History of Washington and Kent Counties,
Rhode Island

by J. R. Cole; W.W.Preston & Co., New York, 1889


CHAPTER XVII.

TOWN OF RICHMOND.

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General Features of the Town and Places of Note.---Early Legislation.---Prominent Settlers.---Thomas Clarke, the Surveyor.---Disposition of Lands.---Town Records.---Town Officers.---Early Mills.---Wagons, when First Used.---Schools.---Hope Valley.---Arcadia.---Wyoming.---Carolina Mills.---Shannock.---Clark’s Mills.---Kenyon’s Mills.---Woodville.---Woodville Seventh Day Baptist Church.---Plainville.---Wood River Chapel.---Hillsdale.---Tug Hollow Mills.---Usquepaug.---Queen’s River Baptist Church.---Richmond Church.---Biographical Sketches.

The town of Richmond is centrally situated in Washington County, distant from the city of Providence some thirty-five miles. It is bounded on the north by the town of Exeter, on the west by Wood river, on the east by Exeter and South Kingstown, and on the south by the Pawcatuck river, which separates it from Charlestown. The town comprises an area of about forty-two square miles, having an average breadth from north to south of about seven miles, and from east to west of about six miles. The soil is gravelly loam, and the surface consists of rolling upland and level plain. The forests furnish some valuable timber. The agricultural products consist of hay, corn, oats, some rye, potatoes, butter, cheese and some others.

It is believed by persons who have made diligent research that the town of Richmond was named in honor of Edward Richmond, who was attorney general of the colony in 1677-80, and who took an active part in the settlement of the town of Westerly. Edward Richmond and John Richmond, Jr., were settlers, and John Richmond, Sr., owned a house lot in Westerly.

The following is a list of the noted places of interest in the town:

Villages.---Wyoming, Hope Valley, Woodville, Wood River Mills, Carolina, Shannock, Clark’s Mills, Kenyonville, Usquepaug, Arcadia, Barberville (all of the above are partially in adjoining towns), Richmond Switch, Willow Valley, Hillsdale.

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Hills.---Pine, Mountain, Wilbur, Bailey, Tefft, Shannock, Wild Cat, White Brook, Isaacan, Roger, Old Chimney.

Ponds.---Beaver, No Bottom, Conob, Lamb, Tefft, Long, Beaver Dam, Goshen, Wells, Larkin.

Swamps,---Moonshine, Buck, Reed, Pine, Coward’s Hole, Lake, Great, Moose.

Rivers.---Beaver, Indian Ashuniunk, Queen’s, Wood, Charles.

Brooks.---Meadow, White, Moonshine, Tony, Barber’s, Roaring, Conob.

Rocks.---Cat, Goat, Pine, "Black Linn" Ledges.

Plains.---Scotch, Collins.

Miscellaneous.---Great Woods, Buttonwood Corner, Great Meadows, Red Dirt, Quarrelsome Corners, Mooretown, Black Ground, Feather Bed Lane, Devil’s Punch Bowl.

In May, 1669, Westerly was organized by the general assembly as the fifth town in the colony; it embraced the present towns of Westerly, Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton. On the fourth Tuesday of August, 1738, a town was set off, bearing the name Charlestown. The line of division commences where Wood river emerges from Exeter, and follows the course of this river to where it empties into the Pawcatuck. It then follows the course of the Pawcatuck three miles; thence it runs directly south to the open sea. On third Tuesday of August (18th), 1747, Richmond was by an act of the general assembly set off as a separate town. The act authorizing the separation reads as follows:

"Be it enacted by the General Assembly, and by the authority thereof, it is enacted: That the town of Charlestown, in the County of King’s county, in the Province of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, be divided into two towns, by a river that runs across said town, by the name of Pawcatuck river. All the lands to the southward of said river, shall retain the name of Charlestown; and that all the land to the northward of said river, be, and hereby is incorporated into a township, by the name of Richmond, and to have and enjoy the like privileges as the other towns in this colony."

The history of this town during its settlement, and for a period of sixty-nine years is the same as that of Westerly, this territory then being included within the limits of that town.

As our family traditions pass it down to us, the first settlement here made was by heroic lovers, who, despite the opposition of [p. 700] forbidding parents, committed themselves to each other, and the providence of God, and tried the fortunes of the wilderness. Landing on the east side of Pawcatuck river, at the mouth of Massatuxet brook, they built themselves a wigwam. There they lived in friendly intercourse with the natives and reared their family.

This couple were John Babcock and Mary Lawton. Their first child, James Babcock, was said to be the first male white child born in the Narragansett territory. From these sprang the numerous family of Babcocks in Westerly and vicinity. When their place of retreat was communicated, by the natives, to settlers at Newport, others came and settled around them. About the same time, 1642, a colony from Connecticut, and others from Massachusetts, settled at Wickford.

The first definite history at hand of the branch of this family that settled in Richmond was in the person of George Babcock, who, in 1709, was one of the recipients of the Shannock purchase. His portion took the south end of Shannock hill and, on the west side, extended to the Pawcatuck river. He died May 1st, 1756, in his eighty-third year. His wife, Elizabeth, died May 1st, 1762, aged ninety years. Elisha Babcock, son of the above, was born May 18th, 1718. Simeon, his son, was born May 31st, 1745, and died September 21st, 1806. Mary Babcock, his widow, died in Richmond, July 20th, 1847, aged ninety-seven years. Simeon, his son, lived on the west side of Shannock hill, where he built and operated a tannery, etc. He was drowned at the Charlestown breach. Members of his family still reside in the vicinity. Joseph H. Babcock, of Carolina, and Edmund S. Babcock of Wakefield, belong to branches of the same family.

Samuel Barber came from England and settled in what is now Richmond about 1714. His son, Caleb Barber, was ten years old at that time. He lived where Deacon J. C. Baker now lives, and died in 1816, aged ninety-two years. Elder Benjamin Barber, son of Samuel, lived near the school house on Tefft hill. Moses Barber, another son, lived on Bald hill. Alanson Barber, of Arcadia, was grandson, and Archibald Barber, of Carolina, a son of Caleb Barber.

The Clarke family, now so very numerous in Richmond and vicinity, can be traced back to 1559, as follows: William Clarke, one of the first settlers in what is now Richmond, was the son of Joseph Clarke, who died at Westerly, January 11th, 1726, aged [p. 701] eighty-three years. This Joseph was the son of Joseph Clarke, who was born December 9th, 1618, and died June 1st, 1694. He was named an assistant in the charter of 1663, and was brother to Doctor John Clarke of Newport, who procured the charter from the Crown. Doctor Clarke was a man of wealth and renowned for integrity and patriotism. The last named Joseph Clarke was the son of Thomas Clarke, who was born on All Saint’s Day, November, 1570. He died July 27th, 1627. His father, John Clarke, was born February, 1514 and was buried April 7th, 1598. He was the son of John Clarke, of whom all that is known is, that he was buried March 3d, A.D. 1559.

We will now return to the record of William Clarke. He was born in Newport in 1670 and died in Richmond February 28th, 1767, aged ninety-seven years. He had four brothers, Samuel, Thomas, Joseph and John. His son William was born at Newport in 1702, and died at Richmond, March 28th, 1786. He had five other sons: Thomas, Jonathan, Caleb, Robert and Elisha. The sons of the last named William were: James, William, Gideon, Joshua, Peter and Weeden. Gideon was the grandfather of John G. Clarke of South Kingstown. Jonathan was the grandfather of Halsey P. Clarke. Weeden lived and died at Shannock hill, in Richmond, leaving four sons: Weeden, Peleg, (Doctor) Pardon and William.

The children of Jonathan Clarke, above named, were: Jonathan, Abraham, Josiah, Nathaniel, Tabitha, Sarah, Benjamin, Hannah and David. David was born October 14th, 1756, and married Mary Cross. Their children were: Sarah, Ann and David. This David Clarke married Susannah, daughter of George Perry, and their only living child is Halsey P. Clarke.

Thomas Lillibridge came from England and was admitted a freeman in Newport May 6th, 1701. He purchased land in Westerly, now Richmond, in 1711, and moved there in 1720. His estate included the farm now owned by Wanton Lillibridge, one of his descendants; also the farm owned by N. K. Church, and perhaps more besides. He died August 29th, 1727, leaving a widow and eleven children. His widow, Sarah, died in January, 1761. Their children were: Thomas, Robert, Elizabeth, Catherine, Sarah, Mary, Esther, Benjamin, Edward, John and Patience. Thomas, Jr., died February 8th, 1757, in his fifty-fifth year, intestate. His children were Thomas, Edward and Elizabeth. Thomas, under the English laws, inherited the estate.

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Robert had the farm now owned by Wanton Lillibridge, which he sold to Edward, brother of Thomas 3d, in whose line it is now held. Branches of this family settled in Newport, South Kingstown and Exeter.

Henry Collins embarked in the ship "Abigail" on the 30th of the 6th month, 1635. In 1639 he was a member of the Salem court. He was a starch manufacturer on Essex street, in Lynn, Mass. He had a grant of eighty acres of land. His four children, Henry, John, Mary and Joseph, were born in England; the last the year they embarked for America. This John and his wife dwelt in Lynn, where they had eighteen children. The oldest was named John, who, with his father, was drowned. After this the mother called the youngest John, who had been named William. This John married Susannah Dagget. This Susannah Dagget, when a small girl, wandered into the woods and lost her way. Near night she was found by the wife of an Indian chief, who took her to her wigwam and promised to restore her to her home in the morning. She made her a bed of bear skins. At a late hour the chief came home and told his wife that a council of war had been held, and a plan was arranged to exterminate the pale faces. The wife hushed him, saying there was a little pale face in the wigwam. The chief then said she must die; but the squaw said she had pledged her faith, and the child must be spared. To this the chief assented, provided it appeared that the little pale face proved to be asleep. So, taking a fire-brand, he passed it over her head, and finding she did not wink, spared her. In the morning she was conducted to her home. She gave the alarm, and when the Indians came to execute their plan they found the colonists prepared, and their purpose was foiled. The little pale face had done it!

John and Susannah had ten children. Their son John was born in the town then called Westerly the 21st of the twelfth month, 1716, old style. He was married to Mehitabel Brown. They had nine children. Amos, their third child, was born in 1749, and in 1767 married Thankful Clarke. Their children were: Timothy, Abel, Isaac, Amos, Susan, Ruth, Hannah and John. This Abel was the father of Amos, the "Rural Bard," recently deceased, and of Abel, now residing in North Stonington, Conn. Isaac married Mary Collins, his second cousin, daughter of Joseph Collins. Their children were: William, Nancy, Thankful, Amos, Mary, Isaac, Catherine, Joseph, Ephraim C., [p. 703] Bathsheba, John W., Charles W., and Thomas J. Isaac, senior, lived in North Stonington till after the birth of his son Isaac. He then moved into Richmond and lived eighteen years, when he moved into Hopkinton, where he died. Isaac, Jr., lived in Usquepaug.

John Moore came from England and settled in the east part of Richmond. His sons were David, John and George. This David was the father of Silas Moore, deceased. David, the son of Silas, lived where his father lived and died. His wife was the granddaughter of Joseph James, who came from England in company with John Moore.

Thomas Clarke, the surveyor, was a citizen of this town. For his services the proprietors gave him a tract of land consisting of three hundred acres, of his own selection. His house stood some distance from the road, and the people greatly marveled at his taking one of the most rocky portions of the town for his share. His house is marked by the remains of a chimney only; a short distance west of this spot the old pioneer lies buried in the center of a brush pasture, and his grave is overgrown with briers and brush. It is a mile or more east of Arcadia, and near it a new house has been built closer to the road.

The following are the names of heads of families in the town of Richmond in 1774, two years previous to the declaration of independence.

They are arranged alphabetically, and the number of members in each family is given. Some have the representatives of their names in town at the present time.

Mary Adams, 2; Stephen Adams, 5; Joseph Austin, 10.

James Brown, 9; Elisha Babcock, Jr., 4; Ezekiel Barber, 8; Caleb Barber, 10; Nicholas Barber, 8; Benjamin Baker, Jr., 2; Edmund Burdick, 5; Clark Bailey, 5; Elisha Babcock, 13; Thomas Barber, 14; Samuel Barber, 6; Benjamin Barber, 11; Benjamin Baker, 11; Solomon Baker, 5; Samuel Bailey, 4; Richard Bailey, 11; John Bentley, 9; Ezekiel Bentley, 5; Eunice Brownell, 4; Jonathan Boss, 4; William Bentley, 10; John Baggs, 9; Jeremiah Boss, 7; Peter Boss, 9; Joseph Boss, 3.

Oliver Colgrove, 11; Arnold Clarke, 3; Joshua Clarke, 8; Walter Clarke, 7; Joshua Clarke, 7; Isaac Clarke, 8; Thomas Clarke, 4; William Clarke, Jr., 6; Jedediah Collins, 7; John Cory, 2; Jeremiah Colgrove, 6; John Clarke, 8; Oliver Clarke, 4; William Clarke, 7; James Clarke, 9; Joseph Clarke, 10; Simeon Clarke, 11; Samuel Clarke, 5; Benjamin Card, 7; Samuel Cory, 6.

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Hannah Dake, 4; Daniel Dyer, 6; Elizabeth Dyer, 2; John Dyer, 7.

John Enos, 4; Benjamin Enos, 11; Joseph Ellsworth, 4.

John Frazer, 6; John Foster, 3.

Joshua Griffin, 2; James Griffin, 5; John Griffin, 4; Philip Griffin, 5.

Ruth Hall, 6; Elisha Hall, 11; George Holloway, 6: Paul Hernington, 8; Stephen Hoxsie, 9; Solomon Hoxsie, 7; Joseph Hoxsie, 12; Ebenezer Hall, 6; Nicholas Holloway, 1; Samuel Holloway, 7; William Hernington, 4; Barnabas Hoxsie, 8; Job Hoxsie, 5; Joseph Hoxsie, Jr., 11.

Sarah Irish, 4.

Joseph James, 3; Jonathan James, 5; Benjamin James, 7; Jonathan James, Jr., 7; James James, 16; Patience James, 7; Thomas James, 3; Ezekiel Johnson, 12.

Elizabeth Knowles, 6; Mary Kinyon, 2; William Kinyon, 10; Benedict Kinyon, 9; Thomas Kinyon, Jr., 6; Sylvester Kinyon, 5; Robert Knowles, 8; John Kinyon, 7; Nathan Kinyon, 10; Thomas Kinyon, 6; Thomas Kinyon (T. D.), 11; Sylvester Kinyon, Jr., 7; John Kinyon, 7.

Nicholas Larkin, 5; Elisha Larkin, 2; David Larkin, 2; George Lewis, 8; Thomas Lillibridge, 13; Edward Larkin, 7; Stephen Larkin, 4; Isaac Lewis, 3; Nathan Lewis, 9; Edward Lillibridge, 9; Lasonlet Larkum, 9.

John Moon, 3; Robert Moore, 8; Jonathan Maxson, 8; Job Moon, 7; David Moore, 8; Nicholas Mosher, 15; Gideon Mosher, 7.

George Niles, 5; David Nicholas, 5; George Ney, 6; Andrew Nicholas, 3.

Robert Pettis, 1; Thomas Potter, 9; William Potter, 3; William Potter, 3d, 7; David Potter, 8; Aounnor Pierce, 3: Jane Philips, 4; Nathaniel Pullman, 3; Jonathan Potter, 13; Smithern Potter, 6; William Potter, Jr., 6; Robert Potter, 4; Incomb Potter, 3; Icabod Peterson, 8; Bartholomew Philips, 8; Edward Perry, 12: John Pendleton, 6.

William Reynolds, 6; James Reynolds, 4; David Remington, 5; Weight Rogers, 1; William Reynolds, Jr., 3; Robert Rogers, 3; Samuel Rogers, 6; Thomas Rogers, 7; Thomas Rogers, Jr., 10.

William Sheldon, 4; Samuel Staunton, 5; Rodman Sisson, 7; Robert Stanton, 10.

Joseph Tifft, 12; Benjamin Tifft, 8; Samuel Tifft, Jr., 4; Ezekiel Tifft, 8; Joseph Tifft, Jr., 10; Samuel Tifft, 9; Jeremiah Tifft, 6;

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William Tifft, 12; George Tanner, 9; Peleg Thomas, 9; Jonathan Tindon, 9.

Jeremiah Vallitt, 9.

Samuel Wording, 4; Thomas Weaver, 5; James Webster, 10; John Webster, Jr., 11; John Woodmansie, 5; James Woodmansie, 3; Sheffield Wilcox, 3; Stephen Wilcox, Jr., 6; John Wilbour, 8; Samuel Wilbour, Jr., 7; William Watson, 4; John Webb, 5; John Wording, 4; John Wright, 6; John Webster, 9; Joseph Woodmansie, 7; Joseph Woodmansie, Jr., 4; Edward Wilcox, 7; Stephen Wilcox, 7; Robert Wilcox, 3; Samuel Wilbour, 2; Peter Wilbour, 7; George Webb, 10; Maccoon Williams, 9.

The whole numbers of families in town at date as above, 185; highest number in one family (James James’), 16; there were three numbering one only, each a male; the whole number of persons in town at that date, 1,234; whole number of legal voters four years later, 77; one Indian family of nine persons; parent, Jonathan Tindon. Besides these there were twelve Indians and fourteen blacks living with, and numbered above, in the families of whites.

The population of the town at various dates has been as follows: 1748, 508; 1755, 829; 1774, 1,257; 1776, 1,204; 1782, 1,094; 1790, 1,760; 1800, 1,368; 1810, 1,330; 1820, 1,423; 1830, 1,363; 1840, 1,361; 1850, 1,784; 1860, 1,964; 1865, 1,830; 1870, 2,064; 1875, 1,739; 1880, 1,949; 1885, 1,744.

The disposition of lands in the town of Richmond seems to have been a difficult matter for years, and the general assembly appointed a committee to dispose of the vacant lands held by authority of the colony. This committee sold a large tract June 28th, 1709, known in the records as the Shannock purchase. This tract extended from Exeter line on the north to Pawcatuck river on the south; on the east it was bounded by Beaver river, and on the west, by a meridian passing at the east end of the cemetery at the Wood River church. The purchasers of this tract were twenty-seven in number, among whom were: James Adams, John Tefft, Daniel Wilcox, Thomas Utter, Peter Parker, Eber Crandall, Daniel Tennant, William Utter, Samuel Lewis, John Enos, Nicholas Utter, Jr., Daniel Brown, William Gibson, Weston Clarke, William Clarke, George Babcock, George Foster, Samuel Perry, Joseph Brown, John Witter, Nicholas Utter, Francis Colgrove, Jeremiah Crandall.

How many of these purchasers become actual settlers on these lands is not now known, but many of the family names appear in the subsequent history of the town.

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Nicholas Holley is reported as one of the earliest settlers in town. He had his estate near Glenn Rock. Richard Cheppell is one of his descendants. Joshua Clarke was quite an early resident on the east side of Beaver river.

Benjamin Perry bought, in 1747, the farm where Honorable H. P. Clarke now lives. Part of the house now standing there was then on the place. This was afterward the home of his son Edward, and after him his grandson George Perry, the grandfather of the present owner.

TOWN RECORDS. --- It has already been noted that Richmond was made a town in 1747. The first town meeting was held August 28th, ten days after the act of incorporation. "Captain Richard Bailey was chosen Moderator. James Adams and Stephen Richmond were chosen to receive the votes put in at this town meeting. John Webster was chosen Town Clerk for the remainder of the year, and engaged.

"Voted, That John Webster, Capt. Richard Bailey, Joseph Hoxsie, James Adams, William Potter and Joseph Clarke are chosen the six Town Councilmen for the remainder of the year, and engaged.

"Voted, That Joseph Enos be chosen Treasurer for the remainder of the year."

The minor officers for the town were elected much in the same order as at the present day.

Captain Richard Bailey and John Webster were chosen deputies to attend the general assembly to be held in King’s county on the last Wednesday in October.

Whether the town council was disposed to make their office unnecessarily burdensome to the town, or whether a penurious jealousy sprang up among the freemen, it is difficult to say now. The action of a town meeting, only a few years after organization, shows that political servants were disposed to be fed at the public crib more than the people were willing to ratify. The following was passed as an act of the town meeting:

"Whereas, The Town Council of this town has been at considerable charge to the town for their meeting together on the business of said town, for a remedy whereof for the future:

"Be it enacted by said Town, That from and after the first Tuesday in June next ensuing, That said Town Council bear their own expenses for the future."

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The French and Indian war soon followed. The manner in which the town met the exigency will appear from their action in town meeting, held on the 3d day of November, 1756, as follows:

"Be it enacted in the Town of Richmond, by the freemen and freeholders thereof, That if any man or men be pressed as above said, and is unwilling to go in His Majesty’s service, That then the inhabitants of the town shall forthwith hire some able bodied man, or men, to go in his or their room, or rooms, or pay the ransom for the impressed man, or men; and the ransom or hired man or men shall be paid by a public town rate, to be assessed on the inhabitants of this town of Richmond in proportion according to their ratable estates now stated by the colony aforesaid, except the poll money.

"And be it further enacted by the freemen and freeholders of this town of Richmond, that all the money raised and promised to pay the volunteers, and those pressed, or drawn, or raised in this town of Richmond by special act of the General Assembly of the colony aforesaid, to be raised on the 21st day of October last past, the said money shall be repaid unto every man or men, that has paid or lent money unto the above said soldiers as a bounty or encouragement to enlist.

"And be it further enacted, That the aforesaid money shall be repaid by a public town rate to be assessed on the inhabitants of this town of Richmond, in proportion according to their ratable estates now stated by an act of the colony.

"And be it further enacted by the freemen and freeholders of the town of Richmond, That all the officers that are or shall be elected as ratemakers, or assessors, or collectors, treasurers, or other officers, in executing any part, or parts, of the aforesaid act or acts, shall have no fee or pay for their labor or trouble, but shall do it for nothing.

"And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every person that shall be rated for the charge aforesaid, shall bring in his proportion of said rate to the Town Treasurer of said Richmond at or before the 7th day of December next. And if any person, or persons, shall neglect to bring in his or their rate, as above said, That the Town Treasurer of said Richmond grant forth his warrant to distrain so much of his or their goods and chattels as will pay their respective rates."

The patriotism thus displayed in relation to the French and [p.708] Indian war was but a prelude to a readier and more self-sacrificing consecration in the war of the revolution, as will be seen by the record. At the last town meeting under colonial authority, held June 4th, 1776, one month previous to the declaration of independence, we find the first record of war-like measures made by this town toward the war of the revolution. That record says: "Joseph Woodmancy, Jonathan Maxson, John Clarke, Samuel Clarke, Samuel Staunton, William Kenyon, Thos. Lillibridge, Richard Bailey, Jr., Joseph Woodmancy, Jr., and Nicholas Mosher, have agreed to give one day each toward making the town’s lead and powder into cartouches."

"Voted, That Caleb Barber have an order to the Treasurer for three shillings, it being for a box of cartouches."

The next town meeting was held August 27th, 1776, when the town enrolled itself as Richmond in King’s county, state of Rhode Island, thus indorsing the declaration of independence made July 4th, previous. This meeting ordered that their "old schedules made before the revisal of the late laws, be used to the making of cartouches." It was also "Voted, That Capt. Joseph Tefft, Jr., and Capt. David Potter be a committee to receive of the State the town’s proportion of salt, and bring it into town."

At a town meeting held September 16th, 1776, it was

"Voted, That the soldiers ordered to be raised in this town, by the committee appointed to act during the recess of the General Assembly, have their wages advanced to three shillings per day, including what is paid them by the government, which shall enlist into the service.

"Voted, That captains of the companies in this town be, and are hereby directed to call their respective companies together according to the alarm list, at one or more places on the 19th instant, in order to raise the above mentioned troops.

"Voted, On the 20th of September, That Major Richard Bailey and Samuel Clarke be appointed a committee to receive of Wm. Tefft, Esq., twenty-one guns, bayonets and cartouch boxes, and deliver them to the soldiers raised in this town, and that the same be branded with the letter R before delivery.

"And that they also be directed to receive of the said William Tefft the remainder of the guns, &c., when finished, giving their receipts for the same, * * * and that said committee furnish the ensign and each soldier with a blanket and ‘snapsack;’

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* * * and that every soldier furnishing himself with a blanket and ‘snapsack’ shall be allowed six shillings therefore.

"Voted, That if there is not a sufficient sum of money in the treasury to procure the above blankets, &c., the treasurer be authorized to hire a sufficient sum for that purpose.

"Voted, That Captain Maxson by allowed one shilling per day for three months if not discharged sooner."

At a town meeting held November 29th, 1776, it was

"Voted, That this town give each soldier, now to be raised, one shilling per day over and above the State’s pay, as an encouragement for their enlistment, during the time they are in service.

"That William Tefft, Esq., be a committee to act in conjunction with the Committee of Safety in the equipping of the soldiers now to be raised."

December 3d, 1776, in town meeting: "Voted, That the treasurer be directed to hire sixty-three pounds to pay the soldiers now at Rhode Island the town’s advance money to them by their return. Voted, That Richard Bailey have an order of seven pounds, four shillings, it being for blankets for the soldiers."

While the freemen and freeholders showed their readiness to tax themselves to meet the demands of their country in the hour of its trial, the young men and the patriots of middle life entered the ranks of the militia, as minute men, to answer any call that a new phase of danger might demand; or, with still greater sacrifice, thrust themselves away from home and its endearments, to endure the fatigue and sufferings of camp life in the field forces of the revolution. Camp life then was no holiday sport, as pictured by the historians of these days. They endured long and fatiguing marches with scanty food, and still more scant clothing; sometimes marching over the snow and frozen ground, which they trod with the blood trickling from their chilled and wounded feet. This they endured while the wages were low and often uncertain, from which to forward supplies to their needy families. Nor were our mothers and daughters wanting of faith, and the true spirit of consecration in those times. They gave their sons, brothers and lovers words of blessing and words of cheer as they sent them forth to stand in the gap of their country’s peril. They stood not in passive idleness to await the result, or to depend on the strong arm of their sons and brothers for support. In the eloquent language of Reverend F. Denison:

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"While the men were in camp and in battle, the women managed the home affairs. They not only turned their earnest hands to the distaff and loom and needle. They rose up to do all home duties. They conducted the dairy, they managed the horses, cattle and flocks. They even grasped the plow and sickle."

The foregoing extracts from the records give a clear cut view of the spirit with which our progenitors met the exigencies of the war of the revolution. More such might be made, but these are sufficient for the purpose for which they are made, viz.: by the examples of the past, to prompt us to noble endeavors in the present, that shall live to cheer and quicken their and our successors in the interests of the future.

The war having, after years of toil and hardship, been brought to a successful issue, and our independence having been acknowledged, a delicate and difficult task was committed to our sages and patriots; the duty of giving to the people a constitution that should bind the people of the states in a union, wise, safe, permanent and successful. After four months of earnest deliberation the convention adopted a constitution which they had framed, and submitted it to the people of the states for their approval, through their conventions.

A more determined opposition to this constitution was manifested in Rhode Island than in the other states, so that this state was the last to accept it as the law of the land, and to enter into the Union. But as in duty bound, by an act of the legislature this constitution was submitted to the action of the freemen of the several towns in town meeting. The vote of this town, after much discussion, was taken March 24th, 1787. The vote taken shows the conservative tendencies that then prevailed, and the slowness of the people to adopt new and untried principles in important public manners. There were at the time: Legal voters in the town, 77; present and voted, 69; voted against adopting the constitution, 68; voted for its adoption, 1. As these votes were taken yea and nay, the names of the voters remain on the record. The name of the man who could dare to stand alone was Jonathan Maxson.

The town clerks of Richmond have been: John Webster, from August 28th, 1747, to June, 1749; William Clarke, to June, 1750; John Webster, to June, 1751; Simon Perry, to August, 1754; Stephen Hoxsie, to June, 1755; John Tefft, to June, 1762; Thomas Lillibridge, to June, 1777; Thomas Tefft, to June, 1812; [p. 711] Reynolds Hoxsie, to June, 1852; Halsey P. Clarke, present incumbent.

The town officers in 1888 were: Senator--Charles J. Greene; representative--Alvin H. Ecclestone; school committee--Charles J. Greene, elected in 1886; Charles L. Frost, elected in 1887, resigned in 1888, and George A. Perkins elected; Edward W. Shedd, elected in 1888; moderator--Henry F. Woodmansee; town clerk--Halsey P. Clarke; town council--1. Henry F. Woodmansee; 2. Edward W. Shedd; 3. Charles D. Chase; 4. George P. Farley; 5. Alvin H. Ecclestone; town treasurer--Charles J. Greene; town sergeant--William W. Lillibridge; justice of the peace--Abel Tanner, Othenial F. Collins, George P. Farley, George G. Palmer, Edward Lillibridge, Charles D. Chase, Reynolds C. Phillips; assessors--George H. Clarke, Ellison Tinkham, David P. Kenyon, Joseph E. Lanphear, Charles Dobbrow; overseers of poor--David P. Kenyon, William P. Richmond; auditors--Robert B. Richmond, Herbert L. Barber, John W. Saunders; auctioneers--David R. Kenyon, George G. Palmer, Warren Dawley, W. C. Lanphear, Jr., W. W. Lillibridge, Charles A. Hoxsie, Herbert L. Barber, Henry G. Kenyon, Reynolds C. Phillips, Edward Lillibridge; collector of taxes--Alfred B. Phillips, Jr.; sealer of weights and measures--Norman K. Church; sealer of leather--Jeremiah Blanchard; packer of fish--Amos J. Dawley; corder of wood--William W. Lillibridge; pound keepers--Nelson K. Church, Stephen A. Field; constables--William W. Lillibridge, Henry C. Barber, John H. Flier, Noah W. Wilcox, David R. Kenyon, George W. Aldrich; gauger of casks--Amos J. Dawley; land surveyor--Edward W. Shedd; surveyor of lumber--Thomas A. Barber; viewers of freehold--Andrew B. Moore, Clarke Barber; field drivers--William C. Woodmansee, Paul G. Ennis, John Wells; special constables under liquor law--John F. Kenyon, Albert R. Greene; health officer--Alvin H. Ecclestone, M.D.; truant constable--William W. Lillibridge; appraisers of damage done by dogs--Elijah Hoxsie, Abigail T. Kenyon, William C. Gardner.


Richmond Continued


These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project.
Transcribed by Bob Tefft, <Rjtefft@aol.com>, 2000.


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