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^^:p ^-^^M'*^ • ^'W^i'''- 


! ' AN 

Historical Sketch 


ToAvn of Seituate, R. I, 



Published by order of the Town Council. 


1^ -m 





July, 1876, 


By' c". C. BEAMAN. 

P II E N I X : 
Capron & Campbell, Steam Book and Jor, Printers. 



. s 



The great republic of the world celebrates its first century 
to-day ! It has invited all nations to participate in the occasion by 
an exhibition of the products and workmanship of their respective 
countries, in the city where the assembled Congress framed, adopt- 
ed, and sent forth, July Fourth, 1776, their Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. It has selected an orator and poet, and other exercises 
appropriate to the event to take place in the same city. Our own 
State has requested, through its legislature, that every town in our 
borders should have a local celebration ; and Congress and the 
President have sent a similar appeal to every town in the Union. 

The extraordinary growth of the country in the last century, 
the very high position it occupies to-day, the success on so large a 
scale, and for so long a period, of a free government, would seem 
to demand an imcommon manifestation of the nation, on the happy 
event of completing our first one hundred years ; and that to-day 
our Union is perfect and complete, with not a single star blotted 
out from our banner, and many more added to the original thirteen, 
standing to-day stronger and more immovable than ever. 

It was with fear and trembling, one hundred years ago, that 
the delegates from the colonies assembled in a small hall in Phila- 
delphia, put forth their immortal Declaration, July 4, 1776. Tliey 
were wise and prudent men — some of them, as was our own Hop- 
kins, advanced in years ; a few, like Hancock, were rich. They all 
had much at stake, having families, high character, the ablest men 
chosen from Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the other 


colonies : they exposed themselves, in case of defeat, to confis- 
cation of property, banishment, imprisonment, loss of reputation, 
and death by being hung as traitors, but they drew not back, there 
was no faltering while they cut the tie which bound them to the 
mother country, and launched their b^k upon the tempestuous 
ocean of conflict with a mighty nation tliat had the resources of a 
standing army, vessels of war, wealth, and all the munitions ready 
for instantaneous and deadly war. To oppose all this strength of 
warlike array, there were a few regiments of militia, no ship of 
war, and guns, cannon balls and powder; and other requisites of 
military warfare were few indeed, and neither money nor credit 
but in a very limited degree. 

The infant Congress staggered not at the impending and 
deadly struggle looming up at tije future, and boldly appealed to 
the arbitration of the sword, and the decision of the impartial na- 
tions of the world : 

"When," they said, commencing their declaration, "in the 
course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dis- 
solve the political boiuls which have connected them with another, 
and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and 
equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God en- 
title them, a decent respect for tlio opinions of mankind requires 
that they should declare the causes which impel them to the sepa- 

Many and dear wore the ties which briund them to the mother 
country! It was beyond other great nations, a free country ; and 
the men of the revolution often expn^ssed tliomsolves as demanding 
nothing more than the rights of a British subject enjoyed at home. 
England was dear to tliein, as the source whence their supplies and 
protection proceeded ; they had an interest in her glory as a nation ; as 
the country from whose bosom the colonies came as from a mother. 
Their literatin-c, religion, language and customs had been brought 
over to America — the graves of ancestry made the burial places of 
Britain dear to Americans. Ties of interest, aflfectitjii and consan- 
guinity were sundered with regret. 


But Great Britain, lier rulei's, and her people looked upon the 
colonies to be sources of pecuniary profit; they were jealous of all 
manufactures and commerce which interfered with their own ; and 
by custom-house taxes and vexatious laws to prevent the Americans 
from trading with any people but England and her colonies, they 
turned the love of the people into hatred. The people were treated 
in some respects as a conquered or dependent race, and not to be 
ranked in ])rivilege and honor with subjects at home. All these 
reasons, and more, are stated in the declaration ; then comes the 
solemn determination that they will bear the injustice and oppres- 
sion no longer, but set up for themselves. In well considered 
words they take their final farewell : 

" We. therefore, the representatives of the United States of 
America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme 
Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the 
name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, 
solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of 
right ought to be, free and independent states ; that they are ab- 
solved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all politi- 
cal connection betvveen them and the state of Great Britain, is, and 
ought to be totally dissolved : and that as free and independent 
states they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract 
alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things 
which independent states may of right do. And for the support of 
this declaration, with a firm reliance qn the protection of Divine 
Providence, we mutnally pledge to each other our lives, our for- 
tunes and our sacred honor." 

. The fighting at Concoid and Lexington had already taken 
place, and two months afterwards the battle of Bunker Hill sent its 
echo round the world. Boston had been evacuated by the British 
forces March 17, 1116, and now, July 4, 1776, the rebellion had 
token shape in an official act of the newly organized government, 
casting otf all allegiance to Great Britain, and asserting its entire 
independence and determination topiaintain it by all the force they 
could command. 


We meet to-day without distinction of party or religious de- 
nomination ; and though we come together as town's people of 
Scituate, we hold fellowship with all the towns of our State, and 
passing out of the bounds of Rhode Island we stand up to-day with 
every state, city and town in the Union in a Grand National Jubilee I 
on the occasion of our completing our first hundred years. We 
go farther, and extend a call to every other nation to rejoice with us 
in our remarkable history ; in the unexampled prosperity we have 
enjoyed, in the success which has attended the experiment of a peo- 
ple self-governed. We may be pardoned for some little self-ex- 
ultation while we recognize the guiding hand of our God in our pres- 
ervation and blessing. 

In the city of Philadelphia, where our delegates in Congress 
assembled a hundred years ago, and framed and adopted a Declara- 
tion of Independence there will be an extraordinary gathering of 
our fellow citizens from all parts of our country, and many distin- 
guished visitors from foreign lands will be convened to witness a 
national festival, commemorative of what transpired in that city a 
hundred years ago, and what great results have come out of it. j 

We have dared to invite an International Exhibition of Art 
and Manufactures, Inventions and Discoveries, Literature and Sci- 
ence, and other matters relating to man's progress in society, and 
to put side by side, our own skill and taste, not for vain show, but 
in order to bring the world into fellowship and useful and honor- 
able competition. • 

/ We may not be able to grasp in our vision the spectacle which 
our still youthful nation presents to the world to-day. Our place 
is in the New World discovered by Christopher ColumJ^us four 
hundred years ago. The vast extent of territory that maps out our 
heritage lying between two great oceans ; its natural features of 
mountains, valleys and plains, and lakes and rivers, indented coasts 
by inlets, bays and harbors where proud navies ride and prosperous 
cities lift tiieir spires is but imperfectly realized. A view of the 
manufacturing and mechanical establishments, a sight of the farms 
cultivated with all the help of newly invented agricultural imple- • 


ments, a perception of the warehouses where are stored the produc- 
tions and workmanship of every clime, the schools and colleges 
filled with pupils of both sexes, the churches whose bells ring 
cheerfully on the Sabbath morn, the printing presses "worked by 
steam power, scattering leaves of knowledge over the whole land, 
the railroads running in every direction, bearing immense freights 
and conveying passengers in multitude, the telegraph with its wires 
beneath the* ocean and stretched out over the whole land, and the 
activity of the people, and the enterprise visible, and the arrivals of 
emigrants daily from the four quarters of the globe, with the gene- 
ral intelligence, comfort and happiness of the people, the steady 
march of population over the deserts, or uncultivated places, 
and the returning march from the West to meet midway the East; 
thjs is the picture too great and wonderful to be fully realized, as 
the orators of our centennary year vainly strive with uplifted 
voice and choice expression to describe to-day in the assemblies 
convened all over the land. 

Praise and thanksgiving may well go up from the nation so 
highly favored of God ! who has not so blessed every other nation 
und^r the broad heavens — no other nation has a histor}' like ours. 
Behold what God has wrought for us ! May thanks go up Irom the 
shores of both oceans, and from the banks of every river and lake, 
from every hill and valley, and all places where man has set his 
foot on the soil of these United States and sheltered himself from 
oppression and wrong beneath the folds of our star spangled ban- 

Bei4ieley, the English philosopher, who made for a while his 
home in Newport, in 1730, filled as it were with superhuman fore- 
sight ot the coming glory of America, wrote the well-known pro- 
phetic lines : 

" Westward the course of empire takes its way; 
The fii'st four acts already past, 
A fifth shall close the drama witli the day — 
Time's noblest oflspring is tlip last! "J 


The arriving of a centennial year naturally turns our thoughts 
to the past. We revert to the beginning and progress of men and 


things, and love to connect old things with new. It is a duty 

which we owe to those who have gone before us to consider their 
wrongs and enquire for their principles! We cannot go back 
like China, Japan and India, to a very remote past, for our country 
is very new; but we may turn to ancient and discolored manu- 
scripts, antiquated house furniture, old houses, by-gone burial 
places, deeds of valor, primitive and frugal ways, times of poverty 
and need, of honesty and patriotism, to the period of forest .and 
self-denying and perilous lives, to the simple faith and child-like 
trust in God of the early days. 

Wealth and luxury, numbers and power, things that are new 
and wonderful we can see every day and year, but we must make 
special exertion and set apart a time to explore the past and rumi- 
nate in the quiet shades of by-gone generations. We have beTore 
us to-day a town histor-y : one that is eventful, that called out hu- 
man strength and fortitude in an extraordinary degree, and devel- 
oped what is good and noble in man and in communities. 

It will be expected of me, on the present occasion, to present 
some outlines of the history of Scituate. Like other parts of Ehode 
Island, it was first inhabited by Indians, and the territory remained 
in a state of nature, for the red men were hunters and fishers, culti- 
vating only little patches of ground, of corn, tobacco, be^ns, etc. 
Little collections of huts or wigwams formed their towns — of which 
there may have been a dozen in many miles travel. 

|.The settlement of Roger Williams at Providence in 1636 is the 
commencement of our history. He dedicated himself to the spread 
of the gospel among the Indians, and traveled among the different 
tribes who were at war with each other, to pacify them and satisfy 
them that he and his associates had honest intentions to live peace- 
ably with them. God gave him with Canonicus, the great and 
powerful Indian chief, favor so that he obtained as a gift large and 
valuable tracts of land. The deed of gift was dated March 24, 
1637, in the second year of the Rhode Island plantation and reads 
— "in consideration of the many kindnesses and services he hath 
continually done for us." The land given was of the lands upon 


Mooshansick and Woonasquatucket rivers. Soon after this grant, 
Mr. Williams, in an unselfish spirit, executed a deed giving an 
equal share with himself to twelve of his companions, and ''sucli 
other as the major part of us shall admit into the same fellowship 
of vote with us." All of them, with others, fifty-four in all, had 
lots assigned them, in the first division of land, which took place 
soon after the initial deed was accepted. 

The settlement increased, as from other colonies and from be- 
yond the sea, emigrants continued to arrive, and numbers spread 
themselves over the wooded heights and vales of that part of Prov- 
idence afterwards set off as Scituate. 

It was formerly the practice — that is soon after the proprietors 
connected with Roger Williams had been increased to one hundred, 
that persons " took up lands," as the current phrase was, that they 
had them surveyed and marked off, and entered upon the records — 
some compensation may have been given to the proprietors. Deeds 
were however in early use; an old one was found not long ago, 
among the papers of Gideon Harris, bearing date 1661, of the 
size of half a sheet of letter paper, written on both sides, and with 
the curious orthography of the olden time,] 

The first settlers of Scituate drove no large herds and flocks 
before them, and there were no meadows for a supply of grass to 
feed them ; at first, probably, men alofie came to build a rough 
cabin and make a clearing, and afterwards, they broiiglit their fam- 
ilies. The soil was good, but it was rocky and covered with woods. 
Wild beasts and Indians roved over it. Stephen Hopkins, who 
was born in Scituate in HlO, and lived there till middle life, in 
a few, pages of early Rhode Island history, wrote in poetic verse 
the pitiable condition of the first inhabitants: 

" Nor house, nor hnt, nor fruitful field. 
Nor lowing herd, nor bleating flock. 
Or garden that niiglit comfort yield. 
Nor cheerful, early crowing cock." 

No orchard yielding pleasant fruit. 

Or laboring ox or useful plow; 
Nor neighing steed or browsing goat. 

Or grunting swine or feedful cow. 


No friond to help, no neighbor nigh, 

Nor h(!;iliiig iiioilitine to rt-lievo; 
No niotlicr's hand to close the eye, 

Alone, forlorn, and most extremely poor." 

A better class, and very enterprising and successful, came af- 
terwards. In 1710 some emigrants arrived from Scituate, Mass. 
In 1130 Scituate was set off from Providence as a distinct town- 

Tradition gives John Mathewson tlie credit of building the 
first white man's house — if it may be so called — in Scituate. It was 
ft hovel or hut put up in the north-eastern part of the town, within 
ft quarter of a mile of the Great Pond, Moswansicut, within a few 
rods of the boundaries of Scituate, Smithfield, Johnston and Glo- 
cester, almost on the line of junction of the four towns. The place 
lies about six rods from the road, and is indicated by a depression 
and raised banks. It was six or eight feet square, four or five 
feet deep, and raised above the ground by logs and branches of 
trees, some three or four feet. There was only one way of en- 
trance, and holes were left in the upper part, through which a gun 
might bo pushed to shoot bears, wolves, foxes, wildcats or other 
animals that might approach with design to enter the premises. 

Tradition, handed down in the Mathewson families still resident 
in the neighborhood, further says : that Boston was at that time 
the nearest trading town, and thither, on foot, through Indian or 
other paths, John would make his occasional journeys, stopping at 
houses on the way. Ho made acquaintance with a Miss Malary at 
one of these houses where he stopped on his route, and offering 
marriage, was accepted. lie built him a house a hundred yards or 
more from his cave, and cultivated a good fartn. lie died there, 
suddenly, aged about forty, leaving a widow and children. John, 
one of his sons, was the direct ancestor of the late lion. Elisha 
Mathewson, senator in Congress. 

Daniel, another son, when a boy of ten years, about the year 
1700, was sent with a cart load of oak wood to Providence to sell. 
Two yokes of oxen and a horse were put in to draw the load over 
the rough and liilly road, and alter driving all over the town to find 


a customer, he sold the load for five shillings, the most he could get. 
There were three houses only at that time on the north side of 
Westminster street, between the pumps and the forks of the road, 
by the bridge. 

Thomas Mathewsou and others of this name came to settle 
round this pond, one of the most beautiful ponds in the State, and 
having good lands around it. Elder Samuel Winsor owucd a tract 
a little farther east of the pond, and his lands were said to reach to 
Providence. John Waterman, Dean Kimball and others were 

Mr. Stephen Smith kept tavern at 'the Four Corners, North 
Scituate, and as there was a great deal of teaming past his house, 
going to and returning from the furnaces of Smithfield and Gloces- 
ter, to get iron ore at Cranston, his half-way house was well pat- 

Daniel Mathewson, the boy already spoken of, lived to about 
1176, when he died at an advanced age. Noah, the son of Daniel, 
died Sept. 17, 1824, aged 89 years, and was buried by the side of 
his parents on the family lot. His widow, Judith, deceased Jan. 
2H, 1827, aged 87 years. The house that Daniel built was occupied 
successively, alter his death, by his son Noah and his grandson 
Daniel, who was living in 1856 in his 78th year, and gave me this 
information of his family. Its height was one stor}'-, with four 
rooms on the ground floor, and a cellar underneath. In tlie old 
stone fire-place were seen hanging irom a piece of timber, placed 
horizontally, high up in the chimney, two very long iron hooks or 
trammels, five or six feet long, for hanging kettles and other ves- 
sels over the fire. These were hoisted or lowered by means of lit- 
tle holes in the upper piece. They had no barns in these old times 
when this house was built, but there were little shanties or hovels 
where they stored many things. 

James Aldrich removed to Scituate from Smithfield in 1775, 
and purchased of the heirs the estate of Mr. Ishinael Wilkinson, 
deceased. This was in the north-west part of the town, and in the 
vicinity of Beacon Hill. When Mr. Aldrich came to Scituate 


himself and family traveled on horseback, that being the usual mode 
of convcj'ance. Attempts were made to discourage him from leav- 
ing- Smithfield by representing the lateness of spring, it being the 
middle of May, but as the land was good he declined to stop. 
Soon after his arrival he sent back to Smithfield to get a cheese tub 
made by a celebrated worker in wooden ware, Jesse Inches, who 
was known far and wide for his skill in manufacturing churns, pails 
and tubs. This cheese tub, made of cedar, held twenty pailfuls, 
which gives us some idea of the dairy of Mr. Aldrich, and of the 
cows about his premises. A stout man brought, it on foot, and up- 
on his back, all the way from Smithfield. It was sold at auction 
some seventy-five years after, on the. breaking up of house-keeping 
by his son John, having been in the family three-quarters of a cen- 

The Smithfield people considered a journey to the adjoining 
town of Scituate, one hundred years ago, somewiiat as we regarded 
a trip to Ohio some fifty years since ; but quite a number of fami- 
lies and some very fine additions to the property, respectability and 
enterprise of Scituate, nevertheless, removed, and it may have been 
with a desire to keep them at home that the discomforts of Scituate 
were magnified. James Aldrich took the farm made vacant, as we 
have seen, by the unfortunate death of Mr. Wilkinson, and found 
the land pretty well prepared for culture — a comfortable house and 
barn, a good orchard, stone walls, good soil, and a very pleasant 
and healthful location. 

Having a great taste for orcharding, which his son John im- 
bibed, and his grandson Arthur inherited, who had the finest fruit 
in the town, he planted fruit trees for which the soil, climate and 
elevation of laud were highly favorable, and became a successful far- 
mer, lie raised horses for sale, as was the custom then, and Scit- 
uate horses, for their fine qualities, were regarded at that time 
much as we regard those which are now brought from Vermont. 
lie is said to have introduced the first cherry trees in the town. 

Mr. James Aldrich was a great politician in those days, and 
belonged to the Republican or Democratic party, both names being 


used at that time to designate the Jefferson party, in opposition to 
the federal party of Hamilton. He represented the town of Scitu- 
ate in General Assembly for one series of nineteen consecutive 
years. Elisha Mathewson, JohYi Harris and Col. Ephraim Bower 
were often at his house, and Governor Arthur Fenner. The Gover- 
nor used to come out of Providence on horseback, with his gun and 
other equipments, to have a good hunt with his warm friend and 
brother democrat, James. Dr. Battey told me he had seen them 
hunting together when he was a boy, and a daughter of Mr. Aldrich, 
Mrs. Charles Harris, remembered that many a time she had seen the 
Governor ride away home from Scituate with foxes and squirrels 
that he had killed, strung over his saddle. 

Arthur must have loved the fun, and there was no very awful 
state about a chief magistrate in those days to prevent his indul- 
gence in a favorite sport. Political, as well as social and hunting 
propensities, doubtless mingled in these expeditions, for Mr. James 
Aldrich and his friend Elisha Mathewson were said to control the 
votes of Scituate, and the people loved to see a Governor 
among them in such a free and easy spirit and costume, and gladly 
gave him the favor of their votes. 

Women generally rode on horseback in these days, and favor- 
ite daughters were privileged with some fine horses to ride. Two 
women were sometimes seen riding on one horse, each with a child 
in her arms, but more frequently the "good man" with his wife be- 
hind him, going to church or to shopping in the small but thriving 
village of Providence, which, in the first settlement, was indeed the 
village of Scituate, as well as Providence. 

Gideon Harris is a very prominent man in the history of Scitu- 
ate. He married Damaus Wescott, a noted maiden in her day. 
He died in HIT, at an advanced age, and was buried in the Quaker 
burying ground. For many years he filled the ofiBce of Town 
Clerk. It was a common saying that everybody who was poor, in 
distress, or wanted employment, resorted to Mr. Harris, on account 
of his property, influence and benevolent disposition. His house 
was in a place called the " Old Bank." It was enlarged and made 


into two stories by his son, and pleasantly situated on ground ris- 
ing from the road, with its stately and ancient button-wood and elm 
trees, makes an imposing appearance. 


About the year 1103, Mr. Joseph Wilkinson, a son of Capt. 
Samuel Wilkinson, Esq., of Providence, came to live in the north- 
west part of Scituate, known by its Indian name, Chapumishcook. 
lie married Martha Pray, a grand-daughter of one of the first set- 
tlers in the town. There was a crooked road leading from Provi- 
dence to this neighborhood at this time. The first barn built in 
what is now Sciiuate was erected by him. He also brought the 
first cow into the town, and a piece of meadow where he pastured 
his cow, a little north, running into Foster, where the first hay was 
cut, had been created, it is supposed, by a beaver dam in the vicin- 
ity, causing an overflow of water and rotting the trees so that they 
fell down and gave an opportunity for the grass to grow. 

Mr. Wilkinson was a surveyor, and much employed in this 
work in the town. In a deed of 1738 the surveyor's return was 
made under his hand. Ills residence was on the estate improved 
afterward by his great grandson, John Harris, Esq., in the most 
northern turnpike, a pleasant spot and a valuable farm. At the 
raising of his barn men came from Smithfitld and Glocester to as- 
sist the Scituate people in its raising. AVhcn they had raised it 
they all sat down upon a large log and drank methcglin, a bever- 
age made of honey and water and fermented, often enriched with 
spices. Some eighty years ago an old man Hopkins, nearly 
eighty years of age, who was at this raising, and had a fresh recol- 
lection of the event, came along, and related it to the family resi- 
dent there, and stated his participation in it. The barn had been 
taken down a little while before he came. 

The house now standing on this farm is quite a large one, as are 
also the barns. The house has beeli twice repaired and enlarj^ed 
by additions, but no part of the old Wilkinson house is retained in 
it. Two magnificent chestnut trees are standing in a lot opposite 
the house, of apparent great age. 


Some anecdotes connected with his wiie, whose maiden name 
was Martha Pray, illustrate the perils and heroism of the early- 
settlers. Her husband, being absent at work some two miles off, 
she discovered a bear upon a sweet apple tree, shaking off the fruit 
that he might devour it on the ground. As it was the only tree of 
the kind they had, and highlj' valued, Mrs. Wilkinson not a little 
regretted the absence of her husband, whose gun kept loaded fur 
such emergencies, was in its place on the pegs at the side of the 
wall. The apples continued to fall and rattle on the ground, and 
there was no other help at hand but the gun, which Martha, in a fit 
of desperation, took into her hands and going out the door which 
stood open, she took aim and fired. Dropping the gun on the 
ground immediately after the discharge, alarmed and trembling at 
what she had done, she ran back into the house and shut the door, 
afraid to look back and see what she had done, or the efiect of the 
shot. When Mr. Wilkinson returned home, and was informed by 
his wife of what she bad done, he went out to the tree and found 
the bear dead on the ground, so that his faithful and resolute wife 
had not only saved the cherished apples, but had secured some 
good meat as a supply. 

This young married couple had also to guard their sheep by 
night from bears and wolves by putting them in log enclosures near 
the house. On one occasion they were awakened by a bear rolling 
the logs away in order to get at the sheep, and had to get up and 
drive him away. 

Another incident called for his wife's coolness, courage and 
wisdom. Eoving Indians sometimes called at the houses of the 
first settlers — a large party called at Mr. Wilkinson's house when 
none but his wife was at home. From their appearance, as she 
could not understand their language, she guessed that they wanted 
food, and she gave them all the provision she had in meat and 
meal. They took it and withdraw into a field near, made a fire and 
cooked and ate what had been given them, with great relish. It was 
no small relief to Mrs. Wilkinson, though she manifested no alarm, 
when they took their departure. 


They came back after a few days and brought some fine veni- 
Bon, which they left, apparently as a return ior Mrs. Wilkinson's 
favors, and as an expression of their grateful sense of her kind- 
ness. In this way a friendship was created with the Indians, and 
they were often welcome and happy inmates of the Wilkinson 
household, and brought their baskets, moccasins and manufactures 
to barter off for food and other things which they wanted. 

Mr. Wilkinson appears prominent in the first town meeting of 
Scituate after it was set oflT from Providence. He is called Lieut. 
Wilkinson, was elected a member of the Town Council and chosen 

Mr. William Hopkins, the only child of Major William Hop- 
kins, of Providence, married Ruth Wilkinson, daughter of " Capt. 
Samuel Wilkinson, Esq.," as he was styled in public records, and 
immediately after his marriage removed to a farm in Scituate in the 
neighborhood of Lieut. Joseph Wilkinson, the brother of his .wife. 
His house was small, but the land was good — probably, not much 
cleared for tillage — in lIGo, or thereabouts, when he toolt the 

He is not much spoken of in the town records, and probably 
did not seek oflBce, but gave himself steadily to the work of his 
farm and the care of his family. His memory is chiefly connected 
with some of his children who became illustrious and reflected 
great honor on their parents, and on the state and nation. William 
was the fust born. He went abroad, and was presented at the 
court in England, and so took the ftivor of the King from his fine 
manly appearance, that he was appointed Major by him. A part of 
the coat he wore at court has been preserved by his descendants, 
and 1 have seen it on exhibition at one of the late antiquarian exhi- 
bitions in Providence. His other children were Stephen, Jt)hn, 
Eseck, Samuel, Hope, Abigail and Susanna. 

Eseck, soon after the death (|f his father, in the summer of 
1738, a stout, tall and handsome young man, then in the twentieth 
year of his age, bid adieu to the old homestead and journeyed to 
Providence and became a sailor, soon rising to the position of Cap- 


tain. He married when he was twenty-five years of age, Miss 
Desire Burroughs, daughter of Mr. Ezekiel Burroughs, of Newport, 
and took up his residence there. His conspicious services in the 
war of the revolution, as the first commodore of the navy are well 
known. His fleet, consisting of the ships Alfred, Capt. Dudley 
Saltonstall, and the Columbus, Capt. Whipple, the brig Andrew 
Doria, Cnpt. Nicholas Biddle, and the Cabot, Capt. John B. Hop- 
kins, son of Eseck, and the sloops Providence, Fly, Hornet and 
Wasp, put out to sea Feb. IT, 1776, with a smart north-east wind, 
and cruising among the Bahama Islands, captured the forts at New 
Providence, Nassau. This was a very fortunate aifair, for the heavy 
ordinance and stores taken proved quite acceptable to the country. 
He captured two British armed vessels on his return. 

The Commodore, or Admiral, as Washington addressed him, 
met with difficulties in creating an efficient navy, and his force was 
wholly inadequate to protect the long line of coast and meet the 
vessels of the English navy, and he soon resigned and engaged in 
private armed vessels, as did his lieutenant, the famous John Paul 
Jones. He was successful in capturing many British vessels. In the 
collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society is a French engrav- 
ing of him, which has a splendid figure and a handsome open counte- 
nance. It was circulated in France and this country in the early 
part of the war. The Commodore's family clock has been pre- 
sented to Brown University, by his grand-daughter. Miss Elizabeth 
Angell. He died in 1802, and was buried at North Providence. 

Stephen Hopkins was still more distinguished than the Com- 
modore. He was born March 7, 1707. But little is known of his 
boyhood, but he must, with the other sons of William, been early 
taught to labor on the farm. There were no schools in his day, but 
his mother was a woman of marked talents and character, and no 
doubt instructed him in many things. It has come down to us that 
he inherited his abilities from her. His uncle Wilkinson, the survey- 
or, probably instructed him in that art, for we find him, still a youth, 
engaged in surveying. A strong passion for reading characterized 
his mature life. I was permitted to examine his library, which 


was large and valuable for the time. It would be interesting to 
know whal books he read when a boy — procured at home, or ob- 
tained from connections and friends, — scarce, they probably were, 
and mostly of a religious character, but we may be sure he searched 
them thoroughly. Other means of culture were at hand. The 
conversation of parents, of visitors at his father's house, with vis- 
its to other families, added to his store of knowledge. Letters were 
arriving from England ; men and boys were returning from voyages 
at sea. Rhode Island being quite a maritime place, a minister 
would occasionally arrive from abroad and preach at a private 
house. If the school master passed through the place he may 
have said something. What other means had the boy Stephen 
Hopkins of education? Nature spread before him a beautiful pan- 
orama. His father's house, built on high land, overlooking a wide 
extent of country, presenting a succession of wooded summits, 
rounded in the blue sky, the aspect of the heavens, radiant at night, 
and the seasons, 

" Whither the blossom blows, the summer ray 
Russets the plain, inspiring autumn gleams. 
Or winter rises in the blackening east," 

all teaching some important lesson, and moulding the character : 
thus grew up that youth, who became fond of poetry, and the au- 
thor of some fine pieces, which have been preserved. I have stood 
upon the spot where the birth place of this signer of the Declara- 
tion of Independence drew out my thoughts to consider the local- 
ities of the place as sending their influences to act upon his child- 
hood. The foot-worn paths to the well, to the barn, and to the 
road, on account of a change of houses, the old one being much 
smaller, and built a little on the one side of the present structure, 
are not discernible. The garden in front of the house, on the op- 
posite side of the road, and the family burying place, just outside 
of the garden walls, reach back to ancient times. The graves of 
successive residents are there, but no lines are on ihe stones that 
mark the last resting place of William and Ruth Hopkins, the pa- 
rents of Governor and Admiral Hopkins. Would it not be well 


for the town of Scituate, on this centennial year, to put up in that 
ground a monument of honor and gratitude to the memory of those 
parents ? 

Stephen Hopkins married, June 21, 1726, Sarah, the youngest 
daughter of Major Silvanus Scott, of Providence. He married 
early, being only nineteen years of age — his wife was about the 
same age. To create a home and a support for the newly married 
ones, the father of Stephen made him a gift of seventy acres of 
land, and his grandfather, Thomas Hopkins, bestowed upon his 
" loving grandson," as the will reads, an additional grant of ninety 
acres. The grandfather of Sarah was Mr. Richard Scott, of Provi- 
dence, "gentleman," the term used to show his quality. 

Four years after this marriage, the portion, now Scituate, was 
set off from Providence, and Stephen Hopkins, then only twenty-three 
years of age, was the Modei-ator chosen. This fact is significant of the 
very high opinion entertained of him in his native town, as a man 
of business and competent to preside over public meetings. Joseph 
Brown was chosen Town Clerk for the first year, an office which 
included the registration of deeds, and Stephen Hopkins was elected 
the year after, and this office he held for ten successive years, and 
then resigned. 

Mr. Hopkins removed to Providence in 1744, and purchased 
an estate on South Main street, at the corner of what is now Hop- 
kins street, named after him, but formerly Bank lane, because the 
first bank in Rhode Island was located at the foot of it. 

He engaged in commerce at Providence, but was soon called 
to fill important places in the State, as Chief Justice and Governor, 
— appointed to the Judgeship in 1739. No man was so often chosen 
as Moderator of Town Meetings in Providence. He assisted as- 
tronomers in making observations on the ti'ansit of Venus, at Provi- 
dence, having a high mathematical reputation. His zeal for liberty 
led him in early life, and later, to write and publish papers on the 
"Rights of the Colonies," and to hold correspondence with distin- 
guished patriots in various parts of the land. His memory was 
very retentive, and his capacity great. He died July 13, 1785. 


Stephen Hopkins may stand forth as a representative of Rhode 
Island. Born and educated there amid hardships and perils, and 
believed in and honored by its people; his whole life, as it were, 
spent within its boundaries, and in its service, in the critical 
and forming period of its history, he represents its people. 

Connected with the early settlers of this colony, on both the 
paternal and maternal sides ; his birth reaching back to its simplest 
or rudest condition, and forward to the close of the American Revo- 
lution ; his long, active, conspicuous life, spent among its people, 
moving and acting among them in constant and intimate contact 
with all classes and denominations, in domestic relations, business 
operations, and political and religious actions ; assisting in framing, 
interpreting and executing their laws, and trusted by them with 
almost every office in their gift, we may consider him as a fair 
specimen of native growth, showing all the capabilities of soil and 

•It is to the honor of Rhode Island that she produced Stephen 
Hopkins; that he was the son of immigrants who selected her terri- 
tory for a home, and that he was cradled, nurtured, approbated, 
exalted, and kept in public service so long, with her full consent 
and honest pride. The existence of such a man under such cir- 
cumstances may certify, as a volume of true history may declare, 
ti) the character of her settlers and the influence of her institutions. 
There were true men and women who sought an asylum and 
built their homes on the Narragansett Bay; and they were not 
wanting in mental power, moral principle and heroic devotion to 

If those settlers maturing in their own native soil, and from 
their own native seed, had produced no other evidence of their 
worthiness t(» take an honorable place with the other New England 
colonies, the production of Stephen Hopkins would of itself suf- 
fice, lie was a working man, beginning early and continuing late, 
covering half a century with his record of diligence. 

His farming and mercantile operations absorbed much of his 
time and thought and strength. The business of surveying in the 


rough country in which he lived involved much hardship and labor, 
and he had much of it to perform. He was early engaged in at- 
tempts to develop the resources of the State in mining. His pub- 
lic life made him the servant of all ; and he was a close and severe 
student, filling up all the spare hours of his life with reading. The 
town records of Scituate attest that he was familiar with drudgery, 
and his committee labors in Congress won for him the praise of 
John Adams, as a business man. He owed much to his fine natural 
gifts, to the reputation and assistance of his %mily connections, 
and to the open field which Rhode Island offered at the time to a 
man of talent, tact and ambition — all three of which he possessed. 
But he, nevertheless, was indebted to his \;lose application, inde- 
fatigable labor, and resolute persistence in toil, for his advancement. 
He thought it not beneath him to perform well the humblest duty, 
to execute faithfully the smallest trust, to excel in little things, and 
he never dreamed of idleness as his portion, or conceived that he 
could float into public favor and maintain influence without exer- 
tion. He had a small and obscure position, like a rill on a wooded 
mountain side, but he worked himself out of it, despite of obstacles, 
and became like a river growing wider and wider as it proceeded 
from its source t<3 the place where it passed into the sea. 

He was one of the people at all periods of his history. He 
had long been placed over them in office, but he never outgrew his 
place among them, and never lost his sense of fellowship and sym- 
pathy with the toil, exposure and privations of the humblest citi- 
zen. His heart beat reaponsive to the hearts of men ; he was ever 
fighting their battles, considering them as his own ; therefore it 
was that he had such a weight of influence — such a power of direct- 
ing movements, and dared to act with so much decision. As an 
Illustration of his readiness to bear his part in all the burdens of 
the people, we find his name, in 1757, heading a list of tiiirty-six 
men — his son George one of them — who were ready to march 
against the French and Indians, who had invaded the northern 
frontier, possessed themselves of Fort McHenry, and were carrying 
death and devastation on their way. The tidings of their retreat 
prevented the party from setting out. 


In the taking of the Gaspce, in which his eon, John B. Ilof)- 
kins, took a leading part, Mr. Hopkins being Chief Justice he 
asked the advice of the Assembly what course he should pursue if 
the British government should demand the men who destroyed her. 
He was told to use his own discretion, to which he answerd, — 
'* Then, for the transportation for trial, I will neither apprehend any 
person by my own order, nor suffer any executive officer in the 
colony to do it." 

In the North Burial Ground, of Providence, is his grave; and 
there his State has erected a monument to his memory, on which, 
with other commendations, is inscribed these words: "His name is 
engraved on the immortal record of the Revolution,, and can never 

The children of Stephen Hopkins were Rufus, the first child, 
born Feb. 10, 1727 ; John, the second son, was born Nov. 11, 1728. 
Ruth, the eldest daughter, was born in 1729, and named after her 
grandmother Hopkins. She died in infancy in 1731, and was 
buried in Scituate. Lydia, the fourth child, was born in 1732, and 
probably died young. Silvanus, the third son, was born Oct. 
16, 1734. Simon was born Aug. 25, 1736, and George, the 
seventh and youngest, child, was born in 1739. All the sons ex- 
cept Simon, who died while a lad, were sailors, going to sea while 
boys, and all became masters of vessels but Silvanus, who became 
mate at eighteen, and would have been captain soon after, had he 
lived. Rufus was so far successful that he invested five hundred 
pounds in the Hope furnace, Scituate, 1766, and became its super- 
intendent. This furnace cast cannon which were used in the army 
and navy during the revolutionary war. There were two cannon 
usually cast at one time, and they were afterwards bored. 

While living at the furnace he received the appointment of 
Judge, which he held for several years. He was one of a commit- 
tee appointed by Congress, Dec. 14, 1775, to superintend the build- 
ing of vessels of war. He was concerned in the first cotton factory 
put up near the Hope furnace in 1807. Silvanus, one of his sons, 
was the first agent of the Hope Manufacturing Company, Rulus 


Hopkins died in August, 1809, at the house of Mr. Andrew Ralph, 
and was buried in the North Burial Ground, Providence. He is 
Baid to have greatly resembled his father, and the likeness in the 
picture of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, pur- 
porting to be that of Gov. Hopkins, is his. 

Capt. John Hopkins, the second son of Stephen, in 1753, 
Bailed for Cadiz, Spain, and died there July 20th, with the small 
pox, aged twenty-four years. Silvanus, the third son of Stephen 
was killed by Indians after he was cast away on the Cape Breton 
shore. Of the remaining children, Simon died at Providence, at 
the age of seven years, and George, the youngest, who married 
Ruth Smith, was lost at sea in the year 1775, with the vessel he 


As the land was being cleared, with here and there, at irregu- 
lar places, a clearing made or commenced, 

"Where not a habitation stood before. 
Abodes of men irregularly massed." 

One of these, whose chimney smokes were illuminated by the 
morning sun in the woods of Scitaate, in its early settlement, was 
John Hulet and Berenice, his wife, who, about 1740, resided in the 
north-western part of the town. His grave is pointed out in a pas- 
ture back of the house of John Harris, Esq., a short hillock, 
marked by two walnut trees, and lying on the westerly side of the 
most northern one. Two rough moss covered stones, one at each 
end of the grave, and without inscription, designate the last resting 
place of one who owned large tracts of land in the vicinity, but 
now sleeps unnoticed and unknown by the living generations about 
him. His transactions in deeds were numerous, and run from 1743 
to 1763. In 1744 he bought one hundred and fifty acres of Stephen 
Hopkins for three hundred pounds, land commonly called " Oyster- 
shell Plain." We find him, among others, taking the oath against 
bribery, Aug. 15, 1747, an example which might be followed at the 
present day for the advantage of the country. 

Benjamin Gorton, of Warwick, married John Hulet's daughter 


Avis, July 18, 1762. His son Mason married, the year following', 
Oct. 23, 1763, Elizabeth Mathewson, of Johnston. Elder Reuben 
Hopkins performed the marriage service on both these interesting 
occasions. Mason Ilulet removed to Vermont and settled at Wal- 
lingford, on the Otter Creek, and has left numerous descendants in 
that State. John Ilulet, March 1761, sold to Col. Wm. West the 
farm of two hundred acres which he bought of Stephen Hopkins. 
He sold it for forty thousand pounds, a price not to be accounted 
for, except, we admit, the great depreciation of the currency. Mr. 
Hulet was appointed, with Thomas Angell, pound keeper, in 1747. 
He is called " Captain " in his appointment of fence viewer in 
1750. He was undoubtedly a "man of considerable property for 
those days, and quite a dealer in lands. He sold to Boylston Bray- 
ton, of Smithfield, May 28, 1763, two tracts of land, — one lying 
in Gloccster, according to the deed, "the half of a farm whereon 
Ralph Wellman did formerly live, and bounded as in deed of Wil- 
liam West to Eliphalet Eddy, Feb. 16, 1760, and also more particu- 
larly by the said Eddy to me, the said John Hulet, containing 
three hundred acres, more or less. The other tract is in Scit- 
uate, and is my homestead farm, and the sjime whereon I now 
dwell, and contains about two hundred and fifty acres, bounded 
northerly on land of James Wheeler, easterly on land of the 
same, and on land belonging to Capt. John Whipple, southerly 
on land of William West and westwardly on land of Charles 
Hopkins and Barnes Hall, and on land belonging to heirs 
of Joseph Wilkinson." This homestead farm would seem to have 
been very near to the place of his burial. We find him buying at 
the same time of Benj. Anthony, of Swanzea, for 1800 Spanish 
milled dollars, 229 1-2 acres of land, where Thomas' Knowlton once 
dwelt in Scituate, in part bounded by territory of heirs of Joseph 
Wilkinson. Mr. Hulet must have died soon after these last trans- 
actions, as we find no further mention of him in the town rec- 
ords. He is said to have died of fever after a very short illness. 

Lieut.-Gov. West, who purchased the old homestead which 
Gov. Hopkins sold to John Hulet, had for some time previous to 


1761, been living in Scituate, and had resided a little west of said 
farm, where his son John afterwards lived. He removed from 
North Kingston to Scituate, and was chosen Deputy. He was also 
elected to represent the town in a General Convention held at East 
Greenwich, Sept. 26, 1786. In the appointment by the Governor 
in 1775, of Eseck Hopkins to be General of troops to be raised for 
the defence of the shores of the Narragansett, Col. West was 
placed second in command. We find him very active in town af- 
fairs during the Revolutionary war. In May, 1777, he was made 
chairman of a committee to ascertain the number of effective sol- 
diers still wanting to complete the Continental battalion, then rais- 
ing by the State. He was several times chosen as Moderator of 
the town, and was a man of intelligence and enterprise, infusing 
energy and courage in the people. 

In 1775 he put up the largest and most showy house that had 
ever been erected in Scituate. Mr. Welcome Arnold, who died 
some twenty years ago, was at the raising of this house, and used 
often to speak of the great gathering and interest of the occasion. 
Liquors of all sorts were furnished, but while rum was very plenti- 
ful there was a choice kind of wine, of which the people were only 
permitted to take a little. This house is on the Providence and 
Hartford turnpike, three miles west of the village of North Scitu- 
ate. It is a gambrel-roofed house of two stories as it fronts the" 
road, and of four stories on the end opening to the east, including 
the basement and the attic story. The rooms in the house are very 
spacious, and the attic seems as large as many meeting houses, it 
• being all in one room. It was quite a museum, with old fashioned 
looms, spinning wlieels, chests of drawers, and other articles, when 
I saw it. 

A very interesting historical place is this house, built by Lieut. 
Gov. William West, coeval with our centennial year, and it is a 
very pleasant coincidence that one of our committee lives in tlie 
house with his brother-in-law, Mr. Richard A. Atwood. I rather 
think that not a few rebels were ijuartered there at times in the Rev- 
olution, and seditious conversation indulged in, and even rebel- 


lion openly talked of, and schemes devised against the British 
troops and vessels. I don't see why that house, built on the prem- 
ises where Gov. Stephen Hopkins and Commodore Escck Hopkins 
were born, should not be placarded, these centennial days, with the 
noble and patriotic words of Rhode Island statesmen and heroes 
as is the case to-day with the Old South Church in Boston, and 
flags and streamers displayed upon it. The old house was raised 
and built by patriotic men who knew how to handle the musket and 
the sword, and doubtless did, most of them, serve in the American 
army and navy. If the old folks have gone to their reward in 
heaven they have left us a memorial of their day, in this edifice, 
and may it stand a century longer. 

Gov. West was quite a farmer and kept a great many cows. 
He would often set off with a load of cheese to sell, valued at $1,500. 
He married Ellen Brown ; his children were William, Charles, John, 
Samuel, Hiram, Elsie, Olive, Ellen, Sally and Hannah. Job Ran- 
dall married two of his daughters — Ellen for his first wife, and 
Sally lor his second. Jeremy Philips married Elsie West, and 
Hannah married Mr. Gideon Smith, father of Mr. Russel Smith, 
who resides in North Scituatc village. 

The going down in value of continental money ruined Gov. 
West financially, as it did many other patriots of the Revolution 
who trusted the government, and made his last years afflictive. 
This was one of the sacrifices our fathers made for us, that we might 
enjoy freedom and prosperity. Mr. West died about sixty years 
ago. Elder Westcott attended his funeral. He was a man rather 
above the middle height, a bony, sinewy man, long favored, with a ■ 
prominent nose. 

As an illustration of the spirit of the town of Scituate, in the 
Revolutionary war, and as evidence of confidence in their 
townsmen, are many votes on record. Here is one! — " At a Town 
Meeting held April 28, 1777, it was Voted that Col. William West 
be appointed to use the utmost of his endeavors and abilities, by giv- 
ing directions to his under-ofiBcers, as well as using his influence other 
ways, to raise soldiers by enlisting the number of men assigned to 


be raised in this town, by act of Assembly aforesaid." May 5, 
following, he was chosen chairman of a committee "to prepare and 
divide into classes the male inhabitants of the town, liable to bear 
arms." How ready the town was to bear its proportion of war ex- 
penses, see the following vote of September 23, 1119 : " Voted 
that the town will raise their proportion of the $20,000,000 recom- 
mended by the Hon. Continental Congress, £5,359, 2s, 8d being 
said town's proportion. The collector of taxes is directed to pay 
the same, when collected, into the Loan Office in this State, taking 
Loan Office certificates of the same." 

In this part of the town, where Col. West lived, are preserved 
some articles of furniture of great antiquity, heir-looms of families. 
Mrs. Farnham, who lives on the road to the West House — a little 
east — the only surviving child of the lafe Hon. Elisha Mathewson, 
has in her possession the veritable looking-glass brought to Scitu- 
ate by her first ancestor, John Mathewson. It is small — the plate 
only seven inches by nine — of hard wood frame, stout, and of good 
repair, save that the quicksilver has come off in a good many 
small spots. The same lady has other centennial articles, — one is 
a solid mahogany table of an oval form, three feet in length, an old 
fashioned tea table. This table v.'as brought from England, and it 
belonged to Mrs. Farnham's grandmother, the wife of Richard 
Smith, whose maiden name was Lydia Clarke, daughter of Judge 
Joseph Clarke, who was driven off in the Revolutionary war to 
Pawtuxet. Several ancient chairs are also the property of this 
venerable lady, who is still living. The backs are about four and a 
half feet high, with leather bottoms aiid backs, with brass nails and 
carved work on the top. These were brought from Newport, and 
came from the same family as the table, and were made in England. 
An old cane of her graudfatlicr, Thomas Mathewson, with round 
top and brass ferrule and bottom, is also preserved by this lady. 
John Harris, Esq., had an oaken arm chair, rush-bottomed, made 
by his grandfather, John Aldrich, during a great snow storm and 
the time subsequent, in all three weeks, that the people were kept 
from traveling. This chair commemorates a fall of snow unpara- 


Idled in Khode Island history, and prubably dates back to the re- 
Diarkable snow storms of 1716 or HSS. A silver cup, holding 
about a pint, and reaching back to Jonathan Harris, great-grand- 
father of John, is in preservation to be handed in due course to 
Stephen Harris, son of John, now in California. This cup was 
originally left as a legacy to be thus transmitted from generation to 

Mr. George Brownell left several articles of antiquarian value. 
A table of curled maple, three feet across at the top, with slanting 
legs crossing each other, once the property of his grandfather, 
Samuel Aldrich, who came from England and settled in Smithfie\d. 
It came subsequently into the hands of his son John, and his grand- 
son James who settled in Scituate. There is a pewter soup platter 
of the same hereditary origin, twenty inches across, very heavy, 
marked with the initials of three generations — J. for John Aldrich, 
S. for Samuel, E. for Elizabeth, wife of John, J. for Jane. 

Simeon Arnold came from Smilhfield, and purchased about 
two hundred acres of land, including the farm on which his grand- 
son, Simeon C. Arnold, nowJives ; he died about ninety-six years 
ago, occupying the premises until his death. His son Dexter 
was born, lived and died on the same farm, living as did his father 
to the age of about eighty years. His son Simeon, now upwards of 
fifty years old, has known no other home. He and his wife are 
the sixth generation from Roger Williams. 

Other families have more or less of tables ; chests of drawers, 
and chairs of ancient patterns, many of them still in use. The 
quantity of pewter is considerable, and parts of antiquated China 
Bets are found here and there. Looking-glasses, a few large and 
handsome ones, of great age, are to be found. 

The spinning wheels, large and small, of former generations, 
are placed away in garrets, or stored in old and dilapidated out- 
buildings. Their busy hum is heard no longer, but silent, as those 
who once used them in commendable skill and industry, we may 
imagine them as wearing away life in indolent musings of the past, 
and perhaps wonder if the wheels of fashion will ever bring them 


again into favor. How many pleasant hours are associated in the 
past with these now neglected wheels. The spinning- by them of 
wool, cotton and flax was esteemed an honorable and indispensa- 
ble avocation. The young daughters of a household soon learnt with 
pride to survey the skeins of yarn they had spun, and many a 
charming day-dream was born in the monotonous buzz of the spin- 
ning wheel, and many a sweet song was sung by youth and beauty : 

" Noise sweetens toil, however rude the sound. 
All :it her work the village maiden sings, 
Nor while she turns the giddy wlieel around, 
Revolves the sad vicissitude of things." 

. Every newly married couple must have a spinning wheel to 
commence life with, and the solitude of the new settlements was 
broken by the cheerful sound of the buzzing wheel. The old ladies 
solaced many a weary hour of the live-long summer day at this em- 
ployment, the door thrown open, and the cooling breeze sporting 
with the rolls they were spinning into useful threads. 

Considerable interest isattached to the table, platter and bureau, 
handed down from Samuel Aldrich, which have been mentioned, 
from the following anecdote, showing how they were saved from 
destruction: Mr. Aldrich, one of the first settlers of Smithiield, 
had an Indian servant in his family. Several strange Indians came, 
along one day and had a talk with this servant in the Indian lan- 
guage, the purport of Which he made known to his master after the 
strange Indians had gone away. He told Mr. Aldrich that King 
Philip had proclaimed war, and he advised him to remove imme- 
diately. Accordingly, they went to work, digging holes to bury 
their heaviest and most bulky articles ; and the most light and port- 
able they took with them, the whole family proceeding in all haste 
to Providence. They were not any too swift, for on arriving at 
Tracy's Hill, in Johnston, they saw their house in flames, kindled 
by the Indians. They passed some armed Indians in their flight, 
but Mr. Aldrich's Indian, pointing to his master, said : "That man 
is my master; you must not kill him." Mr. Samuel Aldrich was 
a Quaker preacher. 

Not very long ago in Scituate, no house was painted, plastered 


or papered, there were no carpets — the parlor floors were sanded, 
and hardly any furniture was in the house, and what was to be 
seen was simple and rude. A few ordinary chairs, rush-bottomed, 
or in the case of the better sort, stuffed with straw and covered 
with stout leather. Tables, stoutly made, but rude in construction, 
and bedsteads equally common and inelegant. Trenchers, or wooden 
plates, were in use in most families until the war of the Revolution, 
and to some extent afterwards. Pewter plates and earthen mugs, 
with a little China, appeared after tea drinking came in fashion, 
with cups and saucers very small. The Chinaware was considered 
60 choice and genteel that it was placed in a little cupboard over 
the fire-place, and the glass door or window in it enabled all 
visitors to see the half-dozen or more ornamented cups. Old looms, 
now disused, remain to show how independent the farmer was in 
those ancient times, wearing his home-made clothes and demonstrat- 
ing the capabilities of his wife, who often in church on Sundays 
eyed with just pride her husband's nicely spun and woven clothes, 
the product of her own hands, and often the cutting and making of 
them also. 

Edwin and his brother John Ilowland, living on and owning 
.extensive portions of land in the northerly section of Scituate, 
sold to Jeremiah Smith of Providence, in 1788, one hundred and 
seventy -five acres for $2,100, who put up on it a one-story gambrel 
roof house, and died in 1816, aged ninety-two years. Mr. Martin 
Smith, his great-grandson, occupied a large two-story house, built 
by his father in 1817. 

Richard Brown, living in Providence, attracted by the fine 
situation of the land for hunting grounds, procured, so tradition 
says, at about the cost of laying out and registering, a large tract 
of land. Richard Brown, Jr., June 5th, 1765, gave to his son 
Jesse two hundred acres, saying : "it is the lot of land given to 
me by my grandfather, Richard Brown, April 28, 1744, and is on 
Mosquito Hawk Plain." Jesse settled on the spot, and also his 
brother Samuel. Mr. William Brownoll, and after him Isaac S. 
Devereaux, of Providence, bought and lived there. 


Richard Brown, the senior, lived to be an hundred years old. 
As his century birthday approached, his children and friends made 
great preparations to celebrate the day by a dance and a feast. 
As the old gentleman was still hearty and active, they got him out to 
dance, and enjoying the sport as well as any one, he exerted him- 
self to comply with the general wish, making much merriment and 
acquitting himself well. He did not live long afterwards. 

A hunting house, or lodge, was built nearly a century and 
three-quarters ago, for the convenience of sportsmen from Provi- 
dence and other places, wiiile hunting deer and other game in that 
then wild and unsettled region. These animals used to come to 
the hunting house brook to drink, and in the thick tangled wood 
and brush, and tall herbage, they found a covert, and tender grass 
and berries for food. Some of the gentlemen who resorted to this 
place for hunting were Joseph Smith, Richard Brown, Jeremiah 
Smith, Edward Howland, John Hulet, Joseph Wilkinson, William 
West, James Aldrich and Gov. Fenner. 

A famous squirrel hunt took place about 1784, on a wager be- 
tween the towns of Glocester and Scituate, as to which should kill 
the greatest number. They were to hunt for ten successive daya 
and then bring in the spoils and make the award. Judges were 
mutually appointed, consisting of a committee of fifteen. Ten gal- 
lons of rum and the expense of a dinner for the committee was to 
be the forfeit of the losing party. 

The boys turned out as well as the men, and even the women 
became fired with ardor. The dogs entered heartily into the work 
of searching the woods and ferreting out the squirrels. The sqir- 
rels were taken by surprise, at such a general, earnest and murder- 
ous onslaught, the object of which they so little understood. 
Doubtless, many Revolutionary soldiers, fresh from the battle-fields, 
condescended to show their skill on this occasion. At the close 
of the period allotted for shooting, the company met at "the house 
of James Aldrich, to decide who were the victors. The piles of 
the respective combatants were ranged on each side of the town's 
border line opposite to each other, and consisted of the heads and 


one of the fore-paws of each of the slaughtered animals. The heaps 
were about the size of hay cocks. Scituate beat Glocester by sev- 
eral tlKuisaiK^s. Mr. Obediah Fenner, of Foster, was preseut, and 
related to me these facts. 


Thirty-five years ago there stood very near the geograpical 
centre of Scituate, in a place latterly known as Richmond Mills, 
an antique and somewhat grotesque edifice of a century and a 
quarter's date, looking very much the worse for time, with its 
rod paint nearly all washed off, and looking dingy enough, and a 
little awkward with its south-cast corner projecting very near to 
the junction of two roads. That was our old "Angell Tavern," 
built when the stumps in the road, and the wide-spreading forest 
around, indicated a country just beginning to be cleared up. When 
it was raised, so few were the inhabitants around, that they had to 
Bend to Providence for men to assist ; there was a great gathering 
of the region i'or many miles in circuit, and a merry time they had 
of it, and also when the tavern sign was elevated and the house 
opened for public entertainment. A curious and entertaining his- 
tory is belonging to that old house, for town meetings were held 
tlicMC, and the news of the day proclaimed, and politics discussed, 
and strangers found there a good supper and a night's lodging. It 
was two stories high, with the eaves of the front extending a few 
feet, forming a little shelter in stormy weather. On the western 
end was a very huge stone-chimney, forming a wall for tliat end of 
tlic building. There was also back of the main building, an addi- 
tion sloping down from the main roof to furra a kitchen, closet and 
bed-room, one story high, which being old and out of repair, was 
tiiken down in 1823. The house had three- narrow windows, with 
Bmull panes of glass on the lower front, and four of the same de- 
scription above, with one at the east end. The front door was at 
the western extremity of the part facing on the road. As you en- 
tered, a door on the right hand of the passage opened upon the 
bar-room, a large square room, and loading out of it, the entire 
length of the remaining fore part of the house was a sitting-room, 


used in later years, if not before, for a bed-room. Back of the 
bar-room was a kitchen, a large square room, which had been as 
large again before the addition was removed. A bed-room was at 
one end of it, nearly corresponding in size to the sitting-room, di- 
rectly behind which it stood. The only pair of stairs to the upper 
rooms, ascended from the kitchen at the west end. Three bed- 
rooms were on the east end, and all the rest of the second floor, 
with the exception of a sleeping chamber over the front entry, was 
a hall for dancing and public meetings. 

1 have been thus minute and full in this description, as this 
tavern is often referred to in the doings at Scituate — a sort of town 
hall, exchange, eating and lodging house, real estate office, and 
place of resort for young and old, day and evening, where bargains 
were made, balls were held, and a general news-room established, 
or what was equivalent to it. 

Cupt. Thomas Augell, vvhu built this house one hundred and 
sixty-six years ago, that is, in 1710, if a stone, taken out of the 
chimney, gives the correct date, was a large owner of property in 
the vicinity, and had built his first house of much smaller dimen- 
sions and in simpler construction, near where Pardon Augell's 
house stands, a quarter of a mile north. His land lay on both 
sides of the Ponagansett river, and his second house was erected 
near a fall of water, improved of late years for a factory, but might 
originally have been used for a saw and grist mill. Immediately 
before the tavern the river makes rather a sudden bend, rounding 
with a graceful sweep through woodlands festooned with vines, 
which still grow in the region. Before the house, on the opposite 
or southern side, the laud sloped down to a very beautiful intervale 
on the sides of the stream. 

The parties taking possession of this new house were the 
family of Capt. Thomas Augell. lie was the son of John and 
Ruth Augell, of Providence, and was born March 25, 1672, and 
married April 4, 1700, Sarah Brown, daughter of Daniel Bruwn and 
Alice his wife. Sarah was born at Providence, Oct. 10, 1677. It 
must have beeu very soon after their marriage that the young and 


adventurous couple took up their Hue of march for the thousand 
acres of wild land, of which Thomas had become the proprietor. 

In 1130 Scituate was taken out of the limits of Providence 
and made a separate town. The first meeting it was voted to hold 
the town meetings in the new house of Capt. Thomas Angell. 
Three years afterwards he was appointed to represent the town in 
the General Assembly. He contracted with the town to build a 
bridge over Ponagansett river in 1734, and about the same time he 
petitioned with one or two others to have a pound near his dwell- 
ing, and leave was granted that they might do it at their own cx- 
p( nse, which they did, building it of stone. It stood two or three 
rods east of the tavern, and continued to be the only pound in the 
town until 1810, when the place being wanted by Mr. Cliarles 
Angell, the then proprietor of the tavern, to put up a new and 
spacious house upon the spot, it was removed and a new one built 
on the opposite side of the road, a little west of the old spot. 

The town meetings continiied to be held at Mr. Angell's tav- 
ern for many years, until the building of the Baptist Church a mile 
east. The large hall in the second story was inii)roved on these 
occasions. By far the largest use of the hall was for dancing. 
Tliis tavern became quite noted among the traveling conimu- 
)iilv, and what is rcmarkitble, continued in the hands of the family 
until quite recently, except a period of ten years, during the ill- 
liealth of Mr. Andrew Angell, when it was leased successively to 
John Manchester, Nathan Manchester and Mr. Hazard. Mr. 
Charles Angell then resumed it on the old hereditary line. 

Many eminent men have been entertained at this tavern, as 
well as a multitude oi' nior(! humble travelers. Gen. Washington 
lias sto})i)ed there. Gen. Lafayette encamped his regiment on the 
pleasant interv;ile in front of the house while marching through the 
town during the Revolutionary war. They continued there until the 
troops had finished their washing in the river. The old people 
used to speak oiten to their eiiildren about the fine music ol the 
l)and, as in the morning and evening they played in the camp. 
Lafayette lodged in the tavern, and another French officer of high 


rank had accommodations in a liouse near by, where lived Mr. 
Abel Angell. Mr. Angell's wife, who died thirty-five or forty 
years ago, used to speak of making porridge for this officer, whom 
she called General, while he was sick at her house. This house 
stood for a long period, and Mr. Richard Angell, son of Abel, 
pointed out to myself and other visitors the small bed-room back 
of the kitchen which had been occupied by the officer. Gen, 
Lafayette, on his last visit to this country, passed up the same 
road, recognized the old places, and enquired particularly for a 
spring at the foot of Cranberry Hill, some three or four miles west 
of the Angell tavern on the turnpike, at which spring he and his 
troops had refreshed themselves on their dusty and weary march. 
Many were then alive to greet him, of his old companions in the 
war. Dr. Owen Battey, residing within a mile of the tavern, on 
the same road, remembered seeing Lafayette and his soldiers as 
they passed along, and also of walking into the camp-ground on 
the intervale, led, while a child, by one of his lather's men. 

It being in the fall of the year the river was high, and one of 
the soldiers having drunk too freely tried to drown himself, but 
other soldiers jumped into the river and pulled him out. 

Some things remain of the old tavern. The well which faith- 
fully served other generations abides to moisten the lips of several 
families in the neighborhood, and gives a good supply for all house- 
hold uses. The old stone steps, as good as new, upon which so 
many feet alighted from travelers' carriages, and the ponderous iron 
shovel for the use of the oven, are still in use. A hatchet which 
once belonged to Jeremy Angell, and marked February, 1755 ; an 
iron square, bearing the date April 2, 1710, and formerly the proper- 
ty of Andrew Angell, and a gauge of still greater antiquity, for 
measuring the contents of barrels, are still preserved, or were up 
to twenty years ago, when I saw them ; but the hatchet, once so 
indispensable in a household, for the preparation of flax iuv use, is 
no longer wanted. The largo old clock that clicked in the bar- 
room has been swapped away for a smaller and more modern 
measurer of time. A chest of drawers belonging to old Capt. 


Thomas Angell, who first occupied the tavern, was burnt up forty- 
five years ago in the house (>f Mr. Stephen Peckham, which was de- 
stroyed by Hre. One or two tables of ancient form are left, but 
time ami accident have swept away other articles of furniture. 

In a field back of the house is a burial place containing the 
graves of some of the ancient household. Mr. Andrew Angell, 
who died about 1791 ; his wife, Tabitlia, who survived thirty years 
and deceased Dec. 10, 1821 ; Gideon Angell, son of Andrew, who 
was born June 21, 1773, and died unmarried. May 14, 1829; Abi- 
gail Hopkins, brought up by Andrew Angell, and who married a 
Saiulers. The last named grave, with that of him who brought her 
up, is without, an inscription. 

Capt. Angell seems to have made his tavern the great centre 
of business and amusement in the town. The militia musters were 
held in the vicinity, and the pound drew all the stray cattle, and 
their owners to reclaim them; there, too, the blacksmith shop ad- 
joining the pound, under another line of Angells, brought custom- 
ers, and tiiero also, we must not forget to mention, was the 
"stocks," a niacliiue consisting of two heavy pieces of timber, 
rounded so as to enclose the legs of criminals, and in which ludi- 
crous and painl'id i-ondition tliey had to sit out their time. Here, 
too, those wiu) got into scrapes during the trainings, and at other 
times, were put; and tin; p(de of the tavern sign was used as a 
post to iasten those unfortunate gentlemen who were sentenced to 
be w!ii|>p(.'d, an operation they were not likely very soon to forget. 

Otiier taverns sprung np, as the town increased, in difl'yrerit 
jtlaces. Matthew Maiieiiester was licensed as an inn-keeper in 1769, 
and Thomas Manihester and Levi Colvin at the same time. Steph- 
<'n Sniitli and Z<'l»edef llcpkins were licensed in 1762, and C(d. 
John Potter and Christopher Potter in 1760. Some of these per- 
sons lived in Foster, then a part of Scituate. 

Peter Cook, 1755; Joseph Kimball, 1745; Jeremiah Angell, 
1758; Elisha'Hopkins, jr.. 1758; William West, 1758 ; John llulet, 
1745; Thomas Brown, 1749; Samuel Cooper, 1745; Henry Ran- 
dall, jr., 1748; \Villiain Jai-kson, 1758, were among the licensed. 


"Tavern Ale House and Victualling House" is the term em- 
ployed in licensing many of the above. Only a few of these per- 
sons could have doue much business. 

An old house on Bald Hill, marked on the chimney 1710, or 
1740, was built by John Hammond, who lived in it; also Jeremiah 
Baker lived there, and died about forty years ago. 

The license to Joseph Knight runs thus: "License to keep a 
tavern, or house of public entertainment, and to retail strong liquors 
in said town, and hath given bond for maintaining good order and 
conforming to the regulations of the law respecting taverns and 
public houses. Provided, that he sufier no unlawful game or 
games, drunkenness, or any other disorder, in said house, or in any 
place in his possession, but that good government, rule and order 
be kept therein according to law." This license is dated Feb. 12, 
1803, and is signed, John Harris, Clerk. 

Thomas Wilmarth, who was a tavern keeper and clothier, kept 
an old tavern, still standing. His son, Stephen Wilmarth, of Glo- 
cester, married Nancy, daughter of James Aldrich. 

The first tavern in Providence, and the first in the State, was 
in May, 163H, in charge of William Baulston. 

Two taverns in each town, in early legislation, were allowed, 
and leave was granted to add one more if they saw fit : this was ill 
1655. Very full laws were enacted regulating the sale of liquors. 
The tavern bars were to be closed at 9 o'clock in the evening. 
Tavern keepers, when they trusted any one for liquors beyond 
twenty shillings, were barred an action at law. 

We are very liable to undervalue country taverns in these days 
of their decline. In a newly settled country they are pioneers, and 
the house of the first settler becomes of a necessity the inn or 
lodging place o^ the traveler. As the settlement increases and the 
traveling multiplies, the tavern becomes a real estate oflSce, where 
land is bought and sold. Inasmuch as there were no newspapers 
in circulation, and no post office, the tavern became the centre of 
information for those who were shut out by a residence in the 
woods, from tidings of the world. Macauley, in his History of Eng- 


land, Bays that taVern keeping was most flourishing as to patronage 

and being well kept when the roads were in the poorest condition, 

and traveling slow and laborious. 

Daniel Webster's father, building his house on the farthest line 

of civilization, in New Hampshire, could not well help being a^ 

tavern keeper, and his son Daniel was favored with more avenues 

of information by reason of it than the boys not so privileged iu 

new settlements. 

The old Angell tavern is well represented to-day in Mr. James 

B. Angell, the popular president of Michigan University. 

Capt. Thomas Angell's children were Jeremiah, Nehemiah, 
Isaiah, Jonathan, Thomas, Martha and Sarah — all Scripture names. 
Every one but Jonathan married and had children. Dividing his 
lands, he gave large farms of two hundred acres to each of his 
sous, and built handsome houses of two stories high for four of 
them, and a smaller house for Jonathan. Two of these houses re- 
main. The daughters, no doubt, received gifts. At their father's 
death in 1*744, Martha inherited by his will a negro girl called 
Phillis, and Sarah a negro boy named James. 

Thomas, the youngest son, was the executor of his father's 
will. Jeremiah followed his father in the keeping of the tavern, 
and was a highly respectable man. He was a Justice of the Peace 
as early as 1741, and was afterwards Town Treasurer. His first 
wife was Mary Mathewson, his second Abigail Graves, and his 
third Elizaberfi Stow. He died in 1786, aged seventy-nine years, 
having been born January 29, 1707. His widow survived till De- 
cember 10, 1821. 

Nehemiah Angell, second son of Thomas, married Mary Hop- 
kins, sister to Elder Reuben Hopkins. He had three sons, Pardon, 
Nehemiah and Abraham, and his daughters were four, namely: 
Zilpah, Martha, Mercy and Mary. A grandson, Mr. Pardon Angell, 
became the owner of the farm, and soon after took down the old 
one-story red house, and put up a new one. Isaiah, the third"^on, 
married Miss Wilkinson, and had only one daughter, named Pru- 
dence, who married Gideon Austin, and had a large family. 


Thomas Augell, jr., married Mercy, and had on? daughter, Sally, 
who married a Sterry. Mr. Angell sold out and removed to Provi- 
dence. Martha Angell married Mr. Knight, and Sarah married 
Jeremy Mathewson, on the very day the Angell tavern was raised. 
The children of Jeremiah were brought up with their fatiier in the 
tavern. Daniel, born August 16, 1748, went to sea unmarried, and 
did not return. Andrew, one of his sons, married Tabitha Harris, 
daughter of Gideon Harris, Esq., and carried on the tavern after 
his father. 


From the character of the men who settled in Rhode Island it 
might be expected that they would be quick and energetic in re- 
sisting all encroachments upon their liberties, and such was the 
case. The taking of the Gaspee was the earliest resistance by 
arms to the power of Great Britain in any of the colonies. Great 
sympathy' was awakened lor the people of Boston, under the vexa- 
tious and vindictive treatment of England, and supplies were voted 
in iiU the Rhode Island towns, and sent for their relief. 

When the news of the battle of Lexington arrived at Provi- 
dence a thousand men were on the march the next day for the scene 
of conflict, but were countermanded by expresses from Lexington. 

The Rhode Island forces, incorporated with the grand army be- 
fore Boston, were placed under the direction of Washington. Rev. 
William Emerson, of Concord, chaplain in the army, who saw them 
at Cambridge in 1775, describing the military camps there, from 
various places, and noticing the want of tents and arms and 
apparel of many of the companies, says of some proper tents and 
marquees: " In these are the Rhode Islanders, who are furnished 
with tent equipage and everything in the most exact English style." 

But it was not always so. Two years later, Aug. 27, 1777, 
Col. Israel Angell writing from the camp to the Governor of Rhode 
Island, declares that " pure necessity urges me to write you of the 
wretched condition of my command, as to their clothing and equip- 
ments. Only one half of the men are fit for duty, and many are 
barefoot." At another time, of some companies, it was said: 


" There are nofr two in five who have a shoe or stocking-, or other 
apparel to make them decent. But tliey rendered good service at 
Brandy wine a month afterwards, contributing to a very important 
victory. Washington said of them: "The gallant behavior of 
Col. Angell's regiment on the 23d of June, at Springfield, reflects 
the highest honor upon the officers and men : they disputed an im- 
portant pass with so obstinate a bravery that they lost upwards of 
forty in killed and wounded and missing — nearly one-fourth of 
their number, before they gave up their ground to a vast superior- 
ity of force. 

Job and Joseph Angell, twin brothers, born January 19, 1745, 
were out in arms during the whole of the Revolutionary war. Job 
commanded a company but did not go out of tlie State. He has a 
son Job living in Scituatc. Joseph Angell continued a private sol- 
dier, refusing oflers of promotion, and distinguished himself in the 
war. He was witli Waf?hington the greater part of the war and 
fought in many battles. The old people that knew him had 
memories very quick to remember " Uncle Joe," the old soldier, 
who made a good impression on their minds. He used to relate 
tales of the war and events in the battles of which he was one of the 
actors. At the battle of Monmouth, the day being very hot, the men 
after the action flung themselves down by the river to drink, and 
many of them died in consequence, and indeed many were so faint 
that they died where they laid down, without drinking. Capt. Boss, 
Joseph's captain, laid down completely exhausted, until some one 
came and raised him up to drink spirits. Gen. Washington rode in 
among the troops ordering them not to drink without first tasting 
some spiritous liquor. Joseph said he always kept a little in his 
canteen for such a purpose, and he had so reserved some for him- 
self in that battle. In the fight at the Red Bank on the Jersey 
shore, when the Hessians unsuccessfully attacked Fort Mercer, and 
were so cut up by the fire of the Americans, Joseph loaded and 
fired his gun for forty minutes as fast as he could, and without a 
moment's cessation until his gun became so hot that he could not hold 
it in his hand. 


At a time during- the war, when an engagement was about to 
commence, a cannon-ball from the enemy struck an apple tree in 
the road, taking off a branch. Washington, who was near, pleas- 
antly remarked : " That was a good shot." Accounts agree that 
Joseph really loved the soldier's profession, that he engaged in it 
with his whole heart, and conducted himself bravely during the 
whole war. When peace was declared he returned to Scituate to 
take up once more the plough. He selected a daughter of John 
Edwards for his wife, and had two sons, Jonathan and Israel, who 
both married and removed to the State of New York. 

Joseph Knight acted an important part in the Revolutionary 
war. Ilis father, Jonathan Knight, executed to him the lease of 
his farm for six years, April 4th, 1763, Jeremiah and Andrew An- 
gell witnessing the same. He appears to have used his teams ex- 
tensively in transporation for Hope furnace. 

From papers in the possession of his descendants, which have 
been kindly loaned me, we get much information of Revolutionary 
times. He seems to have had a taste early for military life, having 
received from Gov. Samuel Ward, June 16th, 1166, a commission 
as Ensign of the First Cumpauy, or Trained Band, of Providence. 
He was made Lieutenant of the same company, in 1769, and in 
August, 1774, he was created Captain. April, 1775, after the news 
of battle of Lexington, a company was formed in Scituate under him 
as captain, tlie roll headed thus: " We do enlist ourselves as Vol- 
unteers in the present emergency in defence of our country and 
Right of Privileges and Liberty." Four new companies were 
chartered i!i Scituate, Dec. 5, 1774, and one of them was called 
"Scituate Hunters." 

A letter from Gov. Cooke to Joseph Knight, dated Providence, 
Dec. 19, 1775, directed to him as captain of the second company 
of minute men in Scituate, says: "You are hereby directed to 
gather togetlier the company under your conniand with all possible 
expedition and march thoin to this town in order to be transported 
to Rhode Island i'or the defence of that island. You are to be care- 
ful that the men are properly equipped with arms, ammunition and 


blankets fit for immediate service. 1 have advice from Gen. Wash- 
ington that eiglit large transports, with two tenders, having on 
board one regiment of foot, and three companies of horse sailed 
from Boston last Saturday, and I have no doubt that your officers 
and men will exert themselves upon this occasion with their usual 

Gov. West sends an order from head-quarters to Capt. Knight, 
Jan. 12, nt6, for nine privates with a commissioned officer and 
sergeant or corporal, upon fatigue duty. Ten days afterwards Gen. 
Lippitt directs him, from Prudence, to send ten men up there to 
go in a scow down to the Pearl. The men sent were in the fight at 
Prudence. According to the record they were, Joseph Knight, 
captain ; William Brownell and Simeon Wilbour, sergeants; Abra- 
ham Aiigell, corporal ; and Joseph Turner, Stephen Leach, Oliver 
Leach, Oliver Fisk, Zebedee Snow, Christopher Edwards, Joseph 
Wight, Moses Colvin, and Christopher Knight. 

Providence was threatened by the enemy and Scituate was 
called upon to assist in its defence. Gen. Sullivan writes to Mr. 
Knight, who has been promoted to be Lieut. -Colonel, to march imme- 
diately with his regiment to their aid : " Pray, delay no time, for 
by the delay of one hour we may lose the town of Providence; let 
each man take three days provision, and wait there for further 
orders." About this time, March 18, 1177, Elizabeth Knight 
writes from Scituate to her husband, who was with his troops at 
Warwick : "These lines are to let you know that we are all well at 
present. I want you to come home soon as you can, to see 
about getting some flax, for it is very scarce to be had. There are 
some men who want to be boarded at your house, and I want you 
to send to me whether you are willing to board them or not. So 
I remain your loving wife, Elizabeth Knight." 

There you see a» woman of the old herioc time, — quiet, dili- 
gent, deferring to her husband, subjecting herself to the circum- 
stances of the time, and heartily embracing the good cause. In 
talking of the men of the Revolution we should never forget the 
women, whose sacrifices wore great, and whose zeal and courage 
in the patriot cause was abounding. 



Rufus Hopkins, who seems to have been especially active and 
efficient in the good cause, writes Major Knight from Cranston, 
July 27, 1180, saying: " By express from the Governor I am re- 
quested to direct you forthwith to muster together the regiment 
under your command, completely equipped with arms and ammuni- 
tion and six days provision ; you are therefore hereby directed ac- 
cordingly, and rendezvous at Providence as soon as possible, where 
you are to be ready to receive further orders, the reason is said to 
be in consequence of Gen. Clinton's coming from New York with 
eight or ten thousand troops to attack the French army and fleet at 

Scituate was not invaded, but she was called upon, and re- 
sponded nobly to the call, to march her troops to the port. The 
British, on Sunday, Dec. 8, 1776, landed and took possession of 
Rhode Island, and remained there until Oct. 25, 1779, during which 
time the inhabitants were greatly oppressed. 

In a list of Capt. Knight's company, April 20, 1775, the day 
after the Lexington battle, are found the following names: Joseph 
Knight, capt:iin ; Samuel Wilbor, Benjamin Wood, Isaac Horton, 
John Hill, Nathan Walker, James Parker, John Bennet, jr., Jere- 
miah Alray, Joseph Remington, Nathan Ralfe, John I. KUton, 
Jonathan Knight, jr., Joseph Briggs, David Knight, Joseph Col- 
lins, William T:iyU)r, Juim Manchester, Edward Bennett, Thomas 
Parker, John E<l\var(ls, jr., Simeon Wilbor, Isaiah Austin, Samuel 
Eldridge, Christopher Knight, Samuel Hopkins, Benajah Bosworth, 
OI»a.liah Rolfe, Ezekiel Wood, Caleb Fisk, doctor, John Phillips, 
Constant Graves, Stukely Thornton, James Andrews, jr., Christo- 
pher' Collins,|.h Bennet, Thomas Knight, Peleg Colvin, Elea- 
zor ^Vestcott, Caleb Steere, Collins Roberts, Daniel Fisk, William 
Knight, Nathan Franklin, Uriah Franklin, jr., Ephriam Edwards, 
Stephen Edwards, Francis Fuller, jr., Benjamin Whitmore, William 
Stafford , Daniel Aiigell, Furmer Tanner — fifty-two in all. 

Another list, dated Feb. 5, 1776, gives the following additional 
names : Daniel Dexter, Peter Pierce, Alexander Lovell, Ebenezer 
Handy, Joseph Turner, John Gunnison, Isaiah Ashton, Benjamin 


Bacon, Natlian Matliewson, Christopher Edwards, Knight Wilbor, 
Abraham Angell, Moses Colviu. 

An order of Capt. Knight to Aaron Fisk, one of his corporals, 
dated Dec. 8, 1774, directs to notify every enlisted soldief to ap- 
pear in arms complete, to appear at the new dwelling-house of 
Lieut. Samuel Wilbor, Jan. 16, 1776. 

Lieut. -Col. Ezekiel Cornell, of Col. Ilitchcock's regiment, 
Providence, writes to Major Knight, dated Warwick, July 20, 
1777. informing that he has just received an express telling him 
that forty sail of square-rigged vessels were ofi" Watch Point 
standing towards Newport, last evening ; also, desiring toe to send 
an express to Col. Colwell, which I have done, ordering him imme- 
diately to warn the militia to be in readiness. 

Return of the Scituate Light Infantry company, Benj. Boss, 
captain, and Richard Rhodes, clerk, gives captain and two lieuten- 
ants, one ensign, four sergeants, three corporals, four drummers and 
fifers, thirty-eight rank and file — total fifty-four. 

The return of Capt. Nathan Worker's company gives Lieut. 
Joseph Carpenter, Ensign Samuel Wilbor, seventy-two men, eight 
all equipped, and twenty-nine guns. 

Capt. Ooman Smith's company had Lieut. Fabel Angell, and 
Capt. Ilerenden's company had Lieut. Isaac Hopkins, and Ensign 
James Wells. Timothy Hopkins, jr., was adjutant. Jos. Kimball's 
company had Gideon Cornwell, lieutenant. Capt. Edwin Knight's 
company had Ensign Daniel Baker. Capt. Herenden, Lieut. Wm. 
Howard, Ensign Reuben Read. 

The small pox prevailed much in the army at different times, 
causing alarm, and the town of Scituate voted that the house of 
widow Mercy Angell and the house of Peleg Fiske, Esq., be opened 
as hospitals for the innoculation of the small pox. 

Capt. Joseph Kimball, by vote of the town, Nov. 15, 1777, was 
appointed to supply the families of officers and soldiers, in the con- 
tinental service, with the necessary articles of life, according to a 
late act of the General Assembly. 

The returns of the Third Regiment, made to Major Knight, of 


eight companies, are as follows : Capt. Potter, 15 men, Capt. Dor- 
rance, 6T men, Capt. Smith, 123 men, Capt. Paine, 109 men, Capt. 
Wilbour, 16 men, Capt. Howard, 64 men, Capt. Medbury, 32 men, 
Capt. Rolfe, 67 men. 

We get some idea of the imperfect equipments of the soldiers 
in the return of three companies of two hundred and seventy-two 
privates. Of these, without bayonets, one hundred and one, with 
bayonets, twenty-six, and cartouches of the same number only forty- 

The Rhode Island soldiers in our civil war received much 
praise for*their brave and effective service, and their fine appear- 
ance, A Massachusetts man, writing for a newspaper, at the com- 
mencement of the rebellion, from Washington, July, 1861, says : 
"Three cheers for Rhode Island rang along the avenue to-day, as 
the quota of that gallant State marched proudly along, the first 
battalion escorting the second, which had just been landed. Cheers 
were given for the continental color carried by the second battalion 
and for the ladies who marched bravely with the file-closers of two 
companies, rivalling Florence Nightingalp. A baggage train 
brought up the rear." Another writer says of them : "This is 
the finest and best furnished body of men in the field." 


In the history of a place there are some things more important 

than its size or wealth. Its farms, manufactures, trade, are indeed 

to be considered. The services performed in war, when they have 

reference to the establishment of freedom, or its preservation, ought 

to hold our attention : 

" By fairy hands their knell is rung, 
By forms unseen their dirge is sung: 
There Honor comes, a pilgrim grey, 
To bless the turf that wraps their clay ; 
And Freedom shall awhile repair, 
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there." 

Improvements in the laying out of roads, the introduction of 

steam travel, the erection of public and private buildings, are not 

to be forgotten, but remembered, also should be first and foremost, 


Religion, as seen in the churches and families, social and busincsB 
intercourse, and political institutions, and pervading the community. 

The schools and higher seminaries of instruction are, with re- 
ligion, to be examined as institutions lying at the foundation o^ a 
respectable, orderly, intelligent town, and household behavior, and 
teaching by precept and example on the part of parents, tend much 
to reline and elevate society. 

Physicians and ministers are so placed as to healing power in 
body and soul, to their giving a healthy tone to society and encour- 
aging all goodness, that their character and abilities may prop- 
erly come under scrutiny. School teachers, out of schoel as well 
as in, may encourage and sustain all good works. 

Religion came ami followed our original settlers in this town, 
but they were opposed to taxation, and their ministers probably 
received at first only such recompense as private individuals might 
occasionally give them. The Friends were <A' this kind, and the 
Baptists also, and these denominations were the two earliest in the 
field, and probably established their religious meetings at about the 
same time. 


Rhode Island was from the start tolerant of all protestant reli- 
gious iaith, allowing the freest utterance of doctrine, from which 
cause she attracted settlers of various creeds. Quakers and Bap- 
tists were the most numerous. The Friends, or Quakers, had a 
church burnt in Scituate before the Revolutionary war, showing 
how early they began to erect chiircli edifices. Dec. 14, I'^ll, their 
last meeting house was erected, and William Almy and Moses 
Brown attended from Providence. Mr. Eliliu Bowen, one of their 
pnjachers living in Scituate, wrote in his record book of the 
churcli, of the proceedings: " \Villiam being liviiigly opened in 
Gospel love to the edification of tin; auditory, and concluded in 
prayer and supplication to the Father of our mercies." Of late, 
owing to decline in membership of Friends, few or none are the 
gatherings in the town. 

They, at one time, numbered in their ranks many of the most 
important citizens of the town. The Wilkinsons of the first gene- 


ration, James Aldrich, Daniel Fiske, Isaac Fiske, Ezra Potter, John 
Potter, Mr. Mial Smith, Hon. Elisha Mathewson, and Gideon Har- 
ris attended the meetings. 

Their first church was built on land given by Gideon Harris, a 
mile west of the present church building, near the old bank, and 
was supposed to have been accidentally consumed. Meetings were 
subsequently held in private houses, sometimes with Elizabeth Al- 
drich, Mr. Mial Smith and Elihu Bowen, until a new house was 

The Six Principle Baptist Church, according to a sermon of 
Richard Knight, one of'their elders, preached in lt2'7, was consti- 
tuted in 1725, received a grant of an acre of land and built a meet- 
ing house upon it, reserving a part of the land for a burial place. 
This was about the centre of the town. In August, 1827, Samuel 
Fiske was ordained pastor, and Benjamin Fiske, deacon of the 
society. The services were performed by Elders Brown, Morse 
and Martin. James Colvin was ordained colleague with Elder 
Fiske about 1738. Elder Colvin died in 1755, and the church was 
without a pastor until July 8, 1762, when Reuben Hopkins was or- 
dained elder, and the church prospered under the able and useful 
ministry of their " nourishing pastor." A reformation commenced 
and continued several years, and numbers were added to the church. 
In 1821 they built a new and larger meeting-house on the same 
spot, which is still standing and in use. Elder Jaques is the present 
preacher and the meetings are regularly held. This church and 
ministry has doubtless exerted a very great and beneficial inflaeuce 
upon the town. 

An Episcopal Church was established at Richmond village. 
South Scituate, several years since, having quite an extensive mem- 

A meeting-house was put up in Hemlock, Foster, by the Cal- 
vinistic Baptists, but was never finished. It was bought by the 
town for a town house, with a provision that the house should be 
open for preaching. Elder John Williams was their first minister, 
and his colleague was Elder John Westcott. In 1827 these preach- 


ers were between eighty and niiiety years of age, and still continu- 
ing their labors in the ministry, although Elder Williams preached 
but seldom. lie addressed the convention called to ratify the con- 
stitutution, forty years before, against the measure. 

The church at Foster was at first in connection with the Cal- 
vinistic Baptist Churches, but they separated about 1780, and be- 
came a Six Principle Baptist Church. Elder John Williams erect- 
ed a house about 1790, at Hopkins Mills, a very elevated site. 

Elder Young was the pastor of the Calvinistic Baptist Church, 
in Foster, and had a large family. One of his sons, Zadock, be- 
came a judge ; and his sun, Abiathor, had some reputation as a poet. 

A Congregational Church was formed at North Scituate, and 
organized January Ist, 1831. A house of worship was dedicated 
in 1834 and is now standing and occupied. Pastors: Revs. Benja- 
min Allen, Charles P. Grosvener, Benjamin J. Relyed, James Ilall, 
Charles C. Beaman, Thomas Williams, Loring P. Mar.'^h, J. N. U. 
Dow, William A. Fobes, J. M. Wilkins, Thomas L. Ellis, J. H. 
Mellish. All now living except Allen and Ellis. 

A Methodist Church is established at Riciimond village. South 
Scituate ; also, one at Ashland village, and also another at Ilope vil- 
lage. All now in a flonrishing condition.' 

A Free Baptist Church, haviiio- a comfortable house of worsliip, 
has lung been in existence in the north-west part of the town. 

In North Scituate a Free Will Baptist Chnrch was gathered 
January 7th, 1832, as a branch of the Smithfield F. B. Churcii.with 
thirty-two members, Rev. Reuben Allen, pastor. Church organiz(^d 
April 22d, 1835, with thirty members. Pastors: Revs. Martin J. 
Steere, Eli Noyes, D. P. Cilley, Reuben Allen, J. B. Sargent, John 
Chaidy, Amos Redlon, William II Bowen, 0. H. True, J. M. Brew- 
ster, L. P. Bickford. All but Allen, Noyes and Cilley now living. 


The town did not begin very early, as a corporation, to estal> 
lish schools. For a long time education was left to the people to 
do as they pleased as to the employment of teachers. They taught 
in private houses, <jr in rooms of other buildings. Miss Fiske 


taught in a room of her father's tavern, seventy years ago. Mar- 
vin Morris, from Dudley, Mass., kept school for half a dozen years, 
about 1800 ; he was called a good penman. Thomas Mowry was 
a teacher, and a Mr. Dutton ; also Samuel Perry from Connecticut. 
The first town appropriation recorded was $300, in 1834. This 
continued for successive years until 1850, when the sum advanced 
to $900, and so continued a number of years. It has still further 
advanced, and $3,000 have been voted the last two years. The 
town has built school houses in locations convenient for the schol- 
ars, and they are handsome structures, fitted up with recent im- 
provements, and kept in good order. The report of the school 
committee for the year ending April, 1876, says, that from obser- 
vation they believe that in school property they favorably compare 
with the most progressive towns of the State. 


Founded in 1839. First principal, Hosea Quimby, from 1839 to 
1854 ; second principal, Samuel P. Coburn, from 1854 to 185Y ; 
third principal, Rev. W. Colgrove, from 1857 to 1859. Up to this 
time the school had been known as Smithfield Seminary. From 
1859 to 1863 there was no school. In 1863 name was changed to 
Lajtham Institute, and Rev. B. F. Hayes Avas principal from 1863 
to 1865 ; Thomas L. Angell was principal from 1865 to 1867 ; Geo. 
H. Ricker was principal from 1867 to 1874 ; A. G. Moulton was 
principal Irom 1874 to 1875; W. S. Stockbridge was principal in 
1875 and 1876. 


There lias been one bank in Scituate for a long time, called the 
Citizens Union Bank, changed to Scituate National Bank. 


Physicians occupy an iniportant place in the community. In 
the absence of educated and settled ministers, as was the case in 
many paits of Rhode Island in former periods, they seem to have 
been the only educated class passing round in the community. 
Their labors must have been toilsome ; riding on horseback over 
the bad roads, and going great distances by night and b}^ da3\ 


Such men deserve to be held in grateful remembrance. They 
often exercise a refining and christian influence, and have done very 
much to prolong life. In the Kevolutionary war they distinguished 
themselves both in the army and at home. 

Dr. Ephriam Bowen, of Providence, used to ride extensively 
in Scituate and the adjoining towns before the conflict of the Revo- 
lution. He died about sixty years ago, aged more than ninety. 
Contemporary with him was Dr. Benjamin Slack who lived in 
the extreme north- east part of Scituate. Ho came from Mas- 
sachusetts about 1750. The oldest record of him in Scituate is the 
birth of his daughter, Mary, Sept. 28, 1153. His first wife, Phoebe 
Slack, "the virtuous wife of Benjamin Slack, Esq.," departed this 
life July 8. 1162, as her grave-stone, the oldest with an inscrip- 
tion in the town, inform us. Dr. Slack was much esteemed, and 
his practice was great in Glocester, Smithfield, Scituate, and other 
towns. He left quite a large and good farm. His second wife 
was Miss Hannah Harris, of Johnston, whom ho married, March 5, 
1161, Gideon Harris, Esq., town clerk of Scituate, officiating at 
the service. 

Dr. John Barden, in the north-west part of Scituate, three or 
four miles west of Dr. Slack, during, and after the war of the Revo- 
lution, had considerable reputation as a doctor, and used to take 
long rides into Massachusetts, where he had many friends and much 

Dr. John Wilkinson, a medical practitioner of high estimation 
in Scituate, was also a distinguished surgeon in the Revolutionary 

Dr. Caleb Fiske was a man of much distinction in the town, 
living on Bald Hill, at the south-east part of the town. He was the 
son of John and Elizabeth Fiske, early settlers in the place, and 
was born Feb. 24, 1153. He was president of the Rhode Island 
Medical Society, acquired much property and left to the society 
$2,000, and most of the remainder to his grandson, Caleb' F. Rea. 

Dr. Owen Battey was in medical practice for many years, but 
retired in later life. He was president of the Exchange Bank, at 


Greeneville, in Smithfield, and held the office of post master in 
South Scituate for a long time, through many party changes. lie 
was a gentleman of the old school and highly esteemed. His 
father was Joshua Battey, and his grandfather, by the mother's side, 
wks Oliver Arnold. His great-grandfather, Owen Arnold, was a 
British officer who came out to this country and engaged in the 
French war. He died July 24, 1762, in his ninetieth year. 

Dr. Jeremiah Cole, who studied medicine with Dr. Anthony, 
of Foster, resided about a mile and a half west of North Scituate 
village. He was esteemed in his practice, died suddenly. May 7, 
1843, in his seventy-third year, shortly after his removal to Olney- 

Dr. Cyril Carpenter, in that part of Scituate now Foster, 
lived in the latter part of the last century, and from him descended 
two generations in the healing art : his son Thomas and his grand- 
eon, Thomas 0. Carpenter, a skillful doctor of great promise, who 
died early. 

Dr. John H. Anthony practiced medicine, residing in North 
Scituate for many years, but his health failing him he removed to 
Providence, where he died. • 

Dr. T. K. Newhall, after practicing about seventeen years in the 
town, removed to Providence. 

Drs. James E. Roberts, Charles N. Fisher and William H. 
Bowen, the present physicians in Scituate, have long enjoyed the 
respect and confidence of our citizens. 


Jonah Titus was for more than forty years a resident lawyer of 
this town. He removed lo Providence in 1865, \vhere he died 
at an advanced age in May, 1876. 

Charles H. Page is now a resident lawyer of Scituate, having 
lived here since boyhood. He has an office in Providence. Both 
have represented the town in both brances of the General Assem- 


Hope furnace, in Scituate, for the casting of cannon, nianu- 


facture of bar iron and nails, became well known before and dur- 
ing the Revolutionary wa,r. They used to cast two cannon at a 
time. Ore was obtained from the bed in Cranston and carted to the 
furnace. ♦ 

In 1765, the discovery of another bed of iron in the same 
locality caused a company to be formed and a furnace to be erected 
at Hope village. Thirteen new- cannon, cast at the Hope furnace, 
were fired at the Great Bridge, in Providence, in honor of the De- 
claration of Independence, July 26, 1776. Stephen Hopkins was 
one of the earliest and most influential of the men who got up this 
company, and his eldest son, Rufus, who had been a sea captain, 
was for many years superintendent at the furnace. Wrought iron 
nails were also made at Hope furnace, 


Some of the mechanics in Scituate in early times were the fol- 
lowing : 

Elihu Bowen, who removed from Swanzey in 1773, was the 
first tanner in Scituate, having his tannery by the Moswansicut 
brook. He died in his eighty-eighth year, and was buried in the 
old Quaker burial ground. His funeral was a " large and solemn 

Elihu Piske was a good cabinet maker ; Jonathan Hill learned 
cabinet making of him. Mr. Fiske came from Newport and became 
rich ; keeping also, a tavern, 

Capt. Thomas Hill learned his trade as a carpenter of Hugh 
Cole. Richard Philips learned of him also, 

Daniel Smith, blacksmith, died sixty years ago, 

Thomas Field's cooper shop was well known, 

Mr. Angcll's blacksmith shop, near the Angell tavern, was car- 
ried on by a difi'erent branch of that family from the tavern keeper, 
and continued in the family for several generations. 


Our own State, " Little Rhoda," as she is called, has won the 
proud distinction of furnishing the steam engine whose power 
moves the whole machinery at the Exhibition, In other respects in 


our varied and extensive manufactures on exhibition at Philadelphia 
this State makes a noble contribution to American workmanship, 
and receives commendations from all observers. 


It is with just pride that we have surveyed the past of Scitu- 
ate : and let us ever honor the memory of the men and women who 
have preceded us in our history, and who have bequeathed to us so 
many privileges and blessings : Freedom to worship God, a free 
representative government, the hope of Christianity, and the glori- 
ous anticipations of a liberty covering the whole earth with the 
freedom with which Christ makes free, are among the rich gifts 
which have come down to us from our fathers. As God was with 
them, so may He be with us. 

( Comparing the present with past times we find our State great- 
ly advanced in wealth and population ; and while commerce has 
declined, manufactures have attained great prosperity. The old looms for weaving cloth, as used in families, have given place 
to the more wonderful machinery of our numerous mills, moved by 
our water falls and steam engines. The spinning wheels and hand 
cards are laid aside also, because of modern inventions. We can- 
not say as much for farming, although Americans have astonished 
the world in agricultural implements ingeniously contrived to re- 
lieve the farmer's toil and do the work better, and on a grander 
scale. Some good farms, well managed, and made remunerative, 
remain, but the larger number are still untilled, or are so much neg- 
lected that they are growing up to brush. 

Facilities for education are much greater. The common 
schools are superior to those of early times. 

One design in the earnest and united declaration of this cen- 
tennary Fourth of July is to increase the spirit of Patriotism, to 
arouse the nation to a deeper sense of their privileges, to revive 
the memory of Our Fathers by repeating their deeds and by glow- 
ing eulogiums on their valor, love of liberty, spirit of self-sacrifice 
and regard for the welfare of those who should come after them. 

All our revolutionary actors are in their graves — new genera- 


tions have risen, new discoveries have been made, and a new aspect 

has come over the land. Wealth has increased, intelligence has 

been dillused, large cities have grown up, manufactures and the 

mechanic arts have flourished, our territory has lapped qver to the 

shores of the western sea, and our name is great among the nations 

as a young giant arisen" upon the earth. 

But all this prosperity may be our ruin, and wealth and fame 

and luxury, and its consequent evils, may prove a false dependence. 

" Wh;it constitutes !v State ? 
Not high niised battlement or labored mound, 

Tliick wall, or moated gate; 
Not cities proud, with spires and turrets crowned ; 

Not bays and broad-armed ports, 
Where, laughing at the storm, rich navies ride ; 

Not starred and spangled courts. 
Where low-born baseness wafts perfume to pride ; 

No — men, high-minded men ; 

" Men who their duties know. 
But know their rights, and knowing dare maintain : 
These constitute a State." 

A nation wholly intent upon sordid gain, given up to frivolous 
pleasures, separate from God and holiness, forgetful of the fathers, 
from whom, under God, they received their blessings, is necessarily 
a weak and pusillanimous nation, as the history of Rome and other 
similar empires proves. If to these declensions are to be added, 
dishonesty of bankers and men in trade, corruption of men in public 
life, to the extent of making dishonest gain the usual concomitant of 
an office-holder and legislator, and bribery at the voting place, car- 
ried on without a blush, quite a practice, and increasingly more so, 
why, then there is pressing need of an awakening of the people to 
make the inquiry, "Whither are we drifting ? " At such a junc- 
ture o^ affairs, as believed in by many of the more thoughtful and 
deserving, as coming upon ns as a people this present celebration, 
recalling vividly to mind the more simple and honest days of the 
Republic, and holding up for emulation the characters of the period 
of 1776, when persons were put into the crucible and tried, as it 
were, by fire, and came out pure gold, for all countries and ages to 
admire, and when Washington took his place as in the heavens a 


shining star for all time — a sight of all this — the entering of it, as 
it were, into the very souls of the people, and taking possession of 
them, may well be held as the sacred duty of all who are privileged 
to be the orators of the hour. 

Before us lies a new century, on which the nation is about to 
enter. Great as were the perils supposed to be incident to the 
first, they have been gallantly met, by the several generations, and 
overcome. God's hand, clearly seen in colonial times, was still 
more visible in the national history which followed, and to Him we 
must look for guidance and blessing. Very timely is the Presi- 
dent's proclamation, and very proper and well expressed. Great 
would have been the oversight if it had been forgotten. It says : 

" The founders of the government, at its birth and m its feebleness, in- 
voked the blessings and protection of a Divine Providence, and the thirteen 
colonies and three millions of people have expanded into a nation of strength 
and numbers, commanding the position which then was demanded, and for 
which fervent prayers were then ofl'ered. It seems fitting that on the 
occuiTcnce of the hundredth anniversary of our existence as a n;ition, a 
grateful acknowledgment should be made to Almighty God for the pro- 
tection and bounties which He has vouchsafed to our beloved country, and 
humbly to invoke a continuance of His favor and of His protection." 

We trust there will be a two-century life of our nation ; that 
we may continue united, prosperous and free up to that period, but 
none of us will be alive to witness it. The imagination toils in 
vain to picture the two-ceutury spectacle. A hundred years more 
must make many changes, but what they will be no one can tell. 
We must pass through several generations, who will in turn come 
to preside, as the administration and the people. More territory 
may be added, and more people and more wealth acquired., and new 
discoveries make as great changes in the future as the steam engine 
and the telegraph have wrought in the past. 

Civil war, a contest between the North and South, was what 
Washington feared, and warned the people of both sections against 
those who should attempt to put variances between them. But 
his farewell address was disregarded by both sides, and the result 
of civil war, naturally, and as it were, inevitably followed. Con- 
tests may arise in the future, but it will not come on the subject of 


slavery. It fs with profound satisfaction that we to-day can look 
around and exclaim : " No slave breathes the air of our country." 
Never again will that stain make an American ashamed of his 

We must cultivate love and forbearance with one another ; and 
especially we should, in our centennial, reach our hands over the 
bloody chasm and cultivate friendly relations with the South, since 
the rebellion has been put down and the people have submitted to the 
result. To-day they, with us, unite in a centennial, which is theirs 
as well as ours. North and South participated in the battles of the 
Revolution, and the South and the North unite in the rejoicings 
over the glory of our common heritage. 

The East may feel a little sensitive at the waning of their po- 
litical supremacy, and the West may not a little exult that they 
are rising in the scale of comparative greatness, but let us bear in 
mind that the East has sent her children West, and that tlie great- 
ness of the West is the theme of our own glory. 

The shores of the Pacific and the Atlantic may engender sus- 
picions of the unjust political favors awarded to one more than the 
other, but mutual concessions and kindnesses, and the rapid grdwth 
of California and Oregon will naturally, and without opposition, 
bring to these territories increased and increasing influence. L'>t 
us be just to all sections, and we need not fear any hostility tend- 
ing to disunion. 

The great cry of the day is for retrenchment and economy in 
public and private expemlitures. Honest men and able slmiiKl be 
souglit after for office, and both of the great political parties sIioiiM 
have their proportionate share of public oflBces, and thus a civil 
service reform will be created which every patriot should encour- 

Two great political parties should always exist, and they 
should be nearly equal in numbers, power and influence, that they 
may watch each other and correct any mistakes or frauds that may 
be discovered. Ceaseless watchfulness of our rulers and their do- 
ings is the price the people must pay for the blessings of liberty I 


The people, and the people only, in the teachings of history, can 

be safely trusted to preserve and hand down freedom. 

In the words of our poet Longfellow, apostrophizing our 

country, as a ship sailing on the ocean, we may hopefully say : 

" Thou too sail on, O ship of State! 
Sail on, O Union strong and great! 
Humanity, with all its fears, 
"With all the hopes of future years. 
Is hanging breathless on thy fate ! 
We know what master laid thy keel, 
What workmen wrought thy ribs of steel. 
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope, 
What anvils rimg, what hammers beat. 
In what a forge and what a heat 
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope ! 
Fear not each sudden sound and shock — 
'Tis of the wave, and not the rock; 
'Tis but the flapping of the sail, 
And not a rent made by the gale . 
In spite of rock, and tempest's roar. 
In spite of false lights on the sliore. 
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea ! 
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears, 
Oiu" faith triumphant o'er our fears. 
Are all with thee, — are all with thee! " 

Let the day be given to patriotic and grateful recollections of 
the honored dead ; the men and women who braved the perils of 
the sea and the wilderness, and built their homes for wives and lit- 
tle ones, where wild and ferocious beasts of prey and savage men 
roamed the forests. 

Sacred to the memory, also, of those whose love of liberty 
impelled them, at all hazards, to enter a solemn protest against the 
entrance of every form of tyranny and unjust edicts, and to resist 
with all their might, even unto death, the armed forces sent out by 
Great Britain to subjugate the people. 

A careful enquiry would show the nobleness of mind and 
patriotic devotion of the women of the Revolutionary period, who 
not only made no opposition, and uttered no complaint, but cheered 
the men, who were compelled to leave, hardly begun, the clearing 
of the wilderness, and the care and protection of their young fam- 



ilies, to rush to the camp and the battle field, and lay down their 
lives, if need be, that their children and their children's children 
might not come under the burdens of unjust and tyrannical govern- 
ments to which the world had been so long subject, and might pos- 
sess the free representative government, which we now enjoy. 

Shame would it be ! — if there were not a spontaneous and uni- 
versal uprising all over our land, to proclaim to the world that the 
sins of ingratitude and forgetfulness of our benefactors, the heroes 
of the Revolution, and of all who since that period have, in office 
and out of office, and of all political parties, who have aided in car- 
rying out in continued practice the principles and spirit of 1T76 
until now, one hundred years from the memorable Declaration, our 
liberties have been preserved and the threatened description of oiir 
Union averted. 

Let the present generation preserve and hand down these lib- 
erties to those who may come after us ; and watch with zealous 
care all tendencies of our nation to encroach upon the freedom our 
fathers won for us. 

And let the sons and daughters of Rhode Island, here, within 
our borders, and abroad, wherever they may be scattered, bear 
gratefully in mind the intense love of freedom and hatred of wrong 
and oppression, that characterized the settlers of the State, and has 
ever since marked its inhabitants. Let the names of Angell.West, 
Knight, Williams, Aldrich, Westcott, Harris, Whipple, Green, 
EUery, Perry, Hopkins,' Ward, Greene, and other patriots be 
sounded, and with them the statesmen and heroes of all the other 
States, — Samuel Adams, James Otis, Putnam, Knox, Leo, and a 
multitude beside. Sound high and feelingly the name of Lafayette, 
and remember gratefully the French nation. 

The war of 1812-15, and the terrible civil war of 1861-4, added 
greatly to the number of these illustrious names that have adorned 
Our country's annals, and laid down their lives willingly, that the 
glorious Union might be preserved, in the most deadly warfare 
ever waged to destroy it. Rhode Island, as distinguised for prompt- 
ness, bravery and gallant exploits in that war, as in previous con- 


tests, hands down her names to our admiring and grateful remem- 
brance, to the present and all coming time. Her officers and 
soldiers and seaman are enrolled on tlie undying scroll of our coun- 
try's glory, and so of other States — praise, lionor, thanks, we give 
to all. 

One great name, tliat of the " Father of his cou.ntry," will be 
everywhere sounded to-day ; and no poem, oration, son^' or melody 
shall be able to reach the height of liis deservr-d prai.'^c, or add a 
single leaf to the wreath of his world-sounded renown. 

His fame, now after the lapse of three-quarters of a century 
since his death, has suffered no diminution; his star still blazes 
single and alone in brightness and glory in the firmament of Amer- 
ican Freedom ! Raised up by the Great Dispenser of Events in a 
critical period of the world's history, and in the birth-day of the 
nation destined to pour back a reflective light upon the (jld world, 
and to exert an influence in human affairs beyond that of any em- 
pire in the world's history, the American people hailed him as 
Moses was sainted by the Israelites when he led them out of 

It is the great glory of America that she has produced a 
Washington, and it will not be presumption to say that, with all 
our exhibitions to-day, in our centennial, we have nothing greater 
to ask the world's attention than to him. 




Joseph Wilkinson, 
Stephen Hopkins, 
Zachariah Khodes. 

Stephen Hopkins, 
Zachariah Rhodes. 

Capt. Thomas Angell, 
Stephen Hopkins. 

Edward Sheldon, 
Capt. Thomas Angell. 

Stephen Hopkins, 
Benjamin Fiske. 

Stephen Hopkins, 
Job Randall. 

Stephen Hopkins, 
Thomas Realph. 

Edward Sheldon, 
Stephen Hopkins. 

Job Randall, 
James Colvin. 

Job Randall, 
James Colvin. 

1741. ' 

Job Randall, 
Stephen Hopkins. 

Job Randall, 
Thomas Realph. 

Capt. Job Randall, 
Joseph Knight. 

Capt. Job Randall, 
Jeremiah Angell. 

Capt. Job Randall, 
Ezekiel Hopkins. 

Capt. Job Randall, 
Charles Harris. 

Capt. Job Randall, 
John Fisk. 

Capt. Job Randall, 
Charles Harris. 

Thomas Ralph, 
Thomas Hudson. 

Job Randall, 
Gideon Hammond. 


Capt. Job Randall, 
Charles Harris. 

Capt. Job Randall, 
Charles Harris. 

Job Randall, 
Capt. Thomas Relf. 

Job Raudall, 
Capt. Amos Hammond. 

Capt. Job Randall, 
Capt. Amos Hammond. 

Capt. Job Randall, 
Gideon Harris. 

Capt. Job Randall, 
Jeremiah Angell. 

Capt. Job Raudall, 
Jeremiah Angell. 

Capt. Job Randall, 
Jeremiah Angell. 

Capt. Job Randall, 
William West. 

Capt. Job Randall, 
William West. 

Job Randall, 
Jeremiah Angell. 

Job Randall, 
Charles Harris. 

Job Randall, 
Jeremiah Angell. 

Job Randall, 
Jeremiah Angell. 

Charles Harris, 
William West. 

Charles Harris, 
John Fiske. 

Gideon Harris, 
William West. 

Job Randall, 
Benjamin Slack. 

Job Randall, 
Benjamin Slack. 

William West, 
Charles Harris. 

Ezckiel Cornell, 
Rutus Hopkins. 

William West, 
Rufus Hopkins. 

Ezekiel Cornell, 
Rufus Hopkins. 

Ezekiel Cornell, 
Rufus Hopkins. 

Col. William West, 
Christopher Potter, 

Job Randall, Esq., 
Timothy Hopkins, Esq. 

Timothy Hopkins, Esq. 
Christopher Potter. 

William West, Esq., 
Christopher Potter. 

Christopher Potter, 
John Williams. 

William Bhodes, Esq., 
Rufus Hopkins, Esq. 

William Rhodes, Esq., 
Rufus Hopkins, Esq. 

William Rhodes, Esq., 
Rufus Hopkins, Esq. 

Rufus Hopkins, Esq., 
William West, Esq. 


Rufus Hopkins, Esq., 
William West, Esq. 

Nathan Bates, 
Thomas Mowry, Esq. 


Nathan Bates, 
Thomas Mowry, Esq. 

Peleg Fiske, Esq., 
James Aldrich. 

Peleg Fiske, Esq., 
James Aldrich, Esq. 

James Aldrich, Esq., 
Nathaniel Medbury. Esq. 


James Aldrich, Esq., 
Nathaniel Medbury, Esq. 


1792 to 1794 — February Session, 
James Aldrich, 
Nathaniel Medbury. 

1794 to 1800— May Session, 
James Aldrich, 
Job Randall. 

1600 to 180.5— May Session, 
James Aldrich, 
Elisha Mathewsou. 

1805 to 1808— June Session, 
Job Randall, 
Elisha Mathewson. 

1808— February Session, 
Job Randall, 
Peleg Fisk, jr. 

1808 to is 10— May Session, 
Peleg Fisk, jr., 
Churles Angell. 

1810— May Session, 
Charles Angell, 
Solomon Taylor. 

IS 10— June Session, 
James Aldrich, 
Solomon Taylor. 

Isll to 1813— May Session, 
Solomon Taylur, 
Clements Smith. 

1813— May Session, 
Charles Angell. 

1813 — June Session, 
Clements Smith. 

1813— October Session, 
Clements Smith, 
Samuel Graves. 

1814 — October Session, 
Elisha Mathewson, 
Samuel Graves. 

1815— May Session, 
Elisha Mathewson, 
Eleazer Relph. 

1816 to 1818— May Session, 
Josiah Westcott> 
Isaac Field. 

1818 — May Session, 
Josiah Westcott, 
Israel Braytou. 

1818 to 1820— June Session, 
Elisha Mathewson, 
Israel Brayton. 

1820— May Session, 
Elisha Mathewson, 
Israel G. Manchester. 

1821— May Session, 
ElishaMathewsoii, chosen Speaker 
Israel Brayton. 

1821— October Session, 
Jerry A. Fenner, 
Israel Brayton. 

1822— May Session, 
Elisha Mathewson, chosen Speaker 
Israel Brayton. 

1822— October Session, 
Eleazer Relph, 

1823 — January Session, 
Eleazer Relph, 
Thomas Henry. 


1823— October Session, 
Stephen Corp, 
Thomas Henry. 

18-21 tti 18'J6— October Session, 
Thomas Henry, 
Israel Bray ton. 

1826— May Session, 
Israel Bray ton, 
William Smith. 

^ 1826 to 1829— October Session, 
William Smith, 
Nathan K. Stone. 

1829— May Session, 
William Smith, 
Benjamin Wilbur. 

1830— May Session, 
William Smith, 
Job Randall. 

1831 to 1833— May Session, 
Benjamin Wilbur, 
Job Randall. 

1833— May Session, 
Elisha Mathewson, 
Josiah Wcstcott. 

1833 to 1835— June Session, 
Elisha Mathewson, 
Jonah Titus. 

1835 to 1637— October Session. 
Jonah Titus, 
John Aldrich. 

1837— May Se-ssion, 
Jon;ih Titus, 
Wilmarth N. Aldrich. 

1837 to 1841— October Session, 
Elisha Mathewson, 
Wilmarth N. Aldrich. 

1841— May Session, 
Elisha Mathewson, 
Josiah Wcstcott. 

1842— May Session, 
Elisha Mathewson, Senator, 
Josiah Westcott, Representative, 
Andrew A. Angell, " 

1842 — June Session, 
Elisha Mathewson, Senator, 
Job Randall, Representative, 
Andrew A. Angell, " 

1843 — June Session, 
Job Randall, Senator, 
Andrew A. Angell, Representative 
Richard M. Andrew, *' 

Israel Bray ton, " 



May, 1843, 
Job Randall, 

May, 1844, 
Job Randall, 

May, 1845, 
Pardon Angell, 

May, 1846, 
Pardon Angell, 

June, 1846, 
Pardon Angell, 

October, 1846, 
Pardon Angell, 

January, 184Y, 
Pardon Angell, 

May, 1847, 
William B. Kimball, 

May, 1848, 
Albert Hubbard. 

Josiah Wescott. 

Josiah Wescott. 

Pardon Angell. 

Pardon Angell. 

Ira Cowee. 

Ira Cowee. 

Isaac Saunders. 

Ira Cowee. 

Henry W Emmons. 


Henry W. Emmons. 

Henry W. Emmons. 

Abner W. Peckham. 

Abner W. Peckham. 

Abner W. Peckham. 

Abner W. Peckham. 

Abner W. Peckham. 

Alanson Steere. 

Alauson Steere. 

Alanson Steere. 

May, 1843, 
Andrew A. Augell, 
Richard M. Andrew, 
Israel Brayton. 

May, 1844, 
Richard M. Andrew, 
Isreal Brayton, 
Stephen H. Fiske. 

May, 1845, 
Wilmarth N. Aldrich, 
Harley Luther, 
William A. Roberts. 

May, 1846, 
Wilmarth N. Aldrich, 
Harley Luther, 
William A. Roberts. 

June, 1846, 
Wilmarth N. Aldrich, 
Harley Luther, 
Abel Salisbury. 

October, 1846, 
Isaac Saunders, 
Harley Luther, 
Abel Salisbury. 

January, 1847, 
Isaac Saunders, 
Harley Luther, 
William Roberts 

Alanson Steere. 

Charles H. Fisher. 

John H. Barden. 

John H. Barden. 

Isaac Saunders. 

Isaac Saunders. 

Charles H. Page. 

Charles H. Page. 

Jeremiah H, Field. 


JMay, 1847, 
Albert Hubbard, 
John Potter, 2d, 
George Aldrich. 

May, 1848, 
Horace S. Patterson, 
Arthur F. Aldrich, 
George Aldrich. 

Isaac Saunders, 
Benedict Lapham. 

Isaac Saunders, 
Benedict Lapham, 
Richard M. Andrew. 

William A. Roberts, 
Sheldon Fiske. 

Harley P. Angell, 
William A. Roberts. 

Jonah Titus, 
Albert K. Barnes. 

Jonah Titus. 
Albert K. Barnes. 



Arthur V. Kaiidall, 
Henry Hierlihy. 

CharloR Jackson, 
Pardon A. J'hillips. 

Andrew A. Angell, 
Isaac Saunders. 

Andrew A. Angell, 
Isaac Saunders. 

Andrew A. Angell, 
Samuel P. Boss. 

Welcome Matteson, 
Henry S. OIney. 

Welcome Matteson, 
Henry S. Olney. 

Albert W. Harris, 
Henry A. Lawton. 

Olney H. Austin, 
John S. Fiske. 

Olney II. Austin, 
John S. Fiske. 

Samuel G. Allen, 
William G. Smith. 

William G. Smith, 
Andrew J. Wescott. 

Martin Smith, 
Andrew J. Wescott. 

Martin Smith, 
Henry A. Lawton. 

John H. Barden, 
Ferdinand 11. Allen. 

Hiram Stcere, 
Richard G. Howland. 

Hiram Steere, 
Isaac Saunders. 

Charles H. Page, 
Harris H. Stone. 

Charles H. Page. 

Martin S. Smith. 

Martin S. Smith. 

Benjamin Wilbour, 


Stephen Hopkins, 1730. 
Capt. Joseph Brown, 1731. 
Benjamin Fisk, 1732. 
Stephen Hopkins, 1733. 
Benjamin Fisk, 1734. 
Edward Sheldon, 1735. 
Stephen Hopkins, 1737. 
Job Randall, 1739. 
James Brown, 1746. 
Benjamin Fisk, 1742. 
Capt Charles Harris, 1747. 
Job Randall, 1759. 

William West, 1765. 
Charles Harris, 1765. 
William West, 1765. 
Charles Harris, 1766. 
John Fisk, 176^. 
Ezekiel Cornell, 1768. 
Rufus Hopkins, 1778. 
Reuben Hopkins, 1779. 
Benjamin Slack, 1780. 
Ruius Hopkins, 1780. 
Benjamin Slack, 1781. 
Timothy Hopkins, 1781. 


Ezekiel Cornell, 1781. 
Dr. Caleb Fisk, 1781. 
Benjamin Slack, 1(81. 
Rufus Hopkins, 1781. 
Caleb Fisk, 1783. 
Ezekiel Cornell, 1785 
Rufus Ilopkins, 1786. 
Reuben Hopkins, 1787. 
Col. Clemons Smith, 1825. 
Jonah Titus, 1826. 
Clemons Smith, 1827. 
Jonah Titus, 1828. 
Clemons Smith, 1829. 
Elisha Mathewson, 1831. 
Jonah Titus, 1832. 
Jerry A. Fenuer, 1832. 
Elisha Mathewson, 1833. 
Jonah Titus, 1834. 
Elisha Mathewson, 1834. 
Benjamin Wilbur, 1835. 
Flavel Patterson, 1835. 
Olney Battey, 1836. 
John Graves, 1837. 
Israel Brayton, 1838. 
Owen Battey, 1838. 
Israel Braj^ton, 1839. 

Flavel Patterson, 1839. 
Jonah Titus, 1840. 
Elisha Mathewson, 1840. 
David Phillips, 3d, 1841. 
Isaac Saunders, 1842. 
Horace Battey, 1842. 
Wilmarth N. Aldrich, 1845. 
Jonah Titus, 1846. 
Isaac Saunders, 1847. 
Horace S. Patterson, 1848. 
Isaac Saunders, 1849. 
H. S. Patterson, 1852. 
George W. Colwell, 1853. 
John H. Barden, 1855. 
Caleb W. Johnston, 1856. 
William G. Smith, 1857. 
Uriah R. Colwell, 1859. 
Harley P. Angell, 1865. 
Jeremiah H. Field, 1866. 
Dexter A. Potter, 1867. 
H. S. Patterson, 1869. 
Alanson Steere, 1870. 
H. S. Patterson, 1871. 
Benjamin T. Albro, 1872. 
William G. Smith, 1874. 
Richmond M. Knight, 1876. 


Joseph Brown, 1730. 

Stephen Hopkins, 1732, 

Gideon Harris, 1741. 

John Harris, 1778. 

John Westcott, 1779. 

John Harris, 1780. 

John Westcott, pro. tern, 1809. 

Josiah Westcott, 1814. 

John A. Harris, 1845. 

Sylvester Patterson, 1854. 

Albert Hubbard, 1855. 

S. Patterson, 1856. 

A. Hubbard, 1857. 

Isaac Saunders, pro. tern, 1861. 

S. Patterson, 1861. 

A. Hubbard, 1865. 

S. Patterson, pro. tern, Dec. 1867 

S. Patterson, 1868. 

D. C. Remington, 1875. 


Lieut. Joseph Wilkinson, 1730. 
Joseph Wilkinson, 1731. 
Benjamin Fisk, 1732. 

Job Randall, 1736. 
Capt. Job Randall, 1737. 
Timothy Hopkins, 1758. 


Jeremiah Anpell, 1160. John A. ITarris, 185t. 

Jonathan IIopkiiiK, 1779. Alpheus Winsor, 1858. 
Jonathan Hopkins, jr., 1780. John B. Smith, 1860. 

Josiah Kimball. 1781. Jeremiah II. Field, 1866. 

Joshua Smith, 1X25. John B. Smith, 1870. 

Albert G. Field, 1850. Jeremiah H. Field, 1871. 

Joshua Smith, 1851. David Oapwell, 1873. 

John B. Smith, 1852. Albert Hubbard, 1874. 

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