Rhode Island Historical Society.

Proceedings of the Rhode Island Historical Society (Volume 23) online

. (page 1 of 22)
Online LibraryRhode Island Historical SocietyProceedings of the Rhode Island Historical Society (Volume 23) → online text (page 1 of 22)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook



■0. ,■;

:'^ oK - ■■■■' -^0* r-^ "oK

'^'-^f^^* 0^"^"% ''>^" ^^^^o "^^^^ o^^"^

' "^; 'V «"' * 'V ■"^ "^^rf^Ni^^*




^^. .^'



1^ '£i '

.V -^i

,H q


<, « '* V-




'•'irs* A



.0^ o'


^' -^0^

o >


•* .^^




^^)^: ^^""^ ^l



0^ .<■... -^o, .^^




Itodr |jilantl ]|iHtoiiical ^ocieti)


P R O \ I D E N C E








I '^ice-Presiden ts
Francis Brinlky Charles W . Parsons

Amos Perry

RICH^[ON^) P. Everett


On Momhtntions

Albert V. Jencks ^^'illiJUll Staples

^^ . Maxwell (jreene

On Liectures
Amos Perry VVilliam Gauiniell

Barnabas B. Hammond*



()n Hnildiiiy and Groioids

IsHiK- H. Soiitliwick Henry J. Steere

Royal (;. Taft

0)1 the Lihrarif

Charles ^^^ Farsoihs William B. Weeden

St(']>li('n II. Arnold

0)i Pahl ir((tions

George M. Carpenter Elisha B. Andrews

William F. B. Jackson

Henrv E. Tiirn(

John P. Walker

Or) (Trenealogiccd Researches

John O. Austin

^ I lid it (Jo ))i iit it tee

Edwin Barrows

Horatio Rogers

Lewis J. Chace

For Newport,




North Kingstown,





George (.'. Mason
Latimer W . Ballou
Charles H. Fisher
Emory H. Porter
David 8. Baker, jr.
George H. Olney
James N. Arnold
Mark H. Wood






At a meeting of the Society held January 26, 1886, Charles
W. Parsons, M. D., read a paper* on "Town Names in Rhode
Island," and Mr. Edward Field, 2d, read a paper on "The For-
tifications in and around Providence."

At a meeting held February 9, 1886, the Rev. William F. B.
Jackson, read a paper on "The Trial of" Anne Hutchinson."

At a meetino; held Februarv 23, 1886, Professor William
Matthews of Boston, Mass., read a paper on "The Battle of

At a meeting held March 9, 1886, Mr. James Burdick, read
a paper entitled "Reminiscences of a California Forty-Niner."

At a meeting held March 23, 1886, the Rev. James P. Root,
read a sketch on "The Family Life and public Services of Cap-
tain Arthur Fenner ;" and the Hon. Charles H. Denison, read
a paper on the "History and Romance of the South County."

At the quarterly meeting held April 6, 1886, the secretary
announced tlie death on the 10th of March, 1886, of Mr.

*The paper is printed in this volume.


John B. Moreau, a member of the Bradford Club, to whom the
Society is indebted for gifts : and also announced the completion
of the appendices of the Rhode Island Cincinnati Register. A
portrait of Joseph Olney , the keeper of the Olney-Street Tavern
in 17f)8, was exhii)ited. The librarian reported that 108 vol-
umes, 1,117 pamphlets and 175 miscellaneous articles had been
received during the quarter. Hon. Ellery H. Wilson of East
Providence, Mr. George E. Noyes of Providence and Mr. Sam-
uel Norris, jr., of Bristol, were elected resident members ; Mr.
Ebenezer W. Peirce of Freetown, Mass., was elected a corres-
ponding member; and Hon. J. Hammond Trumbull of Hart-
ford, Conn., was elected an honorary member.

On motion of Dr. Parsons, the following resolutions were
unanimously adopted :

Rt-solved, That the Rhode Island Historical Society has received with great
pleasure the announcement of the proposition of Mr. B. F. Stevens, of London,
. to publish a copy of documents, collected by him in European capitals, and rela-
ting to the history of those eventful years in which the independence of the United
States was secured. Of unquestionable authenticity and drawn from archives not
easily open to the student, and procured by a considerable outlay of labor and
money, these documents ought, in our opinion, to become the property of that
government whose foundation they illustrate.

Resolved, That we agree with other Historical Societies in regarding this enter-
prise as eminently deserving the aid of the government of the United States.

Resolved, That copies of these resolutions be forwarded to the senators and
representatives of Rhode Island in Congress, with the request that they use their
influence, as they may have opportunity, in behalf of the purpose of these resolu-

The thanks of the Society were offered to the Rev. Dr. Henry
A. Miles of Hingham, Mass., for the gift of a photographic
copy of a sermon by the Rev. Ezekiel Carre, minister of the
French Colony in Narragansett in 1689, and of an anonymous
manuscript sermon in French and dated 1715. Attention was
called to a cane made from the timber of the Confederate ram
Merrimac, presented l)y Mrs. Elizabeth Bigelow Updike. The
Rev. J. P. Root read a second paper on ''The Home Life of
Captain Arthur Fenner." Mr. John A. Howland addressed the


Society, giving- an account of the dates ot the action taken by
the General Court of Massachusetts in the banishment of Roger
Williams, and he was requested to reduce to writing the sub-
stance of his remarks.*

At a meeting held April 20, 18i<(!, the Kev. VV. K. Bagnall
of Wilbraham, Mass., read a |)aper on "The Textile Industries
of our Country prior to 1800."

At the quarterly meeting held July H. 188H, the librarian re-
ported that there had been received 96 volumes, 311 pamphlets
and 47 miscellaneous ai'ticles ; including a MS. copy of the first
census of Providence taken by the (xeueral government in 1790,
and a (juantity of original papers relating to the Fenner family,
presented by Mr. and Mrs. Pardon F. Brown of Manton. Messrs.
Amos C. Barstow, jr., and Alexander Walford of Providence,
were elected resident members. A communication was received
from Hon. Elisha Dyer, urging that steps be taken toward the
preparation of a map of the State show^ing Indian places and
names ; and Messrs. Henry J. Steere. Henry T. Beckwith,
Richmond P. Everett and Barnabas B. Hammond were appointed
a committee to take such action as they deem advisable in the
matter. Messrs. Amos Perry and Henry T. Beckwith reported
that they attended the dedication of the Gofl Memorial Town
Hall in Rehoboth, on the 10th of May last, as delegates of the
Society. The President announced the death of Messrs. John
R. Bartlett, Edward C Mauran, Thomas A. Doyle and Samuel
H. Wales, members of the Society. The Rev. Crawford Night-
ingale read a paper on **The Influence of the Family in Town
History." The President read a j)aper prepared by Mr. John O.
Austin, entitled, "Some Phases of Genealogical Study;" and
also gave an account of the opening of the grave of William
Blackstone at Study Hill, in Cumberland, on the 6th of May

*'l"he paper, subsequently prepareil by Mr. [lowland, is printed in this volume.


At the quarterly nieetino; held October 5, 188(i, the Rev. H.
Usher ]\Ionro and Messrs. Howard O. Sturges, Edward M. Dart,
Raymond G. Mowry and Charles R. Earle of Providence, and
Mark H. Wood of Barrington, were elected resident members;
and John R. Bartlett, Counnander U. S. X,, was elected a cor-
responding member. On motion of Dr. Parsons, it was voted
that the Society recommends as worthy of publication by State
aid the Alphabetical and Chronological Lists ot Births, Marri-
ages and Deaths recorded in the several towns of this State from
163G to 1850, now nearly conii)letcd by Mr. James N, Arnold.
Mr. iNIark H. Wood was added to the committee on Indian
Places and Names. Charles W. Parsons, M. D., read a paper
on "The Life and Services of Thomas WiUet. the first Mayor
of New York city."

At a meeting held November 2, 188(5, the President read a
paper* on "The Life and Services of John Russell Bartlett."

At a meeting held Noven)bci- 1(). 188fi. Hon. John Winslow
of Brooklyn, N. Y., read a jj;iper on "The Trial of the Rhode
Island Judges : — An Ej)isodc touching Currency and Constitu-
tional Law."

At a meeting held November 30, 188(), Hon. John D. Wash-
burn of Worcester, Mass., read a paper on "The Unpublished
Auto-biography of President Increase Mather, reviewed in the
Light of the recent Connncnioration at Harvard University."'

At a meeting held Dcccnibin- 14. l.S,S(), Mr. Claudius 1^. Farns-
worth read a ])apcr on "The Legislation of the Roman Empe-'
rors respecting the ('hurch."

The sixty-fifth annual meeting was held January 11. 1887.
Charles W. Parsons, M. D.. Vice-President, in the chair.

The President was authorized to sign a memorial to Congress
in favor of the publication of the historical collections of Mr. B.
F. Stevens. iMessrs. Reul)en A. (iuild, Stephen F. Peckham,
Howard W. Preston. Walter A. Peck, William H. Wood, Ar-

*The paper has heL-n printed and distrilmteil amoii}! the members.


thur Amoiv (iiiiuiiu!ll* and Willitun PI. H()[)kins, 2d, of Provi-
dence, were elected resident members : and tlie Rev. Eaton W.
Maxey of" Iroy, \. ^ .. Hon. John ^^ iiislow of Brooklyn. \.
Y., and Major (i. A. Itaikcs of London. Kniiland. were elected
corres[)on(ling members.

Reports were presented l)y tlie ri-easni'er. the Connnittec on
J^nildinii' and (irounds, the Committee on Publications, the Com-
mittee on the Library, and Messrs. P^oiter and Arnold of the

The annual address of the Presidi'nt was presentetl (he bein<i"
detained from the meetinu' l)y illness), and the same, and the re-
ports of officers and committees were referred to the Connnittec
on Publications.

It was \()ted that a tax of three dollars be assessed on each
resident member, to defray the expenses of the current year.

It was \(»ted that the Connnittec on Publications be author^
ized to |)rint five hundred copies of the proceedings, to include
the j)aj)er by Mr. Howland on the date of banishment of Roger
Williams, and the paper by Dr. Parsons on Rhode Island Town
Names, and any others the connnittee shall select, provided the
whole expense do not exceed one hundred and seventy-five

The officei's of the Society for the ensuing year were elected.
The names of the officers are [jrinted elsewhere in this volume.

* Deceased.



Geutleme)/ of f/ie Historical Socittij :

As we assemble in this our .sixty-fitth annual meeting. 1 am
happy to congratulate you on the general prosperity of the So-
ciety and on the progress of the work in which it has so long
been engased. We have received during the vear that has closed,
from various sources, a considerable variety of books, pamphlets
and other articles of historical interest, that may illustrate the
habits of life, the social oondition, the types of individual char-
acter, as well as the methods of business and the public trans-
actions of our own and of former generations. Many of these
are in the form of local histories and personal biographies and
many others are the fruits of antiquarian or genealogical re-
search, while others still are the records of passing events or the
published journals of societies kindred to our own. The whole
number of the articles thus received dui'ing the year 1^86, is
2,483, of which 390 are ijound volumes, 1,803 are pamphlets
not bound, and 21)0 are miscellaneous articles not classified.

The work of classifvincr, arranfjinjr and catalo<;uinff the arti-
cles of every kind belonging to the Society, which was begun
several years ago, has been diligently prosecuted by the librarian
and his assistant. Nearly all now in our possession are readily
accessible to those who may desire to consult or inspect them for
historical purposes. By removing certain classes of books from
the shelves in the south gallery of the Cabinet building and pla-
cing them on the Hoor, and by the addition of new shelves in
every vacant space (»y the walls, we have been able to provide
for the arrangenunt <jf all the volumes and pamphlets which we

Ar)i)i;E>> (»F IKK i'Hf:>ii)Knt. 11

now possess. The overcrowded and unsightly condition of our
Cabinet building, however, still appeals in vain for the enlarge-
ment which it greatly needs and ought to receive.

Since our last annual meeting nine of the resident members
of the Societv have been removed by death. Their names are
as follows :

William Jones Miller, Edward Carrington Mauran, Henry
Lewis Fairbrother, (ieorge Lyman Claflin. John Russell Bart-
lett, Thomas Arthur Doyle, Samuel Hazard Wales, Daniel
Howland Greene, Daniel Wanton Lyman. Brief obituary no-
tices of these our deceased associates will l)e printed with the
annual proceedings of the Society.

The (piarterly meetings of the Society for business and for the
consideration of special topics in local history and in other similar
branches of inquiiy, have been well attended and have awakened
more than usual interest. ^Nluch useful and suggestive information
has been thus presented relating to conspicuous persons and
families and to dates or events which have been subjects of dis-
cussion or inquiry. I think it very desirable that our members,
as generally as possible, should prepare themselves to bring to
these quarterly meetings such well-ascertained facts relating to
local history as may come to their knowledge, such Cjuestions
as may occur to them concerning it and such views as they may
have formed pertaining to the interests and work of the Society.
It is in these meetings, also, that the fruits of all individual
studies and inquiries should be brought together and made the
common possession of all who attend tl>em. During the past
year I am happy to think that some worthy work of this kind
has been done.

Our public gatherings every two weeks during the winter
months, which are open to all who may choose to attend, have
also been well sustained. The following is a list of the subjects
and of the authors of the several papers which have been read on
these occasions, and also at the quarterly meetings during the
vear :


I. January 2(3 — "Town Names in Rliodc Island," by Di-.
Charles W. Parsons, and "The Fortificjitions In and Around
Providence," by Mr. Edward Field.

II. February 9 — "The Trial of Anne Hutchinson." by the
Uc\ . Wiiliain F. B. Jackson.

III. February 23 — "The Batth' of Waterloo." with illustra-
tions, by Professor William Matthews.

I\'. March 9 — "Reminiscences of California in 1<S49," by
Mr. James Burdick.

\'. March 23 — "A Sketch of the Pul»lic Services of Cap-
tain Arthur Fenner, of Colonial Times." by the Rev. James P.
Root, and "The History and Komancc of the South County,"
by Mr. Charles H. Denison.

VI. April B — At a (juarterly meeting, "The Home Life of
Captain Arthur Fenner," by the Rev. James P. Root; "The
Date of the Banishment of Roger Williams," by Mr. John .V.
I lowland; a conununication from Professor Asa Bird (Jai'diner
on the "Completion of the Register of the Rhode Island Society
of Cincinnati," read by Mr. Amos Perry.

VII. April 20 — "The Textile Industries of Our Country
Prior to 1800," by the Rev. W. R. Bagnall.

VTII. July 6 — At a quarterly meeting. "Indian Names and
Localities," by ex-(iovernor Elisha Dyer: "A Brief Sketch of
the Nightingale Family in Rhode Island," by the Rev. Crawfoi-d
Nightingale : "An Account of the Opening of the Grare of the
Rc\ . W illiam Blackstone, with Some Memoranda of His Life,"
l)y the President of the Society; "Dedication of the (roflf Me-
morial Town Hall, in Rehoboth,'' by the Secretarv, Mr. Perrv :
"Some Phases of Genealogical Study," by Mr. J<ihn O. Austin.

IX. October 5 — At a (juarterly meeting. "The Life and
Public Services of Thomas Willett, First Mayor of New York."
by Dr. Charles W. Parsons: "What are the Willett Papers
and Where was the Home of Miantonomi '?" by Miss Esther
Bernon Carpenter, read by the Secretary of the Societv.

X. November 2 — "The Life and Services of the Late Hon.
J(»lui Russell liartlett," bv the President of the Societv.


XI. Xovcmhcr IH — "'I'lic Trial of the Rhode Islaiul fhi(l<>;es.
An Episode Touching Currency and Constitutional Law,"* by
the Hon. John Winslow.

XII. November 30 — "The Unpublished Autobiography of
President Increase Mather, of Har^ard College." by the H(tn.
John D. Washburne.

XIII. December 14 — "The Legislation of the Roman Em-
perors Respecting the Church," by Mr. Claudius B. Farnsworth.

XIV. December 28 — "Sir Henry S. Maine on the Pros-
pects of Popular Government," by Professor E. B. Andrews.

Of the papers thus enumerated, eighteen were prepared by
i-esident members of the Society and the other fi\ c were contribu-
ted by gentlemen from abroad, who have greatly obliged us by
the useful and kindly services which they have rendered us.

In this connection I may remark that a member of the Society
has recently examined its records from the beginning of its ex-
istence, sixty-five yt'ars ago, and has placed in my hands a care-
fully prepared list of the papei-s which have been read at its
meetings, both j)ul)lic and pri\atc, with the names of their au-
thors. The papers are two hundred and fifty in uundjer and the
authors are one hundred and sixteen. This Cabinet building was
erected and opened witii public exercises in 1844, and in 1846,
in addition to comnumications made at meetings of the Society,
it was decided to ha\ e an annual address delivered every winter
by some member appointed for the j)urpo8e, in one of the chiu'ches
of Providence, at which the members of both houses of the (xcn-
eral Assembly should be invited to attend. Indeed two of them,
1 think, were deli^('red in the Representatives' Chamber of the
State house. These occasions, as many of us remember, awak-
ened a great deal of interest. The discoiu'ses which marked them
rank high among the l)est literary productions of the State. ( )nc
of them I recall with special satisfaction and pride as pi-ci'mi-
nent o\er all the others. It was delivered iiy Chief Justice
Job Durfee in the P^irst Congregational (church, in the presence
of the General Assembly of the State, on the evening of Jami-
ary 13, 1847, just forty years ago. The subject was the Riiode


Island Idea of (ioNornnicnt. Tt had undoubtedly been sug-
i^'i'stcd bv the distractions wliicli the State had passed through a
few years before, and w hicli the Chief Justice had watched with
the utmost anxiety and sorrow. He was then in the meridian of
his rare and vai'ied powers, and the tlieme inspired him, perhaps,
to the noblest effort of his life. He stood forth as the chamjjion
of the injured and afflicted State in a discourse which combined
the soundest political philosophy with a glowing eloquence that
ca|)tivated all w ho listened to it. Never has a grander discourse
on an\- kindred theme Ix'cti (leli\('red to an assembly of Rhode
Island people.

The practice of having annual discourses appears to have been
discontinued after 1855, probably on account of the dfficulty of
|>rocuring s])cakcrs for occasions so conspicuous, the last having
been delivered l)y the Kev.Dr. P^dward B. Hall. From this time
for a considerable period the literary exercises of the Society
consisted onl\ of voluntary contributions of its members, made
either at (piarterly or at special meetings called for the purpose
at tiie Cabinet building. Many of the papers thus read were of
historical importance, and not a few of them form parts of valu-
able works which have been pul>lished. At some of these meet-
ings, also, the pul)lic were invited to attend. It was not, however,
till about 1<S74 that the Society adopted its present arrangement
of ha\ ing speci;d public meetings at the Cabinet building every
two weeks durini>; the winter months for the readino- of historical
papers on subjects alike of local and of general interest. Since
that time these meetings have been maintained with a success
whicii does credit to the Society. The papers thus furnished
every winter for the past tweh e years and more, have been ex-
ceedingly nseful, not only for the information which they have
imparted, but also foi- the interest which they have awakened in
the connnunity concerning the studies which we are engaged in
j>romoting. The only drawback attending them is in the fact
that no larger luunber of our own members have enoaoed in
[)reparing them.


I liave {ulvortofl to these statistic, fiiniislied from our records,
in order to show how nuineioiis have been the inceiitixcs which
this kSoeietv has at all times otleivd to its lucnihcrs to (h) histori-
cal work, and also the occasions which it has coutiniiallyatt()rde(l
them to bring that work to the attention of tlie public. 'Phis is
no unimportant service to be done in an\ counnuMity, especially
in one like our own, where the ordinary stimulus to literary etlort
and the readiness to engage in it are l)oth exceedingly small.
It has always been the habit — j)erha|)s the necessity — of the town
to depend on ])ersons from other [)laces t(» meet \\hate\er de-
mand there miuht be tor an v hio'her literarv service, iind I ;iui
happy to recall the fact that our Society has at all times had for
its aim the encouragement of such gifts an<l attainments as we
have found at home. I nnist confess, however, to a feeling of
amazement, as well as of regi'et, that so few of our educated men
have responded to the incentives or used the opportunities which
have been thus affoi-ded them, ^^'hat we need most signally as
a community is the activt' enlistment of the largest possible num-
ber of our educated minds in the service of the public good and
in the improvement of the intellectual tone of the city. It is time
that we rise above this intellectmd provincialism w hich blights
us and prevents a full and fair develo[)ment of our higher capaci-
ties as a })eople. Many things we do as well as they can be done
anywhere else. Professional practice, mechanic aits, industiial
vocations of almost every kind, find here accomj)lished masters
and leaders. How is it that the same can scarcely be said oi
scholarship and 'letters? How is it that among the many educa-
ted men of the city and the State, so few ha\c done anything in
literature? There is talent enough, then' are resoun-es enough,
but I regret to be obliged to think that high aspii-ation is still
wanting and that the second city in New England in point of
population, is content to be below the second in the use \\ Inch
its educated men make of their advantages.

For a fidl list of the additions of l)ooks. pani[>hlets and other
articles of historical interest. I refer von to the statement fur-

1(> iMioDK ISLAM) iiisroiarAi, SOriKT"^ .

nislu'd l)v the SccivtHrv and to tlie fuller re|)oit uf the committee
on the lil)riirv. I, however, make mention of a few of such as
have l)eeii hrouii'ht to iiiv attention.

I. "'riie Home Lots of the Kaily Settlers of the Pro\ idenee
Plantations." by Charles \\vman IIo|)kins; a woj-k compiled
with i>reat indnstrv and care and an imi)oi-tant aid in settling
(juestions which haxc hecn long in debate, as t(» the lots first
owned and occnpied bv the fonnders ot the town.

II. "Advanced Sheets of the Censns of Rhode Island," l)y
Amos Perrx . 'Phis is designed to Itc a part of the censns of the
Stati' now in prepiii'ation. bnt not yet completed. It presents a
iienei'al \ie\\ of the u'eoorMphv and the natinal features of the
State, its di\ isions into counties, the oi'igin of the sexcral towns
in cMcli county, and the conspicuous facts in the history and con-
dition of each. Phe work embraces 115 ])ages and contains a
larffe amount of statistical and historical information.

III. "Footprints of Roger \\'illiams." by Reuben A. (inild,
which contains an enquiry as to the date and the place of the
I)ii-th of the founder of the State.

I\ . "Dedication of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in
South Kingstown, in June 188(i."" containing addresses by the
Hon. Rowland Hazard and Major B. B. Hammond : a poem and

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryRhode Island Historical SocietyProceedings of the Rhode Island Historical Society (Volume 23) → online text (page 1 of 22)