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Old Wickford: 

The Venice of America. 





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«« BY «« 


Author of "The Bishop and Nannette Series." 


J>> '3-" 'J- 


^/?e Yo\ing ChurchmaLA Co 


OCT 2 1900 

OROi<t (HVfSlON, 
iUL 13 1901 

Copyright by 



c c ^ t ce 

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Chap. I.— The Venice of America. ... 9 
II —The ''Block House" or Smith's 

Castle 28 

'' III —Heirs to Smith's Castle. ... 38 

*' IV —The Village Proper 58 

*' v.— Memorable Habitations. . . 76 

VI.— Suburban Haunts 102 

i< VII.— The Birthplace of Gilbert 

Stuart . Ill 

'' Vin.— The Old Narragansett Church. 120 

" IX.— New Incumbents 153 

X.— The Glebe House and ''Old 

Foundation." 181 

** XL— Personal Reminiscences. . . . 194 

'' XII.— The New Church 221 

" XIII.— Finale 234 




View of the Village— Wickford, R. I. 


Rev. Samuel Brenton Shaw, D.D. . . 8-9 

Block House, Wickford 28-29 

View on Main Street, Wickford . . . 58-59 
Birthplace of Gilbert Stuart .... 110-111 

Mrs. Hannah McSparran 138-139 

Rev. Jacobus McSparran 146-147 

The Old Church before the Steeple 

Blew Down 152-153 

Rev. Lemuel Burge 172-173 

The Old Glebe in its Original Condi- 
tion 180-181 

Baptismal Font and Communion Ves- 
sels Presented by Queen Anne . . 192 
Alex. Y. Griswold, D. D., Bishop 

of the Eastern Diocese 194-195 

The Old Church, Wickford, as now 

standing 196 





The ^' Three Decker" 196-197 

Church Door, Old St. Paul's .... 199 

The Interior— Old St. Paul's .... 216-217 
Elisha Smith Thomas, D. D., Bishop 

of Kansas 218-219 

St. Paul's Church, Wickford— Present 

Edifice 222-223 

St. Paul's Church, Wickford— The In- 
terior 230-231 

Guild Hall— St. Paul's Church, Wick- 
ford 232 

V^ V^ 




Born in Wiekfoid. (pp. 8 9.) 

Old lUicUford 

^ iXf s^ 

Cbe Uenice of nmerica 

THIS is the distinction given to the pretty vil- 
lage of Wickford, Narragansett, because of 
"the water wherein she lies like a swan's nest, 
that doth both fence and feed her." 

The old and stately city across the seas, with its 
fine palaces, grand churches, and costly relics, need 
not be ashamed of her humble namesake in this 
Western world. 

Time was, when simple wooden huts were scat- 
tered among the small, grassy islets that lay off the 
coast of Venetia, and the main occupation of the 
people was fishing, and the preparation of salt by 
evaporation. The early bridges were wooden 
structures made by nailing ])lanks on boats. One 


of the first of stone was called 'Tonte della Pag- 
lia," ''the bridge of straw," being built with money 
obtained by the tax on straw, large quantities of 
which were used to thatch the early houses of 
Venice. The first church, erected in 432, could 
not boast elegance of design or architecture. St. 
Mark's and the Ducal Palace were late in raising 
their magnificent walls above the Kialto, and cen- 
turies passed before the regal splendor of the pres- 
ent island city was attained. Who knows what of 
beauty and greatness our modern Venice niiiy not 
present, when a thousand more years of progress 
and culture shall have been added to her existence ? 
The natural features of this locality must have 
been most charming and attractive when the Abo- 
rigines had free and undisturbed possession. No 
doubt their hearts swelled with pride and their eyes 
glistened, as they surveyed their bright domains, 
and felt their kingly power, before the white men 
came to reduce their area of territory, and subju- 
gate them to the condition of vassals. To skim the 
broad bay, and the sparkling rivers, in their birch 
bark canoes, or by ''dugouts," or to traverse the 
forests and plains, feeling themselves rightful and 


sole proprietors of all ; to fisli, and bunt, and shoot, 
and maintain life with but little care or toil ; what 
more could they desire in these God-given haunts, 
that were to them a foretaste of their Great Spirit 
hunting grounds, where they were anticipating still 
better and more abundant subsistence, when called 
away from earth ? 

Later, came the colonists, to tempt them to bar- 
ter their glorious heritage for comparative trifles — 
so many coats and hatchets, and alchemy spoons, 
and knives, and pewter porringers, and hoes, and 
other articles as were to them new and strange, and 
therefore attractive, and over-estimated in value. 

Little by little, their ^N'arragansett tract, that 
originally embraced nearly the whole of the State 
of Rhode Island, as well as the islands of the bay, 
was reduced to the ^^Charlestown Reservation,'' 
where the tribe that had numbered '^five thousand 
fighting men and as many as a dozen wigwam 
villages within the compass of twenty miles," when 
first the white men came to plague them, dwindled 
to a wretched remnant, without position or name. 

It is pitiable to think how this tribe was stamped 
out of existence ! 


Eoger Williams, Coddington, Gorton, and 
Smith, easily obtained land of Canonicus, Mian- 
tonomi, and other sachems, for the founding of 
white settlements. The Xarragansetts were peace- 
ably inclined, and friendly toward the English col- 
onists, and were by no means avaricions in the ex- 
change of property. Often they gave without 
stint or remuneration, and when bargains were 
made, the unsophisticated natives were frequently 
the victims of English sagacity, or duplicity. 
Think of a tract, ten miles long by thirteen broad, 
in exchange for "thirteen English coats'' ! That 
sale was in Connecticut and embraces the founda- 
tion of XeAV Haven, Branford, and Wallingford. 
It is a single illustration of the cupidity of the 
white men in their dealings with the ^^Red." 

The only currency in the early colonial times 
was the Indian wampum ^^peage," adopted by the 
new settlers. The Dutch called it ^^Sewan." It 
was a curious manufacture from the shells of the 
"Periwinkle," the "Quohaug," or round clam, and 
the "Mussel." The natives cut it into the form of 
small beads which they polished and 2:>ierced, 
stringing them in ^'arious lengths for convenience 


in barter. ^^A fathom of wampnm was a string of 
beads the length from finger ends to finger ends of 
the two arms extended ; about six feet." The 
small dark eye of the Quohang shell was all that 
was nsed of that bivalve, and was twice the value 
of the white Periwinkle. The Indians used the 
beads in their personal adornment, for chains, ear- 
rings, etc., as well as in matters of commerce. 

Their ^'Treaty Belts" were elaborately wrought 
with the different colored beads so as to form in the 
native language a record of the transaction, and 
one of these pledges was always given in solemn 
ratification. I looked in vain, in the Historical 
rooms, Xewport, Rhode Island, for some speci- 
mens of the belts and strings of wampum peage. 
After a serious hunt, the custodian of the curiosi- 
ties found in a glass case about five of the black 
and white beads, which were the only relics in pos- 
session. I did not make any search in the Provi- 
dence Museum, but in the Long Island Historical 
collection, in the department of Indian relics, 
there was one string of wampum and a painted 
representation of a treaty belt. 

Articles in use not only by the Karragansetts, 

but also l)Y the Indian tribes tlirongliont the Amer- 
ican Colonies, are certainly worthy a place among 
our historic exhibits. As my thoughts while in 
Washington, D. C, were not upon this subject, I 
cannot tell what may be found in the Ts'ational 
Museum, the headquarters for everything of inter- 
est to the people of the United States. 

The shell money was accepted by the English 
and Dutch, in commerce or exchange with the red 
men, and specimens of this early currency should 
be faithfully preserved. 

It is said that Miantonomi gave to Koger Wil- 
liams the tract for our own Providence, though I 
have somewhere seen that "thirty pounds" were 
paid for it. The fac simile of the deed that bears 
the names of the Sachems Canonicus and Mian- 
tonomi, does not mention any price, though it 
says ''sold." 

The last clause is, "for the many kindnesses 
and services done unto us, w^e do freely give unto 
him all that land upon the Mooshansick and Wan- 
asquatucket rivers" ; so that we may infer that a 
portion may have been a free bestowal. 

"Aquidneck," or Rhode Island, was purchased 

for forty fathoms of white wampum peage; ten 
coats and twenty hoes for tlie resident Indians, 
and five fathoms of wampum for the local Sachem. 

In some historic sketches it is recorded that 
^^one of the early settlers gave his coat to the In- 
dians, as a recompense for clearing the swamp for 
the foundation of the City of ]^ewport, and that 
hefore they begun the work, they cut the gilt but- 
tons from the coat and strung them as a necklace." 

It does not seem amiss to preface my descrip- 
tion of our American Venice with some explana- 
tory notes concerning the surrounding country. 

Drake says: ^^The name N^arragansett, is de- 
rived from the Indian word ^^JSTanrantsuack" — ^^A 
carrying place" — as there w^as much traffic back 
and forth." 

Elsewhere it is said to signify ^^liot and cold." 

Madam Knight, the daughter of Capt. Kemble, 
of Boston, — ^Svho was, in the year 1656, set for 
two hours in the stocks, for the lewd and unseemly 
behavior of kissing his wife after an absence of 
three years," — says, in her diary of a journey on 
horse-back from Boston to ^N'ew York in 1704, 
while resting in Haven's tavern near ^^Devil's 


Foot" on the site afterward the residence of the 
late Wm. Maxwell, Esq. : 

^'I listened to a strong debate concerning the 
name Xarragansett. One said that the Indians 
so called it becanse there grew there a briar of 
prodigions height and bigness, the like of which 
was hardly ever known, named 'Xarragansett.' 
He qnoted an Indian of so barbarons a name that 
I conld not write it.'' 

Perhaps it was in allnsion to this "prodigions 
briar'' that the Sachem Canonchet was called, 
'"'That aspiring Bramble." 

Madam Knight proceeds : ''His antagonist re- 
l>lied, 'Xo, it was from a spring it had its name ;' 
and he well knew where it was, which was so ex- 
treme cold in snmmer, and as hot as conld be imag- 
ined in winter, and which was mnch resorted to 
by the natives, and was by them called 'Xarragan- 
sett,' 'hot and cold/ and that was the origin of the 

This would seem to accord with the Kev. Dr. 
McSparran's estimate of the climate. He writes: 

"The transitions from heat to cold are short and 
sudden, and the extremes of both very sensible. 


We are sometimes iry'mg, and at others freezing, 
and as men often die at their labor in the fields by 
heat, so some in winter are froze to death with the 


The IS^arragansett country must have been of 
great value in the estimation of the colonists, so 
eager and protracted was the contention over it. 
In 1665 it was erected into an independent juris- 
diction called '^The King's Province." 

Despite the royal coimiiission and attempted 
authority and rule, the ^'United Colonies" con- 
tinued to fight for its possession. They invaded 
the country, and in 1675, after the "Great 
Swamp" fight had almost exterminated the In- 
dians, they claimed "The King's Province" as con- 
quered territory. 

Xot until 1726 was the struggle relinquished, 
when the right of jurisdiction was given to Rhode 
Island. The remnant of the Karragansetts, after 
the terrible slaughter in the South Kingstown 
swamp, settled on the Charlestown Reservation, 
which was given to Ninigret as a reward for his 
neutrality in the combat. He was only collater- 
ally related to the family of Canonicus, by the 


marriage of liis sister Quaiapen to Maxaniio, son 
of that Sacliem. He had not a drop of ^arragan- 
sett blood in his veins, and did not deserve that his 
progeny should attain to the Sachemship. iNTever- 
theless, several of his descendants had that honor. 

An eye-witness of the coronation of Queen 
Esther, a great granddaughter of old I^inigret, in 
Charlestown, K. I., says : ''She was elevated on a 
large rock so that the people might see her; the 
council surrounded her. There were present 
about twenty Indian soldiers Avith guns. They 
marched her to the rock. The Indians nearest 
the royal blood, in presence of her Councillors, put 
the crown on her head. It was made of cloth cov- 
ered Avith blue and white peage. When the crown 
was put on, the soldiers fired a royal salute, and 
huzzaed in the Indian tongue. The ceremony was 
imposing, and everything was conducted with 
great order. Then the soldiers waited on her to 
her house and fired salutes.'' 

Her son George was subsequently crowned 
king, but at twenty-two years old met with a sud- 
den casualty, and was killed by a falling tree, 
which struck him on the head. 


In 1709, j^inigret II. had made a quit-claim of 
all vacant lands, except a stri^D running from the 
Pawtuxet river around the shore, to Pawcatuck 
river, for a fishing privilege. 

In 1822, there were 407 Indians on the Charles- 
town Reservation, with a church, a missionary, 
and fifty pupils at school. In 1838, the number 
had declined to 158, only seven being of 'pure !N'ar- 
ragansett blood. Since then they have dwindled to 
a very few, who have inter-married with negroes. 

''In IS SO, the tribal authority was abolished 
throudi the agency of the Indian Commission of 
Rhode Island. In 1881, the Reservation was sold 
for the benefit of the Indians, and they were placed 
on the same footing as other citizens. The State 
reserved, aiid still cares for, the old burial ground 
of the ^arragansett Sachems, on Summit Hill." 

Fort ^^Tinigret is an object of curiosity to tour- 
ists, but it is thought to have been an outpost of 
the Dutch colonists, rather than the work of the 
Red men. 

''In 1893, what was left of the tribe gathered 
in Charlestown for a final pow-wow. The meet- 
ing was in order to discuss the claim for the strip 


of land on the shore. Nearly a hundred, more or 
less blooded of the Xarragansetts, assembled in the 
old meeting-house. The old deeds were produced, 
and the justness of the claim was insisted upon ; 
but the State holds the quit-claim papers, and the 
legal terms enable it to keep possession of the ceded 
territory, which is exceedingly valuable." 

Anv one who had seen the Indian chiefs ffath- 
ered together in large numbers, for the discussion 
of disputed rights, must have noticed the stolid 
obstinacy w4tli which they cling to their own con- 

It Avas my privilege, while in Washington, 
D. C, in 1888, to be present when the Sioux dele- 
gation listened to the proposition to open their 
Reservation to white settlers. Secretary Yilas 
gave us a permit to hear his paper from the Gov- 
ernment, read before about seventy of the chiefs. 
It was a rare occasion to see so many of these 
SAvarthy ^^Braves" in solemn conclave. They wore 
all sorts of costumes, yet were wholly imconscious 
of the incongruity and ludicrousness of their ap- 
pearance. ^'Sitting Bull" was prominent, in wide 
brown linen trousers, white hat, and an old um- 


brclla hugged up under his left arm. My com- 
panion gained easy access to a seat appointed him 
beside a splendid-looking Indian dressed in a Brig- 
adier General's suit, but I, a despised squaw, had 
to clamber with difficulty over the Chief's immov- 
able leffs, and endure his occasional curious and 
contemptuous stare during the session. 

I could imagine, from the expressive faces, as 
the Government side of the proposed treaty was 
explained to them, how hard a task it would be to 
gain their conhdence and consent. So many times 
had they been deceived, it naturally rendered them 
cautious and suspicious. 

They were offered in the Bill just passed by 
Congress, fifty cents per acre for their lands. 
They had stipulated for a dollar and twenty-five 
cents, the same as the Government receives for its 
acres. Secretary Vilas, for the United States, 
wished to compromise by proposing a dollar for 
the sale of the first three years; seventy-five cents 
for the next two, and fifty cents for the next. 
Moreover, so soon as the Indians would accept 
these terms, two millions of dollars were to be put 
into the United States Treasury for them; or, if 


they preferred, five hundred thousand could be 
paid to them immediately, and the remaining mil- 
lion and a half placed on interest. Should any 
one desire an allotment of land, he could have it, 
with two American mares, cows, seeds, farming 
implements, etc., etc., and twenty dollars apiece 
for each Indian, man, wife, and children; that 
land not to be subject to taxation for twenty-five 

The Government proposed to survey the lands, 
and negotiate sales for the Indians, the expenses of 
survey and sale to come out of the two millions. 

I could understand by the grunts of the In- 
dians, and their conference with each other, with 
shaking of heads at certain points, that they were 
far from appreciating gratefully the proposition. 

The result was that they neither accejDted the 
Bill as passed, nor the proposed modified form, 
and they went home as they came, only wiser by a 
personal knowledge of the grandeur of the white 
men's K'ational Capitol, and possibly a degree hap- 
pier in the consciousness that their wishes and de- 
mands were to be peacefully considered rather 
than met with arbitrary coercion. 


In the ^'Eifty-eightli Annual Eeport of the 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary 
of the Interior — March 2, 1889," is ''An Act to 
divide a portion of the Reservation of the Sionx 
nation of Indians in Dakota, into separate reserva- 
tions, and to secure the relinquishment of the In- 
dian title to the remainder, and for other pur- 
poses." So far as I can interpret the intention of 
the Government, it is ready to yield somewhat to 
the will of the tribes, but there always seems to me 
an injustice in trying to rout them from their 
cherished possessions. 

In the days of my childhood, the Charlestown 
Indians came frequently in small parties to en- 
camp in the suburbs of our village. They had 
substituted for their original garb of beaver and 
deerskin, the English blanket, which they wore 
over their embroidered garments. Their mocca- 
sins were skilfully beaded, and worked with col- 
ored grasses, and some of the women w^ould have 
seemed attractive but for the wild feathers on their 
hair, and the peculiar guttural in their voices, that 
frightened us away. The men lay around, lazily 


smoking their pipes, while the squaws Avove gaily- 
colored birch or rush baskets for sale. 

At first we shrank timidly from the swarthy 
creatures, especially from the men, but the women 
were really gentle, and after a while won our con- 
fidence, so that a visit to the tents became a coveted 
pleasure, and we hailed with delight the annual 
encampment, and gladly played with the bright 
pappooses, thus propitiating their half civilized 

In the household of our grandmother were two 
Indian servants, one full-blooded, the other a half- 

''Dorcas" ''stepped a Queen," even when about 
her menial avocations. Physically, she was su- 
perb, and we held her in great admiration, regard- 
ino' her 2:av bandanna turban as a roval crown, and 
taking every opportunity to invade her dominions 
and share her gracious sway. 

Xow and then she would imbibe too freely of 
the "fire water," which her tribe owed to the white 
race, and at such times she held high carnival up 
and down the village streets, singing rollicking 
songs, until her kind mistress would go after her 


and, leading her lioiiie, nurse her to sobriety. 
After such an escapade, she would give willing and 
faithful service for months before her wily enemy 
could again get her into his toils. She was an 
invaluable servant, and proved the possibility of 
training a wild, free people to habits of industry 
and domesticity. 

^'Tom/' her son, went to ^^The Banks" in sum- 
mer as cook in a fishing vessel, and in winter staid 
at home, caring for the horses and the out-door 
-chores" and the fires in the house. Sometimes he 
helped his mother in the culinary domain, giving 
us such fish chowder and clam fritters, as no 
epicure could resist. 

Our grandmother, who brought him up from 
his early boyhood, was to him the impersonation of 
beauty and goodness. It pleased him to linger in 
her presence on one knee before the hearth, long 
after he had replenished the logs, or furbished the 
brasses, that he might listen to her wise counsels, 
and answer her questions about his experience at 


Our joy was to steal into the kitchen im the 
evenings, and help him patch his red flannel shirts, 


while he told its stories of the great deep. He 
gave us all sorts of beautiful shells, and eggs, and 
wings, and iridescent breasts of sea-gulls; and he 
made for us tiny boats, and carved whistles and 
unique toys, such as none of the country shops 
could produce. His old sea chest was full of rare 
treasures, which he permitted us to examine, and 
it smelt deliciously of tar, whose odor to this day 
is, to us, sweet with happy, old-time recollections. 

Often, when our sailor was upon ^^all fours" 
washing the kitchen floor, we made him our patient 
steed, riding upon his back around the circum- 
scribed space, as in an ordinary curriculum. If 
ever we so far encroached as to excite his anger, 
he would march toward the dining-room door, with 
the threat, "Chilun, I shall have to interduce you 
to your gran'mother." But I cannot recall a time 
when he really presented us as culprits before this 
lenient judge. With his fingers upon the latch, he 
relented from his purpose, and, forgiving us, re- 
turned to our amusement. 

I wonder where these two ''faithful servants" 
are in the ''Land beyond the river" ! The Master 
knows just what was their light in this world, and 


liow tliey followed it. Certainly tliey "ordered 
themselves lowly and reverently to all their bet- 
ters" while on earth, and that humility is one of 
the required virtues. 

'Tis true, Tom used to say, when exhorted to go 
to the place of public worship : "I can't afford to 
get a new suit o' close an' run the risk o' gettin' 
'ligion." Yet I remember him generally on Sun- 
day mornings upon a high seat in the West gallery, 
with face and attitude of strict attention to the 
holy service and sermon, and I believe that in the 
temple above he will have joy and felicity. 

He clung with tenacity to his Indian blood, 
and took long walks to the Charlestown Keserva- 
tion to see one of the E"arragansett squaws, bring- 
ing home to us pretty trifles of her bright bead 
work, and braided baskets, and he never deserted 
for any other damsel, his own true love. 

Cbe Old Block l>ou$e* 

OLD VENICE, in the eleventh and twelfth 
centuries, had her ^^strong castles" to protect 
her from the ^'Dalmatian pirates." 

Our village began with this fortress against the 
wily and savage natives of the new country. 

It was also a "trading station" with the In- 
dians, and a dwelling place for Kichard Smith and 
his family. He came from Gloucestershire, Eng- 
land, in the latter part of the reign of Charles I., 
"because of religious persecution." 

For a while he dwelt in Taunton, Plymouth 
Colony, but not finding there the liberty of con- 
science that he desired, he purchased thirty thou- 
sand acres of land of the I^arragansett Indians, 
and, floating timber from Taunton to a bend of the 
Cove, about a mile to the northwest of our now 


« -^^ 

O 00 

fa -M 

O ft 

H ft 


populous village, in 1G39, put up, in the thickest of 
the barbarians, the first house builded among the 
Indians of this neighborhood. 

I do not know what he paid for his large tract ; 
but, from the dealings of the white settlers gener- 
ally, with their red brethren, I infer that the bar- 
gain must have been greatly in his favor. 

It is true, that the land, so free to the Ab- 
origines, had not the value it now possesses, and 
perhaps it is wrong to call the spirit of the early 
settlers grasping, or avaricious. 

Roger Williams speaks of this pioneer of our 
village, as "a most acceptable inhabitant, and 
l^rime leading man in Taunton," and also testifies 
that in his new habitation, ^'he kept possession 
coming and going himself, children and servants, 
and had quiet possession of his houses, lands, and 
meadow, and there, in his own house, with much 
serenity of soul and comfort, he yielded up his 
spirit to God, the Father of Spirits." 

From Greene's Tlistonj of the United States I 
quote concerning Smith's possessions: ^'Having 
rendered himself popular among the Indians, by 
living with them some fifteen years, he then ob- 


tained a lease for sixty years of all the land which 
forms the present site of Wickford, and reaching 
as far as the Annaquatucket river. A few years 
afterward he extended this lease for one thousand 
years, at the same time increasing largely his 
lands, and, in IGGO, he was able to satisfy the 
Indians that a reversionary title, to vest at the end 
of a thousand years, was of little value, and ob- 
tained of them an absolute deed of his whole broad 

Smith also had possessions in I^ew Amsterdam, 
where he frequently sojourned, and where his 
daughter Catherine met the fate that associated 
another noted family with this ancient ^^fortress'' 
and "trading house," and "castle" in Narra- 

It is said that "he and his brother John, and 
others, received from Director Kieft a patent of 
13,000 acres of land at Maspeth, Long Island, with 
power to build villages and churches, subject only 
to the sovereignty of the Dutch West India Com- 
pany." During the greater part of twenty years 
Richard Smith is said to have resided in iSTewtown, 
Long Island. 


The block house is still standing, and is well 
preserved, the timber of the ancient structure out- 
lasting many generations of our modern buildings. 
It is a notable feature in the landscape and has 
many historic associations to render it an object 
of interest to present and future tourists. 

Under its venerable roof Eoger Williams and 
Smith had many an important interview regard- 
ing the affairs of the Colony. Here also the 
''King's Commissioners" from the United Col- 
onies met in 1683, and evinced an arbitrary au- 
' thority which the Khode Island Legislature re- 
fused to acknowledge. 

Assembled at Wickford, about a mile away, this 
opposing body "ordered the Sergeant at Arms, 
with his trumpet and at the head of a troop of 
horse, by loud proclamation, to prohibit the Com- 
missioners from keeping Court in any part of this 
Jurisdiction." Imagine the indignant procession, 
moving triumphantly up ''the Lane," as the upper 
part of Main Street was then called, and along the 
road to "Smith's Castle," and so impressing and 
intimidating the Commission that "it adjourned 
'to Boston to pursue its deliberations." 


The jurisdiction of the '^King's Province" was 
the subject of this Council, or Court. ^^In 1685, 
Joseph Dudley, as President, by Royal commis- 
sion, of Maine, 'New Hampshire, Massachusetts, 
and the King's Province, brought together his 
Council at ^Smith's Castle,' and in the plenitude 
of authority, established Courts, appointed Magis- 
trates, and, to obliterate every recollection of their 
former political existence, substituted the town 
name of Rochester for Kingstown ; Havershanl for 
Westerly ; and Bedford for Greenwich." 

"Rhode Island, enfeebled by dismemberment, 
quietly submitted, until the arrest of Andros, when 
she re-established her authority." 

The "Block House" is large and square, front- 
ing the water. Rabbitt Island furnishes a refresh- 
ing green spot not far from the main land, and 
the Island of Cornelius, farther to the east, is con- 
spicuous, while the village stands out in full view 
on the southeast, and the Bay, with Canonicut, 
once Miantonomi's headquarters and royal resi- 
dence, are plainly visible. 

To see "Smith's Castle" now, after over two 
hundred years of change and improvement and 


cultivation, one can scarcely imagine its pristine 
condition, with the tangled natural growth, and 
the dread proximity of wild beasts and untamed 
savages, when the brave pioneer ventured to fix 
here his dwelling. 

On a near approach, it presents a fine appear- 
ance, though from the road, about forty rods away, 
one can only discern clearly the upper story and 
roof. Rounding the turn, toward the old entrance 
by the red gate, where it is said a traitor was once 
drawm and quartered, you get a distinct view of 
the house which is located very near to the salt 
inlet, and at a sufficient distance from the traveled 
highway to escape the noise and dust. There 
have been some innovations upon the primitive 
structure, but the original timbers are still in the 
foundation and frame, and the great beams cross 
the ceiling in the principal rooms. The old wain- 
scoting and deep wooden cornices, and long, narrow 
mantelpieces and wide fireplaces and big brick 
oven, bear witness to the antique fashioning, and 
despite the few changes made by the successors of 
Mr. Richard Smith, and the partial re-modeling in 
1680, after the Indians had tried to destroy it by 


fire, tliere are indubitable proofs of venerable exist- 
ence. Three times in my life I have visited the 
place. Once in my childhood, when it was the 
abode of a beautiful girl, for whom it was dubbed 
"Enchantment Cove." 

Later, I simply stopped outside the premises, 
attracted by a vision that put to flight all thought 
of hostile Indians or cruel white men, or any 
necessity for caution or defence. Hundreds of 
barnyard fowls were surrounding their owner, who 
scattered lavishly the golden grain, and in all that 
region were the evidences of thrift and peace. 

Yesterday, I went for a thorough research, in 
order to substantiate whatever I may record. The 
courteous resident took me all through the man- 
sion, and gave me such information as she had 
gathered from tradition, permitting me ocular 
demonstration as to the number and position of the 
rooms, with their peculiar arrangement. 

It has been said that there was an iron hook in 
the kitchen beam, where traitors were hung, and 
that in an upper room were stalls where slaves 
were confined, with "holds" to which their feet 
were boimd, and that in the cellar was a place of 


hiding. But all traces of former terror or bar- 
barity have disappeared, and the great, cheerful 
chambers, with their charming outlook, are very 
enticing to visitors, and make them wish for a simi- 
mer sojourn in this historic fortress. 

Down by the water-side east of the house, is the 
burial place of some of the victims of the ''great 
swamp fight." There are no indications of a 
ghostly presence. It is said that the cattle will 
not eat of the grass that grows upon this spot, but 
I picked some bright clover blossoms, that were as 
beautiful and fragrant as though nourished by 
other than human dust, and as I stood above the 
broad grave it was difficult to realize the tragedy 
of the dreadful massacre of a past age. 

In the large north room on the ground floor of 
the ''Castle," the dairy was now kept, and it 
brought to mind the fact that the wife of Kichard 
Smith gave to :^rarragansett the famous recipe for 
Cheshire cheese which became so noted in Khode 
Island, and so sought after by all who tasted it. 

The front entrance hall is ten or twelve feet 
square, with staircase running west, north, and 
east, with two landings before reaching the second 


story. Under the northern steps is a low door, 
with a rnde stone flight leading down, perhaps to 
Avernns. The pitchy darkness frightened me, 
and deterred me from the descent, which did not 
impress me as it might have done the Latin poet. 

I w^as satisfied to accept my guide's dictum that 
there was a small square room in the cellar which 
possibly was the ^'hiding place" in the former days 
of peril. 

Two immense square rooms, a dining room, two 
bed rooms, and a kitchen, are comprised on the 
ground floor. The second corresponds, with the 
exception of a kitchen chamber. The garret gives 
unmistakable proof of antiquity, and, although the 
solid beams and uprights may endure many years 
of gnawing, the wood-borers are gradually en- 
croaching in their quiet, persistent way, and are 
certain to make an obvious impression sooner or 
later. The outside surroundings are delightful. 
The salt tide flows in winding course through the 
grounds to the west, and there is a spring of fresh, 
cool Avater for the cattle and domestic foAvls, and 
along the ancient stone walls, w^ild shrubs and 
vines grow luxuriantly. There is a recent avenue 


to the house, to the south of the old red gate. 

From a pamphlet, Historical, Literary, and 
Critical conducted by Sidney S. Eider, 27 West- 
minster St., Providence, K. I., 1883, I quote: 

^'Whilom we went to Wickford, for therein lay 
the lands staked out by Miantonomi for a trading 
house for Koger Williams. It was along the banks 
of the 'Cowcumsquissett,' and so Williams calls 
the place by the name of the brook. Hereaway, 
too, was the famous hostelry, or 'Block House/ 
built by Eichard Smith.'' 

I have elsewhere read that when Eoger Wil- 
liams went as agent to England, he sold his trading 
house to Smith, who put the timbers into his own 
building, which was afterward called ''Cocums- 

Beir$ to ^'Smith's Castle/' 

FKOM Mr. Charles Wilson Opdyke's valuable 
Genealogy of the Opdykes of Wessel, Ger- 
many, I am enabled to give a thorough knowledge 
of the association and alliance of this family with 
the old '^Block House/' and with our pretty West- 
ern ^^ Venice." 

"Gysbert Opdyke, son of Lodowick Opden 
Dyck, and Gertrude Van Wesek, came to Xew 
Amsterdam before 1638. He was allowed by the 
Dutch so much land for every acre surveyed, and 
thus became possessed, of much property in !N'ew 
York and on Long Island." He owned a residence 
in ^ew York, on Stone Street ; the whole of Coney 
Island; a farm at Hempstead, Long Island, and 
another at ''Cow Xeck." 

Records in the Albany State Library prove that 

the present Coney Island was, in Gysbert's day, 
composed of three islands, the easternmost of 
which was for many years known as ''Gysbert's 
Island," bnt all three were covered by the patent 

to him. 

"The position and size of his l^ew York lot are 
shown on a map published in Valentine's manual 
of New York for 1857, page 498." 

"The lot mnst have been at least ten rods deep, 
57 X 500. The road was among the earliest streets 
bnilt upon. Stone Street was once called Brouwer 
Street, two or three breweries having been erected 
upon it. It was the line of the first road laid out 
from the Fort to the present Peck Slip Ferry. It 
was one of the best streets in town. It Avas the 
first street in :New York paved with stone, which 
gave it its subsequent change of name." 

In 1638, Gysbert Opdyke w^as Commissary of 
"Fort Good Hope," the present site of Hartford, 


In 1640, he returned to Germany, but came 
back to ^ew Amsterdam in 1642, dra^\^l by strong- 
est attractions. 

The New York Dutch Church records, "Sept. 


24, 1643, married, Gysbert Opten DYck,a baclielor 
from Wessel, Germany^ and Catherine Smith, a 
Maiden from old England." 

The ceremony took place in the Dutch Stone 
Church, erected in 1G42, within the Fort at the 

Some Dutch manuscript land papers say that 
among others entertained at a tavern party, ^Svere 
Gysbert Opdyke and his new wife, Catrina, whose 
cheeks shone rosy red through the snow-white 

In 1645, Gysbert and his father-in-law, Kichard 
Smith, Sr., were among the eight representatiyes 
for the Dutch Colonists. 

In the worst period of the Indian Manhattan 
war, Gysbert and his wife Catrina Smith, liyed in 
his house on Stone Street, within a few hundred 
yards of the battery on one side, and of the East 
Riyer on the other, with unbroken breezes from 
riyer to riyer, open yiew of the Dutch ships coming 
and going on the bay, and pleasant pasture fields 
at the rear. How we would like to have sat on 
his wooden stoop, under the shade of an old forest 
tree ; while the drums beat at the Fort, the children 


tished on tlic grassy bank of tlie river, and Gysbert 
smoked his pipe, and told sadly of the departed 
olory of old Wessel! Bnt gone now, and long 
forgotten is the glory of Stone Street. Trade 
reached it, and then left it, and few now know the 
street, short, cnrved, and lined with brick ware- 
honses, bearing closed iron shntters ; it is in mid- 
day as qniet as a street of tombs. 

'^Jnne 10th, 1646, Gysbert's first son, Lodowick, 
was baptized in the Dntch Chnrch of :N'ew Amster- 
dam, in the presence of his father and his grand- 
father, Richard Smith, and the fiscal de la Mon- 
tagne, who acted as sponsors. His childhood and 
yonth were spent at 'New Amsterdam, in his 
father's honse in Stone Street, or next the City 
Hall, and on Long Island, abont Hempstead and 

There is a cnrions entry among the :N'ew Am- 
sterdam Conncil minntes, concerning Lodowick's 
maternal annt, Joan, who made a romantic rnna- 
way match with Thomas Kewton, at Flnshing, 
Long Island. 

'^\pril 3rd, 164<S, William Harek, Sheriff of 
Llnshing, for having solemnized a marriage be- 


tween Thomas IN'ewtoii, widower, and Joan, 
daughter of Kichard Smith, against her parents' 
consent, and contrary to law, fined 600 guilders, 
dismissed from office, and marriage annulled." 

The same date: ''Sentence Thomas ISTewton 
for having married Miss Smith aforesaid, fined 
300 guilders, and to have the marriage again sol- 
emnized after three proclamations." 

A daughter, Abigail, the product of this union, 
became the wife of her cousin, Lodowick, and from 
these sprang our Rhode Island branch. 

After the death of Richard Smith, Sr., in 1066, 
his grandson is heard of in the old Block House, 
Avhere Gvsbert and his children no doubt came to 
take possession of their portion of the inheritance. 

Though Richard Smith, Jr., occupied it during 
his life, ''Smith's Castle," with its broad acres, 
eventually fell to LodoAvick Updyke, a portion 
coming from his grandfather Smith, another from 
his uncle Richard Smith, Jr., and a third from his 
union with Abigail Xewton. 

From Mr. Daniel Berkeley Updyke of Boston, 
Mass., I have obtained the following correct gene- 


The children of Gvsbert Updyke and Catherine 

Smith : 

Elizabeth — married a Wightman, some of 
whose descendants are now living in a venerable 
mansion in onr Venice, on the corner of Main and 
Fowler Streets; Lodowick— married his cousin 
ISTewton; Kichard— killed in the ''Great Swamp 
Fight" ; Sarah— married a Whitehead ; Daniel- 
died in London, England; James— nnmarried, 

died in Wickford, 1729. 

The children of Lodowick Updyke and Abigail 


Kichard— married an Eldred; Daniel— mar- 
ried three times : Arnold, Jenkins, Wanton. 

This Daniel was the Attorney General of the 
Rhode Island colony for twenty-four years, and 
also held other responsible offices. He practised 
law in^^ewport, R. L, where he was held in high 
esteem as an honorable literary gentleman. 

Esther— sister of the Attorney General, mar- 
ried a Eosdick; Abigail— married a Cooper; Sarah 
—married a Goddard, the progenitor of our dis- 
tinguished Rhode Island Goddards; Martha— re- 
mained unmarried. 


The children of Daniel the 1st, Attorney Gen- 
eral, were: 

Lodowiek — the second of the American stock, 
who was said to have been ^^in personal appearance 
tall and fine-looking. He always wore a wig and 
small clothes, and resembled George the third.'' 
His wife, Abigail Gardiner, was a niece of the 
Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Mc Spar ran, of worthy memory. 
Mary — married Judge Cole ; Gilbert and Wilkins 
— died young. 

The 2nd Lodowick's children were : 
Daniel — the 3rd, who was also Attorney General 
of Rhode Island, and died in 1842 ; he married an 
Arnold. James — unmarried ; he lived until 1855, 
and received a ^^ension for his services in the War 
of 1812. He was a genial, but eccentric man. 
We knew him well when we were little children, 
and were greatly amused by his courtly manner 
toward his favorite in our group, whom he fre- 
quently addressed as '^Miss Carolina Adelina Ma- 
tilda Cook Brenton, Daughter of the illustrious 
house of Brunswick." 

He is said to have given the lot in our village 
for the old town house, which stands deserted in 


the upper part of Main Street. It was built in 
1807, and served both for civil and religious pur- 
poses. I Avas told by an aged resident of the town 
that ''the conditions of the gift w^ere, that the town 
house should be used in turn by any Christian body 
that needed it, and that for all time ;" but I observe 
that it is now simply a storehouse, rented for what- 
ever purpose the lessee may choose."^ 
James had sisters and brothers: — 
Anstis — married a Lee; Mary — married a 
Munday ; Abigail — married a Keynolds ; Sarah — 
married a Hagan ; Lydia — married a Crary ; Lodo- 
Avick, 3rd — married a Baker; Alfred — married a 
Reynolds ; Gilbert — married a Dennis ; Wilkins — 
married a Watson. 

The Hon. Wilkins Updyke was born in the 
Block House, June 8th, 1784. He resided for some 
time at ''Tower Hill," South Kingstown; then for 
several years in North Kingstown, and finally 
moved to Kingstown village, wdiere he died in 
1867. "He was a nobleman in personal appear- 
ance and in the generous humanity of his nature. 

♦Since writing the above, the town has granted the use of 
this old building to the members of the G. A. R., and has re- 
paired and improved it for their occupancy. 


In the House of Lords he would have been among 
his peers, but he did not need titles nor broad acres, 
to give distinction. Wherever he sat was the head 
of the table, and he would have entertained a royal 
Duke at his house in South Kingstown, without 
anv sense of social inferiority.'' 

I recollect meeting him in my early girlhood, 
at a dinner in Wakefield, where I was impressed 
by his genial manner, and his wonderful gift of 
eloquence, as he led the conversation. 

His History of the Narragansett Church from 
which I, and others who have w^ritten on kindred 
themes, have gathered valuable information, has 
conferred inestimable benefit upon the State of 
Rhode Island, as it embraces the Genealogy of 
many of her noted families, as w^ell as a true sketch 
of the religious status. 

The Hon. Wilkins Hpdyke's daughter Isabella, 
was the last of the Updykes born in the Block 
House, in IS 12. She married a Virginia Ran- 
dolph. Mr. Updyke's son, Caesar, married an 
Adams of Massachusetts. 

His grandson, Daniel Berkeley Updyke, is liv- 
ing in Boston, and has a zealous interest in the 


home and cliurch of liis ancestors. He inherits 
many valuable papers, Avliieh it is hoped he may 
soon give to the world. 

I am particular in a minute and correct men- 
tion of the Updjke family, because it had so prom- 
inent a part in the early settlement of our beauti- 
ful Venice, and because prior to the permanent 
attachment of the name ^^Wickford," the little 
hamlet was by everybody called '^Updyke's New- 

About 1709, Lodowick Updyke laid out village 
streets and lots, less than a mile from the old 
Block House, and began to sell plots to purchasers. 
^^Even as late as 1777, the Assembly granted a 
charter to the ^]^ewtown Rangers,' a Company 
doing duty at ^Updyke's Newtown,' although 
the Colonial Eecords, as far back as 1663, say that 
the town is for the future called ^Wickford.' " 

There are several reasons given for its present 
name. Some say it is from ^'Wick's Ford,'' so 
called from Mr. Lodowick Updyke, the former 
owner of the land upon which it stands. 

From the Narragansett Historical Register I 
quote : ^The village was formerly an island, and 


tlie place of entrance was called ^Tlie Ford,' after- 
ward 'Wick's Ford.' " 

''The teamsters who drew timber down to 'The 
Point,' now Baker's Wharf, at the terminus of 
Main Street, complained how bad the Ford was at 
night. It was in the road close to where Mr. 
Shippee's (now Stafford's) blacksmith shop is," 
and near where the Methodists have built their 

"In order to remedy the gloom, they furnished 
a lamp which consisted of a wick drawn through 
an iron ring, and elevated to burn, the other end 
drawing from a vessel of grease, or oil, in an open 
j)ot, which contrivance was called a 'Kill Devil.' 
In time it came to be spoken of as 'The Ford at the 
Wick,' and afterward as Wichford/^ 

There were no bridges in the early settlement 
of the country ; horses and men crossed the streams 
in the shallow places, over what was called a 
"Corduroy," that is a construction of trees or logs 
placed side by side. The water from the Coves in 
Wickford met at high tide, and surrounded the 
village, so that before the spanning of the channel 
from that part of "Elamsville" now called Champ- 


lin Street, to "The Lane," now West ::\raiu, the 
chiklren had to cross in boats to the Academy 
School AYhere the Middle bridge now is, the 
land on either side sloped to the shore. 

:N'ot until the fierce September gale of 1S15 had 
swept away the first simple strncture, was this one 
bnilt by lottery, to take its place ; though over an- 
other part of the channel. The original narrow 
bridge was not rebuilt, but the road where the 
Ford and ''Kill Devil" used to be, is so filled in that 
it furnishes a stable foundation, and the water is 
kept within convenient bounds ; but it may be that 
w^e perpetuate the crossing in our village name. 

I copy the ''Memorandum of a journey from 
Xew London to Boston" drawn up in July, 1704, 
by one of the Winthrops : 

"After having received a visit from Ninicraft, 
ye sachem of ye country, we stood along, break- 
fasted at an inn, four miles off, kept by one Capt.. 
Dibble. After we had baited our horses, kept 
along ; came to Wickf ord about noone, stopt there 
till Monday, it being very hott. In ye morning, 
just as ye day broke, we set out. Came to 'Eliza- 
beth Spring' at sunrise, a place so called from my 


grandmother's drinking at it in lier travels up to 
Connecticut in ve beginning of ve country. It 
issnes out under ye bank of ye cove, at ye root of a 
large chestnut tree. Wickford also had its name 
from lier, it being ye place of her nativity in old 

She was the daughter of Edward Keed, County 
of Essex, and grandmother of the Hon. C. Win- 
throp. It is said that she visited the Block House 
in l(3-t5, and suggested to Koger Williams and 
Kichard Smith the future name for the village. 

Erom the Eev. Daniel Goodwin, for some years 
rector of the new church of St. Paul's, ^N'arragan- 
sett, I have received the following letter with re- 
gard to the English village, from which our own 
is said to have been named : 

•'I visited Wickford, in Essex, England, when 
I was abroad in 1877, and found it a pretty village 
in the center of an agricultural region apart from 
the sea. A very ancient church had been recently 
taken down, and a new one built on the same 
foundation, with tlie preservation of some of the 
old features. Many of the tiles on the new church 
were green with the moss of ages, gathered upon 


the old roof. The earved wooden ceiling of the 
old Choir had been introdnced into the new one, 
and was said to have previously served as the ceil- 
ing of tlie Refectory of a monastery the other side 
of the Thames — before the Reformation. It was 
very beautiful, apparently of oak, nearly black- 
ened by time. I visited the rectory, and saw the 
rector, Rev. II. TI. Lukin, who gave me a copy of 
the baptismal record of ^Elizabeth Read,' after- 
ward wife of John Winthrop, Jr., Governor of 
Connecticut, and eldest son of the ancient Gov- 
ernor of Massachusetts. She was the one who, 
travelling through the State 'in ye beginning of 
ye country (she died in 1672) visited at the ^^^N'ew- 
town-' of the "IJpdykes'' and gave it the name of 

''These quotations are from a letter still in exist- 
ence in the archives of the Winthrop family, writ- 
ten by John Winthrop, the grandson of Elizabeth, 
in July, 1704. The record of her baptism is as 
follows : "'Elizabeth Read, daughter of Edmund 
Read, was baptized ]^ovember 27th, 1614.' I saw 
the old parish register. It is bound in white vel- 
lum, and looks strikingly like the one of St. Paul's, 


Narragansett. The name of Kead is still a com- 
mon one in Wickford, England, and I saw the 
name on many ancient stones in the old church- 
yard, among others, 'Elizabeth Read.' 

^'Elizabeth Spring, at Potowomut Station, over 
Avliich the late Dr. Eldredge placed a substantial 
memorial tablet, was so called for Mrs. Winthrop 
on account of her drinking at it, as attested in her 
grandson's letter, and in one of Roger Williams 
of June, 1675." 

As to the present name of our village, it seems 
to me very natural that Wyck's Ford should event- 
ually merge into Wickford ; but as we speak the 
combined name it is pleasant to associate with it 
the memory of sweet Elizabeth Winthrop, of the 
village across the ocean, and Lodowick Updyke, 
born on our own soil, and thoroughly identified 
with every interest and improvement in the found- 
ation and growth of the place. 

In the early settlement, '^every new comer must 
submit to a year's probation before being allowed 
to settle, and must find some one to be security that 
he would not be a town charge." 

It is perhaps to this wise restriction that the 

village owes its long indemnity from ills to which 
other less protected communities are subject. 

A century or more after the village had gro^vn 
to quite a large population, the ^^Updyke mansion," 
as the ^'Castle" came to be called, was sold by the 
Hon. Wilkins, in 1816, to Captain Joseph Cong- 
don, and later passed into the possession of Mr. 
Rathbone, Mr. Chapin, and finally became the 
property of Mrs. Babbit of Pomfret, Connecticut, 
and has been sometimes occupied by a tenant, as 
a dairy farm. 

The original broad area is greatly circum- 
scribed, by sales and divisions among the numerous 
heirs, some of whom still hold lands and houses 
in various parts of the towmship. 

Conspicuous among the close friends and ad- 
mirers of the Hon. Daniel Updyke, the Attorney 
General, was Dean Berkeley, the celebrated phih 
osopher and writer, who, after some years of travel 
in Italy and France, set sail from England for 
Bhode Island, where he landed in !N^ewport Har- 
bor, January 23rd, 1729. Swift's "Vanessa" had 
bequeathed him four thousand pounds. He bought 
a farm adjoining the residence of the Rev. Mr. 


Honeyman, rector of Trinity Church, about three 
miles from the city, and now in Middletown. 

The ^•Hanging Rocks" were within a half mile 
from his home, and in this favorite retreat he used 
to sit while Avriting his ^'Minute Philosopher" and 
other literary works. There is a natural sheltered 
alcove where his old-fashioned wooden chair was 
placed, and where he spent many hours in outward 
and inward contemplation. The old chair became 
the possession of the Rev. Gurden S. Coit of Con- 
necticut, himself a scholar and author. 

Dean Berkeley's verses ^'On the prospect of 
planting Arts and Learning in America" are Avell 
known, and often quoted. He was a man of high 
moral and intellectual ambitions, a fine preacher, 
a genial companion and a sterling friend. 

For nearly three years he remained in Xewport, 
before returning to the old country. On his de- 
parture he gave ''White Hall" to Yale College, 
New Haven, and also a library of 880 volumes, 
together with a portrait, painted by Smibert, the 
artist, who accompanied him to America. This 
picture hangs in the ''Hall of the Alumni," in 


Yale College, and is thus described to me by one 
of tlie students : 

''The picture is about eight feet long by six 
. feet wide. It was painted by John Smibert in 
1729, and contains figures of the Dean on the 
right, in cassock and bands ; four other men on the 
left, and two women seated in the middle— one of 
whom holds a child scarcely larger than a doll, but 
a perfect littk lady in face and costume/ I have 
not been able to find out exactly who these per- 
sons are. It is quite impossible to guess, from 
any marks of age, for the youngest looking men 
have the greyest wigs, and I should not dare to say 
wliether they were sons, or brothers, or one a 
brother-in-law ! The w^onien look so much alike 
that I imagine they must be sisters." 

As the Biography marries the Dean ''in 1728 
to a daughter of the Eight Honorable John Fors- 
ter. Speaker of the Irish House of Commons,'' we 
may infer that he is father only to the baby in the 
mother's arms, and that this is the little son, born 
in 1729. "Lucia," who was born afterwards, was 
destined to be left in her lowly bed in Trinity 
Church yard, Newport, K. I., in 1731. The men 


ill the painting, it seems to me, may be some of the 
friends who accompanied the Dean to the ^arra- 
gansett country. 

In 1733, he sent a fine organ to Trinity Church, 
Newport. It is surmounted by a crown in the 
centre, supported by two mitres, one on either 
side — and these escaped vandalism when some 
other royal emblems were destroyed, after the 
British Army had evacuated the Island in 1779. 

In 1734, Queen Caroline, as a special mark of 
favor, conferred upon Dean Berkeley the Bishop- 
ric of Cloyne, which he held for nearly twenty 

His name is not out of place in this record, 
associated as he was with the Pioneer house of our 
village, and also with other suburban localities 
of which I shall later make mention. 

Pope ascribed to him, ^^every virtue under 
heaven," and Atterbury wrote of him, ^'So much 
understanding, knowledge, innocence, and humil- 
ity I should have thought confined to angels, had 
I never seen this gentleman." He was said to be 
very ''tolerant in religious opinions, which gave 
liim a great and deserved popularity with all de- 


nominations. All sects rushed to hear him ; even 
the Quakers, with their broad-brimmed hats, came 
and stood in the aisles.'' 


Cbe Uillage Proper^ 

0]^ the streets, the detached houses, with their 
well-kept lawns, and gardens, and overshad- 
owing trees, present a rural and thrifty aspect, and 
give one the happy consciousness that no wolf of 
poverty lurks at any door. In the da.js of my 
childhood, one could walk from end to end of the 
quiet hamlet, and meet only the familiar citizens, 
and hear no sound but nature's music, the hum of 
insects, the song of the birds, the rippling waters, 
and the wind in the tree toj^s. 

^ow the influx of summer visitors has changed 
the place. There are signs of life and wakeful- 
ness and progress. The buzz of factories falls on 
the ear, the whirr of the cars and the steamboat's 
whistle break the silence, and the coming and 


going of travelers on the favorite route from New 
York and Boston to XeAvport, keep busy the hith- 
erto inert and slumbering village. 

Yet, despite the somewhat altered conditions, 
there is an advantage over most resorts, in that 
solitude and reverie are still possible to such as 
love quiet and reflection. In particular localities, 
there remain the same rural features, with the 
same dream v environments, as in the long ago. 

Only last month, I stood on some of the spots 
that were familiar to me in the years gone by, and 
it seemed as if I had been asleep for a moment, 
and had suddenly awakened amid the old familiar 
scenes, so truly had the landscape ''held its own." 

The Main Street, and that crossing the middle 
bridge to Elamsville, now Brown Street, look very 
much as they used to do, and the scattered houses 
along the shore, some of them, are as they were a 
half century and more ago. There is one small 
white cottage, especially, that recalls to me the 
time when the modern Gondola was drawn up to 
the very steps, and the owner went on board from 
what I deemed his beautiful castle. 

The tide makes up to the stone parapet, and 

sometimes submerges the little strip of made 

Strolls and drives about the shore and along 
the country roads, give a blessed sense of freedom 
which one cannot have in fashionable, crowded 
thoroughfares, and those who have once enjoyed 
the delights of this beautiful, peaceful village, are 
certain to return to it again and again. To chil- 
dren and young people, it is the perfection of 
happiness, with its enticing pleasures of land and 
sea. ^'Little Lord Fauntleroy" came, with other 
Washingtonians, to si:)end here a few summer 
months, and a more rollicking, merry set of boys, 
as they gamboled in the waves, or frolicked in the 
green woods, one could not wish to see. 

I recall this home of my childhood and youth, 
when as yet no stranger's feet had traversed its 
simple streets, and my own had pressed no other 
soil. How dear its dust ! How precious every 
stone, and blade of grass, and shrub, and tree! 
How charming the white houses, scattered here 
and there and holding within their walls the be- 
loved people who comprised all my world ! Does 
a wider knowledge ever fully compensate for the 


satisfaction whicli we realize before we go away 

from the place of our birth, and the friends of our 

earliest affection and trust t 

A selfish feeling of regret for the removal of 
ancient landmarks, and for what we call the dese- 
cration of venerated objects, may at times possess 
us, but true philanthropy must make us desire, 
and seek, the general good, and rejoice in every 
advance and improvement, whatever personal sad- 
ness may be occasioned by changes, or innovations. 
Imbued with this spirit, I can note with pleas- 

'ure the cars winding around the Cove over which 
Ave used to go for huckleberries and blackberries, 
that grew thickly where the iron horse now gal- 
lops. Prior to 1840, there was no bridge from 
Elamsville to the opposite land, where the new 
town hall and the Episcopal Rectory, and the Cold 
Spring Hotel, and many attractive residences have 
risen like magic. Either we had to make a long 
circuit over the road past the Academy and the old 
Distillery, by the Briar Reynolds house, where Dr. 
Soule now lives, in order to reach the John Sher- 
man place, since the Hon. David Baker's, or the 
Alfred Reynolds' habitation, or Duck Cove, or the 


Light House on the Point ; or we skimmed across 
the water in a skiff, a mode of transportation 
which we greatly preferred to the modern way. 

In those good times there were no obstructions 
to the view from the ^^Old Doctor's/' our grand- 
father's, house. His possessions extended from 
the upper wharf to the ''Academy Cove." The 
fragrant East garden led down to the water, and 
neither ''Shears" nor coal-shed disfigured the 
premises, or shut off the beautiful vision of land 
and sea. We could watch the vessels afar off, 
rounding Canonicut Point, and nearing the loAver 
pier, and, when the daily packet arrived from 
IsTewport and disembarked her passengers, we 
could, as we stood at a northeast window of the 
house, through a field glass distinguish the faces 
of the people as they started to walk up the Main 

We fished from the wharf, Avith black Tom to 
bait our hooks and see that no harm should befall 
us ; or we roamed by the western shore gathering 
shells and snails, and the pretty blue Marsh Kose- 
mary or "Sea Heath" in its season ; or poking at 
the soldier crabs as thev scrambled from their 

holes, or the bivalves that burrowed in the mud. 
Or we went sleighing in midsummer, on the old 
wooden ''Settle" in our grandfather's drug-store, 
the thick buffalo robe covering us, and the double 
row of bells making silvery music. 

It was fun for us to help pound, or macerate, 
the drugs, in the iron mortar, with the heavy 
pestle, and to see the transformation into nauseous 
pills, or to scrape the hartshorn, or work the diac- 
lon salve, like molasses candy, and cool it in long, 
smooth rolls. Sometimes we were permitted to 
heat a thin-bladed knife and spread a plaster, and 
tlien we felt quite ready for a diploma, as thor- 
oughly-equipped M.D.'s. Perhaps we had as 
high an estimate of the preparation needed for the 
practice of the profession as some physicians have, 
who take the lives of other human beings into 
their hands, and are full medical practitioners. 

The sweetest knowledge that we obtained of 
drugs was the ''manna," or "angels' food," that we 
took from the bottle behind the counter. We 
really thought at first that we were feasting on 
what refreshed the Children of Israel in the Wil- 


There were but three houses on the ^'Ville/' 
when in 1804 Dr. Shaw built there. The Maken- 
zie house and the Watson and Spink habitations, 
are still standing on Champlain Street. 

They called the Watson's the ''Batty House" in 
my childhood. It had deteriorated into a tene- 
ment for poor people, and I recollect carrying food 
often to the different rooms. Once I dropped a 
dish of string beans upon the ground, but quickly 
scooped them up, and, without scruple, delivered 
them to a young girl whose hands were like birds' 
claws. The old house has been restored to its 
primitive glory, and is ow^ned by prosperous and 
happy residents. 

The small place vis a vis, has for me some tragic 
associations, which I cannot easily forget. The 
tyranny of a brute nature over the weak and help- 
less and dependent, always excited me to anger, 
and the mere rumor of acts of violence committed 
by a giant of a man toward a delicate woman, so 
outraged every tender instinct of my young spirit, 
that the influence lingers to this day, though the 
little home has for years been sanctified by a 
changed and gentle presence. 


Champlain Street was a grassy way along the 
unobstructed shore to the Academy hill, until Cap- 
tain Jacob Smith, of Newport, cast covetous eyes 
upon a charming plot, and erected a cottage, now 
owned by Governor Gregory. 

Then the "young Doctor" Shaw further en- 
croached upon my cherished and free domain, and 
shut in another strip of the pretty Cove, and made 
a home that we call The Lilacs, and that is delight- 
ful to visit, though it does not quite compensate for 
the loss of the old pleasure along the open shore. 
To a certain degree there is an improvement upon 
nature, with the choice shrubs and vines, and trees 
and flowers. The perfume of locust blossoms 
o-reets me as I write, and all around are signs of 
hio'liest cultivation. 

I recollect a very pretty early morning scene 
of last August, as I sat at a northwest window. 
The ''cobs" had their filmy webs spread out upon 
the lawn, a marvelous display. There was a regu- 
lar line of them, white and glistening, along the 
side of the terrace, and there were some on the tops 
of the great box trees. On the Cove the fog was 
''thick enough to cut," and for awhile hid the water 


from my sight. Then, presto ! the sun arose, and 
the veil was lifted, and there appeared a trans- 
lucent mirror, with houses and trees, reflected up- 
side down, and heavens with moving clouds in the 
depths below, as well as overhead. 

What a wonderful nature ! It is not singular 
that men grasp the best localities for the founda- 
tion of their human habitations. This street is 
now lined with dwellings on the west, and the 
opposite side has here and there a house. Still it 
is verdant and rural, and the dust and noise of the 
more thickly settled and traveled parts do not 
reach it. 

AVashington Academy, a little to the southwest 
of The Lilacs, was chartered in 1800, and was once 
one of the best Institutions in the State of Khode 
Island. It is now inclosed and is still valued as a 
place of learning. It occupies a hill that slopes 
to a beautiful cove, and has, from the summit, the 
most extensive and charming view in all the town ; 
'Svater, water, everywhere,'' and a most entrancing 
landscape. How often we little children used to 
wander over the forest-covered premises, amid vio- 
lets and May pinks and trailing arbutus and the 


sweet fern and huckleberry and bayberry bushes, 
Avith roses contrasting brightly with the glossy 
green ! 

Or we would picnic under the shining oaks, and 
in our chatter, rival the squirrels that ran up and 
down from their holes in the tree trunks, as busy 
as though alone in these pleasant wilds. 

Many a brillinat scholar has gone out from the 
Washington Academy to do honor in other local- 
ities, to this Alma Mater of our modern Venice. 
Bishop, Professor, Judge, Governor, Mayor, and 
Senator, can look back, with grateful pride, to its 
fostering care and nurture. Mr. Elam (from 
whom our ^^Yille" took its early name) was a 
l^ewport gentleman of means. He had a decided 
interest in this school, and would, no doubt, have 
largely endowed it ?f it had yielded to his wish 
that it should bear his name, but ^^the Father of 
his country'' prevailed in the minds of the 
Trustees, and perhaps the Institution gained in 
fame what it lost in fortune. 

I wish that portion of the village south of the 
]\Iiddle Bridge could still be called Elamsville, 


instead of Brown, and Champlin, and Phillips 

Despite liis diaappointment, Mr. Elani made 
some worthy donations to the Academy, besides a 
valuable Encyclopedia. In my mother's day there 
w^ere some noted classical instructors in the school, 
and some of the ambitious young ladies vied w4th 
the young men in the advanced studies, thus fitting 
themselves to train, in after years, their own chil- 
dren, w^ho might otherwise have failed to receive 
such advantages of intellectual culture as their 
station demanded, and their minds craved. 

Thus does a kindly Providence anticipate and 
care for our future needs and desires. 

Gregory's Mill had no place in the primitive 
Elamsville. There was a shipyard w^ith ship- 
building carried on in this spot, as well as in sev- 
eral other convenient localities near the water, for 
Wickford was once the next commercial port in 
Ehode Island to !N'ewport, and many a vessel laden 
with Karragamsett products w^ent out from our 
wharves, and from Xarragansett Perry, to the 
West Indies and South America, and the Southern 
and Eastern colonies along the coast. 


I used to look across from the southeast windows 
of mv grandfather's house to the point of land 
where the rectory children now play under the 
mammoth trees, and fancy it resembled in its con- 
formation the western shore of Africa. The asso- 
ciation is lost by the new surroundings. A road 
was opened in 1840, and, in 1888, the new iron 
structure, with carriage privilege, superceded the 
narroAv wooden foot bridge, and fine houses and 
cultivated gardens cover the old plot across the 
- water. 

The factory on the hither side is not an attrac- 
tive feature, aesthetically regarded; but there are 
considerations of enterprise and helpfulness, that 
outweigh the mere gratification of sentiment, and 
I suppose one ought to rejoice in the smoke and 
noise that bring comfort and thrift to many other- 
wise needy families. 

The sloop Resolution, in which Captain David 
Baker so often wafted us across the bay to New- 
port, is said to have been built in 18 IG on the 
premises now owned by Mr. James Greene, and 
was launched in the Cove at flood tide. Planks 
were removed from the middle of the bridge that' 


connected Elamsville with wliat is now Bridge 
Street, for the passage of the sloop to the hjwer 
wharf, whence it had its daily embarkation for 
years. Steam navigation had not then begun to 
stir the waters of onr beautiful bay that has been, 
by many, likened to the Bay of Naples. The first 
steamboat seen in Providence was the Fire Fly, in 
1817. The trial trip of a steamboat between New- 
port and ]^ew York was in 1822. The common 
mode of transportation by sailing vessels, or sIoojds, 
prevailed in our w-aters until the ^o^ws began her 
regular trips to [N'ewport after the branch railroad 
from the Wickford junction w^as built, and this 
route became the favorite way from Boston and 
!New York. The General now goes back and forth 
over the bay four times at least, in a day. 

The old Resolution is a battered hulk on sands 
of the shore, but she will always live in the hearts 
of her passengers. Many an excursion have I had 
on her deck, after she had plowed the waves for 
years ! What a mongrel company she carried — 
ladies and gentlemen bent on pleasure ; small fruit 
venders, intent on profit; inland people, whose 
peculiar w^ays w^ere as strange to us as w^ould be the 


presence of foreign emigrants; yet always sunny 
faces and sunny hearts, that made the trip merry 
and glad! At ''the haven where we would be" 
there were great attractions. The ''Old Mill," 
Fort Adams with its subterranean passages, the 
beaches with foaming billows, etc., etc. 

In our home, twelve miles away, w^e could hear 
the strong diapason of the ocean waves, heralding 
a coming storm, and we loved to draw near and 
gambol among them, when they w^ere subdued, and 
made gentler music. 

To me, one of the most attractive objects in our 
village was the Lighthouse, on the neck of land 
across from the lower wharf. It was a favorite 
project of one of my ancestors, that the peninsula 
where this beacon stood, should be called "India 
Point," and given up solely to shipping exports. 

A new light farther out in the channel now 
warns the ships from the rocks. The old one is 
yet in existence and is taking a well-earned rest. 
In the years gone by, many a sailor hailed with joy 
the bright beams from its faithful lantern, and we 
children peered through the fog and gloom, with a 
sense of comfort and protection, as we thought of 


inbound vessels, and saw the never failing glow. 
It Avas our rare privilege to mount occasionally to 
the cupola, and watch the keeper as he trimmed 
the lamps. We realized something of his great 
responsibility when he spoke to us of human lives 
saved, or lost, through his care or neglect. 

Sometimes, especially in the September months, 
the wind was fearful in its strength and velocity, 
and the waters raged furiously, threatening an- 
other gale like that of 1815. 

We had learned from our grandmother how a 
sloop had, by the waves, been lifted up over the 
lower pier, and had run its bowsprit through the 
window of a house, and how the people were taken 
in boats from the second story of the dwellings near 
the wharf, and placed in safety. The impression 
of her recital lasted with us, and when the autumn 
equinoctial came, we donned our warm wraps and 
went to the upper part of our father's garden, in 
order that the dreaded overflow of the tides might 
not reach us. 

This maternal relative told us much about the 
old-time localities and people, that have either 
changed or passed away. 


Bush Hill was once thickly covered with shrubs, 
and vines, and trees. In my childhood it was but 
a grassy slope, with a few old oaks, and a fresh 
water pond at the base, on either side. We used 
to go with our father, in the early morning, to this 
elevation, to see the sun rise, and to ^^skip" stones 
<.^ver the water below. 

On the edges of the ponds, there grew the 
ground nut, the sweet bulbous root of a coarse 
grass ; and the pungent flag root ; and the velvety 
brown cat-tails. Big frogs sat croaking on the 
stones near the border, or amid the water plants. 
Xearly all the beautiful features are spoiled now, 
by the digging aw^ay the hill for sand; but there 
remains one little fresh lake, where the cows still 
slake their thirst, and the wild birds go to drink. 

Close by, is a gambrel roofed cottage, where the 
old men and women whom I knew, were, in their 
childhood, taught the rudiments of book knowl- 
edge, and where cat skins were transformed into 
pretty muffs. Afterward, it came into the posses- 
sion of somebody who wove carpets, and delighted 
little people with the gift of bright thrums, cut 
from the warp. To perch up beside this good old 


dame on the broad seat of her loom, and watch the 
swift shuttle as it flew back and forth, was among 
the most charming of onr childish joys. The 
thump, thump, of the board that pressed tightly 
the woof, was music to our ears, and the growling 
fabric a mystery indeed. 

Many times has the old house changed hands, 
until now it has come to be the palace of a Queen, 
and the abode of a princess. 'Tairy rings" are 
beside the door, and the frequent ^^Bouncing Bet," 
or ''Spanish Pink," grows wild among the grass, 
and I never turn often enough into the lane that 
leads to the royal domains, where the sceptre is 
ahvays graciously held out to welcome me. 

The second lane, at right angles with the first, 
is fast filling with habitations, and becoming a 
street. It was, in the long, long ago, thick with 
locust trees, and oaks, and wild vines, and shrubs, 
so they say, or they have said; and ''they" here 
means the dear old friend who has been my author- 
ity as regards localities and aspects, nearly a cent- 
ury and a half gone by. 

Later, this wild nature was swept away, and 

l^eople made a trodden path to the old church, of 
which I will speak presently. 

In the southeast corner of the second lane, was 
the village "hearse house," with the dreadful 
vehicle that bore the dead to the last resting place. 
How it used to haunt me with its terrible sugges- 
tions! The dingy black velvet pall; the close, 
black carriage, and all the sad insignia of woe, 
took my breath away, and seemed to bring to me a 
living death. That obnoxious building has given 
place to a glossy leaved white mulberry tree, that 
awakens brighter thoughts. 


memorable liabitatiotis. 

THEKE are houses that we call ''ancient" in 
this village of ours — that is not yet three 
hundred years old. I look upon them with a ven- 
eration begotten of my ancestral blood. Our Saxon 
forebears have in deepest reverence whatever shows 
the marks of age. The generations in this West- 
ern world count for more than those in the old 
country. We live longer in the same space of 
time, and therefore compute differently. Some 
decaying edifices on our main street, seem to me 
to have been constructed "in the year one," and T 
make spiritual obeisance as I pass them. There 
is a large brown house down on the Point, opposite 
the old Lighthouse, which was quite a grand dwell- 
ing in its prime. It was surrounded by much 


ground that lias since been encroached upon by 
adjoining habitations, and it must have been quite 
an imposing and attractive residence at the time 
when Mr. Samuel Brenton took possession. His 
ancestors had, in the Colonial days, owned nearly 
one third of Newport, comprising ^'Rocky Farm'' 
and the broad acres where the Lows, and Gris- 
wolds, and Russells, and Kings, and Kennedys, 
and Rutherfords, and Stuyvesants, and Harpers, 
and Fields, and many other wealthy and noted peo- 
ple, have their fine residences. 

As it has been suggested to me by one of the 
most appreciative of the present occupants of that 
charming region, to incorporate in these pages 
some record of the early proprietors, I gather from 
the sketches by Miss Elizabeth Brenton, which 
were printed in the E^ewport Mercury of 1853, 
Avhatever I think may be of interest to the present 

William Brenton left Hammersmith, England, 
and landed in Boston in 1634. He brought with 
him a commission from Charles I., w^hich 
bore the date 1633. The likeness of his Majesty 
was at the top, and his seal and signature at the 


bottom. It was termed a grant, and allowed him 
to take so many acres to a mile, of all the lands he 
should survey in the ^N'ew England Colonies. 

In after years this parchment was considered a 
great piece of antiquity, having been in the Bren- 
ton family for more than a century; but it w^as 
eventually destroyed by an inconsiderate girl. 

William Brenton was made a freeman and 
select-man of the Colony of Massachusetts, and, in 
1635, was chosen Eepresentative, or deputy of the 
general court of Boston. He was concerned in 
importations, went extensively into the mercantile 
line of business, and made large speculations in 

He came into possession of that broad tract ^n 
the Merrimac River, I^ew Hampshire, mentioned 
in his will, as 10,000 acres. It was long known as 
Brenton's Farm, and has been constituted the 
township of Litchfield. 

In 1638, Mr. Brenton removed to ^N'ewport, 
Rhode Island. He was associated with Governor 
Coddington, [N'icolas Easton, John Coggshall, John 
Clarke, Thomas Hazard, Henry Bull, Jeremy 

Clarke, and William Dyer, in the formation of a 
township on the Island of Aquidneck. 

Their first object was to choose a spot which 
would prove the most lucrative landing place. The 
Harbor of :Nrew^port was surveyed. The beauty of 
scenery, and protecting points around the Bay, 
first attracted them to the present site of :N'ewport, 
but finding it a thickly wooded swamp, their atten- 
tion Avas directed to Easton's Beach. Here they 
.found no anchorage for craft of any kind, and 
thought it too open to the ocean, to afford a safe 

Keturning to their first choice, they hired the 
swamp cleared, and the land made firm for build- 
ing lots. 

They named the town ^N'ewport. The first 
street laid out one mile in length, was Thames 
Street, and lots ^vere measured off first on the 
Parade, afterwards called Washington Square; 
and then southerly, crossing Thames, and extend- 
ing quite to the water. 

The houses were made to face the Bay, Bren- 
ton's Point and Goat Island, now Fort Walcott, 


being in full view, with the adornment of tall 
forest trees. 

The early settlers did not anticipate buildings 
on the west of the street fronting the water, and as 
no room was left for such a purpose, it accounts 
for the narrowness of that thoroughfare. 

William Brenton's ^'Homestead lot," embracing 
six acres, commenced on what is now Spring- 
Street, extending Avest to the Bay. On the north 
it bounded Mary Street, then called the i^ew Lane, 
and on the south it included the houses afterward 
owned and occupied by Mr. George Hazard. 

In 1638, Mr. Brenton had taken possession of 
the Peninsula called Brenton's Xeck, the boundary 
of which went in a straight line from the Lime 
Eocks east, forming the northern boundary of 
Rocky Farm, and extending quite to the sea shore, 
on every side, and comprising over two thousand 
acres of land of the richest soil, and presenting the 
most picturesque scenery. 

A short distance west of" the Cove, he had a 
clearing made, materials brought from Boston, 
and a brick building erected. It was called the 
Four Chimney House, and was one hundred and 


fifty feet square, and two stories liii;li, witli a hall 
sixteen feet wide, through the center of the main 
floor. The roof had a railing, seats, and a prom- 
enade, commanding a most extensive view. On 
the south lay the broad Atlantic ; north and east 
the harbor, and the town in its infancy ; west the 
blue waters of Narragansett bay. Around this 
edifice Mr. Brenton laid out the grounds in mead- 
ows, pastures, gardens, and orchards, the enclos- 
ures of which were of cut granite three feet wide, 
and five feet high, with trees bordering them. He 
named the place after his English home, ''Ham- 
mersmith," and for many years it w^as his resi- 
dence, where most of his children were born, and 
where he spared no expense in improving nature 
by art. He divided his farm into ''East" and 

Over the grazing portion, eleven thousand sheep 
roamed, and, upon a terrace, Mr. Brenton had a 
building put up for his herdsmen, who were em- 
ployed to care for his flocks, and also for the rear- 
ing of horses and cattle. 

Around the brick house, and in a southwesterly 
direction, including Castle Hill, the premises were 


cultivated for grass^ and grain, and vegetables, and 
poultry, and butter and cheese of superior quality 
were produced. 

The Peninsula, now Fort Adams, was a marsh 
of wild rose bushes, whortle-berries, and low black- 

The hills on the west and south were covered 
quite to the shore with delightful groves, and 
merry parties came with their baskets across the 
bay, for fruit and for pleasant recreation. Castle 
Hill Avas noted for the sweet wild strawberries. 

^Ir. Brenton had temporary quarters in that 
locality for his numerous employes, who were occu- 
pied in the various improvements over his large 

On a small peninsula lying oceanward, he had 
a cottage built for his family shoemaker, for whom 
he sent to England, good workmen being scarce in 
the early settlement of the Colonies. 

AVilliam Brenton's son, Jahleel the Collector, 
after the death of his father, gave the place to the 
faithful artisan and his heirs, and it has ever since 
been called Price's !N'eck. 

It used to be a remarkable locality for fishing 

and fowling, and only last summer, when I took 
the ^^ten mile drive," as I approached this penin- 
sula, I saw some sportsmen prone upon the rocks, 
with their guns pointed to a bevy of ducks. 

The Four Chimney House was partly taken 
down and changed into a smaller edifice, which is 
now owned by H. F. Batty, Esq. The date of the 
original structure, 1638, was upon the chimney 
in the garret. How much of the old building was 
incorporated with the present I do not know, but 
it is said that there is no difficulty in tracing the 
ancient outline upon the ground, and that in the 
first story can be seen where the posts w^ere sawed 
off when the house was reduced to a single story 
with gambrel roof. The premises, however, bear 
no semblance to a former splendor, when the place 
was ornamented with gravel walks, flowering trees, 
folding gates with massive pillars, and gardens 
where the fir, the box, and the peony, graced the 
avenues and the velvety green lawns. 

William Brenton held the office of first Presi- 
dent of Aquidneck from 1640 to 1647; was Presi- 
dent of the Colony from 1660 to 1662; Deputy 
Governor from 1663 to 1666; and Governor from 


16G6 to lG(i9j when he retired to a more private 

He died, leaving the Ilaniniersmith estate to 
his son Jahleel, who w^as his executor, and the 
guardian of the family of young brothers and 
sisters. In the winter they occupied the town 
house on Thames Street, and in summer the sub- 
urban residence. 

He had taken great pleasure and pride in the 
wild sublimity of the ancestral estate of Hammer- 
smith. The eastern part, wdiere the immense 
boulders greet you at every step, he called Rocky 
Farm. He enlarged the terrace where his father 
had built accommodations for his herdsmen, made 
an additional room to the house, placed in it a 
choice library, and spent much of his time in read- 
ing and study. In front was a view of the broad 
Atlantic; on the west, ^^Lily Pond," then noted 
for the profusion of wild roses that surrounded it, 
as w^ell as for the pure lilies upon its surface. 
Selecting the highest point among the hills near 
by, he had a clearing made amid the ancient trees, 
and seats placed for his visitors, and there many 
happy hours were spent. 


JJefurc lie left liis home fur Uustuii, lie sent to 
England for various fruit trees, which he had 
planted at Hammersmith. The ''Rhode Island 
Greening" is said to have originated in this coun- 
try from his importation, and Cherry Valley takes 
its name from the delicious species of cherries 
raised by him in that locality. 

It must have been very sad to him in after 
years, to see the decadence of the elegant grounds 
where his boyhood was spent. 

With the Indian outbreak, troublous times had 
come. The burning of Providence brought terror 
and apprehension to all the surrounding country. 

Preparation was made for the defence of 
Aquidneck. His Majesty's military forces were 
put under command of Major John Cranston. 
The two large guns, or cannon, which had long 
stood in the yard of the late Governor Brenton's 
town residence, were removed to Portsmouth for 
the service of the Island, and all things presaged 
commotion, if not disaster. 

In 1694, Jahleel Brenton went to England as 
agent of the Colony, returning in 1702. 

By the death of William III., and the accession 

of Queen Anne, E'athaniel Kay became Collector 
of Customs in l^cAvport. 

Mr. Brenton died a bachelor, in 1732, at the 
age of 77. 

Port Adams gives thunderous salutes from the 
peninsula that was his before the Government had 

As if to hold some claim even in death, near 
the fort is a lowly grave containing his ashes. 

From a newspaper article I derive the fol- 
lowing : 

"Out in the open grounds of Fort Adams, just 
south of the works, and near to the redoubt, and on 
a level with the surface of the earth, there lies a 
slab of blue slate stone that marks the grave of 
Jahleel Brenton, son of Governor William Bren- 
ton. Upon it there are engraved these simple 
words : 

In Memory of 

Jahleel Brenton, Esq. 

Who died November ye 8th, 1732, 

Aged 77 years. 

"The letters deeply cut do not show the wear 
of time, and there is no reason to think that they 
may not be as distinct at the end of another hun- 


drecl years as they are to-day. The wonder is, 
that some team, during all the years that the Fort 
was building, did not run upon or over the slab 
to its great injury, for one could hardly see it, hid 
in the tall grass, until most upon it. 

^'Happily, danger— to it— of this kind, has 
been averted through the thoughtful consideration 
and generosity of Col. George H. Elliot, U. S. E., 
who, at his own expense, has caused to be built 
'around it a wall, capped with hammered brown 
stone, with beveled edges, to turn off the water 
that falls upon it. 

''Every lover of E"ewport, who desires to have 
its memorials preserved, owes a debt of gratitude 
to Col. Elliot for so caring for the slab to which 
our attention has been called." 

How much more do the descendants of Gover- 
nor William Brenton, who visit as strangers the 
ancestral domains and rejoice even in this small 
span of earth, reserved from the broad acres that 
have passed into other possession ! 

By the will of Jahleel the Collector, his estate 

fell largely to his nephew, Jahleel, son of Wil- 
liam the Second. 

This Jahleel married Frances, daughter of 
Governor Samuel Cranston, and great grand- 
daughter of Roger Williams. 

They lived sometimes in their town house, and 
sometimes at Hammersmith, where they enter- 
tained hospitably. 

This Jahleel gave the clock that is in Trinity 
Church steeple, E'ewport, Rhode Island. He was 
one. of the original members of the Artillery Com- 
pany, and one of the committee to build the State 
house. Despite his large landed property, he had 
not always ready money, and gradually the estate 
was reduced by various sales. 

The beautiful house on Thames Street became 
the property of Walter Channing, Esq., since 
which time it has lost its original title, and has 
been called the Channing House. Commodore 
Perry occupied it at one time, and his youngest 
son Avas born there. 

By his courtesy. President Monroe had his resi- 
dence in it, while on a visit to I^ewport. Recently 
it was possessed by the heirs of the late Daniel T. 


Swinburne, and for a time leased to the late Major 
General G. K. Warren, U. S. E., and occupied for 
Government offices. 

The house was very noticeable, standing some 
twenty rods back from the street, and presenting 
an antique front. Tw^o noble trees were near the 
steps, and two at the entrance to the grounds. I 
once had the courage to enter the ancestral prem- 
ises, and, through the politeness of the officers in 
possession, to ascend the quaint staircase, and 
])enetrate as far as the large ^vainscoted chambers. 

Since that time the stalwart trees are missing 
on Thames Street, and a business structure hides 
the grand old house, and when I ventured through 
a strange avenue to the rear of the new block, a 
little Italian boy ushered me to one of the upper 
rooms of the once noted house of my forebears, 
and there sat his mother, w4th a huge wooden 
block upon her lap, and a hatchet in her hand, 
chopping meat for dinner. 

Heart sick because of the w^oeful ^^changes and 
chances of this mortal life," I turned away, con- 
tent never again to seek the old place, but to hold it 
henceforth only in memory. 


Jalileel Brenton, the second, was the father of 
Samuel, who married Susan, a daughter of Silas 
Cook, and removed from ^N'ewport to Wickford 
late in life. 

He built the gambrel roofed house that stands 
on Main Street next above the Wickford I^ational 
Bank. It was substantially constructed, and re- 
tains many of its original features; the low ceil- 
ings, narrow wooden mantels over the open fire- 
places, and the small panes of glass in the windows. 
One of these panes in the east parlor is diamond- 
scratched with the nam.e of Mr. Brenton's daugh- 
ter, and that of her fiancee, and the date of the 
etching, 1788. 

The present owners have a true appreciation of 
time-honored places and things, and with almost 
ancestral pride, preserve and exhibit the peculiar 
marks in the old house. 

"Miss Shippee" took me from attic to basement 
lately, and she and a courteous brother were en- 
thusiastic over every antiquity. 

Behind a fire-board, that had existed from the 
early days, was an iron crane, still hanging. Great 
square foreign bricks formed the hearth, and blue 


pictured tiles surrounded the lireplace, the designs 
proving their passage from outre mer. 

[Mr. Brenton's wife died in this house, and 
through reduction of means he was obliged to re- 
linquish the place, and occupy the large old resi- 
dence by the water side, at the lower end of East 
Main Street, where he gave up the ghost. 

The Freeborn cottage and other encroachments 
circumscribed the premises, but it can easily be 
seen that the old decaying brown house was once 
monarch in that region. 

The Tenant house, on the corner of Main and 
Fountain Streets, has seen a good old age and stir- 
ring events. One of the inhabitants of the village 
tells me that she has some andirons that Avere in a 
fireplace in this house, where some of the British 
soldiers were roasting a goose which they were 
obliged to leave on the sudden evacuation of our 
foreign foes. There must have been Tories in 
occupation of the premises, and these were prob- 
ably regaling their transatlantic visitors. 

The Whiteman dwelling; the Spencer house; 
the Robert Eldridge home, now the Wickford 
House ; Mr. [Koel Freeborn's, the first brick house 


built in the village, and several other frame struc- 
tures that look as if thej had seen the centuries go 
by, greet us as we go about the streets. 

Up at the very head of the main street, once 
called The Lane, is a place commanding a fine view 
of the village, and the Bay. It has always im- 
pressed me because my maternal grandmother fixed 
envious eyes upon it when I was a little girl, and 
often expressed a wish to own it. Mr. William 
Talbot, with thorough appreciation of the site as 
one of the finest in the town, purchased it several 
years ago and calls it Barberry Hill, because of 
the prevalence of this beautiful bush in the vicin- 
ity. The shrub is rare in some parts of the United 
States. It was imported to this country by one 
Thomas Gould, son of Jeremiah Gould, who came 
to [NTewport from Dorchester, England. He 
planted a hedge of it about his house in Quid- 
nesset, and the birds spread the seeds, until all 
lihode Island was supplied, and Connecticut as far 
as the river. Soon after, some man in Plymouth, 
Massachusetts, imported them in the same way, 
and they have increased in every direction in that 
state. It is a beautiful shrub, with pretty yellow 


blossoms that change to scarlet fruit hanging in 
racemes along the branches. Yon gather the bar- 
berries after frost in October. They make an 
excellent preserve, which is anti-febrile and good 
for colds. 

I cannot understand why the bushes are by 
some tabooed, but I find that they are supposed to 
injure grain, and that, in 1766, a special act for 
their destruction was passed in the town of Middle- 
to^vn, Rhode Island. Upon application of any 
freeholder, the person upon whose ground they 
grew, was required to cut them up within one 
month, or in case of his neglect to do so they might 
be destroyed by warrant from a Justice, at the ex- 
pense of the complainant. Six years, later, in 
1772, the Assembly extended this act over the 
whole Colony. I suppose the act must have been 
repealed, or else it has become a dead letter, for 
the bushes line the walls, and present their fruit in 
rich profusion, and have done so ever since my re- 
membrance. We used to ^^put up" a bushel or 
more every autumn, some in sugar, and some in 
molasses, as the best remedy for influenza. 

From Barberry Hill, The Lane, down to the 

Brentoii House, lias become thickly lined with 
pleasant habitations, and the old title is no longer 

The Jeremiah Chadsey house still stands; the 
Spink dwelling is converted into the Elms, a fine 
boarding house with broad outlook upon the ball 
grounds, with grand stand opposite, and way across 
to the Block House and its Cove. 

The old town house, built in 1806, is deserted 
for the new. A Methodist church has sprung into 
being where Wick's Ford and tlie Kill Devil once 
reigned. The low land has been so elevated, that 
even at highest tides the coves no longer meet. 

On Pleasant Street, which runs north at right 
angles from lower Main, there was once a large 
square house with spacious grounds. It embraced 
an extensive view of the Bay, Quonsett Point, Ca- 
nonicut, and other land, and was called the finest 
estate in the viUage. It was the residence of Mr. 
Peter PhillijDS, whose family came from Exeter, 
England. The Phillipses were among the early 
settlers in ^arragansett, around Wickford. Our 
own Exeter was probably named by them, as they 
had estates in that town. The Hon. Peter was a 


bachelor, ''a geiitloman of polished manners. He 
was very spare in person, wore a bagged wig, and 
always dressed with neatness. He attained to con- 
siderable eminence, having served in the State 
Legislature and Senate, and also as Judge in the 
Supreme Court of Rhode Island, and as Chief 
Justice in the Court of Common Pleas. All the 
Civil and Military appointments conferred upon 
him by the Legislature or the people, he discharged 
with ability and fidelity." 

He died in his own house at an advanced a2:e, 
and was buried beside his residence, in a spot previ- 
ously selected by himself. This grave was on the 
right side, as jou entered the front door, and was 
covered with a large oblong flat stone slab, that 
bore an appropriate inscription. 

Despite the superstitious awe with which the 
village children regarded this ghostly relic, they 
assembled daily under the two great shady button- 
woods just outside the enclosure of the mansion, 
and enjoyed the strong swing that was suspended 
from a branch for their benefit. The house was 
once temporarily occupied by my grandfather, be- 
fore he built on the ''Ville,'' and under its roof my 


mother was born, thus consecrating for her own 
offspring, the premises that Avonld otherwise have 
for them less sacred associations. 

Before this fact was revealed to ns, we sought 
the buttonwoods simply for amusement. Since 
then w^e have made frequent commemorative pil- 
grimages, and brought awav such precious trophies 
as old wrought nails from decaying boards, or lime- 
encrusted bricks and bits of stone from tlie ancient 

It is one of the very choicest localities in the 
town, if we prize the stretch of water on the east, 
and the broad rural sweep on the west, ^ot far 
to the north is the Point Wharf, with the deep salt 
inlet, where the sharks used sometimes to come. A 
little distance to the south, at the end of Bay 
Street, w^ater again, everywhere w^ater in this 
bright Venice of ours. 

Mr. Chapelle had the good taste to select the 
old Phillips site for his new residence, which dom- 
inates one of the most charming views. His house 
is in no wise like the former structure. The old 
building with all its memories, still stands in my 


vivid imagination, and must defy all the attempted 
ravages of time. 

The monumental slab, that nsed to beget in us 
so much awe, has been removed to the new ceme- 
tery outside the village, and there is nothing left on 
the old premises to detract from the brightness. 

The Phillips farm house yet remains, next to 
the Belville station, about a mile southwest of our 
village. Mrs. Alice Morse Earle, in her valuable 
article in the New England. Magazine (January, 
1893), thus describes it: 

"The rooms are built around a chimney twenty 
feet square, in whose wide fireplaces a whole ox 
could literally have been roasted. The great iron 
hooks over the fireplaces, and beside the doors, 
upon which the old Phillips families hung their 
flint locks, are still firm, and there are curious 
drawers in the chimney pieces for pipes and to- 
bacco. So much room does this great chimney 
occupy, that there is no central staircase; only 
little winding stairs at the extreme corner of the 

On the right of the Peter Phillips home, you 
turn down a short street toward Fowler. It is 


called Friend Street, because, in my childhood 
days, a Quaker Meeting House stood there. The 
congregation dwindled, and ''the building was sold, 
and removed to Hamilton, where it was converted 
into a dwelling house." 

Opposite its western end, and fronting on 
Fowler Street, just north of the stepping stones 
that lead to the old Xarragansett Church, was a 
tumble-down habitation, where there lived a rem- 
nant of the ''Rome" slaves, a peculiar family of 
negroes, that interested us children to a wonderful 

Mr. Rome (pronoiuiced Room) owned a fine 
estate in Boston Neck, west of Narragansett Bay. 
He came from England to Rhode Island in 1761 
as the agent of the house of Halsey & Hopkins, and 
Avas afterward appointed the agent of the British 
creditors generally. He lived in ^NTewport, win- 
ters, and in the summer occupied his country man- 
sion, which he called Bachelor's Hall. It was 
highly finished and furnished. The beds were 
concealed from view in. the wainscots. When the 
hour for retiring arrived, a servant would touch a 
spring in the ceiling and the bed would protrude 

98 . . 

itself, as if by magic, prepared for the reception of 
its tenant. Mr. Kome occasionally gave large 
parties at liis "little country villa," entertaining 
his friends with sumptuous hospitality. 

Unfortunately, in the contest between England 
and her colonies, he espoused the cause of Great 
Britain, and l)ecame obnoxious to the General As- 
sembly of Ehode Island, Avhich caused his arrest 
on charge of "corruption, and partiality against 
the -Legislature, and the Courts and Juries of the 
Colony — with the advice (in a letter sent to a 
friend in Boston, and thence to London) to annul 
the charter and create a government more depend- 
ent on the Crown." He was brought before the 
Bar, where he made such evasive and contemptu- 
ous answers that he was put in the common jail, 
and there remained until the House rose. 

Soon after his release, apprehending danger, he 
fled on board the Man-of-war Rose, then lying in 
the Xarragansett Bay. His property was confis- 
cated by the State, and all his effects were sold, and 
the money was paid into the general Treasury. 

The only vestige remaining in later days, was 
this family from his household servants. 



Old Pero, sliort, square, grizzly haired, and thor- 
oughly African in features, used to take our Tom's 
place at my grandfather's stable in the summer, 
and do such chores as needed his care around the 
house and grounds. His wife was a large dow- 
ager-looking woman, but always ill from taenia. 
She kept stately seclusion in the west chamber, ad- 
mitting only such friends as she desired to see. 
Eters was the only room in the rickety house that 
was really habitable, and it was at the risk of one's 
life to surmount the gaping stairs and get over the 
loose boards of the ante-chamber to the grand pres- 
ence. But we were strongly attracted and dared 
every obstacle in order to penetrate to this wonder- 
ful museum. 

The place was to us full of mysteries. There 
were two deaf mute daughters and one deaf and 
dumb son, and a little grandchild, three years old, 
who could not stand upright, but hopped about like 
a toad. ^N'ear by was a frog pond, that was by 
some thought to have a pre-natal influence in the 
case, but the doctor laughed at the old wives' the- 
ories, which were put to flight when strength came 


to the posterior muscles, and the boy walked like 
other human beings. 

His mother had twin babies, for which we made 
duplicate suits. The tiny beings were cunning 
enough, with their black woolly heads, side by side 
on the white pillow, and it pleased us to see them 
in the pretty pink frocks, and ^^bird's eye'' bibs 
that our hands had fashioned. 

The clumsy mother overlaid one of them one 
luckless night, and we lost interest when the nov- 
elty was gone, though we were not permitted to 
abate our charity. 


Suburban l>autit$* 

A MILE or more northwest of the clustering vil- 
lage houses, is a large boulder, so poised upon 
a foundation rock, that it can, by the slightest 
effort, be stirred to a cradle-like motion. The 
rumbling reverberation is soft or loud, as we choose 
to make it. It is said that the Indians used this 
method to summon their Council, or as an import- 
ant signal. 

Whatever purpose it may have served to the 
w^ild men of the forest, our young people made it 
a happy and frequent rendezvous. From the sum- 
mit we could see Newport, Bristol, and Eall River, 
in the sunlight, and the deep blue waters of the 
ISTarragansett Bay intervening. All around us 
were bayberry and sweet fern, and low black 


huckleberry and trailing blackberry vines, and 
fragrant wild flowers. Locust trees edged the 
stone walls, and swung their sweet incense to the 
breeze. Clematis crept along the thick bushes, 
and many varieties of shrub and blossom garnished 
the roadside all the way from the village to our 
favorite Hall's Rock. 

Buttercups and daisies adorned our shorter 
-route home, across the meadows, and the breath of 
the gentle cows, and the scent of new milk dropping 
from full udders, and the beautiful sunset glow as 
the day was drawing to its close, are among very 
pleasant memories. From spring to autumn, the 
'Svayside trimmings," as our lovely friend calls 
the wild blossoms, kept our course triumphal with 
their succession of floral beauty. The bright dan- 
delion, the violets, the ''bluets" or ''innocence," the 
tansy with military buttons, the golden rod, the 
sumach, rich and velvety ; oh ! so many treasures 
spread freely and lavishly all along our path 
through life ! 

From the Rolling Rock we sometimes extended 
our walk to the legendary spot where the Devil 


planted his foot, as he stepped from Canonicut to 
our niaiidand. 

There is its distinct imprint, thongh not the 
cloven formation that is generally attributed to his 
Satanic JMajesty. It is very large, like the foot of 
a giant. Cerberus no doubt accompanied his mas- 
ter, for there are also dog's tracks in the rock. We 
never dreamed of disputing the truth of the tradi- 
tion, and even now we retain a degree of credence 
in what was, in our childhood, positive faith, so 
that a renewed pilgrimage to that famous region is 
a strictly performed function whenever we are any- 
where within reach of the locality. 

The once charming and hospitable mansion a 
little to the south of the Devil's Foot, w^as our 
constant attraction and frequent rest after our long 
tramp. There in our young days, dwelt some de- 
lightful literary old friends. The site was origin- 
ally where Haven's Tavern stood on the high road, 
a resort for travelers. 

Then the wheel of fortune brought a more gen- 
tle and gratuitous hospitality. Xow the place is 
wholly changed. Strangers occupy the premises. 
The beautiful nortli garden plot has run to grass. 

The moss roses that once peeped throiii>:h the picket 
fence no hjnger greet us as we pass ; the wealth of 
cultivated flowers is gone. 

But for immortal happy memories, it would be 
sad to traverse the old paths again. 

Coming back toward the village, not far from 
the Block House, on the opposite side, a few rods 
up Stony Lane, is a farm house, that once was 
white and thrifty in all its environments, and still 
bears a comfortable aspect. 

There lived Mr. Benjamin Smith, with his 
genial wife and their son and daughter, and a troop 
of merry grandchildren. 

Can we ever forget the sweet cordiality with 
which we were entertained, as, with empty tin 
pails, en route for berries, we unceremoniously be- 
sieged this delightful abode ? 

The dear old lady never failed in her genuine 
welcome, and the children were eager to join us in 
our raid upon the bushes not far away ; and when 
we were tired, after filling our pails, there was a 
feast of huckleberries and sweet new milk at the 
big table under the farm roof, and light rolls from 


the bake kettle, and ^'hearts" and ^^ronnds" that 
were the rnle for company in those days. 

I recall the cool, large room, Avith the mistress 
at her flax wheel, and the humming sound that was 
music to my ear. 

The place seemed so i-emoved from the outer 
world. The atmosphere was calm and peaceful. 
There was no seeking after fame or notoriety. The 
worthy people lived what some would call their un- 
eventful life, free from ostentation or display. 
Still, they wrought well their appointed tasks, and 
made their indelible impression ; and, though sleep- 
ing in their lowly graves on the old farm, they live 
in our grateful hearts. 

Southeast of the village lies Ilomogansett, the 
location of one of the summer residences of the 
^N'arragansett chieftains, and the place of their 
annual festivities. Within this Indian area is 
Duck Cove, once in possession of a practical farmer 
who utilized the acres for the production of such 
crops as would prove the most remunerative. 

Then it passed into the hands of a dear, silver- 
headed old gentleman, with a family whose a}s- 
thetic taste transformed it into a most charming 


abode with just cnougli of artificial culture and 
adonunent to make more ])roniinent the natural 
grace. The original dwelling, with slight addi- 
tions, stands where it always did, and is a pleasant 
feature in the landscape. From the front piazza 
one looks over a rocky, grassy slope, through forest 
trees to the sparkling water, and all around is rural 
and delightful. 

A fine mansion has been built near by, by Mr. 
Randall Greene, son-in-law of Judge Pitman ; and 
just beyond, in full view of the Bay, is the resi- 
dence of Mrs. Earle, one of whose sons married the 
Alice Morse whom I have quoted, the author of 
several interesting books on ^N'ew England, and of 
other worthy literature. Mr. Dyer, son-in-law of 
Mrs. Eandall Greene, has the ancient cottage and 
some of the Duck Cove land, where he has con- 
structed the Homogansett green-houses that per- 
fume the air with their blossoms. 

From the windows of Mrs. Greene's fine house 
there are varied views. Here are green lawns, 
thrifty vines, stalwart trees, and blooming shrubs. 
There, are glimpses of rippling water, or cool, dark 
pools, with the shadow of waving branches, and 

now and then glints of sunlight through the flutter- 
ing leaves. Then there is a sight of the village, 
and the Bay, and the charming coves making up in 
all directions. It is very delightful in this sub- 
urban retreat. 

I spent a hapj^y day there recently, and strolled 
with mv friend across a rustic bride-e that led to 
a point of land beyond the Cove, where the wild 
ducks like to brood. The sandy beach on that 
neck affords excellent bathing facilities, and the 
green knoll above the shore, is refreshing with 
aromatic shrubs and the sweet wild rose. We sat 
a long time in a sheltered spot in the quiet of that 
delicious June afternoon, talking and dreaming 
the precious hours away. 

Could it be that the braves, Canonicus, and 
Miantonomi, and Canonchet, had frequented these 
very haunts, and danced their war dances, and 
smoked the pipe of peace, and glided over the beau- 
tiful Bay in their birch canoes, and roamed the 
thick woods in the neighborhood, and here signed 
the treaties with the white settlers? 

Almost I expected to see the red men leap out 
from the thick bushes and avenge themselves for 

our intnision; but none came to disturb our per- 
fect calm. 

Many were sleeping calmly in their burial 
ground not far from the farm house, on the other 
side of the bridge ; and we went there to muse amid 
the rouffh head and foot stones that mark the 


My friend told me that one of her brothers, and 
my Uncle Doctor, and a certain Dominie, once ex- 
humed from this ground the skeleton of an Indian 
of unusual height, and from the care with which 
he had been embalmed in Indian fashion, they con- 
sidered him a man of consequence in his tribe, per- 
haps one of their chiefs. 

The skull was given to the Dominie, to take with 
him to his distant home. This, with other relics, 
was left over night with his luggage, standing un- 
guarded upon the depot platform. Thieves opened 
one of the packages, in hope of booty, when they 
were glared at by the ghastly Indian trophy, and 
were so terrified that they dropped the skull, and 
fled without gain. 

I saw at Duck Cove some of the eggs of a big 
turtle that had come from its watery haunts to 


make its nest in the hot, dry sand that would hatch 
for it its numerons progeny. 1'here were twelve 
pretty white globes already laid ; they were about 
an inch and a half in diameter. If the creature 
had accomplished only this small proportion of the 
three hundred to be deposited, it had yet quite a 
task before it. As it is said to take three occa- 
sions, at three weeks' intervals, laying one hundred 
eggs at each time, the presumption is that it had 
been suddenly disturbed. 

This was a large, fierce specimen, and had been 
previously captured, for there was upon its back 
a name and date. It snapped furiously at a stick, 
and though tied by strong cords, made its escape. 



Cbe Gilbert Stuart Place* 

Tins noted locality is about four miles to the 
southwest of the village. There still remains 
an unpretentious house, that was the birthplace of 
the celebrated artist. It is said that between the 
years 1716 and 1750, one Dr. Thomas Moffat, a 
Scotch physician of the Boerhaaven school, emi- 
grated from Great Britain, and settled in the ^'Gar- 
den of America," as Rhode Island is called by the 
historian, Collander. ^ot being able to succeed in 
his profession, he conceived the idea of cultivating 
tobacco and making snuff, to supply the great 
quantity that was imported every year from Glas- 
gow. As there was no man in this country skilled 
in the manufacture, he sent to Scotland and ob- 
tained a competent millwright, by the name of Gil- 

bert Stuart. Selecting for his mill a proj^er stream 
in Karragansett, the first snuff manufactory in 
New England was there erected. The Scotch citi- 
zen so prospered, that he soon inarried a very hand- 
some woman, the daughter of Captain John 
Anthony, a Welshman, who o^\aied a farm on 
Rhode Island near Newport, which he sold to Dean 

The Narragansett Church record makes this 
entry : 

^^April eleventh, 1756, being Palm Sunday, 
Doctor McSparran read, preached, and baptized a 
child named Gilbert Stuart, son of Gilbert Stuart 
the snuff grinder. Sureties, the Doctor himself, 
Mr. Benjamin Mumford, and Mrs. Hannah Mum- 

This child was destined to become one of our 
most noted artists, whose name and fame will sur- 
vive the centuries. 

^Tetters addressed in his after years to a friend, 
have the middle name Charles, but it is said that 
through fear of betraying his father's Jacobite 
principles, he dropped this part of his Christian 
name, and never used it in the days of his notori- 

ety. At tliirteen years of age the precocious youth 
began to copy pictures, and at length attempted 
likenesses in black lead/' 

Cosmo Alexander, a Scotch artist traveling in 
this country, was attracted by the ambitious lad's 
obvious talent, and gave him some valuable instruc- 
tion, afterwards taking him with him to Edin- 
burgh. The death of this patron soon occurring, 
young Stuart returned to iS'ewport, and there occu- 
pied himself with his art. Subsequently he spent 
some years in England, where for two years in 
London, he made little progress, and suffered 
greatly from poverty. Then he became acquainted 
with Benjamin West, in whose family he resided 
for several years, and from whom he received valu- 
able assistance. He soon rose to eminence as a 
portrait painter, rivaling Eeynolds and the best 
English artists of the day. 

Subsequently he lived in Dublin and Paris, and, 
in 1793, returned to end his days in his native land. 
It is said that as a painter of heads, he holds the 
first place among American artists, except Copley, 
and that his flesh coloring was very fine. His por- 
trait of Washington, which was his highest ambi- 

tioii, and which he painted in Philadelphia, has 
long been considered the standard likeness, and is 
the original of innumerable copies. The first 
study, together with a head of Mrs. Washington, 
is in possession of the Boston Athena3um. 

From Stuart's daughter Anne, we have some 
additional interesting items concerning her noted 
father's career. 

She says : "After he had struggled through a 
great deal, while in London, his pictures in the 
Royal Academy attracted the attention of some 
noblemen, and he was employed by all the most 
distinguished people. He then married Charlotte 
Coats, in the town of Reading, in the County of 
Berkshire, in England, after which he went to Ire- 
land for the purpose of painting the Duke of Rut- 
land, then Lord Lieutenant of that Kingdom. Un- 
f ortimately the duke suddenly died, and was buried 
on the very day of Stuart's arrival ; but the artist's 
fame had reached Dublin, and he lived there for 
some time in great splendor, and was sought, and 
fully employed, by the nobility. After his return 
to America, while he was absorbed in the j^ortrait 
of Washington, the Duke of Kent offered to send a 


slii}) of war to take him to Halifax, in order to 
paint his portrait, which proffer he declined. 

''When qnite young he had accomplished a like- 
ness of Sir Joshua Keynolds, which was consid- 
ered the finest ever painted. A few years previous 
to his death he was asked to paint a head of himself 
for the Academy of Florence, Italy, the greatest 
compliment ever paid to an American artist ; but 
he did not comply with the request, so little value 
did he set upon such honors. 

''He had twelve children, some of whom inher- 
ited his genius." 

The house in which he was born is still stand- 
ing. It has been somewhat transformed, though 
the bedroom where he first saw the light is left un- 
changed. On the south side, the building has two 
stories, and on the north, one story, the north sil] 
resting on the mill dam. The lower story was 
used as the snuif mill. The snuif mill has gone 
down and a grist mill has taken its place. The 
house is situated at the head of Petaquamscott, or 
Xarrow Kiver, about fifty rods above where the 
river empties into the pond. 

The location is picturesque and delightful, but 

very secluded. The old place is an object of curi- 
osity and interest to tourists, and parties from Xar- 
ragansett Pier, and all the adjacent summer re- 
sorts, make excursions to the "old snuff mill/' and 
row on the pleasant river. 

An enterprising individual recently purchased 
the premises, and dividing the attic into several 
rooms, and making some modern improvements on 
the main floor, intended to convert the house into 
a profitable boarding house, or a wayside cafe. 
During the progress of alterations, however, he had 
a quarrel with one of the workmen, whom he shot 
and killed; thus ending his own proposed career, 
and securing for himself a prison, if not the death 

It is but lately that I stepped over the threshold 
of the simple room where Gilbert Stuart was born. 
The heavy old wooden door was still hanging upon 
its original hinges, and a sort of sacredness pos- 
sessed the little place where the famous son of the 
snuff grinder drew his first breath. Outside the 
house, a wooden platform was built over the mill 
dam, to the very trunk of the ancient willow on the 
bank of the stream. I stood and listened to the 


musical How of tlic water, and dreamed of the 
promisiiig little artist playing under the graceful 
tree, or busy in his crude efforts to improve the 
genius that would have expression. 

About tw^o years before his death, Gilbert Stuart 
visited the home of his nativity, and spoke of the 
old willow as "quite small'' when he was a boy, and 
of the northeast bedroom on the ground floor, as the 
place in which his mother told him he was born. 

"'^liss Jane Stuart, the youngest daughter of the 
artist, was a portrait and landscape painter of de- 
serA^ed celebrity. Her copies of her father's Wash- 
ington are executed with truthful fidelity. The 
originals were taken by him at the request of the 
Legislature of Ehode Island, and conspicuously 
placed in the Senate Chamber of the State House 
at ^ew^port." 

As everything relating to the family of a noted 
individual is of interest to later generations, it may 
not be amiss to record that in the beginning of the 
Revolutionary struggle, Stuart's father emigrated 
from ^N'ewport, Ehode Island, to ^N'ew^wrt, 'Nova, 
Scotia, leaving his family to follow him at their 


Mrs. Stuart preferred a petition to the General 
Assembly, for liberty to join her husband, stating 
that he was possessed of a tract of land in the town- 
ship of jSTewport, ISToya Scotia, under improyement, 
and that as he could not maintain his family in the 
Colony, and purposed to remain on his 'Novsi Scotia 
farm, her wish and her duty was to go to him. She 
expressed herself as ^'willing to giye the amplest 
security that nothing but the wearing apparel and 
household furniture of the family, and necessary 
proyision for the yoyage, should be carried with her 
and her family." 

The Assembly yoted ''that the prayer of this 
petitioner be granted, and that the sloop Boss be 
permitted to sail under the ins^^ection of Messrs. 
John Collins and Dayid Seers of I^ewport in this 
Colony, or either of them." 

Here we lose sight of the old people. 

The artist's son, Charles, who died at the age of 
tAventy-six, was a landscape painter of promise. 

Gilbert Charles Stuart died in Boston, July, 
1828, aged seyenty-two. 

The tragedy that shocked the whole neighbor- 
hood of the Stuart house, has cast a pall that cannot 


easily be removed. On my last recent visit I was 
impressed as by a ghostly presence. The mill pond 
was quiet ; the wheels were still. The old willow 
droojDed over the water in silent reflection. The 
only signs of life were two little children, some 
dogs, and a brood of chickens scratching in the 
gravel before the house door. Some flat bottomed 
boats Avere moored to the little bridge that spanned 
the pond. It might have been made such a pleas- 
anf retreat. By its rural environments it is well 
fitted to attract the lovers of nature. 

It is a sad pity that the ungoverned passions of 
men can so change what should be the scene of joy 
and peace ! 



Cbe Old eburcb. 

SITUATED on a green and retired spot at the 
end of a lane that is fast becoming an inhab- 
ited street of our Venice, standing solitary and 
comparatively useless, is a rustic and venerable 
building that bears, both within and without, the 
evident marks of old age. Nearly two hundred 
years ago it was built upon another foundation, 
about five miles from its present site, the land being 
given by Lodowick Updyke, who was born in 1646. 
Driving from Wickford to the southwest, through 
Allenton, along the Ridge Hill road, we pass 
Pentazekias Corner, and soon come to a spot that 
now seems desolate indeed. The present isolation 
from all signs of human habitation might well lead 
us to wonder at the choice of this locality for a 


place of Divine worship, but for our knowledge of 
the condition of things in this part of Narragansett 
in tlie early colonial times. There were then scat- 
tered over South Kingstown and Boston Neck, and 
the region round about, large landed proprietors, 
with their fine houses, and many slaves and de- 
pendents; and a church in this spot was equi- 
distant from most of the congregation. Prior to 
its erection, the English Churchmen settled in this 
pai^t of the country, worshipped in private houses. 
Earnestly desiring positive and stated priestly 
offices, and a holy temple for the worship of Al- 
mighty God, they applied to the Bishop of London 
for a clergyman. 

The Kev. Christopher Bridge was transferred 
from King's Chapel, Boston, then an Episcopal 
church, and became, in 1706, the regular incum- 
bent of St. Paul's, Xarragansett. It is said to have 
been under his rectorship that the church was built 
in 1707, by the voluntary contributions of the peo- 
ple. The records of the time speak of it as ^'a 
timber building, commodiously situated for those 
who generally attend divine service. It is distant 
from Providence, the nearest church, twenty-seven 


miles/' It was a plain, oblong structure, with 
curved ceiling; many windows, some of them 
arched, and all with innumerable small panes of 
glass. A Avide gallery was added, in 1723, on the 
front and two sides, with six round, substantial 
pillars upholding it. There was an old-fashioned 
Avine-glass pulpit, with reading desk below. The 
chancel and altar w^ere in the east, apart from the 
place of Common Prayer and preaching. Square 
box pews surrounded the sides, and Avere in the 
center. A broad double door of entrance was in 
front, and a smaller one on the west. There was 
originally no tower nor spire. Access to the gal- 
leries was by stairs leading from the main floor. 

To the people of the present day, the obstacles to 
Avorship in that church of nearly two centuries ago, 
Avould seem insurmountable. Far removed from 
the residences ; no communication except by ''drift- 
ways" or cattle paths, through the different planta- 
tions; no luxurious carriages; only the horseback 
rides to and fro, Avhatever the state of the weather ; 
nothing but heated soapstones, or little tin foot- 
stoves, with live coals, to make the frigid tempera- 
ture in winter endurable. Who among us would 


often brave such discomforts in ordcjr to reach the 
House of God ? 

Despite these drawbacks, we may be certain that 
in those times of sterling faith and unwavering 
principle, the sacred duty of Sunday observance 
was strictly performed, and that absence from any 
religious service was rather the exception than the 

I can imagine its being very delightful on a 
bright summer day, to mount a fine steed, and on a 
pillion behind an "old school" gentleman, with an 
attendant servant to open the gates or let dow^n 
the bars, traverse the rich domains of old Karra- 
gansett. ITpdyke's and Channing's pictures of 
that age and country, with the courtly manners, the 
rich costumes, and superior culture, and broad 
hospitality, are most enticing and attractive. 

Perhaps distance lends enchantment. But there 
can be no glamour over that old time getting to 
church, amid sleet and snow^, and the pinching 
ordeal as the congregation sat to hear the long ser- 
mon, while the mercury was many degrees below 

The Kev. Islr. Bridge, the iirst regular rector of 

St. Paul's, is spoken of as ^^a religious and wortliy 
man, a very good scholar, and a fine, grave 
preacher. His performances in the pulpit were 
solid, judicious, and profitable. His conversation 
was agreeable and improving. Though a strict 
Churchman in his principles, yet he was of great 
respect and charity to dissenters, and much es- 
teemed b}^ them. He was bred at the University 
of Cambridge, England." 

He did not remain long in ^arragansett, but re- 
moved to Rye, ^ew York, where he died in 1719. 

In 1717, the Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel in Foreign Parts sent the Rev. William 
Guy as missionary over the ^^arragansett parish. 
He had been laboring in Charleston, South Caro- 
lina, and at St. Helen's, Port Royal, "the whole na- 
tion of the Yammosee Indians being included in 
his cure." 

After tlie desolation of his parish by the Indian 
war of 1715, he was sent to l^arragansett at a sal- 
ary of seventy pounds. 

"Pie entered upon his new mission with much 
zeal. The members of the Church of England re- 
ceived him with tokens of joy. They presently pro- 


vided him wltli a convenient lumse, and Lecanse it 
was at some distance from the clmrch, they pre- 
sented him with a horse, and in many ways showed 
marks of their favor. He was well respected by 
the people, and several who lived regardless of all 
religions before he came, began to be constant at- 
tendants at Divine Worship." 

In 1719 he returned to St. Andrew's Church, 
Charleston, where he died in 1751, after an excel- 
lent work among his people. 

In April, 1721, the Kev. James McSparran ar- 
rived from England, and took charge of St. Paul's, 
Karragansett, which had for several years been de- 
pendent upon the occasional ministrations of the 
Rev. Mr. Honeyman, rector of Trinity Church, 

As Updyke's Narmgansett Church gives no ac- 
count of Mr. McSparran's antecedents on this side 
of the Atlantic, I copy what I have gathered from 
Munroe's History of Bristol and also from the re- 
searches of the late Mr. George Jones of Phila- 
delphia, w^ho had personal access to reliable records 
in the First Congregational Church in Bristol, 
Rhode Island. 


^'In 1718, a Yoiing man of Scotch-Irish parent- 
age, and bearing credentials of a Licentiate of the 
Presbytery of Scotland, and who had but lately 
landed in Boston, came to visit a relative in 
Bristol. The pnlpit of the First Church at that 
time being vacant, he was requested to preach, 
which he did the next Sunday. His wonderful 
oratory made such an impression upon his hearers 
that he was invited by a vote of 73 out of 76 to be- 
come their pastor. He accepted, and one hundred 
pounds were voted for his salary, and the same 
amount toward the expenses of his settlement. 

''Tor a short time all went well, but after awhile 
some reports began to be spread about, derogatory 
to his character and conduct. An angry partisan- 
ship arose, some believing the stories, and others 
having implicit faith in their pastor." 

"Xo records of the charges against Mr. Mc- 
Sparran have been preserved," says one writer. 

^'i^othing but 'unguarded conversation' was ever 
charged against his life in this town," adds another. 
''Committees were raised, the rumors thor- 
oughly investigated, and the result was favorable 
to Mr. McSparran. He continued to preach with 


eloquence and great power, and his Christian life 
and deportment were satisfactory. 

''Then his credentials, as a Licentiate, were 
questioned. He proposed to return to the old 
country and obtain undoubted ratification of his 
papers and license. The town voted and resolved, 
Hhat leave be given to Mr. McSparran, our Minis- 
ter, to take a voyage to England or Ireland, in 
order to procure a confirmation of his credentials, 
the' truth of Avhich being by some questioned, and 
that he return to us again some time in June next 
ensuing, and proceed in ye work of ye ministry, if 
he procure ye confirmation of ye aforesaid creden- 
tials.' He sailed; the date of his embarkation is 
not given. 

'^On the 20th of June the town had heard noth- 
ing of the absentee, and voted to await his return 
until the following September." 

The Manual of the First Church says, ^"This 
period also passed without his return, or any report 
from him, and the town was then ready to cooper- 
ate with the Church in securing another pastor." 

Mr. Munroe continues : ^^But Mr. McSparran 
never came back to the Congregational Church. 


Either npon the long voyage^ or while he was in 
England, a change came over his ecclesiastical 
views. Perhaps the treatment he had received at 
the hands of the Massachusetts ministers, may 
have led him to question the truth of the religions 
dogmas held by them." 

On the 21st of August, 1720, he was admitted 
to deacon's orders in the Church of England, by the 
Bishop of London. On the 25th of September, he 
was ordained to the priesthood by the Archbishop 
of Canterbury, and on October 23rd, was com- 
missioned a Missionary to the Province of New 
England. He shortly after re-crossed the Atlantic 
as the Missionary of the Society for the Propaga- 
tion of the Gospel in Eoreign Parts, to Xarragan- 
sett, in 'New England, "who is to officiate in 
Bristol, Freetown, Swanzy, and Little Compton, 
where there are many people, members of the 
Church of England, destitute of a minister." 

Munroe says : '^The result of this action of 
Mr. McSparran was the formation in Bristol, of 
St. Michael's Church. People who had clung 
to him closely in liis time of trial were naturally 
influenced. The establishment of St. Michael's 

by liis instrumentality made his opponents still 
more bitter^ and tlie pecnliar circnmstances made 
the relations between the Congregationalists and 
the Episcopalians more nnpleasant." 

Mr. Bnrt says of Nathaniel Cotton, the third 
pastor of the Congregational Clinrch, ^^he went 
throngh a world of trouble with the Church party." 

The town records contain many protests from 
the Church of England against what were termed 
"the lm just and intolerant actions of the CouPTCffa- 

To one conversant with the religious history of 
the Colonial period, it cannot seem singular that 
Jh\ McSparran had sufficiently experienced the 
strict and unreasonable notions of the Puritans of 
that time, and that he was led by their exactions 
and intolerance, to such reflection and study as 
made his transfer to the "Catholic and Apostolic 
Church" a matter of principle as well as choice. 

His America Dissected abounds in expressions 
that prove his acquaintance with the religious con- 
fusion of the various sects, to have been the school 
to bring him to a settled Eaith. 

Speaking of the "Brownists," he says of their 

organization and leader : ''A young clergyman of 
fire and zeal over-proportionate to his discretion, 
drew the first dissenting disciple after him, who, 
though he boasted he had been in every prison in 
England for conscience' sake, yet when he cooled 
and came into the Church again, by a recantation, 
he found it easier to mislead, than to induce his 
followers to find the right road again." 

He also quotes from Hutchinson : '^By a letter 
dated from on board ship Arabella, in Plymouth 
Harbor in England, begging the prayers and the 
blessings of the Bishop and clergy of England, 
these Massachusetts Puritans disclaim any design 
of separating from the Church of England, avow- 
ing their intention to be only a secession in point 
of place, but no departure from doctrines or wor- 
ship. Xotwithstanding that pretence, they were 
no sooner settled in their new habitations than 
their old unopened purposes appeared. The Com- 
mon Prayer was outvoted, and extempore prayer, 
then called the new way, was preferred to the old 
Liturgic method of worship. From this time they 
who clamored so loud against persecution, and the 
measures taken in England to exact uniformity, 


imniedicitely inacle a law that nunc slionld be free 
of their jurivsdiction, or capable of the privileges of 
their Xew Colony, but such as were members, that 
is in their sense, actual conmiunicants in their new 
modeled churches. Many Churchmen and some 
Anabaptists who accompanied them in their em- 
barkation, expecting to meet Avith no molestation 
on account of their principles and way of worship, 
expressed their dissatisfaction, and refused sub- 
mission to their law. Whereupon they were first 
disfranchised, and an actual sentence of banish- 
ment pronounced against them unless they submit- 
ted by a short and certain day." 

Whatever may have caused Dr. McSparran to 
leave the ranks of the Dissenters, and attach him- 
self to the old Historic Church, he clung from this 
time forward with zealous tenacity to her doctrine 
and fellowship, and strove to win others to a sim- 
ilar devotion. Soon after his settlement in St. 
Paul's he was united in wedlock to Hannah, daugh- 
ter of William Gardiner of Boston Xeck, Xarra- 

In the Blessed Virgin month, while the fresh 
spring fragrance of apple l)lossoms and violets 

made delicious the air, the good Doctor led his 
American bride to the altar, where the Rev. Mr. 
Honeyman made of the twain one flesh. 

Mrs. McSparran's portrait presents a beantifnl 
and attractive woman, with large, dark, expressive 
eyes, wavy hair, a plump face, and a graceful 

Long previous to Dr. McSparran's coming to 
dwell in the JsTarragansett country, the Chief 
Sachems, in 1657, had sold to seven purchasers, 
for sixteen pounds, a large tract of land, fifteen 
miles long and six or seven broad. In 1668, a 
majority of these purchasers set apart three hun- 
dred acres of the best of this possession to be for- 
ever and as an encouragement, the income and im- 
provement thereof wholly for an ''orthodox per- 
son" that shall be obtained to preach God's word to 
the inhabitants. 

Potter says, in his history of A^arragansett, "It 
would seem that no deed or more formal convey- 
ance Avas ever made. It was surveyed and platted 
and the words ^to the Ministry' entered in tlie 

From the names of the purchasers one might 

judge the gift as designed for the support of the 
Church of Enghiud, in the Narragansett country, 
but in this new huid the term ^'Orthodox" was 
capable of a broad interpretation, and after long 
years of dispute between Episcopalians and Pres- 
byterians, over the legacy, singular to say, it was 
by British Judgment given to the Congregational 
Church at Kingstown, Rhode Island. 

The Rev. Dr. McSparran, desiring a settled 
residence, with an eye to the remarkable beauty of 
a most charming locality, purchased land and built 
a house at the foot of a high hill, that has ever since 
been called by his name. 

Whoever stands near the old ''Glebe," and casts 
his glance on all sides, must be delighted with the 
variety and grandeur. 

On the west rises a double range of hills, run- 
ning for some distance north and south, and pre- 
senting a rugged yet pleasant aspect. The eastern 
vicAV embraces broad meadows, leading down to the 
Petaquamscutt River, which has its source some- 
where near the Gilbert Stuart place in :N"orth 
Kingstown, and pursues its way south for miles, 
emptying finally into the Atlantic Ocean. 

It is a brackish stream, subject in its lower 
course to the salt tides that give volume and pic- 
turesqueness. In some of its southern variations 
it is broad and deep, but in the more northern local- 
ities it deserves the name ]^arrow Kiver. Trees 
and shrubs skirt its banks in many places, making 
it sylvan and beautiful. 

Beyond it, on the west, lies Boston ^N'eck, with 
its rich and fertile tract, shining green between the 
river and ^arragansett Bay, over the blue Avaters 
of which is Canonicut, and beyond this the Harbor 
of Newport, and the city looming up, with its 
roofs, and spires, and shipping, in perfect clear- 
ness. Away to the southeast, the grand Atlantic 
swells and foams in the far distance, yet is dis- 
tinctly visible from the upper rooms of the Glebe, 
and from the summit of the hills. 

In this choice spot, where Dr. McSparran fixed 
his habitation, there was rare enjoyment, not only 
of a superb nature, but also of tlie many congenial 
neighbors and the gifted friends who came from 
I^eAvport and Boston, and even from Virginia, to 
share the free hospitality of the Colonial families 
of !N^arragansett. 


The Honorable Wilkiiis U[)dyke lias left such 
vivid descriptions of the manners and customs of 
that time, and that h^calitv, that all subsequent 
records are but quotations from his graphic pen. 

Still it is not amiss to avail one's self of his re- 
search, and thus give interest to this book. 

The extent of individual possessions before the 
American Revolution, was so entirely different 
from the farmers' ownership of the present dav, 
that it seems to us fabulous. Plantations five, six, 
and ten miles square; thirty, forty or fifty cows; 
as many as a hundred horses ; from four or five 
hundred to a thousand sheep ; twenty or thirty or 
fifty slaves; these would constitute a marvelous 
estate in this our age. But the Hazards and Rob- 
insons, and Gardiners, and Stantons, and others of 
like celebrity, improved thousands of acres, and 
exported rich produce from herd and field and 
dairy, lading vessels with horses, and calves, and 
fatted bullocks, and grain, and butter and cheese. 

Besides this export from the home yield, much 
Avool and flax Ave re manufactured for the large 
households, Avhich sometimes numbered seventy or 
more in parlor and kitchen. 


The intellectual status of the society of Xarra- 
gansett was superior. The Browns, and Potters, 
and Brentons, and TTpdykes, and Babcocks, with 
their peers, owned large and valuable libraries and 
fine paintings. The Eev. Dr. McSparran pos- 
sessed many rare classical volumes, and was highly 
educated, and graduated in the University of Glas- 
gow, and received Avorthy testimonials of character 
and learning, from William, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, and from John of Tx)ndon, in his letter mis- 

''Into his family he took young gentleman stu- 
dents, as was the usage of the times among clergy- 
men. Thomas Clapp, the efficient President of 
Yale College, completed his education under him." 

The Doctor must have been a man of Herculean 
strength of mind and body, to accomplish all that 
was demanded of him in his social, sacred, and 
other duties. His parish seemed to have no 
bounds, for we read of ministerial functions exer- 
cised in Warwick, and Coeset, which was a part of 
Warwick, in Freetown, Swanzy, Little Compton, 
Canonicut, and wherever opportunity called, ''in 
several corners of Xarragansett." 

Of himself lie writes in his America Dissected: 
'*By my exertions and ont labors, is bnilt twenty- 
hve miles to the westward of me, AVesterly Church, 
but not now under my care. Another sixteen miles 
to the northward of me, where I officiate once a 
month, the Warwick Church; and at a place six 
miles farther off, on the Saturday before that 
monthly Sunday, I gathered a congregation at a 
place called l^e^v Bristol, where now officiates a 
missionary from the Society, and I was the first 
Episcopal minister that ever preached at Provi- 
dence, where for a long time I used to go four times 
a year. That Church has now a fixed missionary 
of its own. I took notice before of my labors at 
Xew London in Connecticut, and w^ould to God I 
could boast of more success ! But toil and travel 
have put me beyond my best, and if I am not re- 
warded with a little rest in Europe, where my de- 
sires are, I have strong hopes of infinitely desirable 
rest from my labors, in those celestial mansions 
prepared by my dear Kedeemer." 

The Westerly Church spoken of in this letter, 
was built on a lot of land given for that purpose by 
George Ninigret, Chief Sachem of the I^Tarragan- 


sett Indians. It joined the Clianiplin farm, and 
when the chnreh went down, was held by them in 

It Avas on the Charlestown side when the tovm 
of Westerly was divided, and must not be confused 
with the present church in Westerly. 

Dr. McSparran wrote, in 1752, of his clerical 
efforts, when he had been for thirty years in Narra- 

He was a staunch Churchman and earnestly de- 
sired the unity of all Christian bodies. His 
dictum was, ''But for the prejudice of education, 
the separation our fathers made had been long ere 
now healed up by their sons." 

His family ties were exceedingly tender and 
affectionate. These were destined to be suddenly 

In London, where he was on a visit with his 
wife, on the twenty-fourth of June, 1755, Mrs. 
McSparran died of small pox, and was interred on 
the twenty-fifth in the Broadway Chapel burying 

The Church record says: "Wm. Graves 
preached the funeral sermon and buried her. 

(pp. r38'139.) 

Brioadier General Samuel Waldo, Christopher 
Hilly, Esq., Mr. Jonathan Barnard, all three New 
England men; and George Watnumgh, an Eng- 
lishman, were her pall-bearers. Dr. ]\lcSparran 
and Dr. Gardiner's son John, were the mourners. 
The corpse was carried in a hearse drawn by six 
horses, and there were two mourning coaches, one 
for the bearers, the other for the mourners. She 
• was the most pious of women, and died, as she 
deserved to be, much lamented." 

I copy from a letter of Mr. Daniel Berkeley 
Updike to the Khode Island Historical Society, 
the following interesting account concerning Mrs. 
McSparran's burial place : 

''When in London in the summer of l^SC), T 
determined to find her grave if possible. It will 
be noticed that the entry in the records of St. 
Paul's, states that Mrs. McSparran was buried in 
Broadway Chapel Burying Yard, in Westminster. 
I was unable to find any church of that name in 
the district of Westminster, but, after some uncer- 
tain search, in the neighborhood in which I was 
told Broadway was, I noticed a street named Great 
Chapel Street. Thinking this name might prove 


a clue, I followed the street until I came to a mod- 
ern Gothic church of considerable size, on the cor- 
ner of Great Chapel Street and Little Chapel 
Street, the grave yard being bounded on the south 
by the well-knowTi thoroughfare of Victoria Street, 
that portion of which, I subsequently found, was 
formerly called The Broadway. 

"Calling on the Vicar, the Eev. F. K. x\glionby, 
I ascertained that it occupied the site of a church 
formerly known as the New Chapel in Tothill 
Fields, the Broadway Westminster, founded in 
1631 as a chapel of ease to St. Margaret's, West- 
minster, in which parish it was, by Dr. Durrell, 
Prebendary of AVestminster. 

"The bequest of the founder proving insufficient 
to complete the chapel, a public subscription was 
opened, to which Archbishop Laud contributed 
one thousand pounds. The groimd around the 
chapel was consecrated as an additional burial 
ground for the mother parish, and all rights of 
registration and fees were reserved to the incum- 
bent of St. Margaret's. 

"The chapel, before it acquired the status of a 
District Church, was served by a chaplain elected 

by the vestry. The most eminent of the chaplains 
Avere Dr. George Smallridge, Bishop of Bristol, 
and William Romaine, anthor of The Life of 
Faith, and The Walk of Faith. 

^^The present chnrcli is within the parish of St. 
Margaret, and is distant from the mother church, 
and from Westminster Abbey, about a quarter of 
a mile. 

^'Mr. Aglionby kindly gave me permission to 
inspect the grave yard (which is not accessible to 
the public), as well as to see the interior of the 
church itself, after the w^eekly services, as the 
aisles contain many memorial stones. 

^^Accordingly I spent, later, some time in exam- 
ining the stones in the church yard (now disused 
but exceedingly w^ell cared for) before proceeding 
to the church. 

^^After a short search I was rewarded by finding 
a flat stone, a parallelogram in shape, with the 
following inscription, which I give precisely as it 
now stands : 

'* 'Here lyes 

Hannah McSparran 

Wife of the Rev. 

Dr. McSparran 

of New England. 

Who died June ( ) 4th, 17 ( ) 

in the ( ) year of her A( ),'" 


'''The stone is exceedingly defaced by wind and 

-'As one enters the path of approach to the 
church, from Victoria Street, it lies on the left 
hand side, about fifty paces along the path from 
the street, and perhaps six feet on the left of the 
path itself. 

"A map on a large scale, which includes Christ 
Cliurch and its immediate neighborhood, gives 
almost exactly the position of this grave. A copy 
of this map is in possession of the Rhode Island 
Historical Society. 

''I am happy to say that during a few days' 
stay in London in ^November, 1887, I again saw 
the Vicar, who kindly gave me permission to have 
the inscription on this stone re-cut, and rehabili- 
. tated as far as is possible. This I hope to do, and 
thus preserve a few years longer the memorial of 
the resting place of a kinswoman and a daughter of 

'-Boston, April 30th, 1889." 

It was a bitter home-coming of the good old 
Doctor, after laying his wife in her lowly bed in 
the far-off land. We may well believe that the 


Glebe house was a lonesome dwelling without the 
gentle presence that had for so many years 
blessed it. 

Sorrowful, and bowed down by his great loss, 
the Rector of St. Paul's became seriously affected 
in his health, yet faithfully pursued his clerical 
duties. It was while ministering during the win- 
ter, to the people of Providence and Warwick, that 
he took a severe cold which proved fatal. He died 
of quinsy, in " his house in South Kingstown, 
December 1st, 1757, and was buried under the 
Communion Table of St. Paul's, I^arragansett, on 
the 6th of December. 

^'The Rev. Mr. Usher, of Bristol, read the ser- 
vice, and the Rev. Mr. Pollen, of Xe\\q^)ort, 
preached the funeral sermon. The pall-bearers 
were the Rev. Messrs. Pollen and Learning of New- 
port ; Rev. Matthew Graves of New London ; Rev. 
!Mr. Leaming of Providence; and Messrs. Eben- 
ezer Brenton and John Case, Church Wardens. 
There were rings with mourning words, and gloves, 
• given to the pall-bearers." 

Dr. McSparran died in his chair. A descrip- 
tion of this relic may be of interest : 


"After the Rev. Doctor's death, his goods were 
sold at vendue. The chair that he died in was 
bid off by (^Wickman') John Hazard. It was 
very handsome, and was placed by Mr. Hazard in 
his best room. A feeling of superstition sent the 
chair to the garret. When Mr. Hazard removed 
to Westerly, the chair was left in the old house 
and somebody appropriated it. It had a very 
high back with top rolled over and ornamented, 
arms also ornamented. Seat rolled under in 
front, fore-legs in imitation of lion's paws ; natural, 
dark hard-wood; no leather or other covering." 

If it could be found, it would be well to secure 
it for the Providence or ^^TcAvport Historical 

Mr. Wilkins Updike, in a Memorandum en- 
titled Reminiscences, speaks of an accident that 
was supposed to hasten Dr. McSparran's death. 
It seems that on his way home from some minis- 
terial function, he stopped for the night at tlie 
"Updike Mansion," or old Block House. "At 
family prayers, when about to kneel down, he 
rested one hand for support on a mahogany table, 
which gave way and he fell, hitting his head and 


causing the blood to flow. He proceeded in his 
devotions, and then suffered the wound to be cared 
for, and the next day went home, where he was 
taken ill, and only lived for a few days." 

There is, however, no doubt that the virulent 
throat trouble was the immediate cause of his 

The Dominie was wont, on long journeys about 
the country, to carry with him the conveniences 
for making a good cup of coffee, of which he was 
very fond, and which refreshment was needful for 
him after great fatigue. 

Mr. Daniel Berkeley Updike says ^'his odd lit- 
tle inlaid coffee-mill still remains in our family." 

I found somewhere this description: '^It is 
about six inches in height and is in the form of a 
hollow cylinder of brass, standing on a box con- 
taining a drawer, into which the coffee falls after 
being ground. The top of the cylinder is fitted 
with a crank turning at right angles to it, and 
attached to a corrugated shaft, between which and 
the cylinder the berry is crushed. The wood- 
w^ork of the mill is black walnut." 

In his will Dr. McSparran '^devised his farm 

for the use and support of a Et. Eev. Diocesan, if 
one should be sent over to America, whose juris- 
diction should include the >Tarragansett country, 
provided he came within the term of seven years 
after Mrs. McSparran's death. Otherwise the 
estate to be divided between his nephew, James 
McSparran, and Mrs. McSparran's brother, Dr. 
Sylvester Gardiner, of Boston." 

Xo Bishop appearing within the specified time, 
the other devisees obtained the legacy, which they 
subsequently sold to the parish of St. Paul's ''for a 
Glebe, for the perpetual benefit of St. Paul's 
Church forever; Dr. Gardiner generously donat- 
ino' one hundred dollars from his share. Messrs. 
Willets, Case, and Brown, of the Parish, are also 
said to have given as much as two hundred and 
fifty dollars each, toward the purchase." 

Dr. McSparran had, in his will, given ''a con- 
venient spot of groimd on the nortliAvest corner of 
his land, for a church and a burial place, if need 
should hereafter require," but the necessity never 
occurring, the provision was not accepted. 

What became of his books and manuscripts I 
do not know, excepting that a diary has recently 



(pp. 146-147.) 

come to light, and has been promised to the world, 
by the Providence Historical Society, which has 
it in custody. 

This Diary has lately been published (1900). 

His America Dissected was printed in Dublin, 
before his last visit to his native land. It is a 
graphic account of the American Colonies at the 
time of his residence in the E^arragansett country, 
and is of value as a rare and correct description. 
I have never seen it elsewhere than as an Appendix 
to the History of the Narragansett Church, which 
is a subscription book, and has long been out of 

A portrait of Dr. McSparran by Smibert rep- 
resents him as a full-faced, full-bodied, genial man, 
with clear, earnest eyes, and mouth expressive of 
great sweetness. His broad, high forehead beams 
out from under a curled wig. He wears the black 
scholastic gown, white neckerchief, and sheer 
linen-cambric bands, and his whole appearance in- 
dicates a cheerful, happy nature. 

From a time-worn parchment-covered ^^Record 
Book" belonging to St. Paul's, :^arragansett, 1720, 


I copy some quaint entries during the ministry of 
this incumbent. 

''May 29, 1723. Agreed with Thomas Peck- 
ham, Sr., to lathe and plaster the church, and sd. 
Peckham is to have six £3 and 4d. for overhead 
and rainging, finding sd. Peckham materials in 
place, and sd. Peckham finding himself, and vic- 
tuals, drink, washing and lodging, and sd. employ- 
ers to find laborers to make mortar, and find sd. 


^^And further, sd. Peckham is to assist sd. la- 
borers in their w^ork, and ye sd. Peckham is to be 
allowed for it. Voted likewise that a subscrip- 
tion be presented to all well-disposed persons, to 
obtain their charitable benefaction to defray the 
charges that will accrue in the building of the gal- 
leries and other necessary repairs in the church. '^ 

''On Saturday, the 15th of June, 1723, we had 
the melancholy news of ye death of ye Right 
Reverend ye Lord Bishop of London. May God 
Almighty direct his Majesty in the choice of his 
successor, yt may befriend ye cause of these Amer- 
ican churches." 

''July ye 5th, 1723. We had ye news of the 

translation of the liii»-lit Kevorencl Father in God, 
Dr. Edmond Gibson, from the See of London, in 
the room of Dr. Jno. Kobinson, deceased, and a 
gratulatory letter sent him by the minister and 
vestry at Narragansett, August ye 5th, 1723." 

''July 31st, 1723. Dyed very suddenly, Moses 
Parr, the first sexton of the Church of St. Paul's, 
and was interred August ye 5th." 

1724. ''School teacher sanctioned by S. P. G., 
London, for Karragansett, at the annual stipend 
from the Society, £10, and he was to teach gratis, 
such and so many, and no other children, as shall 
be recommended by, and have a full certificate 
from ye minister, or incumbent for ye time being, 
yt such child or children are proper objects of the 
Society's charity." 

"April 20, 1741. Voted that the ministerial 
salary be henceforth paid by contribution, and that 
the contribution be collected by the Church war- 
dens, or their assistants, in the same manner it is 
done at ^Newport Church, that is to say by carry- 
ing the box from pew to pew." 

"On the 12th of July, in the church in Coeset 
(alias Warwick), and on the 19th at St. Paul's, 

Xarragansett, was read liis Majesty's order for 
the form of prayer to be used, for the Royal fam- 
ily, viz't — ^so far as relates to adding the clause, 
Hhe issue of the Prince and Princess of Wales/ 
by me, James McSparran." 

"At the Church of St. Paul, Sunday, the 24th 
of November, 1751, after divine service, ye gentle- 
men of ye vestry of said congregation stayed, and 
considered the complaint of ye Reverend Dr. 
McSparran, Pastor of this church, setting forth 
that he is greatly aggrieved, and bro't under op- 
pression by the Assessors, or Rate Makers of South 
Kingstown, within said Dr.'s Cure. After consid- 
ering that matter in all its circumstances, they 
came to the following resolution, and vote : 

"First they humbly apprehend that it never 
was the intent of ye Legislators of this Colony to 
consider Clergymen as taxable inhabitants, thai 
therefore the voting said gentleman, contrary tc> 
the general custom of I^ew England in such cases, 
and without any express law to the purpose, is a 
piece of undeserved disrespect to him, and in him 
to every man and meniber of the Church of Eng- 
land in this Colony. And they think it their duty 


to abet his cause, as far as in justice tliey may, and 
aid him in obtaining that exemption from taxes, 
servile, civil, and other duties which they consider 
him entitled to, in virtue of his high and holy 
office ; But — 

^'Secondly, as they profess themselves disciples 
of Christ, the Prince of Peace, and would desire an 
amicable end to be put to this vexatious affair, it 
was voted that Messrs. Jno. Case, Esq., Mr. Chris- 
topher Phillips, Mr. Jno. Gardiner, and Mr. Sam- 
uel Browne, should write to the Assessors, and 
desire them to call in and re-consider that Kate 
Bill, and either generously (as they apprehend 
they ought to do) expimge and erase said Doctor's 
name and Kate, or, at least, order their Collector 
to forbear either distraining goods, or imprisoning 
the person of the said Doctor, until an opportunity 
afford of knowing the mind of ye Legislature in 
that matter, and a letter was wrote, and signed 
by these four gentlemen according to ye purpose of 
the above resolution." 

At February Sessions in Providence, 1769, 12 
years after the death of Dr. JMcSparran, it was 
voted that ''all lands or other real estates, granted 


or purchased for religious uses^ or for other uses 
of schools within this Colony, be, and the same are 
hereby exempted from taxation." 


H ^ '^ M"^l 

1|- 'm I ^\^, £ 

Before the Steeple Blew Down. (pp. 15:2-153.) 

new Tticuttibetit$* 

THE Eev. Samuel FayerweatKer was appointed, 
by the S. P. G., as successor to Dr. McSparran, 
and opened his mission xingust 24, 1760. More 
than two years had elapsed since the decease of the 
former Rector, and the Parish had only infrequent 
ministrations. It was with great joy that the 
people hailed the newcomer. 

"The Society offered £50 salary per annum, 
with the condition that St. Paul's Parish should 
provide £20 and a suitable Glebe, as it promised 
to do." 

"Mr. Fayerweather Avas a native of Boston, 
Mass. He was graduated from Harvard College 
in 1743. Was ordained a Congregational min- 
ister, and was settled over the Second Congrega- 


tional Church in IN'ewport in 1754. He went to 
England, where he was ordained Presbyter in the 
Episcopal Church in 1750. The degree of Master 
of Arts was conferred upon him by the University 
of Oxford, the same year." 

He found St. Paul's in rather a reduced state, 
but after a year of faitliful labor and effort, he 
reported "a favorable increase, and a growth in the 
Grace and virtues of the Christian life." 

In a letter to the Society in England, 1761, he 
"deplores the severity of the temperature in the 
church in winter, and begs permission to hold ser- 
vices (as did his predecessor), during the extreme 
cold season, in his house, the Glebe." 

In response to his request, the Society '^desires 
him, if possible, to make his church warm and com- 
fortable in the severest weather, but, if that cannot 
be done, and his house is large enough for the re- 
ception of all who are willing to attend, the poor as 
well as those of better rank, he may have leave to 
perform service in his own house when it is abso- 
lutely necessary, and not otherwise." 

The Rev. Dr. Fayerweather is said to have been 
"popular in his parish. He was an able and in- 

dustrious preacher, and left several inaiiiiscript 
volumes of sermons, wliieli arc reputed by those 
who liave perused them to be productions of talent 
and piety/' He read the Church service with 
great effect, and those who survived him speak of 
the solemnity and pathos with which he performed 
these devotions, as impressing them to this day. 

Upon occasion, he could depart from his gravity 
as the following oft-repeated incident proves : 

Eeprimanding his parishioners for their negli- 
gence, in attending church, he said, ''You have a 
thousand frivolous excuses (naming several), but 
there is none more common with you than the plea 
of foul weather; but come here, and you will 
always find Fayer weather." 

In one of his reports to the S. P. G. in 1762, he 
w^rites that ''he has his dwelling in the midst of 
persons who take too many occasions of expressing 
great bitterness against the Church of England. 
Thus situated he finds it best to be mild and gentle, 
peaceable and forbearing, which the Society ear- 
nestly recommends to him and to all their mission- 
aries. In consequence of this behavior, he says, 
'several have lately conformed to the Church from 


the Anabaptists and other persuasions.' In this 
part of x\merica he finds immersion preferred to 
sprinkling, among persons of adult years, and 
whenever it is required he administers it in that 
way, as the Church directs." 

The old Kecord Book says : 

"June 20th, Mr. Fayerweather went to ^N'ewport 
with design to take a passage for 'New York in 
Capt. Leigliton, and being detained by contrary 
winds, preached both Sundays for the Kev. Mr. 
Bro^vne. July 9th, sailed for New York and on 
the 12th, preached in the city, in Trinity Church, 
for the President of the Episcopal College, the 
Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson. From I^ew York Mr. 
F. proceeded to Philadelphia, and preached for the 
Rev. Dr. Barclay and the Rev. Dr. Auchmuty. 

"Aug. 9th, preached for Mr. Aspinwall's 
church, Flushing, Long Island. The 16th, on a 
sacramental occasion, in St. George's Chapel, New 
York, and in the afternoon of said day, at Trinity 
Church, for the Rev. Dr. Auchmuty, to a very 
large and respectable congregation. 

"On the 21st, embarked and sailed through part 
of the Sound, and on the passage had the misfor- 


tune to be cast away in Hell Gate, and being de- 
tained by a hard northeast storm, went ashore at 
Pell's Manor, and it was the 30th of the month 
before he arrived at Newport, which he blessed 
God, the Almighty, his great Preserver, for." 

^^Sept. 6th. Mr. F. preached to his own little 
flock, who seemed pleased with his return home. 
O ! may he do much good among them, and always 
meet with Divine Philanthropy, and protection." 

"May 30th (the following year), being Whit- 
sunday, an adult offered himself to Christian Bap- 
tism (who had been bred in the Anabaptistical 
way) hypothetically, as the Church and Canons 
direct, by the name of Benjamin." 

•^July 4:th, it having for a long time been dry 
ivhether; the land being afflicted with the judgment 
of drought, Mr. F. improved such a Providence 
from these words, 'And he prayed again, and the 
heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her 
fruit.' " 

"On the 17th of July, 1762, Mr. F. preached in 
the Baptist meeting house, to a large congregation 
and performed the Liturgy of the Church of Eng- 


'Teb. the Ttli, lT6e3, Mr. Faverweatlier was 
married to Mrs. Abigail Bours, the surviving relict 
of the late Peter Bours of Marblehead, in the 
Church at ^N'ewport, by the Kev. Marmaduke 
Browne, and that day (an exceeding cold day) 
preached on the occasion from these words, to a 
large auditory, ^Do all to the glory of God'." 

"April the 4th, 1763. Mr. Wm. Davis, and 
family, moved away from the Parsonage House, 
where they had lived with Mr. Fayerweather for 
two years, in great unanimity and peace." 

''May 16th, Mr. F. bought a servant, of J.Gard- 
iner, Esq. May he prove a true and faithful ser- 
vant of Jesus Christ!" 

It is right to speak here of the care of the 
Church for the spiritual welfare of the slaves, at 
this sad period when traffic in human beings was 
permissible, and common, in the ^ew England as 
well as the Southern Colonies. 

During Dr. McSparran's incimibency of St. 
Paul's parish, there are frequent records of his 
faithful ministrations to the colored race. 

In one of his reports to the S. P. G. he speaks of 
''spending an hour every Sunday, immediately pre- 

ceding divine service, in catechizing, and instruct- 
ing these poor wretches, who, for the most part, 
are extremely ignorant, and whether from the nov- 
elty of the thing, or, as he hopes, from a better 
motive, more than fiftv gave their attendance." 

Another report is: ^^Catechized the negroes, 
and there were near about, or more than one hun- 

We may well believe that Mr. Fayerweather 
continued the religious oversight and instruction 
of the slaves, for whom the British Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts had 
tried to provide. 

Dr. Fleetwood of St. Asa^Dh's had, in 1711, 
preached a sermon setting forth the duty of teach- 
ing the negroes in the Christian Faith. His ad- 
dress was printed, and sent to all the missionaries. 
One exhortation is : ^'Let me beseech you to con- 
sider them not merely as slaves, and upon the same 
level as laboring beasts, but as men slaves, and 
ivomen slaves, who have the same frame and facul- 
ties with yourselves, and have souls capable of 
being made happy, and reason, and understanding 
to receive instruction in order to it." 


In conformity to this injunction the mission- 
aries were obliged to gather together the colored 
people of their charge, and devote a certain portion 
of time to their religious instruction. 

Dr. McSparran had addressed his parishioners, 
in emphatic language, in condemnation of the pre- 
vailing opinion that it was inconsistent to instruct, 
baptize or admit slaves to the Holy Communion; 
and w^e may be certain that his successor was as 
conscientious in his Christian duty in this regard. 

By the Census of 1748 - 9, the town of South 
Kingstown had more negroes in it than any other 
to^vn in Ehode Island, except ISTewport. This is 
also true of the Census of 1774, and of 1783. 
There were some importers of slaves in. ^N'arragan- 
sett before the passage of the Act of June, 1774, 
prohibiting the importation of slaves into the 
Ehode Island Colony, and the old families owned 
man}^ negroes. 

A few more entries from the register of Dr. 
Fayerweather's day may interest those Avho cannot 
have easy access to the ancient records. 

"April the 1st, 1771. It was referred to the 
Minister, Mr. Fayerweather, and to John Gardi- 


ner, a Warden, to ask Mr. Wliaily, a carpenter, to 
meet Avitli us on the 15th, in order to give his 
opinion and judgment relating to the old church, 
as to its being Avorth repairing or not. Accord- 
ingly, on the 15th we met in St. Paul's Church, at 
2 o'clock in the afternoon. Messrs. Whaily and 
Cole pronounced the old church to be in a ruinous 
state, and almost past repairing. That it might 
indeed be j^atched up for awhile, but that the cost 
of repairs would be but little short of building a 
new church. The next question was the erecting 
of a new church, proposed to be on the spot of land 
in South Kingstown left by the late Dr. McSpar- 
ran, on the 'hill lot' — so commonly called." 

Anybody who has seen the bleak and exposed 
spot where the old church had contended with wind 
and weather for even sixty-four years, would 
scarcely wonder that the building seemed unfit for 
repairs even at that early period, and yet the frame 
still presents a stronger aspect and better endur- 
ance, than does many a modern structure. 

There is one very peculiar record within the 
old parchment-covered book, which I must think 
was made by other than the Kev. rector, the Har- 


yard graduate. Possibly it may have been written 
by the Clerk of the Vestry, who was a pious, but 
simple minded man. 

It runs thus: ''On Friday the 8th of April, 
1TT-1-, Col. Ephrain Gardiner, a member in full 
communion with St. Paul's, was siezed in his field, 
with an apoplexy, and on Saturday the 10th he 
died, and on Wednesday the 13th he was buried. 
Before his interment his corp was carried into St. 
Paul's Church, where a funeral sermon was 
preached by Dr. Fayerweather, by the desire of the 
bereaved family, to a very large, serious, attentive 
congregation; consisting as it was judged of above 
300 people. After divine service was over, the 
funeral obsequies was carried in procession to the 
farm of Capt. Samuel Gardiner, and buried there, 
after the manner, and according to the method, of 
the Church of England." 

The last entry made by Mr. Fayerweather, is 
Sunday, :N'ov. 6, 1774. His ministry from that 
time seemed to be rather from house to house, than 
in the parish church. 

''The controversy between the colonies and the 
mother country, had at this period assumed a seri- 


ous aspect. The majority of the society of which 
]\Ir. Fayerweatlier was pastor, being Whigs, they 
objected to the use of prayers for the King and the 
Royal family, and for the success of his majesty's 
arms. The rector felt that he could not conscien- 
tiously dispense with them, without the violation 
of his ordination vows, although he was personally 
esteemed as a friend to the American cause. The 
church was consequently closed, and Mr. Fayer- 
weather preached occasionally in private houses, 
until his death, which occurred in the summer of 

He was buried beside the Rev. Dr. McSparran, 
under the old church altar. 

He says in his will : "I give all my library 
and books to King's (now Columbia) College, and 
ten pounds sterling, and my large picture of my- 
self. And my desire is that the Corporation may 
suffer said picture to be hung up in the Library 
room of said College forever. 

^^Also my silver framed square picture of my- 
self, to my sister Hannah AVinthrop of Cambridge. 
My wife's picture of herself to her >Tiece, the wife 
of John Channing. My oval picture of myself, 

framed with silver, to in\' nephew^ John Wintlirop 
of Boston, ILerchant.'' 

I further quote from the Histonj of the X(u ra- 
gansett Church : 

"The executor of his will, ^latthew Robinson, 
Esq., received Mr. Fayerweather's effects, and be- 
ing aged and infirm, neglected tlie injunctions of 
the testator. He died ten years afterward at an 
advanced age, and insolvent, and the pictures be- 
queathed by the Rev. Mr. Fayerweather were sold 
at auction as Mr. Robinson's property, there not 
being any legatees or friends in this quarter to 
claim them. 

''The large picture, painted by Copley, in his 
academical honors, is now in my house," says the 
Hon. Wilkins Updike. ''The other portraits 
were in the towai some few years since. His 
library was also sold and is now lost, except a few 
volumes in the j^ossession of the Church in Xarra- 

From another source I learn that "a portrait of 
the Rev. Dr. Fayerweather was left by the pur- 
chaser, Mr. Hazard, at the Glebe for awhile, and 
some mischievous children, living there, made a 

target of it, sliootino- out the eyes, and so defacing 
it as to render it useless." 

Whoever is in possession of any of the books or 
])ictures of this worthy rector of the old church, 
would do honor to his memory, and service to 
Columbia College, by placing in that institution 
such relics as Avere designed for it by the Rev. Dr. 
Fayerweather's last will and testament. 

The unsettled state of the country, subsequent 
to the Revolution, paralyzed the churches in many 
quarters, and St. Paul's sadly felt the general de- 
pression. During the war, the church had been 
used as a barrack for the American soldiery, and 
the Parish Record contains no entry from 1774 to 
-Vpril 178-1:, when nine persons met together, and 
a Committee was appointed to invite the Rev. Mr. 
Fogg, the rector of the Episcopal church at Pom- 
fret, Conn. 

He declined the invitation, and the Society did 
not meet again until 1787, when the Rev. William 
Smith was appointed rector. 

^']\[r. Smith had the reputation of great learn- 
ing. He was thorough in his knowledge of Eccles- 
iastical History; was enthusiastic in the study and 

love and composition of music, and was a con- 
structor of Clinrch organs. To him we owe the 
Prayer Book ^^Office of Institution of Ministers 
into Parishes or Churches," and also a large work 
on Primitive Psalmody, designed to show the im- 
propriety of singing Metre Psalms in public wor- 
ship, and the wisdom of returning to the ancient 
practice of Chanting. During his incumbency it 
is said that the Venite was first chanted in Amer- 
ica, in St. Paul's, l^arragansett. 

"Mr. Smith had a great fondness for preaching 
extemporaneously. He had the Scotch accent, but 
was interesting, instructive, and eloquent. His 
birth and education were in Scotland. 

''He left St. Paul's for Trinity, ISTewport, in 
1790. In 1797, he accepted a call to IN'orwalk, 
Conn. ; had a common school in E'ew York in 
1800; was principal of the Episcopal Academy, 
Cheshire, Conn., from 1802 to 1806; officiated for 
a while in the parishes of Milford and West 
Haven, and occupied much of his time in writing 
upon theological subjects; was the author of a 
series of Essays on the Christian Ministry, and 

died in :N^cw York, April 6, 1821. Great respect 
was paid to liis opinion and learning." 

Succeeding Dr. Smith, in 1791, Walter Gard- 
iner Avas chosen Lay Reader in St. Paul's, l^arra- 
gansett, and afterwards rector, in which office he 
continued until 1794. lie was connected with the 
Rev. Dr. McSparran, and the Updikes, Robinsons, 
and many old Karragansett families. 

In 1794, the Rev. Joseph Warren had the rector- 
ship of the parish. During his incumbency, ''De- 
cember 3rd, 1799, the vestry voted, 9 to 2, to re- 
move the old church from its original, and incon- 
venient location, to the village of Wickford, and to 
build a ncAV church for the South Kingstown people 
on the site given for that purpose in the will of the 
Rev. Dr. McSparran, and that the rector preach 
alternately in Wickford and in South Kingstown." 
In 1800, the old church was taken down, carried 
to its present site, and put together again upon the 
lot donated by Lodowick Updike, grandson of the 
Lodowick who gave the former foundation. By 
this removal the graves of the Rev. Drs. McSpar- 
ran and Fayerweather were left without monu- 


meiit, surrounded by many other deceased parish- 

From my maternal grandmother I learned that 
when the old church was re-constructed, the pews 
were not put in place immediately, but that for 
some little time the parishioners sat upon long- 
boards that were propped by strong logs. Then the 
sixteen square ^^box'' pews were given their old 
position around the walls, and in the center were 
put ten long slips, instead of the former square 

The Chancel was semi-circular, with an old- 
fashioned, high, oblong reading desk and a "wine 
glass" pulpit above, to which one winding staircase 
led. The altar was by itself, on the east. Later, 
the communion table was placed in front of the 
reading desk, against the pulpit. 

In 1809, Mr. Isaac B. Pierce of Xewport be- 
came Lay Reader. 

In 1811, a steeple was built at the west end of 
the church, and a new entrance made to the galler- 
ies, which had previously been reached by a stair- 
case from the main floor. 

In 1812, the Rev. James Bowers was elected 


rector, holding services in tlie parishes of Korth 
and South Kingstown, until 1814. 

Theve was then a vacancy until 1817, when Mr. 
Lemuel Burge, a Candidate for Holy Orders, was 
sent to St. Paul's, ^^arragansett, by Bishop Gris- 
wold, with this commendation from the Rev. Tru- 
uian Marsh, of St. Michael's, Litchfield, Conn.: 

-I am well satisfied he is firmly attached to the 
government, doctrine, and discipline of the Epis- 
copal Church. He is a good scholar, and reads 
tlie prayers of the Church with great propriety, 
and solemnity, and bids fair to be a useful clergy- 

Just previous to the coming of Mr. Burge, the 
first Sunday School that was ever had in the vil- 
lage of Wickford, was started by Mr. John Brown 
of East Greenwich, in concert with, and by the 
advice of Mr. Waldo, a Presbyterian minister. 

These gentlemen gained the interest of ]\Irs. 
Wm. G. Shaw, a Churchwoman, who was a daugh- 
ter of Mr. Samuel Brenton, and she so persuaded 
the people, that in the course of a few months there 
Avas a gathering of such numbers as put to blush 
the present diminished schools. 


From her diary I copy: 

"Elamsville, 1817. The 1th Sunday in June, 
two large black girls^ five women, and seven chil- 
dren, attended my house. My sister's daughter, 
Susan Mumford, and my three eldest daughters, 
teach classes, and my third son also, aged twelve." 

By the last of August her record is : 

"To-day near a hundred children attended, and 
walked in procession from the Acaden\v to the 
town house, to hear the Methodist preaching." 

Mrs. Shaw's diary also speaks of the assembling 
of "sixteen ladies in the new Baptist meeting 
house, for charitable work among the jDoor," and 
of her "walking with Sarah Baily two miles out of 
town, and calling at every house for subscriptions 
of money and clothing. The men, too, contributed 
for the welfare of the needy children." 

The old way of religious instruction was by 
catechizing in the church, a method of training up 
children which the good old Dr. ^IcSparran said 
"the people were wonderfully enamored with." 

It was not originally the design of the Sunday 
Schools to teach such as could have home care and 
culture. Only such as Avere destitute of these 

family advantages and privileges, were to be 
songlit out, and Cliristianly nurtured and taught, 
and with this idea the Sunday School in Wickford 
was started. 

While Mr. Burge was Lay Eeader in ISTorth and 
South Kingstown, a church was built at Tower 
Hill by his energetic help. 

"May 3rd, 1819, John J. Watson, Esq., and Dr. 
Wm. G. Shaw, were, by the vestry of St. Paul's, 
appointed a Committee to present their most grate- 
ful thanks and acknowledgements to Mr. Lemuel 
Burge for the many disinterested and important 
services rendered to this Society during an officia- 
tion amongst us." 

Mr. Burge had gone to l^ew York for ordina- 
tion, not designing to return to the E"arragansett 
parish, but yielded to a renewed unanimous call. 

"On Friday, April 1st, 1820, he was ordained 
deacon by Bishop Hobart, in St. John's Church, 
Varick St., and on the 4th of August, 1820, was ad- 
vanced to the priesthood by Bishop Griswold, in St. 
John's Church, Providence, R. I. 

"June the 6th, while yet in the diaconate, he 
was married in the old church, by the Rev. Salmon 


Wheaton of Trinity Church, Xewport, to Elizabeth 
Frances, daughter of Dr. Wm. G. Shaw, and Eliza- 
beth Brenton. 

"He took his young and beautiful bride to the 
Glebe house. South Kingstown, for their earliest 
residence. There their eldest child was born, but 
they removed to Wickford after a year or two and 
the Glebe ceased to be the abode of the Kectors of 
St. Paul's.'^ 

The American Revolution had made great 
changes in the ^arragansett country. The 
Landed Aristocracy became reduced in their pos- 
sessions. Large tracts were divided into small 
farms, which passed to other hands. 

The Church felt the sad reverses, and when 
the Rev. Mr. Burge entered upon his Rectorship, 
St. Paul's was no longer under a Missionary 
Board, but was dependent upon the subscriptions 
of the parishioners, with the added accruments 
from the Glebe property, and a few donations 
Avhich varied from time to time, according to the 
condition of crops, and other productions. 

By the time the Rector's family was increased 
by the advent of five children, the small support 

(pp. 172-173.) 

from the Parish was wholly inadequate to the 
growing necessities. 

Therefore this brave servant of God, nnwilling 
to press the people beyond their ability, followed 
the example of the Apostle Panl, and ministered 
largely to his own needs, and to those of the home 
brood. Like his predecessor. Dr. McSparran, he 
took into his household young gentlemen for edu- 
cation. Among these were Charles Smith, the 
stepson of Bishop Griswold, and Thomas Tales, 
subsequently a worthy Presbyter in the Church. 
]\Ir. Purge never allowed any other care to inter- 
fere with the sacred duties of his holy office, which 
were discharged with loving and earnest fidelity. 
To preach the Gospel was his paramount desire, 
and never failing delight. So great was his zeal 
and interest in his church and parishioners, that 
even when health and strength failed, he could not 
bear to give up his cure, and such was the sincere 
esteem and regard of his people, that twice when 
the need of rest induced his resignation, he was so 
eagerly and unaimously recalled, that he resumed 
for a while his work among them, until positively 

feeble health forced him to give up the care of 
a parish and remove to another locality. 

In 1823, he was commissioned by the Parish of 
St. Paul's to go to Albany and purchase a bell for 
the old church. He spent a whole week going 
from l^ew York up the Hudson in a sloop. The 
bell that he bought weighed 430 pounds, less by 
2,570 than that of the Baptists, which was not as 
sweet-toned, but was much more powerful. Many 
a time have I heard it toll the departure of some 
soul from the village. 

In after years the church bell became cracked, 
and was exchanged in part payment for the one 
that now summons the people to the new church. 
• From 1817 to 1832, the Kector of St. Paul's 
preached alternately in the N^orth and South 
Kingstown churches. It was no small undertak- 
ing to travel back and forth for so many miles in 
all weather, hot or cold, wet or dry, though the 
old-time horseback riding was superceded by the 
two-wheeled chaise, and other vehicles. 

There was, moreover, but little spiritual pro- 
gress to encourage the faithful worker in God's 



In 1824, Mr. Burge reiDorted 29 communicants, 
35 Baptisms, 30 Sunday Scholars. In 1829, 43 

After this the Baptists began a Sunday School 
which took some scholars from the Episcopal 

The fluctuations were disheartening, but the 
good Rector never despaired, and the fruit of his 
persevering effort is evident even to this late 
period, while he is at rest, and other men have 
entered into the enjoyment of it. 

The separation of the E'orth and South Kings- 
town parishes in 1833 rendered the duties of the 
Rector of St. Paul's less arduous. Tower Hill 
Church had missionary care, and finally united 
with the Wakefield congregation. The building 
that Mr. Burge had been instrumental in erecting 
was blown down in a severe gale, and never re- 
stored, the population of that region becoming so 
sparse, that a place of worship was no longer 
needed in that locality. 

Mr. Burge was an old-fashioned Prayer Book 
Churchman. Part of his theological training was 
by his Pastor, the Rev. Truman Marsh of Litch- 


field, Conn., and part by the learned Dr. Wni. 
Smith. I suppose he would now be called some- 
Avhat ''advanced," as he eschewed the broad, free 
notions of many of his contemporaries, and saw 
''nothing amiss" in the noted Oxford tracts that 
made such a furore in his time. 

His own sermons were plain, yet pungent, and 
bear worthy comparison with some of the modern 
pulpit utterances. But his chief attraction lay in 
his reading of the service. This was incompar- 
able. When officiating at a marriage, he used no 
book, and his tone and manner made a wonderful 

During his incumbency of St. Paul's he wore 
the black gown and white linen cambric bands, 
and, as the fashion was, black silk gloves in desk 
and pulpit. There was no place for a change from 
surplice to gown. The custom of those days was, 
when one wore the surplice, or robe of purity, to 
use it only when reading the service, and to sub- 
stitute the black, or scholastic gown, when preach- 
ing or "using one's own words." 

Parson Warren had an old-fashioned, wide, 
white linen surplice, for I have heard from an 

aiitlieiitic source, that it took my grandiiiotlier 
three weeks, at intervals, to darn the little bracks 
that time had made in it, and a member of his 
Parish who is nearly a hundred years old, speaks 
of the Parson's awkwardness in changing his robes 
behind the desk. 

The use of bands has passed away as a minis- 
terial accessory. I have often wondered what was 
the significance of the "bands" wdiich my father al- 
ways Avore in church, and which we daughters took 
a sacred pride in making, and in keeping im- 

The Pev. Dr. Dix says : ''My impression is 
that they were intended to symbolize the Law, pos- 
sibly the two tables of the Law. Certainly they 
were not of Puritan invention, for they were worn 
almost universally as a part of the costume of the 
Roman Clergy. An engraving of Cardinal Du- 
bois, which now hangs in my library, represents 
him in a magnificent and very large pair of bands, 
seemingly black with a white edge. He was born 
in 1(356 and died in 1723. I may also here note 
that the French and English Barristers still wear 
bands as a part of tlieir professional costume. 


The French lawyers wear, or did when I was last 
in Paris, great big bands reaching half way down 
their chests, besides which they wear small bi- 
rettas and black gowns." 

The Eev. Prof. Russell says: "I began my 
ministry with them, and in those days a clergyman 
would as soon have gone without his stole as with- 
out his bands. It appears that originally they 
were a part of every gentleman's dress, being sim- 
ply the ends of the long neck-tie. The Judiciary 
held to them with gown and w4g." 

A German Lutheran minister told me the other 
day that they are a part of the stole, for which 
they are substituted in his Church. 

The Rev. Mr. Burge Avas transferred from the 
Diocese of Rhode Island to that of 'New York, 
September 29th, 1858, and there, when his health 
would admit, exercised the functions of his sacred 
office wherever they were needed or desired. In 
Greenfield, Flatbush, Bay Ridge, Port Hamilton, 
and East New York, as well as in the various 
Brooklyn churches, his voice has often been heard. 
His latest ministerial association was at St. 
Peter's, with the Rev. John Paddock. In that 

Parish lie received tlie filial attention of the Eec- 
tor, and the loving consideration of the congrega- 
tion, nntil his sndden death by a sad casualty in 

It was wliile pursuing his route home from 
Xew York, after a visit to a married daughter 
there, that on Broadway, near Chambers Street, 
he was knocked down by an express wagon, and 
received the injury which in two weeks ended his 
earthly career. 

''A man without reproach," was the testimony 
of one of the Wardens of his old St. Paul's Parish ; 
and the Eesolutions of St. Peter's Vestry are ex- 
pressive of heartfelt esteem of this aged saint, 
whose departure they sincerely mourned. His 
funeral was from St. Peter's, and his burial in 
Greenwood Cemetery. 

He was a descendant of the Mugglestones of 
Mugglestone Manor, near Shrewsbury, England, 
which came into possession of the Stanlys, by 
intermarriage with the female branch. 

As this record would be vohmiinous indeed, 
should I attempt the personal history of each in- 
cumbent of St. Paul's, :Nrarragansett, church, I am 


reluctantly forced to the simple entry of all the 
subsequent Rectors, with the duration of their 

The Rev. Francis Peck occupied the Parish, 
from June, ISo-t, to September, 1836, while his 
predecessor was recuperating from a temporary 

After Mr. Purge's final resignation in 1840, the 
following clergy were at various times in charge : 

Rev. John H. Rouse, July 7, 1840, to June 5, 
1849 • Rev. Daniel Henshaw, Sept. 17, 1849, to 
March 14, 1853; Rev. A. P. Flanders, May 8, 
1854, to April 2, 1866 (Mr. Flanders was absent 
as Chaplain of the 4th R. I. Regiment from Sept., 
1861, to 'Nov., 1862) ; Rev. W. H. Collins supplied 
from Oct., 1861, to Oct., 1862; Rev. I. J. San- 
derson, Oct. 15, 1866, to Sept. 14, 1868; Rev. 
Daniel Goodwin, April 6, 1869, to Xov. 1, 1874; 
Rev. George J. Magill, Feb. 15, 1875, to March 
30, 1876; Rev. Wm. W. Ayres, June 12, 1876, to 
Oct., 1887; Rev. A. J. Thompson, Oct. 23, 1887, 
to July, 1890 ; Rev. Samuel Porden Smith, July, 
1890, to 1897; Rev. Dr. Goodwin officiating from 
1897 until the call of Rev. Frederick Cole, the 

present incund)ent. 


re e : 'WMiii^ 

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K i 

Cbe Glebe l>ou$e and the Old Foutidatloti* 

THE last clerical incumbent of the Glebe was the 
Rev. Lemuel Burge. 
A description of the place as it originally was, 
says: "The interior of the house presents those 
rough hewn timbers, massive beams crossing the 
low ceilings, with the solid paneling, and elaborate 
and inaccessible mantel-pieces of the colonial 
period, cavernous fire-places, grim black rafters 
supporting the gambrel roof, etc., etc. The chief 
room, with windows on three sides, was the house- 
hold chapel, where the congregation frequently 
gathered for social worship." 

My mother used to tell us of her honeymoon, 
passed in that weird and lonely habitation, and of 
the welcome coming of our eldest sister, to give 
brightness and cheer. 


:N'ot until I was a child of eight or ten years old 
did I make my first visit to the precincts that were 
so hallowed to my imagination through her graphic 
descriptions. Yoimg though I was, I was singu- 
larly impressed by everv feature of the lonely yet 
beautiful country — the rough roads; the stony 
land; the green woods; the high hills; and the 
charming glimpses of river and sea. 

When we reached the long, steep McSparran 
Hill, I could have leaped for joy, as I discovered 
at its foot the dusky, brown house that once held 
the venerated McSparran and Fayerweather, as 
well as my own beloved progenitors. 

Kude stone steps up an embankment that was 
securely walled, another short flight to a second 
terrace, a walk through a path bordered on each 
side by gooseberry bushes, and a few old-fashioned 
flowers and shrubs, and I reached the entrance to 
this plain but substantial building, that had borne 
the storms of many years. The tenants were 
apparently poor in this world's goods, but 
abounded in that rare quality, a free and whole- 
souled hospitality. I could appreciate the gude- 
wife's putting aside her household duties, in order 

to accompany lier little guest to the fruitful black- 
berry vines that covered the rocky fields near by. 

My grandfather had left me in her care while 
he crossed the l^arragansett or South Ferry, on his 
favorite passage to N^ewport. I^ever shall I for- 
get that rustic visit. The ^^big room/' the simple 
and quaint adornments, the gay red-and-black 
flannel fly-catcher suspended from the center of the 
great crossbeams; the family dinner, with dessert 
of custard pie made wdth quails' eggs instead of 
hens' ; the tottering-legged old dog that feebly fol- 
lowed my steps; the little square window panes 
through which my mother had gazed upon the 
Petaquamscutt and upon the quiet landscape. 

I ran to the top of the high hills back of the 
house and looked abroad upon Canonicut Island, 
and the Bay, and ^Newport glistening in the sun- 
light beyond, and, afar off, the broad Atlantic. It 
was an awesome view, as I stood alone amid the 
vastness and silence of nature, and I wanted my 
grandfather to hasten back and take me to a living 
presence. But for the green meadows and cattle 
grazing, and fields of corn, and thrifty vegetables 


close bv, I would have been still more homesick, I 

Later in my life I visited again the dear old 
Glebe, that must always have for me a peculiar 
charm. It was in October, after frost. The sun 
had scarcely risen when I took my seat in the 
Stonington cars from East Greenwich. A white 
rime covered the meadows, and glistened with 
myriad gems. The woods presented a varied as- 
pect, as we flitted past ; now a reddish brown, then 
a bright scarlet ; here the tall, silvery boles of the 
birch, with crests of green and gold; and there a 
mirror of water reflecting sky and trees. E'ow and 
then a grove of cedar or pine, to brighten the ap- 
proaching wintry dearth. 

At Kingston Junction I took the branch road 
to ^N^arragansett Pier, where a kind friend was to 
meet me, and drive five miles to the desired point. 
The hotels at the great resort were deserted, the 
day was calm, and there was little surf. The roar 
of ocean was subdued. We gladly turned inland, 
toward McSparran's Hill. 

Soon the Petaquamscutt was visible, widened 
to a glassy lake, which spread north and south as 


far as the eye could reach. What joy to me to 
come again to the ohl brown house ! . The lihac 
bushes still hedged the terrace; the honey blobs 
were. gone from the gooseberry bushes, and the 
''sweet pinks" had withered on the ancestral roots, 
"tlie remnant from Dominie Burge's planting," I 
was told. 

Through a small entry we passed to the right, 
into the ^^great room," which has been changed by 
tenants to suit their convenience. It pleased me 
in imagination to do away with the partitions, and 
repeople the broad space with the old time wor- 
shippers. T could fancy the hurtling storm sweep- 
ing over the country driftways, and rendering ac- 
cess to the old church o^uite impossible. I could 
see the zealous Christians making their way to the 
comfortable home chapel, and gathering around 
the long table that served as altar and pulpit. In 
the wide fireplace the big logs blazed and crackled. 
Ihe face of the genial rector glowed with his 
heart's loving kindness toward his earnest flock, 
and prayer and praise hallowed this temporary 
sanctuary, where masters, mistresses, and servants, 
joined in the solemn worship. 

In one's drives abont that part of the l^arra- 
gansett conntry, one can now scarcely realize its 
former condition, when the ''Plantations" were 
under good cnltivation, and bronght worthy rev- 
enue. Hundreds of broad acres with rich grass 
and large herds of cattle, and extensive grain fields, 
and every indication of wealth and thrift, char- 
acterized the colonial days. The spacious man- 
sions with lordly gentlemen in scarlet coats, with 
lace ruffles, small clothes, silk stockings, brilliant 
knee and shoe buckles, hair frizzed, clubbed, or 
queued. Queenly ladies in brocaded silk or shin- 
ing satin, cushioned head dresses, and high heeled 
slippers, have no more place in that comparatively 
barren domain. The change is marvelous. The 
numerous servants have dwindled to one or two 
helpers. The loom and wheel are silent. The 
land is sterile, save here and there a small garden 
plot that is carefully cultivated by its owner. It 
saddens one to mark the deterioration and obvious 
devastation. Yet the ghosts of a departed grandeur 
haunt the old places, and have for me a singular 
attraction and fascination. 

Once again, recently, I sought the old Glebe. 

We drove from Wickford up past Wasliington 
Academy and the Eomaii Catholic church, through 
Bellville and Silver Spring; along Kidge Hill, 
with the thick woods to the right and rolling coun- 
try to the left, the trees on the right towering far 
above the -road, with their trunks extending a hun- 
dred feet below. Past Watson's Corner we w^ent ; 
down Walmsley Hill and along the green lane, 
with the beautiful river for miles on our left, and 
beyond it, Boston Neck and E'arragansett Bay. 

Our route was lined with verdure and blossoms ; 
chestnut and oak ; low birch and locust ; wild roses 
scattered everywhere, and thrown in garlands over 
the sweet fern and bayberry bushes ; and wild iris, 
and other flowers in the swampy meadows, and 
along the stone walls. 

The old house was desolate indeed. No signs 
of habitation, except a few thrifty geraniums in a 
circle in the front yard, and a kitchen garden not 
far aw^ay. Peeping in at the curtainless windows, 
after knocking repeatedly at the door, and meeting 
no response, Ave saw only dismantled rooms. 

Despairing of entrance, we were about to leave, 
when a sprightly young man, with a handsome 


Scotch collie, came from the direction of the river 
to greet its. He politely gave lis permission to 
view the interior of the house, apologizing for the 
condition of things, and saying that he and another 
young Southerner, had come in the depth of winter 
to keep Bachelors' Hall in the famous ^N'arra- 
gansett country, where a lady friend had purchased 
the McSparran premises. 'Now that summer had 
come, they were thoroughly enjoying their rural 
freedom. With the help of horses, dogs, boat, and 
guns, and a bout occasionally at agriculture, they 
passed the time very happily as a change from 
fashionable life. 

We took advantage of the privilege to examine 
the antiquated dwelling in every part. It seemed 
fast falling to decay. The ^^Ell" was entirely 
gone, and the frame work and windows of the main 
l)nil(lin^- showed marked siffiis of acre. The im- 
mense fireplace had been contracted for stoves, and 
altogether there were few traces of the former 
aspect, either within or without. I was informed 
that the present owner does not wish the house re- 
newed, but there need certain repairs to keep it in 

existence. With its historic associations it ought 
to be preserved as a sacred relic. 

Upstairs and down, the great rooms are cut up 
into small ones, four or iive on each floor. A 
rou2'h, unfinished attic is the chief reminder of 
etirly days. 

The outside natural scenery can never change. 
The place might be made very charming as a sum- 
mer residence. Wakefield, and Kingston, and 
E'arragansett Pier, and Wickford, and Newport, 
are easily accessible. 

I learn that a lead mine has lately been dis- 
covered on the premises, and, sentiment aside, this 
may give intrinsic value to its possession. 

Leaving the Glebe, we pursued our route to the 
old Foundation of St. Paul's. Many of the grave 
stones are dilapidated and the inscription obliter- 
ated, but upon some, the names of the ancient 
families are legible. 

Amid the loneliness and desolation of this burial 
p-round, there is a noticeable monument, a cross 
of white marble, bearing this inscription : 

"Erected in grateful memory of James McSparran, D.D., 
Missionaiv7 of the S. P. G., and Rector of the Church then here 
from 1721 to his death, 1757. 


By the authority of the Diocese of Rhode Island 
in 1868. 
He was buried beneath this stone. 

Here also lie the remains of the Rev. Samuel Fayerweather, 
his successor, from 1760 to 1781. 

St. Paul's Church was built here in 1707, and removed to 
Wickford, 1800." 

There is also a stone recently put by loving 
relatives, ^^In memory of Samuel Brenton, and his 
wife, Susan Cook." 

The yard has a respectable wall around it, but 
Avild blackberry vines trip one at every step, and 
only in one corner did I see a vestige of former 
care and culture, in some old-time box, lilies, and 
phlox, and a stunted evergreen tree. 

The sexton's house, near the bars where we 
enter the grounds surrounding the Foundation, is 
pretty nearly demolished, but so long as there is 
the slightest remnant, it will be of interest to 
tliose who have any knowledge of the venerable 
Martin Reed, who not only had the charge of the 
church edifice, but was also parish clerk, and 
always ^^led the singing, and often in the absence 
of a clergyman, read the service in church, and at 

''He was the son of Robert Reed, the Com- 
mander of a merchant ship, who was accidentally 

killed when entering E'ewport, leaving all his 
effects undefined and unattainable. His widowed 
mother bound out this seven-year-old son to a Dia- 
per Weaver, and died." 

The boy grew up with great yearning for knowl- 
edge, and with the ambition to distinguish himself 
as a manufacturer, which he did. 

He was the, father of the Rev. Dr. John Reed, 
of Christ Church, Poughkeepsie, IsTew York, w^ho 
administered to him the Holy Sacrament at the 
time of his death, at eighty-one years of age. The 
Rev. Mr. Burge officiated at his funeral. 

It will not be out of place to speak here of the 
sacred vessels at this period in use at the Holy 

During the incumbency of the Rev. Dr. Mc- 
Sparran, a silver taidvard was presented to St. 
Paul's, with this inscription : 

"A legacy from Nathaniel Kay, Esq., for the use of the 
Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul's, Narragansett. 
Lux perijetua Credentibus sola, 

3l Br. 

lector of the King's Customs for the Colony of 
Rhode Island. He was liberal toward the Church 


of England, and gave valuable legacies for parish 
schools in Bristol and Newport. He lived near 
the head of Tonro Street, where he died in 1734, 
and was buried in Trinity Churchyard, just at the 
left as you enter the gate." 

Long before the gift of the tankard from Mr. 
Kay, Queen Anne (deceased 1714), who seemed 
to have the Church in the American Colonies very 
near her heart, sent to St. Paul's, ^arragansett, a 



Presented to St. Paul's Church by Queen Anne. 

silver chalice, paten, and baptismal basin, which 
were our admiration and peculiar care all the days 
of our life in the old church. 

The cup bears the following marks : 

1. An inverted Gr, which is the maker's mark, 
John Gibbons, Forster Lane, London. 

2. Britannia Lion's head, erased, which marks 
the cycle from March, 1696, to June, 1720. 

3. The year mark, or date letter, in this case 
E, and fixing date as 1706-7. 

The paten has the same marks. 

In . addition, the chalice is marked "Anna 

The cup and paten are kept as sacred relics, 
and, since much worn, new vessels are substituted 
for general use. 

By a singular order of the vestry, July 24, 
1851, the baptismal bowl was melted and con- 
verted, I think, into the paten now in use. 

Its alienation from the original shape and pur- 
pose, is a cause of deep regret, especially to those 
who grew up in the old church, and knew no other 
baptismal font. 



Personal Remttiisccticcs. 

AS I return to the Venice of mv nativity^ after 
years of wandering, and of residence else- 
wlierCj so many vivid memories crowd upon me 
that it is difficult to record theui with anything of 
system, or continuity. I shall, therefore, make no 
attempt at order of narration, but shall write spon- 
taneously, as heart and thought may dictate. 

Among the happy recollections of my earliest 
childhood, the old brown church in the Lane is 

Better to me than St. Mark's of the City across 
the Seas, w4th its glory and beauty of architecture, 
and painting, and sculpture, and rich adornment, 
is the rude structure in which I received Baptism 
in my infancy, and C(miirmation in my earliest 

Bishop of the Eastern Diocese, (pp. iy4 195.) 

teens at the hands of Bishop Griswokl, and where 
I was rooted and grounded in the doctrines of the 
Christian Faith. 

That dear ohl saintly })rehite conies before me 
in his peculiar garb, small clothes and silk stock- 
ings, that quite prevented my recognition of one of 
his order in any other costume until recent unison 
of style has regulated my ideas. 

In his visitations to St. Paul's, he ahvays stayed 
at my father's house, and his serene face, sweet 
voice, and gentle manners, were to us children a 
felt benediction. Sometimes Mrs. Griswold ac- 
companied him. I recall one season in particular 
wdien she kept her bonnet on all day, at meals, and 
still Avore it Avhen she retired to her room for the 
night. -My curiosity was not satisfied until I 
heard her say to my mother, that she adopted this 
rule in order to obviate the necessity and incon- 
venience of taking caps wdth her upon her journeys 
with the Bishop. 

The old church was thronged when the annual 
visitation of the Diocesan was made, as well as on 
every special or festive occasion. 

From the quaint ''Campanile," the soft-toned 

bell called the villagers to worship. Often have I 
cliiiil)e(l the narrow stairs leading to the snmmit of 
the tower where the metal tongue held sway, that I 
might get a peep at the broad country through the 
four latticed windows just below the summit. 

One calm Avinter night, December the thirty- 
first, 1866, this steeple fell to the ground and was 
never replaced, as the old church had been deserted 
in 1848 for the ncAV one. 

I miss this feature, but they say the building is 

now as it was originally when the people went 

through ^'driftways'' to reach it, and held pleasant 

chat, before the hour of service, around the "Old 


It is my habit, nowadays, when in my native 


(pp 196-197.) 

village, to go often to the quiet, secluded church 
for reverie, aud couniiuniou with the past. 

The very walls are eloquent. I hear no more 
profitable preachment than the c^choes of the long 

The scenes of other days revive. The square 
^'boxes'' rise before me and are peopled wdth famil- 
iar forms and faces. To the warden's pew is at- 
tached the official staff, black, with top and spiral 
band of gilt. The chancel is semi-circular, with a 
''three decker" arrangement, communion table, 
reading desk, and wine-glass pulpit, wdth so nar- 
row^ a seat that one could not comfortably rest upon 
it. Back of the pulpit, high above the preacher's 
head, are two small paned windows, draped with 
green moreen, fringed, and heavily tasseled, and 
looped up, and held by rods and gilt adornments. 
The cushions for Bible and Prayer Book, on pulpit 
and desk, are of crimson velvet, with fringe of the 
same color. The old w^orn Bible is still there, but 
the modern incongruous, oak-stained pulpit was 
substituted for the original in 1835, when a new 
clergyman had charge, and the chancel was then 
made straight, and three narrow pews, on each side, 


were formed from the square ones previously exist- 

I shut mv eves to this strange appearance, and 
dream on of the olden time. The singers are in 
the front gallery, opposite the clergyman. A tun- 
ins; fork indicates the key, and a big bass viol 
accompanies the voices. A few years pass, and a 
small pipe organ is substituted, and manipulated 
by the rector's two eldest daughters, and their aunt, 
alternately. Frequently there is the addition of a 
flute played by one of the wardens. 

The voluntary is sounding in my ears. The 
footsteps of the assembling congregation mingle 
with the music. The rector, followed by a troop of 
little children, comes in his robes along his garden 
path, through a small gate, across the lane, to the 
house of prayer. The service begins. 

After the second lesson a baby is presented for 
Baptism. As is often the case on such occasions, 
when the prescribed number of sponsors has not 
been provided, ^^Aunt Lee" or one of her sisters of 
the Updike family, steps forward to fill the gap. 
I wonder how many regenerate children in the 

rimrcli Trinnipliant will bo claimed as the spirit- 
ual progeny of those dear old ladies ! 

The Slimmer time in the church in the lane is 
delightful. The door and windows are flung wide 
open. A broad expanse of the heavens is visible, 
and the sweet, fresh air exhilarating. Young peo- 


plo and old, are dressed in delicate soft cambrics 
or muslins, as l)ocomes the heated season. There 
is little vain show. It is an age of sense and 
reason, and restfulness and peace. 

The winter brings a different aspect, though 
as blessed an experience. The Christmas time 
especially, is most precious in all of its associa- 
tions. Resinous evergreens, pine and cedar, and 
graceful creeping jenny, rise from floor to ceiling, 

making a perfect forest of the lioly temple. For a 
week, busy hands have been adorning and making 
glorious the place for the coming of our Lord and 
Saviour, the Babe of Bethlehem. 

On the eve of the jN'ativity, the windows of the 
church are ablaze with lighted candles in every 
pane, and the country around is attracted by the 
grand illumination. 

Through all of my childhood, there was never a 
Christmas Eve without this commemoration. The 
service in church, with jubilant song, and solemn, 
yet hopef itl, sermon, seemed a sacred prelude to the 
bright morn when Christ the Lord was born, and 
the feast was kept in all its fulness. I can never 
cease to feel the hallowing influence of the old time 
Christmas seasons in St. Paul's, !N"arragansett. 

The marks of the profuse decorations are still 
visible on walls and pillars, ^o one regarded it 
as a defacement to drive nails ever^^vhere if only 
the end were attained, and the house of God was 
made beautiful. The prints are suggestive to us, 
who can fill out the artistic designs. 

During most of the earlier i^ew England win- 
ters, the lanes leading to the old church, were white 

and crisp with snow. ^lerry sleigh bells saluted 
the ear, as the parishioners came from far and 
near, to keep holy day. 

Sometimes the frost and cold were so severe, and 
the paths so untrodden, that the worship was held 
in the rector's parlor, as it used to be in the Glebe 

About the centre of the main street, opposite 
what is now AVall Street, and next to the Wickford 
House, was the residence of the rector. It is a 
gambrel roofed, two story and attic building, with 
an ^^Ell," which has been added, since occupied by 

After some years of roving from tenement to 
tenement, the ^'Dominie" anticipated a portion of 
his patrimony, and purchased with it a positive 
home for his family, where holy and happy associa- 
tions might cluster and be fixed. When the wind 
was fierce, and snow and sleet were driving furi- 
ously, a few of the nearest neighbors used to assem- 
ble around the rector's hearthstone, for prayer and 
praise. I can hear the w^ailing sound of the wind 
through the key hole, mingling weirdly with the 
tones of the quaint spinette, and the accompanying 

voices. The old-fashioned fireplace sends forth a 
cheery hlaze, the logs sparkle and crackle, and the 
polished brasses reflect serious faces. The gravity 
of their elders influences the children, who sup- 
press all mirthful impulses, and deport themselves 
as becomes the day and the occasion. 

A description of this Xew England home in 
those earlier times, may not be amiss. To many 
of the present generation the things that were to 
me precious realities, seem mythical. 

The mode of life is now so entirely different, 
and household arrangements and utensils are so 
essentially changed. 

In my earliest childhood, the gaping chimney 
places made fresh and healthful the air of the liv- 
ing rooms, and sleeping apartments. In summer 
we filled them with evergreens, or ferns, or the red 
berried Asparagus; and in winter the glowing 
flame and coals were wondrously attractive. 

What suggestions in the long black crane with 
hooks and trannnels ; the hanging pots with savor 
of good things to come; the iron bake kettle with 
blaze beneath, and live coals on top, and browning 
biscuits peeping out when the cover was raised an 


iiK'h for the purpose of inspection; the Dutch oven 
on t\\v hearth, with goose or turkey, or other tempt- 
ini>' fowl, odorous of sweet herbs and spices, as the 
erisi)ing j^rocess goes on, making impressive the 
proverb in Lorna Doone, ^'The joj of the mouth" is 
the nose before." 

The old hearthstone has other recollections for 
us. There, before the lucifer match was common, 
we made tinv splints from pine shingles, and 
dipped the ends into melted brimstone, and 
scorched linen to put in the tinder box, with flint 
and steel, so that in an emergency we might strike 
a spark, and be certain of a blaze, even though the 
curfew should fail, and the hidden coals be worth- 
less and dead. 

AVe had not one of those copper devices that 
some peo2)le used to put close against the chimney 
back, over the hot ashes ; but the brands and living 
end)ers were always raked together at bed-time, and 
thickly overspread with ashes, and generally, this 
preserved the nucleus for the next day's fire. 

When it failed, we either got a burning brand 
from one of our neighbors, or flint and steel created 

the spark that lighted shavings and charcoal, and 
soon prodnced a brilliant result. 

Often a loaf of brown bread had its bed in the 
hot asheSj and was drawn forth steaming and de- 
licious for the early meal. 

At eventide our father ^^hunted'' apples on the 
live coalsj for us, or roasted chestnuts, or popped 
corn. Never mind if he was a grave clergyman, 
with sober official duties to engage his highest 
thoughts and earnest attention. Like his divine 
Master he could stoop to embrace the children, and 
suit his benefactions to their simple and innocent 
desires. Whenever he could serve his family, 
without neglecting other claims, he was found in 
the domestic circle. 

Inventive to an unusual degree, he made for his 
children toys that they could not have purchased. 
There are still preservd among us, perfect models 
of the old brown church, which it pleased him to 
construct when we were men and women, and when 
he himself was nearing the temple not made with 

Beside the old fireplace, in the gambrel roofed 
homestead, there hung leathern bellows, with brass 

nails, and a long handled copper "warming pan," 
that tempered the cold sheets of our beds in the 
winter time. 

It was no hardship to undress beside the fire, 
and run upstairs to jump into a nest so lovingly 


If we had been good children during the day, 
our father never failed to put some token of his 
approbation under our pillows after we had fallen 
asleep, which proved next morning a pleasant 
greeting and happy stimulus. It was perhaps a 
very trifle ; a sugar Gibraltar, a fig, some raisins or 
"oonkles," a stick of candy. The motive magnified 
the gift, and made of it a great fortune. 

My mind constantly reverts to that dining room 
hearth. It was there that the Dominie, at a mo- 
ment's notice, produced '^Shank's horses," upon 
which he trotted his babies, to their delectation, 
and where he played "Come ze Come" with the 
older offspring, or told stories to keep the young 
brood diverted, while the Dominess pursued some 
engrossing vocation. 

It was there that we most frequently gathered 
when "Frigidata" drove us indoors, to spend our 

evenings in close companionship with one another, 
and it was there that we not only had games and 
various amusements, but also lessons and profitable 
converse, that would help and bless us through all 
of life. 

At this crowning season of the year the old 
chimney gave best, most marvelous cheer, and the 
little funny man with frost-covered beard, came 
down amid the soot, and left treasure for us while 
we slept and dreamed bright, happy dreams. 

In summer time the earthern furnaces weie 
placed in tlie chimney or out of doors, that the 
deadly fumes might prove harmless. Anthracite 
had not as yet become a general article of fuel. 
Great, hooded carts went up and down the village 
streets, their blackened drivers crying out their 
welcome commodity, "Charcoal ! Charcoal !" 

It was so easily kindled ! Besides the portable 
coal furnace, sometimes the "gypsy kettle'^ hung on 
its tripod, and, heated by blazing fagots, cooked 
potatoes for the swine, or helped the housewife 
with her soft soap, that old time, invaluable con- 
coction from lye and the refuse grease. It was no 

small task to meet the demands of j^ew England 
honsekeeping in that day. 

In the antnmn especially, there were Ilercnlean 
preparations for the cold season. The larder must 
be richly supplied. Dried apples and dried pump- 
kin, with all sorts of preserved fruits ; sweet corn, 
and pickles ; corned beef, and Y>ovk ; spare rib, and 
tenderloin ; head cheese, and souse ; salted scraps, 
and long links of stuffed sausages ; mince pies, 
piled high on the store-room shelves; firkins of 
apple sauce ; ''sounds and tongues ;" mackerel and 
herring. All required the personal thought and 
supervision of the female, as well as the male head 
of the family. 

Then came quiltings, making of comforters and 
thick woollen garments for the wintry reign. 

The changing seasons brought busy work to the 
^ew England rectorj^, where the golden god was 
chary of his favors, and every inmate had to lend 
a helping hand for the well being of all. 

So far as style and luxuriousness of furniture 

concerned, it was a very simple age. The painted 

or sanded floor was common for back rooms, and an 

ingrain carpet for the parlor prevailed in most 


families, until gradually all the rooms were cov- 
ered, some with '^Venetian/' otliers v\dth rag, and 
by-and-by a Brussels made its entree here and 
there, though that frugal rectory never arrived at 
such dignity. 

It was a pleasant home, with all its self-denials ; 
plenty of room, an unstinted table, health, joy, and 
love, abounding. What more could one want ? 

The front entry of the old house was so spacious, 
compared with most vestibules in village homes, 
that we rightly dubbed it ^'Hall," and sat there at 
twilight, with our guests, looking out upon the 
water opposite, and the boats gliding through the 

On the ledge of tlie staircase were two fire- 
buckets. A law of the Ehode Island Colony, in 
1Y54:, made it obligatory that every householder 
should keep two good leathern buckets, capable of 
holding at least two gallons each, with the owner's 
name painted legibly thereon, to be kept in some 
convenient place, under penalty of, at first, twelve 
shillings, but which finally reached five dollars. 
These buckets always hung or were kept in the 
front entry, and were only used in case of fire, and 

if no male person was in the house to take them, 
they were placed upon the front doorsteps to be 
used by the first passer by. They were annually 
inspected by the town sergeant, or one of the town 
constables, and a fine was imposed when they were 
in a useless condition. 

Even after 1794, when fire engines were im- 
ported from London, the buckets w^ere still in use, 
and passed by double line, from hand to hand, to 
be emptied and refilled. Hundreds at a time were 
sent over from Holland. They were very strongly 
made, stitched and bound, and lasted a long time. 

After fifty years' absence I unearthed from the 
garret eaves of the old house in Wickf ord, two fire 
buckets with the name "L. Eurge'' as fresh as if 
just painted. It is a fashion nowadays to cherish 
the relics of the past, but unfortunately, most of 
the possessions of our early childhood were scat- 
tered before we could appreciate their future value, 
and can be recalled only by memory. 

Flax and woollen wheels, ^^scairns," reels, bob- 
bins, old-fashioned looms ; all these we used to see 
in our neighbors' houses, and some of them were 
familiar under our own roof, though we were a 

little later than the period of general home manu- 
factures. The graceful tread and motion of a 
beautiful woman near our habitation, fascinated 
me, as she went back and forth whirling her big 
wheel, and twisting the fleece upon the spindle; 
and I have in mind a dear old lady with hetchel 
and flax ; and another casting the swift shuttle, and 
pressing closely the gay woof with the heavy board. 

It was a pleasure and an education to see these 
things in their progress, and the Dominie's chil- 
dren early learned, from beginning to end, the 
production of linen, woollen, and silk. The latter 
fabric they knew from the tiny black eggs, to the 
infinitesimal worms ; the shining mulberry leaves 
for food ; the fast developing creatures, whose 
voracious nibbling sounded like rain upon the 
housetop ; the shedding coats ; the translucent 
bodies; the pretty yellow cocoons among the bay- 
berry bushes ; the picking of the floss from the balls 
that were to be baked in order to kill the millers ; 
the white Avinged moths, that were allowed to eat 
their way from other balls and ensure a future 

Xot only this, but a boiler was set in the attic 

chimney, and a skilful woman summoned to go on 
with the process. We watched her eagerly as with 
thorny tw^igs she struck the cocoons that swam in 
the hot water, and so gathered up the silken threads 
and wound them upon a great reel. How fine and 
beautiful it Avas ! and how mysterious a transforma- 
tion from the black pin head dots that we had first 
seen on a small sheet of paper. 

Then came the twisting of silk into coarser, or 
finer, and then we lost sight of it, as it was sent 
away to be dyed and woven into the glistening 
fabric that forms our royal robes. 

Our father was aesthetic in his tastes. His acre 
of bare ground, he made into an enchanted place. 

Dividing it into four squares, for garden, 
orchard, grain, and flowers, he surrounded all with 
the quick growing mulberry, and bestowed faithful 
culture, until by the time the home brood had 
grown old enough to appreciate, it yielded every 
variety of orchard fruit and vegetables and frag- 
rant blossoms. 

A shaded path led up to the old church. On one 
side were great beds of the sweet pink, and all 
along the other, we children had our ^^patches," 


each child an individual plot, that we might sow 
and plant at pleasure, and cull from at will. 

Such emulation ! Such floral designs ! Crosses, 
and hearts, and circles, coming up green and 
charming and mysterious from the dusky ground, 
and developing and flowering, to teach us the most 
blessed of lessons concerning the Resurrection 
from the grave, and our own wonderful uprising 
and immortality, and future glory. 

A beautiful avenue was at right angles from the 
long path, with a pretty sunmier house at the end. 
Another rustic little building stood near the home, 
overshadowed by two apple trees, and between us 
and '^neighbor Spencer's" was a verdant lawn, with 
a profusion of rose bushes here and there to shed a 
delicious fragrance. 

The old barn that used to be our grand theatre 
of amusement, was moved up opj)osite the church 
and made into a dwelling house, that possibly it 
might add somewhat to the minister's income. It 
stands there now, facing the deserted temple, and 
has long ago passed into strange hands. 

I call it the ''Grange," for auld lang syne. May- 
be the namc^ may be adopted ])y the new owner. 

To see the minister's former possessions in their 
])resent condition, one could never imagine the old 
time attractiveness ; there has been such cutting off 
from the original area. 

Part has been added to the grounds of Mr. 
Aaron Thomas ; a portion is owned and occupied 
by Mr. Steere ; and the ''Grange/' with land ad- 
joining, has another proprietor. The small re- 
maining space, with the main house, purchased by 
]\riss Eachel Greene, and a new one crowded on 
the rear ground, gives no suggestion of what has 


It was the dream and desire of Mr. Burge to 
liave a broad street through these grounds, from 
tlio old church to the centre of the village, and to 
renovate and improve the ancient and venerable 
l^uihling, rather than alienate lieart and thought 
and holy worship, from the long cherished temple. 

lie offered to give part of the land for this pur- 
pose ; but other plans prevailed, and his proposition 
was not accepted, and after his removal from Wick- 
ford, the new church was built elsewhere, and the 
old one left desolate. 

Over the door of the deserted building are the 

dates, 1707, and 1800. Surmount iug it, a trumpet 
vine struggles for life, and puts forth some bril- 
liant blossoms. In the yard a few graves are left 
from among those that have been removed to the 
cemetery beyond the village. The eldest daughter 
of the old rector sleeps her long sleep in the shadow 
of her spiritual home. In the Glebe house she was 
born; in the old church she w^as "regenerated by 
water and the Holy Ghost." There also w^as she 
confirmed, and at this altar she received the em- 
blems of her Saviour's dying love, in the sacrament 
of the Body and Blood. It was there she was 
married in the summer time, and close by she 
rests, until the voice of Jesus shall say to her, 

It is a pleasant place to sleep. 

People come from far and near to look at the 
old church. I stood recently in the grave-yard, 
where a party of excursionists, the Knights of 
Pythias from Pawtucket, with their families and 
friends, w^ere examining the names on the head 
stones. Having with me the key of the sacred 
edifice, I was enabled to show these strangers the 
interior, that has for me such hallowed memories. 

Wlicii inside I spoke to tliein of the earlv days 
and pleasant associations. Immediately, with that 
sympathy which unites all the children of the 
Great Father, they broke forth into singing — 

"Blest is the tie that binds 

Our hearts in Jesus' love ;" 


"Nearer, my God, to Thee," 

and finally, at my request, 

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow," 

to the tune of "Old Hundred." 

Some of the Presbyterian elders stood in the 
chancel where my departed father had so often 
read the solemn words of our incomparable liturgy, 
and my heart was touched by the feeling that 
despite the difference of dogmatic training, there 
exists in all the true children of God the essential 
element of Divine Love and fellowship. 

Another occasion of great interest was the bap- 
tism, in this old church of its ancestors, of the 
grandchild of Mr. Allan Thomas, and nephew of 
the late Bishop of Kansas. The father and 
mother, Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Thomas, with true 
sentiments of reverence and appreciation, Avished 
the sacrament to be administered within these 

walls, consecrated by years of solemn services, and 
lialloAved associations. With exquisite taste they 
adorned the holy place with flowers and ferns, and 
the little babe was made ^^a member of Christ, the 
child of God, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of 
Heaven,'' beside the chancel where so many of its 
relatives had in times past been "regenerate, and 
grafted into the Body of Christ's Church." 

Later, the children of the Honorable David 
Baker were taken for holy baptism to this same 
dear old St. Paul's, proving how true is the venera- 
tion for this Mother of the ^N'arragansett churches. 

To have been participants in any sacred service 
or blessed Sacrament in this historic and time-hon- 
ored edifice, is something to look back upon as a 
very precious privilege. 

When, after long years of desertion and soli- 
tude, in August, 1885, the old church was reopened 
for a series of Sunday services, the birds that had 
made their nests and hatched their young on God's 
holy altar, had to be driven out from their quiet 

It was a happy and festive occasion ; the assem- 

r|^""|'IIMjH f •■ —==; — , . 


THE interior-Old st. Paul's. 

As it is to-day. (,pp. :216-:217.) 

bliiig of anotlior c'oiioration within their Father's 

\"ery few of the aged members were still upon 
the earth, but those who yet lived, hastened joy- 
fully to the old home to help keep the feast. 

The orchestra from Hamilton made memorable 
music, such as had not resounded through the place 
since the days of the big bass viol and the flute, that 
accompanied the voices in the long ago. 

The Rev. Wm. Ayres, now of Kansas, inaugur- 
ated the revived worship in old St. Paul's. He 
writes concerning this relic of other times : 

""Among my remembrances the rescue of the old 
church from destruction by the elements, is prom.' 
ment. It was repaired and restored to its early 
condition and bids fair to last another century at 
least. A wise conservatism, at a time when, in 
some quarters, symbolism has run mad, and hier- 
archical pretences come to the front, is immensely 
valuable, and nowhere can it be more fitting than 
in one of the oldest parishes which continues to be, 
as it always has been, one of the potent influences 
upon the Church in America. This may be abun- 
dantly evidenced in many instances in the begin- 

ning, and in all the long past, by the preaching 
from the N^arragansett Church, and by the devo- 
tion and example of those brought up in St. Paul's 
and who are noAv scattered abroad. 

''But the most conspicuous proof is to be found 
at present, in the life and labors of the Bishop of 
Kansas/'^ a true son of St. Paul's, ^N'arragansett. 
In and through him, it may be said that the leaven 
of the old church still works mightily, and that, 
too, in a region utterly unknown to its founders, 
and but dimly known, and considered a desert, by 
the last generation, yet now having a million and 
a half of inhabitants. 

'The influence here is not all that the old church 
is accomplishing through Bishop Thomas. In an- 
other great Western State his educational efforts 
vied with the pastoral, and he practically founded 
at least one valuable Theological School. Under 
his wise and energetic ministrations, and attracted 
by the singular beauty and devotion of his char- 
acter, the Church in Kansas is making sure and 
steady progress in numbers, and spirituality. For 

The Rt. Rev. Elisha Smith Thomas, D.D., died 1895. 

Second Bishop of Kansas (pp. r318 :.M9.) 

this Ave owe a debt tu the ohl Xarragansett chureh, 
as well as to our late beloved and sainted Diocesan, 
the Kt. Kev. Thomas Hubbard Vail, D.D." 

Bishop Thomas' remains w^ere taken to Wick- 
ford, and for some hours lay in state in the new 
church. He was robed in the episcopal habit with 
purple stole. The casket was covered with a violet 
colored pall wdth white border, and violets and 
wdiite flowers adorned the chancel. 

Bishop Clark, of Ehode Island, read the burial 
service, and the Kev. W. W. Ayres delivered the 
sermon. There w^ere present besides the rector of 
the parish. Rev. S. Borden Smith, four of the 
former rectors, Messrs. Henshaw, Goodwin, Mc- 
Gill, and Ayres. 

The Bishop w^as laid to rest in Elmwood 
Cemetery, a few miles west of the village, where 
the committal service was read by those who had 
long known and loved him. A beautiful Ionic 
cross marks his grave. 

It seemed fitting that one whose first breath was 

drawn in our beautiful Venice, and whose early 

life was spent in our pleasant village haunts, 

should come home to sleep among his own people, 


who will proudly point out his grave and speak 
gratefully of his high mental attainment, and, 
above all, of his devotion to our Almighty Lord, 
and to the extension of His Kingdom upon earth. 



Cbe new eburcb* 

IT stands on the right hand, on Main Street, 
abont half way between Bridge Street and the 
lower Wharf. 

The corner stone was laid on the first day of 
September, 1847, by the Eight Eev. John P. K. 
Henshaw, then Bishop of Ehode Island, assisted 
by the Eev. Messrs. Vail, Cooke, Crane, Eames, 
and the rector of the parish, the Eev. John Hill 

The church was consecrated on St. Paul's Day, 
the twenty-fifth of January, 1848. The sermon 
was by Bishop Henshaw, and there were present 
of the clergy, Messrs. Burge, Crane, Vail, Eames, 
Carpenter, and the Eector, all of whom have passed 
to their eternal home. 


The new edifice is of wood, tasteful in archi- 
tecture, and of seating capacity for about four 
hundred people. A recessed chancel is at the 
southern end, and at the north is a gallery with 
Oriel, stained glass wdndow. 

The altar is of richly carved oak in three panels 
with the sacred symbols — the Lamb triumphant; 
the chalice and ugit^n, upon a crow^n of thorns ; and 
a pelican feeding her young. The top is of Dove 
marble, with five crosses cut, one in the middle, 
and one at each corner, and this inscription : 

"A gift to St. Paul's Church, by Mrs. Anstis Lee, Daughter 
of Lodowick Updike, Esq. She died in 1864, in the 100th year 
of her age." 

She had some years before presented an im- 
ported table as an altar for communion purposes, 
in the old church, and when the ncAV one was built, 
it was also used there. 

Recently Mr. Daniel Berkeley Updike, a grand- 
nephew of Mrs. Lee, contributed toward the erec- 
tion of a beautiful altar, and consented that the 
consecrated slab should be inserted, and the mahog- 
any frame incorporated with the chapel altar, so 
that the intention of the departed donor is still 
respected and fulfilled. 


■im»Hmimniimm|[mn i.tii.i^m || 

The present edifice (pp. 222223.) 

The chancel wiiuloAV is a memorial of ^^frs. 
Abigail Reynolds, a sister of Mrs. Lee. Tlie 
central lancet represents Panl the Aged, with the 
Bible in his right hand, and the sword of his mar- 
tyrdom in his left. In the two other lancets are 
the symbols of the fonr Evangelists: St. Mat- 
thew, the Ox; St. Mark, the Lion; St. Luke, the 
Angel ; and St. John, the Eagle. 

The choice book devoted to the altar service, is 
the gift of Mr. Daniel Berkeley Updike. It is 
one of the Revised, limited and costly edition of 
the Prayer Book of 1893, the plates wdiereof were 
immediately destroyed. 

The offices are exquisitely and elaborately illus- 
trated by appropriate symbolic figures and flowers, 
Mr. Updike himself being one of the chief design- 

The brass ''Rest," Bible and Prayer books, and 
hymnals, for altar, pulpit, and lectern, are from 
St. Agnes' Guild, that is faithful in supplying 
such needs as may from time to time occur. 

The font stands in the southeast, near the door 
leading into the chapel, which adjoins the church 
on the east. It was presented by the Rev. Samuel 

Brent(3n Sliaw, whose early associations were with 
old St. Paul's, ]^\'arragaiisett, and whose long min- 
istry was exercised in Vermont, Lanesboro, Mass., 
and Barrington, Rhode Island. There is an oak 
cover, with brass cross, and a handsome brass ewer, 
thus inscribed : 

"A thank offering to St. Paul's Parish. 

Clarence Thomas, Baptized Sept., 1889, 

Rt. Rev. Elisha Thomas, S.T.D." 

Over the chapel door on the East from the chan- 
cel, is a white marble tablet, 

"In memory of the Rev. James McSparran, D.D., 

for thirty-five years the minister of St. Paul's, Narragansett 

He departed this life 

Dec. 1st, 1758. 

In memory also, of 

Rev. Samuel Fayerweather, 

his successor, who died 1871. 

Both were Missionaries of 

the S. P. G. F. P. 

3rd Jubilee, A.D. 1861." 

In East Greenwich there is a very beautiful 
lancet wmdow in the chancel, ''In memory of the 
Eev. L. Burge, and Elizabeth, his wife," a tribute 
from the late Gov. Wm. Greene and Mrs. Greene, 
who was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Burge. 

During a residence of nearly two years in East 
Greenwich, Mr. Burge had been thoroughly identi- 
fied Avith the parish of St. Luke's, and had fre- 

([iiciitly olHciatcMl in tlic old dniivli in association 
Avitli its rector, the liev. Dr. Crane. 

A brass cross has lately been placed in the chan- 
cel of the new St. Paul's, Wickford. The base 
bears this inscription : 

"In memory of the Rev. Samuel Burge, who for twenty years 
ministered in old St. Paul's Church, Narragansett. 

'He being dead yet speaketh.' 

'God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord, 
Jesus Christ.' " 

By the font in the new church is a window, ''In 
memory of Gideon Freeborn, who for fifty years 
served as vestryman, and warden of St. Paurs, 
and thirty years as superintendent of the Sunday 

The central representation is the Baptism of 
our Saviour. Above is the Dove. Below, the 
Cross, with vine and grapes surrounding a scroll 
with the text, ''T am the true vine." The windoAV 
was from loving relatives, joined by the Sunday 

The next window is a memorial to Mrs. Char- 
lotte Thomas — ]\rary Magdalene in the garden of 
the tomb, kneeling at the feet of her risen Lord. 
The lower ])anel bears a scroll with tlie ejaculation, 

"Eahboni !" Xear by is an oaken frame with 
brass tablet, 

••To the glory of God and in memory of Allen M. Thomas, 
for five years Warden and for fifty-two years Vestryman and 
Clerk of St. Paul's. Born 1806— died 1887. 

" "Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house, and the 
place where Thine honor dwelleth.' Ps. 26 — 8." 

l\iblot and window are in memory of the father 
and mother of Bishop Thomas. 

The organ is on the east from the chancel, and 
is the l)e(}uest of "Esther Chappel Sanford," who 
left in her will, three thousand dollars for the 
organ, and for the Gnild of St. Paul's. This in- 
strument was placed in the church on St. Paul's 
Day, 1889. 

Beside it is a finely-painted window, 

••To the glory of God, and in tender memory of Hannah 

Eldred Goodwin. 

Born July 11. 1838, 

Died Jan. 5, 1877." 

A crown, with stars and lilies, adorns the upper 
panel. The central one has the figure of St. 
Cecilia, below which is this tribute to the departed 
member of St. Paul's, who for some years played 
on the organ, led the choir, and also that of the 
Hamilton Mission : 

"In her, as though in instruments of music, 
Faith did with her own fingers touch the strings, 

discoursing high of virtues excellent." The lower 
])anel with the inscription, is illuminated with the 
Passion Hower, and other ornamentation. 

On the same side of the church is a beautiful 
^vindow, with Clirist healing the sick, wdio are 
grouped about Him in imploring attitudes; a 
Greek cross above, a scroll below, with the words, 
"The Lord will take away from thee all sickness." 

Crowns, and palms, and other jubilant emblems 
surround the monogram, I. II. S. 

The inscription is : 

"To the gloi-y of God, and in loving memory of William 
A. Shaw, M.D. 

Warden of St. Paul's Church, 1837-1879." 

There is another most apj^ropriate memorial 
gift, of a pocket communion service for the sick, 
from the son and daughter of this lamented ^^good 
physician,'' and two choice altar vases have been 
lately presented by Elizabeth Brenton Shaw in 
loving remembrance of her brother, John P. C. 
Shaw, departed this life Dec. 13, 1899. 

A most beautiful window, on the opposite side 
of the nave, has been placed by Miss Carrie ^N'ew- 
ton, in memory of her sister, Mary, recently de- 
parted this life. A female figure stands with spir- 

itual face raised triistfullv toward heaven. Her 
right hand rests upon the Cross, and in her left she 
holds a hunch of Easter lilies. The Holy Dove 
is seen above the emblem of onr Faith. The lower 
•panel of the windoAV is filled with lilies. The 
scroll contains the record, ^^In the Cross of Christ 
I glory." 

Miss Kewton has also given a window in mem- 
ory of her sister Elizabeth — a kneeling figure be- 
fore the altar, with clasped hands, and eyes up- 
lifted tow^ard the table of Commandments, while 
she fervently ejaculates: 

"Oh, how I love Thy law !" 

A rare cross has been placed upon the altar by 
Mr. Strowbridge, in memory of his lamented w4fe 

The clock in the tower of the new St. Paul's, is 
from one of the recent rectors, the Rev. Daniel 
Goodwin, who by this benefaction to the parish, 
has also greatly blessed the inhabitants of the 

The exquisite pulpit in the new St. Paul's is six 
feet high. The base is oak in Gothic style, corres- 
ponding to the altar. The upper part is brass, the 



coluiniis twisted to agree with the lectern. There 
are five j^anels carved in brass. The center front 
shows tlie cross with monogram I.II.S. and the 
episcopal signs, mitre and crosier. On the first 
panel to the right, is the sword, emblem of St. 
Panl. The second has the Agnus Dei — the "Lamb 
f God." On the first panel to the left is the open 
l)ook, emblematic of St. John. The second has a 
double triangle, with dove, emblem of the Holy 
Trinity. The pulpit is finished at the top by a 
railing of oak, with a brass insertion ])earing the 
inscription : 

'•For the preaching of the Word, and in tender memory of 
Klisha Smith Thomas, late Bishop of Kansas." 

Other bequests have been made to the church by 
its grateful members. 

I copy from the records : 

''A Glebe was given for the use of the church in 
jSTorth Kingstown, by one Mr. IN'orton A. Taylor, 
in Xewport, which was transferred by General 
Assembly, and which was sold for one hundred 
pounds sterling to be used toward the JMcSparran 

''In 1870, a legacy certificate for eight shares of 

stock, twenty-live dullars per share, par value, from 
James Updike, through Daniel, his nephew, de- 
posited in the AVickford Xational Bank," 

''From Mr. Allen Thomas, forty shares of Bank 
stock, at iifty dollars per share, in Weybosset Bank, 
Providence, one hundred dollars annually of the 
interest to go toward the salary of the rector; the 
rest of the yearly interest for other Church needs.'' 

''Sixteen shares of stock, ninety dollars per 
share, from ]\Iiss Mary Esther Freeborn, daughter 
of Gideon, in Union National Bank, ISTewport, E.L 
part of the annual interest for the rector's salary, 
and i^art for the general expenses of the church.'' 

"One thousand dollars from Mrs. Samuel 
Pearce — Wickford National Bank — toward the 
Endowment Fund for church exj^enses." 

''Fifteen hundred dollars from Mr. Allen Chad- 
sey, to be devoted to keeping the church in repair." 

In addition to the bequests alreadj' recorded, 
there is the recent legacy of one thousand dollars 
to St. Paul's Church, and fifteen hundred dollars, 
and a sofa, to St. Paul's Guild, from Mrs. Rhoda 
Ann Chapj)el Eldred, lately deceased. 

It is with gratitude that I also mentir)n her 

generous remembrance of her old rector, Rev. L. 
Burge, by the gift of five Imndred dollars each, 
to two of his daughters. 

A recent offering is a beautiful Prayer desk 
from Mr. and Mrs. Hambly, in memory of Miss 
]\ryra Lewis. 

Another gift is from Mr. Esl)on Sanford — an 
altar rail, of oak and brass, in memory of his 
departed wife, who belonged to the Altar Guild. 
Miss It. A. Shaw has left recently to the eliureh a 
legacy of two hundred dollars for St. Paul's. 

Among the faithful members there seems a 
conscientious thought of the dear old Mother from 
whom they have derived their spiritual care and 
nutriment, and they gratefully express their sense 
of their obligation, by a tangil)le offering when 
they come to die. 

Belonging to the church property there is a 
pretty rectory, just beyond the new Bridge; on 
Hamilton Avenue facing the water and h»:>king 
across upon the church spire. The Guild IIous? 
stands next to the rectory on the Avest. 

But for the depreciation of bank stock, and 

some iTiifortimate investments, the parish of St. 
Paul's would be in excellent financial condition. 

Though not wholly a parochial institution, this 
was the original design of its erection, and prop- 
erlv it should belong to St. Paul's. 



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There could be no more charming locality than 
its foundation. The water laps the stone wall of 
its embankment, the channel being near, and so 
deep as to admit vessels of quite large tonnage. 
Great schooners and brigs come up to the wharf 
close by, and the ^arragansett Pier Ferry steam- 
boat winters near the bridge. Up the Cove tliere 

is a c'liarming sweep, with pretty residences upon 
the shore on either side, and sail boats and skiffs 
ii'lidiug back and forth, 

Ah:)ng the Avenue there is much driving in sum- 
mer past the Guikl House and rectory, toward 
( 'okl Spring Beach and out toward Hamilton and 
the country roads. 

Opposite lies Oakland, originally called "i\.r- 
goo,-' from the first intelligible utterance of an 
infant resident. 

It is one of the choicest sites just beyond the 
new bridge, and is frequently the scene of innocent 
festivity, as in clam bakes, lawn parties, etc., etc. 
It is now the property of the Hon. Mr. Gregory. 




IX summing up the beauties and advantages <~)f 
our village, I think the chief attraction is our 
glorious Xarragansett Bay, whose arms embrace 
it, making it the charming Venice of our dearest 

We have no ceremonial of the ring to wed us to 
the all-pervading waters ; nevertheless, our attach- 
nient is strong and enduring. 

The ebb and flow of the tides bring freshness 
and health to the people, and fish, and bivalves, 
and Crustacea, give to them free and welcome 
nutriment, besides furnishing a profitable industry 
in the export to inland towns. 

Tears ago, the Block Island fishermen, in tar- 
paulin hats and capes, swarmed to our j^iers, witli 

tlieir iiieiiliaden laden boats, landing their cargoes 
for the enriclnnent of tlie suburban farms. 

This metliod of fertilizing proved offensive, 
and was soon discontinued, but there is other ample 
encouragement for line and net, and an unfailing 
market for lobsters and scallops, and various pro- 
ductions from Bay and shores. 

AValking one day recently along Washington 
Street, which borders a portion of the south shore, 
I was curious to know the meaning of a long line 
of small, creamy looking substances that hung in 
the sunlight. On inquiry I was informed that 
these were the skins and bladders of the "weak 
fish," and were sent in large quantities to a Phil- 
adelj^hia glue nnuiufactory. 

For bathing there are on the shore east of 
Pleasant Street, and at Cold Spring, facilities that 
cannot be surpassed. 

Phillips Brooks speaks of the custom among the 
Venetian nurses of fastening strong cords around 
the waists of the children, and holding to them, 
when their charges would venture too far in the 
water. Our young people rollick fearlessly in the 
briny waves. They need no tether, nor restraint. 

Some of them are like mermen and mermaids, and 
swim gracefully out to the legendary rock, where 
tlie poor lovesick Indian, who dared raise his eyes 
to the Sachem's dauditer, was bound until the 
oyerAvhelming tide choked his presumption. 

There is one locality that was, in our childhood, 
considered dangerous. It was at the end of Fowler 
Street, and nearly opposite Cornelius Island. Our 
father owned the beautiful Point lot now in pos- 
session of ]\Ir. John Lewis, and, as we often played 
there, it was necessary to warn us against yielding 
to the temptation to venture into the water near by. 
Sharks had been seen there ; moreover the sands 
shelved, and the foothold was treacherous, so that 
one stepped into unlooked for depths, and was sud- 
denly submerged. 

In ITS 2, whales are said to have been noticed in 
the Bay, and now and then sea monsters came from 
their ocean home to reconnoitre strange waters. 

This summer an immense sea turtle was caught 
in the weir of one of the townsmen, and served as 
a wonderful exhibition to those who had never seen 
so large a specimen. The length was fully six 
feet, and the adamantine l)aek upheld a heavy man, 

with whom the creature moved about as though the 
burden were but a feather's weiglit. 

To tre^ad the floor of the sea wouhl no doubt 
bring marvelous revehations ; but I am content to 
traverse tlie liquid surface, and enjoy the varied 
beauties from a ship's deck. 

The ^N'arragansett Bay affords real delight as 
one sails its length and breadth, of eighteen miles 
by from three to twelve, and notes the beauty of its 
islands, and the attractive settlements along its 

By it, the state is unequally divided, the greater 
part of territory being on the west. To the north 
lies Providence, east are Bristol and Fall Ptiver, 
Pawtucket, East Greenwich, Wickford, and 
smaller villages lie west, and Block Island is ocean- 
Avard, at the entrance of the Bay. 

Aquidneck, Canonicut, and Prudence, are 
prominent among its islands, and the lesser ones 
are picturesque, and noticeable in the midst of the 
blue waters. ]^o wonder that the Colonies coveted 
such possessions as would give them command of 
the IsTarragansett Bay ! Its harbors are capacious, 
affording entrance to ships of large tonnage, and 

thus proving of iireat advantage to trade and com- 

From Arnold's Comprehensive History I quote: 

''The Xarragansett Bav wliicli seemed the des- 
tined refuge for the outcasts of everv faith, at- 
tracted the wanderers by its fertile shores, and 
genial climate. The King's Commissioners re- 
ported it as 'the largest and safest port in E'ew 
England, and nearest the sea, and fittest for 
trade.' " 

AVe are proud, too, of the braverv that stirred 
its waters during foreign invasion. 

The Liherfy and the Gaspee and the Rose Frig- 
ate, and the Swan, speak of energetic and fearless 
action. And the first broadside by Commodore 
Whipple against a portion of an invading navy, 
still echoes along our shores. 

But Ave prefer the calmer memories that cluster 
around our pleasant Bay. 

Dickens pictures '"Little Dorrit" gliding over 

the Grand Canal in the far away Venice, or sitting 

in her balcony overhanging the water, or leaning 

on the broad cushioned ledge looking over and 


watcliiiii^' the sunset, and the hhick gondolas, and 
dreaming away the hours. 

We skim the blue dee]) in our Avliite sail boats, 
or our flat bottomed dories, or keeled skiffs, or we 
gaze from our windows upon a beautiful landscape, 
sea-girt and sea-enlaced, and are rapt in liappy con- 
templation and reverie. 

We may lack the oriental brilliance of the for- 
eign city ; the creamy white palaces on the Eialto, 
tiled in red, and topped with quaint chimneys, 
oyerhanging balconies of marble, fringed with 
flowers, with gay awnings above, and streaming 
shadows below; the narrow quays crowded with 
people, flashing bright bits of color in the blazing 
sun ; swarms of gondolas, bareas and lesser water 
spiders darting in and out ; lazy, red-sailed luggers, 
melon loaded, with crinkled green shadows crawl- 
ing beneath their bows, while at the far end, over 
the glistening highway beaded with people, curves 
the beautiful bridge, ''an ivory arch against the 
turquoise sky." 

Hopkinson-Smith gives this vivid descrip- 
tion, and also speaks of "the picturesque gondolier 
with loose shirt, throat and chest bare, and head 

bomid Avitli reel kerchief; of the rambling houses 
three or four stories high on the lagoon, where the 
fishermen live, and the boats with gay colored 
sails, and the anchored huge wicker crab and fish 

There are deep, dark shadows and very sad con- 
trasts in the Venice abroad. Her ^^Bridge of 
Sighs," her dreadful prison, and the terrible fate 
of those who crossed the beautiful span, always 
l^resent hideous thoughts amid the grandeur and 

We dwell with sweet peace in our serener haven, 
content that it only resembles its Old World ances- 
tor in some of its natural features, and rejoicing 
that no image of oppression or death meets us as 
Ave look into the placid waters that clasp and make 
cheerv our beautiful 


OCT 2 1900