TOWN OF NORTH KINGSTOWN. p. 371.
Amos Perry, in his census report of 1885, carefully enumerates the places of interest in this town as follows:
Villages.--- Wickford, formerly Updikeís Newtown. In 1808 it was a port of entry under the direction of William Ellery, collector of Newport. Lafayette; Hamilton, formerly Bissellís Mills; Davisville; Bellville; Wickford Junction, formerly Caesarís Plain; Allenton; Annaquatucket, formerly Esbon Sanfordís; West Wickford, formerly Collation Corner; East Lafayette; Narragansett or Joe Sanfordís; Sandy Hill Mills; Shady Lea; Silver [p.372] Spring; Scrabbletown; Slocumville; South Wickford; Saunderstown, formerly Willettville; Oak Hill; Peirceís Mills; Shermantown; Swamptown; Wickford Landing.
Corners.---Allens; Hendrickís; Hulings; Indian.
Hamlets.---Nicholsí; Pendarís; Romes; Smithís; Belville Station.
Hills.---McSparran; Kittís; Barberís Heights; Sand; Phillipsí; Brownís; Ridge; Spink; Walmesleyís; Wolf; Gould; Mount.
Rivers.---Annaquatucket; Huntís or Mattatuxet; Petaquamscutt.
Points.---Allenís; Calf Pasture; Ferry; Greeneís; Phillipsí; Plum Beach; Pojack or Muskechug; Poplar Tree; Quonset or Seconiganset; Rome; Smithís ; Spinkís; Stillhouse; Pendarís.
Ponds.---Annaquatucket Mill; North Bellville Mill; South Bellville; Brush; Davisville Mill; Dealing; Kettle Hole; Lafayette; Carrís (Paussuchuco); Peirceís Mill; Pettaquamscutt Upper or Bass; Pettaquamscutt Lower; Potowomut; Romeís; Scrabbletown; Sand Hill.
Reservoirs.---Annaquatucket; Hamilton; Narragansett; Oak Hill; Silver Spring Upper; Silver Spring Lower.
Harbors.---Wickford or Cawcumsquissick; Allenís Bissellís; Duck or Greeneís; Spinkís; Wickford Bay.
Ledges.---Ferry; Rome Point; Willett.
Rocks.---Devilís Foot; Brotherís; Old Sergeant; Patt; Spindle; Black; Clump; Dyerís; Rolling; Deborah; Hallís.
Woods.---Austinís; Cedar Grove; Davisí; Hazardís; Huguenot Grove; Pine or Plain; Rome; Sherman.
Parks.---Allenís or Quidnesett; Wilett Farm.
Swamps.---Allenís; Cedar; Cat or Kenyon; Fonesí; Grenneís; Pine; Rocky; Smithís; Spinkís.
Islands.---Fox or Sowonexet; Cornelius; Goose.
Brooks.---Carrís; Cat Swamp; Cawcumsquissick or Stony (called also Cocumsuissic); Coleís; Congdonís; Davisí Mill; Great Meadow; Fonesí; Greeneís; Hallís; Not-a-Brook; Packardís; Phillip (called also Shewotuck); Romeís; Shermantown; Slocumís; Willettís.
Springs.---Canonicus; Elizabeth; Whaley or Taylorís; Kettle Hole; Silver; Cold; Great; Cedar.
Historic.---Richard Smithís Block House, 1641; Roger Williamsí Trading House, built 1648 and sold to R. Smith 1651; Gilbert Stuartís Birthplace, December 3d, 1755, and near it Hammond [p. 373] Mill, originally built for a snuff mill, but run for over one hundred years as a grist mill; Boston Neck, called Namcook; Hamoganset or Kesikomick; North Ferry; Quidnessett; Great Grave; Site of St. Paulís church, 1707, removed to Wickford 1800; McSparran Monument; the Hummocks; Plum Beach.
"In the Willett Papers mention is made of the residence of Miantinomo, and the impression is clearly given that this chief resided on Boston Neck, at the head of Pettaquamscutt river, on the east side. The same papers indicate that Canonicus resided on the plain opposite the trading house of Roger Williams."
The building of Richard Smithís block house is the first step recorded in the settlement of this town. The first notice of a town in this region is the appointment by the council of Connecticut July 10th, 1663, of selectmen and other town officers and the order was to be called "Wickforde." This order was issued two days after the signing of the King Charles II.charter, and no action was taken for its execution. The town was incorporated under the name of "Kingís Towne," October 28th, 1674, as the seventh town in the colony, with an area of 178.5 square miles, which territory now belongs to North Kingstown, South Kingstown and Exeter.
Roger Williams had a trading house in North Kingstown called Narragansett. He was here between the years of 1648 and 1651, and from this place he wrote a score or more of letters.
Captain Richard Smith built what has long been designated as the "Old Castle," within one-half mile of the village of Wickford. This, in 1639, was erected for the farm house of Captain Smith, and here the good Roger Williams, who also fled from persecution, often visited. The brave and just old Canonicus and also Miantinomo frequently visited Smith. This castle was built by Smith as a trading post or house, and as a protection against the troublesome Indians. It was fifty feet square, two stories high, and its walls were of rough stone, two feet in thickness. It was used as a garrison and fortification during the Indian war, and it was there that Captain Benjamin Church assembled his forces before marching to the great swamp fight, and after his victory, with the dead and wounded, burying some forty-two of the slain in one grave.
In the year 1664 Gilbert Updike, of New Amsterdam, married Smithís daughter, and the fitted up the castle in English style by covering it with wood work (inside and out) for a permanent [p. 374] dwelling. And it has remained until the present day, except occasional covering and repairing on the outside. It was retained in the Updike family until the fourth generation. In 1878 it passed into the hands of General Walter R. Chapin. This house was burned down in the Indian war but was rebuilt again and used as a garrison until the Great Swamp Fight.
Mr. Smith did (sic) in 1664. His grave is yet unmarked, save by a common stone with the letters "R.S. died 1664." Richard Smith, Jr., was a major in the service of Cromwell. He died in 1692. His sister married Gilbert Updike, who came from Long Island in 1664 and settled on the old homestead at the heard of the cove. Gilbert had three sons, Lodowick, Daniel and James. Daniel and James were both killed at the swamp fight, and with forty others were brought home and buried in one common grave. Lodowick Updike alone survived his father. He died I 1737, leaving two sons, Daniel and Richard. Daniel was the kingís attorney, and left a son by the name of Lodowick, who was born in 1725 and died in 1804 in the old mansion that still stands upon the foundation walls of the old trading house and garrison of long ago. Lodowick also left sons and daughters, many of whom lived to a good old age.
The scenes in and around the old mansion have been changed since the days of the last Lodowick Updike. In the interior of the mansion, most of the large, square rooms are yet retained in their primitive style.
The Great Swamp Fight of December 19th, 1675, decided the fate of King Phillipsí war and the life of New England. In that fight the colonists lost six captains, one lieutenant and over tow hundred soldiers. Deacon A. B. Chadsey, speaking of the slain on this battlefield, says: "the dead bodies of 42 white men, slain by the Narragansetts in the Great Swamp Fight of Dec. 19, 1675, were transported from the scene of slaughter in South Kingstown in carts to the Block house (a garrison house) of Major Richard Smith in North Kingstown, one mile north of Wickford, and buried in the garden of Major Smith, near the house, in one grave near a large rock on which a few letters have been chiseled to preserve the identity of the BIG GRAVE. The block house, erected by Richard Smith about the year 1640, has been well preserved by timely repairs, and still remains the Ďfist English houseí erected in the thicket of Narragansett country."
Once an apple tree grew upon the grave, but it was blown [p. 375] down in the September gale of 1815. The present lettered builder serves as the only monument to the soldiers here sleeping together.
That the settlement of Smith was the third in the colony and about the year 1639, is forcibly demonstrated in a letter of Roger Williams dated July 24th 1679, in which he says: "Richard Smith, Sen., who for his conscience to God left fair possessions in Gloucestershire and adventured with his relations and estate to New England, and was a most acceptable inhabitant and prime leading man in Taunton in Plymouth Colony. For his conscience sak (sic) (many differences arising) he left Taunton and came to the Narragansett country, where by Godís mercy and favor of the Narragansett sachems he broke the ice (at his great charge and hazard), and put up in the thickest of the barbarians the first English house among them. I humbly testify that about forty years (prior t this date) he kept possession, coming and going, himself children and servants, and had quiet possession of his houses, lands and meadow; and there in his own house, with much serenity of soul and comfort, he yielded up his spirit to God the father of spirits in peace."
In 1639, three years after Roger Williams settled at Providence, Richard Smith established his trading post and commenced a settlement at the head of what is known as Point Wharf Cove.
The materials for the first English dwelling here were shipped form Taunton in boars. Here Smith continued to live and carry on his traffic with the Indians successfully. Soon afterward Roger Williams and Mr. Wilcox moved into the country and settled near Smith, his trading house being near where Royal Vaughn last lived, the next house north of "Spinkís Inn." Mr. Williams in 1651 sold out to Smith his trading house, his two big guns and the small island (Rabbit island) for goats.
In 1659 Randall Holden and Samuel Gorton made an important purchase of land in North Kingstown, consisting of Fox Island and the neck of land between Wickford and Annaquatucket river. This was afterward sold to Richard Smith. A little later and during this same year Humphrey Atherton, in company with others, bought land in Quidnessett and that part of Boston Neck which had not already been sold to Smith. Mr. Atherton came from Plymouth colony.
The assembly in 1671, foreseeing dangers arising from landed proprietors establishing a monopoly, ordered "that persons [p.376] owning large tracts of land in Narragansett should sell it out to persons in want of it." From this time the land began to be divided up into smaller parcels, and settlements became more numerous. The general court, in 1677, had ordered a survey of the Narragansett country, and found that the whole of Boston Neck was owned by Humphrey Atherton, John Winthrop, governor of Connecticut; Richard Smith, Sr., and Richard Smith, Jr., of Cocumscussuc, traders; Lieutenant William Hudson and Amos Richardson of Boston; and John Tinker, of Nashaway, trader. Mr. Richardson was a native of Stonington. His will was proved in 1683. His grandson, Amos, fell heir to his farm on the east side of Pawcatuck river, and to his sons Stephen and Samuel he gave his other lands.
Jonathan, son and administrator of Mr. Atherton, sold all Athertonís share in the Boston Neck purchase, being about seven hundred acres on the point adjoining Pettaquamscutt harbor, to Richard Smith, July 23d, 1673 for £50. In 1676 Jonathan Atherton sold to John Saffin and Thomas Dean all his own Narragansett rights, and as administrator on his brother, Increase Athertonís estate, sold his lands, being one twenty-second part, also to John Saffin. In 1679 this John Saffin was "tried before the Rhode Island Court of Tryals" for the offense of adhering to foreign jurisdiction, and sentenced to forfeit all his real and personal estate and pay a fine. Richard Smith was indicted for the same offense at the same time, but the indictment was quashed for informality.
The Atherton purchase was made in direct violation of a law of Rhode Island, and gave rise to a succession of difficulties. The question of jurisdiction over the Narragansett country had not yet been determined, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut each contending for it, but when allowed to choose for themselves every member of the Atherton Company declared I favor of Connecticut.
Major Atherton had been much employed in the negotiations between the Indians and the English, and had made use of the influence he thus acquired to make purchases for himself. These purchases were made in contravention of an express law of the colony, and therefore the government did not consider them valid, but treated him and his company as intruders. Roger Williams informed Major Atherton that his purchases were contrary to law, and refused all his offers of land or to engage him [p. 377] to assist and interpret for him. Major Atherton was employed as superintendent of the praying Indians from 1658 to 1661, and was employed for keeping courts amongst them in divers places and instructing them in their civil conversation.
The northeastern part of North Kingstown, known as the old Quidnessett territory, was formerly a prominent part of the town. In early times it supported two saw mills and one or two grist mills. The latter are still in operation. Considerable trade was carried on from Greeneís, George and Allenís harbor, with Providence, Newport and other points. The "Sea Flower" and "Two Brothers" carried on quite a trade from the forge mill and anchor works. These vessels were supplanted eventually by the "Emily Ann" and "Lucy Ann."
This country, the Quidnessett, is about six miles long and three broad. It was called by the natives Aquitawaset. It is bounded on the north by the Potowomut river, on the west by the Pequot path or old Post road, south by Wickford harbor and east by Narragansett bay. The block house built by Smith was in the extreme southwest corner of the Quidnessett territory. By the marriage of Smithís daughter into the Updike family this estate by will was given by her father, Richard Smith, Sen.; it took that name and so continued until it went by purchase into the hands of Captain Joseph Congdon in 1813.
Roger Williams and one Wilcox built trading houses about a mile north---near "Devilís Footprint"---seven or eight years afterward, and carried on business from 1646 to 1651. It was Judge Shermanís opinion that Canonicus and Miantinomo resided near by, opposite, on Fonesí purchase, within twenty or thirty rods of the "Devilís Footprint," in a northerly direction.
June 11th, 1659, the Indian sachem Coqinoquant, of the Narragansett country, made a deed of gift of this country to Major Atherton and his associates, and the next year to several citizens of Newport, Portsmouth, Providence and Warwick, who had come on and purchased farms on the bay and the Potowomut river, extending over half of the Quidnessett territory. Thomas and John Gould, John Sulls, Henry Fowler, Robert Carr, Thomas Hart, Francis Brinley, Walter Couningreve, Thomas Nichols and sons, Henry Tibbetts, Samuel Waite, Nicholas Spink, Captain John Cranston, Robert Wescott, John Sanford, Edward Thurston, John Greene and son, and Valentine Wightman were among the first settlers; and soon after, John Eldred, William [p. 378] Dyre, Arthur Aylesworth, John Allen and Henry Reynolds settled on the southern part of this territory. John Greene and son owned more acres than any others for several years. John Cranston was governor two years and died in office. John Greene was deputy-governor ten years. Governor William Greene and Governor Ward also owned lands in Quidnessett.
John Fones (one of the freemen of Kingstown) and five others bought of Awashuwett, chief sachem of Qushesett, in Narragansett (in Quidnessett), a tract of land there. With the title of captain, he was a member of a court martial at Newport for trial of Indians charged with being engaged in King Phillipís designs. It was voted at the trial August 24th, 1676, that certain ones were guilty and they were sentenced to be shot. The north line of the Fonesí purchase commenced at a rock on the river, above Huntís bridge, on the Post road running straight north to a river running into the Muskachuge Cove. Then the line followed the road easterly to the Potowomut river as high as salt water. From Thomas Hillís house it ran partly in a south-westerly direction straight to John Andrewís house on the Post road, then to "Devilís Foot" rocks.
The proprietors of the northern part of Quidnessett made a division of their lands in 1666. John Greene and son fell heirs to a tract of one hundred and fifty-one acres. The cove now called Allenís harbor in 1666 was laid out to John Sanford. It was afterward sold to John Greene, and previous to 1800 had been purchased from Greeneís descendants by the Allens, in which latter family nearly all of it is now owned.
In the year 1671, the general assembly held its May session at Acquidnessett.
In January, 1671-2, John Greene, John Fones, Henry Tibbets, John Andrews, John Briggs and Thomas Waterman bought of the Indians a large tract since known as the "Devilís Foot or Fonesí purchase." All these proprietors were residents of Quidnessett except John Fones, who lived three miles west in Narragansett.
In March, 1681-2, Daniel Greene conveyed one hundred and twenty acres bordering on Allenís harbor to his son, James Greene, the farm now owned by Mr. Joseph Allen. This family are descendants from William Allen, who came from Wales in 1660 to Prudence Island, where he lived and died. His son John came to Quidnessett and bought the homestead in 1702. Thomas, [p. 379] Christopher, Silas, James and John are in lineal descent. John Greene married Joan ------, and she is known to have been the mother of Daniel and James, and probably of John, Edward and Benjamin. Not far from the brook, between the highway and the dwelling house of Mr. Joseph Allen, a cellar of an old dwelling can be found, which was probably occupied by this Daniel and his son Daniel, and certainly by his grandson John. James Greene, a very early settler of North Kingstown, is spoken of as living in Richard Smithís house. In 1663 he and others declared for the Rhode Island government.
Beriah Brown was also a resident as early as 1687. In 1703 he was one of the number appointed to lay out the roads of North Kingstown. In 1709 he was one of five persons who received a grant of 792 acres of land in this town. Alexander Brown, his eldest son, a resident of the homestead farm, died in 1758.
Stephen Northup took the oath of allegiance May 19th, 1671. In 1726 he had trouble with Elisha Cole about a mill dam (see sketch by Mr. Peirce). At that time there was no other mill within some miles of this place.
John Cole was a settler in North Kingstown in 1663. He was the son of Isaac, who came to America in 1634 with his father and mother in the ship "Hercules." His father settled at Charlestown, Mass., and from thence John went to Boston. In 1651, December 30th, he married Susannah Hutchinson, daughter of William and Mary (Marbury) Hutchinson. In 1663 he came to North Kingstown. In 1668 he and other inhabitants petitioned the Connecticut authorities to reassume their government, for if not the petitioners might look for government elsewhere, and two years later acquainted the Rhode Island governor and council that he had not yet taken an engagement to any office under Connecticut, but did not know how soon he might do so. For this and other statements he was delivered over to the sergeant till the next court meeting, and was to find bail for £20 to answer for contempt. He was one of the petitioners to the king in 1679 to put an end to the disturbances between Rhode Island and Connecticut. In 1682 he was made conservator of the peace. His son William married Ann Pinder, of North Kingstown, and their son Elisha Cole, was the one who had the difficulty with Stephen Northup in 1726 about a mill dam.
Ann Hutchinson, after being banished from Massachusetts, came to Rhode Island. From thence went with the family [p. 380] to East Chester, N. Y., where they were al killed by the Indians except one daughter, Susannah, who was redeemed, and afterward married John Cole. She lived to a great age.
William Hutchinson came over from England in 1634, and died in Newport in 1642. His daughter Susannah afterward married Nathaniel Coddington, of Newport. John Cole died in 1706-7. Elisha Cole, a son of John Cole, married Elizabeth Dexter in 1713. He died in 1728 in London, where he had gone to attend a law suit. His children were: Judge John Cole, born in 1715, married Mary, only daughter of Daniel Updike, and died about 1777 (He left a son, Edward, and a daughter, Elizabeth, who married Ichabod Wade); Thomas, born in 1720; Colonel Edward Cole, who served in the war of 1763, and died in Nova Scotia; Susannah, Elizabeth and Abigail. Several of the Cole family were zealous supporters of the English church, and are distinguished in its early records. They were large proprietors of lands in the Boston Neck, a little south of Wickford.
John Cole, the eldest son of Elisha Cole, obtained a good early education and a competent knowledge of the Latin and Greek languages under a private tutor. He studied law in the office of Daniel Updike, the attorney general of the colony, married his only daughter Mary, ad commenced practice in Providence. His talents soon acquired for him a large share of business throughout the colony. He was elected an associate judge of the supreme court in 1763, and the succeeding year was promoted to the chair of chief justice. The stamp act began to agitate the colonies in 1765, to which measure of the home of government Judge Cole was sternly opposed. He resigned his position on the bench in the spring of 1766, and entered the legislature as a representative from Providence. He was one of the committee, with Stephen Hopkins and others, to draft instructions from Providence respecting the stamp act. Their report declared that the contemplated measure of taxation was unconstitutional and had a manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American liberty. Mr. Cole was a representative through the stormy period of 1776, and in 1767 was elected speaker of the house.
On the commencement of hostilities in 1775 the legislature erected a vice-admiralty court, and Mr. Cole was appointed advocate general, which office he sustained during life. In advanced life he was induced to enter the hospital at north Providence for inoculation for small pox , a disease particularly prevalent at this [p. 381] period. It proved fatal, and he died in the hospital in October, 1777.
Edward Cole, the third son of Elisha, was a well educated and accomplished gentleman, and was predisposed to a military life, and early entered into the service. He was a colonel of a regiment under the celebrated General Wolfe, at the siege of Quebec, in 1759. He commanded a regiment at the capture of Havana, under Albemarle. Afterward Colonel Johnson, the superintendent of Indian affairs in America, appointed Colonel Cole to treat with the Indians in the west. To effect this hazardous enterprise he suffered great privations in traversing the forests of Ohio, then untrod by civilized man. The object of the mission was to secure the friendship and to prevent the confederation of the native tribes through the influence of the French agents. He effected the object of the mission satisfactorily, and on his return settled in Newport.
In the commencement of our struggle for independence, in opposition to his brother, he adhered to the royal cause. He was suspected, his house was broken open, and his furniture and pictures mutilated. He fled to the enemy, finally entered the British service, and at the termination of the struggle settled in Nova Scotia. He died at an advanced age at the island of St. Johns, in April, 1793.
Joseph Gardiner, the youngest son of Sir Thomas Gardiner, of Yorkshire, England, came over with the first settlers of Kings county, R. I., and died in 1679, aged 78 years. He left six sons, whose names were: Benoni, Henry, William, George, Nicholas and Joseph, from whence sprung the numerous family of Gardners of this state. H. G. O. Gardner is a son of Willett, son of Nicholas (4), son of Nicholas (3), son of Nicholas (2), son of Nicholas (1), who was the son of Joseph the emigrant.
The Allens of North Kingstown descended from William and Elizabeth Allen of Rhode Island. William Allen died in 1675. He and James Greene were appointed as messengers to carry letters from the Rhode Island assembly to Governor Crandall of New Hampshire. His son, William Allen, fell heir to all lands in Potowomut and all lands and houses in East Greenwich.
Arthur Aylesworth, of North Kingstown, was born in 1653. He and forty-one others signed a petition to the king praying that he would put an end to those differences about the government [p. 382] which had been so fatal to the prosperity of the place. This petition was dated July 29th, 1679.
Gabriel Bernon became a resident of North Kingstown. He was a Huguenot, a Protestant merchant of an ancient family of Rochelle, France. He was the son of Andreí Bernon and Susanne Guillomard. His zeal in the Protestant cause had rendered him obnoxious to the authorities for some time previous to the revocation of the edict of Nantes, and he was two years imprisoned. There exists in the family a small edition of the Psalms, which tradition states was printed in a minute form to enable the persecuted owners the more readily to secrete them in their bosoms when surprised at their simple devotions. Gabriel Bernon left his native city and took refuge in England to avoid the persecutions of St. Bartholomew. In those days bigotry reigned and mercy had veiled her face; and as the Catholics propagated the maxims that faith need not be kept with heretics, and to massacre them was just, pious and useful to salvation, the choice of three great evils thus fell to the poor heretics---expatriation, death or recantation, worse than a thousand deaths. In leaving France Gabriel Bernon left brothers and everything that could render life desirable. But all these sacrifices he counted naught in comparison to liberty of conscience. He remained some time in England. He was there in 1687. He came to America soon after and to Providence in 1698, and thence removed into Narragansett country, where the ruins of his house still exist. He purchased several tracts of land in North Kingstown, was elected one of the vestrymen of St. Paulís in 1718, and in the succeeding year returned to Providence. Mr. Bernon died at Providence February 1st, 1736, in the ninety-second year of his age. He was a gentleman by birth and be estate, and for the cause of true religion fled into New England, where he continued a zealous Protestant. He was courteous, honest and kind, and died in great faith and hope in his Redeemer, and assurance of salvation.
The above will serve to show to the descendants of the Huguenots in this western world the perplexities and embarrassments of those who willingly abandoned the luxuries and refinements of the old world to flee to the shores of an inhospitable wilderness for the purpose of worshipping God according to the dictates of their consciences.
The Phillips family first settled around Wickford. Samuel [p. 383 ] Phillips, it is said, emigrated from Exeter, England, and was among the first who settled in the Narragansett country. He died in 1736, aged eighty-one years. His widow Elizabeth afterward married Colonel Thomas, and died in 1748. The children of Samuel Philips were; Thomas, Charles, Samuel and Mary. Thomas, the eldest, died in 1722, in Exeter. His son Samuel died in 1748 leaving two children, Thomas and Mary. Mary married first her cousin Charles Phillips, and second Henry Wall, sheriff, etc. Among the children of Charles Phillips was Charles, who in 1749 married his cousin Mary, died in 1757, leaving: Major Samuel, Charles, William, Peter and daughters.
Samuel, the third child of Samuel Phillips, married Abigail Brown and was the father of several children. Hon. Peter Phillips, of North Kingstown, who was a member of the convention to form the state constitution, was a son of his. He was born in 1731 and died in 1807. The daughter, Mary Phillips, married John Dickinson in 1818.
Major Samuel, son of Charles Phillips, was born near Wickford December 20th 1749, and died August 10th, 1808. He was four times married. In early life he became an active whig in the revolutionary controversy. In August, 1776, he was commissioned by John Hancock, president of the United Colonies, as captain of the sixth company of the First regiment of the brigade raised by this state, which was taken into continental pay and constituted part of the American army. On the 22d of January, 1777, he was again commissioned by Governor Cooke (the original commissions signed by Hancock and Cooke now remain in the family) captain of a company of state infantry in Colonel Stantonís regiment. In 1777 captain Phillips was a volunteer and commanded one of the five boats in the expedition led by Colonel Barton for the capture of General Prescott. He was captain of a company in Sullivanís expedition in Rhode Island in 1778. The next year he entered the naval service as a lieutenant by President Adams, and entered the service. After the treaty with France he settled on his farm near Wickford, where he died August 10th, 1808.
Peter Phillips was the son of Christopher and grandson of Samuel Phillips. He was born in North Kingstown in 1731. In the revolution he was an inflexible whig, and rendered important service to his country during the war. He represented his native town in the general assembly, and subsequently in 1775, was promoted to the senate, and in May he was elected commissary of the Army of Observation, a body of fifteen hundred men raised by the state, of which Nathaniel Greene was elected brigadier-general. Mr. Phillips was re-elected state senator for the years 1776, 1777, 1778 and 1779. In 1780 the legislature appointed him on o f the judges of the supreme court of the state, a position which he held for five consecutive years. In 1785 Mr. Phillips was elected by the people a delegate to represent Rhode Island in The Confederated Congress, but did not take his seat in that body. In 1786 he declined re-appointment on the bench of the supreme court. The legislature, desirous of retaining Mr. Phillips in the public service, elected him to the office of chief justice of the court of common pleas for his native country in the year 1795. He soon resigned all public honors and retired to private life. All the various civil and military appointments that were conferred upon him he discharged with ability and fidelity.
Mr. Phillips was a man of considerable property, owning a handsome estate in Wickford. He was a very polished gentleman, quite spare in person, wore a wig and always dressed with great neatness.
Gilbert Stuart, the father of the celebrated portrait painter, was an early settler of North Kingstown. He emigrated from Scotland and settled here, where he erected the first snuff mill in the United States. His son, Gilbert Charles Stuart, whose name was destined to be enrolled among the worldís illustrious geniuses, early displayed a fondness for pencil sketching, and soon acquired a marked degree of proficiency in pencil likenesses. He was put under the tuition of one Alexander when about thirteen years old, and accompanied his tutor on a journey through the south, and afterward went to Scotland. Mr. Alexander soon afterward died, and his pupil was left in charge of Sir George Chambers.
The death of Mr. Chambers occurred soon afterward, when Mr. Stuart returned to his own country and resumed his pencil, residing at Newport. In 1775 he returned to England, and remained until 1793. Here his genus attracted the nobility, and [p. 385] his portraits were regarded as possessing the highest order of artistic skill. The inhabitants of the town in which he was born may justly feel a pride in his history, as few painters have received more honors than Gilbert Stuart. Mr. Stuart married Charlotte Coates, of Reading, Eng., by whom he had a large family. He died at Boston, July 28th, 1828, in the seventy-second year of his age.
Theophilus Whalley was at one time a resident of this town. He was a peculiar and eccentric man, and it is supposed he was one of the regicide judges of King Charles I. The latter part of his life was spent on a farm in West Greenwich. He lived to the advanced age of one hundred and three years.
Alexander Phoenix, one of the earliest settlers of Quidnessett, died before 1698, and left a widow, Abigail Phoenix. In 1709, Widow Phoenix and John Hymans purchased 163 acres of land of the colony. Widow Phoenix built a house there. Her daughter, Abigail, married Beriah Brown. Their sons were Alexander and Charles Brown.
This place is near to and just south of Wickford Junction, and west of the railroad, lately owned by Paul G. Henrick, who married Lydia Brown, a lineal descendant of the first owner, and daughter of John Brown, who was the last of the name to own the place.
The Hymans land to the east of this has long since passed into other hands. On the northerly part of this tract now stands most of the village and the railroad station of Wickford Junction, while on its eastern border stands the thriving village of Lafayette. The original tract mentioned was bounded north by the "ten rod road," south by Annaquatucket river, and east by Rocky Swamp, which is partly covered by the Bellville reservoir pond.
Pardon Tillinghast and his brother Philip (sons of Elder Pardon Tillinghast, who died in Providence, January 29th, 1718), were two of thirteen persons who purchased from the committee of the general assembly of Rhode Island the vacant lands in the Narragansett district, being some 35,000 acres, by deed executed June 30th, 1709, for which they paid eleven hundred pounds sterling, or fifteen and three-quarter cents per acre. After selling part to forty-two settlers, the original thirteen had about one thousand acres each. Pardon settled on his share and made it his homestead, called it the Mansion Estate, and established his family cemetery. The first burial was that of his first wife, Mary, [p. 386] on February 6th, 1726, and the headstones show records of family burials down to that of Joseph Tillinghast, February 26th, 1862. Pardon Tillinghast settled at East Greenwich, in that part called Frenchtown, and from him descended the Tillinghasts of East and West Greenwich.
William Chadsey, the founder of the Chadsey family in Rhode Island, came to this country in 1715. He landed first in the Southern states. The next year he came to Newport, and soon after crossed the Narragansett bay and fixed his residence at Sand Hill, in Kingstown, four miles south of East Greenwich. The farm still remains in the family and belongs to his descendants. In the year 1719 he married Susannah Greene, daughter of Jabez, and sister to the father of General Nathaniel Greene. They lived together sixty-eight years, and both died in 1787, on the farm where they first settled. They had four sons and six daughters, viz.: Jabez, Mary, Richard, Susannah, Jane, William, Naomi, Phebe, John and Elizabeth. Jabez, the eldest, was born in 1720. At the age of about thirty he married Honor Huling, daughter of Alexander, by whom he had eight children. She died in the year 1772, and the next year he married Mary Corey, widow of John, whose first husband was Jeremiah Greene. He married for his third wife Martha Grieves, and died in 1820. His children were: Jabez, Tabitha, Joseph, Elizabeth, Honor and Rowland.
The numerous descendants of William Chadsey can now easily trace their origin from the pioneer member of this family. Mr. Jeremiah G. Chadsey, in speaking on this subject, says: "I can trace the lineal descent of Susannah Greene, the wife of William Chadsey, back to her great-grandfather, who emigrated from England in the year 1636 with his family, and settled in Massachusetts, but was obliged to flee from that colony on account of Friendly or Quaker principles. In the year 1642 he came to Rhode Island and took up his abode in Warwick. His name was John Greene. He had four sons: John, Peter, James and Thomas all born in England. James Greene was born in England in 1628, and died in 1698. He had eleven children, Jabez, one of whom, was born in Warwick, in 1673; he was the father of Susannah, wife of William Chadsey, and also the grandfather of General Nathaniel Greene.
Samuel Waite Wightman was born in the town of North Kingstown October 5th 1789, in the house now owned and occupied [p. 387] by Crawford Allen, Esq., for his summer residence. His parents were George and Waity Wightman. His father was an industrious and respectable farmer, the son of Colonel George Wightman, and his mother, the daughter of Deacon Sylvester Sweet of Greenwich. When eighteen years of age he went to Pawtuxet and began the trade of cabinet making, commencing in this business in 1814 and following it for thirty years. Subsequently he invested considerably in real estate. He was postmaster of Pawtuxet for twenty years He was a member of the Pawtuxet Baptist church for a period of fifty years. In 1812 he married Hannah, daughter of William and Phebe Thornton, which tie was dissolved by his death, June 16th, 1869. He was blessed with eleven children, only four of whom are now living.
From an old record, considerably marred, we have been able to transcribe in part the list of freemen belonging to the town of Kingstown in the year of 1696, viz.:
"Joseph Fones, John Fones, Jeremiah Fones, Samuel Fones, Andrew Willett, Jeffrey Champling, James Renolds, Sen., James Renolds, Jr., Henry Tibets, George Whitman, John Cotterell, William Gibson, James Green, Henry Tibets, Jr., John Hinman, Samuel Albrough, Sen., John Briggs, Jr., Edward Green, John Eldred, John Spink, Joseph Place, Daniel Eldred, Arthur Alyworth, John Briggs, Sen., Moses Barber, Samuel Eldred, Nathaniel Niles, George Gardner, Samuel Hopkin, Thomas Hazard, Stephen Hazard, John Crandall, Thomas Eldred, Benjamin Green, John Sweet, Benjamin Gardner, Bennony (Benoni) Sweet, William Condell, Joseph Hull, Sen., Nicholas Gardner, William Cole, Joseph Hull, Jr., William Gardner (cord winder), Samuel Werden, Jr., Samuel Helme, John Watson, Jun., Robert Hannah, Edward Greenman, Samuel Perry, Jobe Jenny, George Cook, Jeffrey Champing, Jr., Robert Hazard, Jr., George Babcock, Jeremiah Hazard, Stephen Wilcox, James Huling, Phillip Aylworth, Charles Brown, Alexander Brown, Robert Gardner, James Kinyon, Robert Eldred, Jospeh Northrup, Nathan Gardner, Thomas Willett, Henry Gardner, Stephen Shearman, Thomas Phillips, Thomas Eldred, Jr., Thomas Bently, Benjamin Sheffield, Edmond Sheffield, Daniel Smith, Christopher Phillips, Nicholas Northrup, Anthony Eldred, John Wells, Jr., James Sweet, Isaac Gardner, Robert Case, Benjamin Sweet, Edward Dyre, Jr., John Jenkins, James Huling, Alexander Huling, George Hasard, Jeffrey Hasard, Benjamin Mumford, Thomas Potter, Ichabod [p. 388] Potter, Henry Northrup, Peleg Mumford, William Sheffield, son of Ichabod Sheffield, George Whightman, John Crowder, William Havens, Jr., Joseph Congdon and Daniel Nichols."In 1674 the general assembly passed an act establishing a township in Narragansett and called it Kingís Town. It was so named as an expression of gratitude to the British sovereign for defeating the machinations of neighboring colonies to get possession of the territory. Its name was, in 1686, changed to Rochester. This change was made under Edmund Androsí administration, but in 1689 the original name was restored.
The population of Kingstown had increased to such an extent that it was early deemed necessary that there should be a division of the town, and in June, 1722, when Samuel Cranston was governor, the general assembly convened at Newport, enacted that the town of Kingstown be divided and made into two towns by the names of North and South Kingstown. North Kingstown held the records and was declared to be the older town. The town has once since (in 1742) suffered the loss of a large part of its territory when the western portion was set aside and incorporated as the town of Exeter.
The territory now embraced in the town of North Kingstown is comprised in a narrow strip of land on the Narragansett shore not over seven miles in width in any place, and embraced between latitudes 41° , 30í and 41° , 40í.
The first town meeting under the new organization in 1722 was ordered to be held February 21st, 1723, to choose jurymen who should serve in the next general court of trials, and at the second town meeting held on the third Wednesday of the following month Robert Hull and Francis Willett were elected the first delegates to the general assembly. At this time the population was a little less than two thousand. From the date of its incorporation the town gained stability, and by the harmony of its government, grew in political strength. The discord incident to the breaking out of the revolutionary war, however, shattered society throughout the colonies, and that peace which was once blessed and maintained by a frugal, prosperous and industrious people was marred by an eight hears contest with the mother country.
After the hardships and miseries of the early colonial periods, the beginning of the eighteenth century seemed like the dawning of a golden age. Learning received attention, tokens of [p. 389] courtesy and hospitality were met with on every side, stately mansions and here and there a church were se4n towering among the trees or dotting the green fields, and the country through which Richard Smith and Roger Williams a few years before had with difficulty pressed their way, by the magic touch of civilization became transformed into the garden of America.
As early as 1710 three churches had been organized. In the latter part of the seventeenth century a minister by the name of baker came from Newport and founded a Baptist church in North Kingstown. This was undoubtedly the origin of the Baptist churches in this town, three of which now exist in a flourishing condition. The church at Wickford, whose edifice was built in 1816 and rebuilt in 1836, was an offshoot from the church at Allenton. The house at Allenton was erected in 1848, and the one in Quidnessett in 1842. Elder John Gardnerís Six Principle Baptist church , as it was styled, was founded about the year 1710. Three years prior to this the Episcopal Society erected a church in the south part of town. It was here that for more than thirty years Doctor James McSparran, the friend and companion of the illustrious Berkeley, proclaimed the truth and inspired the people with his eloquence. In the year 1800 the church, which is now the oldest Episcopal edifice in New England, was removed to its present site in Wickford.
The society at this period was marked by much refinement. The landed aristocracy cherished the liberal arts and literature, and secured for their children a generous intellectual training in the families of the learned clergymen. Extensive plantations, some of which have been divided into as many as ten large farms (Daniel Updikeís lands alone embracing three thousand acres), were worked by slave labor and produced abundant crops which, in the West Indies, found a ready market. A degree of sociability existed among the people, which in some respects their descendants might imitate with profit. Every family had its large circle of friends, who were always welcome to its hospitality. The remotest connection by blood was regarded with profound respect, and much visiting and interchange of thought and sentiment established a permanent bond of good feeling. True, some of the entertainments seemingly evinced a prodigality of wealth, but the display was generally in proportion to the abundance of the host and excess was rather the exception than the rule. Every season had its peculiar pastimes. There was the [p.390] annual excursion to Connecticut in May, the glorious old huskings of autumn, the festivities of the holidays in winter, and at every season of the year an occasional wedding. What joy, what mirth, pervaded the country on these gala days of the olden time! Even now, enlightened by tradition, we in imagination stand in the spacious halls, and surrounded by a merry throng, listen to the orchestra of slaves and see gentlemen with swords at their sides in crimson coats and knee breeches, with powdered wigs and queues, an ladies dressed in brocade gracefully walking the intricate mazes of the minuet.
The slaves, who formed a large part of the population---one family sometimes owning as many as forty---were not slow in imitating the manners and amusements of their masters. But in all their festivities none compared with that of the annual election, when, after the manner of the whites, they chose their governor for the year. On these occasions the parlors of the mansion house were thrown open, horses were provided, and money distributed among the negroes according to the means of the respective owners. Party spirit ran high. At the appointed time, arrayed in their masterís clothes, and mounted on their best pacers, with their ladies at their ladies at their sides in high glee, they rode to Ďlection. Here, after games and sports of various kinds, the friends of the two candidates were arranged in two rows, and the chief marshal with his assistants marched between them and made the count. In a loud voice he then proclaimed the governor for the ensuing year. Then followed the grand election dinner, which was held under the trees, the governor-elect sitting at the head of the table, and on either side his wife and unsuccessful candidate, whose prerogative it was to propose the first toast, and then and there drown the sorrows of his defeat. For both master and slaves these were sunny days.
TOWN CLERKS.---Owing to the destruction of the town by the fire no definite list can be given prior to the year 1700. It is known, however, that Samuel Fones and John Fones were clerks under the proprietors, and probably remained so as long as the proprietors, and probably remained so long as the proprietary lasted. The clerks since 1700 have been: Andrew Willett, 1700; Ephraim Bull, 1701; Andrew Willett, 1703; Samuel Fones, March 17th, 1703-4, to April 11th, 1715; Francis Willett, July 11th, 1715, to 1739; Immanuel Hall, 1739, to 1743, when he became the first town clerk of Exeter; Samuel Thomas, 1743 to 1761; George Northrup, 1761 to 1771; George Thomas, December [p. 391] 21st, 1771, to June, 1813; Jonathan Reynolds to June, 1836; Nicholas N. Spink, to the autumn of 1843; Samuel Pierce, to June 1860; Nicholas Spink, to June 1863; John B. Pierce, to June 1885; Charles T. Crombe, present incumbent.
TOWN OFFICERS FOR 1888.---Moderator, George A. Spink; town clerk, Charles T. Crombe; deputy town clerk, Thomas J. Peirce; town council---Edward C. Gardner, John Allen, Timothy Carroll, William L. Hall, Robert R. Rathbun; town auditors---William N. Rose, John Allen; town treasurer, Doctor S. B. Church, collector of taxes, John J. Spink; assessors of taxes---William N. Rose, James R. Healey, Joseph Tisdale, Perry W. Greene, Caleb T. Cottrell; commissioner of town asylum, Francis C. Dixon; sealer of weights and measures, Chester L. Farnham; town sergeant, James R. S. Wightman; truant officer, John J. Spink; school committee---Thomas W. D. Rathbun, Talbot P. Greene, Doctor S. O. Myers, Thomas J. Peirce, Doctor S. B. Church; superintendent of public schools, Doctor S. O. Myers.
LAND TITLES.---The following account of the succession of titles to that part of Boston Neck lying in North Kingstown, R. I., was prepared by Mr. Peleg F. Pierce, of Wickford.
July 4th, 1659, Major Humphrey Atherton and six associates, Governor John Winthrop of Connecticut, Richard Smith, Sr., and Richard Smith, Jr., Captain William Hudson, Amos Richardson and John Tinker obtained a deed of gift of the "Southern" tract or Namcook Neck or Boston Neck purchased from Coquimaquand (Indian sachem).
At a proprietorsí meeting in the latter part of 1659, Edward Hutchinson of Boston was admitted to share equally in said land.
In the early part of 1660 the lower portion only of the "Southern tract," called Boston Neck, was surveyed and divided among the partners, whose shares ran up the "Neck" in the following order: 1. Major Humphrey Atherton, 700 acres; 2. Richard Smith, Sr., 661 ½ acres; 3. Richard Smith, Jr., 661 ½ acres; 4. Governor John Winthrop, 661 ½ acres; 5. John Tinker, 661 ½ acres; 6. Amos Richardson, 661 ½ acres; 7. William Hudson, 661 ½ acres; 8. Edward Hutchinson, 661 ½ acres.
March 21st, 1660-1, at a proprietorsí meeting at the house of Edward Hutchinson, it was agreed that John Brown, Sr. of Seconk, should have one-half of Amos Richardsonís share in Boston Neck.
April 10th, 1662, John Brown of Seconk, died, and his son, James Brown, succeeded to the farm.
In August, 1675, a second survey of Boston Neck was made by Mr. William Withington, and the Amos Richardson tract was put down in the survey as belonging to James Brown and John Payne, so that Amos Richardson must have disposed of his northern half prior to the above date., probably in 1666, at which time he removed to Stonington, Conn.
November 22d, 1677, the land in Boston Neck formerly belonging to John Payne, containing about three hundred and fifty acres, was conveyed to William Clark. Said land was between land of Captain Thomas Willet, deceased, on the south, and John Brown on the north.
September 3d, 1696, John Brown of Swansey, grandson of John and son of James, sold for £100 to Captain Timothy Clarke, merchant, of Boston.
October 13th, 1696, Captain Timothy Clarke sold to George Havens of Jamestown, a tract containing three hundred and thirty-one and one-half acres of land now in the occupation of George Wightman, half of the late Amos Richardson division. Said division was bounded south by Captain Andrew Willetís land now in his own improvement; north by the other half share of the late Amos Richardson, now in the tenure and occupation of Stephen and Joseph Northrup; west by pond, east by the bay or salt water.
November 4th, 1699, George Havens and Ellenor, his wife, sold the farm to John Dexter of Sandwich, for £650 current money of New England.
March 30th, 1702, John Dexter sold the farm to Joseph Mory of Jamestown.
August 14th, 1724, Mary (Mory) Coggeshall of Newport, sold to her son, Daniel Coggeshall, of Newport.
February 16th, 1786, Daniel Coggeshall and wife, Elizabeth, sold to Silas Casey of Warwick what has since been known as the "Casey Farm."
About 1702 Benjamin Congdon married Frances Stafford and went to live in Boston Neck.
February 28th, 1738, he sold to his son, John Congdon, land he purchased of Timothy Clarke, and in his will he gives the said John the farm in Boston Neck, "Where I now dwell."
October 1st, 1803, Thomas R. Congdon sold one hundred and [p. 393] fifty acres of the farm to Samuel Packard, since known as the "Packard Farm, " bounded south by the "Congdon Farm," and both now (1888) owned by the divisees of the late Samuel C. Cottrell. The Casey, Congdon and Packard farms cover the Amos Richardson tract of 661 ½ acres. Amos Richardson was a wealthy merchant tailor of Boston. His daughter Sarah married Timothy Clarke. His daughter Katharine married David Anderson of Boston. North of Mr. Richardsonís tract was William Hudsonís division.
June 30th, 1687, it was conveyed to Richard Wharton, Esq., of Boston, by patents from James II., anc called the "Middlefield far." (See Col. Record, vol. 3, pages 225-226.)
August 28th, 1727, John Kenyon of Westerly, calling himself aged seventy years or thereabouts, testified that in the year 1683, or thereabouts, he went to live on the farm that Stephen Northrup of North Kingstown now lives on and paid rental to Major Smith in behalf of Mr. Killum of Boston, and lived there for eight years, and Stephen Northrup went in when he left it.
June 13th, 1712, John Nelson, attorney for the heirs, children and legatees of Richard Wharton, sold to Stephen Northrup for £1,700, money now current in New England, 661 ½ acres of land bounded southerly on land of Captain Timothy Clarke, westerly on Mill river that runs into the head of Pettaquamscutt pond, northerly upon lands of Matthew Allen and David Greene, easterly on Narragansett bay. ("Kingstown" Rec.)
In March, 1716, Stephen Northrup and Mary, his wife, sold to Benjamin Northrup one hundred and fifty acres of land (the northeast portion of this purchase) bounded north by land of David Greene, east by the bay, Plum beach pond and beach belonging to said Stephen Northrup, south and west by land of grantor. This farm, with what is now known as the "Kenyon" meadows and swamp on the west, contains about two hundred acres of land and is now called the "Stephen Tefft farm."
November 17th, 1747, Benjamin Northrup gives to Robert Hazard and Patience, his wife (whom he calls his "loving cousins") one-half of one hundred acres of land bounded west in part by the Mill river and in part by the fish pond. The other half of one hundred acres he gives to Caleb Allen and Mary, his wife, whom he also calls his "loving cousins."
March 29th, 1826, John Hazard (a grandson of Robert above) came into possession of the portion of this parcel of land devised [p. 394] to his grandfather Robert Hazard. He built fisheries and established smelt weir privileges in the southwestern corner of this farm, and it has since been known as the "smelt weir John Hazard land" (the southwest corner of Stephen Northrupís purchase). The land in the northwest part of this purchase was in the possession of Henry Northrup in 1733. It was a farm of about one hundred and sixty-six acres. The southeastern portion of the purchase was the homestead farm containing about two hundred acres of land. At the northwest corner of this farm, on the bay was established in the earliest time of the colony a "landing place or ferry," known in 1707 as "Danielís Landing Place," later as "Northrup"s Ferry," a thoroughfare between Newport and the Narragansett country.
Stephen Northrup was a freeman of Providence in 1658; September 6th, 1687, taxed 5s. ½d. In 1671 he took the oath of allegiance at "Kingstowne." He died in 1687. His son Stephen was born in 1660; married in 1684 Mary Thomas; at "Kingstowne" September 6th, 1687; died June 12th, 1733. He gave to his three sons, Thomas, Henry and Nicholas, certain estate, one third to each (see Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, page 140).
When this tract was conveyed to Mr. Wharton in 1687 the west boundary was by the "Mill river," showing that a mill was in operation prior to this transfer. John Kenyon had lived four years on this tract. His brother James Kenyon was a miller (see Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, page 116). There are ruins of a mill dam about three hundred feet north of the present dam.
In February, 1702-03, the proprietors of Pettaquamsett, viz: Thomas Mumford, Samuel Wilson, Henry Gardner, Samuel Sewell, Jahreel Brenton, and Benedict Arnold, granted to James Kenyon, "millwirght," the mill at the head of Pettaquamscutt pond. James Kenyon was a brother-in-law of Thomas Mumford above.
August 25th, 1718, William Gardiner and his wife Abigail sold to Elisha Cole a tract of land containing 290 acres, with "a mill and other improvements." William Gardiner was assignee of James Kenyon. The 290 acres of land extended from the mill up the south side of the mill pond, subsequently called the "Plane farm."
In 1726, by a decree of the general court of assembly against Elisha Cole in favor of Stephen Northrup "to turn the stream or [p.395] brook between them to his ancient course," the grist mill dam across the said river was pulled down. At the meeting of the next assembly, upon the petition and remonstrance of the inhabitants, it was ordered to be rebuilt in three months (see Colonial Record of Rhode Island at this date, also Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island.). Elisha Cole died in 1729.