and pay into the town treas- 
ury each the sum affixed to their names, viz. : ^'No. 
1, six bushels of corn ; No. 2, four bushels," and 
so on. 

The corn was used for the support of the pau- 
pers. Persons were made poor by the the poison 
extracted from corn, and when a citizen had been 
at expense for their maintenance the council voted 
him a compensation in corn. A large part of the 
earlier council records consist of allowances of this 

A little later we find a portion of the currency 
consisting of silver dollars. Some who had been 
dilatory in application for license, were allowed to 
sell, " till the remainder of the year on the pay- 
ment of three shillings." 

In 1791, from nine to eighteen shillings was the 
price of license. 

In 1800, the council voted that a special license 

be granted to , on payment of fifty cents, to 

sell spiritous liquors by the gill on Wednesday 
next. It does not appear what day Wednesday 
was, but we may presume that it was town meet- 
ing or training day. Neither is the result of the 
speculation recorded. 

The number of persons licensed the first year of 
this century was seventeen. 


In 1805; Gloucester began to post her clrimkards, 
but the same year licenses were given to twenty- 
six persons, and they paid $75 into the Treasury, 
as their contribution towards the support of the 
poor, with which the township might be burdened. 

Gloucester, at this date, was twelve miles square. 
The people thought it too far to go to Chepachet 
to Town Meeting, so on the 27th August, 1805, it 
was voted, " That Messrs. Zebedee Hopkins, Seth 
Hunt, Abraham Winsor, Daniel Tourtelott, Bazaleal 
Paine, Joktan Putnam, and Edmund Waldron, be, 
and they hereby are appointed a Committee to draft 
a petition to the next General Assemblj^, to divide 
the town by an east and west line through the mid- 
dle of the town, free from ejxpense, to said town^ 
and signing the petition in behalf of said town. 

On the IGtli April, 1806, they instructed their 
deputies " to use their utmost influence for a divi- 
sion of said town." 

The influence of the Deputies resulted in the 
passage of the following Act : 
An Act to divide the town of Gloucester, and to 

incorporate the north part thereof into a town 

by the name of Burrillville. 

Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assem- 
bly, and by the authority thereof it is enacted, 
That the town of Gloucester, in the County of 
Providence, be divided into two towns, by a line 


drawn westerly tlirongli the middle of said town to 
the line of the State of Connecticut; and that the 
northern half of said town, thus divided and set off, 
be incorporated into a township by the name of 
Burrillville, and that the inhabitants thereof shall 
have and enjoy the like benefits, liberties, privileges 
and immunities, as the other towns in this State 
generally enjoy, and are entitled to. 

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the 
freemen of said town shall, and may assemble in 
town meeting on the third Monday in November, 
A. D. 1806, to elect their town officers, and trans- 
act all other business which by law a town meeting 
may transact ; and that Simeon Steere, Esq., be 
authorised and directed to issue his warrant to any 
constable in the said town of Burrillville, to warn 
the freemen of said town to meet in town meeting 
for the purposes aforesaid, at such place, and at 
such time on said day as he may in his warrant ap- 

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That Messrs. 
Joshua Bicknell, Joseph Rice, and Thomas Mann, 
be, and they are hereby appointed a Commit- 
tee to make an equal division of the poor, now 
supported at the expense of said town of Glouces- 
ter, between the two towns, and also of the debts 
due or owing, and money belonging to the town of 
Gloucester, and of the debts due from the said 
town, which said division shall be settled and made 


in proportion to the last tax assessed in said town. 

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That said 
Committee be authorised and empowered to run 
the division line, afore-described, to set up monu- 
ments and boundaries thereon, and to report to the 
General Assembly at the next session. 

On the 27th October, 1806, the town of Glouces- 

Voted, That Jesse Tourtelott Thomas Owen, Esq-. 
and Col. Elijah Armstrong, be and are hereby 
appointed a Committee in behalf of the tovni of 
Gloucester, to attend the State Committee, to see 
to the division of the Poor, Taxes and Debts be- 
tween the towns of Gloucester and Burrillville. 

The following Report was submitted at the Feb- 
ruary Session, 1807: The subscribers being ap- 
pointed a Committee by the Honorable General 
Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Provi- 
dence Plantations, at their October Session, A. D.. 
1806, to divide the town of Gloucester, in the- 
County of Providence, did on the tenth day of No- 
vember last, agreeably to our appointment, pro- 
ceed to make the division as follows : Began at the 
southeasterly corner of said town, and measured 
the easterly line of said town to the south line of 
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which we 
found to be ten miles one-half and seventy rods ; 
then began on said easterly line, five miles one 
quarter and thirty-five rods from said southeasterly 


corner, and there erected a monument, it being 
sonth eighty degrees, west twenty-three rods and 
eighteen links from the northwesterly corner of 
Benjamin Waterman's dwelling honse ; from thence 
we ran a course north eighty-six and a half degrees 
west; making monuments and marking trees, to the 
easterly line of the State of Connecticut, and there 
erected a large monument with stones : which course 
makes the dividing line between the towns of Glou- 
cester and Burrillville. 

We then proceeded to make an equitable divi- 
sion of the poor, supported at the expense of said 
town before said division between the two towns^ 
and also of the debts due or owing, and money be- 
longing to said town of Grloucester, and of the debts 
due from the said town, which said division we 
made in proportion to the last tax assessed in 
said town, which proportion is as five hundred and 
forty-eight dollars and seventeen cents, to one 
thousand dollars, for the town of Gloucester, and 
four hundred and fifty-one dollars and eighty-three 
centy for the town of Burrillville, of which division 
of said poor, and the debts due to and owing from 
said town, we made a particular statement and re- 
port, and lodged with the town clerks of each of 
the said towns. All of which is humbly submitted 
by your Committee. 



April 20th, 1808, Gloucester Voted, " That Col. 
Elijah Armstrong and Jesse Tourtelott, Esq., be 
and are hereby appointed a Committee to settle all 
amounts, dues and demands which the town of 
Gloucester has against the town of Burrillville, and 
are hereby empowered to call on the town treas- 
urer of the town of Burrillville, in order to close 
all amounts and demands existing between said 

The final legislation of Gloucester upon this sub- 
ject, was in 1809. At the August town meeting of 
this year, it was Voted, " That the town of Glou- 
cester be divided by a northerly and southerly 
line." This appears to have been done for Bun- 
combe, as no action was ever taken upon this vote, 
which seems to be extending the jurisdiction of a 
town "to the fullest extent." But the inhabitants 
of Gloucester were always Democrats par excel- 
lence, and while the ruins of Acote's Fort frown over 
their capital, they will rather enlarge than lessen 
the right of the people. 





The old town retained the original name of 
Grlouccsterj and the new town was called Burrill- 
ville, from the Hon. James Barrill, who was the 
Attorney General of the State of Rhode Island. 

James Burrill was born in ProvidencOj April 
25th; 1772. He graduated at Brown University in 
1788. Choosing the law for his profession, he be- 
gan his legal studies immediately after leaving Col- 
lege, and was admitted to the bar before he attain- 
ed his majority. 

A few years later he stood at the head of his pro- 
fession in Rhode Island. By the General Assembly 
of 1797, and by the people for seventeen successive 
elections, he was chosen Attorney General. 

The decay of his health, and other causes, in- 
duced him to resign that office in May, 1813. In 
1816, he was appointed by the General Assembly 
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, having been 


for several years previous Speaker of the House of 
Representatives, of Rhode Island. The next year 
he "was placed in the Senate of the United States, 
of which he remained an esteemed member until 
the period of his death, Dec. 25th, 1820. 

On the 17th day of November, A. D. 1806, the 
freemen of Burrillville convened in town meeting 
for the first time. Capt. Joktan Putnam was cho- 
sen Moderator, and Daniel Smith, Jr., was elected 
Town Clerk. 

At this meeting it was voted " That Capt. Jok- 
tan Putnam be a committee to attend on the town 
clerk, to wait on the Hon. James Burrill, Esq., at- 
torney general of the State of Rhode Island, to re- 
ceive a set of books that he makes a present to 
said town." These books were to keep the records 
of the town in, and upon each one was this label. 

Presented to the town of Burrillville, 



The first Town Council consisted of the follow^ 
ing persons : 

John Esten, Esq. William Ross, 

Simeon Steere, Esq., Moab Paine, 

Samuel Smith, Levi Lapham, 

Amaziah Harris. 


The division of tlie town was a part of the busi- 
ness of this meeting. Daniel Smith, Esq., and Capt. 
J. Putnam were chosen " a committee to attend the 
Grand Committee in running the dividing line be- 
tween the two townS; and also in settling the said 
town's business." The representatives to the Gen- 
eral Assembly were then called Dejputies. Capt. 
Pitts Smith and Capt. James Olney were elected 
for the February Session. 

The next meeting was December 2d, 1806, fif- 
teen days later. It was " for the special purpose 
of choosing a representative to the Tenth Con- 
gress." The meeting dissolved, then adjourned to 
the Hotel of John Wood, Esq., and it was declared 
to be ^' again in being." It was Yoted " to do no 
business in Town Meeting after sunset." 

Again they met on the 14th of February, 1806, 
and adjourned to the 17th, at the Hotel of John 
Wood. At the meeting on the 17th, when the 
town had existed three months, and the lines had 
been established, it was Yoted, ^^ That the Charter 
of the town of Burrillville, and the Report of the 
States' Committee in the division of the two towns 
be lodged in the Town Clerk's office." 

There had been manifested a disposition to avoid, 
or at least delay the payment of the Grand Com- 
mittee, but at the annual meeting, April 15th, 1807, 
it was Voted " To provide some way to pay the 
Grand Committee." A highway tax of $1500 was 
ordered, and a poll tax of 75 cents. 


August 25th, 1807, the first money tax was im 
posed. It was only $500. The poll tax was 33 cts 
The money tax was to be paid by the first of Dec. 
or interest might be collected of the delinquents 
The custom of the old town in regard to the poor 
was adopted, and they were sold to the lowest bid 
der. This year they sold for $200. 

The town meeting was sold next. June 6, 1808, 
it was voted " That the next August town meeting 
be at Russel Aldrich's upon these conditions : that 
he pay to the town treasurer the sum of $16.25, 
within one week after said meeting, to which con- 
dition said Aldrich agrees, and also voted that said 
Russel Aldrich have privilege to prosecute any oth- 
er persons for selling liquors on that day and 
place." The above is a literal transcript of the 

Here was the first Maine Law in Burrillville. 
Law might be invoked to defend an impolitic mo- 
nopoly, but may not be used to-day to protect the 
liberties of the citizens. We shall see how law 
was again employed in the cause of temperance, 
forty years later. 

It was sold again in September, 1808, with a 
recommend to the town council to grant the bid- 
der a license on the meeting day^. This year it 
was bought for $23.00. In 1810, it was $50.00. 

This year the town council was sold at auction 
as appears by the following vote. "Yoted that 


the privileges of having town council set at their 
houses one year^ be set up at public auction, and 
the highest bidder to be the purchaser." 

In 1812, it was voted that the soldiers drafted 
in this town receive four dollars per month pre- 
mium above the eight dollars they receive from the 
United States. The State quota was 9300 men 
and in 1814 Burrillville voted to pay thirty dollars 
to each man drafted in this town. 

By 1819 it became apparent that the sale of the 
town meeting was a nuisance. It had been carried 
over to the west side of Buck Hill, and the residents 
of the eastern district had to travel a dozen miles 
and along a miserable driftway over the mountain. 
It had been sold at the Jirah Ballou place, and the 
people of the west side swore in their turn. 

A committee was appointed " to confer with the 
Societies of the Baptist meeting house to gain their 
approbation to have the town meetings held at the 
old meeting house for the future." 

From the record of 19th April 1820, it would 
seem that office seekers were less scrupulous than 
the " fierce democracie " wished them to be. It 
was voted " that from and after this date, no man 
shall be elected to office in said town who shall 
give any valuable consideration therefor." 

When, in 1825, an epidemic raged in the town 
of Douglas and Uxbridge in Massachusetts, which 
was supposed to be the small pos, there were a few 


instances of the disorder in this town. The coun- 
cil ordered that " the lands leading from Dr. Enoch 
Thayer's to Mr. Asa Burlingame's be fenced up at 
the east side of the road that leads from Uxbridge 
and intersects with said road; and also the same 
road that leads eastward to the Providence and 
Douglas turnpike road to be fenced up at the said 
pike road, so people shall not travel said road be- 
tween the two fences without permission of the 
said council, owners excepted." 

"Also voted that Dr Thayer's house be consid- 
ered as a hospital for the said disorder and all per- 
sons are prohibited from frequenting it without 
said permission under penalty of the law." The 
road leading by John White's to Enoch Thayer's, 
thence by Peleg Young's was also to be fenced. 
Dr. Levi Eddy was appointed assistant superinten- 
dant of said hospital. 

This legistation seemed to be based upon the 
principle that the health of the people is the su- 
preme law. 

In 1834, there were many complaints for injuries 
received at bridges for want of railing. They 
were not in the excellent condition in which we 
find them now. 

In 1844 it was discovered that the line dividing 
us from Gloucester was not properly established. 

On motion of Eddy Keach Esq., a committe was 
appointed by the General Assembly, to examine 
the survey. They reported that Gloucester had 


one thousand and forty-nine acres more than her 
proportion of the territory. The report was ac- 
cepted and a committee was appointed who rim 
the line anew and the above tract was added to 
our domain. 

There is no doubt in the minds of Rhode Island 
men, that the State line should have extended 
three miles farther to the north. This would have 
have given our town a valuable region now belong- 
ing to the towns of Douglas and Uxbridge. The 
controversy between this State and Massachusetts 
about our northern boundery was finally termina- 
ted by a decision of the U. S. Supreme Court in 
favor of Massachusetts. 

In 1839 the question of license came up. There 
were 101 for granting "Indulgences" and 49 
against it. In 1844, it was voted "that no strong 
drink be brought into the meeting house yard." 
Stands and booths had before this been built around 
the Town House, and the activity of the sales was 
patent upon the common in front, where rings were 
formed around drunken rowdies, who were pum- 
melling each other with a will. 

In 1848, the sale of rum in the adjacent woods 
was made a penal offence. At a later date the 
town seemed unanimous against the licensed sale 
of rum. No licenses are at present granted. The 
temperance reform has been of untold value to the 
town of Burrillville. Despite the curses of dema- 
gogues, the influence that has prevailed in favor of 


sobriety has added much to the security of pro- 
perty among us, guarded many young men from 
the dangers of dissipation, flung its protection over 
many a home, and those noble souls who made 
Burrillville the banner town, and will keep her 
where she is, are deserving the gratitude of all 
who love our best social interest. 

We know that the evil skulks around at twi- 
light, and in the woods, but the bold notoriety that 
characterized it in 1840 will never return. We 
once had twenty-two violent deaths in ten years to 
be traced directly to intemperance. We will now 
protect ourselves. We love, we reverence, the 
blessings and privileges of the fireside, and we 
fling defiance at the ruffian crew who have deter- 
mined to invade them. The scorn of all good men 
shall be upon them, while the shafts of truth fall 
thick and fast into their discomfitted ranks. The 
true man's eyes will see the brand of Cain on the 
brow of one who shall, in 1856, deal poison to the 
inhabitants of Burrillville. 

Our town this year completes its first half cen- 
tury. On the 17th of November, 1856, will be the 
fiftieth anniversary of our first town meeting. How 
few will vote for President this autumn, who voted 
for Thomas Jefferson or John Adams in 1801. 
Most of those whose recollections are linked with 
the 18th century, are gone where the turmoil of 
political controversy will agitate them no more. 




Within the memorj^ of our elderly men there 
were open fields between Mapleville and Solomon 
Smith's. It is now thickly wooded. There was 
once an old barn at the brook in the woods. It 
was used to store the produce of the meadows that 
then stretched through the valley. 

The Harrington house was a little way west of 
the Smiths. The old family burying ground is 
still pointed out, by the road side, just in the edge 
of the forest. 

The family of Harringtons was very large, and 
they were a very thirsty set. One of their cus- 
toms was to tap a barrel of cider on its arrival 
home and drink it all up before it was unloaded 
from the cart. A part of them died there, and 
the rest moved away. Rufus Smith's grandfather 
could discern that when he went by there " the 
air smelled sweeter." 


The old house near Martin Smith's was occupied 
by this family. It has been lately torn down and 
moved away to Buck Hill. There are none of th^ 
name left. Seventy years ago there was a Physi- 
cian by the name of Harrington. He lived in the 
Smithville district. Dr. Bellows, so long a resi- 
dent in the Colwell neighborhood, was one of his 
students. Dr. H, was one of the great men of the 
by-gone generation. 

We will briefly refer to one or two other men 
who will be remembered by some who are now 
living. Joktan Putnam was one of the old inhalv 
itants of Rhodesville. Mr. P. was a great pursy 
man, fond of public employment, rather dictatorial 
in his manners, and a lover of good drink. He 
was for many years one of the assessors of taxes, 
and when men came to him to complain of the high 
rates, he said, to use his own phrase, he " always 
riz the taxes, and soon got rid of the complaints." 
He was chosen the moderator of the first town 
meeting in Burrillville, held Nov. 17th, 1806. 

When they were nearly 70 years of age, he ran a 
race with Noah Arnold, and Joktan beat. So vig- 
orous was the old age of our early settlers. 

He was the owner of the plains at Har] 'ssville, 
and a tract in Herring Pond wood, still called Put- 
nam Pasture. In his political preferences he is 
believed to have been a tor}^ He become involved 
in debt in his old age, and bartered his premises 


at Rhodesville for wild land in tlie town of Sutton, 
Vermont. The land in the above State is still oc- 
cupied by the heirs of Joseph Putnam, and Charles 
Taft, once a resident of Burrillville. 

Another of the old school was William Rhodes. 
When a boy, he was poor. He learned the trade 
of a cooper, and went to the West India Isles to 
work. In his frequent voyages, he learned the art 
of Navigation, and engaging in the more lucrative 
occupation of a Privateer, intercepted many Eng- 
lish vessels on their way to the West Indies, laden 
with sugar and molasses. Pie covered the wharves 
at Providence with his cargoes, and at one time 
felt so rich he ^- did'nt care for John Brown, Clark 
.and Nightingale, nor the d 1." 

He sold his prizes for continental money, and his 
wife urged him to invest it in real estate, but he 
refused. It became almost worthless. Capt. R. 
said it was the only time he thought his wife knew 
more than he did. He bought at Harrissville, then 
called Rhodesville, built the large house on the cor- 
ner, and owned the Otlmiel Young farm, the Smith 
Wood farm, and much land beside. He used to 
ride to the city on horseback. He often took a 
trip to South Carolina, where he owned a store. 
As a mark of his activity, they tell of his standing 
upon a stick of timber thirty feet long, and going 
the length of it at three hops. There are many 
of our old people who well remember Capt. Wil- 
liam Rhodes. 


Every Spring, regular as the singing birds, a 
lone man walks through this town. For forty 
years he has made his annual tour, sometimes com- 
ing several times in a season* We hear of him 
at a distance. He goes to Unadilla, in New York, 
upon his circuit. 

For many years he come with the same dress, a 
wine colored suit. Tradition says this was to have 
been his wedding costume, but he was disappoint- 
ed, and the most marked habit of his sad life was 
the care with vs^hich he cherished this suit. He 
would enter a house and sit a long time musing, 
pensively and silently, never speaking unless ques- 
tioned, living in a world apart, unmindful of all 
the present, his spell-bound memory was wander- 
ing back through the vista of shadowy years, to 
the halcyon days of his prime of life. He would 
ask for thread, and from what was offered him he 
would select the color of his wedding suit, ^nd 
then proceed carefully and patiently to darn the 
threadbare places, and he thus at last acquired the 
name of " The Darned Mam" 

The children know him the country round, and 
he is seldom rudely treated by them. His visits 
among us will soon be over, for he is now an old 
man. The blighted genius, for he had talent, the 
true lover, the melancholy worshipper among the 
ruins of a broken altar, will soon go home. After 
the fitful fever of a love-lorn life, he will rest in 
Elysium, 6* 




We have 103 miles of road. Our highways are 
of all grades, and rim to and from all points of the 
compass. A few years ago our most excruciating 
route was over Buck Hill. But after a series of 
complaints, and the payment of much money for 
damages done there, the town voted to repair it, 
and we have now no better road in all our borders. 
It is so steep, however, that it will need constant 
watching, or the rains will ruin it. 

We have 14 miles of stage road. A coach runs 
daily, from Pascoag to Chepachet, en route for 
Providence. Another leaves Pascoag every morn- 
ing to meet the cars at Waterford. These are all 
the facilities for travel, at present. 

The Woonsocket Union, alias the " Air Line," 
runs nine miles in this town. This road was sur- 
veyed in 1853. In March, 1854, the Railroad Com- 
missioners went over the land and made awards to 


the several land owners. Work was commenced, 
and after a large expenditure the hands were dis- 
missed, and the shanties sold at auction. The work 
is, at present, at a dead stand-still. 

The " Woonasquatucket " will extend about 10 
miles in Burrillville. It will run alongside Wal- 
lum Lake and that section, which is thickly wood- 
ed, will receive much pecuniary benefit. The 
beauty of that romantic water will be appreciated 
by those who will ride through Douglas Woods to 
the music of the " steam calliope." We quote the 
following from a Patriot of last winter. Its pa- 
ternity has been attributed to " Horace." 


No stranger who visits the town of Burrillville 
fails to note the dearth of all comfortable means 
of locomotion. Now, in mid winter, it is true we 
have the glibbest sort of sleighing, but this is for 
the elitej for our pleasure seekers. But those who 
are abroad on business, find their loads upsetting, 
our merchants fail to get their goods in due time, 
and our manufacturers wait for their coal. We 
have no Railroad. No locomotive ever startled 
echoes in our valleys, and our people must plod 
long miles before they can take the cars. Our 
older men can remember when the only conveyan- 
ces were the lumbering coaches on the Providence 
and Douglas Turnpike. Lowing herds now range 

68 buhrillville, 

along its deserted sections ; and sheep nibble the 
grass that grows within the ruts. Five hundred 
feet above the level of the sea, we could not even 
have a canal. Those who would see how it looked 
out of the woods, must go over the break-neck road 
across Absalona Hill, and when they greeted sun- 
rise on its topmost summit, they saw the city of 
Providence at a distance that demanded three 
hours of hard travel. Farmers cut wood and drag- 
ged it with slow pacing oxen to the city. They 
converted it into coal and carted it twenty-five 
miles. Many who lustily cried their " char c-o-a-l " 
along the city streets early in the morning, had 
been driving all night. They said " it was a black, 
dirty business, but it brought clean money." After 
a while " Mc'Kenzie's stage " began to run from 
Pascoag to Providence. Mac had served eight 
years apprenticeship on the Hartford Turnpike, 
and he thought he could endure the roads of Bur- 
rillville. Early and late, in shine and storm, mid 
snow and sleet, all weathers, all hours, he drew the 
rein and cracked the whip, — the indomitable Mac I 
He was a clever driver, and it was cheaper to ride 
with him than to go on foot. His muscular form 
seemed to bid defiance to the elements ; in the cold 
of January, and in the sultriness of July he brought 
us the daily mail. "When the muddy turnpike kept 
him back, we could hear his shout in the darkness, 
and the muffled step of his tired horses. But Bur- 


rillville highways were too much even for him. He 
went to California, where he still plays the Jehu 
among the gulches, through the valleys, and along 
the rugged passes of their quartz hills. 

We think we need the railroad. Our farmers 
could then readily avail themselves of the markets 
of Woonsocket and Providence. Our manufactu- 
rers could easily reach Boston or New York. Our 
thinkers find themselves in raj^port with the last 
steamer at Halifax, and the last speaker at Wash- 
ington. Our Sunday Schools go on excursions to 
Rocky Point, and our invalids breathe the salubri- 
ous air of Newport. In summer botanists from the 
city would pluck flowers in our fields, in winter 
orators from the city delight audiences in our halls. 
Sportsmen would come out here. We have trout 
in our brooks, rabbits and partridges in our groves, 
foxes and rattlesnakes, too, among our ledges ! 

The " Woonasquatucket " has just asked the 
General Assembly for a charter. This road, too, 
will hit Burrillville. Two railways ! What will 
become of our interests ? It was predicted by 
some conservatives, that we should be injured by 
the factories. But half a million is now invested 
in our mills, and our town has steadily advanced 
in all the elements of prosperity. Neat, thriving 
villages, and a happy population of villagers, attest 
the value of the loom in Burrillville. And it will 
be so with the Railroad. 


I am told that there has been enough subscribed 
to the Air Line to grade it to Pascoag. There is 
now due from subscribers about $100,000. This 
would enable the contractor to go right ahead with 
it. The best judges of the value of such property 
give it as their opinion that when completed, the 
stock will be among the best in the market; if not 
the best. Not till the Pacific Road is done, and 
the auriferous hills of Oregon, the Sandwich Isles, 
and the treasures of the Eastern Indies make its 
freight, shall we ever see such a road. The chief 
city of New England will, by the Air Line, be link- 
ed with the largest city in America. With a straight 
line and a double track, they may defy all compe- 
tition. Who will tempt the Sound around Point 
Judith and through Hurl Gate, when he might by 
the " lightning train " land in the Empire city soon- 
er ? Give us the Air Line. Those who sell wood, 
and those who buy flour, those who sell cattle, and 
those who buy hay, those who sell books, and those 
who buy papers, those who spin cotton, weave 
shirts, forge axes, plate hoes, or whittle axe-helves ; 
those who want to get to the city in the wmter, and 
those who would escape to the country in the sum- 
mer, will all thank the enterprise that shall build 
the Air Line. 




The author can remember when some of our 
scliools were kept in dwelling houses. Most of 
the school houses were in a dilipated condition. 
They were sure to be set where several roads 
met. The internal arrangements made them unfit 
for school purposes. Some of the scholars faced 
the wall, some were roasted by their proximity to 
the stove, while little martyrs hung with their heels 
dangling above the floor. No means were provi- 
ded for ventilation, and if the cool air whistled in 
at some old cranny in the crazy fabric it was to 
chill and endanger those who were nearest to it. 

It seldom entered the heads of the inmates that 
this rude structure was made to study in, and so 
they mused of mischief, and meditated mutiny. 
The examination of the school-master was made 
by a sporting survey of his pliysioal proportions, 
and if he happened to be of athletic size, dubious 


shrugs telegraplied it round the hall of science on 
the first day of school. 

To be a good boxer was a qualification as impor- 
tant for a teacher in those days as it is for a Con- 
gressman now. I am not sure that the manners of 
some of our members at the Capitol are not the re- 
sult of interest taken in school or college mutinies. 
To thwart the master's wishes, to impose some 
clever trick upon him and escape detection, or to 
rebel against his authority and fling him out of the 
school house, these were deeds that met the ap- 
plause of the majority of the scholars and not a 
few of the parents. 

But changes took place gradually. Better 
school-houses were built, and these were located 
in some retired place, a little back from the high- 
way. The prejudice that those encountered who 
advocated the policy of progress, manifested it- 
self in many ways. Men grumbled about their 
taxes, they tried to outvote those who wanted bet- 
ter houses, they had got all their " larning " in the 
old house and it was good enough for anybody's 
children. In this way the fogies talked themselves 

But the most singular mode of opposition to a 
good edifice was manifested at Mapleville. The 
new school-house, now the old lecture room, was 
just completed. It had never been occupied. One 
morning the passers by found the windows all 

AND AS IT IS . 73 

Smaslied in, not a pane of glass unbroken. A club, 
with which the insolent deed was done, was found 
near by. The criminal was never discovered. 

The District met to repair the ruin. They drew 
several loads of dirt around the house to cover the 
broken glass, and purchased new windows. No 
interference with the building ever took place af- 
terwards. It is standing now a,nd is used during 
this Presidential campaign as a Rocky Mountain 

When the Hon. Henry Barnard was elected to 
the office of School Commissioner for Ehode Island, 
he paid several visits to this town. To him we 
owe the Manton Library, the neat school-houses 
that beautify Burrillville, and the deeper interest 
we all take in the culture of the young. To his 
labors we are indebted for the noble position our 
schools assume to-day. 

When the new school law went into operation, 
the districts were remodeled, and new boundaries 
established. There had been much complaint about 
the boundaries, and the first school Committee con- 
sisting of Messrs. Nelson Smith, Joshua W. Ballcu, 
Lyman Copeland, Asa Paine, Francis H. Inman and 
David P. Harriman, were assailed with numerous 
petitions for a revision of the districts. 

In November 1846, the town voted to instruct 
the committee in relation to this revision, and the 
14th of the same month, the committee met to 



take tlieir instructions into consideration, and em* 
bodied them in the following vote, which was pas- 
sed by the committee : '' That the lines forming the 
bomidaries of the sixteen districts of this town, be 
so amended as to include the home farms of all the 
houses now included in said districts." Thus the 
law remained till the spring of 1856. During the 
controversy in district No. 7, (Harrisville) this 
vote was much discussed. The school committee 
met at the house of Isaac Steere on the 10th of 
March 1856, and taking up the old law, ^^ voted, 
that the same be and hereby is annulled." They 
then ^' voted, that the home farms appertaining to 
any dwelling shall be taxable in the district within 
the boundary lines of which such dwelling house 
may stand." 

Again May 6th 1856, the school committee tried 
their hand upon this question of boundaries of dis- 
tricts with the following result : '■'■ Voted so to 
amend the action of the last meeting in regard to 
the taxation of home farms as to read as follows :" 
"Voted, that the home farms which shall actually 
l}e such at the time of assessment of any tax shall 
be taxable in the districts to which the dwelling 
connected with the said farms shall belong." 

There has been but one printed report of the 
school committee. A report has been presented 
annually, but Burrillville has no printing press, and 
we are an economical people. The report of 1847, 


penned by Francis H. laman Esq., was printed by 
order of the town. The motion was made by Sol- 
omon Smith Esq., who was '^ afraid we shonld nev- 
er haA^e another so good, for one important mem- 
ber of the committee was about to remove from 
the State." The printing was done by Col. S. S. 
Foss, at Woonsocket. This is the nearest press. 
It is ten miles from the centre of Burrillville. 

The Committee prepared a set of rules, had fifty 
copies printed, and a copy was posted in each 
school room in the town. These have furnished a- 
standard of school-room manners. The neat as- 
pect of the modern rooms has nurtured respect for 
the place and improved the conduct of the pupils. 
But the great influences that have produced refine- 
ment in the deportment of our students have been 
the employment of female teachers, and the intro- 
duction of music as a relief to the tedium of con-^ 
stant study. The rude young man who would re- 
sist the will of a master, VA^ill cheerfully comply 
with the commands of a smilins: schoolmarm. It 
lias been suggested by some who have the reputa- 
tion of our national assemblies at heart, that it 
would be well to send a few strong minded women 
to Washington to hold the balance of power in 
the American Senate. The suggestion will be se- 
riously thought upon. 

The committe of 1847, introduced a uniform set 
of school books. This lessened the labors of the 

7G B U R E I L L V I L L E . 

tcaclior and it was better for the scholar. They 
established a depot for the sale of suitable books 
in town. Three sessions of a teachers institute 
were held; and the ideas imparted have exerted a 
beneficial effect upon the schools of our town. 

Our school-rooms have neat desks, the walls are 
adorned with maps and diagrams, and the teacher's 
desk is filled with a good assortment of apparatus. 
The great want is a school district librar}^, and we 
hope the suggestion of our present commissioner 
will be carried out by the General Assembly and 
our tcliools in common with those of the State, be 
furnished with good libraries. 

There is but one, public library at present in the 
town. At Pascoag is the ^'Manton Library." It 
contains about nine hundred volumes. Here our 
citizens can find standard history and romance, 
travels and choice biography. The traveller who 
sojourns with us through the sultry summer may 
find his favorite volume upon its shelves. Our 
young people may cultivate a taste for reading, 
that shall chasten and refine their life. In mature 
years when " the fever of the world " is on them, 
they will fling by the carking cares of material in- 
terest, and as they bask in the genial light of lit- 
erature, exclaim with the sainted Channing, '^ God 
be thanked for books." 

In 1823, the farmers about the little hamlet of 
Smithville, collected a library of three 'hundred 


volumes. Rufus Smith Esq. was the first librarian. 
For awhile it was kept at his hotel; which was the 
old red house in the corner of the roads near the 
Tar Kiln Saw Mill. 

It was afterward kept at the Smith Academy, and 
finally removed to the dwelling of Coomer Smith,. 
Esq., who for many years had it in charge. In 
1845 it was divided, and the shareholders took the 
books to their homes. There is now no public li- 
brary anywhere in that neighborhood. 

The following final decision of a case arising un- 
der the School Act will be of interest to the inhab- 
itants of Burrillville. It was in the case of Jo- 
seph 0. Clarke, v. school district No. 7. 

A corporation may bind itself by a negotiable 
promissory note or bill of exchange for any debt 
contracted in the course of its legitimate business y 
that is, in any matter which is not foreign to the> 
purposes of its creation. 

A school district (a corporation under the School 
Act,) gave its promissory note for monies hired to 
discharge debts, incurred in the building of a school 
house, and otherwise : Held, that in so doing it 
was not contracting debts in a manner foreign to 
the purpose of its creation ; and that the provi- 
sion of the School Act, giving this class of corpo- 
rations power to raise money by taxation, cannot 
be construed to forbid a borrowing of money for 
a legitimate purpose. S.Rhode Island Reports 199. 





The habits of inebriation tliat prevailed duriug" 
the Revolution were disseminated through our 
State. The people who dwelt in the territory 
which is now Burrillville, became slaves to the pop- 
ular custom. The settlers who endured the priva- 
tions of life in the forest resorted to the rum-cask 
for the stimulus that should nerve them for their 
daily lal^ors and dangers. 

There was scarce a dwelling in which " the drink' ^ 
was not to be found. The woodman laid the brandy 
bottle in his cabiU; and the mower took his glass 
of West India at the end of each swath. At all 
elections voters were jolly at the expense of the 
candidates. On all festive occasions convivial mirth 
grew rude as the glass went freely round. lie 
who did not drink was a churlish Puritan. The 
child in the nurse's arms sipped the sugared lees 


of tlie glass its father had drained. At weddings 
the bride and groom were pledged in a full bumper. 
At funerals, the guests expected to enjoy the good 
cheer that shortened the days of the neighbor they 
buried. Foaming tankards of brown October, en- 
livened the winter evenings. He who went to the 
house of a friend thought himself insulted if he was 
not asked to drink. 

Whether men heard of a death by intemperance; 
or by lightning, it was with similar emotions. They 
saw no way of averting the fatal necessity. The 
credence of the many had called alcohol a luxury, 
and the coincidence between faith and practice was 
complete. That reform had not yet been inaugu- 
rated, that has since gladdened so many homes, 
and lighted beacons to guide the young past the 
breakers of dissipation. 

An occasional warning v/ould be given, but the 
true remedy was not seen. The clergyman, who 
should have pointed out the woes of the drunkard's 
life, was himself a victim. The teacher, who should 
have guided his pupils along the sunny path of 
healthful Temperance, was whelmed in the mals- 
trom of excess. The press that has since scattered 
so many facts, God's hand-writing against iniquity, 
was then silent, or the medium of Anacreon's songs 
in praise of wine, or the songs ^of modern poets 
who have wreathed their laurels around the brow 
of Bacchus. 


But a better day was dawning. The generous 
voices that spoke for the drunkard had an echo in 
Burrillville. When that reform began that has 
been linked with the name of Washington, there 
were few in our "outland" town to speak in its favor. 

But strangers came to help us. Reformed drunk- 
ards told us their story, and we crowded the old 
school houses to hear them. Then we talked the 
matter over in the bar-rooms, and at the corner of 
the streets, and at the singing school, and the 

We dijffered in opinion. Some thought it was 
all a speculation. Some saw their silver shrined 
goddess in danger and shouted lustily against the 
movement. But we all loved to hear the reformers 
sing, so we went in great crowds to every meeting, 
and concluded if they could do the miracle they 
told us of, we would let them try their hand on 
some of the rosy-faced topers of our town. 

When the " Honest Quaker" made his pilgrimage 
to our town we had nine public and pojndar places 
for the sale of poison. This was in 1844. The 
village of Harrisville had two hotels. This village 
seemed to be the centre of the movement. There 
were but few factory villages in our town then, and 
Harrisville was a convenient rendezvous for the 
friends of reform. It was in the heart of Burrill- 
ville, and it became the residence of several pow- 
erful advocates of progress. Meetings were held 
there each Sunday evening. 


There were gatherings at four places beside. At 
Pascoag, Eagle Peak, Mapleville, and the Bee Hive, 
lectures were given in regular alternation. A spe- 
cial omnibus ran to convey the speakers and a choir 
of singers. Old men and matrons, young men and 
maidens, came to the meetings. There were no 
serious scruples against the employment of the Sab- 
bath for such a purpose. We are not a bigoted 

There was a freedom of speech that made the 
movement popular. Our choir was half the au- 
dience. When they sung " Old Burgundy," or 
" Clear the Track," young men kept time with 
their boots, and old men thrummed it upon the 
seats, as they had beat the " devil's tattoo " on bar 
room benches. If the mood of the speaker de- 
manded a pensive song the sweet " Long Ago," of 
Gough was sung, and the spell of its tender words 
lingered long in the memory of our artless peas- 

Among the prominent speakers was Dr. Christo- 
pher C. Harrington. He was young, talented, am- 
bitious, and liberal. He began the work of tem- 
perance conference meetings, and temperance de- 
bates. With a good memory, a fluent utterance, a 
caustic wit, and a bold, fearless elocution, he was 
well fitted to sway the sympathies of an audience. 

The ire of the friends of rum was awakened. It 
became apparant that the craft was in danger. — 


Several of the lecturers was good looking men, and 
the women were frequenting all tlie lectures. The 
town votes "No License," with only a solitary vote 
for the indulgence. Something must be done. How 
to get rid of the Doctor was the question. It would 
not do to oppose him openly, that would only pro- 
voke his terrible invective, and make him more 

A conspiracy was formed, to use the language of 
one of the conspirators, "to blow him out of the vil- 
lage." A prosecution was instituted against him 
on a charge of larceny. The warrant alleged the 
stealing /)f ^/iree cents worth oj hay and twenty cents 
worth of grain from the barn of Benjamin Mowry, 
Jr., where the Doctor was boarding his horse at 
the time. 

The trial took place in Mo wry 's Hall, and was 
one of the most exciting ever held in Burrillville. 
Christopher Robinson, Esq., of Woonsocket, ap- 
peared for the government, and John P. Knowles, 
Esq., of Providence, for the defence. 

Each side had its partisans. The Temperance 
party saw the reputation of their champion at issue, 
and the opposition knew if he escaped he would be 
more sarcastic and effective than ever. Mere poli- 
ticians looked on with interest, for they saw the 
destiny of the new party involved in the result. 

More than a score of witnesses were examined; 
the lawyers made elaborate speeches ; the Court 


took time to deliberate, and the conclusion was a 
verdict of acquittal. The Temperance men rallied 
around their leader, who, through all the trial had 
maintained the utmost nonchalence, smiling scorn- 
fully upon the array against him. They congratu- 
lated him upon his complete vindication of his char- 
acter, and invited him to lecture in their respective 
districts. The crowd dispersed. The tipplers went 
to drink, their smothered rage scarce allowing 
them to swallow. So ended the second experi- 
ment to invoke the aid of law in the Temperance 
question. i 

There was another lecturer who was not so for- 
tunate in the maintainance of a character amons: 
us. Philander Brown, or, as he called himself, 
Harvey P. Brown, paid us a visit. 

He was a tall, good-looking man, with a plausible 
manner, a good voice, eloquent thoughts and words, 
and he made many friends, some of whom will not 
soon forget him. He lectured in many localities 
in our town, and did good, but his influence was 
neutralized by the ^^ confidence " game that he 
played upon some of our citizens. After a resi- 
dence here of several months he left, several hun- 
dred dollars in debt. Mr. Brown has been unfor- 
tunate, and, perhaps, like many whom we liberally 
curse, he was more entitled to our charitable pity. 

He was of an ardent temperament, and in his 
prime he married the woman of his choice and set- 


tied in central New York. They had one child, a 
daughter, and their home bliss seemed complete. 
But the generous man had bitter enemies. His 
efforts for reform were opposed and his Eden of 
happiness assailed. His heartless opponents saw 
where they could most surely ruin him. They 
trumped up a charge of theft against his wife. Cir- 
cumstances had been skillfully arranged, suborned 
witnesses warped their stories to favor her guilt, 
and she was convicted. When the verdict was an- 
nounced, the impulsive Harvey rushed from the 
court room with his hands clasped on his burning 
brow, his reason with all its " sweet bells jangled," 
and his best memories wandering in the labyrinth of 
delirium. For many months he was a raving ma- 
niac. Then he left the scene of his brief joys, and 
the next news his friends had of him he was in the 
town of Burrillville. 

When he left Rhode Island he went to his old 
home. He met his daughter, now grown almost 
a woman, but maddened again by the recollections 
that clustered around the hearth-stone where he 
saw his heart's best idol shivered, he turned away 
and is now wandering among strangers, the crea- 
ture of circumstances, the ruined plaything of 
demon despots. 

Lecturers sometimes came from Woonsocket, 
to speak at the White School House, formerly 
Smith's Academy. The town became the " banner 


town " in the temperance work. The nine rum 
shops were closed. None was sold except clandes- 
tinly. " No license " was voted for several suc- 
cessive years prior to the passage of the " Maine 
Law." The bar room of one of the prominent ho- 
tels was transformed into a reading room. 

At last the Maine Law was enacted. The first 
case under it was the State vs. A. F. Harris, tried 
Dec. 22d 1853. It was doing a good work when 
the decision of Justice Curtis in the Circuit Court, 
checked it. 

Dealers were emboldened, and the friends of 
prohibition were disheartened. A reckless gang 
came from Woonsocket Falls and opened a rum 
shop, brothel, and gambling house at a place called 
Round Top. 

They defied law. They were just upon the line 
and could run into Massachusetts as a last resort. 
They talked as border ruffians always talk. We- 
were sorry when we heard the plaint of wives and 
mothers in that part of the town. Fifteen war- 
rants were issued and the guilty parties were sent 
to the Court of Common Pleas. But the late or 
and and decision has declared those warrants void 
and the rude bachanalians are more defiant than 

Perhaps this may be as good a place as any, ta 
mention a singular outrage that took place here 


last fall, since some have hinted that it might have 
some relation to those trials. 

The author who was educated for the bar had a 
law office in the village of Harrisville, in the cen- 
tre of Burrillville. There had been no lawyer lo- 
cated in Burrillville for thirty years. Our office 
was the basement of a wooden block built by Smith 
Wood, for a hotel. On the eve of the 5th Novem- 
ber 1855, we left as usual and went to our board- 
ing place. The next morning we found it had been 
entered, our library destroyed, and papers, the re- 
sult of four years of industry, stolen. The library 
had been selected with care. It consisted of the 
best modern text books, and upon the shelves ad- 
joining was a good collation of literary workS; 
which were mostly untouched. 

The books seemed to be laid open by a knife 
running through the back. The leaves were cut 
and carved as though the spirit of a demi-demon 
nerved the Yandal hand that did it. A large pro- 
portion of the books were carried to the verge of 
a wood near by and strewn along the road. Among 
•the papers was a personal journal of five year's 
date, giving a sketch of rambles in New England, 
Canada and New York, during vacations. There 
were many letters and papers of literary value. 
No trace of the perpetrators of this deed has yet 
been found. 

If the malicious act was inspired by hatred of 


our words on acts for reformS; we know tliat the 
thanks of some ready to perisli are ours. No em- 
barassment we have suffered makes us willing to 
forego independence of tliouglit or action. We 
have as many books as ever and can say with Pros- 
pero, " My library is dukedom large enongli." 

We find in our scrap book under date of March 
20th 1855, the following words, ^^ There are rea- 
sons why Burrillville should interdict the sale of 
intoxicating liquors which will apply as well to 
most parts of Rhode Island. 

We have a large manufacturing interest. To 
carry on most of the processes in the factory, so- 
ber men are indispensable. The unsteady hand, 
the besotted mind, the reckless temper, produced 
by alcohol, would be fruitful of evil results ; ma- 
chinery would become disordered, work would be 
neglected ; the hands would disregard the wishes 
of a tipsy overseer and confusion would reign over 
all the establishment. 

Our manufacturers have usually been in favor of 
laws to keep rum from their workmen. Many of 
them have interdicted liquors among their employ- 
ees. They were no doubt incited to this by views 
of interest. But it proves as useful to the servant 
as to the master. The diligence and frugality 
caused by temperate habits is a^good thing for all 

We have among us a large class of foreigners 


who are imbued with the principles of Catholicism ; 
they hare no lofty sentiments to restrain them from 
gross indulgence — the majority of them are unable 
to read. As guardians of the public weal may we 
not demand the enforcement of the Maine Law; — 
surely the ignorance and brutality of this class 
renders it dangerous to allow them the stimulus of 
gin. They have always been kept poor at home 
by their intemperance. The smoke of the distil- 
lery has blackened the beauty of the finest of lands. 
Famine has stalked across her borders. Pesti- 
lence, has sent thousands of imbruted peasants to 
the grave. Philanthropy has somewhat mitigated 
the evil, but the labors of Father Matthew and his 
coadjutors were but partial. Avarice will still mur- 
der its victims and law must interpose. The dis- 
tiller and dram seller must not be allowed to live 
by the misfortune of others." 

We commend to the lover of humanity the fol- 
lowing words of a generous Reformer. The author 
is Geo. S. Burleigh, Esq., of New York. Many of 
our readers will remember Charles Burleigh, a lec- 
turer upon Freedom. He has often spoken at Pas- 
coag and Mapleville. The orator and the poet are 
brothers : 

The article is entitled '• The Wreckers." 




Hark to the roar of the surges ! 
Hark to the wild wind's howl ! 
See the black cloud that the hurricane urges^ 
Bend like a maniac's scowl ! 
Full on the sunken ledges 
Leaps the devoted barque, 
And the loud waves, like a hundred sledges, 
Smite to the doomed mark. 

Shrilly the shriek of the seamen 

Cleavi!S like a dart through the roar; 
Harsh as the pitiless laugh of a demon 
Rattles the pebbled shore ! 
Ho ! for the life-boat, Brothers ! 
Now may the hearts of the brave, 
Hurling their lives to the rescue of otherS; 
Conquer the stormy wave. 

Shame, for Humanity's treason .; 
Shame to the form we wear : 
Blush, at the temple of pity and reason 
Turned to a robber's lair ^ 
Worse than the horriblo breakers, 
Worse than the shattering storm, 
See, the rough-handed, remorseless Wreckers, 
Stripping the clay yet warm. 

Plucking at Girlhood's tresses 
Tangled with gems and gold ] 
Snatching love-tokens from Manhood's caresses, 
Clenched with a dying hold. 
What of the shrieks of despairing '? 
What of the last, faint gasp 1 
Robbers, who lived would but lessen your sharing 
Gold, 'twas a god in your grasp '? 



Boys, in tlieir sunny brown beauty^ 
Men in their rugged bronze ; 
Women whose wail might have taught wolves duty, 
Died on the merciless stones. 
Tenderly slid o'er the plundered. 
Shrouds from the white capped surge ; 
Loud on the traitors the mad ocean thundered, 
Low o'er the lost sang a dirge. 

"Wo ! there are deadlier breakers, 
Billows that burn as they roll, 
Elank'd by a legion of cruel Wreckers, — 
Wreckers of body and soul. 
Traitors to God and Humanity ; 
Circes that hold in their urns 
Blood dripping Murder and hopeless Insanity, 
Folly and Famine by turns. 

Crested with Avine redly flashing, 
Swollen with liquid fire. 
How^ the strong ruin comes, fearfully dashing- 
High as the soul walks, and higher. 
Manhood and Virtue and Beauty, 
Hope and the sunny-haired Bliss, 
With the diviner white Angel of Duty, 
Sink in the burning abyss. 

What if the soul of the Drunkard 
Shrivel in quenchless flame ! 
What if his children by beggary conquered. 
Plunge into ruin and shame ; 
Gold has come in to the Wreckers, 
Murder has taken her prize, — 
Gold, though a million hearts burst on the breakers, 
Smothers the crime and the cries. 




There are many friends of the slave among us» 
Slavery once existed in the territory that is now 
Burrillville. In 1728, two years before the town 
of Glocester was incorporated the General Assem- 
bly of the colonies enacted. 

" That if any child or servant shall refuse to obey 
the lawful command of parent or master, they 
^shall be sent to the House of Correction till they 
have humbled themselves to their parents or 
masters satisfaction, and if any children or ser- 
vants shall presume to assault or strike their 
parents or masters they shall be whipped at the 
discretion of some justice, not to exceed ten 

No slave could be manumitted till the master 
had given " a bond of not less than one hundred 
pounds to indemnify from all charge for or about 
such slave in case he or she by sicknesS; laziness 


or otlierwise be rendered incapable of maintaining 

In 1714, sixteen years before the town of Gloces- 
ter was formed, the colony made the following 
Fugitive Slave Law. It rendered it the legal duty 
of the early settlers among these hills to arrest 
and secure any slave that might escape and travel 
this way, and if there were any who would not 
" conquer their prejudices " and return the flying 
bondmen, the emisaries of King George 11. who 
ruled here then, would hasten to show their devo» 
tion to their master's interest by calling them to 
an account. Here is the law. 

An Act to prevent slaves from running away from 
their masters, &c. 

" Whereas, several Negro and Mulatto Slaves 
have ran away from their masters and mistresses, 
under pretence of being employed in their service, 
and have been transported out of this Colony, and 
suffered to pass through several towns under the 
aforesaid pretence, to the great damage and charge 
of their owners and many times to the loss of their 

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly 
and by the authority of the same, 

That no ferryman or boatman whatsoever with- 
in this Colony, shall carry, convey or transport any 
slave or slaves as aforesaid over any ferry or out 


of the Colonyj without a certificate under the hand 
of their respective masters or mistresses or some 
person in Commission of the Peace, on the penalty 
of twenty shillings to be forfeited to and for the 
use of the Colony, to be recovered upon conviction 
thereof before any two assistants or Justices of 
the Peace of such town where such offence shall be 
committed, and shall pay all costs and charges 
that shall arise on his or their carrying or trans- 
porting any slave or slaves as aforesaid to the 
owner thereof, if not exceeding forty shillings, be- 
fore any two Justices of the Peace, and if above 
forty shillings at the General Court of Trials, by 
action of trespass on the case. And all his Majes- 
ty's Ministers of Justice and all other his subjects 
in this colony, knowing of any slave or slaves 
travelling through the township where they dwell 
without a certificate as aforesaid are hereby re- 
quired to cause such slave or slaves to be taken 
up, examined and secured so as the owners of such 
slave or slaves may be notified thereof and have 
their slave or slaves again, paying the reasonable 
charges arising thereon." 

The above is a law that was in operation when 
Burrillville was comprised within the limits of the 
town of Providence. 

From " broken chronicles of senility " we learn 
that Slavery once existed in this town. The land 


on tlie north- west of Herring Pond was cleared by 
the labor of twenty colored men, who were owned 
by a Mr. Brown, of Providence city. John Inman 
the first, as he is now called by the only man who 
remembers having seen him, was the owner of a 

Moses Cooper, who was a cotemporary of John 
Inman, had a slave. He was called JcrcZ:. He ran 
away, and his master heard nothing of him for sev- 
eral years. He made inquiries at great distances, 
but was one day surprised with the news that his 
cunning servant was living in the State of Massa- 
chusetts, only a few miles from his old master. 

Mr. Cooper mounted his horse and went to re- 
claim his property. He brought him home and 
told him he would cut his throat if he ever at- 
tempted to escape again. Jack lived with him for 
the rest of his life. Deacon Salsbury, who has fre- 
quently been referred to in these pages, tells us he 
has worked with him for many a day. Tbe boys, 
sons of Mr. Cooper, used to lay all the bad mowing 
to Jack. The old man heard all their charges and 
then said he believed " Jack did most all the 

Upon Oak Hill, on the farm now owned by Ja- 
son Olney, Esq. two rough stones mark a spot 
still known as " Jack's Grave." Here rests the 
last serf of Burrillville. 

We have among us some who are advocates of 


Woman's Eights. Lucy Stone has been here. She 
lectured to large crowds at Pascoag and Maple- 
villC; and a number of copies of the " Lily " are 

One word about Spiritualism, and we close our 
notice of Reforms in Burrillville. There have been 
a few circles in our town. The orthodox think it 
the work of the Devil. The free-thinker at first cal- 
led it Magnetism, then Odjlic Force, then didn't 
know but it might be Spirits. Those who imag- 
ined it the result of sleight o' hand or legerdemain 
are giving up that idea, and a few calm, cool ques- 
tioners are quietly asking for ^^ Light, more light." 

The existence of supernal beings, has always 
been a cherished faith among the dwellers in rural 
towns. Faries dance in our meadows, Naiads rule 
our brooks and rills, and " Wood Nymphs, decked 
with daisies trim," preside in our groves. And un- 
til we can forget the gossip by the winterfire side, 
and the witching tales of Walter Scott, we shall 
lend a willing ear to the messao-es of ano^els. 




Perfect freedom of conscience is the especial 
birtliright of every Rhode Islander. The religious 
sentiments are left untrammeled^ and their free 
action gives them a vigorous and healthful strength. 
In Burrillville, half a dozen sects are struggling for 
influence — 'if not for supremacy. In our remarks 
about these sects we will first refer to the mission 
of Elder John Colby. 

This remarkable man, who readily won the con- 
fidence of all classes of the community, made fre- 
quent and long visits to this town in its infancy. 
He was a native of New Hampshire, and travelled 
and preached in many of the States, for a term of 
nine years. His zeal knew no bounds. His first 
visit to Burrillville was upon the tenth of Oct., 
1812, and on the same evening we find him preach- 
ing, although he had travelled from Providence over 
the roughest of roads. 


The eloquence of Whitfield, or the apostolic en- 
ergy of Wesley, could not have had more influence 
over the rustic inhabitants, than did the fervid ut- 
terance of the devoted Colby. There was no por- 
tion of the town that did not enjoy the privilege of 
listening to him. " In season and out of season " 
he labored everywhere. The old people among us 
will remember when he preached at the Old Meet- 
ing House, in the hall of Capt. Wm. Rhodes, the 
hall of Esquire Wood, in school-houses in various 
localities, and at the dwellings of Esquire Steere, 
Solomon Smith, Mr. Barnes, Mr. King, Andrew 
Bullard, Asa Burlingame, Mr. Salsbury, Esquire 
Cook, Jeremiah Mo wry, George Brown, Mr. Glea- 
son, Daniel Smith, Mr. Thayer, Esquire Arnold, and 
in all the adjoining towns. 

The people almost idolized him. Worn with his 
excessive labors, his friends saw the seal of death 
set upon his pale brow, and upon his visit to Bur- 
rillville, Jan. 1st, 1817, they persuaded him to rest 
for a season. He found them sedulous, to minister 
to his comfort, and deeply anxious to bring back 
the boon of health. But his work was done. He 
made his home at Simeon Smith's, Dea. Salsbury's, 
and Capt. Rhodes', for several weeks, but growing 
no better he went to Providence, to consult with 
Dr. Gano, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in 
that city, skilled in diseases of the body as well 


as maladies of tlie mind. By his advice lie travel- 
led toward the South, but while on his route to 
•Charleston, S. C, where he intended to tarry a 
while, that if possible the balmy air of those mild 
latitudes might improve his lungs, he was arrested 
at Norfolk, Ya., by the mandate of death. Here 
'^ the silver cord was loosed, the golden bowl was 
broken," and the spirit of the sainted Colby left 
its frail tenement of pain, and winged its flight to 
that better land, where his affections had so long 
been placed. His body rests in the family burying 
ground of Wm. M. Fauquier, at Norfolk, nine hun- 
dred and fifty miles from his childhood's home. 

The First Freewill Baptist Church in Rhode 
Island, is in Burrillville. It was gathered by Elder 
John Colby. The reformation commenced in Oct., 
1812, and gradually spread through the town, then 
the residence of farmers only. 

The Church was formed on the 15th of Decem- 
ber, 1812. At its organization there were but 
nine members. They agreed to take the Scriptures 
of Truth for their guide, ^^ because," says their 
compact, " there is no one in our day wise enough 
to revise the laws of God, or alter them for the 

The first church meeting was held Feb. 11, 1813. 
The first Freewill Baptist Quarterly Meeting in 
the State of Rhode Island, was commenced at the 
Old Burrillville Meeting House, on the 12th of 
March, 1814. 


After the departure of Colby, Elder Charles 
Bowles, of New Hampshire, a colored man, preach- 
ed a good while in this vicinity. He was a man of 
talent and honorable mention is made of him in 
the life of John Colby. The people afterwards 
listened to Eld. George Lamb, Eld. Joseph White,, 
and Eld. Zachariah Jordan, of Maine. 

Still later Elder Bullock and Elder Jonathan 
Woodman were here. These filled the time until 
1820, when Clarisa Danforth, of Wethersfield, Tt., 
came among them. She was a woman of large giftsy. 
and immense crowds gathered to hear her. Through; 
her labors, the church that had been embodied eight 
years before, was strengthened and enlarged. 

Elder Reuben Allen, now of North Scituate, R. L,. 
come here in 1821, and ever since that time he has 
preached often in different parts of the town. At; 
the present day he is called upon to attend the 
funerals of many old people, who having admired; 
him in his prime, expressed a desire that the grey 
haired pastor might perform for them the last 
earthly service of faithful friendship. 

Amono' the occasional visitors were Elder John 
Burrell, of Parsonsfield, Me. Elder David Marks, 
Elder Richard Lee, of Springfield. Yt., Eld. Ebene- 
zer Searles, of N. H , Elder David Sweet, and Eld. 

There were several preachers raised up in this 
church, about thirty years ago. Elder Daniel Wil- 


liamS; now of Killingly, Conn., Elder Smith Fair- 
field; now in Maine, Elder Jacob Darling, now in 
New York, and two brothers, Abel and Adin Al- 
drich, now in York State, were of this church, and 
began their ministry in this town. 

Eld. Willard Fuller, and Eld. Joseph "Walling, la- 
bored here for several years prior to 1832. In 
1S36, the Pascoag Baptist Society was incorpo- 
rated, and at the June Session of 1839, the charter 
was revived. A church edifice was erected at the 
village of Pascoag, and dedicated Oct 2. 1839. 
Elders Oatley, Cheney, Branch, and Allen, were 

Eld. Augustus Durfee was ordained the first reg- 
ular Pastor, on the 16 th March, 1842. It was 
about this time that the delusion of Millerism 
swept over the land. The Church at Pascoag 
rnet the fate of so many others, it was rent and 
torn by schism, and weakened by the withdrawal 
of a portion of its members to worship in a school 
house near by. 

Eld. Durfee asked for a dismissal. It was 
granted him, and he went to become the leader of 
the Second Advent band. One member commit- 
ted suicide by cutting her throat, and her zeal for 
herself and friends, on the near approach, as she 
believed of the consummation of sublunary things, 
Y/as conceded to be the fatal cause. Many eyes 
were gazing at evening on the western sky, where, 


nightly, a brilliant comet spread its fiery trail far 
along the horizon. To some it portended the dis- 
solution of the " great globe itself," while others 
calmly saw the strange visitant wheel through the 
visible portion of his eccentric orbit, obedient to 
the impulse of an invariable law. 

Eld. David P. Harriman, of New Hampshire^ 
took charge of the church in 1843, and continued 
about three years to preach and teach a select 
school. D. H. Lord was the Pastor for two years^ 
then M. H. Davidson one year, and then Eld. Har- 
riman was called here again and remained nine 
years. Elder H. was a man of liberal education 
and much of the time he was engaged in teaching. 
He was chairman of the School Committee during- 
his residence here. 

The church is at present under the supervision. 
of Eev. Mr. Weeks, formerly Professor of Elocu- 
tion in the New Hampton Biblical Institute.- 

The Baptists have often worshipped in the east- 
ern part of the town. For many years a Church 
meeting was held in the Esten neighborhood, be- 
cause it was so far to the Pascoag meeting. 

The Smith Academy was used by the Baptists 
for many years. It was the liberality of Nicholas 
Brown, Esq., of Providence, that induced the build- 
ing of this structure in its present form. This 
generous man made donations to many districts 
in the State to enable them to add another story 


to their school rooms, for the purposes of religious 
worship. He gave the glass and nails, the cash 
articles, for the White School House. 

It was dedicated on the 29th October, 1823. It 
was a great day for that little hamlet. They had 
struggled hard to produce that state of society 
that would warrant a regular meeting, and the 
house was crowded to perform the initiatory ser- 
rice. Prayer was oifered by Rev. Mr. Westcott. 
The sermon was preached by Rev. Reuben Allen. 

About ten years ago, the high pulpit and nar- 
row galleries seemed to form so great a contrast 
with the modern buildings, it was resolved to re- 
fit it. The desk was torn away, the two stories 
were separated, and now the upper room is a very 
comfortable place for meetings and social lectures, 
while the lower makes a neat school room. When 
the friends of progress were battling against in- 
temperance, here was the rendezvous for reformers 
in this vicinity. Some of the best temperance 
meetings in town, have been held there, when 
Johnson and Bell spoke, Sadler sang, and a large 
cold water band applauded. 

When the first settlements were begun in the re- 
gion of Pascoag, and for many years afterwards, 
the state of society was, to use the expression of 
an old settler, ^^ rather heathenish." Among the 
first clergymen was Eld. Bowen. His church con- 
sisted of only six members, but the old man was 


regular in Ins ministrations, and labored many 
years in promulgating the truth as he believed it. 

About forty years ago the "• new lights " began 
to shine in the northern part of our town. A 
spirit of earnestness and fiery zeal was then shak- 
ing the Churches of New-England, and the move- 
ment has ever since been referred to as " the re- 
formation." Eld. Britt, a follower of John Wesley, 
was at that time preaching in Douglas and Bur- 
rillville. The fervid enthusiasm, and " free and 
full salvation " of the reformers, attracted a goodly 
number to their standard. The meeting house 
npon the plains, now called the old Douglas meet- 
ing house was built. Many of the first families on 
the borders of the two towns were represented in 
their congregations. The late venerable Moab 
Paine was one of their first converts, and for forty 
years was an exhorter among them. 

Classes, the primary organization of Methodism, 
have existed among us through all the half century 
of our existence as a town. Whatever changes of 
form it may have undergone, the vital spirit and 
substance of Methodism has been present. The 
leaven has been ever at work. Sometimes the 
light has looked faint and dim. The haze of 
worldliness has enveloped it until it was well nigh 
useless as a beacon to the inquiring soul, but again 
it brightened and flashed its hopeful radiance into 
the gloom of despairing souls. 


More than twenty years ago meetings were held 
at the " Huntsville Emporium." This had formerly 
been occupied for a store. It formed a plain, com- 
fortable lecture room, and the good spirit glowed 
as gratefully in the hearts of those who worshipped 
there, as among those who bowed around gilded 
altars and chanted their anthems beneath the 
gothic arches of a grand cathedral. 

In 1847 a church was organized. It was called 
the "Methodist Episcopal Church of Laurel Hill." 
Aided by the liberal donations of George W. 
Marsh; Esq., a neat Chapel was erected and dedi- 
cated in 1848. The sermon at the dedication was 
preached by Eev. Charles Macready, of the New- 
England Conference. The Rev. Cowen, a 

local preacher of the M. E. Church, officiated here 
for the first year after the organization. 

Since that date the following appointments have 
been made by the Providence Conference : 
April, 1848, Rev. James Weeks, resident, 1 year. 
" 1849, " Geo. Burnham, " 2 " 

" 1851, " G. W. Wooding, " 2 " 
" 1853, " E. A. Lyon, " 2 " 

" 1855, " Chas. Hammond, " 1 " 

Their present Pastor is Rev. Samuel Fox. 
When Mr. Wooding closed his labors, the mem- 
bers of the Church were 56, on probation 70. 
During the administration of Mr. Lyon there was 
quite a revival. During Mr. Hammond's mission 


was a season of einbarassment and depression. 
Their Pastor was of feeble health, some of the 
mills in the vicinity had suspended operations, and 
a number of their working members removed to 
other villages. At the close of the Conference 
year the members in Church were 62, with 23 on 

The Methodists have a neat chapel. It is beau- 
tifully located. There are few more pleasant land- 
scapes in Burrillville, than a view from this point, 
of the placid valley, through which Clear River 
sends its line of light. 

Like " the changing spirit's rise and fall " in the 
experience of the individual Christian, the Society 
at Laurel Hill has had its variable history. Long 
may that small band endure, and the victor's palm 
reward their self-denying labors. 

Until 1851 the people of Burrillville had never 
seen the solemn and impressive service of the 
Church of England. Li the Spring of that year, 
the Eev. J. II. Eames, commenced religious services 
at Mapleville according to the rites of the Protes- 
tant Episcopal Church. These meetings were con- 
tinued for two years and were well attended. 

For nearly two years Mr. E. was making the 
tour of Europe and wandering among the ruins of 
Egypt and the Holy Laud. The meetings were dis- 
continued during his absence, but on his return in 
the Autumn of 1 854, he recommenced services at 


Harrisville, and soon after removed to tlie Old 
Meeting House, where they are regularly held at 
present. Sunday Schools and Bible Classes have 
been connected with all the services. 

Upon Mr. Eames' return from the East, he pub- 
lished an account of his travels in a neat volume, 
and shortly after his accomplished wife, who had 
accompanied him gave us another. These were 
read with interest by their parishioners, and in 
connection with several courses of lectures upon 
the same topics, constitute the most liberal tribute 
that has yet been made to the intellectual and 
jesthetic tastes of our people. 

In the neighborhood of the Old Meeting House 
are a large number of families who have listened 
to the Anglican service in the mother country. 
They gather upon the Sabbath day and listen with 
reverent attention to the services by which their 
religious affections were guided in their dear old 
English Homes. 

About 1786, the Quakers began to hold stated 
meetings in Burrillville. They met at the house 
now occupied by Smith Battey. This place is in a 
pleasant valley, through which flows a little rill 
called Muddy Brook. Notwithstanding its unprom- 
ising name this stream is remarkable for the crys- 
tal transparency and purity of its waters. 

In the humble low-roofed cottage that adorned 
its banks, the little band of silent worshippers held 


their sittings. At the end of five years, enough 
had been attracted to their assemblies to make the 
place of meeting too strait for them, and a com- 
fortable house was built at the junction of three 
roads, upon a spot now included in the suburbs of 
Mapleville. The house is, like all their temples, a 
plain structure, two stories high, with unpainted 
seats, no ornament in the interior, and only a 
modest brown coat upon the exterior. Here for 
nearly three score and ten years a little company 
have met twice in each week, except when the 
Monthly Meeting called them to Smithfield or 
Northbridge. They go to the latter places to their 
Quarterly Meetings and in the mid-summer of each 
year they go to Newport, upon Ehode Island, to 
meet with Friends from all parts of New England 
and the Union, and often to hear strangers from 
foreign lands. 

The example of the Friends exerts a healthful 
influence upon the moral tone of the town. Indus- 
trious and temperate, quiet and tolerant, helping 
their neighbors and doing good to their enemies, 
they furnish a daily tribute to the value of their 
peaceful faith. 

There is no church of the Universalists in Bur- 
rillville, but many of our most influential men are 
of this faith. Rev. Mr. Fish, of Hopedale, has 
made occasional visits to the eastern part of the 
town, and the Rev. Adin Ballou, founder of the 


Hopedale Community of Restorationists, lias some- 
times preached at the Town House. One Quar- 
terly Meeting has been held at the Old Burrillville 
Meeting House. 

There are but few gatherings of Universalists 
here now. They warmly welcome those who bring 
" glad tidings of great joy," but our isolated po- 
sition renders it difficult for them to reach us from 
the city, and we are left destitute of the Gospel 
of the last and best Evangel of '^ Good will to man." 

There are many who forty years ago would no 
sooner tolerate a believer in Universal Good than 
give the right hand of fellowship to a Mussulman 
or a Hindoo, but the tendency of the visits of Bal- 
lon and Borden has been to make this class more 
liberal, and now a minister of this denomination 
will call together a larger congregation than one 
of any other name. 




If picturesque natural scenery, has an influence- 
upon the sentiment of veneration, we might ex- 
pect to find in the vicinity of Wallum Lake the 
home of those pleasing superstitions that humanize 
and refine the hearts of a simple peasantry. 

If one would hear gossips tell of ghosts, or find 
men digging for silver, at midnight, guided by the 
magical movements of Divining Rods, or be point- 
ed to haunted houses where troubled spirits " re- 
visit the pale glimpses of the moon," let him fre- 
quent the rustic neighborhood of western Burrill- 

The impressions of those who dwell here are 
such as are made by nature where the untrained 
luxuriance of the primitive forest is ever in view- 
When they look from the summit^ at the northern 
end of the lake, they view a range of blue hills: 
running along the western horizon as far as the eye 


ean go, and all nearer them is one wide expanse 
of heavy forest. 

The distant hills are a range that reach across 
New England. They run toward the north through 
Massachusetts; join the Green Mountains and be- 
yond the 45° descend to the table land of Stan- 
stead Plain. 

At their feet Wallum Lake lies embowered in 
the grand old woods, whose monarch oaks sent 
their roots down to its springs twice five hundred 
years ago, and whose giant arms to-day limn their 
mighty shadows upon the crystal mirror of its pla- 
cid surface. 

Shall we go down to the bathing beach ? where 
the grape vines have woven their dense canopy 
over the witch hazel, and from the larch to the 
maple across the bright bower made by the fantas- 
tic clusters of the twisted laurel — here is a place 
for the swimmers to disrobe. Newport nor Hamp- 
ton Beach can boast such a boudoir. Step out to 
the water's edge. The whitest sand, the gentlest 
slope, no surf to startle the timid, or stones to 
stumble the careless, can our swimmer's beach be 
beat ? 

Before the pale faces came to swim in these lim- 
pid waves, did the aboriginal models of Appolla 
Belvidere, pace these sands, and with the sturdy 
strength of their sjnnetrical limbs go stright across 
the lake to yonder distant point ',, it might be done 


despite the distance. A white man did it once. 
It was a swimming race. A boat went alongside 
the swnnmers and long ere they reached the shore 
one of them was taken in. The other pushed on, 
each stroke growing shorter and feebler until the 
panting victor struck his palm upon the sand beack 
and fell back into the water. His comrades res- 
cued him, and years after Caleb used to tell the 
story of which he was the hard working hero. 

Wallum lake is noted for the purity of its wa- 
ter. The stream that rises here is called "C/ear" 
river. Like the Mississippi until it unites with 
the Missouri, this river is clear until below the 
Laurel Ridge it receives the muddy contents of the 

When we go out in a boat upon the lake we may 
see the bottom at twenty feet. The lilies whose 
white petals beautify the surface of several of our 
ponds, are not found here, for there are no muddy 
eoves in wliich they could grow. 

One of the coves is called '^Deep Cove." Li 
one place it is ninety-five feet deep. It was sound- 
ed by Samuel Wliite Esq., who has basketed many 
a noble fish from this lake. 

Another is called " Long Cove." It goes far in- 
land running under a bold shore, where the shad- 
ows rest at sunset, while the "^arrows of evening 
light are lodged in the bright tree tops of the op- 
posite shore. Another is -' Grassy Cove," and be- 


side these is many a little nook and inlet wliere 
the fisher moors his boat, and pleasure parties an- 
chor for their lunch. 

David Wilkinson used to say " if he was ever 
going to be drowned/' he should want to be drown- 
ed in " Wallum Pond." This water has by some 
oeen called ^'Alum Pond " and they justify the name 
by referring to its superior clearness. 

A few years ago there was a controversy between 
the Mill Owners, on the Blackstone, and the Black- 
stone Canal Company, in relation to the water of 
this Lake. The factory men complained that the 
Canal Company carried the water around their 
mills. The Company claimed a prescription in the 
ponds from whence the water emanated, and among 
the original fountains was AVallum Lake. Pendino: 
the controversy commissioners were sent to survey 
the Lake, and note the rise and fall of the water 
through each month in the year. 

The Manufacturers replied to the Couipany's 
claim, that since they had done nothing at the Lake 
to raise the water above its natural level, they had 
no exclusive right to its use. The matter was com- 
promised before it came to a final decision. Our 
Rhode Island manufacturers will never again be 
plagued by Canal Companies. 

Clear river flows through Saxon Yale, where a 
neat village smiles along its margin, then past 
Graniteville, it winds in beautiful curves through 


the village of Ilarrisvillc, the pine woodS; along 
the base of North Hill, and between Mapleville and 
Oakland it unites with the Chepachet to form the 
Branch, the largest stream in Burriliville. There 
are seven factories on this stream. Upon its south- 
ern branch, the Pascoag, there are five mills within 
half a mile of each other. These factories have 
built up the largest village in our town. 

The Chepachet river has three mills in Burrili- 
ville. It is a small but durable streo.m. The 
Branch has three mills. This river conveys the 
water of all our brooks and rills into the Black- 
stone. Our rivers have been a source of great 
wealth. The building of a large reservoir is con- 
templated, which will double the water povrer of 

There are many aspects of grandeur and beauty 
about our largest forest. From " Reed Swamp '' 
to the Bay State line, from " Iron Mine Brook " to 
the " Wakefield Saw Mill," extending over six 
thousand acres } there is no other such 
" Boundless contiguity of shade," 

in Rhode Island. When we are upon the summit, 
at the clearing near the Connecticut Line, we have 
the widest view in Burriliville. The neat farms of 
Thompson, the cosy village of Webster, the pop- 
lar rows on Brandy Hill, and the distant forests of 
Woodstock are before us. A dozen spires are 
visible in our horizon. 


Stand here at sunrise after a winter sliower, if 
you would view the most magnificent panorama 
that ever gladdened the dreariness of a New Eng- 
land December. The crystals of frozen spray in a 
myriad million glittering clusters burden every 
rood of foliage. The pine trees, to their topmost 
twigs, are bright with the frosty jewels. The flex- 
ible birch and young maple have yielded to the 
furious blast of miduight, and their pendant boughs 
are fettered to the snow-crust among the elders 
and shrubby oaks. There is music for the ear as 
well as pictured beauty for the eye. Hark ! up 
from the valley rushes the morning breeze, and the 
clattering branches and creaking limbs give one 
continuous thunder of unwonted music. Aurora 
kisses the prisoned wood nymphs, and flinging aside 
their pearls that descend in a radiant diamond 
shower, they wave their free sceptres up toward 
the God of Day, as if grateful for their deliver- 

The effects of the terrible tornado, of Septem- 
ber 23, 1815, are still visible in Burrillville. We 
had large pine forests slightly rooted in a light soil, 
and whole acres were laid prostrate. The hunter 
in our woods often stumbles over an old log half 
bedded in the ground, and thickly covered with a 
deep green moss. When the farmers collect their 
fuel in the autumn, they break off the pitch-pine 
knots, and during the long winter evenings the big 


fire-place is ruddy witli their glow, and the women 
knit, the old men smoke, children play, and kittens 
purr around the cheerful light. 

At the home of the author's childhood, is an old 
apple tree which was blown down in that storm. 
A portion of the roots still clung to the soil, new 
shoots grew up from the prostrate trunk, and al- 
most every year it has borne well. The highest 
portion of the old bole is scarce a yard from the 
ground, but this season it is as usual, fully laden. 
If our reader will call at the " Old Homestead " 
he shall be treated to Pomona's best, from a tree 
that fell forty years ago. 

If some of our readers have looked with cold and 
careless eyes upon the illustrated pages of Nature's 
book, and now smile with utilitarian incredulity at 
efforts to call men to love the beauty of our coun- 
try, where 

" Nature showed 

The last ascending footsteps of the God." 

let US justify our mood by the following quotation 
from an eloquent and instructive author. After the 
cold winter scene above, a more genial picture 
from a southern pen will prove agreeable. 

" Why, it was once said that the sky of Attica 
would make a Boeotian a poet ; and we have seen 
even ' the red old hills of Georgia ' draw inspiring 
melody from the heart of patriotic genius. Physi- 
cal causes have always operated in the formation 


and fasliioning of literature. In all the higher pro- 
ductions of mind, ancient and modern, we can 
easily recognise the influence of the climate and 
natural objects among which they were developed. 
The sunsets of Italy colored the songs of Tasso 
and Petrach ; the vine-embowered fields of beauti- 
ful France are visible in all the pictures of Ros- 
seau and La Martine ; you may hear the solemn rust- 
ling of the Hartz Forest, and the shrill horn of the 
wild huntsman throughout the creations of Schiller 
and Goethe; the sweet streamlets and sunny lakes 
of England smile upon you from the graceful verses 
of Spencer o.nd Wordsworth ; and the mist-robed 
hills of Scotland loom out in magnificence through 
the pages of Ossian, and the loftier visions of Mar- 
mion and Waverly. 

" I have stood down in Florida, beneath the over- 
arching groves of magnolia, orange and myrtle, 
blending their fair flowers and voluptuous fragrance, 
and opening long vistas between their slender 
shafts, to where the green waters of the Mexican 
Gulf lapsed upon the silver-sanded beach, flinging 
up their light spray into the crimson beams of the 
declining sun, and I have thought that, for poetic 
beauty, for delicate inspiration, the scene was as 
sweet as ever wooed the eyes of a Grecian mins- 
trel on the slopes of Parnassus, or around the 
fountains of Castaly. 

" Again : I have stood upon a lofty summit of 


the Alleglianies, among the splintered crags and 
vast gorges, where the eagle and the thunder make 
their home, and looked down upon an empire spread 
out in the long distance below. Far as the eye 
could reach, the broad forests swept away over the 
territories of unexampled productiveness and 
beauty. At intervals, through the wide campaign, 
the domes and steeples of some fair town, which 
had sprung up with magical suddenness among the 
trees, would come out to the eye, giving evidence 
of the presence of a busy, thriving population. — 
Winding away through the centre, too, like a great 
artery of life to the scene, I could behold a noble 
branch of the Ohio, bearing upon its bosom the 
already active commerce of the region, and linking 
that spot with a thousand others, similar in their 
condition and character. As I thus stood, and 
thought of all that was being enacted in this glo- 
rious land of ours, and saw, in imagination, the 
stately centuries as they passed across the scene, 
diffusing wealth, prosperity and refinement, I could 
not but believe that it presented a nobler theatre, 
with sublimer accompaniments and inspirations, 
than ever rose upon the eye of a gazer from the 
summits of the Alps or the Appenines." 




In our notice of modern movements in Burrill- 
ville we will allude to the commencement of man- 

Forty years ago a simple hand machine was used 
to whip and pick cotton. It was a box about three 
feet square and one foot deep, with ropes across it 
near the top on which the cotton was placed and 
beaten while the seed fell into the box below. The 
cotton gin of Richard Arkwright the humble baker 
of Bolton, had not then come into vogue. 

Solomon Smith was the architect of the first mill 
in Burrillville. It was built on the Tar Kiln Riv- 
er, in 1810, 46 years ago. Thurber of Providence 
was the owner. The first wheel was a tub wheel 
which soon failed, then a bucket wheel was made 
which lasted thirty-three years. There was no 
gearing on the surface of the wheel, but it was on 
the shaft, so the usual strain was avoided. 


111 later years the mill was run by Lewis Thomp- 

Thompson sold to Joseph Nichols who is the 
present owner. The mill is near the road leading 
from Mapleville to Woonsocket. Negro cloths are 
now manufactured there. 

Rufus and Zadoch Smith built a factory on the 
same stream, a little higher up. Here were made 
the first satinetts in Burrillvillle. Some of the 
cloth sold for $2.50 per yard. Cotton cloth for 
pantaloons was then selling in Chepachet for 75 
cents per yard, now sold for 14 cents. 

The warps for the Smith factory were distributed 
about the neighborhood and woven by hand. Sol- 
oman Smith used to make the spring shuttle lathe, 
to weave by hand. An Englishman who used one 
of these said they would " never make looms to go 
by water for many men in England had undone 
themselves by it." But the " impossibility " has 
been done, the hand looms4iave vanished from our 
town, and the capital invested in mills of Burrill- 
ville is a standing rebuke to the incredulity of old 

The thriving neighborhood around the Smith 
Academy near where the first mill was located 
soon wished for a bank. Banks and factories are 
always built up together. They ^prefered a peti- 
tion to the General Assembly and obtained a char- 
ter. The presidency was offered to John Slater 


but he would not accept it unless the bank could be 
at his new factory village of SlatersvillC; and it 
was finally established there. 

Another Charter was obtained, and this time it 
was located near the Eddy Cooper place. The 
vault was hewn from a solid rock, and the trap 
door that covered it could only be lifted by a tac- 
kle attached to the ceiling of the counting-room. 
If burglars had unlocked it, they could not have 
got at the coin unless they could have found the 
tackling. It was a safe bank. 

Those who lived near the Smith Academy would 
not subscribe to the stock because they could 
not have it at their village. The old settlers 
assert that it might have done a good business 
there, as there were many solid men in that vicin- 
ity. We will not stop to discuss the probabilities 
of its success under other circumstances, or to 
speculate upon the causes or consequences of its 
embarassment, but hasten to warn our readers not 
to receive the bills as they have been rejected at 
the Suffolk. Mutatis mutandis. 

One of our neat factory villages is called Maple- 
YiLLE. The following notice of it appeared a few 
years since in one of the Providence journals. 

"Mr. Editor: 

I will pen a word about the little village where 
I go to get the " Freeman." It is cosily nestled 
amono- the hills of northern Rhode Island. I can 


almost see the factory spire from tlie place where I 
now write. I remember^ when a school boy, we 
used to play along the river there, then all forest. 

We would go up the stream to the beaver dam, 
where the primitive denizens of that new region 
held undisturbed possession. The dull drumming 
of large wheels, and the buzz of the whizzing 
spindle has scared them away. The woods have 
been levelled, but the grove still stands on some 
parts of the river's margin. The tall pine is left 
to wave in the summer winds, and the hemlock 
with its perrenial foilage gladdens the eye at all 
seasons, and the balmy breath of the maple still 
sweetens the air. That reminds me that I was to 
tell about Mapleville. I have left the village so- 
often to saunter along a sheltered path througlr 
the grove, that I was about to do so now. 

We have one factory, this has made our vil- 
lage. All over this part of the State, wherever 
there is a waterfall, a hamlet springs up like magic. 
On a little eminence, overlooking the village,, 
stands an elegant gothic cottage. This is the res- 
idence of the proprietor of the mill. Its low win- 
dows, large parlors, and the ambulatory prome- 
nade, its tasty fence, the trellised walk to the door,, 
and the trees that surround it, evince the ability 
of the lord and the ideality of the lady. 

We have one store where our Post office is kept. 
We have no tavern. We seldom see a man ine- 


briated. Order and industry prevail. The rural 
scenery exerts a healthful influence on all. We 
have no gaming saloons to steal away the time of 
our young men. Our simple people pursue the 
even tenor of their way, avoiding the dissipation 
of cities, and free from the cares of envious am- 

We have one school. Here our little sprigs of 
humanity receive their inclination. A " school 
district library," such as they have in New York, 
is still a desideratum in this State. The cultivated 
taste which might thus be formed would shield 
its possessor from coarse indulgences, and give 
him the luxury of the most improving pleasures. 

We have one meeting-house, for the " Friends,'* 
who worship here, do not call their temples 
Churches. This unadorned strncture reminds one 
of the times of Fox and Penn, when simple heart- 
ed men rebuked the vices of the court and refused 
to participate in the crimes of the camp. The 
peaceful band that rallied around them has bright- 
ened a large page of modern history. Ever the 
advocates of peace, and the truest friends of civil 
liberty and soul liberty, they often proved them- 
selves real heroes, by the fortitude with which 
they suffered for their principles. Now they are 
the friends of the slave, and of the drunkard. 
They are the friends of education. We love to 
meet with them in that quaint old meeting-honse. 

"We love to go there on a sunny Sunday iiioiTiing 
to sit and muse with them. The serene quietude 
of their communion with Heaven, hushes the pas- 
sions to reposOj and chastens the too active pulse. 
The "still small voice " thrills the lieart with its 
kindly monitions, and faith whispers resignation to 
our Father's will. 

Sometimes they have preaching, and their cliant- 
ing tone is burdened with real pathos. I am glad 
to know that the principles of toleration, they 
have done so much to establish, have imbued the 
people of Rhode Island with charity. When you 
become weary of the splendid ceremonial of your 
city churches, come out to the old Quaker meeting- 

Mapleville ! is'nt that a lucious name ? It re- 
minds me of rich lots of maple sugar which I used 
to get in Vermont When you wish for a respite 
from the cares of the "sanctum," come out here 
and roam with me in the broad, free fields. With 
hearts attuned to nature's serenity, we will forget 
the ills of life and go tranquilly to our daily tasks. 
I remain as ever. 

Yours hastily, 

^' HORACE." 




Upon the precedini^ pages were hints about tlie 
state of various interests at the present time, but 
we shall attempt some farther sketch of things as 
they arc. We, too, " shall cheerfully bear the 
reproach of having descended below the dignity of 
history if we can succeed in placing before the 
reader a true picture of the life of our people." 
When some future compiler of the history of Rhode 
Island shall seek from " scanty and dispersed ma- 
terials " to portray the condition of his ancestors, 
some item from this cursory sketch may perchance 
subserve his purpose. 

The climate of Burrillville is colder than that of 
Providence. We have more snow, partly the re- 
sult of our altitude, and it may be partially occa- 
sioned by the larger amount of forest. The spring 
is about two weeks later than upon the shore south 
of the capital. Our coldest winds are from the 

AND AS IT IS. 125 

south west, but these are usually of short contin- 
uance. During the extremely cold winter of 
1780-81 this wind was prevalent most of the time. 
It was impossible to keep the paths open, and at 
last they were abandoned and the people travelled 
on snow shoes, and drew their grist to the mill 
upon hand sleds. 

The heaviest fall of snow we have had since 1800 
was in the winter of 1836-7. The walls and fences 
were covered, and people went upon the hard crust 
across the fields without meeting with any obstruc- 
tion for miles. 

The heavy rains of the spring time do consider- 
able damage in the lowlands. The most severe 
freshet for many years took place in the middle of 
the month of May, 1836. Several dams and bridges 
were swept away and deep channels were cut upon 
some of the intervals. But we are compensated 
by the enrichment of our natural meadows, by al- 
luvial deposits. 

Our inhabitants grumble a good deal about our 
cold weather. Some of them imagine that a uni- 
form temperature is the most conducive to health. 
This is a fallacy. Those who live in Florida feel 
a change of 5° as sensibly as we feel a variation 
of 30^. But these changes do not equally purify 
the air. 

Tho winds that whistle over our hills act as ven- 
tilators; and the change produced will do a thou- 


sand fold more good than harm. A luke-warm 
region is not as healthy as our own Rhode Island. 
True, without caution we are liable to the " pains 
and aches of rheumatism and the neuralgic twinges 
of " cold sciatica." But there are more cases of 
rheumatism reported at Key West, on the coast of 
Florida than on the New England coast. Persons 
sometimes find a relief from rheumatic affections 
by visiting a mild climate, but they are usually 
more affected than ever on their return. Some 
who never suffered in that way are victims after a 
residence at the South. 

A good many of our citizens not having the fear 
of the Ague, dumb or shaking, before their eyes 
have gone to the West. When we see them re- 
turn pale and thin, we feel content to breathe our 
native air although it may be frostier. Some are 
benefited by a western residence, but it is a doubt- 
ful experiment. If the reader will refer to that 
admirable work " The Climate of the United States, 
1842," by Samuel Tory, M. D. Surgeon U. S. Army, 
ihe will be content to dwell in Rhode Island. 

There was formerly a great regularity in the 
seasons, in this latitude. We had three successive 
summers cold and dr}^, then three wet and warm. 
Hay would be scarce the first cold season, still 
less the second, and upon the third only half the 
crop was gathered that would be realized in the 
wet seasons. One old farmer kept an account of 

AND AS IT IS. 127 

a large meadow, and by counting tlie tumbles found 
from the last wet season to the last cold and dry 
one, a decrease of one-half. 

About twenty years ago this rotation of seasons 
was broken in upon and now no regular rule can 
be found. One effect of the change has been a 
decrease of birds. Other causes may have con- 
tributed to this result, but several unusually cold 
winters and summers about twenty years ago is 
supposed to have kept away many kinds of birds. 
Night hawks were once so plenty that they were 
seen in flocks of hundreds like pigeons. They 
were often seen sweeping before a shower, appa- 
rently striving to keep out of its way. We see a 
few now but they are rare, and we can no longer 
find the amusement of our childhood in watching 
at twilight, the eccentric gyrations and lofty flight 
of this singular bird. There were once a great 
many snipes in these parts. The moist ground of 
our numerous low meadows, was their favorite re- 
sort. They are seldom seen now. Marsh quails, 
once very plenty are now rare. But the robin, 
the blue bird, and the golden winged oriole still 
enliven our springs with their gushing melodies, 
and cheer with their vocal joys our glorious mid- 
summer days. 

By the census of 1850, the number of inhabitants 
was 3538. Now they may be safely estimated at 
4000. The larger part are employed upon the 


land. Our factories engage a great number."^ The 
various mechanical employments common in rural 
towns are well represented. 

A more industrious people are nowhere to be 
found. The thin, hard character of our soil impo- 
ses upon our people the necessity of hard labor, and 
the prudent maxims of Poor Richard are a law to 
the daily conduct of our hardy yeomanry. In our 
variable climate hay must be made " while the sun 
shines." The many cobble stones that must be 
picked up, or made into wall to get them out of 
the way, causes a great deal of hard work. The 
large extent of land to be traveled over, the hilly 
nature of the surface, the many drains to be made, 
and the rough roads to be mended ; these give lit- 
tle time for rest and none to waste. 

The land in Burrillville is poor. Much of it is 
sand and gravel, sweet-fern hills and barren pine 
plains. There are many acres of interval land, 
furnishing only the poorest sort of bog hay. There 
are a few tracts in the vallies that might be made 
valuable by proper drainage. The culture of cran- 
berries would give a better return than the poor 
swale hay mingled with checkerberry and foxglove. 

The value of land ranges from five dollars per 
acre, on Buck Hill, to fifteen hundred in the neigh- 
borhood of the factories. The effort to till too 
large an extent of land keeps our farmers poor. 
* See Supplement. 


We have few of the modern implements. The 
wooden plow is abandoned except for furrowing, 
and a few wheeled " Prouty and Mears " cut their 
even channels across our fields. But most farmers 
plow in shallow scratches as their fathers did, and 
following in the regular ancestral routine scrub 
over ten acres to glean the crops they should find 
on one. 

There is no Mowing Machine inBurrillville. We 
have a few Horse Rakes, and this is the greatest 
innovation upon the clumsy utensils of ancient date. 
We have a few Corn Shellers, and a Threshing Ma- 
chine makes its autumnal perambulation through 
our town. The rude tools used by the farmers in 
the outskirts of Burrillville, would excite smiles 
among the agricultural amateurs who are familiar 
with the advancement of the art near the metro- 

It is said that in Belgium each three acres will 
support five persons. If the soil of Burrillville 
were fertile in the same degree, its territory would 
support more than fifty thousand persons, or nearly 
one third of the present population of the State. 

At its first survey land in Burrillville was sold 
for 12 1-2 cents per acre. 

Our town has 24 factories. They are scattered 
over several districts, from the edge of Douglas 
Woods to the Smithfield line. Manufacturing is 
now the leading material interest of Burrillville, 


and when we remember that only half the power 
is 3^et occupied we can hardly be too sanguine in 
regard to our future prosperity, nor need we doubt 
but the Air Line and the Woonasquatucket must 
be built. 

The produce of the land that is not needed in 
the family is bartered at some of the stores for tea 
and coffee, ginger and raisins, calicoes and crock- 
ery. The frugal housewife takes her weekly stock 
of butter, eggs, and cheese, to the home market, at 
the factory village, and the worthy matron feels 
commendable pride when she unpacks the proceeds 
before the large eyed children at home. A bunch 
of raisins or a lump of sugar stills the crowing of 
the youngest, while a pair of shoes or a calico dress 
crowns the expectation of the eldest. There are 
dwellers among the hills on the borders of Wallum 
Lake, who must go five miles to reach the nearest 
store. At Pascoag, there are five stores within a 

Hoop poles, shingles and ship timber, are pre- 
pared in our woods and carted a score of miles to 
market. The produce of the stone quarries is con- 
siderable. This is greater the year that a factory 
village is built, than upon other years. A new vil- 
lage upon our streams is not the slow accretion of 
years, but it goes up all together. When our farm- 
ers go to the city they often return with a goodly 
burden of groceries, which they find are cheaper 


there. If we have a railroad it will bring the mar- 
kets of Woonsocket and Providence near the com- 
mon people of Burrillville. 

Our clergymen labor with their own hands. 
There are many who do not like to hear a man 
preach unless he works. Some have preached 
here who were liberally educated, but often we 
listen to those who have no culture save that they 
can obtain in the intervals of regular labor. 

Our young men who are desirous of a better 
education than our common schools afford, go to 
some foreign academy. The seminaries at Smith- 
ville and East Greenwich often have students from 
Burrillville. Our young ladies sometimes go to 
Providence or Warren for a few terms. The ac- 
complished preceptress of the latter institution is 
a native of Burrillville, and parents love to confide 
their daughters to her charge. 

Our homes are in a healthy region, and we have 
the best of water. Those who reside in the vil- 
lages are usually tenants of the owner of the fac- 
tory, but the majority of those who live on farms 
own their homes. 

The buildings of Burrillville are not noted for 
their good proportions. There is scarcely a resi- 
dence in this town that would attract the attention 
of an artist. Many of the houses were originally 
small, and successive additions have been made, 
more for convenience than show. The older houses 


were but a single story, with a massive stone chim- 
ney in the centre containing a large fireplace. It 
was once a custom to paint them red, and there 
are some now that blush for their own ugliness. 

There is no provision made for ventilation in 
our habitations, except the lowering of a window. 
Our sleeping rooms are the smallest in the house. 
The " parlor bed room " is often no more than 
eight feet by ten. Bed curtains are retained by 
some, and while they mean to be hospitable, they 
almost smother the stranger in these unhealthy 

Some of the farm houses have an outside door 
to the cellar, so it can be entered without going 
into the house. Here is generally the dairy, though 
sometimes there is a separate milk house. In the 
cellar are stored the potatoes and other roots, our 
beef and pork, and cider. 

In our low chambers and garrets are stored the 
extra bed spreads and counterpanes, and patch- 
work. The general use of stoves in our kitchens 
is shortening the lives of our citizens. A few 
wooden clocks, reaching from the floor to the ceil- 
ing, tick in solemn grandeur, while " the nicely sand- 
ed floor " is still an institution among us. Many 
of the windows of our farm houses have panes of 
glass only six by eight, without any blinds, while 
in the villages green blinds are oftener seen. 

The floors of the best rooms are sometimes cov- 
ered with " rag carpets," and here and there a par- 


lor is fiirnislied with a genuine ^' Brussels." A few 
of the first families are provided with " pianos " or 
^•' melodeons," but many of our farmers daughters 
hear only their own sweet voices, or the songs of 
the birds, except when a musical brother tunes a 
three stringed violin, or makes strange discord 
with a broken-winded " accordeon." 

Many of the parlors are furnished with a little 
recess, used for a best cupboard to stow the 
'' China," the blue crockery, and the shells that 
some rich uncle sent from the " Indies." The- 
table is covered with the best books, — the old 
family Bible, Saint's Rest, -^ Life of Colby," and the 
" Young Man's Guide." The daguerreotypes of 
all their kinsfolks are dispersed among the books,- 
or ranged upon the mantel shelf. 

Cheap statuary of plaster of Paris, is placed! 
over the fire-place, while around the walls arc 
hung a few simple pictures, often representing- 
scripture scenes, '' David and G-oliah," or " Christ 
Blessing Little Children ;" Napoleon Crossing the 
Alps," or the " Portrait of George Washington," 
are often seen. Sometimes they have a sentimen- 
tal cast, like ^' Burns and his Highland Mary." 
Where the daughters have been '- away to school,"' 
the best room is adorned with their pen and 
crayon sketches, and views of English landscapes,, 
with old* castles, noble trees, or some grand scene- 
upon the Hudson, give us pleasant and refining, 

impressions. Some of the parlors are closed most 
of the time, being open only on Sunday evening, 
or for a party or a funeral. 

In the yard^s of many of the farm houses are 
fruit trees, cherries, pears and plums. There are 
good quantities of apples and these are always be- 
fore visitors. The farmer's company are invited 
"when the weather is suitable to w^alk through the 
orchard and over the fields and meadows. Each 
man tells about his handy oxen and big pumpkins, 
his new ditch, or rotten potatoes, while the women 
folks are looking over the dairy and the garden, 
the bees and the poultry yard. Thus an a>utumn 
day goes by. 

The barns of Burrillville are of all grades.. Ma- 
ny of them are old and leaky, but those of modern 
date are better built, some of them being of the 
first class. Within a few years basements are 
made to the barns. Some of the best kind are 
painted', have glass windows and dome ventilators. 
During the summer of 1856 a moderate farmer in 
this town had his barn struck by lightning and con- 
sumed, with his entire stock of hay and farming- 
tools. We speak of it that we may allude to the 
liberal nature of our yeomanry. His friends col- 
lected several hundred dollars for his aid, his neigh- 
bors met and built him a new barn, and thus as a 
token of their regard for honest industry they 
completely indemnified him for his loss. 


The harsli winds make it necessary to Iniild 
large sheds to shelter the cattle in the day time, 
and it is a large item of the farmer's expense to 
keep his buildings covered. Some of the best 
farmers have good wood-houses, but many in the 
bye parts of the town have their wood pile in th-e 
open air. Some cut their wood no faster than they 
use it, and they would be obliged to stop in th^ 
morning to prepare fuel before they went to hoeing 
or mowing, if they could not leave it for the wo- 
men folks to do. 

The cost of wood is but a trifle in some districts 
of Burrillville. In the forest of the western parts 
large quantities are wasted every year. The mar- 
ket wood is culled out and the rest is left to rot. 
There is but little coal used here. Large quanti- 
ties of charcoal are made, but it is sold in the 

Many of the older sort of farm buildings are 
located away from the main road. A rough lane 
leads down to the house. Here is retirement. The 
rattling of wheels, the annoyance of pedlers, the 
dust of the highway, — they are secure from these. 
Here, with the woods all around them, they till 
the hardy soil, eat their coarse food with an appe- 
tite that the indolent epicure seldom brings to his 
perfumed viands, and sleep with a sweet soundness 
that kings might envy. The boys grow up tall and 
tough, the girls have natural waists., und a healthy 


color ill tlicir cheeks ; all live without envy, and 
die without ambition, except to fulfil the duties of 
their humble but happy station. 

In a great many circles, that beautiful song is 
sung, entitled " The Dying Californian." Burrill- 
ville claims to be the birth-place of the authoress. 
Miss Catharine Harris, of Pascoag, composed the 
words, and they have been set to music by Mr. Ta- 
ber, of Providence. It is no wonder this is a favor- 
ite song. Who is there that has not some relative 
in the land of gold. 

" Some have a Sister, 

Some have a Brother, 
Some have a nearer one yet, and a dearer one 

Than any other." 

We give the lines as they were published in the 
Morning Star : 


The New England Diadem gives its readers the following beauti- 
'ful stanzas, which were suggested by hearing read an extract of a 
letter from Capt. Chase, giving an account of the sickness and death 
of his brother-in-law, Mr. Brown Owen, who died on his passage to 
California. We have but seldom met anything so painfully inter- 
esting, in every line, and it will be read with "teary eyes" by many 
who have lost brothers, fathers, husbands, or sons, on their way to^ 
or after having reached, the land of Gold and of Graves : 

Lay up nearer, brother, nearer, 

For thy limbs arc growing cold, 
And thy presence seemeth dearer, 

When thine arras around me fold ; 


I am dying, brother, dying, 

Soon yoa'll miss me in your berth, 
For my form will soon be lying 

'Neath the ocean's briny surf. 

Hearken to me, brother, hearken, 

I have something I would say, 
Ere the veil my vision darken, 

And I go from hence away 5 
I am going, surely going. 

But my hopes in God are strong, 
1 am willing, brother, knowing 

That He doeth nothing wrong. 

Tell my father when you greet him, 

That in death I prayed for him. 
Prayed that I may one day meet him, 

In a world that's free from sin ; 
Tell my mother, (God assist her 

Now that she is growing old,) 
Tell her child would glad have kissed her, 

"When his lips grew pale and cold. 

Listen, brother, catch each whisper, 

'Tis my wifb I'd speak of now. 
Tell, oh ! tell her, how I missed her, 

When the fever burned my brow ; 
Tell her, brother, closely listen. 

Don't forget a single word, 
That in death my eyes did glisten, 

With the tears her mem'ry stirred. 

Tell her she must kiss my children, 

Like the kiss I last impressed. 
Hold them as when last I held theTj, 

Folded closely to my breast : 



Give tlicm early to their Maker, 

Putting all her trust in God, 
And He never will forsake her, 

Por He's said so in his Word. 

my children ! Heaven bless them ! 

They were all my life to me, 
Would I could once more caress thera, 
^^_^ Ere I sink beneath the sea ; 

'Twas for them I crossed the ocean, 

What my hopes were I'll not tell, 
But I've gained an orphan's portion, 

If et He doeth all things well. 

Tell my sisters 1 remembei* 

Evei-y kindly parting word; 
And my heart has been kept tender, 

By the thoughts that mem'ry stirred ; 
Tell them I ne'er reached the haven 

Where I sought the " precious dust," 
But have gained a port called Heaven, 

Where the gold will never rust. 

Urge them to secure an entrance, 

For they'll find their brother there ; 
Taith in Jesus, and repentance, 

Will secure for each a share — 
Hark ! I hear my Saviour speaking, 

'Tis, I know his voice so well, 
When I'm gone, oh ! don't be weeping. 

Brother, here's my last farewell. 

Having presented this tribute to tlie love of 
home joys in the hearts of my readers, I will revert 
to our domestic customs. 


The people of Burrillville never know what it is 
to want for food. We have few among us who are 
rich, but we have none wlio are miserably poor. 
There are many whose daily earnings will, only 
provide them with a livelihood, but these will al- 
ways buy the best flour. 

The dainty luxuries that sometimes pamper the 
palates of tlie rich are seldom seen upon the tables 
of our farmers, but they have enough if it is coarse. 
Large quantities of beef and pork are used. No 
dinner can be made without pork, or beef, or mut- 
ton. We have good potatoes, beets, turnips, car- 
rots, beans and peas, with all the esculents that 
the garden can afford. We know they are fresh 
and good. Our own hands gather them the same 
day they are eaten, and we do not have the poor 
withered and unwholesome vegetables that the 
common people in the city are often obliged to eat, 
or go without any. 

We have one table staple which is a Rhode 
Island institution. We mean ^^ Brown Bread." 
This is as much a Rhode Island invention 
as the " Rhode Island Greening." It is the best 
bread the world has ever produced. I do not 
mean the sort that is left at the doors of city ten- 
ements, but the real rye and- Indian bread, in 
bouncing great loaves, baked in a brick oven. Who- 
ever has travelled in the Middle States will know 
how to prize this article. Unless he lives with a 


family from New England, he may travel for weeks 
and never see a slice of this staff of life. 

We are so near the land of steady habits that 
we have fully adopted their grand Thanksgiving 
dish. " Pumpkin Pies " are appreciated in Bur- 
rillville. Hasty Pudding, with Muscovado, New 
Cheese and Apple Sauce, Pumpkin Pies and Sweet- 
bread, these with the swine's flesh aforesaid, and a 
mug of cider or a glass of coffee, and our agricul 
turalist manages to make out a dinner. 

In summer time we have a good many berries. 
These make a fine dish in a bowl of fresh milk. 
We have good wholesome milk, not the chalk and 
water beverage that dilutes the coiFee of the metro- 
politan resident. Strawberries are found upon 
some of our hill sides, whortleberries are plenty, 
Let our city brethren smile if they will, as they 
ride by our bushy pastures, — it is there we find the 

Our people are well but coarsely clad. The 
workmen around the village are mostly arrayed in 
the flimsy product of the slop-shop. We have sev- 
eral good tailors, who will use good stock, and 
have it well put together, for their patrons who 
can afford it. 

The farmers wear coarse shirts, many of them 
are indifferent about the collar, whether it is By- 
ronic or a la Greely ; their strait vests have plain 
buttons and big pockets ; their pants and overalls 


are made for service ; cowliide boots defy mud, 
water and snakes, and with a heavy frock, Kos- 
suth hat and buckskin mittens, their toilet is com- 
plete, and they sally forth to the field or the forest. 

In a congregation here, upon a Sunday, one may 
see coats of all patterns, from the style of a quar- 
ter of a century ago to the latest fashion. Our 
factory girls are fond of finery. Many of them 
give all their earnings for dress. It is true they 
look very pretty with ribbons and jewels and 
feathers, but the countenances of the young men 
fall when they compute the expense of such an es- 
tablishment for a series of years. OurBurrillville 
girls are pretty amid all the mutations of fashion, 
but will not modest worth in a plain garb secure 
the best hearts the matrimonial market affords ? 

Our farmers wives and daughters have warm 
plaids in winter, pretty calicoes in summer, and 
sometimes silks and satin. What we shall eat and 
wherewithal we shall be clothed takes a good 
deal of our time, but we have long evenings and 
rainy days that we might devote to books and so- 
cial improvement if the means were near us. 

We have but few books. As we have looked 
over the scanty pile at the homes of many of our 
farmers we have thought that a vast change would 
come over the spirit of their life when the school 
district and village libraries cultured among them 
a taste for good reading. The reforms that have 


been begun here will only be perfected b}^ an edu- 
cation, that shall substitute the elevating pleasures 
of the intellect for the present craving for artifi- 
cial stimulus to gratify unnatural appetites. 

Some of our people ride in first class carriages. 
These are all single, there is only an occasional 
double family carriage in the town. Those who 
come out of the woods to meeting or to mill often 
have rude, straight bodied unpainted vehicles, tliat 
remind one of the car of Juggernaut. 

Within a few years chaise have revived, and 
those who patronize our liveries, go bumping over 
our rough roads fully satisfied that a chaise is best 
because they have heard their grandmothers say 
that a " shay " was such " a nice thing to ride in." 
"Well, a chaise has its advantages. Young men 
with patent leathers and fierce mustaches can fling 
back the top and travel from Brandy Hill to Round 
Top, and from Round Top to Chepachet, and no 
one would imagine they were ever sober. They 
can be seen as well as though they had an open 
carriage, and then, if it rains and they are not too 
drunk, they can put up the top. 

We have not much time for amusements, but we 
do have some recreation now and then. During 
the long evenings of winter, the young people make 
parties where the lads and lasses of the neighbor- 
hood are agreed in making the time fly merrily. 
They like to go to an old fashioned farm-house 


where they can go " round the chimney." '^ Rmg 
plays " are popular. These are known to every- 
body. They were common before the division of 
Glocester, and will last a good while yet. Dan- 
cing is often introduced at these parties, and now 
and then a quiet game of whist. "Scorn "the 
*' twenty questions " and the " stage coach/' fill up 
the hours until the old folks want to go to bed, and 
then the good humored company pack themselves 
in their sleighs, and a galloping drive by moon- 
light brings them to their homes. 

Sometimes a sleigh ride is contrived by daylight 
and a great many couple go to the city or Mendon 
or Douglas. The " old married folks " have " quilt.-' 
ing parties " occasionally. They meet to sew to- 
gether little bits of calico, and at the same time 
take the characters of their neighbors to pieces. 

They usually stay to tea, and the gossips grow 
garrulous as they scatter scandal they have kept 
for a whole week for want of so good an opportu- 
nity as they knew the " quilting bee " would afford^ 
to retail it. 

It was once the custom for the farmers to com- 
bine labor and amusement in the same way, by 
meeting to husk each others corn. But these 
husking frolics are rare of late years, and all the 
romance of the " king ear " belongs to the poetry 
of labor of by-gone time. Each man garners his 


own harvest, and "the rich plum pudding" and 
" sweet mince pie/' arc eaten in moody solitude. 

Sometimes our men go to Buck Hill to hunt 
rabbits. There are times when the woods swarm 
with them, and the skilful hunter usually carries a 
good stock home for his table. The route is long 
and hard, the cold sometimes becomes intense, and 
the tired company can scarcely drag one foot after 
the other when they come home ; but the excite- 
ment of the chase is such that the next good day, 
at early dawn, they are seen plodding past " Eagle 
Peak " to greet the rising sun on the summit of the 
bosky hill. 

We have sometimes gone abroad to seek amuse- 
ments that we might have found at home. We 
have always " lotted " on going to the " shore " 
each season after haying, but this summer a com- 
pany went to the beach at Wallum Lake. Here 
they had a " Clam Bake." They found it far less 
wearisome, and less expensive, too, than going to 
the shore below Providence. 

When our labors and our amusements are over, 
they lay us to sleep in the family burial place. It 
is a custom here to have a little spot on each farm 
set apart as a place for graves. No sooner do we 
cross the line into the town of Douglas or Ux- 
bridge, than we find large churchyards. But the 
relatives of our families are often brought hun- 
dreds of miles, that they may be laid with their 


fathers upon the ohl homestead. These little 
tithes of '- God's acre " are not often visited. 
Friends go there to consign their dear ones to the 
dust, or to place beside their grave the flowers 
the}" loved. In some of the older yards we find 
slate head- stones, often broken, and the record, in- 
trusted to their keeping, perchance illegible. 

There are melancholy moods in all our lives, 
when we prefer the willow shade of these silent 
retreats to the glare and bustle of this fitful life. 
It will be well, if, when our pulseless forms repose 
beneath the tree aff'ection planted, a friend, whose 
sorrow has no tears, bends over us to read our 
name, and turning away mournfully whispers, "We 
will love him ao-ain in Heaven," 



At the monthly meeting of the Standing Com- 
mittee of the Rhode Island Society for the En- 
couragement OF Domestic Industry, Oct. 15, 185G, 

Upon the petition of Horace A. Keach, Esq. set- 
ting forth that he is preparing a History of the 
town of Burrillville, and that he is desirous of an- 
nexing thereto the present statistics of that town 
as embodied in a import of said, statistics taken by 
him during the last summer, under the direction 
and at the expense of Greneral Dyer, 

It was voted that the Secretary furnish Mr. 
Keach with a copy of his said report, for the pur- 
poses aforesaid. 

A true copy, 

WM. R. STAPLES, Sec'r. 


To Gen. Elisha Dyer^ 
Dear Sir: 

I Lave completed the task assigned me, and np- 
on the following pages may be found the results of 
my laLorS; the statistics of the town of Burrill- 

They were procured by personal application to 
the inhabitants. Every farmer has given me the 
particulars of the farm occupied by him, so have 
the manufacturers, and mechanics generally the 
particulars of their business. 

The ao'gregate of these, makes the report here 
presented. So far as relates to agricultural crops, 
and supplies, product of mills, and other similar 
points, the report, unless otherwise noted, refers 
to the year 1855. 

The Educational statistics were obtained from 
the report of the school committee for the same 
year, and various other sources. For the valua- 
tion of the town, reference was had to the town 


clerk's office and the records of tlie assessors 
of taxes. Other important facts herein sta- 
ted, have also been derived from the same source. 
It may be proper to state, that neither officers nor 
individuals have shown any' reluctance in affording 
the information required; it being however express- 
ly understood that only the aggregates should be 
made public. I ought perhaps also to add, that I 
found no dispositon to overrate or underrate, but on 
the contrary a desire that Bui'rrillville should ap- 
pear as it is. Such has been my wish in executing 
the task assigned me, and having consulted on 
every point the most correct and reliable means 
of ascertaining the truth within my reach, and be- 
ing conscious of no motive to misrepresent in any 
particular, I hand you the following report of my 
labors, as containing a true statement of the sta- 
tistics of Buriillville. 

Hoping that the results may be acceptable to 
you, and trusting that when published they may 
incite the inhabitants of Burrillville to still great- 
er exertions for further progress, in intelligence, 
in business, and in morals, I remain. 
Very Respectfully, 

Your Obedient Servant, 





L A X D . — 1 8 5 5 . 


Under water, 

Waste land, 

In roads, 

Occupied by buildings, 

Occupied by stone wall, 

In Gardens, 

Under the plough. 

Pasture land. 

Meadow land. 

Value of land, 













Wood fence, 
Stone wall. 







Drains and Ditches, 

Covered drains, 
Open Ditches, 







,. Natural Frmts. 

Wc have a good many berries : wliortleberries, 
billbcrrieS; blackberries, and tliimbleberries, are 
plent}^ A few strawberries grow in our pastures 
and old fields. In the woods, on Buck Hill, a man 
may pick two quarts of whortleberries in an hour. 
We are so far from Providence that few are sent 
to the city. Scattered over the town are a few nut 
trees. There are about half a dozen Old English 
walnut, and a score or two of butternuts ; chestnuts 
are plenty. The ordinary pig walnut is common 
in our open pastures. We cultivate but few grapes. 
Now and then a small vine is seen in the yard of a 
farm-house. There are some wild grapes in our 
woods. Around Wallum Lake they are found in 
■considerable quantities, and of the sweetest qual- 
ity. Like the ivy that creeps over the crumbling 
columns of some old ruin, they cluster around the 
mossy material of our granite ledges, and envelope 
the decaying lines of the old stone wall on many a 
neglected farm. They weave their emerald fes- 
toons around the delicate limbs of the trim larch, 
.and drop tlicir purple clusters into the crystal wa- 
ters of our "sedgy brooks." 



Cords of wood sold, - - 8500 

Tons ship timber, - - 7 

Cords tan-bark, - - 73 

Thousands hoop-poles, - - 27 

Thousands feet lumber, - - 408 

Thousands shingles, - - 1582 

Bushels charcoal, - - 68,100 

Number saw-mills, - - 10 

Number shingle-mills, - - -3 

We have several old saw-mills and shingle-mills 
not in operation. As the timber is cleared awa}^ 
near them, those farther in the woods do the 
work. The name of our largest forest is Buck Hill 
Woods, estimated to contain 6000 acres. 


We are so far from the metropolis that we have 
no market gardens. A few of our farmers sell a 
little produce at the villages. Most of the fami- 
lies at the factories have gardens of their own. 
Among the esculent roots, beets, carrots, parsnips 
and onions are raised only in the garden. We do 
not cultivate these as a field crop, nor have we any 
broomcorn or hops in our fields. A few currant 
and raspberry bushes circle around our garden 
borders, yet we make but few gills of currant wine. 
Raspberry jam is an occasional treat at the table 


of our farmers. A few feet are sometimes devo- 
ted to a strawberry bed, but this luscious luxury 
is eujoYcd only by a few of the most refined. In 
our back woods, in former times, the leisure that 
might be devoted to the culture of this best of 
fruits, was given to that nauseous weed tobacco. 
It was planted on old coalpit beds, and in little 
patches where a fire had run over newly cleared 
land. But our chewers and smokers at the pres- 
ent time, depend upon the southern article for their 





Tons Fodder. 

















Rye, " 












Sowed Corn, 












No. Grist mills, five. 




The experiment of soiling cattle has scarcely 
been made in this town. Our stock roams over 
large pastures, often far into the woods. Many 
farmers let their cattle into their meadow lands 
in the fall, to gnaw down the grass closely, and 
materially injure the crop of the next year. 




English Hay, 



Consisting of 

timothy, red- 

top, &c., 4.670 


a u 

clover, 450 


Natural meadow, 634 



Red top and bent seed, 






Acres. Trees. Bush. 

Bbls. Cider.- 


364 15.490 15.350 













The apple crop of last season was very small.. 
"We have no other fruit trees by the acre. A few 
years since we had two or three poor apologies for 
nurseries, but they are going to decay. 



Cords, barn-yard manure, - 1772 

•• '- ^^ made under cover, 303 

^' compost, - - 135 

Tons plaster, - - - 41 

Barrels poudrette, - - 83 

Tons guano, - - - 3J 

Tons super-pliospliate, - - f 

Our farmers use a good many bushels of leached 
ashes. We have not been able to get any satis- 
factory returns of the amount. We have one soap 
factory, and some are brought from the neighboring 

STOCK. — Itorses, 

Stallions over three years - 2 

Marcs " " - - 99 

Geldings " " - 237 

Stallions under three years, - - 7 

Mares '' u • . 2 

Geldin<rs u u . - 2 

Total, - - - 349 

Most of the horses used to transport freight, to 
and from the city, are kept out of town, halfway 
to the city of Providence. 


Cows over tliree 



Oxen " 

'i . 


Beeves, - 



Bulls, from three 

months to three years. 


Cows " 

(I u 


Oxen " 

u u 


Calves killed, 



Devon oxen. 



Durham cows, 



Over one year, 






Founds wool, (mi 

iddle quality,) 


Fme wool sheep. 



Over one year. 



Pounds pork. 



Pigs raised, 



Gallinaceous fowls. 











Guinea fowls. 



Produce of poultry yard, 




Pounds honey, - - - 799 

Pounds bees- wax, - - 40 


Pounds butter, - - 52,860 

Gallons milk, - - - 456,400 

Our farmers make little cheese except for family 
consumption. They keep no account of that, and 
it is impossible to estimate the amount. 


Horse powers, - - 6 

Hay cutting machines, - - 194 

Fanning mills, - - 18 

Corn shellers, - - - 13 

Value of Implements, - $18,945 

By the implements valued above, we intend such 
as are employed for agricultural purposes. 


Number of houses, - - 451 

Number of barns, - - 287 

Other buildings, - - 330 

Value houses,' - - $225,500 

Value bams, - - - 11,480 

Value other buildings, - ^,600 

Total value of buildings, ^ - 243,580 


Houses of wood, - - 447 

Houses of stone, - - 4 

Houses out of highway, - - 34 

Houses with basement story, - 30 

Houses unpainted, - - - 116 

" unoccupied, - - 26 

Buildings with slate roof, - - 1 

" " gravel " - - *7 

In the valuation of buildings above, factory build- 
ings and Machine shops are not included. 


Men by the year, - - .40 

Wages " " - - - $7805 

Women by the year, - - - 16 

Wages " " " - - $1664 

Men by the month, - - - 90 

Average wages, per month, - $15 

Our farmers do much of their work themselves. 
In the summer season the boys who are large 
enough to labor, are kept from school to aid in the 
labors of the farm. We almost daily hear some 
farmer complain of being obliged to labor so harcl, 
and they sigh for easier terms of western life. 
Our farmer's wives love to work, and tlieir daugh- 
ters are trained to domestic employments. 



No. cotton mills, (one of wood and one 

^^ spindleS; 
Lbs. cotton nsed in 1855, 
Cords wood, 
Gallons oil, 
Yahie other supplies. 
Yds. printing cloths manufactured. 
Lbs. yarn warps &c., 
Males employed. 
Females " - 

Average persons per famil}^, 
No. tenements of wood, 
No. persons per tenement. 
Tons freight annually, 

No. of woolen mills of stone, 

u u u u u ^ood, 

Lbs. of wool consumed annually, 
No. setts of Machinery, 

^' looms, 

'^ yds. fancy cassimere, 

" " satinetts, 

" tons coal, 

" cords wood, 
Yalue of dye stuffs, - 
^^ other supplies, 

of stone,) 2 




- 546 

















- $24,336 



No. gallons oil, - - - 40,700 

" males employed, - - 577 

" females, " - - - 181 

Average wages males per mouth, - $24.00 

" " females ^^ " . - |24.00 

No. families in villages employed inMnills, 2G0 

Average persons in family, - - 5J 

Amount freight per annum, tons, - 4000 

Value goods manufactured annually, 1 1,3 72, 991 


Five of our mills are provided with force pumps, 
and beside we have two small fire engines. 

We have one steam engine of 60 horse power, 
It is connected with one of our woolen mills to 
supplement the water power, 


Axe Shop, - - - - - 1 

Blacksmiths, - < - . H 

Butchers, ----- 3 

Box Makers, - - - - 6 

Boat Makers, - - - . 1 

Carpenters, - - - - 17 

Dentist, > _ . - 1 

Engineer, ... - 1 

Gunsmith, - . . - 1 

Hoe Factory, . - - 1 

Harness Maker, , - - - 1 



Masons, . . . _ 7 

Machinists, - - - - 50 

Millwrights, . . - - 2 

Milliners, .... 2 

Painters, . - . . 5 

Shoe Makers,' - - - - 18 

Tailors, .... 3 

Wheelwrights, .... 6 

Scythe and Drawing Knife Factory. 

No. Scythes made annually, - 3000 doz. 

No. Drawing Knives, made annually, 500 " 

Tons hard coal used, - - 200 

Bushels charcoal, - - 2000 

Tons iron used, - - - 65 

Pounds of steel, - - 14,000 

Hands employed, - - - 22 

There are about forty coal baskets made annual- 
ly, value $140. 

Machine Shops. 

No. of Machine Shops, - - 2 

Capital, - - - $20,000 

Kind of machinery made — spindles and flyers. 

Pounds of steel used, - - 93,000 

Value of materials used, - $15,000 

Bushels charcoal, - - - 3,100 

No. of hands employed, - 50 

Yalue of annual product, - - $40,000 



TRADERS 1856. 


Jolin S. Colwell, 
Daniel S. Mowry, 
Jacob Lewis, 
John A. Brown, 
Oliver A. Inman, 
A. L. Foskett, 
Daniel S. Sh urn way, 
Sayles & Wood, 
George Esten, 
D. Andrews & Co. 
L. D. Millard, 
W. Armitage, 
J. Paine, 
James Wade, 
Haynes & Smith, 
Wm. R. Waterman, 




Variety Store 


a u 

Buck Hill Woods," " 


a a 


u u 


u u 

Laurel Hill, 

U (I 


u u 


a u 


u u 


u u 




Stove Depot. 


Variety Store 

PascoaQ", Furniture Room. 


Jesse M. Smith, 
Willard Darling, 
Mason Darling, 
Warren Potter, 


Laurel Hill, 





No. Banks, . . . 1 

Granite, incorporated, June, 1833. 
Amount capital, - - $100,000 00 

No. acres in poor farm, - - 125 

Original cost, - - $2,400 00 

Estimated value, 1856, - - 3,000 00 

Value of personal property at poor 

house, taken by order of Council, 

30tli March, 1855, - - 646 67 

No. indigents in 1856, Sept. 1, 9 

A donation was made to the town, in 1844, by 
will of Doct. Levi Eddy, of Burrillville. The 
amount was $1000, interest only to be applied to 
the support of the poor. 

Our paupers were sold at auction in 1807 for 
Estimated value, by assessors, of real 

estate in 1855, - - $1,028,661 

Estimated value, by assessors, of per- 

sonal property in 1855, 




Amount tax per centage, 

24^ cts. 

Money tax in 1855, 


Highway " ^^ - 


First highway tax, 1807, - 


i^m-n^olltax, inl807, 

33 cts. 

Money tax in 1856, 


Total value of property in 1856, 




No. miles road. - - - 103 

" " stage, - ■ . 14 
" " railroad, 

" " " partially completed, 9 

'' " -' proposed, - 10 

No. Bridges 20 feet span, - - 21 

Condition of bridges, good; guide posts, bad; 
town house, medium. 

We lack accommodations for the preservation 
of our public records. They have usually been 
kept at the dwelling house of the town clerk. 
We have no so/c, and the calamity of fire might 
unsettle half the titles in town. 

No. Hotels, 2. 


No. school districts. 


" " houses, 

- 16 

Condition of houses, good. 

No. male instructors, 

- -S 

No. female " 


Average attendance, 1854 and 1855, 


1855 and 1856, 

- 502 

Amount money received. State, 

- $1495,70 

" " raised by town. 



No. Public Libraries, - - 1 

^^ Yolumes, - - - 850 
" School district Libraries, 

" Reading rooms, 

" Literary societies, - - 3 

Mapleville Lyceum at Mapleville, for public dis- 
cussions and lectures. 

Harrisviile Lyceum at Harrisville, for debates 
and mental improvement. 

Union Club at Laurel Hill, for debates and mu- 
tual improvement. 

No. of lawyers, - - - 1 

^' '^ physicians, - - 3 

" " post oflices in 1856, - - 4 
Newspapers taken — 

dailies, - - - 19 

semi-weeklies, - - 39 

weeklies, - - - 443 

semi-monthlies, - - 18 

monthlies, - - - - 76 

quarterlies, - - 2 


Number Freewill Baptist congregations, 4 

" Methodist " 3 

" Friends " 1 

" Episcopalian " 1 

" Roman Catholic " 1 

" Clergymen, - - 6 

" Meeting Houses, - 6 


Value cliiircli proper ty, - - $8,450 

Church accouimodatioii, - - 1500 

CoiiiiTe,i>,'atioiis meeting* in school-houses, 4 

The Roman Catholics have lately laid the foun- 
dation of a church at the village of Harrisville, in 
the centre of the town. It is to be 40 feet by Q5, 
and it is designed to complete it this autumn. 


To the courtesy of D. M. Salisbury, Esq., are we 
indebted for the following article, originally pre- 
pared for the " Providence Journal." 


Whole population, - - 3,538 

Number of Males, - • - 1,851 

Number of Females, - - 1,687 

Persons over 90 years of age - - 7 

Persons between 80 and 90, - 21 

Persons between 70 and 80, - - 71 

Eldest couple now living are John Williams and 
wife — -he 91, and she 90, — have been married 73 

The family most distinguished for longevity, is 
the Esten family, children of John and Lydia Col- 
well Esten. Their names and ages are as follows : 

Joseph Esten— in his 99th year. 

Joanna Inman — in her 97th year. 

John Esten — in his 89tlryear. 

Marcy Brown — in her 80th year. 

Salome Buxton — in her 77th year. 

Amey Inman — in her 74th year. 


The tliree following children have died since 

Jemima Buxton — in her 95th year. 
Martha Inman — in her 93d year. 
Henry Esten — in his 85th year. 
Their father died aged 78 years. 
Their mother died aged 86 years. 
Their father's mother died aged 97 years. 
Their mother's father died aged 97 years. 
The Hon. John Esten is still a resident of this 
town. Has been justice of the peace 26 years. — 
Member of the Court of Probate 34 years. Has 
represented the town in G-eneral Assembly 6 years. 
Judge of the Court of Common Pleas 4 years. Has 
joined in marriage 137 couple. Has been a mem- 
ber of the Freewill Baptist Church, of this town, 
between 30 and 40 years. 

Number of dwelling houses in this town, 633^ 

Number of families in this town, - 657 

Population of Pascoag village, - - 1082 

Population of Mapleville, • - 305 

Population of Harrisville, - - 202 
The population in 1840, was between 1900 and 
2000; increase, between 1500 and 1600. 

* The followino; was the definition of a dwelling house given to 
the Marshal: '•'•Each house having a separate entrance is to he re- 
qnrded as a dwelling house, though there maij be tivo or more in a block.'' 
'When Iiise the term in the Supplement I mean a house in its or- 
dinary acceptance. 

University of