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[No. 13. 





Early Town Records. 


[Presented January 30, 1893.] 


J. A. & R. A. Reid, City Printers, 

Dyer and Pine Streets. 




To the Honorable the City Council of the 
City of Providence. 

Gentlemen: The Record Commissioners in their 
first report to your honorable body presented a brief 
review of the action taken by the town from time to 
time towards the preservation of its ancient records, 
wherein they expressed themselves as follows: 

"The earliest effort in this direction was made 
Aug. 12, 1678, when Daniel Abbott was elected town 
clerk, to succeed John Whipple, Jr. At this time 
Roger Williams and Daniel Abbott were appointed a 
committee ' to take a list of what they received, and 
to give to ye sayd John Whipple a cleare and full 
discharge for the same.' This action was taken 
shortly after the Indian war [1675-76] when the town 
suffered so severely from its effects, and when the 
records passed through a severe ordeal." 

When the Commissioners made that statement 
their investigation of original papers had not extended 
beyond those in the possession of the city; and the 
official list of books and papers, which is printed in 
Vol. 7, of the Collections of the Rhode Island Histor- 
ical Society, at page 103, was taken to be the earliest 
reference to the collective records of the town, an 
inference encouraged by the fact that no earlier list 


was then known to be in existence. Since then, how- 
ever, an examination by the Commissioners of the 
manuscripts in the custody of the Historical Society 
has resulted in most valuable and interesting revela- 
tions. In a volume of manuscripts, entitled " Papers 
Relating to Providence," at page 54, was found the 
record of a town meeting held April 27, 1676, at 
which it was " Voted y e Towne Books & Records 
(saved by Gods merifull Providence (from fire & 
water) now brought by him from Newport) should 
be in his hand a while & fower Men) who had bene 
Towne Clarks:) Tho: Olny jun Shadrach Manton 
John Whiple jun r , & John Smith Miller should view 
& search y e Papers, what is wanting or lost, & make 
report to y e Towne y e next quarter day." 

Whether the committee appointed under this reso- 
lution ever reported is not positively known, but it is 
presumed that it did not, for in the same volume, at 
page 28, is " A List of Papers deliuered to John 
Whiple jun 1 ' chosen Towne Clark by Roger Willjams 
former Town Clark" dated "Pro: 4 4. 77 so cald " 
(being an abbreviation of Providence, June 4, 1677, 
for it will be remembered that at that time March was 
the first month of the year,) post, Appendix A, and on 
page 29 of the same volume appears a report made 
October 27, 1677, by a committee appointed on that 
same fourth day of June, the heading of which report 
best indicates the character and purpose of the com- 
mittee making it. The report begins in this wise: 
" ffor as much as the Towne of prouidence did at a 
Towne meting of Election held upon the 4 th - day of 
June 1677 order and Appoynt Capt Arthur ffenner 
and John Whipple Junr: to vewe all the Books and 


writings which belong to y e sd Towne now in the 
hands of the s d ffenner, and to see in what Condito 
they are and to take a list of them, they both Signeing 
to the saydlist: The which we have done as ffollow- 
eth, Viz" » 

The report, which is quite minute and is full of in- 
terest, together with the list just referred to in this 
connection, is printed in full, post, Appendix B. 

There has also come to light in the same volume, 
page 88, a list of books and papers transferred June 6, 
1758, from Nicholas Tillinghast, late town clerk, to 
James Angell, then town clerk, by a committee 
appointed for that purpose, and which list may be 
found post, Appendix C. These lists are valuable in 
tracing the various records now remaining, and in 
aiding to determine the time when those now missing 
were lost. 

The first report presented by this Commission to 
your honorable body relative to the records of the 
Town of Providence, dealt particularly with the 
record books now remaining in the custody of the 
several departments of the city. In connection with 
these, however, the Commissioners stated: " In addi- 
tion to the books of record there are stored in cup- 
boards in a room in the City Hall a large number of 
papers and documents, tied up in bundles and partly 
classified, dating back as far as 1678. These papers 
contain information of great value, which would be 
gladly welcomed by our citizens, could they be 
privileged to examine their contents. Included in these 
papers are depositions, indentures, documents relating 
to the Revolutionary War, tax lists, a mass of records 
relating to the colonial monetary system, and many 

6 CITY DOCUMENT. [No. 13. 

other varieties of records too numerous to particular- 
ize." With the appropriation made by the City 
Council for the continuation of the printing and 
collecting the early records of Providence, the Com- 
missioners have been enabled to devote some attention 
to these papers. It is to be regretted that attention 
could not have been turned in this direction years 
ago, for without doubt many valuable writings have 
been lost for lack of care. 

These papers are the original documents concern- 
ing the business transacted by the town, and it is 
fortunate, considering the vicissitudes through which 
they have passed, that so many have been preserved. 
It is reasonable to believe that with almost the first 
gathering of the earl)- settlers in town meeting there 
must have been more or less petitions, bills and other 
writings, presented for consideration; but from the 
founding of Providence in 1636, down to the year 
1675, no papers or documents, other than record 
books, relating to town affairs are to be found in the 
possession of the city, It was in this latter year that 
the Indian War occurred, and the preservation of the 
record books and some few other writings during 
that troublous period was accomplished with diffi- 
culty. The earliest paper in date found by the 
Commissioners in the collection is a particularly 
important one, it bearing date during the year in 
which Staples says that Roger Williams was Town 
Clerk, and on it appears his signature in that capacity. 
It is the only writing of any character in the posses- 
sion of the city, to which his name is attached 
officially as Town Clerk. 

Very few papers bearing date prior to the middle 


of the eighteenth century remain, and it is not until 
the years succeeding the Revolutionary War that any 
considerable number have been found. 

Reference has already been made to the devastat- 
ing effect of the Indian War of 1675 upon the 
records and documentary possessions of the town, 
and the danger to which they were exposed during 
the Revolution is evidenced by papers that have been 
preserved, wherein it appears that in December, 1776, 
the records were gathered together and transported 
to the home of Col. John Waterman, in Johnston, by 
Amos Chaff e, where they remained "near two years" 
before they were returned to the town. The removal 
to Johnston was made by order of the Governor when 
the British army occupied a portion of the colony. 
See post, Appendix D. 

Previous to the erection of the market house in 
1773, there was no regular depository for the records 
of the town, and they were kept in the store or house 
of the Town Clerk for the time being. It was not until 
the latter part of the eighteenth century that even a 
Town Clerk's office was provided by the town for the 
deposit of its records and the dispatch of its business. 

Work on the market house was begun May 24, 
1773, and upon its completion a Town Clerk's office 
was regularly established there, Theodore Foster, who 
was Town Clerk from 1775 to 1787, being the first 
occupant of the new quarters. In that building, as 
originally constructed and as subsequently altered, the 
records of town and city remained for more than a 
century, accumulating year by year; the older docu- 
ments as crowded out by more recent ones being 
stored in the attic, sometimes packed away in cup- 


boards and on shelves, and sometimes scattered loosely 
and carelessly about the floor, neglected, forgotten, and 
inaccessible for ready reference. In 1878, when the 
present City Hall was ready for occupancy, these old 
papers were gathered together in boxes and stored 
away in cupboards, in a room on the upper floor of that 

The most cursory examination makes it painfully 
apparent that very many documents of inestimable 
value must have been lost or destroyed, and it is not 
much to be wondered at when one considers the usage 
they received and the neglect they suffered, an illus- 
tration of which is afforded by the fact that when the 
Commissioners assumed charge of them a muster roll, 
of Col. Israel Angell's Second Rhode Island Regiment 
in the Revolution, containing the names of upwards 
of two hundred and fifty soldiers, was found doing 
duty as a wrapper for a bundle of well-nigh useless 

The following extract from the Fourth Report of 
Robert T. Swan, Esq., Record Commissioner of 
Massachusetts, "on the Custody and Condition of the 
Public Records," is little less applicable in its general 
features if not in its details, to the towns and cities of 
Rhode Island than to those of our adjoining com- 
monwealth. He says : " During the high price of 
paper in the late war many public papers were sent 
to the paper mills, some going directly from public 
offices. At that time an agent for persons in England 
made a tour of the towns within a radius of ten or fif- 
teen miles of Fitchburg, and bought all the old papers 
which could be obtained from any source. These 
were carried to Fitchburg, and such as were wanted 


were preserved and probably sent to England; the 
others, which aggregated many tons, were sent to the 

" In view of the fact that the selling of papers was 
so general, and that provision for the safety of the 
files had seldom been made, it is surprising to rind in 
some cities and towns so many which have been 
preserved. Occasionally these are bundled up and 
labelled, and very occasionally kept in vaults; but 
more often they are in old chests or trunks, which 
contain also some old record books, and until very 
recently contained all. Among these papers are 
valuation lists, unrecorded reports of committees, 
maps, plans, etc., of a value which cannot be estimated 
until they are needed." * * * * 

" Occasionally a town has realized the importance 
of its records and papers and has authorized some one 
to put them in order. In 1842, Lewis Bradford, who 
had been for many years town clerk of Plympton, by 
vote of the town, put in order all the records and 
papers which could be found. He made an index of 
them at the time, and in one book containing tax-lists 
made the following note, the concluding part of which 
holds good to-day: 'The Assessors might have 
sewed their pamphlets of Assessments with twine, 
and yearly fastened them together as in this Book; 
and in that way their assessments might have been 
preserved in good order, and been much less liable to 
embezzlement. Some town officers are Do for the 
Present persons, or Do littles and do so little that in 
after times some of their doings are rather unintelli- 

gible.' " 

" A few towns are by special vote now having papers 

10 CITY DOCUMENT. [No. 13. 

examined and arranged, and have collected from 
private sources public papers of value." * * * 

" The temptation to retain papers belonging in 
public custody, or to pilfer from the files in the public 
offices, is increased by the auction sales, where papers, 
which are the property of the State or of cities and 
towns, are boldly advertised and sold. At a sale in 
New York, in 1876, a record of births in Middle- 
borough, from 1 7 14 to 1730, and some of the records, 
of the treasurer of Hanover, were sold. Fifty-three 
pages of the record of the trial of Hugh Parsons of 
Springfield, on a charge of witchcraft, before Mr. 
Pynchon, said to have been torn from the records, 
were sold at the same sale. A large collection of 
papers advertised as ' Official Papers of the Provin- 
cial Congress of Massachusetts at the most interesting 
and important portion of its deliberations, — the 
period preceding Lexington and Bunker Hill,' were 
advertised to be sold in Boston, but were replevined 
by the Commonwealth. At the first sale of the 
Leffingwell collection of papers, recently held in 
Boston, the city of Boston purchased forty-four lots 
at a cost of nearly one thousand dollars, nearly every 
one of which was once the property of the city. At 
the second sale, fifty-two lots of papers belonging to 
the Commonwealth were sold. It may be that, to 
secure such papers that are out of proper custody, 
there is no remedy except to purchase them; but more 
stringent measures should be taken to prevent the loss 
of others, and the penalty attached to the offence 
should be sufficient to act as a menace." 

It is not unreasonable to believe that these same 
conditions have surrounded the records of the town 


of Providence, and that many valuable papers and 
documents have been abstracted from the files or have 
been destroyed as valueless. The following quotation 
from the " Magazine of New England History," for 
January, 1892, affords an apt illustration of the dangers 
from purloiners to which public records are subject: 

" About twenty years ago, the officials of Gorham, 
Maine, discovered that the first volume, containing 
the earliest records, 1764 to 181 5, was missing. Every 
effort was made by individual search, and the town 
offered a liberal reward for the return of the lost 
records, but without success. Recently the volume 
was returned. The simple fact that it came from 
Boston is all that is known of its recover)*. With 
the missing volume came two others, containing 
records of marriages, births and deaths of the town 
from 1764 to 1822. It is not stated that the loss of 
the last-mentioned volume was known, but it certainly 
shows carelessness on the part of some one. It is 
hoped that all of our New England towns will provide 
means for printing their old records and thus prevent 
the loss which sooner or later overtakes uncared for 
papers of this class." 

The papers still remaining are often of great value 
in ascertaining- the circumstances which surround 
certain recorded acts of the town, and in many cases 
they are the only evidences found of important occur- 

An interesting illustration of this in connection with 
the will of William Harris, is introduced here, to 
show the condition under which that instrument was 
admitted to probate, and as an example of the quaint 
and simple style of expression of the times. 

12 CITY DOCUMENT. [No. 13. 

The will of William Harris was preferred for 
probate January 24, 1681, [Will Book 1, page 23] 
and beyond the fact that " it being demanded of 
Andrew Harris whether he would accept of his 
exsecutorshipp & execute his fathers will according 
as his father appoynted in his will, the said Andrew 
his answer was, that he will not meddle at all with 
any of his ffathers estate as executor", there is no 
recorded evidence that the will awakened any more 
dissatisfaction than might be inferred from this refusal; 
but an original document, post, Appendix E, now just 
brought to light, gives an insight into the family 
relations and will be of interest to those who have 
made a study of this prominent figure in the early 
days of the colon}'. 

The Commissioners having made a personal exami- 
nation of these old papers referred to, decided to enter 
at once upon a systematic method of putting them in 
such order and condition as would insure their preser- 
vation and accessibility for practical use. They also 
caused the attic or upper part of the old city, or 
market, building to be thoroughly examined, to see 
if by any chance any papers or documents still 
remained, and in this work they were kindly assisted 
by Mr. Freeman P. Little, Secretary of the Board of 
Trade, which board are the present lessees of the 
building; but, beyond a few valueless scraps, nothing 
was found. In entering upon the work of repairing 
these papers and putting them in the best possible 
condition for use and preservation, the Commissioners 
were fortunate in having the assistance of John Noble, 
Esq., Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court of Suffolk 
County, Massachusetts, and of William P. Upham, 



Esq., attorney-at-law, of Newtonville, Massachusetts, 
under whose supervision upwards of 250,000 papers 
have been treated for the City of Boston, for 
which purpose the sum of thirty thousand dollars 
has been appropriated by that municipality. 

These gentlemen made it possible for the Com- 
missioners to secure the services of Miss Lizzie 
H. Goldthwaite, of Danvers, Massachusetts, an 
expert in the delicate work of repairing old doc- 
uments, so that the Commissioners were enabled 
to embark in the work with all the knowledge and 
skill that years of experience had effected. It 
is proposed that the first series of papers shall 
include all from the earliest period down to the 
close of the year 1799, with the exception of records 
of Justices' Courts. 

The papers are being arranged chronologically, and 
where more than one date appears the latest is 
invariably taken as the date of the paper. As they 
have been folded up and so remained for many years, 
a large portion of them are much worn in the creases 
and otherwise dilapidated. Each paper is carefully 
repaired, pressed, stamped as the property of the city, 
and finally mounted in large books made specially for 
the purpose, so that they can be most conveniently 
used by those having occasion to refer to them with 
the least possible wear or injury to the papers them- 
selves. Unfortunately, valuable manuscripts present 
to many persons a peculiar temptation to pilfer them, 
and so the commissioners, in order to preserve these 
documents, have had a small and neat stamp made 
with which each paper is impressed, showing it to be 
the property of the city, and offering ready means of 

14 CITY DOCUMENT. [No. 13. 

identification. The stamp is so small as to cause no 
disfigurement, and it is believed will prove an effectual 
safeguard against larceny. At the end of each book 
is a certificate giving a general statement of the papers 
contained therein, signed by the Commissioners. 

In the preparation of these papers thus far, the time 
of two assistants has been given entirely to this work, 
while that of one assistant has been devoted to it for 
about four months. 

It is estimated that this series will contain upwards 
of 15,000 papers, and to make them as available as 
possible it is proposed to thoroughly index the volumes 
so that the contents thereof may be easily ascertain- 
able, and already much progress has been made in 
this work. 

That the collection includes papers of great value 
and throws light on many interesting events in the 
history of the town, will appear from the statement 
that among them are found papers relating to the 
yellow fever epidemic, the small-pox epidemics, the 
building of the market house, the binding of appren- 
tices, enlistments and the purchase of arms, the 
building of fortifications and beacon, the payment of 
bounties during the Revolutionary War, and bills on 
account of the poor of the town. 

In pursuing investigation relative to the ancient 
records, the Commissioners have examined several 
volumes of manuscripts in the collections of the 
Rhode Island Historical Society, and have found 
many writings which doubtless were once the prop- 
erty of the town. Indeed a number of pages of the 
records of the Town Meetings are there preserved, 
which would fill gaps occurring in the volumes now 


in the city's possession. These papers are a part of the 
" Foster Papers," so called, and " Rhode Island Man- 
uscripts." Included in the Society's collections are 
three pages of the " First Book of the Town of 
Providence," two of which do not appear in the 
printed copy of that book, and one of which contains 
a brief reference to a meeting of the early settlers 
held "third month 13 die, 1639." These pages have 
been printed in the appendix to the second volume of 
the Early Records. 

The Library Committee of the Historical Society 
has afforded all possible aid to the Commissioners in 
permitting them to have the use of the books of 
manuscripts for examination and for the purpose of 
making abstracts therefrom, in which work the Hon. 
Amos Perry, Secretary and Librarian of the Society, 
has materially assisted. 

The student of Rhode Island history cannot fail to 
find new and interesting fields for investigation in these 
papers, as the manner in which they have been stored 
away for so many years has made the information 
contained in them hitherto unavailable. 

As before stated, the series of papers which the 
Commissioners are now engaged in arranging, termi- 
nates with the year 1799, and includes but a small 
part of those still stored away in the cupboards on 
the upper floor of the City Hall, from which this first 
series is made up, and it would be wise to continue 
the work of classifying and arranging to all papers 
prior to the date of the incorporation of the city in 
1832, since which time the records have been care- 
fully kept. The city then will have all the books, 
papers and documents connected with its growth and 

16 CITY DOCUMENT. [Xo. 13. 

development permanently and satisfactorily preserved. 
It is difficult to determine how many papers are 
included in that period, but the economical expendi- 
ture of any reasonable amount for this purpose 
would be wise and judicious. 

It is gratifying to know that an interest in the public 
records not only in this city but also throughout the 
whole state, has been stimulated by the work which the 
City Council has authorized and so liberally provided 
for, and the continuation of the work will place this 
city on an equal footing with the progressive cities of 
the country which have already seen the importance 
of similar work. 

It is with pleasure that the Commissioners are able 
to report that Mr. Howard Redwood Guild, of this 
city, has deposited with the Commissioners as the 
property of the city, three hundred and sixty-five 
manuscripts bearing date from 1684 to 1828. 
These papers are of peculiar interest from the fact 
that many of them are original documents from which 
the Proprietors' Records, so called, were made up, 
which were destroyed a few years ago in the 
Aldrich House fire. Included, also, among this col- 
lection are man) 7 original documents relating to the 
lav-out of highways, returns of land laid out by the 
proprietors, returns and accounts of the Deputy 
Wagon Master General of the Providence Brigade at 
the battle and operations on Rhode Island, in 1778, 
warrants, depositions, marriage certificates, bonds, 
inventories, wills, letters, &c. 

The whole forms a valuable addition to the docu- 
mentary possessions of the municipality. 

Since the completion of the first volume of the 


printed records, the Commissioners have received 
many commendatory letters from societies and 
scholars emphasizing the value and importance of the 
work now in process by the city. 

The second volume of the Early Records of the 
Town of Providence, herewith submitted, is one of 
peculiar interest. It contains the records of the ear- 
liest Town Meetings and Quarter Courts, and throws 
much light on the customs and conditions of the 
times. The " Progress of Laws," contained in this 
volume, presents the earlier forms of court proceed- 
ings in civil matters in this jurisdiction, and must 
prove of great interest to all students of jurisprudence. 
This volume has been known at different times as 
"The Book with Brass Clasps," "Short Old 
Book which once had brass Clasps," " The Towne Old 
Book," " The Short Old Book," " The Second Book 
Town of Providence," and " The Old Burnt Book," 
the latter name being derived from the fact that there 
are many of the " Leaues scorcht and partly burnt," 
from the effects of the fire which destroyed a part of 
the town in 1676. The earliest reference to the book, 
which has been found, is October, 1677, where it is 
stated that it now contains "70: leaves and one nott 
wrott upon, soe there is wanting: 65 : leaves, the Book 
being much defaced." Its original arrangement has 
been lost, and the leaves as they are now arranged 
are confusing and misleading, it being extremely 
doubtful if the original arrangement of the book 
can ever be accurately determined. The Commis- 
sioners, however, have considered it a part of 
their duty to correct, as far as possible, the derange 
ment of the pages which has occurred. It was 

18 CITY DOCUMENT. [No. 13. 

discovered, after careful examination, that the book 
had been used for two distinct purposes; first, for the 
entry of land transfers and for the recording of instru- 
ments, such as indentures, notice of stray horses, 
records of liquors received in the town, and other 
matters requiring to be recorded; and secondly for 
the minutes of Town Meetings, Courts of Election, 
and Quarter Courts. By making a table of the differ- 
ent dates on which these various meetings were held, 
and indicating the page on which the record was 
found, it became apparent that the leaves had, except 
in some few instances, been exactly reversed, and that 
when requiring rebinding instead of the pages being 
sewed or fastened to the covers by the edges, by which 
they now are, the opposite edges should have been 
used for that purpose. 

This mistake was evidently committed before the 
transcript of 1800 was made as the same general 
confusion is found in that volume that appears in the 
original as now bound, with the exception that the 
copyist at that time attempted to correct the trouble on 
no settled plan, whereby his copy is more confused 
and misleading even than the original as now bound. 
The pages used for the first purpose or for the miscel- 
laneous records, were placed in such order as the 
nature of the records would seem to justify and com- 
prise the first forty pages. As these entries were not 
necessarily made in the order in which the instruments 
were executed, and as the time of recording them was 
not always noted bythe recording officer, an apparent 
confusion of dates appears. The Commissioners be- 
lieve that the pages as now arranged in the printed 
volume approach as near to the original order as can 
be effected. 


Through the kindness of Mr. Alfred Metcalf, exec- 
utor of the will of the late Henry J. Steere, the Com- 
missioners have been able to include in the printed 
volume a fac-simile of the compact of the twenty-five 
acre purchasers, as it appears upon the pages of the 
original book. In addition to the general interest this 
fac-simile will excite on account of the importance of 
its subject matter, it is interesting as presenting a good 
example of the chirography of the times prevailing 
throughout this volume and which it has been neces- 
sary to interpret and transcribe. 

By resolution of the City Council No. 351, approved 
July 1, 1892, an appropriation of six hundred dollars 
was allowed the Commissioners in addition to the 
appropriation made on April 2, 1892, which appro- 
priation was made with the understanding that an 
additional number of the First Volume of the Early 
Records of Providence should be printed. In issuing 
the first volume, the amount of the appropriation at 
the disposal of the Commissioners would allow them 
to print but 500 copies. The great interest taken in 
the work, caused this number to become exhausted 
within two months of the time it was ready for distri- 
bution, and many persons who desired copies were 
unable to obtain them. With this additional appro- 
priation, the Commissioners have printed 500 copies 
and have made the edition of the present volume to 
correspond with the first, namely, 1000 copies. 

In this work which the Commissioners have accom- 
plished, they have been ably assisted by Miss Huldah 
D. Sheldon who has prepared the copy used in print- 
ing, and has had general oversight of the office work; 
and by Miss A. Josephine Torrey, and Miss S. Fran- 



[No. 13. 

ces Rathbun who have prepared the manuscripts for 

The Commissioners herewith submit a statement of 
expenditures made since their last report. 


Classifying, repairing and mounting " Prov- 
idence Town Papers," 
C. W. Jenckes & Bro., paper boxes, 
Eastern Advertising Co., envelopes, . 
R. L. Greene, paper for repairing, 
Starkweather Williams & Co., scissors 

brushes &c, .... 

Charles B. Botsford & Co., paper for repair 

in g, 

William Millen, cups, &c, 
A. J. Woodbury & Co., transparent paper 
L. H. Goldthwaite, special services, 
W. H. Clarlin & Co., drying paper, . 
Akerman Co., 50 books for papers, . 
A. A. White & Co., rubber stamp, . 
Anthony, Cowell & Co., two pine bureaus 
Library Bureau, cards for index, 
Edward Field, miscellaneous expenses, 
Akerman Co., binding old records, . 
Henry B. Bennett, case for card index, 
Akerman Co., folios, 


$6ll OO 
9 08 

6 10 

17 40 

6 26 








1 1 


io 5 







1 1 


1 1 





2 5 

$929 26 

Snow & Farnham for printing 1000 copies 

Vol. 2 and electrotype plates for same $765 60 


Akerman Co., for binding and wrapping 

Vol. 2, $181 25 

Transcribing Vol. A, Third Book Town of 
Providence, ...... 

Clerical assistance, ..... 

G. H. Richter & Co., type writer supplies 

Snow & Farnham, printing, 

Library Bureau, index cards, 

Bugbee, Thompson Co., office supplies, 

Akerman Co., wrapping Vol. i, [500 copies] 

G. H. Richter & Co., type writing machine, 

Snow & Farnham, printing 500 copies 1st 


H. D. Sheldon, miscellaneous expenses, 
Akerman Co., binding and wrapping 500 
copies 1st Vol. [printed wrappers.] 

$1,669 80 
Total amount for both purposes, 2,599 06 
Balance from former report, $29 09 

Amount of appropriation April 

2, 1892, .... 1,500 00 
Amount of appropriation Jul}' 

1, 1892, .... 600 00 

Amount of appropriation No- 
vember 16, 1892, . . 4,000 00 6,129 09 
Amount of expenditures, 2 >599 °6 





















2 5 

Balance on hand, $3>53° °3 

Respectfully submitted, 


Record Commissioners. 
January 30, 1893. 

22 CITY DOCUMENT. [No. 13. 


Rhode Island Historical Society Manuscripts. Papers 
Relating to Providence. 1 643-1 793. Page 28. 

Pro : 4 | A List of Papers deliuered to John 
4. 77 I Whiple jun r chosen Town Clark 
'so cald' I by Roger Willjams former Town 


1 Towne Meetings Votes & Orders 

2 Committees Order about Jndjans 

3 Generall Record about Probate of Wjlls 

4 A Will for Resolued Waterman 

5 A Will for Hen : Wright 

6 H. Wrights Jnventorie 

7 Leonard Smiths Will 

8 Proclamation ag nst Bacon &c 

9 A Will for James Olny 

10 Apprizal of John Smiths Estate 

11 Tho : Olny junr his Letter to y e Council 

12 Tho: Olny Sen*" his dispose of J. Olnys Estate 

13 A bond from Jos : Smith 

14 Administration to Jos : Smith 

15 James Olnys debto rs 


An Coppie 

what papors 

m r Roger 



vp to y e : Towne 



Rhode Island Historical Society Manuscripts. Papers 
Relating to Providence 1643-1793. Page 29. 

ffbr as much as the Towne of prouidence did at a Towne 
meting of Election held upon the 4 th - day of June 1677 
order and Appoynt Capt Arthur ffenner and John 
Whipple Jvnr : to vewe all the Books and writings which 
belong to y e sd Towne now in the hands of the sd ffenner, 
and to see in what Condito they are and to take a list of 
them, they both Signeing to the sayd list : The which we 
have done as ftblloweth, Viz 11 

Jt The Towne old Book, now Containeing of 70 : 
leaves and one nott wrott upon, soe there is 
wanting : 65 : leaves, the Book being much 

Jt The longe Book with parchments Covers Cheifely 
Consistin of records of Deedes is of Lands, now 
Containeing of: 69 : leaves, and 7 peces of leavs 
all wrott vpon. besides two leaves pinned to an 
other soe there is twenty leaves wanting. 

Jt The new Book with Brass Clapes, Containeing 
of: 164: pages wrott upon, besides fower leaves 
wrott upon which are not paged, as also : 18 : leaves 
wrott upon at that End of the Book where the 
Alphabett is : soe there is one leave wanting that 
wass wrott upon, ..... 

Jt The little Book with parchment Covers wherein 
was the Entry of actions, is wanting : . 

Jt papors of Gennerall Assemblys Acts to the number 
of: 23 : Each of them haveing the seale of the 

24 CITY DOCUMENT. [No. 13. 

Colloney Affixed, the seales being all of them in 
good Condition not defaced, Saveing only one, 
which is an Assemblys Acts bereing date may the 
4 th : 1669 : soe that there is to the number of soe 
many wanting as haue came to the Towne since 
Jo n : Whipple Jvn«" delivered vp ye Book 

Jt one papor of the Gene : Covnsells acts with the 
seale of the Collony afixed : is wanting : 

Jt A papor of william Harris put into the Towne at a 
Towne meetng Janvarey the : 27th ; 1670 Contain- 
ing the accovntof a rate or Rates, is wantin and 
nott to be fovnd, ...... 

Jt A Small papor Book Containing the Enrolements 
of wills :....... 

Jt Covrts Acts Sewed to geather, in the manner of 
2 th : Books, as also Severall Courts acts made vp 
in rovles to the nvmber of 18, with noe seales 
affixed, there being other Covrts acts Sewed up in 
the manner of a Book which is wanting, 

Jt Severall Coppies of william ffeild s : and william 
Carpenters papors, ..... 

Jt A Deed of Gift from Richard waterman to his 
Grand Children the Chilldren of Resolved 
waterman, Deceased, .... 

Jt The will and Jnventory of Zachary Roads 
Deceased, wanting. .... 

Jt The Towne Covnsells will vpon the Esstate of 
Samvell Comstock : deceased is wanting 

Jt The Towne Covnsells will and Jnventory upon 
the Esstate of George Rikerds, is wanting . 

Jt The Bond from George Kindrick, to the Towne 
Covnsell of providence, is wanting 

Jt The will and Jnventory of william ffeild, 
Deceased : is wanting .... 

1893.] EARLY TOWN RECORD8. 25 

Jt The Acts of the Towne Covnsell the : 4th : f 
Aprill : 1670 : is wanting, 

Jt The letter of Administration from the Towne 
Counsell to mary Mawrey with Six seales 
affixed, is wanting. ..... 

Jt The Bond from Mary Mawrey to the Towne 
Covnsell bearing date the 9th : day of September : 
J669 : with her Seale affixed, is wanting 

Jt The old Deede called the Towne Evidence . 

Jt The Deed of Confirmeation from Cussvckqunsh, 
and Nenekelah with Richard Smith junr tesste- 
mony pinned there to. .... 

Jt The Deed of Confirmation from SCattupp, & 
Quequagonvett, ...... 

Jt The Deed of Confirmation from Cavjanaquant, 
being also Subscribed Aiaquaomitt. The 3th : 
Deedes of Confirmation being all indorssed with 
tesstemonys on the Back Sides, . 

Jt The Deed in parchment from mr Roger williams 
to the Towne of prouidence, 

Jt Eleaven papors from severall Jndians of Resigne- 
ments : of Claimes, as from wamsittow, Alias 
Alexander, phillip : woottiation, wessavmavge, 
Antionitt, Tom of wachamokett, and others, all 
wanting ....... 

Jt The will & Jnventorey of Joshva ftbote Deceased, 
is wanting ....... 

Jt The Jnventory of the Esstate of John Clawson, 
As also an accovnt in a papor by Thomas olnev 
senr of the disspossition of John Clawsons goods; 

Jt The Bond of Joshva winsor, & James Ashton, 
As also the Award of Arbetration upon a deffer- 
ance betwene y e sd winsor, and James Ashton, 

Jt The Jndenture of Daniell Comstock ; 

26 CITY DOCTOIENT. [No. 13. 

Jt As also severall other papors, the rest of the 
Towne Records nott, perticvlerized, [now remain- 
ing] with a linning Bagg in which they are 
in Clossed, 

Jt meraor" 

a papor signed william Harris beareing date 
ye 15th : of Decern 1 * : 1669 : Jndorssed on y e hack 
sid, A protest against Dexters plaister, is wanting 
The will and Jnventory of Thomas walling 
[deceased, wanting, ..... 

October the Arthur ftenner 

: 27 th : ^77 : John Whipple Junr : 


Khode Island Historical Society Manuscripts. Papers 
Relating to Providence 1643-1793. Page 88. 

A List of Books of Records, & Papers of public Con- 
cerns, Received of M r Nicholas Tillinghast late Town 
Clerk of the Town of Providence, And delivered to M> 
James Angell the present Town Clerk, of s d Town by 
Mess rs Dan 1 Abbott, Elisha Brown, & George Taylor, a 
Com tte e appointed for that Purpose, at a Town Meeting 
held in s d Providence, on the 6 th Day of June A D : 1758 

Town old Book with many Leaves Schorchd & partly 

The long Book Parchment Cover, many Leaves torn, & 
partly lost 


The Book with Brass Clasps, some Leaves torn out 
some Defaced 

The Book of Land Evidences N° i 

The Book of do 2 

The Book of d° 3 

The Book of d° 4 

The Book of d° 5 

The Book of do 6 

The Book of do 7 

The Book of do 8 

The Book of do 9 

The Book of do 10 

The small Book d° with painted Cover 10 

The Book of do 11 

The Book of do 12 

The Book of do 13 

The Book of d° 14 

The Book of do 15 

Book with a blue Paper Cover some what Shattered 
began 1692 

Book of Town Acts & Orders with a Parchment Cover 

Two Schedules of Town Affairs somewhat Shattered 

Two Books, & Shattered Schedule of Town Council 

A small Stiled Schedule of Town Meeting Affairs began 

Book for registring Marriages & Births 

Town Meeting Book with a Cloth Cover began 1725 

Two Colony Law Books & a printed Schedule 

The Town Council Book No 2 

The Town Council Book 3 

The Town Council Book 4 

The Town Council Book 5 

The Town Council Book 6 

Small Schedule covered w^ blue Paper of Town Coun- 
cil Affairs 

28 CITY DOCUMENT. [No. 13. 

Book for Proceeding at T" Meetings to y e year 1755 

Parchment Cover 

Plan of the House Lotts at Patuxit Made 1752 

Plan ol Westconaug Lands 

Plan & Papers relating to the New Street in Providence 

Plan & Papers of Patuxit Highway 

Plan of Highway across Waterman's Marsh 

Plan of Highway from Power's Lane Southward 

Plan of Highway at Burrow's Bridge & Papers Appendent 

Plan of Thatch bed of Joseph Brown & Papers relating 

Plan of the Road to Patuxit 

Return of a Highway, Potter's & Baker's 

Returns of a Landing Place at Ruttenburge's 

Deed of Thomas Patey & Papers thereto appertaining 

Deed of Land where the Courthouse & Goal Stand 

Deed of Highway & Training Field 

Schedules of Acts of Assembly to the Year 1758 

11 : Bundles of Copies of Mortgage Deed of Sundry 


17 : Bundles do of the Eighth & Ninth Banks 

5 : Bags of old Papers 

Book for Registering Stray Cattle &c 

Eight Rate Bills 

Plan of Lotts laid in Willm Tillinghast's Land 

Deeds & Papers of Solomon Pain & Jos : Hopkins 


4 : Plans of Highways vizt : Stamper's Hill &c Bundled 
3 : Bundles of Letters of Administration & relative Bonds 
1 : D° of Accounts of Administration 

1 : d« of Guardianship 

2 do Indentures 

1 : do Licence Bonds 
1 : do Certificates from Several Town 
Six Bundles of Mixed Papers 
Twenty Eight Deeds not recorded 


in Providence the Tenth Day of June A. D : 1758 

Received of Mess rs Daniel Abbott, Elisha Brown & 

George Taylor, the Com»ee first aforenamed, all the Books 

& Papers enumerated & entered on the on the foregoing 

Pages of this Sheet 

As Witness my Hand 

James Angell Town Clerk 


Providence Town Papers. 
Volume 3, Page 127. No. 1230. 
At a Town Meeting of the Town of Providence held on 
the 16 : th Day of May AD 1777 

It was Voted and Ordered that Twelve Shillings lawful 
Money be paid to Amos Chaffee of Providence out of the 
Town Treasury for removing the Town Records to 
Johnston by Warrant from the Governor .... upon the 
Alarm in December last 

Witness Theodore Foster Town Clerk 
To Mr. James Arnold Town Treasurer 

Providence Town Papers. 
Volume 3, Page 128. No 1231. 

The Town of Providence debt 
To Carting a Load of the Records of Inf r Court & the 
Records of this Town from the Town to Col John 
Watermans in Johnstone about six or Seven Miles £1-16-0 

Providence Dec. m1 ' ye 9 th Ad 1776^ Amos Chaffe 


Voted that 12 /out of the Town Treasury 
of the above May. 16. 177 

30 CITY DOCUMENT. [No. 13. 

Providence Town Papers. 
Volume 4, Page 104. No. 1620. 

The Town of Providence 
1779 To John Waterman D r 

Feby 12th To my Time and Service in Re-"] 
moving the Town Records from Providence 
to My House : keeping the Records at my ^£7,, 10,, o 
House near Two Years : and bringing them | 
Back to Providence 

John Waterman J u 

At a Meeting of the Freemen of the Town of Providence 
on the 1st Day of March A. D. 1779 

Resolved That Seven Pounds and Ten Shillings the 
Amount of the above Account be paid to the said John 
Waterman and the Town Treasurer is Requested to pay the 
same accordingly 

Witness Theodore Foster, Town Clerk 
£7 . . 10 . . o 

To James Arnold Esq. 
Town Treasurer 


March 10 1779 Rec d the within 
John Waterman J r 


Providence Town Papers. 
Volume i, Page 8. No. 14. 

vpon y e 10th day of Januarey in ye yeare 1681 Andrew 
Harris Coming to ye Dwell place of Susanna Harris Tho : 



Olney Jun r = then by order of y e said Sussana Harris, & 
Howlong Harris did on both there behalfes inform the 
said Andrew Harris that his Mother, to witt the Saide 
Susanna Harris had from mr Brinley Received his ffather 
[to witt] william Harris his will & therefore had sent for 
him that so he might heare ye Same Read & also as hee 
was a Joynt Exsecutor with them that they joyntly together 
might Endeavour to settle the Estate, his answer was, that 
hee had heard yt before now, & knew what was in it, & 
he Should heare it againe on time or another lett them doe 
what y e Could. Jt was replye d unto him that there was 
nobody did obstruct him now but did Earnestly desire that 
he that he would now heare it read againe ; the Super 
Scription being then Read unto him, which was, that his 
Mother & his sister howlong Should Keepe ye will until it 
Could be Comitted to m'' Brinley, his answer was lett them 
Keepe them if ye will & so turned away & went out of 
doors Refuesing to heare it further, he then was desired as 
hee was a Joynt Exsecutor with his mother & Sister to 
joyne with them & take an Enventory of y e Estate, his 
ans: was that he would not Medle with it nor have 
any thing to doe with them in yt Matter & So he sayd 
he bid them farwell, gitting up upon his horse Rod away 

1893.] CITY DOCUMENT. [No. 13. 





Early Town Records. 

[Presented January 30, 1893.] 

J. A. & R. A. Ki:u>, City Printers, 
Dyer and Pine Stri 



I II Mill III II I Hill llll II 

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