---^/(l*^^ ^^^ ^;/^!0^^'L/l^ efin^^Hyy^ ^^^^~^^
ToA^^n of Seituate, R. I,
C. C. BEAMAN,
Published by order of tbe Town Council.
. HISTORICAL ADDRESS,
SCITUATE, RHODE ISLAND,
July 4.tli, 1876,
AT THE REQUEST OF THE TOWN AUTHORITIES,
By C. C. BEAMAN.
P 1 1 E N I X :
Capron & Campbell, Steam Book and Job Printers.
The great republic of the world celebrates its first century
to-day ! It has invited all nations to participate in the occasion by
an exhibition of the products and workmanship of their respective
countries, in the city where the assembled Congress framed, adopt-
ed, and sent forth, July Fourth, 1776, their Declaration of Inde-
pendence. It has selected an orator and poet, and other exercises
appropriate to the event to take place in the same city. Our own
State has requested, through its legislature, that every town in our
borders should have a local celebration ; and Congress and the
President have sent a similar appeal to every town in the Union.
The extraordinary growth of the country in the last century,
the very high position it occupies to-day, the success on so large a
scale, and for so long a period, of a free government, would seem
to demand an uncommon manifestation of the nation, on the happy
event of completing our first one hundred years ; and that to-day
our Union is perfect and complete, with not a single star blotted
out from our banner, and many more added to the original thirteen,
standing to-day stronger and more immovable than ever.
It was with fear and trembling, one hundred years ago, that
the delegates from the colonies assembled in a small hall in Phila-
delphia, put forth their immortal Declaration, July 4, 1776. They
were wise and prudent men — some of them, as was our own Hop-
kins, advanced in years ; a few, like Hancock, were rich. They all
had much at stake, having families, high character, the ablest meii
chosen from Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the other
4 HISTORICAL SKETCH
colonies : they exposed themselves, in case of defeat, to confis-
cation of property, banishment, imprisonment, loss of reputation,
and death by being hung as traitors, but they drew not back, there
was no faltering while they cut the tie which bound them to the
mother country, apd launched their bark upon the tempestuous
ocean of conflict with a mighty nation that had the resources of a
standing army, vessels of war, wealth, and all the munitions ready
for instantaneous and deadly war. To oppose all this strength of
warlike array, there were a few regiments of militia, no ship of
war, and guns, cannon balls and powder; and other requisites of
military warfare were few indeed, and neither money nor credit
but in a very limited degree.
The infant Congress staggered not at the impending and
deadly struggle looming up at the future, and boldly appealed to
the arbitration of the sword, and the decision of the impartial na-
tions of the world :
"When," they said, commencing their declaration, "in the
course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dis-
solve the political bonds which have connected them with another,
and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and
equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God en-
title them, a decent respect for the opiniuns of mankind requires
tJiat they should declare the causes which impel them to the sepa-
Many and dear were the ties wliich bound them to the mother
country! It was beyond other great nations, a free country ; and
the men of the revolution often expressed tliemselves as demanding
nothing more than the rights of a British subject enjoyed at home.
England was dear to them, as the source whence their supplies and
protection proceeded ; they had an interest, in licr glory as a nation ; as
the ci)untry from whose bosom the colonies came as from a mother.
Their literature, religion, language and customs had been brought
over to America — the graves of ancestry made the burial places of
Britain dear to Americans. Ties of interest, affection and consan-
guinity were sundered with regret.
OF SCITUATE. 5
But Great Britain, her rulers, and her people looked upon the
colonies to be sources of pecuniary profit; they were jealous of all
manufactures and commerce which interfered with their own ; and
by custom-house taxes and vexatious laws to prevent the Americans
from trading with any people but England and her colonies, they
turned the love of the people into hatred. The people were treated
in some respects as a conquered or dependent race, and not to be
ranked in privilege and honor with subjects at home. All these
reasons, and more, are stated in the declaration ; then comes the
solemn determination that they will bear the injustice and oppres-
sion no longer, but set up for themselves. In well considered
words they take tlieir final farewell :
" We. therefore, the representatives of the United States of
America, in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme
Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the
name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies,
solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of
right ought to be, free and independent states ; that they are ab-
solved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all politi-
cal connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is, and
ought to be totally dissolved : and that as free and independent
states they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract
alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things
which independent states may of right do. And for the support of
this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine
Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our for-
tunes and our sacred honor."
The fighting at Concord and Lexington had already taken
place, and two mouths afterwards the battle of Bunker Hill sent its
echo round the world. Boston had been evacuated by the British
forces March H, 1776. and now, July 4, 1776, the rebellion had
taken shape in an official act of the newly organized government,
casting off all allegiance to Great Britain, and asserting its entire
independence and determination to maintain it by all the force they
6 HISTORICAL SKETCH
We meet to-day without distinction of party or religious de-
nomination ; and though we come together as town's people of
Scitnate, we hold fellowship with all the towns of our State, and
passing out of the bounds of Ehode Island we stand up to-day with
every state, city and town in the Union in a Grand National Jubilee !
on the occasion of our completing our first hundred years. We
go farther, and extend a call to every other nation to rejoice with us
in our remarkable history ; in the unexampled prosperity we have
enjoyed, in the success which has attended the experiment of a peo-
ple self-governed. We may be pardoned for some little self-ex-
ultation wliile we recognize the guiding hand of our God in our pres-
ervation and blessing.
In the city of Philadelphia, where our delegates in Congress
assembled a hundred years ago, and framed and adopted a Declara-
tion of Independence there will be an extraordinary gathering of
our fellow citizens from all parts of our country, and many distin-
guished visitors from foreign lands will be convened to witness a
national festival, commemorative of what transpired m that city a
hundred years ago, and what great results have come out of it.
We have dared to invite an International Exhibition of Art
and Manufactured, Inventions and Discoveries, Literature and Sci-
ence, and other matters relating to man's progress in society, and
to put side by side, our own skill and taste, not for vain show, but
in order to bring the world into fellowship and useful and honor-
We may not be able to grasp in our vision the spectacle which
our still youthful nation presents to the world to-day. Our place
is in the New World discovered by Christopher Columbus four
hundred years ago. The vast extent of territory that maps out our
heritage lying between two groat oceans ; its natural features of
mountains, valleys and plains, and lakes and rivers, indented coasts
by inlets, bays and harbors where proud navies ride and prosperous
cities lift their spires is but imperfectly realized. A view of the
manufacturing and mechanical establishments, a sight of the farms
cultivated with all tlio help of newly invented agricultural imple-
OF SCITUATE. 7
ments, a perception of the warehouses where are stored the produc-
tions and workmanship of every clime, the schools and colleges
filled with pupils of both sexes, the churches whose bells ring
cheerfully on the Sabbath morn, the printing presses worked by
steam power, scattering leaves of knowledge over the whole land,
the railroads running in every direction, bearing immense freights
and conveying passengers in multitude, the telegraph with its wires
beneath the ocean and stretched out over the whole land, and the
activity of the people, and the enterprise visible, and the arrivals of
emigrants daily from the four quarters of the globe, with the gene-
ral intelligence, comfort and happiness of the people, the steady
march of population over the deserts, or uncultivated places,
and the returning march from the West to meet midway the East;
this is the picture too great and wonderful to be fully realized, as
the orators of our centenuary year vainly strive with uplifted
voice and choice expression to describe to-day in the assemblies
convened all over the land.
Praise and thanksgwing may well go up from the nation so
highly favored of God ! who has not so blessed every other nation
under the broad heavens — no other nation has a history like ours.
Behold what God has wrought for us ! May thanks go up from the
shores of both oceans, and from the banks of every river and lake,
from every hill and valley, and all places where man has set his
foot on the soil of these United States and sheltered himself from
oppression and wrong beneath the folds of our star spangled ban-
Berkeley, the English philosopher, who made for a while his
home in Newport, in 1730, filled as it were with superhuman fore-
sight of the coming glory of America, wrote the well-known pro-
phetic lines :
" Westward tlie course of empire takes its way;
. 'J'he fii-st foiu" iU'ts already past,
A fifth shall close the drama with the day-
Time's noblest oftspring is the last! "
SCITUATE IN EAKLY PAYS.
The arriving of a centennial year naturally turns our thoughts
to the pa^t. We revert to the beginning and progress of men and
8 HISTORICAL SKETCH
things, and love to connect old things with new. It is a duty
which we owe to those who have gone before us to consider their
wrongs and enquire for their principles ! We cannot go back
like China, Japan and India, to a very remote past, for our country
is very new ; but we may turn to ancient and discolored manu-
scripts, antiquated house furniture, old houses, by-gone burial
places, deeds of valor, primitive and frugal ways, times of poverty
and need, of honesty and patriotism, to the period of forest and
self-denying and perilous lives, to ther simple faith and child-like
trust in God of the early days.
Wealth and luxury, numbers and power, things that are new
and wonderful we can see every day and year, but we must make
special exertion and set apart a time to explore the past and rumi-
nate in the quiet shades of by-gone generations. We have before
us to-day a town hifttory : one that is eventful, that called out hu-
man strength and fortitude in an extraordinary degree, and devel-
oped what is good and noble in man and in communities.
It will be expected of me, on the present occasion, to present
some outlines of the history of Scituate. Like other parts of Ehode
Island, it was first inhabited by Indians, and the territory remained
in a state of nature, for the red men were hunters and fishers, culti-
vating only little patches of ground, of corn, tobacco, beans, etc.
Little collections of huts or wigwams formed their towns — of which
there may have been a dozen in many miles travel.
The settlement of Roger Williams at Providence in 1636 is the
commencement of our history. He dedicated himself to the spread
of the gospel among the Indians, and traveled among the different
tribes who were at war with each other, to pacify them and satisfy
them that he and his associates had honest intentions to live peace-
ably with them. God gave him with Cnnonicus, the great and
powerful Indian chief, favor so that he obtained as a gift large and
valuable tracts of laud. The deed of gift was dated March 24,
1631, in the second year of the Rhode Island plantation and reads
— "in consideration of the many kindnesses and services he hath
continually done for us." The land given was of the lands upon
OF SCITUATE. 9
Mooshansick and Woonasquatucket rivers. Soon after this grant,
Mr. Williams, in an unselfish spirit, executed a deed j;'iving an
equal share with himself to twelve of his companions, and -'sueli
other as the maj«r part of us shall admit into the same fellowship
of vote with us." All of them, with others, filty-fonr in all, had
lots assigned them, in the first division of land, which took place
soon after the initial deed was accepted.
The settlement increased, as from other colonies and from be-
yond the sea, emigrants continued to arrive, and numbers spread
themselves over the wooded heights and vales of that part of Prov-
idence afterwards set oft' as Scituate.
It was formerly the practice — that is soon after the proprietors
connected with Roger Williams had been increased to one hundred,
that persons " took up lands," as the current phrase was, that Ihey
had them surveyed and marked off, and enterod njion the records —
some compensation may have been given to the propiictors. Deeds
were however in early use; an old one was found not long ago,
among the papers of Gideon Harris, bearing date 1(161, of the
size of half a sheet of letter pnper, written on both sides, and with
the curious orthography of the oldcni time.
The first settlers of Scituate drove tu» large herds and flocks
before them, and there were no meadows lor a supply of grass to
feed them; at first, probably, men alone; came to build a rough
cabin and make a clearing, and afterwards, tlicy broiiglit their fam-
ilies. The soil was good, but it was rocky and covertMl with woods.
Wild beasts and Indians roved over it. Stephen Ifoivkins. who
was born in Scituate in 1710, and lived thcio till middle life, in
a few pages of early Rhode Island histiuy, wrote in poeti<; verse
the pitiable condition of the first inhabitants:
" Nor house, nor init, nor fruitlul liild. .
Nor lowing herd, nor bleating lloc-k.
Or garden that might comfort yield.
Nor cheerful, early crowing cock.'"
No orchard yielding pleasant fruit.
Or laboring ox or useful plow;
Nor rndghing ste'ed or browsing goat.
Or grunting swine or feedful cow.
iO HISTORICAL SKETCH
No friend to help, no neighbor nigh.
Nor healing medicine to relieve ;
No mother's hand to close the eye.
Alone, forlorn, and most extremely poor."
A better class, and very enterprising and successful, came af-
terwards. In 1710 some emigrants arrived from Scituate, Mass.
In 1730 Scituate was set ofl" from Providence as a distinct town-
Tradition gives John Mathewson the credit of building the
first white man's house — if it may be so called — in Scituate. It was
a hovel or hut put up in the north-eastern part of the town, within
a quarter of a mile of the Great Pond, Moswansicut, within a few
rods of the boundaries of Scituate, Smithfield, Johnston and Glo-
cester, almost on the line of junction of the four towns. The place
lies about six rods from the road, and is indicated by a depression
and raised banks. It was six or eight feet square, four or five
feet deep, and raised above the ground by logs and branches of
trees, some three or four feet. There was only one way of en-
trance, and holes were left in the upper part, through which a gun
might be pushed to shoot bears, wolves, foxes, wildcats or other
animals that might approach with design to enter the premises.
Tradition, handed down in the Mathewson families still resident
in the neighborhood, further says : that Boston was at that time
the nearest trading town, and thither, on foot, through Indian or
other paths, John would make his occasional journeys, stopping at
houses on the way. lie made acquaintance with a Miss Malary at
one of those houses where he stopped on his route, and offering
marriage, was accepted. He bnilt him a house a hundred yards or
more from his cave, and cultivated a good farm. lie died there,
suddenly, aged about forty, leaving a widow and children. John,
one of his sons, was the direct ancestor of the late Hon. Elisha
Mathewson, senator in Congress.
Daniel, another son, when a boy of ten years, about the year
1700, was sent with a cart load of oak wood to Providence to sell.
Two yokes of oxen and a horse were put in to draw the load over
tlie rougli and hilly road, and alter driving all over the town to find
OF SCITUATE. 11
a customer, he sold the load for five shillings, the most he could get.
There were three houses only at that time on the north side of
Westminster street, between the pumps and the forks of the road,
by the bridge.
Thomas Mathcwson and others of this name came to settle
round this pond, one of the most beautiful ponds in the State, and
having good lands around it. Elder Samuel Winsor owned a tract
a little farther east of the pond, and his lands were said to reach to
Providence. John Waterman, Dean Kimball and others were
Mr. Stephen Smith kept tavern at the Four Corners, North
Scituate, and as there was a great deal of teaming past his house,
going to and returning from the furnaces of Smithfield and Gloces-
ter, to get iron ore at Cranston, his half-way house was well pat-
Daniel Mathewson, the boy already spoken of, lived to about
1776, when he died at an advanced age. Noah, the son of Daniel,
died Sept. 17, 1824, aged 89 years, and was buried by the side of
his parents on the family lot. His widow, Judith, deceased Jan.
28, 1827, aged 87 years. Tlie house that Daniel built was occupied
successively, alter his death, by his son Noali and his grandson
Daniel, who was living in 1856 in his 78th year, and gave me this
information of his family. Its height was one story, with four
rooms on the ground floor, and a cellar underneath. In the old
stone fire-place were seen hanging Irom a piece of timber, placed
horizontally, high up in the cliimney, two very long iron hooks or
trammels, five or six feet long, for hanging kettles and other ves-
sels over the fire. These were hoisted or lowered by mcjans of lit-
tle holes in the upper piece. Tlicy had no barns in these old times
when this house was built, but there were little shanties or hovels
where they stored many things.
James Aldrich removed to Scituate from Smithfield in 1775,
and purchased of the heirs the estate of Mr. Ishmael Wilkinson,
deceased. This was in the north-west part of the town, and in the
vicinity of Beacon Hill. When Mr. Aldrich came to Scituate
1^ IIISTOKICAL SKETCH
himself and ihmily travolcd on horseback, that being' the usualmode
of conveyance. Attempts were made to discourage him from leav-
ing Smithficld by representing the lateness of spring, it being the
middle of May, but as the land was good he declined to stop.
Soon after his arrival he sent back to Smithfield to get a cheese tub
made by a celebrated worker iu wooden ware, Jesse Inches, who
was known far and wide for his skill in manufacturing churns, pails
and tubs. This cheese tub, made of cedar, held twenty pailfuls,
which gives us^ some idea of the dairy oi' Mr. Aldrich, and of the
cows about liis premises. A stout man brought it on foot, and up-
on his back, all the way from Smithfield. It was sold at auction
some seventy-five years after, on the breaking up of house-keeping
by his son John, having been in the family three-quarters of a cen-
The Smithfield people considered a journey to the adjoining
town of Scituatc, one hundred years ago, somewhat as we regarded
a trip to Ohio some fifty years since; but quite a number of fami-
lies and some very fine additions to the property, respectability and
enterprise of Scituatc, nevertheless, removed, and it may have been
with a desire to keep them at home that the discomforts of Scituate
were magnified. James Aldrich took the farm made vacant, as we
have seen, by the unfortunate death of Mr. Wilkinson, and found
the land pretty well prepared for culture — a comfortable house and
barn, a good orchard, stone walls, good soil, and a very pleasant
and healthful location.
Having a great taste for orcharding, which his son John- im-
bibed, and his grandson Arthur inherited, who had the finest fruit
in the town, he planted fruit trees for which the soil, climate and
elevation of laud were highly favorable, and became a successful far-
mer. He raised horses for sale, as was the custom then, and Scit-
uate horses, for their fine qualities, were regarded at that time
much as we regard those which are now brought from Vermont.
He is said to have introduced the first cherry trees in the town.
Mr. James Aldiich was a groat politician in those days, and
belonged to the Republican or Democratic party, both names being
OF SCITUATE. 13
used at that time to desig-nate the Jeflerson party, in opposition to
tlie federal party of Ilaniiltori. lie represented the town of Scitu-
ate in General Assembly for one series of nineteen consecutive
years. Elislia Mathewson, John Harris and Col. Ephraim Bower
were often at his house, and Governor Arthur Fenner. The Gover-
nor used to come out of Providfuce on horseback, with liis gun and
other equipments, to have a good hunt with his warm friend and
brother democrat, James. Dr. Battey told me he had seen them
hunting together when he was a boy, and a daughter'of Mr. Aldrich,
Mrs. Charles Harris, remembered that many a time she had seen the
Governor ride away home from Scituate with foxes and squirrels
that he had killed, strung over his saddle.
Arthur must have loved the fun, and there was no very awful
.state about a chief magistrate in those days to prevent his indul-
gence in a favorite sport. Political, as well as social and hunting
propensities, doubtless mingled in these expeditions, for Mr. James
Aldrich and his friend Elisha Mathewson were said to control the
votes of Scituate, and the people loved to see a Governor
among them in such a free and easy spirit and costume, and gladly
gave him the favor of their votes.
Women generally rode on horseback in these days, and favor-
ite daughters were privileged with some fine horses to ride. Two
women were sometimes seen riding on one horse, each with a child
in her arms, but more frequently the "good man" with his wife be-
'hind him, going to church or to shopping in the small but thriving
village of Providence, which, in the first settlement, was indeed the
village of Scituate, as well as Providence.
Gideon Harris is a very prominent man in the history of Scitu-
ate. He married Damaus Wescott, a noted maiden in her day.
He died in 1^11, at an advanced age, and was buried in the Quaker
burying ground. For many years he filled the ofiBce of Town
Clerk. It was a common saying that everybody who was poor, in
distress, or wanted employm(Mit, resorted to Mr. Harris, on account
of his property, influence and b(Mievolent disposition, llis house
was in a place called the " Old Bank." It was enlarged and made
14 HISTORICAL SKETCH
into two stories by his son, and pleasantly situated on ground ris-
ing from the road, with its stately and ancient button-wood and elm
trees, makes an imposing appearance.
JOSEPH WILKINSON AND THE HOPKINS FAMILY.
About the year 1103, Mr. Joseph Wilkinson, a son of Capt.
Samuel Wilkinson, Esq., of Providence, came to live in the north-
west part of Scituate, known by its Indian name, Chapumishcook.
He married Martha Pray, a grand-daughter of one of the first set-
tlers in the town. There was a crooked road leading from Provi-
dence to this neighborhood at this time. The first barn built in
what is now Scituate was erected by him. lie also brought the
first cow into the town, and a piece of meadow where he pastured
his cow, a little north, running into Foster, where the first hay was
cut, had been created, it is supposed, by a beaver dam in the vicin-
ity, causing an overflow of water and rotting the trees so that they
fell down and gave an opportunity for the grass to grow.
Mr. Wilkinson was a surveyor, and much employed in this
work ill the town. In a deed of 1738 the surveyor's return was
made under his hand. His residence was on the estate improved
afterward by his great grandson, John Harris, Esq., in the most
northern turnpike, a pleasant spot and a valuable farm. At the
raising of his barn men came from Smithfield and Glocester to as-
sist the Scituate people in its raising. When they had raised it
they all sat down upon a large log and drank metheglin, a bever-
age made of honc}' and water and fermented, often enriched with
spices. Some eighty years ago an old man named Hopkins, nearly
eighty j-ears of age, who was at this raising, and had a fresh recol-
lection of the event, came ahjiig, and related it to the family resi-
dent there, and stated his participation in it. The barn had been
taken down a little while before he came.
The house now standing on this farm is quite a large one, as are
also the barns. The house has been twice repaired and enlarged
by additions, but no part of the old Wilkinson house is retained in
it. Two magnificent chestnut trees are standing in a lot opposite
the house, of apparent great age.
OF SCITUATE. 15
Some anecdotes connected with" his wife, whose maiden name
was Martha Pray, illustrate the perils and heroism of the early
settlers. Her husband, being absent at work some two miles off,
she discovered a bear upon a sweet apple tree, shaking off the fruit
that he might devour it on the ground. As it was the only tree of
the kind they had, and highly valued, Mrs. Wilkinson not a little
regretted the absence of her husband, whose gun kept loaded for
such emergencies, was in its place on the pegs at the side of the
wall. The apples continued to fall and rattle on the ground, and
there was no other help at hand but the gun, which Maitha, in a fit
of desperation, took into her hands and going out the door which
stood open, she took aim and fired. Dropping the gun on the
ground immediately after the discharge, alarmed and trembling at
what she had done, she ran back into the house and shut the door,
afraid to look back and see what she had done, or the effect of the
shot. When Mr. Wilkinson returned home, and was informed by
his wife of what she had done, he went out to the tree and fouud
the bear dead on the ground, so that his faithful and resolute wife
had not only saved the cherished apples, but had secured some
good meat as a supply.
This young married couple had also to guard their sheep by
night from bears and wolves by putting them in log enclosures near
the house. On one occasion they were awakened by a bear rolling
the logs away in order to get at the sheep, and had to get up and
drive him away.
Another incident called for his wife's coolness, courage and
wisdom. Roving Indians sometimes called at the houses of the
first settlers — a large party called at Mr. Wilkinson's house when
none but his wife was at home. Ffom their appearance, as she
could not understand their language, she guessed that they wanted
food, and she gave them all the provision she had in meat and
meal. They took it and withdrew into a field near, made a fire and
cooked and ate what had been given them, with great relish. It was
no small relief to Mrs. Wilkinson, though she manifested no alarm,
when they took their departure.
16 HISTORICAL SKETCH
They came back after a few days and brought some line veni-
son, which they left, apparently as a return for Mrs. Wilkinson's
favors, and as an expression of their grateful sense of her kind-
ness. In this way a friendship was created with the Indians, and
Ihey wei'e often welcome and happy inmates of the Wilkinson
household, and brought their baskets, moccasins and manufactures
to barter off for food and other things which they wanted.
Mr. Wilkinson appears prominent in the first town meeting of
Scituate after it was set off" from Providence. lie is called Lieut.
Wilkinson, was elected a member of the Town Council and chosen
Mr. William IlopkiiiS, the only cliild of Major Wiliiam Hop-
kins, of Providence, married Ruth Wilkinson, daughter of " Capt.
Samuel Wilkinson, Esq.," as he was styled in public records, and
immediately after his marriage removed to a farm in Scituate in the
neighborhood of Lieut. Joseph Wilkinson, the brother of his wife.
His house was small, but the land was good — probably, not mueh
cleared for tillage — in 116."), or thereabouts, when he took tlie
He is not much spoken of in the town records, and probably
did not seek office, but gave himself steadily to the woik of lifs
farm and the care of his family. Ilis memory is chieliy connected
with some of his children who became illustrious and reflected
great honor on their parents, and on the state ami nation. William
was the first born. He went abroad, and was presented iit the
court in England, and so took the favor of the King h-oni his lino
manly appearance, that he was appointed Major by him. A pait of
the coat he wore at court has been preserved by his descendants,
and I have seen it on exhibition at one of the late antiquarian exhi-
bitions in Providence. His other children were Sti'phen, John,
Eseck, Samuel, Hope, Abigail and Susanna.
Eseck, soon after the death of his fatlier, in the summer of
1738, a stout, tall and handsome young man, then in the twentieth
year of his age, bid adieu to the old homestead and journej'ed to
Providence and became a sailor, soon rising to the position of Cap-
OF SCITUATE. 17
tain. He married when he was twenty-five years of age, Miss
Desire Burroughs, daughter of Mr. Ezekiel Burroughs, of Newport,
and took up his residence there. His conspicious services in the'
war of the revolution, as the first commodore of the navy are well
known. His fleet, consisting of the ships Alfred, Capt. Dudley
Saltonstall, and the Columbus, Capt. Whipple, the brig Andrew
Doria, Cfipt. Nicholas Biddle, and the Cabot, Capt. John B. Hop-
kins, son of Eseck, and the sloops Providence, Fly, Hornet and
Wasp, put out to sea Feb. It, 1776, with a smart north-east wind,
and cruising among the Bahama Islands, captured the forts at New
Providence, Nassau. This was a very fortunate affair, for the heavy
ordinance and stores taken proved quite acceptable to the country.
He captured two British armed vessels on his return.
The Commodore, or Admiral, as Washington addressed him,
met with diflBculties in creating an eflBcient navy, and his force was
wholly inadequate to protect the long lino of coast and meet the
vessels of the English navy, and he soon resigned and engaged in
private armed vessels, as did his lieutenant, the famous John Paul
Jones. He was successful in capturing many British vessels. In the
collections of the Rhode Island Historical Societyis a French engrav-
ing of him, which has a splendid figure and a handsome open counte-
nance. It was circulated in France and this country in the early
part of the war. The Commodore's family clock has been pre-
sented to Brown University, by his grand-daughter, Miss Elizabeth
Angell. He died in 1802, and was buried at North Providence.
Stephen Hopkins was still more distinguished than the Com-
modore.' He was born March T, 1101. But little is known of his
boyhood, but he must, with the other sons of William, been early
taught to labor on the farm. There were no schools in his day, but
his mother was a woman of marked talents and character, and no
doubt instructed him in many things. It has come down to us that
he inherited his abilities from her. His uncle Wilkinson, the survey-
or, probably instructed him in that art, for we find him, still a youth,
engaged in surveying. A strong passion for reading characterized
his mature life. I was permitted to examine his library, which
18 HISTORICAL SKETCH
was large and valuable for the time. It would be interesting to
know what books he read when a boy — procured at home, or ob-
tained from connections and f/iends, — scarce, they probably were,
and mostly of a religious character, but we may be sure he searched
them thoroughly. Other means of culture were at hand. The
conversation of parents, of visitors at his father's house, with vis-
its to other families, added to his store of knowledge. Letters were
arriving from England ; men and boys were returning from voyages
at sea. Rhode Island being quite a maritime place, a minister
would occasionally arrive from abroad and preach at a private
house. If the school master passed through the place he may
have said something. What other means had the boy Stephen
Hopkins of education? Nature spread before him a beautiful pan-
orama. Ilis father's hotise, built on high land, overlooking a wide
extent of country, presenting a succession of wooded summits,
rounded in the blue sky, the aspect of the heavens, radiant at night,
and the seasons,
" Whither the blossom blow.s, the summer ray
Russets the plain, inspiring antnnin gleams,
Or winter rises in the blackening east,"
all teaching some important lesson, and moulding the character :
thus grew up that youth, who became fond of poetry, and the au-
thor of some fine pieces, which have been preserved, I have stood
upon the spot where the birth place of this signer of the Declara-
tion of Independence drew out my thoughts to consider the local-
ities of the place as sending their influences to act upon his child-
hood. The foot-worn paths to the well, to the barn, and to the
road, on account of a change of houses, the old. one being much
smaller, and built a little on the one side of the present structure,
are not discernible. The garden in front of the house, on the op-
posite side of th(J road, and the family burying place, just outside
of the garden walls, reach back to ancient times. The graves of
Buocessive residents are there, but no lines are on ihe stones that
mark the last resting place of AVilliam and Rnth Hopkins, the pa-
rents of Governor and Admiral Hopkins. NVould it not be well
OF SCITUATE. 19
for the town of Scituate, on this centennial year, to put up in that
ground a monument of honor and gratitude to the memory of those
Stephen Hopkins married, June 27, 1726, Sarah, the youngest
daughter of Major Silvanus Scott, of Providence. He married
early, being only nineteen years of age — his wife was about the
same age. To create a home and a support for the newly married
ones, the father of Stephen made him a gift of seventy acres of
land, and his grandfather, Thomas Hopkins, bestowed upon his
" loving grandson," as the will reads, an additional grant of ninety
acres. The grandfather of Sarah was Mr. Richard Scott, of Provi-
dence, "gentleman," the term used to show his quality.
Four years after this marriage, the portion, now Scituate, was
set off from Providence, and Stephen Hopkins, then only twenty-three
years of age, was the Moderator chosen. This fact is significant of the
very high opinion entertained of him in his native town, as a man
of business and competent to preside over public meetings. Joseph
Brown was chosen Town Clerk for the first year, an office which
included the registration of deeds, and Stephen Hopkins was elected
the year after, and this office he held for ten successive years, and
Mr. Hopkins removed to Providence in 1744, and purchased
an estate on South Main street, at the corner of what is now Hop-
kins street, named after him, but formerly Bank lane, because the
first bank in Rhode Island was located at the foot of it.
He engaged in commerce at Providence, but was soon called
to fill important places in the State, as Chief Justice and Governor,
— appointed to the Judgeship in 1739. No man was so often chosen
as Moderator of Town Meetings in Providence. He assisted as-
tronomers in making observations on the transit of Venus, at Provi-
dence, having a high mathematical reputation. His zeal for liberty
led him in early life, and later, to write and publish papers on the
"Rights of the Colonies," and to hold correspondence with distin-
guished patriots in various parts of the land. His memory was
very retentive, and his capacity great. He died July 13, 1785.
so HISTORICAL SKETCH
Stephen Hopkins may stand forth as a representative of Rhode
Island. Born and educated there amid hardships and perils, and
believed in and honored by its people ; his whole life, as it were,
spent within its boundaries, and in its service, in the critical
and forming period of its history, he represents its people.
Connected with the early settlers of this colony, on both the
paternal and maternal sides ; his birth reaching back to its simplest
or rudest condition, and forward to the close of the American Revo-
lution ; his long, active, conspicuous life, spent among its people,
moving and acting among thera in constant and intimate contact
with all classes and denominations, in domestic relations, business
operations, and political and religious actions ; assisting in framing,
interpreting and executing their laws, and trusted by them with
almost every oflfice in their gift, we may consider him as a fair
specimen of native growth, showing all the capabilities of soil and
It is to the honor of Rhode Island that she produced Stephen
Hopkins; that he was the son of immigrants who selected her terri-
tory for a home, and that he was cradled, nurtured, approbated,
exalted, and kept in public service so long, with her full consent
and honest pride. The existence of such a man under such cir-
cumstances may certify, as a volume of true history may declare,
to the character of her settlers and the influence of her institutions.
There were true men and women who sought an asylum and
built their homes on the Narragansett Bay; and they were not
wanting in mental power, moral principle and heroic devotion to
If these settlers maturing in their own native soil, and from
their own native seed,, had produced no other evidence of their
worthiness to take an lionorable place with the other New England
colonies, the production of Stephen Hopkins would of itself suf-
fice, lie was a working man, beginning early and continuing late,
covering half a century with his record of diligence.
His farming and mercantile operations absorl>ed much of his
time and thought and strength. The business of surveying in the
OF SCITtJATE. 21
rough country in which he lived involved much hardship and labor,
and he had much of it to perform. He was early engaged in at-
tempts to develop the resources of the State in mining. His pub-
lic life made him the servant of all ; and he was a close and severe
student, filling up all the spare hours of his life with reading. The
town records of Scituate attest that he was familiar with drudgery,
and his committ^ labors in Congress won for him the praise of
John Adams, as a business man. He owed much to his fine natural
gifts, to the reputation and assistance of his %mily connections,
and to the open field which Rhode Island oflered at the time to a
man of talent, tact and ambition — all three of which he possessed.
But he, nevertheless, was indebted to his close application, mde-
fatigable labor, and resolute persistence in toil, for his advancement.
He thought it not beneath him to perform well the humblest duty,
to execute faithfully the smallest trust, to excel in little things, and
he never dreamed of idleness as his portion, or conceived that he
could float into public favor and maintain influence without exer-
tion. He had a small and obscure pi)sition, like a rill on a wooded
mountain side, but he worked himself out of it, despite of obstacles,
and became like a river growing wider and wider as it proceeded
from its source to the place where it passed into the sea.
He was one of the people at all periods of his history. He
had long been placed over them in oflBce, but he never outgrew his
place among them, and never lost his sense of fellowship and sym-
pathy with the toil, exposure and privations of the humblest citi-
zen. His heart beat responsive to the hearts of men ; he was ever
fighting their battles, considering them as his own ; therefore it
was that he had such a weight of influence — such a power of direct-
ing movements, and dared to act with so much decision. As an
Illustration of his readiness to bear his part in all the burdens of
the people we find his name, in 1757, heading a list of tiiirty-six
men — his son George one of them — who were ready to march
against the French and Indians, who had invaded the northern
frontier, possessed themselves of Fort McHenry, and were carrying
death and devastation on their way. The tidings of their retreat
prevented the party from srtting nut.
22 HISTORICAL SKETCH
In the taking of the Gaspee, in which his son, John B. Hop-
kins, took a leading part, Mr. Hopkins being Chief Justice he
asked the advice of the Assembly what course he should pursue if
the British government should demand the men who destroyed her.
He was told to use his own discretion, to which he answerd, —
" Then, for the transportation for trial, I will neither apprehend any
person by my own order, nor suffer any executive officer in the
colony to do it."
In the North Burial Ground, of Providence, is his grave; and
there his State has erected a monument to his memory, on which,
with other commendations, is inscribed these words: "His name is
engraved on the immortal record of the Revolution, and can never
The children of Stephen Hopkins were Rufus, the first child,
born Feb. 10, 1727 ; John, the second sou, was born Nov, 11, 1728.
Ruth, the eldest daughter, was born in 1729, and named after her
grandmother Hopkins. She died in infancy in 1731, and was
buried in Scituate. Lydia, the fourth child, was born in 1732, and
probably died young, Silvanus, the third son, was born Oct.
16, 1734, Simon was born Aug. 25, 1736, and George, the
seventh and youngest child, was born in 1739. All the sons ex-
cept Simon, who died while a lad, were sailors, going to sea while
boys, and all became masters of vessels but Silvanus, who became
mate at eighteen, and would have been captain soon after, had he
lived. Rufus was so far successful that he invested five hundred
pounds in the Hope furnace, Scituate, 1766, and became its super-
intendent. This furnace cast cannon which were used in the army
and navy during the revolutionary war. There were two cannon
usually cast at one time, and they were afterwards bored.
While living at the furnace he received the appointment of
Judge, which he held for several years. He was one of a commit-
tee appointed by Congress, Dec. 14, 1775, to superintend the build-
ing of vessels of war. He was concerned in the first cotton factory
put up near the Hope furnace in 1807. Silvanus, one of his sons,
was the first agent of the Hope Manufacturing Company. Rulus
OF SCITUATE. 23
Hopkins died in August, 1809, at the house of Mr. Andrew Ralph,
and was buried in the North Burial Ground, Providence. He is
said to have greatly resembled his father, and the likeness in the
picture of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, pur-
porting to be that of Gov. Hopkins, is his.
Capt. John Hopkins, the second son of Stephen, in 1153,
sailed for Cadiz, Spain, and died there July 20th, with the small
pox, aged twenty-four years. Silvanus, the third son of Stephen
was killed by Indians after he was cast away on the Cape Breton
shore. Of the remaining children, Simon died at Providence, at
the age of seven years, and George, the youngest, who married
Ruth Smith, was lost at sea in the year 1775, with the vessel he
JOHN HULET, GOV. WEST, AND HUNTING GKAND OLD FURNITURE.
As the land was being cleared, with here and there, at irregu-
lar places, a clearing made or commenced,
" Where not a liahitation stood before.
Abodes of men iiTegularly massed."
One of these, whose chimney smokes were illuminated by the
morning sun in the woods of Scitaate, in its early settlement, was
John Hulet and Berenice, his wife, who, about 1740, resided in the
north-western part of the town. Ills grave is pointed out in a pas-
ture back of the house of John Harris, Esq., a short hillock,
marked by two walnut trees, and lying on the westerly side of the
most northern one. Two rough moss covered stones, one at each
end of the grave, and without inscription, designate the last resting
place of one who owned large tracts of land in the vicinity, but
now sleeps unnoticed and unknown by the living generations about
him. His transactions in deeds were numerous, and run from 1743
to 1763. In 1744 he bought one hundred and fifty acres of Stephen
Hopkins for three hundred pounds, land commonly called "Oyster-
shell Plain." We find him, among others, taking the oath against
bribery, Aug. 15, 1747, an example which might be followed at the
present day for the advantage of the country.
Benjamin Gorton, of Warwick, married John Ilulet's daughter
24 HISTORICAL SKETCH
Avis, July 18, 1162. His son Mason married, the year following,
Oct. 23, 1763, Elizabeth Mathewson, of Johnston. Elder Eeuben
Hopkins performed the marriage service on both these interesting
occasions. Mason Hulet removed to Vermont and settled at Wal-
lingford, on the Otter Creek, and has left numerous descendants in
that State. John Hul^t, March 1761, sold to Col. Wm. West the
farm of two hundred acres which he bought of Stephen Hopkins.
He sold it for forty thousand pounds, a price not to be accounted
for, except, we admit, the great depreciation of the currency. Mr,
Hulet was appointed, with Thomas Angell, pound keeper, in 1747.
He is called " Captain " in his appointment of fence viewer in
1750. He was undoubtedly a man of considerable property for
those days, and quite a dealer in lands. He sold to Boylston Bray-
ton, of Smithfield, May 28, 1768, two tracts of land, — one lying
in Gloccster, according to the deed, "the half of a farm whereon
Ralph Wcllman did formerly live, and bounded as in deed of Wil-
liam West to Eliphalet Eddy, Feb. 16, 1760, and also more particu-
larly by the said Eddy to me, the said John Hulet, containing
three hundred acres, more or less. The other tract is in Scit-
uate, and is my homestead farm, and the same whereon I now
dwell, and contains about two hundred and fifty acres, bounded
northerly on land of James Wheeler, easterly on land of the
eame, and on land belonging to Capt. John Whipple, southerly
on land of William West and westwardly on land of Charles
Hopkins and Barnes Hall, and on land belonging to heirs
of Joseph Wilkinson." This homestead farm would seem to have
been very near to the place of his burial. We find him buying at
the same time of Benj. Anthony, of Swanzea, for 1800 Spauish
milled dollars, 229 1-2 acres of land, where Thomas Knowlton once
dwelt in Scituate, in part bounded by territory of heirs of Joseph
Wilkinson. Mr. Hulet must have died soon after these last trans-
actions, as we find no further mention of him in the town rec-
ords. Ho is said to have died of fever after a very short illness.
Lieut. -Gov. West, who purchased the old homestead which
Gov. Hopkins sold to John Hulet, had for some time previous to
OF SCITUATE. 25
ITGl, been living in Scituate, and had resided a little west of said
farm, where his son John afterwards lived. He removed from
North Kingston to Scituate, and was chosen Deputy. He was also
elected to represent the town in a General Convention held at East
Greenwich, Sept. 26, 1786. In the appointment by the Governor
in 1775, of Eseck Hopkins to be General of troops to be raised for
the defence of the shores of the Narragansett, Col. West waa
placed second in command. We find him very active in town af-
fairs during the Eevolutionary war. In May, 1777, he was made
chairman of a committee to ascertain the number of effective sol-
diers still wanting to complete the (Continental battalion, then rais-
ing by the State. He was several times chosen as Moderator of
the town, and was a man of intelligence and enterprise, infusing
energy and courage in the people.
In 1775 he put up the largest and most showy house that had
ever been erected in Scituate. Mr. Welcome Arnold, who died
some twenty years ago, was at the raising of this house, and used
often to speak of the great gathering and interest of the occasion.
Liquors of all sorts were furnished, but while rum was very plenti-
ful there was a choice kind of wine, of which the people were only
permitted to take a Utile. This house is on the Providence and
Hartford turnpike, three miles west of the village of North Scitu-
ate. It is a gambrel-roofed house of two stories as it fronts the
road, and of four stories on the end opening to the east, including
the basement and the attic story. The rooms in the house are very
spacious, and the attic seems as large as many meeting houses, it
being all in one room. It was quite a museum, with old fashioned
looms, spinning wheels, chests of drawers, and other articles, when
I saw it.
A very interesting historical place is this house, built by Lieut.
Gov. William West, coeval with our centennial year, and it is a
very pleasant coincidence that one of our committee lives in tlie
house with his brother-in-law, Mr. Richard A. Atwood. I rather
think that not a few rebels were (juartered there at times in the Rev-
olution, and seditious conversation indulged in, and even rebel-
26 HISTORICAL SKETCH
lion openly talked of, and schemes devised against the British
troops and vessels. I don't see why that house, built on the prem-
ises where Gov. Stephen Hopkins and Commodore Eseck Hopkins
were born, should not be placarded, these centennial days, with the
noble and patriotic words of Rhode Island statesmen and heroes
as is the case to-day with the Old South Church in Boston, and
flags and streamers displayed upon it. The old house was raised
and built by patriotic men who knew how to handle the musket and
the sword, and doubtless did, most of them, serve in the American
army and navy. If the old folks have gone to their reward in
heaven they have left us a memorial of their day, in this edifice,
and may it stand a century longer.
Gov. West was quite a farmer and kept a great many cows.
He would often set oif with a load of cheese to sell, valued at $1,500.
He married Ellen Brown ; his children were William, Charles, John,
Samuel, Hiram, Elsie, Olive, Ellen, Sally and Hannah, Job Ran-
dall married two of his daughters — Ellen for his first wife, and
Sally ior his second. Jeremy Philips married Elsie West, and
Hannah married Mr, Gideon- Smith, father of Mr. Russel Smith,
who resides in North Scituate village.
The going down in value of continental money ruined Gov.
West financially, as it did many other patriots of the Revolution
who trusted the government, and made his last years afflictive.
This was one of the sacrifices our fathers made for us, that we might
enjoy freedom and prosperity, Mr. West died about sixty years
ago. Elder Westcott attended his funeral. He was a man rather
above the middle height, a bony, sinewy man, long favored, with a
As an illustration of the spirit of the town of Scituate, in the
Revolutionary war, and as evidence of confidence in their
townsmen, are many votes on record. Here is one! — " At a Town
Meeting held April 28, HTT, it was Voted that Col. William West
be appointed to use the utmost of his endeavors and abilities, by giv-
ing directions to his under-ofiicers, as well as using his influence other
ways, to raise soldiers by enlisting the number of men assigned to
OF SCITUATE. 27
be raised in this town, by act of Assembly aforesaid." May 5,
following, he was chosen chairman of a committee "to prepare and
divide into classes the male inhabitants of the town, liable to bear
arms." How ready the town was to bear its proportion of war ex-
penses, see the following vote of September 23, 1'7'79 : " Voted
that the town will raise their proportion of the $20,000,000 recom-
mended by the Hon. Continental Congress, £5,359, 2s, 8d being
said town's proportion. The collector of taxes is directed to pay
the same, when collected, into the Loan OiKce in this State, taking
Loan OfiBce certificates of the same."
In this part of the town, where Col. West lived, are preserved
some articles of furniture of great antiquity, heir-looms of families.
Mrs. Farnham, who lives on the road to the West House — a little
east — the only surviving child of the late Hon. Elisha Mathewson,
has in her possession the veritable looking-glass brought to Scitu-
ate by her first ancestor, John Mathewson. It is small — the plate
only seven inches by nine — of hard wood frame, stout, and of good
repair, save that the quicksilver has come off in a good many
small spots. The same lady has other centennial articles, — one is
a solid mahogany table of an oval form, three feet in length, an old
fashioned tea table. This table was brought from England, and it
belonged to Mrs. Farnham's grandmother, the wife of Richard
Smith, whose maiden name was Lydia Clarke, daughter of Judge
Joseph Clarke, who was driven off in tlie Revolutionary war to
Pawtuxet. Several ancient chairs are also the property of this
venerable lady, who is still living. The backs are about four and a
half feet high, with leather bottoms and backs, with brass nails and
carved work on the top. Tlicse were brought from Newport, and
came from the same family as the table, and were made in England.
An old cane of her grandfather, Thomas Mathewson, with round
top and brass ferrule and bottom, is also preserved by this lady.
John Harris, Esq., had an oaken arm chair, rush-bottomed, miide
by his grandfather, John Aldrich, during a great snow storm and
the time subsequent, in all three weeks, that the people were kept
from traveling. This chair commemorates a fall of snow unpara-
98 HISTORICAL SKETCH
lelled in Rhode Island history, and probably dates back to the re-
markable snow storms of 1716 or 1138. A silver cup, holding
about a pint, and reaching back to Jonathan Harris, great-grand-
father of John, is in preservation to be handed in due course to
Stephen Harris, son of John, now in California. This cup was
originally left as a legacy to be thus transmitted from generation to
Mr. George Brownell left several articles of antiquarian value.
A table of curled maple, three feet across at the top, with slanting
legs crossing each other, once the property of his grandfather,
Samuel Aldrich, who came from England and settled in Smithfield.
It came subsequently into the hands of his son John, and his grand-
eon James who settled in Scituate. There is a pewter soup platter
of the same hereditary origin, twenty inches across, very heavy,
marked with the initials of three generations — J. for John Aldrich,
S. for Samuel, E. for Elizabeth, wife of John, J. for Jane.
Simeon Arnold came from Smilhfield, and purchased about
two hundred acres of land, including the farm on which his grand-
eon, Simeon C. Arnold, now lives ; he died about ninety-six years
ago, occupying the premises until his- death. His son Dexter
was born, lived and died on the same farm, living as did his father
to the age of about eighty years. His son Simeon, now upwards of
fifty years old, has known no other home. He and his wife are
the sixth generation from Roger Williams.
Other families have more or less of tables ; chests of drawers,
and chairs of ancient patterns, many of them still in use. The
quantity of pewter is considerable, and parts of antiquated China
Bets are found here and there. Looking-glasses, a few large and
handsome ones, of great age, are to be found.
The spinning wheels, large and small, of former generations,
are placed away in garrets, or stored in old and dilapidated out-
buildings. Their busy hum is heard no longer, but silent, as those
who once used them in commendable skill and industry, we may
imagine them as wearing away life in indolent musings of the past,
and perhaps wonder if the wheels of fashion will ever bring them
OF SCITUATE. 29
again into favor. How many pleasant hours are associated in the
past with these now neglected wheels. The spinning by them of
wool, cotton and flax was esteemed an honorable and indispensa-
ble avocation. The young daughters of a household soon learnt with
pride to survey the skeins of yarn they had spun, and many a
charming day-dream was born in the monotonous buzz of the spin-
ning wheel, and many a sweet song was sung by youth and beauty :
"Noise sweetens toil, however rude the sound.
All at her work the village maiden sings,
Nor while she turns the giddy wheel around,
Revolves the sad vicissitude of things."
Every newly married couple must have a spinning wheel to
commence life with, and the solitude of the new settlements was
broken by the cheerful sound of the buzzing wheel. The old ladies
solaced many a weary hour of the live-long summer day at this em-
ployment, the door thrown open, and the cooling breeze sporting
with the rolls they were spinning into useful threads.
Considerable interest is attached to the table, platter and bureau,
handed down from Samuel Aldrich, which have been mentioned,
from the following anecdote, showing how they were saved from
destruction: Mr, Aldrich, one of the first settlers of Smithfield,
had an Indian servant in his family. Several strange Indians came
along one day and had a talk with this servant in the Indian lan-
guage, the purport of which he made known to his master after the
strange Indians had gone away. He told Mr. Aldrich that King
Philip had proclaimed war, and he advised him to remove imme-
diately. Accordingly, they went to work, digging holes to bury
their heaviest and most bulky arti<;les ; and the most light and port-
able they took with them, the whole family proceeding in all haste
to Providence. They were not any too swift, for on arriving at
Tracy's Hill, in Johnston, they saw their house in flames, kindled
by the Indians. They passed some armed Indians in their flight,
but Mr. Aldrich's Indian, pointing to his master, said : "That man
is my master; you must not kill him." Mr. Samuel Aldrich was
a Quaker preacher.
Not very long ago in Scituate, no house was painted, plastered
30 HISTORICAL SKETCH
or papered, there were no carpets — the parlor floors were sanded,
and hardly any furniture was in the house, and what was to be
seen was simple and rude. A few ordinary chairs, rush-bottomed,
or in the case of the better sort, stuffed with straw and covered
with stout leather. Tables, stoutly made, but rude in construction,
and bedsteads equally common sjind inelegant. Trenchers, or wooden
plates, were in use in most families until the war of the Revolution,
and to some extent afterwards. Pewter plates and earthen mugs,
with a little China, appeared after tea drinking came in fashion,
with cups and saucers very small. The Chinaware was considered
so choice and genteel that it was placed in a little cupboard over
the fire-place, and the glass door or window in it enabled all
visitors to see the half-dozen or more ornamented cups. Old looms,
now disused, remain to show how independent the farmer was in
those ancient times, wearing his home-made clothes and demonstrat-
ing the capabilities of his wife, who often in church on Sundays
eyed with just pride her husband's nicely spun and woven clothes,
the product of her own hands, and often the cutting and making of
Edwin and his brother John Ilowland, living on and owning
extensive portions of land in the northerly section of Scituate,
sold to Jeremiah Smith of Providence, in 1788, one hundred and
seventy-five acres for $2,100, who put up on it a one-story gambrel
roof house, and died in 1816, aged ninety-two years. Mr. Martin
Smith, his groat-graiidson, occupied a large two-story house, built
by his father in 1817.
Richard Brown, living in Providence, attracted by the fine
situation of the land for hunting grounds, procured, so tradition
sa^'s, at about the cost of laying out and registering, a large tract
of land. Richard Brown, Jr., Juno 5th, 1765, gave to his son
Jesse two hundred acres, saying : "it is the lot of land given to
me by my grandfather, Ricliard Brown, April 28, 1744, and is on
Mosquito Hawk Plain." Jesse settled on the spot, and also his
brother Samuel. Mr. William Brownell, and after him Isaac S.
Devereaux, of Providence, bought and lived there.
OF SCITUATE. 31
Richard Brown, the senior, lived to be an hundred years old.
As his century birthday approached, his children and friends made
great preparations to celebrate the day by a dance and a feast.
As the old gentleman was still hearty and active, they got him out to
dance, and enjoying the sport as well as any one, he exerted him-
self to comply with the general wish, making much merriment and
acquitting himself well. He did not live long afterwards.
A hunting house, or lodge, was built nearly a century and
three-quarters ago, for the convenience of sportsmen from Provi-
dence and other places, wiiile hunting deer and other game in that
then wild and unsettled region. These animals used to come to
the hunting house brook to drink, and in the thick tangled wood
and brush, and tall herbage, they found a covert, and tender grass
and berries for food. " Some of the gentlemen who resorted to this
place for hunting were Joseph Smith, Richard Brown, Jeremiah
Smith, Edward Howland, John Hulet, Joseph Wilkinson, William
West, James Aldrich and Gov. Fenner.
A famous squirrel hunt took place about 1784, on a wager be-
tween the towns of Glocester and Scituate, as to which should kill
the greatest number. They were to hunt for ten successive days
and then bring in the spoils and make the award. Judges were
mutually appointed, consisting of a committee of fifteen. Ten gal-
lons of rum and the expense of a dinner for the committee was to
be the forfeit of the losing party.
The boys turned out as well as the men, and even the women
became fired with ardor. The dogs entered hoartily into the work
of searching the woods and ferreting out the squirrels. The sqir-
rels were taken by surprise, at such a general, earnest. and murder-
ous onslaught, the object of which they so little understood.
Doubtless, many Revolutionary soldiers, fresh from the battle-fields,
condescended to show their skill on this occasion. At the close
of the period allotted for shooting, the company met at the house
of James Aldrich, to decide who were the victors. The piles of
the respective combatants were ranged on each side of tlie town's
border line opposite to each other, and consisted of the heads and
32 HISTORICAL SKETCH
one of the fore-paws of each of the slaughtered animals. The heaps
were about the size of hay cocks. Scituate beat Glocester by sev-
eral thousands. Mr. Obediah Fenner, of Foster, was present, and
related to me these facts.
THE ANGELL TAVERN AND OTHER PUBLIC HOUSES.
Thirty-five years ago there stood very near the geograpical
centre of Scituate, in a place latterly known as Richmond Mills,
an antique and somewhat grotesque edifice of a century and a
quarter's date, looking very much the worse for time, with its
red paint nearly all washed off, and looking dingy enough, and a
little awkward with its south-east corner projecting very near to
the junction of two roads. That was our old "Angell Tavern,"
built when the stumps in the road, and the wide-spreading forest
around, indicated a country just beginning to be cleared up. When
it was raised, so few were the inhabitants around, that they had to
send to Providence for men to assist; there was a great gathering
of the region for many miles in circuit, and a merry time they had
of it, and also when the tavern sign was elevated and the house
opened for public entertainment. A curious and entertaining his-
tory is belonging to tliat old house, for town meetings were held
there, and the news of the day proclaimed, and politics discussed,
and strangers found there a good supper and a night's lodging. It
was two stories high, with the eaves of the front extending a few
feet, forming a little shelter in stormy weather. On the western
end was a very huge stone-chimney, forming a wall for that end of
the building. There was also back of the main building, an addi-
tion sloping down from the main roof to form a kitchen, closet and
bed-room, one story high, which being old and out of repair, was
taken down ih 1823. The house had three narrow windows, with
small panes of glass on the lower front, and four of the same de-
scription above, with one at the east end. The front door was at
the western extremity of the part facing on the road. As you en-
tered, a door on the riglit hand of the passage opened upon the
bar-room, a large square room, and leading out of it, the entire
length of the remaining fore part of the house was a sitting-room,
OF SCITUATE. 33
used in later years, if not before, for a bed-room. Back of the
bar-room was a kitchen, a larg-c square room, which had been as
large again before the addition was removed. A bed-room was at
one end of it, nearly corresponding in size to the sitting-room, di-
rectly behind which it stood. The only pair of stairs to the upper
rooms, ascended from the kitchen at the west end. Three bed-
rooms were on the east end, and all the rest of the second floor,
with tlie exception of a sleeping chamber over the front entry, was
a hall for dancing and public meetings.
1 have been thus minute and full in this description, as this
tavern is often referred to in the doings at Scituate — a sort of town
hall, exchange, eating and lodging house, real estate office, and
place of resort for young and old, day and evening, where bargains
were made, balls were held, and a general news-room established,
or what was equivalent to it. ♦
Capt. Thomas Augell, who built this house one hundred and
sixty-six years ago, that is, in 1710, if a stoue, taken out of the
chimney, gives the correct date, was a large owner of property in
the vicinity, and had built his first house of much smaller dimen-
sions and in simpler construction, near where Pardon Angell's
house stands, a quarter of a mile north. His land lay on both
sides of the Ponagansett river, and his second house was erected
near a fall of water, improved of late years for a factory, but might
originally have been used for a saw and grist mill. Immediately
before the tavern the river makes rather a sudden bend, rounding
with a graceful sweep through woodlands festooned with vines,
which still grow in the region. Before the house, on the opposite
or southern side, the land sloped down to a very beautiful intervale
on the sides of the stream.
The parties taking possession of this new house were the
family of Capt. Thomas Angcll. He was the son of John and
Ruth Angell, of Providence, and was born March 25, 1672, and
married April 4, 1700, Sarah Brown, daughter of Daniel Bruwn and
Alice his wife. Sarah was born at Providence, Oct. 10, 1677. It
must have been very soon after their marriage that the young and
34 HISTORICAL SKETCH
adventurous couple took up their line of march for the thousand
acres of wild land, of which Thomas had become the proprietor.
In 1730 Scituate was taken out of the limits of Providence
and made a separate town. The first meeting it was voted to hold
the town meetings in the new house of Capt. Thomas Angell.
Three years afterwards he was appointed to represent the town in
the General Assembly. He contracted with the town to build a
bridge over Ponagansett river in 1734, and about the same time he
petitioned with one or two others to have a pound near his dwell-
ing, and leave was granted that they might do it at their own ex-
pense, which they did, building it of stone. It stood two or three
rods east of the tavern, and continued to be the only pound in the
town until 1810, when the place being wanted by, Mr. Charles
Angell, the then proprietor of the tavern, to put up a new and
spacious house upon the spot, it was removed and a new one built
on the opposite side of the road, a little west of the old spot.
The town meetings continued to be held at Mr. Angell's tav-
ern ior many years, until the building of the Baptist Church a mile
east. The large hall in the second story was improved on these
occai^ions. By far the largest use of the hall was for dancing.
This tavern became quite noted among the traveling commu-
nity, am! what is remarkable, continued in the hands of the family
until quite recently, except a period of ten years, during the ill-
health of Mr. Andrew Angell, when it was leased successively to
John Miineliestcr, Nathan Manchester and Mr. Hazard. Mr.
Charles Angell then resumed it on the old hereditary line.
Many eminent meii have been entertained at this tavern, as
well as a multitude of more humble travelers. Gen. Washinirton
has st<)p]ie(l tlieie. Gen. Lafayette encamped his regiment on the
pleasant intei\nle in liont of the house while marching through the
town during the R<'voliitionary war. They continued there until the
troops had finished their washing in the river. The old people
nsed to speak olten to their children about the fine mnsic of the
band, as in the morning and evening they played in the camp.
Lafayette lodged in the tavern, and anoth(!r French officer of high
OF SCITUATE. 35
rank had accommodations in a house near by, where lived Mr,
Abel Ang-ell. Mr. Angell's wife, who died thirty-five or forty
years ago, used to speak of making porridge for this oflScer, whom
she called General, while he was sick at her house. This house
stood for a long period, and Mr. Richard Angell, son of Abel,
pointed out to myself and other visitors the small bed-room back
of the kitchen which had been occupied by the oflBcer. Gen,
Lafayette, on his last visit to this country, passed up the same
road, recognized the old places, and enquired particularly for a
spring at the foot of Cranberry Hill, some three or four miles west
of the Angell tavern on the turnpike, at which spring he and his
troops had refreshed themselves on their dusty and weary march.
Many were4ben alive to greet him, of his old companions in the
war. Dr. Owen Battey, residing within a mile of the tavern, on
the same road, remembered seeing Lafayette and his soldiers as
they passed along, and also of walking into the camp-ground ou
the intervale, led, while a child, by one of his father's men.
It being in the fall of the year the river was high, and one of
the soldiers having drunk too freely tried to drown himself, but
other soldiers jumped into the river and pulled him out.
Some things remain of the old tavern. The well which faith-
fully served other generations abides to moisten the lips of several
families in the neighborhood, and gives a good supply for all house-
hold uses. The old stone steps, as good as new, upon which so
many feet alighted from travelers' carriages, and the ponderous iron
shovel for the use of the oven, are still in use. A hatchet which
once belonged to Jeremy Angell, and marked February, 1755 ; an
iron square, bearing the date April 2, 1770, and formerly the proper-
ty of Andrew Angell, and a gauge of still greater antiquity, for
measuring the contents of barrels, are still preserved, or were up
to twenty years ago, when I saw them ; but the hatchet, once so
indispensable in a household, for the preparation of flax for use, is
no longer wanted. The large old clock *that clicked in the bar-
room has been swapped away for a smaller and more modern
measurer of time. A chest of drawers belonging to old Capt.
36 HISTORICAL SKETCH
Thomas Angell, who first occupied the tavern, was burnt up forty-
five years ago in the house of Mr. Stephen Peckham, which was de-
stroyed by fire. One or two tables of ancient form are left, but
time and accident have swept away other articles of furniture.
In a field back of the house is a burial place containing the
graves of some of the ancient household. Mr. Andrew Angell,
who died about 1191 ; his wife, Tabitha, who survived thirty years
and deceased Dec. 10, 1821; Gideon Angell, son of Andrew, who
was born June 21, 1773, and died unmarried. May 14, 1829; Abi-
gail Hopkins, brought up by Andrew Angell, and who married a
Sanders. The last named grave, with that of him who brought her
up, is without an inscription. ,
Capt. Angell seems to have made his tavern the great centre
of business and amusement in the town. The militia imisters were
held in the vicinity, and the pound drew all the stray cattle, and
their owners to reclaim them ; there, too, the blacksmith shop ad-
joining the pound, under another line of Angells, brought custom-
ers, and there also, we must not forget to mention, was the
"stocks," a machine consisting of two heavy pieces of timber,
rounded so as to enclose the legs of criminals, and in which ludi-
crous and painful condition they had to sit out their time. Here,
too, those who got into scrapes during the trainings, and at other
times, were put; and the pole of the tavern sign was used as a
post to fasten those unfortunate gentlemen who were sentenced to
be whipped, an operation they were not likely very soon to forget.
Other taverns sprung up, as the town increased, in different
places. Matthew Manchester was licensed as an inn-keeper in 1769,
and Thomas Manchester and Levi Coivin at the same time. Steph-
en Smith and Zebedee Hopkins were licensed in 1762, and Col,
John Potter and Christopher Potter in 1760, Some of these per-
sons lived in Foster, then a part of Scituate.
Peter Cook, 1755; Joseph Kimball, 1745; Jeremiah Angell,
1758; Elisha Hopkins, jr., 1758; William West, 1758 ; John Hulet,
1745; Thomas Brown, 1749; Samuel Cooper, 1745; Henry Ran-
dall, jr., 1748; William Jackson, 1758, were among the licensed.
OF SCITUATE. 37
"Tavern Ale House and Victualling House" is the term em-
ployed in licensing many of the above. Only a few of these per-
sons could have done much business.
An old house on Bald Hill, marked on the chimney ItlO, or
1740, was built by John Hammond, who lived in it ; also Jeremiah
Baker lived there, and died about forty years ago.
The license to Joseph Knight runs thus: "License to keep a
tavern, or house of public entertainment, and to retail strong liquors
in said town, and hath given bond for maintaining good order and
conforming to the regulations of the law respecting taverns and
public houses. Provided, that he suffer no unlawful game or
games, drunkenness, or any other disorder, in said house, or in any
place in his possession, but that good government, rule and order
be kept therein according to law." This license is dated Feb. 12,
1803, and is signed, John Harris, Clerk.
Thomas Wilmarth, who was a tavern keeper and clothier, kept
an old tavern, still standing. His son, Stephen Wilmarth, of Glo-
Cv-ster, married Nancy, daughter of James Aldrich.
The first tavern in Providence, and the first in the State, was
in May, 1638, in charge of William Baulston.
Two taverns in each town, in early legislation, were allowed,
and leave was granted to add one more if they saw fit : this was in
1655. Very full laws were enacted regulating the sale of liquors.
The tavern bars were to be closed at 9 o'clock in tlie evening.
Tavern keepers, when they trusted any one for liquors beyond
twenty shillings, were barred an action at law.
We are very liable to undervalue country taverns in these da^'S
of their decline. In a newly settled coimtry they are pioneers, and
the house of the first settler becomes of a necessity the inn or
lodging place o^ the traveler. As the settlement increases and tlie
traveling multiplies, the tavern becomes a real estate oflBce, where
land is bought and sold. Inasmuch as there were no newspapers
in circulation, and no post office, the tavern became the centre of
information for those who were shut out by a residence in the
woods, from tidings of the world. Macauley, in his History of Eng-
38 HISTORICAL SKETCH
land, says that tavern keeping was most flourishing as to patronage
and being well kept when the roads were in the poorest condition,
and traveling slow and laborious.
Daniel Webster's father, building his house on the farthest line
of civilization, in New Hampshire, could not well help being a
tavern keeper, and his son Daniel was favored with more avenues
of information by reason of it than the boys not so privileged in
The old Angell tavern is well represented to-day in Mr. James
B. Angell, the popular president of Michigan University.
Capt. Thomas Angell's children were Jeremiah, Nehemiah,
Isaiah, Jonathan, Thomas, Martha and Sarah — all Scripture names.
Every one but Jonathan married and had children. Dividing his
lands, he gave large farms of two hundred acres to each of his
sons, and built handsome houses of two stories high for four of
them, and a smaller house for Jonathan. Two of these houses re-
main. The daughters, no doubt, received gifts. At their father's
death in 1744, Martha inherited by his will a negro girl call.ed
Phillis, and Sarah a negro boy named James.
Thomas, the youngest son, was the executor of his father's
will. Jeremiah followed his father in the keeping of the tavern,
and was a highly respectable man. He was a Justice of the Peace
as early as 1*741, and was afterwards Town Treasurer^ His first
wife was Mary Mathewson, his second Abigail Graves, and his
third Elizabeth Stow. He died in 1186, aged seventy-nine years,
having been born January 29, 1707. His widow survived till De-
cember 10, 1821.
Nehemiah Angell, second son of Thomas, married Mary Hop-
kins, sister to Elder Reuben Hopkins. He had three sons, Pardon,
Nehemiah and Abraham, and his daughters were four, namely :
Zilpah, Martha, Mercy and Mary. A grandson, Mr. Pardon Angell,
became the owner of the farm, and soon after took down the old
one-story red house, and put up a new one. Isaiah, the third son,
married Miss Wilkinson, and had only one daughter, named Pru-
dence, who married Gideon Austin, and had a large family.
OF SCITUATE. 39
Thomas Angell, jr., married Mercy, and had one daughter, Sally,
who married a Sterry. Mr. Angell sold out and removed to Provi-
dence. Martha Angell married Mr. Knight, and Sarah married
Jeremy Mathewson, on the very day the Angell tavern was raised.
The children of Jeremiah were brought up with their father in the
tavern. Daniel, born August 16, 1T48, went to sea unmarried, and
did not return; Andrew, one of his sons, married Tabitha Harris,
daughter of Gideon Harris, Esq., and carried on the tavern after
SCITUATE IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.
From the character of the men who settled in Rhode Island it
might be expected that they would be quick and energetic in re-
Bisting all encroachments upon their liberties, and such was the
case. The taking of the Gaspee was the earliest resistance by
arms to the power of Great Britain in any of the colonies. Great
sympathy was awakened lor the people of Boston, under the vexa-
tious and vindictive treatment of England, and supplies were voted
in all the Rhode Island towns, and sent for their relief.
When the news of the battle of Lexington arrived at Provi-
dence a thousand men were on the march the next day for the scene
of conflict, but were countermanded by expresses from Lexington.
The Rhode Island forces, incorporated with the grand army be-
fore Boston, were placed under the direction of Washington. Rev.
William Emerson, of Concord, chaplain in the army, who saw them
at Cambridge in 1T'I5, describing the military camps there, from
various places, and noticing the want of tents and arms and
apparel of many of the companies, says of some proper tents and
marquees : " In these are the Rhode Islanders, who are furnished
with tent equipage and everything in the most exact English style."
But it was not always so. Two years later, Aug. 21, 1111,
Col. Israel Angell writing from the camp to the Governor of Rhode
Island, declares that " pure necessity urges me to write you of the
wretched condition of my command, as to their clothing and equip-
ments. Only one half of the men are fit for duty, and many are
barefoot." At another time, of some companies, it was said:
40 HISTORICAL SKETCH
" There are not two in five who have a shoe or stocking', or other
apparel to make them decent. But they rendered good service at
Brandywine a month afterwards, contributing to a very important
victory. Washington said of them: "The gallant behavior of
Col. Angell's regiment on the 23d of June, at Springfield, reflects
the highest honor upon the oflScers and men : they disputed an im-
portant pass with so obstinate a bravery that they lost upwards of
forty in killed and wounded and missing — nearly one-fourth of
their number, before they gave up their ground to a vast superior-
ity of force.
Job and Joseph Angell, twin brothers, born January 19, 1*745,
were out in arms during the whole of the Revolutionary war. Job
commanded a company but did not go out of the State. He has a
son Job living in Scituate. Joseph Angell continued a private sol-
dier, refusing offers of promotion, and distinguished himself in the
war. He was with Washington the greater part of the war and
fought in many battles. The old people that knew him had
memories very quick to remember " Uncle Joe," the old soldier,
who made a good impression on their minds. He used to relate
tales of the war and events in the battles of which he was one of the
actors. At the battle of Monmouth, the day being very hot, the men
after the action flung themselves down by the river to drink, and
many of them died in consequence, and indeed many were so faint
that they died where they laid down, without drinking. Capt. Boss,
Joseph's captain, laid down completely exhausted, until some one
came and raised him up to drink spirits. Gen. Washington rode in
among the troops ordering them not to drink without first tasting
some spiritous liquor. Joseph said he always kept a little in his
canteen for such a purpose, and he had so reserved some for him-
self in that battle. In the fight at the Red Bank on the Jersey
shore, when the Hessians unsuccessfully attacked Fort Mercer, and
were so cut up by the fire of the Americans, Joseph loaded and
fired his gun for forty minutes as fast as he could, and without a
moment's cessation until his gun became so hot that he could not hold
it in his hand.
OF SCITUATE. 41
At a time during the war, when an engagement was about to
commence, a cannon-ball from the enemy struck an apple tree in
the road, taking off a branch. Washington, who was near, pleas-
antly remarked : " That was a good shot." Accounts agree that
Joseph really loved the soldier's profession, that he engaged in it
with his whole heart, and conducted himself bravely during the
whole war. When peace was declared he returned to Scituate to
take up once more the plough. lie selected a daughter of John
Edwards for his wife, and had two sons, Jonathan and Israel, who
both married and removed to the State of New York.
Joseph Knight acted an important part in the Revolutionary
war. His father, Jonathan Knight, executed to him the lease of
his farm for six years, April 4th, IIQS, Jeremiah and Andrew Ail-
goll witnessing the same. He appears to have used his teams ex-
tensively in transporation for Hope furnace.
From papers in the possession of his descendants, which have
been kindly loaned me, we get much information of Revolutionary
times. He seems to have had a taste early for military life, having
received from Gov. Samuel Ward, June 16th, 1766, a commission
as Ensign of the First Company, or Trained Band, of Providence.
He was made Lieutenant of the same company, in 1769, and in
August, 1774, he was created Captain. April, 1775, after the news
of battle of Lexington, a company was formed in Scituate under him
as captain, the roll headed thus: " We do enlist ourselves as Vol-
unteers in the present emergency in defence of our country and
Right of Privileges and Liberty." Four new companies were
chartered in Scituate, Dec. 5, 1774, and one of them was called
A letter from Gov. Cooke to Joseph Knight, dated Providence,
Dec. J 9, 1775, directed to him as captain of the second company
of minute men in Scituate, says: "You are hereby directed to
gather together the company under your com naiid willi all possible
expedition and march them to this town in order to be transported
to Rliodo Island for the defence of that island. You are to be care-
ful that the men are properly equipped with arms, ammunition and
42 HISTORICAL SKETCH
blankets fit for immediate service. I have advice from Gen. Wash-
ington that eight large transports, with two tenders, having on
board one regiment of foot, and three companies of horse sailed
from Boston last Saturday, and I have no doubt that your oflBcers
and men will exert themselves upon this occasion with their usual
Gov. West sends an order from head-quarters to Capt. Knight,
Jan. 12, 1*176, for nine privates with a commissioned oflQcer and
sergeant or corporal, upon fatigue duty. Ten days afterwards Gen,
Lippitt directs him, from Prudence, to send ten men up there to
go in a scow down to the Pearl. The men sent were in the fight at
Prudence. According to the record they were, Joseph Knight,
captain ; William Brownell and Simeon Wilbour^ sergeants ; Abra-
ham Angell, corporal ; and Joseph Turner, Stephen Leach, Oliver
Leach, Oliver Fisk, Zebedee Snow, Christopher Edwards, Joseph
Wight, Moses Colvin, and Christopher Knight.
Providence was threatened by the enemy and Scituate was
called upon to assist in its defence. Gen. Sullivan writes to Mr.
Knight, who has been promoted to be Lieut. -Colonel, to march imme-
diately with his regiment to their aid : " Pray, delay no time, for
by the delay of one hour we may lose the town of Providence; let
each man take three days provision, and wait there for further
orders." About this time, March 18, 1111, Elizabeth Knight
writes from Scituate to her husband, who was with his troops at
Warwick : "These lines are to let you know that we are all well at
present. I want you to come home soon as you can, to see
about getting some flax, for it is very scarce to be had. There are
some men who want to be boarded at your house, and I want you
to send to me whether you are willing to board them or not. So
I remain your loving wife, Elizabeth Knight."
There you see a woman of the old herioc time, — quiet, dili-
gent, deferring to her husband, subjecting herself to the circum-
stances of the time, and heartily embracing the good cause. In
talking of the men of the Revolution we should never forget the
women, whose sacrifices were great, and whose zeal and courage
in the patriot cause was abounding.
OF SCITUATE. 43
Eufus Hopkins, who seems to have been especially active and
efficient in the good cause, writes Major Knight from Cranston,
July 21, 1780, saying: " By express from the Governor I am re-
quested to direct you forthwith to muster together the regiment
under your command, completely equipped with arms and ammuni-
tion and six days provision ; you are therefore hereby directed ac-
cordingly, and rendezvous at Providence as soon as possible; where
you are to be ready to receive further orders, the reason is said to
be in consequence of Gen. Clinton's coming from New York with
eight or ten thousand troops to attack the French army and fleet at
Scituate was not invaded, but she was called upon, and re-
sponded nobly to the call, to march her troops to the port. The
British, on Sunday, Dec. 8, 1T76, landed and took possession of
Khode Island, and remained there until Oct. 25, 1179, during which
time the inhabitants were greatly oppressed.
In a list of Capt. Knight's company, April 20, 1775, the day
after the Lexington battle, are found the following names: Joseph
Knight, captain ; Samuel Wilbor, Benjamin Wood, Isaac Ilorton,
John Hill, Nathan Walker, Jamos Parker, John Bennet, jr., Jere-
miah Almy, Joseph Remington, Nathan Ralfe, John I. K^'lton,
Jonathan Knight, jr., Joseph Briggs, David Knight, Joseph Col-
lins, William Taylor, John Manchester, Edward Bennett, Thomas
Parker, Joliii Edwards, jr., Simeon Wilbor, Isaiah Austin, Samuel
Eldridge, Christopher Knight, Samuel Hopkins, Benajah Bosworth,
Obadiah Rolfe, Ezekicl Wood, Caleb Fisk, doctor, John Phillips,
Constant Graves, Stukely Thornton, James Andrews, jr., Christo-
pher Collill^^, Jos('i.li BcuiK't, Tliomas Knight, Peleg Colvin, Elca-
zor Westcott, Caleb Steere, Collins Roberts, Daniel Fisk, William
Knight, Nathan Franklin, Uriah Franklin, jr., Ephriam Edwai'da,
Stephen Edwards, Francis Fuller, jr., Benjamin Whitmore, William
Stafford, Daniel Aiigell, Furnier Tanner — fifty-two in all.
Another list, dated Feb. 5, 1776, gives the following additional
names : Daniel Dexter, Peter Pierce, Alexander Lovell, Ebenezcr
Handy, Joseph Turner, John Gunnison, Isaiah Ashtoft, Benjamin
44 . HISTORICAL SKETCH
BacoD, Nathan Matliewson, ChriBtopher Edwards, Knight Wilbor,
Abraham Angell, Moses Colvin.
An order of Capt. Knight to Aaron Fisk, one of his corporals,
dated Dec. 8, 1714, directs to notify every enlisted soldier to ap-
pear in arms complete, to appear at the new dwelling-house of
Lieut. Samuel Wilbor, Jan. 16, 1715.
Lieut. -Col. Ezekiel Cornell, of Col. Hitchcock's regiment.
Providence, writes to Major Knight, dated Warwick, July 20,
1117, informing that he has just received an express telling him
that forty sail of square-rigged vessels were oS Watch Point
standing towards Newport, last evening ; also, desiring me to send
an express to Col. Colwell, which I have done, ordering him imme-
diately to warn the militia to be in readiness.
Return of the Scituate Light Infantry company, Benj. Boss,
captain, and Richard Rhodes, clerk, gives captain and two lieuten-
ants, one ensign, four sergeants, three corporals, four drummers and
fifers, thirty-eight rank and file — total fifty- four.
The return of Capt. Nathan Worker's company gives Lieut.
Joseph Carpenter, Ensign Samuel Wilbor, seventy-two men, eight
all equipped, and twenty-nine guns.
Capt. Coman Smith's company had Lieut. Fabel Angell, and
Capt. Herenden's company had Lieut. Isaac Hopkins, and Ensign
James Wells. Timothy Hopkins, jr., was adjutant. Jos. Kimball's
company had Gideon Cornwell, lieutenant. Capt. Edwin Knight's
company had Ensign Daniel Baker. Capt. Herenden, Lieut. Wm.
Howard, Ensign Reuben Read.
■ The small pox prevailed much in the army at diflerent times,
causing alarm, and the town of Scituate voted that the house of
widow Mercy Angell and the house of Peleg Piske, Esq., be opened
as hospitals for the innoculation of the small pox.
Capt. Joseph Kimball, by vote of the town, Nov. 15, 1111, was
appointed to supply the families of officers and soldiers, in the con-
tinental service, with the necessary articles of life, according to a
late act of the General Assembly.
The retarns of the Third Regiment, made to Major Knight, of
OF SCITUATE. 45
eight companies, are as follows : Capt. Potter, "75 men, Capt. Dor-
rance, 67 men, Capt. Smith, 123 men, Capt. Paine, 109 men, Capt.
Wilbour, 76 men, Capt. Howard, 61 men, Capt. Medbury, 32 men,
Capt. Rolfe, 67 men.
We get some idea of the imperfect equipments of the soldiers
in the return of three companies of two hundred and seventy-two
privates. Of these, without bayonets, one hundred and one, with
bayonets, twenty-six, and cartouches of the same number only forty-
The Rhode Island soldiers in our civil war received much
praise for their brave and effective service, and their fine appear-
ance. A Massachusetts man, writing for a newspaper, at the com-
mencement of the rebellion, from Washington, July, 1861, says :
"Three cheers for Rhode Island rang along the avenue to-day, as
the quota of that gallant State marched proudly along, the first
battalion escorting the second, which had just been landed. Cheers
were given for the continental color carried by the second battalion
and for the ladies who marched bravely with the file-closers of two
companies, rivalling Florence Nightingale. A baggage train
brought up the rear." Another writer says of them : "This is
the finest and best furnished body of men in the field."
CHURCHES, SCHOOLS, MINISTERS AND PHYSICIANS.
In the history of a place there are some things more important
than its size or wealth. Its farms, manufactures, trade, arc indeed
to be considered. The services performed in war, when they have
reference to the establishment of freedom, or its preservation, ought
to hold our attention :
"By fairy liands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is Sinig:
Tliere Honor com(!S, a pilgrim grey,
To bless the turf that wraps tiieir clay ;
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there."
Improvements in the laying out of roads, the introduction of
steam travel, the erection of public and private buildings, are not
to be forgotten, but remembered, also should be first and foremost,
46 HISTORICAL SKETCH
Eeligion, as seen in the churches and families, social and business
intercourse, and political institutions, and pervading the community.
The schools and higher seminaries of instruction are, with re-
ligion, to be examined as institutions lying at the foundation of a
respectable, orderly, intelligent town, and household behavior, and
teaching by precept and example on the part of parents, tend much
to I'efine and elevate society.
Physicians and ministers are so placed as to healing power in
body and soul, to their giving a healthy tone to society and encour-
aging all goodness, that their character and abilities may prop-
erly come under scrutiny. School teachers, out of school as well
as in, may encourage and sustain all good works.
Religion came and followed our original settlers in this town,
but they were opposed to taxation, and their ministers probably
received at first only such recompense as private individuals might
occasionally give them. The Friends were of this kind, and the
Baptists also, and these denominations were the two earliest in the
field, and probably establisliod their religious meetings at about the
Rliode Island was from the start tolerant of all protestant reli-
gious faith, allowing the freest utterance of doctrine, from which
cause she attracted settlers of various creeds. Quakers and Bap-
tists were th(> m«>st numerous. Tlie Friends, or Quakers, had a
church burnt in Scituate before the Revolutionary war, showing
how early they began to erect church edifices. Dec. 14, ISIl, their
last meeting house was erected, and William Almy and Moses
Brown attended iVom Providence. Mr. Elihu Bowen, one of their
preachers living in Scituate, wrote in his record book of the
church, of the proceedings: "William being livijigly opened in
Gospel love to the edification of the auditory, and concluded in
prayer and supplication to the Father of our mercies." Of late,
owing to decline in membership of Friends, few or none are the
gatherings in tlie town.
They, at one time, numbered in tlicir ranks many of the most
important citizens of the town. The. Wilkinsons of the first gene-
OF SCITUATE. 47
ration, James Aldrich, Daniel Fiske, Isaac Fiske, Ezra Potter, John
Potter, Mr. Mial Smith, Hon. Elisha Mathewson, and Gideon Har-
ris attended the meetings.
Their first church was built on land given by Gideon Harris, a
mile west of the present church building, near the old bank, and
was supposed to have been accidentally consumed. Meetings were
subsequently held in private houses, sometimes with Elizabeth Al-
drich, Mr. Mial Smith and Elihu Bowen, until a new house was
The Six Principle Baptist Church, according to a sermon of
Richard Knight, one of their elders, preached in 1727, was consti-
tuted in 1725, received a grant of an acre of land and built a meet-
ing house upon it, reserving a part of the land for a burial place.
This was about the centre of the town. In August, 1827, Samuel
Fiske was ordained pastor, and Benjamin Fiske, deacon of the
society. The services were performed by Elders Brown, Morse
and Martin, James Colvin was ordained colleague with Elder
Fiske about 1738. Elder Colvin died in 1755, and the church was
without a pastor until July 8, 1762, when Reuben Hopkins was or-
dained elder, and the church prospered under the able and useful
ministry of their *' nourishing pastor." A reformation commenced
and continued several years, and numbers were added to the church.
In 1821 they built a new and larger meeting-house on the same
spot, which is still standing and in use. Elder Jaques is the present
preacher and the meetings are regularly held. This church and
ministry has doubtless exerted a very great and beneficial influence
upon the town.
An Episcopal Church was established at Richmond villagej
South Scituate, several years Since, having quite an extensive mem-
A meeting-house was put up in Hemlock, Foster, by the Cal-
vinistic Baptists, but was never finished. It was bought by the
town for a town house, with a provision that the house should be
open for preaching. Elder John Williams was their first minister,
and his colleague was Elder John Westcott. In 1827 these preach-
48 HISTORICAL SKETCH
ers were between eighty and ninety years of age, and still continu-
ing their labors in the ministry, although Elder Williams preached
but seldom. He addressed the convention called to ratify the con-
stitutution, forty years before, against the measure.
The church at Foster was at first in connection with the Cal-
vinistic Baptist Churches, but they separated about 1*780, and be-
came a Six Principle Baptist Church. Elder John Williams erect-
ed a house about 1190, at Hopkins Mills, a very elevated site.
Elder Young was the pastor of the Calvinistic Baptist Church,
in Foster, and had a large family. One of his sons, Zadock, be-
came a judge ; and his son, Abiather, had some reputation as a poet.
A Congregational Church was formed at North Scituate, and
organized January 1st, 1834. A house of worship was dedicated
in 1834 and is now standing and occupied. Pastors: Revs. Benja-
min Allen, Charles P. Grosvener, Benjamin J. Relyed, James Hall,
Charles C. Beaman, Thomas Williams, Loring P. Marsh, J. N. U.
Dow, William A. Fobes, J. M. Wilkins, Thomas L. Ellis, J. H.
Mellish. All now living except Allen and Ellis.
A Methodist Church is established at Riclimond village. South
Scituate ; also, one at Ashland village, and also anotlicr at Hope vil-
lage. All now in a flourishing condition.
A Free Baptist Church, having a comfortable house of wur.sliip,
has long been in existence in the north-west part of the town.
In North Scituate a Free Will Baptist Cliurch was gathered
January 7th, 1832, as a branch of the Sraithfield F. B. Church, with
thirty-two members. Rev. Reuben Allen, pastor. Church organiziul
April 22d, 1835, with thirty members. Pastors: Revs. Martin J.
Steere, Eli Noyes, D. P. Cilley, Reuben Allen, J. B. Sargent, John
Chanly, Amos Redlon, William H Bawen,0. H. True, J. M. Brew-
ster, L. P. Bickford. All but Allen, Noyes and Cilley now living.
The town did not begin very early, as a .corporation, to estab-
lish schools. For a long time education was left to the people to
do as they pleased as to the employment of teachers. They taught
in private houses, or in rooms of other buildings. Miss Fiske
OF SCITUATE. 49
taught in a room of her father's tavern, seventy years ago. Mar-
vin Morris, from Dudley, Mass., kept school for half a dozen years,
about 1800 ; he was called a good penman. Thomas Mowry was
a teacher, and a Mr. Dutton ; also Samuel Perry from Connecticut.
The first town appropriation recorded was $300, in 1834. This
continued for successive years until 1850, when the sum advanced
to $900, and so continued a number of years. It has still further
advanced, and $3,000 have been voted the last two years. The
town has built school houses in locations convenient for the schol-
ars, and they are handsome structures, fitted up with recent im-
provements, and kept in good order. The report of the school
committee for the year ending April, 1876, says, that from obser-
vation they believe that in school property they favorably compare
with the most progressive towns of the State.
SMITHVILLE SEMINARY AND LAPHAM INSTITUTE,
Founded in 1839. First principal, Hosea Quimby, from 1839 to
1854; second principal, Samuel P. Coburn, from 1854 to 1851;
third principal, Rev. W. Colgrove, from 1857 to 1859. Up to this
time the school had been known as Smithfield Seminary. From
1859 to 1863 there was no school. In 1863 name was changed to
Liipliam Institute, and Rev. B. F. Hayes was principal from 1863
to 1865 ; Thomas L. Angell was principal from 1865 to 1867 ; Geo.
H. Ricker was principal from 1867 to 1874; A. G. Moulton was
principal Irom 1874 to 1875; W, S. Stockbridge was principal in
1875 and 1876.
There has been one bank in Scitiiate for a long time, called the
Citizens Union Bank, changed to Scituate National Bank.
Physicians occupy an iuiportant place in the community. In
the absence of educated and settled ministers, as was the case in
many parts of Rhode Island in former periods, they seem to have
been the only educated class passing round in the coniniunity.
Tlieir labors must have been toilsome ; riding on liorscliack over
the Inid roads, and going great distances by night and by day.
50 HISTORICAL SKETCH
Such men deserve to be held in grateful remembrance. They
often exercise a refining and christian influence, and have done very
much to prolong life. In the Revolutionary war they distinguished
themselves both in the army and at home.
Dr. Ephriam Bowen, of Providence, used to ride extensively
in Scituate and the adjoining towns before the conflict of the Revo-
lution. He died about sixty years ago, aged more than ninety.
Contemporary with him was Dr. Benjamin Slack who lived in
the extreme north- east part of Scituate. He came from Mas-
sachusetts about 1T50. The oldest record of him in Scituate is the
birth of his daughter, Mary, Sept. 28, 1753. His first wife, Phoebe
Slack, " the virtuous wife of Benjamin Slack, Esq.," departed this
life July 8, 1*162, as her grave-stone, the oldest with an inscrip-
tion in the town, inform us. Dr. Slack was much esteemed, and
his practice was great in Glocester, Smithfield, Scituate, and other
towns. He left quite a large and good farm. His second wife
was Miss Hannah Harris, of Johnston, whom he married, March 5,
1767, Gideon Harris, Esq., town clerk of Scituate, officiating at
Dr. John Barden, in the north-west part of Scituate, three or
four miles west of Dr. Slack, during, and after the war of the Revo-
lution, had considerable reputation as a doctor, and used to take
long rides into Massachusetts, where he had many friends and much
Dr. John Wilkinson, a medical practitioner of high estimation
in Scituate, was also a distinguished surgeon in the Revolutionary
Dr. Caleb Fiske was a man of much distinction in the town,
living on Bald Hill, at the south-east part of the town. He was the
sou of John and Elizabeth Fiske, early settlers in the place, and
was born Feb. 24, 1753. He was president of the Rhode Island
Medical Society, acquired much property and left to the society
$2,000, and most of the remainder to his grandson, Caleb F. Rea.
Dr. Owen Battey was in medical practice for many years, but
retired in later life. He was president of the Exchange Bank, at
OF SCITUATE. 51
Greeneville, in Smithfield, aud held the office of post master in
South Scituate for a long tinae, through many party changes. lie
was a gentleman of the old school and highly esteemed. His
father was Joshua Battey, and his grandfather, by the mother's side,
was Oliver Arnold. His great-grandfather, Owen Arnold, was a
British officer who came out to this country and engaged in the
French war. He died July 24, 1*762, in his ninetieth year.
Dr. Jeremiah Cole, who studied medicine with Dr. Anthony,
of Foster, resided about a mile and a half west of North Scituate
village. He was esteemed fn his practice, died suddenly. May 7,
1843, in his seventy-third year, shortly after his removal to Olney-
Dr. Cyril Carpenter, in that part of Scituate now Foster,
lived in the latter part of the last century, and from him descended
two generations in the healing art : his son Thomas and his grand-
son, Thomas 0. Carpenter, a skillful doctor of great promise, who
Dr. John H. Anthony practiced medicine, residing in North
Scituate for many years, but his health failing him he removed to
Provid'^nce, where he died.
Dr. T. K. Newhall, after practicing about seventeen years in the
town, removed to Providence.
Drs. James E. Roberts, Charles N. Fisher and William H.
Bowen, the present physicians in Scituate, have long enjoyed the
respect and confidence of our citizens.
LAWYERS IX SCITUATE.
Jonah Titus was for more than forty years a resident lawyer of
this town. He removed lo Providence in 1865, where he died
at an advanced age in Muy, 1876.
Charles H. Page is now a resident lawyer of Scituate, having
lived here since boyhood, lie has an office in Providence. Both
have represented the town in botli brances of the General Assem-
Hope furnace, in Scituate, for the casting of cannon, nianu-
52 HISTORICAL SKETCH
facture of bar iron and nails, became well known before and dur-
ing the Revolutionary war. They used to cast two cannon at a
time. Ore was obtained from the bed in Cranston and carted to the
In 1165, the discovery of another bed of iron in the same
locality caused a company to be formed and a furnace to be erected
at Hope village. Thirteen new cannon, cast at the Hope furnace,
were fired at the Great Bridge, in Providence, in honor of the De-
claration of. Independence, July 26, 1776. Stephen Hopkins was
one of the earliest and most influential of the men who got up this
company, and his eldest son, Rufus, who had been a sea captain,
was for many years superintendent at the furnace. Wrought iron
nails were also made at Hope furnace.
Some of the m^hanics in Scituate in early times were the fol-
lowing : ^
Elihu Bowen, who removed from Swanzey in 1773, was the
first tanner in Scituate, having his tannery by the Moswansicut
brook. He died in his eighty-eighth year, and was buried in the
old Quaker burial ground. His funeral was a " large and solemn
Elihu Fiske was a good cabinet maker ; Jonathan Hill learned
cabinet making of him. Mr. Fiske came from Newport and became
rich; keeping also, a tavern.
Capt. Thomas Hill learned his trade as a carpenter of Hugh
Cole. Richard Philips learned of him also.
Daniel Smith, blacksmith, died sixty years ago.
Thomas Field's cooper Khop was well known.
Mr. Angell's blacksmith shop, near the Augell tavern, was car-
ried on by a different branch of that family from the tavern keeper,
and continued in the family for several generations.
THE CORLISS ENGINE.
Our own State, " Little Rhoda," as she is called, has won the
proud distinction of furnishing the steam engine whose power
moves the whole machinery at the Exhibition. In other respects in
OF SCITUATE. 53
our varied and extensive manufactures on exhibition at Pbiladelphia
this State makes a noble contribution to American workmanship,
and receives commendations from all observers.
It is with just pride that we have surveyed the past of Scitu-
ate : and let us ever honor the memory of the men and women who
have preceded us in our history, and who have bequeathed to us so
mauy privileges and blessings : Freedom to worship God, a free
representative government, the hope of Christianity, and the glori-
ous anticipations of a liberty covering the whole earth with the
freedom with which Chkist makes free, are among the rich gifts
which have come down to us from our fathers. As God was with
them, so may lie be with us.
Comparing the present with past times we find our State great-
ly advanced in wealth and population ; and wliile commerce has
declined, manufactures, have attained great prosperity. The old
hand looms for weaving cloth, as used m families, have given place
to the more wonderful machinery of our numerous mills, moved by
"our water falls and steam engines. The spinning wheels and hand
cards are laid aside also, because of modern inventions. We can-
not say as much for farming, although Americans have astonished
the world in agricultural implements ingeniously contrived to re-
lieve the farmer's toil and do the work better, and on a grander
scale. Some good farms, well managed, and made remunerative,
remain, but the larger number are still untilled, or are so much neg-
lected that they are growing up to brush.
Facilities for education are much greater. The common
schools are superior to those of early times.
One design in the earnest and united declaration of this cen-
tennary Fourth of July is to increase the spirit of Patriotism, to
arouse the nation to a deeper sense of their privileges, to revive
the memory of Our Fathers by repeating their deeds and by glow-
ing eulogiums on their valor, love of liberty, spirit of self-sacrifice
and regard for the welfare of those who should come after them.
All our revolutionary actors are in their graves — new genera-
54 HISTORICAL SKETCH
tions have risen, new discoveries have been made, and a new aspect
has come over the land. Wealth has increased, intelligence has
been diffused, large cities have grown up, manufactures and the
mechanic arts have flourished, our territory has lapped over to the
shores of the western sea, and our name is great among the nations
as a young giant arisen upon the earth.
But all this prosperity may be our ruin, and wealth and fame
and luxury, and its consequent evils, may prove a false dependence.
" What constitutes a State ?
Not high raised battlement or Libored mound,
Tliick wall, or moated gate ;
Not cities proud, with spires and turrets' crowned ;
Not l)ays and liroad-armed ports,
Where, laughing at the storm, rich navies ride ;
Not starred and spangled courts.
Where low-born baseness wafts perfume to pride ;
No— ^en, high-minded men ;
" Men who their duties know.
But know tlieir rights, and knowing dare maintain :
These constitute a State."
A nation wholly intent upon sordid gain, given up to frivolous
pleasures, separate from God and holiness, forgetful of the fathers,
from whom, under God, they received their blessings, is necessarily
a weak and pusillanimous nation, as the history of Rome and other
similar empires proves. If to these declensions are to be added,
dishonesty of bankers and men in trade, corruption of men in public
life, to the extent of making dishonest gain the usual concomitant of
an office-holder and legislator, and bribery at the voting place, car-
ried on without a blush, quite a practice, and increasingly more so,
wliy, then there is pressing need of an awakening of the people to
make the inquiry, "Whither are we drifting ? " At such a junc-
ture 0^ affairs, as believed in by many of the more thoughtful and
deserving, as coming upon us as a people this present celebration,
recalling vividly to mind the more simple and honest days of the
Republic, and holding up for emulation the characters of the period
of 1776, when persons were put into the crucible and tried, as it
were, by fire, and came out pure gold, for all countries and ages to
admire, and when Washington took his place as in the heavens a
OF SCITUATE. 55
shining star for all time — a sight of all this — the entering of it, as
it were, into the very souls of the people, and taking possession of
them, may well be held as the sacred duty of all who are privileged
to be the orators of the hour.
Before us lies a new century, on which the nation is aboiit to
enter. Great as were the perils supposed to be incident to the
first, they have been gallantly met, by the several generations, and
overcome. God's hand, clearly seen in colonial times, was still
more visible in the national history which followed, and to Ilini we
must look for guidance and blessing. Very timely is the Presi-
dent's proclamation, and very proper and well expressed. Great
would have been the oversight if it had been forgotten. It says :
" The founders of the government, :it its birth and m its feebleness, in-
voked the blessings and protection of a Divine Providence, an<] the thirteen
colonies and three millions of people have expanded into a nation of sti*ength
and numbers, commanding the position which tlien was demanded, and for
which fervent prayers were then ofi'ered. It seems fitting that on the
occurrence of the hundi'edth anniversary of our existence as a nation, a
grateful acknowledgment should be made to Almighty God for the pro-
tection and bounties which He has vouchsafed to our beloved country, and
humbly to invoke a continuance of Ilis favor and of His protection."
We trust there will be a two-century life of our nation ; that
we may continue united, prosperous and free up to that period, but
none of us will be alive to witness it. The imagination toils in
vain to picture the two-century spectacle. A hundred years more
must make many changes, but what they will be no one can tell.
We must pass through several generations, who will in turn come
to preside, as the administration and the people. More territory
may be added, and more people and more wealth acquired, and new
discoveries make as great changes in the future as the steam engine
and the telegraph have wrought in the past.
Civil war, a contest between the North and South, was what
Washington feared, and warned the people of both sections against
those who should attempt to put variances between them. But
his farewell address was disregarded by both sides, and the result
of civil war, naturally, and as it were, inevitably followed. Con-
tests may arise in the future, but it will not come on the subject of
56 HISTORICAL SKETCH
slavery. It is with profound satisfaction that we to-day can look
around and exclaim : " No slave breathes the air of our country."
Never again will that stain make an American ashamed of his
We must cultivate love and forbearance with one another; and
especially we should, in our centennial, reach our hands over the
bloody chasm and cultivate friendly relations with the South, since
the rebellion has been put down and the people have submitted to the
result. To-day they, with us, unite in a centennial, which is theirs
as well as ours. North and Si)Utli participated in the battles of the
Revolution, and the South and the North unite in thfe rejoicings
over the glory of our common heritage.
The East may feel a little sensitive at the waning of their po-
litical supremacy, and the West may not a little exult that they
are rising in the scale of comparative greatness, but let us bear in
mind that the East has sent her children West, and that the great-
ness of the West is the theme of our own glory.
The shores of the Pacific and the Atlantic may engender sus-
picions of the unjust political favors awarded to one more than the
other, but mutual concessions and kindnesses, and the rapid growth
of California and Oregon will naturally, and without opposition,
bring to these territories iucreaseil and increasing influence. Let
us be just to all sections, and we need not fear any hostility tend-
ing to disunion.
The great cry of tlie day is for retrenchment and economy in
public and private exprn litures. Honest men and able should be
sought after for office, and both of the greot political parties should
have their proportionate share of public oflices, and thus a civil
service reform will be created which every patriot should encour-
Two great political parties should always exist, and they
should be nearly equal in numbers, power and influence, that they
may watch each other and correct any mistakes or frauds that may
be discovered. Ceaseless watchfulness of our rulers and tlieir do-
ings is the price the people must pay for the blessings of liberty I
OF SCITUATE. 57
The people, and the people only, in the teachings of history, can
be safely trusted to preserve and hand down freedom.
In the words of our poet Longfellow, apostrophizing our
country, as a ship sailing on the ocean, we may hopefully say:
" Thou too sail on, O ship of State!
Sail on, O Union strong and great!
Humanity, with m11 its fears, •
With all the hopes of future years,
■ Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
We know what master laid thy keel,
What workmen wrought thy ribs of steel.
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope,
What anvils rung, Avhat hammers beat,
In what a forge and what a heat
Were shaped tlie anchors of thy liope !
Fear not each sudden sound and shock —
'Tis of the wave, and not the rock ;
'Tis but the flapping of the sail.
And not a rent made l^y the gale .
In spite of rock, and tempest's roar.
In spite of false lights on the sliore.
Sail on, nor fear to bi'east the sea !
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears.
Our faith triumphant o'er our fears.
Are all with thee, — are all with thee ! "
Let the day be given to patriotic and grateful recollections of
the honored dead ; the men and women who braved the perils of
the sea and the wilderness, and built their homes for wives and lit-
tle ones, where wild and ferocious beasts of prey and savage men
roamed the forests.
• Sacred to the memory, also, of those whose love of liberty
impelled them, at all hazards, to enter a solemn protest against the
entrance of every form of tyranny and unjust edicts, and to resist
with all their might, even unto death, the armed forces sent out by
Gi'eat Britain to subjugate the people.
A careful enquiry would show the nobleness of mind and
patriotic devotion of the xoomen of the Revolutionary period, who
not only made no opposition, and uttered no complaint, but cheered
the men, who were compelled to leave, hardly begun, the clearfng
of the wilderness, and the care and protection of their young l;xm-
58 HISTORICAL SKETCH
ilies, to rush to the camp and the battle field, and lay down their
lives, if need be, that their children and their children's children
might not come under the burdens of unjust and tyrannical govern-
ments to which the world had been so long subject, and might pos-
sess the free representative government, which we now enjoy.
Shame would it be ! — ii there were not a spontaneous and uni-
versal uprising all over our land, to proclaim to the world that the
sins of ingratitude and forgetfulness of our benefactors, the heroes
of the Revolution, and of all who since that period have, in office
and out of office, and of all political parties, who have aided in car-
rying out in continued practice the principles and spirit of 17 "76
until now, one hundred years from the memorable Declaration, our
liberties have been preserved and the threatened description of our
Let the present generation preserve and hand down these lib-
erties to those who mav cnmi' after us ; and watch with zealous
care all tendencies of our nation to encroach upon the freedom our
fathers won for us.
And let the sons and daughters of Rhode Island, here, within
our borders, and abroad, wherever they may be scattered, bear
gratefully iu mind the intense love of freedom and hatred of wrong
and oppression, that characterized the settlers of the State, and has
ever since marked its inhabitants. Let the names of Angell,West,
Knight, Williams, Aldrich, Westcott, Harris, Whipple, Green,
Ellery, Perry, Hopkins, Ward, Greene, and other patriots be
sounded, and with them the statesmen and heroes of all the other
States, — Samuel Adams, James Otis, Putnam, Knox, Lee, and a
multitude beside. Sound high and feelingly the name of Lafayette,
and remember gratefully the French nation.
The Avar of 1812-15, and the terrible civil war of 1861-4, added
greatly to the niimber of these illustrious names that have adorned
our country's annals, and laid down their lives willingly, that the
glorious Union might be preserved, in the most deadly warfare
ever waged to destroy it. Rhode Island, as distinguised for prompt-
ness, bravery a'hd gallant exploits in that war, as in previous con-
OF SCn^UATE. 59
tests, hands down her names to our admiring and grateful remem-
brance, to the present and all coming time. Iler officers and
soldiers and seaman are enrolled on the undying scroll of our coun-
try's glory, and so of other States — praise, honor, th;aiks, we give
One great name, that of the " Fathicr of his country," will be
everywhere sounded to-day ; and no poem, oration, song or melody
shall be able to reach the height of his deserved praise, or add a
single leaf to the wreath of his world-sounded renown.
His fame, now after the lapse of three-quart(!rs of a century
since his death, has suft'ered no diminution; his star still blazes
single and alone in brightness and glory in the firmament of Amer-
ican Freedom I Raised up by the Great Dispenser of Events in a
critical period of the world's history, and in the birth-day of the
nation destined to pour back a reflective light upon the old world,
and to exert an influence in human affairs beyond that of any em-
pire in the world's history, the American people hailed him as
Moses was saluted by the Israelites when he led them out of
It is the great glory of America that she has produced a
Washington, and it will not be presumption to say that, with all
our exhibitions to-day, in our centennial, we have nothing greater
to ask the world's attention than to him.
DEPUTIES, SENATORS, REPRESENTATIVES, ETC.
Capt. Thomas Angell,
Capt. Thomas Angell.
Thomas Real ph.
Capt. Job Randall,
Capt. Job Randall,
Capt. Job Randall,
Capt. Job Randall,
Capt. Job Randall,
Capt. Job Randall,
Capt. Job Randall,
Capt. Job Randall,
Capt. Thomas Relf.
Capt. Amos Hammond.
Capt. Job Randall,
Capt. Amos Hammond.
Capt. Job Randall, *
Capt. Job Randall,
Capt. Job Randall,
Capt. Job Randall,
Capt. Job Randall,
Capt. Job Randall,
Col. William West,
Job Randall, Esq.,
Timothy Hopkins, Esq,
Timothy Hopkins, Esq.,
William West, Esq.,
William Bhodes, Esq.,
Rufus Hopkins, Esq.
William Rhodes, Esq.,
Rufus Hopkins, Esq.
William Rliodes, Esq.,-
Rufus Hopkins, Esq.
Rufus Hopkins, Esq.,
William West, Esq.
Rufus Hopkins, Esq.,
William West, Esq.
Thomas Mowry, Esq.
Thomas Mowry, Esq.
Peleg Fiske, Esq.,
Peleg Fiske, Esq.,
James Aldrich, Esq.
James Aldrich, Esq.,
Nathaniel Medbury. Esq.
James Aldrich, Esq.,
Nathaniel Medbury, Esq.
1792 to 1794 — February Session,
1794 to 1800— May Session,
1800 to 1805— May Session,
1805 to 1808— June Session,
1808— February Session,
Peleg' Fisk, jr.
1808 to is 10— May Session,
Peleg Fisk, jr.,
1810— May Session,
1810— June Session,
1811 to 1813— May Session,
1813— May Session,
181:j— June Session,
1813— October Session,
. 1814— October Session,
1815— May Session,
1816 to 1818— May Session,
1818— May Session,
1818 to 18-20- June Session,
1820— May Session,
Israel G. Manchester.
1821 — May Session,
ElishaMathewsoii, chosen Speaker
Israel Brayton. •
1821 — October Session,
Jerry A. Fonner,
1822 — May Session,
Elisha Mathewson, chosen Speaker
1822— October Session,
1823 — January Session,
1823— October Session,
1824 to 1826— October Session,
1826— May Session,
1826 to 1829— October Session,
Nathan K. Stone.
1829— May Session,
1830— May Session,
1831 to 1833— May Session,
1833— May Session,
1833 to 1835— June Session,
1835 to 1837— October Session,
1837— May Session,
Wilmarth N. Aldrich.
1837 to 1841— October Session,
Wilmarth N. Aldrich.
1841— May Session,
1842— May Session,
Elisha Mathewson, Senator,
Josiah Westcott, Representative,
Andrew A. Angell, "
1842 — June Session,
Elisha Mathewson, Senator,
Job Randall, Representative,
Andrew A. Angell, "
1843 — June Session,
Job Randall, Senator,
AndrewA. Angell, Representative
Richard M. Andrew, • "
Israel Brayton, . "
William B. Kimball,
SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES.
Henry W Emmons.
Henry W. Emmons.
Henry W. Emmons.
Abner W. Peckham.
Abner W. Peckham.
Abner W. Peckham,
Abner W. Peckham.
Abner W. Peckham.
Andrew A*. Angell,
Richard M. Andrew,
Richard M. Andrew,
Stephen H. Fiske.
Wilmarth N. A Id rich,
William A. Roberts.
Wilmarth N. Aldrich,
William A. Roberts.
Wilmarth N. Aldrich,
Charles H. Fisher.
John H. Barden.
John H. Barden.
Charles H. Page.
Charles H. Page.
Jeremiah H, Field.
John Potter, 2d,
Horace S. Patterson,
Arthur F. Aldrich,
Richard M. Andrew.
William A. Roberts,
Harley P. Angell,
William A. Roberts.
Albert K. Barnes.
Albert K. Barnes.
Arthur F. Randall,
Pardon A. Phillips.
Andrew A. Angell,
Andrew A. Angell,
Andrew A. Angell,
Samuel P. Boss.
Henry S. Olney.
Henry S. Olney.
Albert W. Harris,
Henry A Lawton.
Olney H. Austin,
John S. Fiske.
Olney H. Austin,
John S. Fiske.
Samuel G. Allen,
William G. Smith.
William G. Smith,
Andrew J. Wescott.
Andrew J. Wescott.
Henry A. Lawton.
John H. Barden,
Ferdinand H. Allen.
Richard G. Howland.
Charles H. Page,
Harris H. Stone.
Charles H. Page.
Martin S. Smith.
Martin S. Smith.
MODERATORS OF TOWN MEETINGS.
Stephen Hopkins, 1730.
Capt. Joseph Brown, 1731.
Benjamin Fisk, 1732.
Stephen Hopkins, 1733.
Bc;^jamin Fisk, 1734.
Edward Sheldon, 1735.
Stephen Hopkins, 1737.
Job Randall, 1739.
James Brown, 1746.
Benjamin Fisk, 1742.
Capt Charles Harris, 1747.
Job Randall, 1759.
William West, 1765.
Charles Harris, 1765.
William West, 1765.
Charles Harris, 1766.
John Fisk, 1768.
Ezekiel Cornell, 1768.
Rufus Hopkins, 1778.
Reuben Hopkins, 1779.
Benjamin Slack, 1780.
Rufus Hopkins, 1780.
Benjamin Slack, 1781.
Timothy Hopkins, 1781.
Ezekiel Cornell, HSl.
Dr. Caleb Fisk, 1781.
Benjamin Slack, 1781.
Eufus Hopkins, 1781.
Caleb Fisk, 1783.
Ezekiel Cornell, 1785
Rufus Hopkins, 1786.
Reuben Hopkins, 1787.
Col. Clemens Smith, 1825.
Jonah Titus, 1826.
Clemens Smith, 1827.
Jonah Titus, 1828.
Clemons Smith, 1829.
Elisha Mathewson, 1831,
Jonah Titus, 1832.
Jerry A. Fenner, 1832.
Elisha Mathewson, 1833.
Jonah Titus, 1834.
Elisha Mathewson, 1834.
Benjamin Wilbur, 1835.
Flavel Patterson, 1835.
Olney Battey. 1836.
John Graves, 1837.
Israel Brayton, 1838.
Owen Battey, 1838.
Israel Brayton, 1839.
Flavel Patterson, 1839.
Jonah Titus, 1840.
Elisha Mathewson, 1840.
David Phillips, 3d, 1841.
Isaac Saunders, 1842.
Horace Battey, 1842.
Wilmarth N. Aldrich, 1845.
Jonah Titus, 1846.
Isaac Saunders, 1847.
Horace S. Patterson, 1848.
Isaac Saunders, 1849.
H. S. Patterson. 1852.
George W. Colwell, 1853.
John H. Barden, 1855.
Caleb W. Johnston, 1856.
William G. Smith, 1857.
Uriah R. Colwell, 1859.
Harley P. Angell, 1865.
Jeremiah H. Field, 1866.
Dexter A. Potter, 1867.
H. S. Patterson, 1869.
Alanson Steere, 1870.
H. S. Patterson, 1871.
Benjamin T. Albro, 1872.
William G. Smith, 1874.
Richmond M. Knight, 1876.
Joseph Brown, 1730.
Stephen Hopkins, 1732.
Gideon Harris, 1741.
John Harris, 1778.
John Westcott, 1779.
John Harris, 1780.
Jolm Westcott, pro. tern, 1809.
Josiah Westcott, 1814.
John A. Harris, 1845.
Sylvester Patterson, 1854.
Albert Hubbard, 1855.
S. Patterson, 1856.
A. Hubbard, 1857.
Isaac Saunders, pro. tem, 1861.
S. Patterson, 1861.
A. Hubbard, 1865.
S. Patterson, pro. tem, Dec. 1867
S. Patterson, 1868.
D. C. Remington, 1875.
Lieut. Joseph Wilkinson, 1730.
Joseph Wilkinson, 1731.
Benjamin Fisk, 1732.
Job Randall, 1736.
Capt. Job Randall, 1737.
Timothy Hopkins, 1758.
Jeremiah Angell, 1160. John A. Harris, 1857.
Jonathan Hopkins, 17t9. Alpheiis Winsor, 1858.
Jonathan Hopkins, jr., 1780. John B. Smith, 1860.
Josiah Kimball, 1781. Jeremiah H. Field, 1866.
Joshua Smith, 1825. John B. Smith, 1870.
Albert G. Field, 1850. Jeremiah H. Field, 1871.
Joshua Smith, 1851. David Gapwell, 1873.
John B. Smith, 1852. " Albert Hubbard, 1874.
LiBRftRY OF CONGRESS
014 111 376 8
014078 927 6^