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Proceedings of the Rhode Island Historical Society (Volume 34) online

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List of Offichrs, ....... 3

Ab-stract of Proceedings, ..... 5

Address of the President, . . . . .12

Report of Committee on Building and Grounds, . 24

Report of Committee on the Library, ... 25

Report of Committee on Publications, ... 36

Report of Co.mmittee on Historical Researches, . . 37

Report of the Procurator, ..... 38

Report op the Treasurer, ..... 39

Necrology, ....... 43

List of Institutions and Corporations from which Gifts

have been received, ...... 64

List of Persons from whom Gifts have been received, 65

List of Resident Members, 1SS9. ..... 67

Honorary Member, ...... 70

Corresponding Members, ...... 70

List of Life Me.mbers, 18S9, ..... 70

Index, . . . . . . . .71



Rhode Island Historical Society.



T li-e- Pj-csideiits.
CiiAKLKs W. Parsons, IIokatio Rogers.

Amos Pkrry.

Richmond P. Everett.


0)1 Nominations.

Albert V. .Te.\( ks, Wif.ma^i Staples,

W. ]\Ia.\\vkm. Greene.

On Led a res.

Amos Periiy, William (4ammi;li,

Reubex a. Guild.


On Building and Grounds.

Isaac H. Southwick, Henry J. Steebe,

Royal C. Taft.

071 the Library.

Charles W. Parsons, William B. Weeden,

Stephen IT. Arnold.

On Publirations.

Samuel L. Caldwell, William F. B. Jackson,

Thomas K. Slicer.

On Genealogical Researches.

Henry E. Turner, Horatio Rogers

John O. Austin.

Audit Committee.

Lewis J. Chace, Edwin Barrows,

Henry T. Beckwith.


For Newport, George C. Mason.

Woonsocket, Latimer W. Ballou.

Scituate, Charles H. Fisher.

Pawtucket, Emory H. Porter.

North Kingstown, Dayid S. Baker, Jr.

Hopkinton, George H. Olney.



Rhode Island Historical Society.


At a meeting lield January 25, 1888, Mr. Levi W. Russell,
Principal of tiic Bridgham Street Grammar iSchool, read a
paper entitled "Forestry, with Special Reference to Rliode

At a meeting held February 7, 1888, a paper prepared by
Professor Alpheus S. Packard was road by Mr. Pavid W.
Hoyt. Professoi- Ste])lion F. Peckham made an extended

At a meeting held February 21, 1888, General Horatio
Rogers read a paper entitled '' Diary of the Rev. John Comer,
kept at Newport and Elsewhere in the Early Part of the Last

At a meeting lield March 6, 1888, Mr. James Pliinncy Bax-
ter, of Portland, Maine, read a paper entitled " Early Voyages
to America."

At a meeting held March 20, 1888, Mr. James Burdick read
a paper, giving Reminiscences as a California Forty-Niner,
and an account of the t'ai'ly mining excitement on the Eraser

At the quarterly meeting held April 3, 1888, the Secretai-y
presented letters from the relatives of the late coiresponding
members, Messrs. Giles Sandford and William West Dobbins,


referring to scenes and events in the war of 1812 ;* a letter
from tlie Rev. Mr. Wilmarth, of Roxbury, Philadelphia, con-
cerning- the publication of the Diary of the Rev. John Comer,
which letter was referred to the Committee on Publications;
a letter from Mr. James H. Olney, giving a classified list of
the Genealogical and Historical Papers left by the Rev. James
P. Root, and i-ecommcnding the purchase of tlie same for
$100. This recommendation was approved by the Society,
The purchase, by subscription, of a portrait of tlie late Judge
Staples, by James S. Lincoln, for ilOO, was also recom-
mended. Letters were read from Messrs. Henry T. Drowne
and James M. Varnum, announcing their inability to be pres-
ent and represent this Society at the Centennial celebration
of the settlement at Marietta, Ohio, on the 7th inst. The
Librarian called attention to several gifts recently received,
among wliicb was a banner carried in the procession to the
Foundry legislative meeting, and brought fi"om Acotes Hill in
1842 by the late Zachariali Allen, whose family presented it
to the Society. On one side of the banner is the inscription
"No Terms witli Tyrants," and on tlie other, "Republican
Volunteers." Mr. Walter Nichols Reynolds was elected a
resident member. George Walter Edwards, a. m., and Samuel
Smith Purple, m. D.,of New York, were elected corresponding
members. Mr. William D. Ely reported in behalf of the
special committee, to whom, at the annual meeting, two com-
munications had been referred, relative to a monument to
Captain John Mason and friendly Indians on Fort Hill, Gro-
ton, Connecticut, that plans had been drawn up, and it only
remained to be seen if the necessary funds could be raised.
The President read a letter from our associate, Mr. D. Berke-
ley Updike, giving an account of his successful efforts to find
the grave of Mrs. Hannah (Gardiner) McSparran, and pre-
sented to the Society in behalf of Mr. Updike, a maj) of
that part of Westminster containing the ashes of this woman,
whose portrait adorns the walls of this cabinet. Mr. James
H. Olney was introduced by the President and read a care-


fully prepared paper on Thomas Oliiey, one of the thirteen
original proprietors of the Providence Plantations, and his
relations to the First Baptist Church.

At a meetinir held April 17, 1888, the President of the
Society, Professor William Gammell, read a paper entitled
" Rhode Island Refusing the Constitution of 1781."

At the quarterly meeting held July 8, 1888, the Secretary
presented letters from the Secretary of the Cincinnati Expo-
sition, asking for memorials of tlie Rhode Island pioneer sot-
tiers of Ohio, and thanking the Society for likenesses of Com-
modore Abraham Whipple, Colonel James M. Varnum, and
Dr. Solomon Drowne, the three most distinguished pioneers
from Rhode Island, in the settlement of the "Northwest
Territory." The Librarian reported that the Society had re-
ceived during the last quarter 274 liound volumes, 602 pam-
phlets, and 186 miscellaneous articles, consisting of his-
torical relics, family and personal souvenirs, and works of art.
Among the latter is a portrait of the late Elisha Dyer, painted
by Lincoln, the gift of Mrs. Frances J. Vinton, in the name
of her lamented nephew, Daniel Wanton Lyman. The Pres-
ident read a certified copy of t!ie last will and testament of
the late Samuel M. Noyes, which contained a notice of the
gift to the Society, after the decea.se of his widow, of -f 12,000.
The President announced the death, during the last quarter,
of Henry Wood Gardner, April 4, Charles Smith Brad'Cy,
A|)ril 29, Samuel M. Noyes, June 10, Rowland Gibson Hazard,
June 24, and Ira Ballon Peck. June 26. Messrs. John Rus-
sell Bartlett, Benjamin Brayton Knight, George Grafton Wil-
son, of Providence, and Rowland Gibson Hazard, of Peace-
dale, were elected resident meml)ers. Edwards Amasa Park,
D. D., of Andover, Massachusetts, Mr. Zel»ulon Lewis White,
A. M., of Washington, District of Columbia, and Mrs. Abl)y
Isabel Bulkeley, Brooklyn, New York, were elected corresjjond-
ins: members. Professor E. B. Andrews reiiorted in ixdialf
of the Committee on Puldications, recommending an arrange-
ment with the American Baptist Pultlication Society, l»y


wliicli the "Comer Diary" maybe published — an arrange-
ment looking to the interests of each society, without any
compromise of principles. After a full statement of the plan
proposed the Committee on Publications was authorized to act
for the Society in accordance with the recommendation. The
resignation of Professor E. B. Andrews as a menil)er of the
Committee on Publications was accepted, and the Rev, Dr. S.
L. Caldwell was elected to fill the vacancy. The Secretary
stated that, at tlie re(]uest of ex-Governor Dyer, a committee,
consisting of Henry J. Steere, Henry T. Beckwitli, Richmond
P. Everett, B. B. Hammond, was appointed at the July quar-
terly meeting, 1886, to I'eport on Indian localities and names,
and to ])repare a map of the State, showing as far as possible
where the aboriginal tribes and branches of tribes resided,
and giving the ancient, or Indian names, as well as the mod-
ern, of various localities, both on land and water, such as
points, rocks, woods, swamps, necks, hills and valleys, creeks,
coves, springs, fords, ferries, and noted fishing and hunbng
grounds. At the October quarterly meeting, 1886, Mr. Mark
H. Wood was elected a member of this committee. Since
that date one member of the committee, Mr. Hammond, has
passed away, and another member, Mr Wood, has spent much
time abroad, and is still absent. No report has thus far been
made, and none seems likely to be made under jiresent aus-
pices. The Superintendent of the topographical survey of
the State solicits the aid and cooperation of a committee
having just such aims as those stated above, and the services
of Mr. J. C. Thompson, the skillful map maker of Providence,
may now be secured at a small expense in the preparation of
the desired map. On motion of the Secretary the committee
was reorganized and enlarged, so as to consist of the following
named members : Messrs. Henry J. Steere. Henry T. Beck-
with, Richmond P. Everett, William D. Ely, Charles W. Par-
sons, Edwin Barrows, and Amos Perry. This committee was
instructed to carry forward the work intrusted to its charge,
and to report progress as to the results of its investigations.


Mr. Henry T. Drowne, of New York, gave an address on the
origin and history of the Society of the Cincinnati, fonnded at
the disbanding of the Continental army, June 24, 1783, with
Washington for its first President and Knox as its Secretary.
At the conclusion of his remarks, Mi-. Di-ovvne presented to
the Society a history of the Society of the Cincinnati in New
York, consisting of a royal octavo volume of 366 pages, with
many illustrations, and a volume containing far-si mllt's of the
autographs of original members, and also of the fundamental
principles of the Ordei* as first written out.

At the cpiarterly meeting held Octol)cr 2, 1888, a communi-
cation was read from the Committee on Genealogical Re-
searches, of which Dr. Henry E. Turner is the Chairman, call-
ing attention to the proposed pul)lication, by Mr. James H.
Olney, of the genealogy of an original settler of Providence,
Thomas Olney, and his descendants, urging the importance of
this work and expressing the hope that such aid and coopera-
tion would l)e given by members of the Society as to secure
its speedy issue from the press. The Librarian reported tiiat
the Society liad received during the last quarter eighteen
l)Ound volumes, 268 pamphlets, and twenty-four miscellaneous
articles. A brief report was made l)y the Committee on Indian
Localities and Names. A circular had been issued, setting
forth the kind of information desired, the nature of the re-
searches to l)e made, and soliciting the cooperation of citizens
residing in different parts of the State. Messrs. Charles
Patrick Bennett, Sandford Billings Smith, Charles Rathboue
Stark, Clarence E. Peirce, John Franklin Jameson, of Provi-
dence, and James Elervey Chace, of Valley Falls, were elected
resident mcmlicrs ; Elisha Benjamin Andrews, n. d.. Professor
at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, was elected corres-
ponding member, and James Burrill Angell, ll. d., President
of Michigan University, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was elected
honorary member. Tlie President announced the tleath of Dr.
William Grosvenor since the last meeting, and stated thatthe
Society would hold its next meeting on the 30th inst.,in Man-


iiing Hall, whei'e the President of this Society and the Picsi-
dent of Brown University would read papers commemorative
of the life and services of Rowland Gibson Hazard, ll. d.,
who was the senior member of this Society at the time of his
death, and a benefactor of both institutions. The wants of the
Society, especially the need of enlarged accommodations for
its library, were discussed and reference was made to a sub-
scription of j!l,000 each from the late Rowland G. Hazard
and Mrs. Elizabeth A. Shepard. Also to the bequest of the
same amount from Mr. Ira Ballon Peck, of Woonsocket.
Mr. Isaac P. Noyes, of Washington, District of Columbia,
read a brief paper, showing how predictions in regard to the
weather can be made.

A union meeting with Brown University was held October
30, 1888, at which two papers were read in commemoration
of the life and services of Rowland Gibson Hazard, ll. d.
President Gammell gave an address, showing what Mr. Haz-
ard had accomplished as a man and a citizen. President
Robinson dwelt upon the character and work of Mr. Hazard
as a metaphysician.

At a meeting held November 13, 1888, Mr. William E. Fos-
ter, Librarian of the Public Library, read a paper entitled,
" The Rhode Island Charter of 1663."

At a meeting held November 27, 1888, Professor J. Frank-
lin Jameson, of Brown University, read a paper entitled,
''The Records of the Virginia Company."

At a meeting held December 11, 1888, Professor Edward
P. Smith, of the Worcester Technological Institute, read a
paper entitled, " The Movement Toward a Second Constitu-
tional Convention in 1788."

At a meeting held December 28, 1888, Rev. Edward Everett
Hale, D. D., of Boston, read a paper entitled, "The Naval
History of the American Revolution."

The sixty-seventh annual meeting was held January 8,
1889, the President, Professor William Gammell, in the chair.
Reports were presented by the Treasurer, the Committee on

ri{0(i:i:i)iN(",s. 11

the Lihrury, the Coiniuittoc on I>iiildin<r and Grounds, tlie
Committee on Puhlioations. and by Mr. ^[ason, as Procurator
for Newport. The i'e])orts were all received, ado])tcd. and
referred to the Committee on PnI)licat'ons.

Messrs. Rathbone Gardner, [lenry Biayton Gardner, Evelyn
Pierpont Bartow, of Providence, and William Job Reynolds,
of Plicnix, were elected resident memljers.

The President presented his annual address, noting briefly
the work accomplished during the past year, announcing the
deaths of members, and calling attention to certain needs of
the Society.

The Secretary stated, in rej)ly to the inquiry for unfinished
business, that no reports had been made, first, by the commit-
tee a))p()inted July 3, 1883, to provide increased accommoda-
tions for the library ; second, by the committee api)ointed
January 13, 1885, to draw up an act to secure the publication
of the Colonial Town Records of tlie State ; third, by the
Committee appointed Jidy 3,1888, on Indian names and local-
ities in Rhode Island.

It was voted that a tax of three dollars ])e assessed on each
resident member to defray the exi)enses of the current year.

It was voted that tlie Committee on Publications be authoi-
ized to print 500 copies of the proceedings, to include the
address of the President, the annual repoi-ts, and any other
papers the committee shall select, provided that the whole
expense does not exceed one hundred and seventy-five dollars.

It was voted that a committee of three, to be named by the
President, Ije aj)pointed to aid the Committee on Enlarged
Accommodations, in raising money for the ol)ject in view.

The officers of the Society for the ensuing year were elected.
Their names are printed on pages three and four of this vol-


Gentlemen of the Historical Society :

The usage of the occasion requires that I detain you for a
little time from the business of this, our Sixty-seventh Annual
Meeting, with a brief review of the year now closing. It lias
been a year of continued progress in the work in which we
are engaged, the work of collecting and )3reserving whatever
may illustrate the history of the State and the manners and
modes of life of the successive generations of its inhabitants.
As will appear from the carefully prepared report of the Com-
mittee on the Library, there have been received during the
year 518 bound volumes, 1,745 pamphlets, and 420 miscella-
neous articles, such as portraits and other works of art, memo-
rials of persons or events, manuscripts, printed broadsides, and
other similar gifts, making togetlier 2,683. This is an increase
of 953 over the number of corresponding articles received in
the year preceding. For all these gifts the Society makes
grateful acknowledgement to those who have given them and
solicits for the future the continuance of similar gifts of
everything that may pertain to the objects which it is engaged
in promoting.

The additions of every kind thus received are catalogued
under the direction of the Librarian, but in the present condi-
tion of our Cabinet building 1 i-egret to be again obliged to say
that it is impossible to an-ange them in permanent order or to
provide shelf lists to assist in using them. This is, of course,
much to be regretted, and I hope is to l)e only of brief dui-a-
tion, for it is becoming every year a more sei'ious drawback to
any use that may be desired of this portion of our collection.
All the available space on the walls of the building has for
two or three years been covered with shelves that are already


crowded. Until tliis space has been enlarged additional vol-
umes and pamphlets and articles of every kind that may be
brought to the Cabinet can only be piled on tables or floors
without arrangement and in a confusion that is anything l>ut
creditable to the Society.

The Cabinet, 1 am liajjpy to learn from the Librarian, has
never, in any former years, been visited by so many enquirers
as to matters of all kinds which should hei'o find illustration
or explanation. Tlie minds of people throughout the country,
especially in all the older States, arc turning more and more
to the history of the past, and are regarding with inci'easing
interest whatever pertains to the comlition and life of earlier
generations. We may expect that this disposition will grow
stronger yeai" after year, and it should be our endeavor not
only to encourage it but also to be ready to meet and satisfy
all the enquiries which it may prompt.

Many of the volumes and of other contributions which have
been made during the year are of unusual interest and impor-
tance. For such notice of them, however, as may be desired
I must refer you to the Report of the Committee on the
Library. The gentlemen com|)i)singthis committee have given
much careful attention to their contents and their respective
merits and importance. I cannot, however, omit to call
attention to the fact that of the volumes and publications
which have been received, the class containing by far the
largest number is that which relates to family genealogy, and
of this class there are not less than fifty, a very considerable
l)roportion of them relating more or less to families in Rhode
Island. The fact strikingly illustrates the recent rapid growth
of interest in matters relating to the relationship of families
especially in New England, foi- it is to New England families
that most of these publications relate, and it is here that
interest in these enquiries is ))y far the most widespread. For
this we are largely indebted to the services of Mr. Henry F.
Waters, who has done more than any other votary of these
studies in tracing connections between American families and


tlieir Enolisli ancestry. His " Geiicalooical Gleanings in
England " abonnd in interesting and suggestive discoveries as
they appeal- in the New England Historic and Genealogical

Among the Genealogical volumes which have been received,
that styled "The Ballous in America," by the Rev. Adin Bal-
lou, is the largest. It is closely connected with our own State.
The earliest representative of the family settled in Provi-
dence in 1646, and it has ever since been conspicuous here
and in the adjoining parts of Massachusetts. The work was
undertaken by its venerable compiler at the request of his
brother, our late associate, Dr. Ariel Ballon. Much prepara-
tion for it, however, had been made by the late Ira Ballou
Peck, our associate lately deceased. It is interspersed with
portraits and contains biographical notices of a large number
of the distinguished members of the family. It is a thick,
octavo volume of more than thirteen hundred pages. Equally
comprehensive and elaborate is the sumptuous quarto volume
devoted to the several families bearing the name of Potter,
also a long conspicuous Rhode Island liame. It does not
attempt to trace the ante-American connection of these fami-
lies, but describes them with great fullness since their settle-
ment in the United States.

" The Chad Brown Memorial" has a special unity in its design,
for it traces only the single line of descent, both male and
female, from the patriarch of the race in America who was
among the earliest settlers of Providence. It is prepared
with much diligence and care by Mrs. Abby Isabel (Brown)
Bulkeley, of Brooklyn, New York. It is to a certain extent
founded on a pamphlet relating to the family genealogy, pre-
pared by Mr. Henry T. Beckwith and printed in 1851. It is not
confined to genealogical descent alone but it aims " also to
trace the influence of this family during the 250 years " of its
existence in New England. Though much smaller than cither
of the preceding, it contains several portraits and many bio-
graphical sketches of members of the race no longer among


tho living. The autliDi' states in the preface that she has
deposited a copy in the Lil)rary of this Society, in which slie
reqnests any ei-rors that may be discovered to he entered for

Others of tliese genealotrical volumes contain groups of
families more or less connected with each other, with the lines
of descent in eacii and tlie relations among tliem all. Indeed
scarcely any two of these volumes are precisely alike in their
purpose, their plan or the manner in which they arc prepared.
The family charts also, pi-epared l>y our late associate, the
Rev. James P. Root, appear to l»e skillfully executed and to
present lines of succession easily followed by those; who wish
to consult them.

This noticeable diversity in the modes in which family gen-
ealogy is now set forth must soon give rise to practical ques-
tions of no slight imj)ortance. It must be decided which
mode secures the greatest accuracy, and which is most readily
understood and most easily followed. The incorporation of
biographical notices is undouljfedly gratifying to family pride
and also often interesting in itself. But it is attended with
the great disadvantage of making the volumes too cumber-
some for easy reference. Biographical notices do not pertain
to genealogical descent. The training required for executing
the latter might not be suited for preparing the former. If
either is to be done faithfully and with accuracy it will proba-
hly be better to have it done by separate hands and i)ublishcd
in a separate volume.

Atour quarterly meetings many interesting con)munications
have been made as to local history or prominent persons,
which were the fruits of individual study or enquiry. Brief
papers have also l)ccn lead by several meml»ers on special
subjects to which they had given their attention. In this
manner the knowledge which was before only in a single mind
becomes the common possession of all. A movement has also
l)een begun for settling, so far as practical)le,some of the many
open questions relating to Indian names and localities in


Rhode Island, the specific territories which were lield by the
several tribes, with other kindred matters pertaining to the
aboriginal occupants of the soil. An enterprising committee
has been entrusted with the work of prosecuting enquiries for
this purpose among those in all parts of the State who have
given attention to this interesting subject. It is to i)e hoped
they will be able to secure such information as will throw
light on many questions of the class whicli I have described.
A corresponding movement was proposed many years ago and
Governor Elisha Dyer and the late Judge Staples with others
were appointed to carry it forward. It, however, encountered

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