|Hon. Josiah Westcott
b. 1781, d. 1867
|Hon. Alanson Steere
Scituate, R. I.
|Hon. Elisha Mathewson
b. 1767, d. 1853
|Benjamin F. Joslin
Scituate, R. I.
b. 1844, d. 1875
pp. 299 - 305:
The true dignity of all history is derived from its truthfulness. No act, however minute in detail; no personal deprivation or experience; no reminiscence of early pioneers is beneath the observance of its faithful record. The mention of the historic names, as they stand connected with the early settlement of the town, and the first occupation of its farmlands, may have, indeed, but little interest for the stranger who delights more in the rehearsal of those dangerous contests with the bear, the pack of hungry wolves, or the fierce and dangerous panther; but in a far different sense, do we essay to note the history of Scituate.
Of the thousands fleeing from the oppression and despotism of the Old World, and seeking new homes upon this continent across the seas, the territory now comprising the State of Rhode Island, received its proportionate share, and readily adopted them into the fold of its maternal protection. All originally travelled the same great highway; by the same laborious means all erected for themselves rude huts or log-cabins, as best suited their fancy; and all, directly or indirectly, helped to fell the woods, to till the soil, and, year after year, to add to the area of their productive lands. The settlement of Roger Williams, at Providence, in 1636, is also the commencement of the history of Scituate. He dedicated himself to the general spread of the truths of religion among the Indians, and travelled among the different tribes who were then at war with each other, seeking to pacify them, that he and his associates had come among them peacefully, and bearing with them the rich seeds of a true religious trust, to teach them in the ways of a higher, a purer, and better civilization. God gave him favor with Canonicus, the then ruling chief, so that he obtained from him, as a free gift, large and valuable tracts of land. The deed of gift was dated March 24, 1637, in the second year of the Rhode Island Plantation, and reads, 'In consideration of the many kindnesses and services he hath continually done for us.'
The settlement gradually increased from the influx from other Colonies, and emigrants from beyond the sea still continued to arrive, and large numbers spread themselves over the wooded heights and vales of that part of Providence that has since been set off as the town of Scituate. The early settlers of Scituate possessed no large herds or flocks, since there were in those early days no meadows for the supply of grass, nor cultivated fields for the production of grain. Men with brawny arms and iron hands, and enured to hardships, came alone to build their rough cabins, and to make a clearing; and afterwards, perchance brought their little families into these primitive habitations, there to work out for themselves a home amid the rude forest. The soil was comparatively good, though rocky, and densely covered with woods. But more than all else to be feared were the merciless foes that surrounded them. Wild beasts and Indians roamed over it, and the poor, weary laborer, was often roused from his peaceful midnight slumber to witness the death of wife, children, and kindred, or, by the light of his own blazing fireside, to sink beneath the blood-stained tomahawk. In a few well-chosen lines by Stephen Hopkins, is portrayed the pitiable condition of these early pioneers: --
'Nor house, nor hut, nor fruitful field,
Nor lowing herd, nor bleating flock,
Or garden, that might comfort yield,
Nor cheerful, early-crowing cock.
No orchard, yielding pleasant fruit,
Or laboring ox, or useful plow;
Nor neighing steed, or browsing goat;
Or grunting swine, or feedful cow.
No friend to help, no neighbor nigh,
Nor healing medicine to relieve;
No mother's hand to close the eye,
Alone, forlorn, and most extremely poor.'
However, a better and more enterprising and successful class afterwards arrived, and, in the year 1710, some emigrants arrived from Scituate, Mass., from which this town doubtless derived its name. In 1730, Scituate was set off from Providence, as a separate and distinct township. Near the banks of the beautiful Moswansicut, tradition says, commenced the early settlement of Scituate.
Location, Surface, Soil, &c.
Scituate is a considerable post township, situated about ten miles from the city of Providence. It is bounded on the north by Glocester, on the east by Johnston, on the south by Coventry, and on the west by Foster. Its average length, from north to south, is eight miles, and its breadth, some six miles or more, comprising an area of about fifty square miles. The surface is diversified with hills and dales, and some sections are quite rough and broken. Formerly, in the west part of the town, there was a valuable quarry of freestone, suitable for building purposes, from which large quantities were raised and conveyed into Providence, and other places at a distance. The prevailing soil is a primitive gravelly loam, and is best adapted to grazing purposes. In general, the land is rough and rocky, and hard for tillage, although there are to be found many good improved farms, with commodious buildings, which produce some very excellent grain. The agricultural products consist of corn, rye, oats, potatoes, beef, pork, butter, cheese, and some others. The town is watered by two streams, one of which rises in its northeastern section, near the Moswansicut Pond; the other has its source in the Ponagansett Pond, in Glocester, runs through Foster, and, entering this town upon its western border, unites with the first-mentioned stream, and the united waters form the north branch of the Pawtuxet River.
Scituate claims a respectable rank among the manufacturing towns in the State. There are some ten or twelve cotton-factories, two or three shoe and corset lacing factories, clothiers' works, and grain, saw, shingle and stave mills. The mercantile and mechanical interests are extensively represented, and it has one incorporated bank, known as the Scituate National Bank. Its religious and educational interests are well represented, and cherished with a commendable degree of pride. It has several social libraries, and its people, in general, are well educated, energetic, and display a laudable degree of enterprise. This town, at an early date, belonged to Providence, but was incorporated into a separate township in the year 1731.
Tradition gives John Mathewson the credit of building the first white man's house, if indeed it may be termed such, in the town of Scituate. It was merely a hut or hovel, erected in the northeastern part of the town, within a short distance from the great pond, known as the Moswansicut, and near the boundary lines of Scituate, Johnston, and Glocester. The place is about six rods from the road, and is indicated by a depression and raised banks. There were no mills, or trading marts in this immediate vicinity. Tradition says that Boston was the nearest trading-post, and thither, on foot, through Indian or other trails, Mathewson would make his occasional journeys, stopping at houses on the way. At one of the houses at which he stopped, he formed the acquaintance of a Miss Malary, and, becoming attached to her, and offering marriage, was accepted, and the nuptial ceremonies were soon after solemnized. He built him a house, a short distance from his former hut, and set about the cultivation of his farm. He died soon after, somewhat suddenly, aged about forty, leaving a wife and several children. John, one of his sons, was the direct ancestor of the late Hon. Elisha Mathewson, Senator in Congress. Thomas Mathewson, and others, came to settle about this pond, one of the most beautiful ponds in the State, and surrounded by excellent lands.
A tavern at the Four Corners, now North Scituate, was kept by one Stephen Smith, who used to do quite an extensive business, as there was considerable teaming to and from the furnaces in Smithfield and Glocester, into Cranston, where were located quite extensive ore-beds.
Mr. James Aldrich removed from Smithfield in the year 1775, and occupied quite a prominent position in the political history of the town. He was a noted politician in those early days, and belonged to the Republican or Democratic party, both names being used at that time to designate the Jefferson party, in opposition to the old Federal party, headed by Alexander Hamilton. He represented the town of Scituate in the General Assembly for nineteen consecutive terms, which demonstrates his abilities as a successful politician, and the esteem in which he was held by his fellow-townsmen.
Gideon Harris was also a prominent citizen of Scituate, and was largely identified with its early history . He married a lady by the name of Damaris Westcott, a woman of considerable note in those early days. Mr. Harris died in the year 1777, at a ripe old age, and his remains were deposited in the old Quaker burying-ground. He filled the office of town clerk for a series of years, with great credit to himself, and the satisfaction of his fellow-citizens. His house was located in what is known as the old Bank, or Elmdale.
About the year 1703, Mr. Joseph Wilkinson, a son of Captain Samuel Wilkinson of Providence, came to live in the northwest part of the town of Scituate, then known by its Indian name, Chapumishcook. He married Martha Pray, a granddaughter of one of the first settlers in the town. By him was erected the first barn in what is now known as Scituate. He also brought the first cow into the town, and upon a piece of meadow, a little north, and running into Foster, where he pastured his cow, was cut the first grass, or hay. Mr. Wilkinson was a surveyor, and found ready employment in the town. His residence was on the estate afterwards improved by his great-grandson, and was situated on the northern turnpike, and was a pleasant and valuable farm. The house now standing on this farm is quite a large one, but it has been repaired and enlarged from time to time, until no part of the original Wilkinson house remains.
There are several anecdotes connected with the history of these two persons, one or two of which we will insert in this connection, simply to show the trials and adventures through which the early pioneer had to pass, and that display their courage and heroism in times of danger. Mr. Wilkinson being absent from home one day, his wife discovered a bear upon a certain sweet apple-tree that stood but a short distance from the house, and old Bruin was shaking the tree, so that the fruit should fall off, that he might devour it on the ground. It was the only tree of the kind they had, and, of course, the fruit was highly prized for family use. The apples continued to fall, and Mrs. Wilkinson, nothing daunted, seized the loaded gun which her husband always kept in readiness for such emergencies, and rushing out of the door, she took aim and fired. Dropping the gun upon the ground, she hastened back to the house, fairly alarmed at what she had done. When her husband returned at night, she told him what she had done, when he immediately went out to the tree, and found the bear dead. His faithful wife had not only preserved her cherished apples, but had provided a fine supply of good meat. Mr. Wilkinson appears quite prominent in the first town meeting of Scituate. He was elected a member of the town council, and was chosen deputy.
Mr. William Hopkins married Ruth, the daughter of Captain Samuel Wilkinson, and moved into the town of Scituate about 1765, settling on a farm in the neighborhood of his brother-in-law, Mr. Joseph Wilkinson. He was a man who sought no public office, but gave his attention more to the cultivation of his farm. His memory is chiefly connected with some of his children, who became illustrious in the affairs of the State and nation.
Eseck Hopkins, one of the sons of William Hopkins, was the first commodore of the navy, and his conspicuous services in the Revolutionary War are well known. He married Miss Desire Burroughs of Newport, and took up his residence there. His fleet consisted of the ships 'Alfred', Captain Dudley Saltonstall; the 'Columbus', Captain Whipple; the brig 'Andrea Doria', Captain Nicholas Biddle; the 'Cabot', Captain John B. Hopkins (son to the commodore); and the sloops 'Providemce', 'Fly', 'Hornet', and 'Wasp'. In the month of February, 1776, they put to sea, and cruising among the Bahama Islands, succeeded in capturing the fort, 'New Providence', at Nassau. On his return, he captured two British armed vessels. Not meeting with success in creating an efficient navy, he resigned, and engaged in private armed vessels, as did his colleague, John Paul Jones. The commodore died in 1802, and was buried in the old North Providence cemetery.
Stephen Hopkins, another son of William Hopkins, was still more distinguished that his brother, the commodore. He was born March 7, 1707. But little is known of his early boyhood, but, doubtless, like his other brothers, he was early taught to labor on the farm. There were no schools in that early day, but his mother, it is said, was a woman of marked ability, and, no doubt, instructed him in many things. Stephen Hopkins married June 27, 1726, Sarah Scott, the youngest daughter of Major Sylvanus Scott of Providence. He was but nineteen years of age, and for the support of this newly-married couple, his father gave him seventy acres of land, and his grandfather, Thomas Hopkins, bestowed upon his 'loving grandson', as the will reads, an additional grant of ninety acres.
Four years after this marriage, or in 1730, the portion, now Scituate, was set off from Providence, and Stephen Hopkins, then only twenty-three years of age, was chosen its first moderator. Joseph Brown was chosen town clerk for the first year, an office which included the registration of deeds. Mr. Hopkins held this office the next year, and continued for ten consecutive years, when he resigned. The records of the town, as kept by him, are still preserved, and, for neatness and exactness, they have not been surpassed by any of his successors.
Mr. Hopkins removed to Providence in 1744, and purchased an estate on South Main Street, at the corner of what is now known as Hopkins Street, named after him. He engaged in commerce at Providence, but was soon called to fill important places in the State, as chief justice and governor, being appointed to the judgeship in 1739. Born and educated in Rhode Island, his whole life was spent within its boundaries, and in its early history, he stands forth pre-eminent as the representative of the people. It is to the honor of Scituate, and to the State, that they produced such a man as Stephen Hopkins. The existence of such a man, under such circumstances, may certify, as a volume of true history may declare, to the character of her settlers, and the influence of her institutions. He died July 13, 1778, and was buried in North Burying-ground at Providence, and there his grateful State has erected a monument to his memory, on which is inscribed, with other commendations, these words: 'His name is engraved on the immortal record of the Revolution, and can never die.'
John Hulet was also an early settler in the town of Scituate. In 1740, he resided in the northwestern part of the town, and his transactions in deeds run from 1743 to 1763. In 1744, he bought one hundred and fifty acres of land from Stephen Hopkins, for three hundred pounds; land that was familiarly known as 'Oyster Shell Plains". He was among the first to take the oath against bribery, Aug. 14, 1747; an example worthy of emulation, and which might be practised at the present day, with decided advantage to the State and nation. Mr. Hulet died about the year 1763, after a short but severe illness. His grave is pointed out in a pasture back of the house of one John Harris, Esq. Two rough and moss-covered stones, without any inscription, mark his resting-place; and thus he sleeps, unnoticed and unknown, by the living generations around him.
Lieutenant-Governor West was another distinguished settler of Scituate. He moved from North Kingstown to Scituate, and purchased the old homestead which Governor Hopkins sold to John Hulet. Soon after, he was deputy, and was also elected representative of the town, in a general convention held at East Greenwich, Sept. 26, 1786. In 1775, Eseck Hopkins was appointed by the governor to be general of the troops raised for the defence of the Narragansett, and Colonel West was placed second in command. He took quite an active part in the affairs of his town during the war of the Revolution. He was several times chosen as the moderator of the town, and was a man of intelligence, and a marked degree of enterprise.
Simeon C. Arnold came from Smithfield at an early date, and purchased about two hundred acres of land, including the farm on which his grandson now lives. He bought the farm some ninety-six years ago, occupying it until his death, which occurred about the year 1827 or 1828.
In these early homes, with unpapered walls, and sanded floors, and with their rude and simple furnishings, once lived the honored ancestry of many of Scituate's present citizens. Many antiquated relics still remain, and are carefully preserved as heir-looms in many a family. Tables, stoutly but rudely made; bedsteads, equally rough, and to-day inelegant; plates of pewter, with now and then a sprinkling of antiquated china; trenchers, or wooden plates, in use long before the Revolution; spinning-wheels, and old looms, long since disused, still remain, carefully stored in some garret or attic, covered with the dust of years, or the spider's dextrous web. These last demonstrate the independence of those ancient times, when the farmer wore home-made clothes, nicely spun and woven, and often cut and made, by the skillful hand of wife or loving daughter. The busy hum of these relics of former generations is no longer heard, and their voices are to-day as silent as the voices of those who once used them with commendable skill and industry, and in their secluded nooks they are wearing life away, in indolent musings upon the past, wondering, no doubt, if the shifting fortunes of fashion will ever bring them into use again. In the heart of many a youthful maiden, was born some charming day-dream, and accompanied by the monotonous buzz of the spinning-wheel, found expression in many a sweet love-song.
'Noise sweetens toil, however rude the sound,
All of her work the village maiden sings;
Nor while she turns the giddy wheel around,
Revolves the sad vicissitude of things.'
These are but a few of the early pioneers of Scituate, and we only regret that time and space will not permit of a more extended review of those early settlers, whose lives and deeds are so intimately connected with Scituate's early history. Among their ranks have been found men of the stamp which give character to settlement, and accelerate progress. But these old pioneers have passed away, and none now living can recall them, only through tradition or fancy sketches of imagery. Old deeds of lands are now scarcely seen, save when some attorney looks up a claim of title, to designate original owners. In many cases, the lands cleared by the grandparent, are still held by his decendents, but in numerous instances, the now commonplace phrase, 'gone West', is applicable. And in many of those newly created States, they have sought a home, and like their illustrious ancestry, give character to settlement, and facilitate the progressive development of the great West.
Scituate in the Revolution.
In that terrible struggle for the establishment of liberty, and the true principles of self-government, Rhode Island took a conspicuous part; and no town within her borders, exceeded the patriotism or self-sacrificing devotion to the cause of freedom, of Scituate. Her sons were early imbued with an intense love of liberty, and hatred of all wrong and oppression. The names of Angell, West, Knight, Williams, Aldrich, Westcott, Harris, Whipple, Greene, Ellery, Perry, Hopkins, Ward, and many other patriots, will live in history; their names grow brighter with each passing generation, cherished and remembered as long as a spark of liberty shall burn in an American bosom.
From the character of the men who settled in Rhode Island, it was to be expected that they would be jealous of their rights, and quick and energetic in resisting every encroachment upon their liberties. Scituate was not invaded, but she was called upon, and nobly did she respond to the call, and marched her troops to the defence of her country's rights. The taking of the 'Gaspee', was the earliest resistance, by arms, to the power of Great Britain, in any of the Colonies. This created considerable excitement in the Colonies, and great sympathy was manifested for the people of Boston, in consequence of the vexations and vindictive treatment by England, and large supplies were voted, and sent to their relief from all the towns in Rhode Island. All of the Rhode Island forces incorporated with the grand army at Boston, were placed under the command of General Washington, and did excellent service.
The British, on Sunday, Dec. 8, 1776, landed and took possession of Rhode Island, and remained until Oct. 25, 1779, during which time the inhabitants were greatly oppressed. Joseph Knight acted an important part in the Revolutionary War. In April, 1775, after the news of the battle of Lexington, a company was formed in Scituate, and the command was given to him. The roll was headed thus: 'We do enlist ourselves, as Volunteers in the present emergency, in defence of our country, and right of privileges, and liberty', &c. Four other companies were chartered in Scituate, Dec. 5, 1774, and one of them was called the 'Scituate Hunters'. A letter from Governor Cook, to Joseph Knight, dated Providence, Dec. 19, 1775, directed him as captain of the second company of minute-men in Scituate, to gather together the company under his command, with all possible expedition, and march them to this town in order to be transported to Rhode Island, for the defence of that island. 'You are to be careful that the men are properly equipped with arms, ammunition, and blankets fit for immediate use; I have advice from General Washington, that eight large transports with two tenders, having on board, one regiment of foot, and three companies of horse, sailed from Boston last Saturday, and I have no doubt that your officers, and men, will exert themselves upon this occasion with their usual arder.'
Providence was threatened by the enemy, and Scituate was called upon to assist in its defence. General Sullivan writes to Mr. Knight, who had now been promoted to be lieutenant-colonel, to march immediately with his regiment to their aid. He writes, 'Pray delay no time, for by the delay of one hour, we may lose the town of Providence; let each man take three days provisions and await there for further orders.' The return of the Scituate light infantry company, Benjamin Ross, Captain, and Richard Rhodes, Clerk, gives, captain, and two lieutenants, one ensign, four sergeants, three corporals, four drummers and fifers, thirty-eight rank and file; total, fifty-four. The return of Captain Nathan Worker's company gives: Lieutenant Joseph Carpenter, Ensign Samuel Wilbur, seventy-two men; eight all equipped, and twenty-nine guns. Captain Coman Smith's company had Lieutenant Fabel Angell, and Capain Hereden's company had Lieutenant Isaac Hopkins, and Ensign James Wells. Timothy Hopkins, Jr., was adjutant. Captain Joseph Kimball's company had Lieutenant Gideon Cornwall. Captain Edwin Knight's company had Ensign Daniel Baker.
The small-pox prevailed much in the army at different times, causing great alarm, and the town of Scituate voted that the house of widow Mercy Angell and the house of Peleg Fisk, Esq., be opened as public hospitals for inoculation for the small-pox. The returns of the third regiment, made to Major Knight, of eight companies, were as follows: Captain Potter, seventy-five men; Captain Dorrance, sixty-seven men; Captain Smith, one hundred and twenty-three men; Captain Paine, one hundred and nine men; Captain Wilbur, seventy-six men; Captain Howard, sixty-four men; Captain Medbury, thirty-two men; Captain Rolfe, sixty-seven men.
As an illustration of the patriotic spirit of the town of Scituate in the Revolution, and as evidence of the confidence reposed in her townsmen, are many votes on record. 'At a town meeting, held April 28, 1777, it was voted that Colonel Wm. West, be appointed to use the utmost of his endeavors and abilities, by giving direction to his under officers, as well as using his influence in other ways, to raise soldiers, by enlisting the number of men assigned to be raised in this town, by an act of Assembly aforesaid.'
How ready was the town to bear its proportion of expenses, is illustrated in the vote taken Sept. 23, 1779: 'Voted that the town will raise their proportion of the $2,000,000 recommended by the Hon. Continental Congress, £5,359 2s. 8d. being said towns proportion. The collector of taxes is hereby directed to pay the same when collected, into the loan office of the State, taking loan office certificates for the same.' Thus is briefly sketched the history of Scituate in the Revolution. In that warfare against British aggression, the militia have been seen prompt and active, and in that struggle for freedom and the rights of self-government, as well as the more recent contest for the preservation of national existence, the young men of this town were not excelled in a patriotic devotion to the cause of liberty, and whether upon the march of battle-field, their heroism knew no abatement, and their contempt of danger, where duty called, is fully demonstrated in their history as organizations, and their record as individuals.
The Angell Tavern and other Public Houses.
In a place latterly known as Richmond there was an antique and grotesque edifice a century and a quarter ago. It was familiarly known as the 'Old Angell Tavern'. A curious and entertaining history is attached to this old house, for it was a place not only for the accommodation of guests, where good suppers and a comfortable night's lodging could be had, but town meetings continued to be held here until the building of the Baptist Church, about a mile east. The large hall in the second story of this tavern was well improved on these occasions. It was here that both old and young used to congregate, from miles around, and trip the 'light fantastic', until the 'wee sma' hours.' Many eminent men have received entertainment here, as well as the more humble traveller. General Washington has been its guest, and here Lafayette is said to have sojourned with his army, on his march from Boston to West Point. The army encamped on the meadows in front of the house. Benjamin Franklin was also its guest when on his way west to consult Washington, on matters concerning the war.
Other taverns sprang up in different places as the town increased. Matthew Manchester was licensed as an inn-keeper in 1769, as were also Thomas Manchester and Levi Colvin. Stephen Smith and Zebedee Hopkins were licensed in 1762, and Col. John Potter and Christopher Potter in 1760. 'Tavern, Ale, and Victualing House', was the term employed in licensing these places. The old Angell Tavern is well represented today, by the eminent James B. Angell, the present popular president of Michigan University. It has long since passed away, and with it the memory of the scenes once enacted within its ancient halls. There still remains a dilapidated edifice, once the home of a descendant of this early pioneer. It is fast decaying, and thus, one after another the landmarks of the past are passing away under the corroding tooth of time, to be remembered only by tradition or in the record of history.
Village of North Scituate.
This is a beautiful little village, situated about ten miles west from the city of Providence, upon the Providence and Hartford pike. It is pleasant of location, conveys the idea of roominess, and its walks are comparatively good, and well shaded in summer. It occupies a healthy and delightful site in the northeast corner of the town, near the shores of the great pond, Moswansicut, which is surrounded by scenery at once grand and fascinating. The village has grown up gradually, and is in itself cheery and picturesque. Even now a commendable degree of enterprise is manifested in the growth and prosperity of the town. Several new houses have been built, or in progress of erection, while old ones have received of late the brightening touches of the painter's brush, which give to it the appearance of tidiness and comfort.
Here is located the Lapham Institute, one of the oldest educational institutions in the town, and within its classic walls have been educated some of the distinguished men of the age. Three churches mark the prevalence of religious influences, and the Scituate of to-day will compare favorably with any of her sister towns in her morality and virtue. The mercantile and mechanical interests are well represented, and in the midst of this life and freshness, the village of Scituate is assured of undoubted success in the future. It has a well-kept hotel, which, for comfort and convenience, cannot well be surpassed. It also has a fine and well-kept livery and sale stable, erected, in 1872, by Mr. James Scranton. The stable is finely located, in excellent repair, and does a fair business. Here are carriage-shops, blacksmith-shops, a cigar factory, a harness and tin shop, and in all these establishments there is a renewed activity, although unobtrusive, yet none the less encouraging.
The Scituate Manufacturing Company's mills are located here, and, in spite of the depression of the times, are doing a large and profitable business. It has a national bank, which also adds materially to the business interests of the town. For four long years it has had the hardest of times, and people have looked with distrust upon many business enterprises; but now the clouds of adversity seem to be lifting, and smiles are taking the place of frowns, as the people discern the approaching dawn of a new prosperity. Merchants, traders, and agriculturists alike feel the reviving influence, and thus surrounded by this atmosphere of a renewed prosperity, they feel assured of success. The village has a brass band, composed of young men, who discourse their sweet music upon all public occasions. When this band, playing 'Yankee Doodle', or 'Hail Columbia', sweeps around the corner, the blast of music seems to exhilarate the feelings, and rouse the martial impulse in a high degree.
The Moswansicut Pond is a beautiful sheet of water, surrounded by woods, and is a favorite resort for fishing-parties. Now and then may be seen a white sail skimming over its placid bosom, and often, in the gray twilight of the evening, some youthful Adonis, with his fair Venus, are seen enjoying a pleasant sail up and down by its wooded shores. Here, too, is the home of one of Rhode Island's ex-lieutenant-governors, the Hon. Isaac Saunders. He is a gentleman who has long been identified with the business interests of Scituate, and commands the respect and esteem of its citizens. There is not, in a radius of miles around, any more exquisite bits of woodland scenery than surround the village of Scituate, while some of the wider views are imposing to the height of grandeur. The quietness, and rural simplicity, and the enticing atmosphere surrounding it, add a certain charm, and render attractive this beautiful and cosy little village, lying calmly in a bowl scooped out among the hills.
This is a thriving little village, situate in the southeast part of the town of Scituate, and is the terminus of the Pawtuxet Valley Railroad, being a branch road from River Point to Hope, about three and a half miles long, making connection with Providence. It has two or three stores, and some mechanical trade is engaged in. The Hope Manufacturing Company's mills are located here, which give the village a large supply trade, and a consequent appearance of enterprise and thrift. In 1872, the company built some thirteen large, two-story tenement houses, for the accommodation of their employees. In 1874, they also erected a church for the use of those in their employ, and others who might desire to attend services on the Sabbath. It cost about $15,000, is pleasantly located, and is at present used by the Methodist denomination. Hope is one of the oldest places in the State, and is noted, in its early history, as being the place where cannon were cast for use in the Revolutionary War. They also used to make bar-iron and nails, the ore being carted from the Cranston ore-beds. Thirteen new cannon, cast at the Hope furnace, were fired at the Great Bridge in Providence, in honor of the Declaration of Independence.
Physicians of Scituate.
Dr. Ephraim Bowen of Providence used to ride quite extensively through Scituate and the adjoining towns, and was esteemed for his genial ways, and his success as a practitioner. Dr. Benjamin Slack also lived in the extreme north-east part of the town. He came from Massachusetts about the year 1750. Dr. John Barden also resided in the north-west part of the town during and after the Revolution. He had quite an extensive practice, and his reputation as a successful practitioner was well merited. Dr. John Wilkinson was also a resident, and was held in high esteem by the citizens of Scituate. He was also a distinguished surgeon in the Revolutionary war. Dr. Caleb Fiske lived in what is known as 'Bald Hill', and was a man of considerable distinction, and accumulated a large fortune for the times. He was one of the original members of the Rhode Island Medical Society, and, at his death, left a fund known as the 'Fisk Fund', for the benefit of the society, in awarding prizes for essays upon subjects pertaining to the medical science. Dr. [Owen] Battey practiced medicine for several years, but retired in later life. Dr. Jeremiah Cole resided about a mile and a half west of the village of North Scituate. He was held in high repute as a practitioner, but died in 1843. Dr. John Anthony also practiced a few years, residing in North Scituate. Dr. T. K. Newhall practiced some time, and then removed to Providence. Dr. James E. Roberts is a resident physician in South Scituate, and enjoys a good reputation and a fair practice. Dr. William H. Bowen, at Clayville, is a gentleman of genial ways, and enjoys the confidence and esteem of the citizens generally, and has a large and lucrative practice. Dr. Charles H. Fisher is the present practicing physician at the village of North Scituate. With a large and extensive experience, Dr. Fisher has devoted his life to the advancement of his profession, and as a mark of the esteem in which he is held by his medical colleagues, he has recently been elevated to the presidency of the Medical Association of Rhode Island. He is also a member of one of the branches of the State Legislature.
Lawyers of Scituate.
Jonah Titus was for many years a resident of Scituate and a lawyer of considerable note, enjoyed a fair practice in his profession, and removed to Providence in 1865, and died at an advanced age, in May, 1876. Charles H. Page is also a resident of Scituate, but has his office in Providence. Each of these gentlemen has represented the town, in both branches of the General Assembly.
Scituate National Bank.
There has been a bank in the town of Scituate for a long period of time. It was formerly known as the Citizens' Union Bank, but now changed to the Scituate National Bank. This bank was organized in the year 1832, with Josiah Wescott, President, and David H. Braman, Cashier. The present officers are: Richard A. Atwood, President; and Allen Hubbard, Cashier, who has filled this responsible position since 1857, a high compliment not only to his ability and business qualifications, but a mark of esteem for his sterling integrity and high moral worth.
The National Bank of Scituate was organized in accordance with congressional enactment, in the year 1865, and since that time has formed one of the leading auxiliaries to the business interests of the town. On the night of March 25, 1865, the bank was burglarized. Four men, after a vain attempt to gain access to the safe, repaired to the residence of the present cashier, and after gagging and binding his wife and little son, compelled him, at the point of revolver and knife, to accompany them to the bank, and demanded that he should unlock the safe and pass over to them its contents. Intimidated by their threats, and fearing for the safety of his little family, he reluctantly yielded to their nefarious demands. The loss amounted to $12,000 cash, together with a large collection of valuable papers. The papers, however, were subsequently returned by express, addressed to the registrar of deeds, in Providence. No portion of the money was ever recovered, nor the perpetrators of so daring a robbery brought to justice, although a liberal reward was offered for their apprehension. This misfortune, however, affected in no way its solvency, and now, as in the past, it forms one of the leading business institutions of the town, and under the management of its present officials, who are reliable and energetic men, it is doing a large, profitable and safe business.
Mechanics of Scituate.
Among the early mechanics of Scituate, was Elisha Bowen, a tanner. In the year 1773, he erected a tannery near the Moswansicut Pond. He continued the successful management of the business for many years, and died in the eighty-eighth year of his age. Elihu Fisk was also an early mechanic. He removed from Newport, and engaged in the cabinet trade, and in connection, ran a hotel also. He had the confidence of the people generally, and by fair dealing, and the manufacture of first-class goods, he merited and received a large patronage, and became quite wealthy for those times. Captain Thomas Hill also engaged in the carpenter business, having learned his trade of Mr. Hugh Cole. Daniel Smith used to carry on the business of blacksmithing, and Thomas Field that of coopering; both enjoyed a good reputation, and a fair degree of patronage. A blacksmith shop near the old Angell Tavern was carried on by a Mr. Angell (of a different branch of the family, however, than the proprietor of the tavern), and it continued in the possession of the family for many years. The various branches of the mechanical trade are at present well represented, and conducted with a well-merited degree of good workmanship.
Schools and School-houses.
The town did not begin early to establish schools. For a long time education was left to the people, to do as they pleased as to the employment of teachers, and the attendance of pupils. They were accustomed to hold schools in those early days in private houses, or in rooms in other buildings. A Miss Fisk taught a school, held in one of the rooms of her father's hotel, some years ago. One Marvin Morris, from Dudley, Mass., also kept a school for several years, and managed it quite successfully. Thomas Mowry was also a teacher, and a Mr. Dutton; also Samuel Pray, from Connecticut who acquired a fair reputation. The town, at first, appropriated but $300 for school purposes, and that was in the year 1834. In 1850, they advanced the sum to $900, and it so remained for several years. They gradually increased this appropriation, until $3,000 have been voted for the support of the schools of the township. The town has erected, from time to time, buildings for school purposes, in locations easy of access and convenient for the scholars, fitting them up with recent improvements and appropriate furnishings; and to-day, the town of Scituate compares favorably in her educational interests and school property, with the most progressive towns in the State.
This institution is located upon a slight eminence, commanding a fine view of the beautiful village of North Scituate. It is composed of three large and beautiful buildings, and was founded by the Rhode Island Association of Free Baptists, in the year 1839. The school opened under auspicious circumstances, in the autumn of 1839, with Rev. Hosea Quimby as its principal. Three courses of study were provided: one for young men preparing for college; one for young ladies, embracing a period of four years; and one to meet the wants of those pupils who only attended one or more terms. The great want of this institution, like many others of a similar character, is an endowment fund. The entire amount of money, some $30,000, which was raised at first, was wholly absorbed in the grounds, buildings, and furnishings. As the denomination under whose auspices this institution was erected and controlled was neither large nor wealthy, no endowment fund was provided. In the year 1850, the society becoming heavily taxed for its support, sold the entire property to Mr. Quimby, its principal, who, by careful management, and the practice of a true economy in several of its departments, hoped to render the school self-sustaining. But after four years of severe struggle, he succumbed to overwork and anxiety. Samuel P. Coburn then hired the property of Mr. Quimby, and became its next principal. He remained three years.
In 1857, Rev. W. Colgrove purchased the buildings and furnishings of its owner, and conducted the school for two years, at the expiration of which time the institution was closed for the space of three years. In 1863, the name of the school was changed from Smithville Seminary to Lapham Institute, and Hon. Benedict Lapham and others becoming sureties for whatever deficiencies might occur. This generous act, upon the part of Mr. Lapham, not only illustrates his liberal characteristics, but the high esteem he entertained toward the educational interests of the town. Rev. B. F. Hayes was chosen its next principal, and conducted the school for two years in a very successful manner. Prof. Thomas L. Angell succeeded him, and remained two years. Prof. George H. Ricker succeeded Mr. Angell, and continued the successful management of the school for some years. A. G. Moulton was then chosen its principal, but died at the close of his first year. Prof. W. S. Stockbridge, the present incumbent, succeeded him in the autumn of 1875, and is a gentleman noted not only for his genial ways and fine culture, but his thoroughness as an instructor. Among the most distinguished graduates of this institution are Prof. James B. Angell of Michigan University, at Ann Arbor; also George T. Day, former editor of the 'Morning Star'; ex-Governor Howard of Rhode Island; Prof. Thomas L. Angell of Bates College; and Mary Latham Clark, who is the author of several popular and valuable works. The property is now owned by Mr. William Winsor of Greenville, R. I., by whose beneficence the school is at present sustained. It has a full corps of teachers, a fine library; and its laboratory comprises a well assorted chemical and astronomical apparatus. The buildings remain in good repair, and its location is unsurpassed by any like institution in New England. Certainly the citizens of North Scituate may well feel proud of their educational interests, and regard with pride this institution, not only for its past reputation, but its present excellence.
For all time, societies have been formed, having in view the welfare of the race and development of the intellect. One of the most ancient is the order of Free and Accepted Masons.
Hamilton Lodge F. and A. M., No. 15, Clayville, was instituted May 29, 1816; chartered, Oct. 9, 1817. Its first officers were: M., Thomas O. H. Carpenter; S. W., Stephen M. Peirce; J. W., Archibald Colgrove; T., Jeremiah McGregory; Sec'y, Cyril C. Lyon; S. D., Isaac Gallop; J. D., Obadiah Perkins; T. and S., Nathaniel Wilbur. Whole number initiated was one hundred and sixty-six; present membership, ninety-four. First organized in Coventry, in 1816, removed from thence to Foster, about 1825, and from Foster to Clayville in the year 1850, where they have remained until the present time. Regular communication, on or before the full moon. They have a very pleasant lodge room, with appropriate regalia, and both officers and members feel a just pride in their institution.
Scituate Royal Arch Chapter, No. 8., A. F. and A.M., Clayville, R. I., constituted Sept. 28, 1869. Present membership is forty-nine, and its present officers are: H.P., William H. Bowen; K., John H. Barden; S., Albert N. Luther; T., Alanson Steere; Sec'y, John W. Bowen; C. of H., Byron L. Steere; P.S., Thomas A. Burgess; R. A. C., Frank Carr; Chap., Rev. Nelson Luther; Tyl., James Penfield. Regular communication, Saturday after the full moon.
Covenant Lodge, No. 40, I. O. O. F., Ashland, R. I., organized Sept. 1, 1876. Its first officers were: N. G., S. H. Angell; V. G., F. H. Allen; Sec'y, R. H. Walker. The present officers are: N. G., F. H. Allen; V. G., Hart B. Peirce; Sec'y, R. H. Walker. Number of membership about sixty-five. Regular meetings every Monday evening.
Lafayette Lodge, No. 42, I. O. O. F., Clayville, R. I., instituted June 11, 1877, with the following officers: N. G., William H. Tyler; V. G., Henry A. Wells; R. S., Lester Howard; Treas., Alfred H. Wells; Per. Sec'y, Charles A. Capwell. Regular meetings held Tuesday evening. Membership at organization, fourteen.
These are new lodges, and instituted so recently, that they have no particular history beyond their organization. Their members, however, display a commendable degree of interest and pride in their institutions, and, in the years to come, will no doubt make a record worthy of their order, and wield an influence for good in the community in which they are located.
Ashland Lodge, No. 64, I. O. G. T., was instituted May 2, 1866, with forty-six charter members. First officers: W. C. T., James Essex; W. V. T., Mrs. W. E. O. Roberts; W. C., James Harrington; W. Sec'y, Henry Douglass; A. Sec'y, Hattie Atwood; W. F. Sec'y, Mrs. Maria Round; W. T., W. E. O. Roberts; W. M., Harley P. Salisbury; W. D. M., Mrs. Harley Salisbury; I. G., Andrew Bell; O. G., John Wade; R. H. S., Rosa A. Cole; L. H. S., Cora E. Cole; P. W. C. T., William N. Round. Present membership, sixty. Meetings held in the church vestry Saturday evenings.
Franklin Lodge, No. 17, I. O. G. T., was instituted Feb. 14, 1867. Number of charter members, thirteen. First officers: W. C. T., William H. Bowen; W. V. T., Mrs. A. A. Stone; Chap., George Tillinghast; Sec'y Horace Smith; A. Sec'y, Helen F. Battey; F. Sec'y, Chas. Jordan; Teas., Phebe A. Williams; Mar., Henry O. Preston; D. M., Addie A. Burgess; I. G., Nancy Fuller; O. G., Otis O. Wright; F. S., Mary Jordan; R. S., Phebe S. Bowen; L.D., Harris H. Stone. Present membership, sixty. Meets Thursday evenings in Jordan's Hall, at Clayville.
Manufactories of Scituate.
Scituate compares favorably with her sister towns in her manufacturing interests, and we regret that we are unable to give a sketch of each, but owing to the reticence of several of the managers or proprietors in furnishing us with data and facts concerning them, either through fear of disclosing depreciated productions, or perhaps mismanagement, or else from a sense of superiority, rendering them above a faithful record in history, we are compelled to make mention of them only in the general record of the manufacturing interests of the town.
Ponagansett. The first cotton-mill was erected in 1826, by William Richmond and Richmond Bullock, and John Andrews, all residents of Providence. It was owned and run by the above parties until 1847, when it was sold to John D. Pittman. It was burned March 4, 1852; rebuilt in 1854, by John Barden and Benjamin A. Potter, who ran it until 1860, at which time Mr. Potter sold his interest to Alanson Steere, Otis Steere, and James H. Mumford, 2d., who are its present owners. Its capacity is about sixty horse-power, and has one hundred and twenty-seven looms; employs some sixty-five hands, two-thirds of whom are females. Manufactures print-cloths, and turns out four thousand yards per day. Mr. John H. Barden is owner of one-half, and has charge of the mill, and acts as its superintendent. The selling agents are John H. Mason & Sons, Providence. It is situated on the north branch of the Pawtuxet River, in the westerly part of the town of Scituate, one mile north of Rockland. Post-office address, Rockland, R. I. The first business carried on at Ponagansett was forging, or making iron; ore brought from the Cranston ore-beds. The forge was under the charge and management of John Barden, grandfather of the Hon. John H. Barden.
Carriage and Wagon Manufactory, Rockland. George B. Smith was the first to engage in the wheelwright business, in the hamlet of Rockland. He commenced business in 1846, and has remained in the vocation up to the present time. Mr. Smith learned his trade in Foster, and removed from there to Rockland. He commenced with comparatively nothing, but by honest industry and a strict attention to business, has not only accumulated a fair competency, but by fair dealing has gained the confidence and respect of his many customers. There are others engaged in the wheel-wright business, and their reputation for the excellence of their work is justly merited.
Cotton-mills, Rockland, erected about the year 1812, by Joshua Smith, Frank Hill, and others. There were several additions made to the original mill, and it subsequently passed into the hands of other parties. It was run by the Messrs. Smith, Hill, and others, for several years in the manufacture of cotton-yarn. Timothy Greene purchased it in 1822, and it was subsequently sold to Mr. Charles Hadwin, who put in looms, and began the manufacture of cotton cloth. Caleb Earl purchased it in 1834. It passed in rapid succession through the hands of several parties, until the year 1854, when the entire stock, machinery, store, &c., were burned.
Thomas Remington and Isaac Saunders bought the estate, and rebuilt the main building in 1856. Leased it to A. O. Steere in the same year, who put in the machinery, and continued the manufacture of cotton-cloth until the year 1863, when Alanson Steere purchased the interest of his brother, and has continued the business until the present time. In 1865, Mr. Steere purchased the real estate; and, in 1875, he built extensive additions, and added considerable new machinery. Capacity, about seventy-five horse-power; contains one hundred and thirty-one looms, and turns out about forty-two hundred yards per day; employs some sixty hands, two-thirds of whom are females. It is situated on the West Connaug branch of the Pawtuxet River, in the southwesterly part of the town of Scituate. Post-office address, Rockland, R. I.
Red Mill, Rockland, erected about the year 1814, or '15, by Peter B. and Peleg C. Remington, who ran it for several years in the manufacture of cotton-yarn. It was run by other parties until 1840, when it was destroyed by fire; rebuilt by the same parties, and leased to John D. Burgess, who put in new machinery, and run it up to 1863, when it passed into other hands. In 1864, it was leased to Alanson Steere, who made some additions, and filled it with new machinery, and now runs it in connection with his own mill in the manufacture of cotton-cloth. Capacity, about forty horse-power; contains sixty looms, and employs about thirty hands. Turns out some twenty-one hundred yards per day. Mr. Steere acts as superintendent of both mills, and in spite of the depression of the times is doing a safe and profitable business. Mr. Steere has a son engaged in the mercantile business at Rockland, with Albert N. Luther. They are both young men, reliable and energetic, and command the confidence and respect of the citizens by their strict attention to business and fair dealing.
Remington Mill, Rockland, erected by Thomas Remington in the year 1831, started, with thirty-six looms, in the manufacture of cotton-cloth. About the year 1840, an addition was built, and twelve looms added. In 1845, it was leased to Barden & Manchester, for ten years. Mr. Manchester soon after died, and the business was carried on by Mr. Barden until the expiration of the lease. It was then started by Thomas F. Remington again, and continued until the war broke out, when he stopped manufacturing entirely. The machinery has since been removed, and the building occupied for the manufacture of shoddy, &c., until about four years ago, when it was closed, and, at present, remains idle. The estate is now owned by Miss Mary A. Remington, who resides in the city of Providence.
Clayville Mills, erected about the year 1837, by Josiah Whitaker, and used as a comb shop. He continued in the business about ten years, when it was altered over into a rubber-mill for the manufacture of rubber shoes, &c. It was altered into a cotton-mill about 1853. It was burned in 1857, with the entire machinery, stock, tools, &c. It was immediately rebuilt, and used as a cotton-mill. The lower mill was subsequently built, to run in connection with it, by the same parties, and both were leased to Mr. Lindsey Jourdan for a term of years. Before the expiration of the lease, Mr. Jourdan bought both mills. He died in November, 1865, and his estate continued to run them for about ten years; since that time the estate has been settled, May 26, 1875, and the mills have been owned and run by Mr. Charles W. Jourdan. The two mills have a capacity of one hundred and twenty horse-power, contain one hundred and eight looms, and employ seventy-five hands. Its present owner acts as superintendent and present agent. D. Remington & Son are the selling agents. In connection with these mills, Mr. Jourdan also has a farm of one hundred and eighty-five acres.
Richmond Mill, erected in 1812, by a company of twelve or fifteen persons. Before going into operation, however, they sold it to Messrs. Bullock, Richmond & Andrews. They run the mill until 1840, when they leased it. It afterwards passed through various hands, and, in January, 1877, was destroyed by fire. The property then passed into the possession of William E. Joslin, who rebuilt in the spring of 1877. It has a capacity of sixty horse-power, and contains some five hundred or more braiding machines engaged in the manufacture of shoe and corset lacings. This mill is entirely new, and presents a very fine appearance. It will add materially to the business interests of Richmond, and, under the successful management of its present proprietor, it is assured of success in the future.
Benjamin F. Joslin, a son of Robert Joslin, was born in Johnston, Aug. 30, 1844. He early developed a marked degree of inventive genius, and, had he lived, would undoubtedly have distinguished himself in the production of many useful and valuable inventions. When but sixteen years of age, his remarkable genius displayed itself in the production of a power-machine for putting tips on shoe and corset lacings. This was the first machine of the kind run by power. He also invented the simple process of cutting the pointed tips, and several other improvements in various kinds of machinery. Among manufacturers and mechanics he was universally acknowledged as possessing extraordinary mechanical genius, and high hopes were entertained for the development of his abilities in the future. But these hopes were destined to a bitter disappointment, when, stricken by disease, the unwelcome messenger of death arrested the brilliant genius, and the hopes and aspirations of parents and friends were buried in the tomb that sepulchres the remains of the loved. He died in the town of Scituate, March 31, 1875, leaving a large circle of friends to mourn the loss of one, who, although young in years, had exhibited such marked abilities, and, by his genial ways and affable manners, had endeared himself to all who knew him. His venerable father and mother, in retrospection, behold a life of virtue, industry, and filial obedience, while they contemplate the future with an abiding faith in the ultimate destiny of their child, and embalm in their heart's purest affection the life and memory of the departed.
Wilbur's Turning-Works. Erected in the year 1818, by Samuel Wilbur; was run and occupied by him until 1853. Benjamin Wilbur, his son, succeeded him in the business, and continued to run it until 1865, when he removed the old building and used it as an engine-house. In the above year, he rebuilt, superseding the old structure with a new and more capacious building, and continued in the manufacture of bobbins and spools. Oct. 13, 1876, it was destroyed by fire, together with tools, machinery, and stock. Immediately after the fire, Mr. Wilbur moved across the road, and rebuilt a place formerly owned by Mr. Robert Knight, making quite an extensive addition to the former building, suitable for the employment of fifteen to twenty men. Its capacity is about twenty-five horse-power, and does a business of from fifteen to twenty thousand dollars a year. In connection with his machinery, Mr. Wilbur has a farm of about fifty acres, cuts from twelve to fifteen tons of hay per year, and keeps from three to five head of horses, and other stock usually kept on a farm.
Moses Potter & Sons' Turning-Works. Erected in 1847, by Moses Potter, Sr., now deceased. The business is now carried on by Moses Potter, Jr., & Sons. Its capacity is about eighteen horse-power, employs eight men, and does a business of eight to ten thousand dollars a year. Manufactures bobbins and spools, and the style and quality of their goods, is unsurpassed by any like institution.
Steere's Shoe and Corset Lacing Factory, South Scituate. Erected about the year 1826, by Daniel Fisk, who carried on the business of making axles, scythes, spindles, &c. He continued in the business until 1855, and then sold the entire property to Mr. Asel D. Steere, who is its present owner. Occupied by Mr. Steere for twenty-two years in the manufacture of carriages, and, more recently, in the manufacture of shoe and corset lacings. It was burned in June, 1877. Its owner, however, intends to rebuild during the present season. Mr. Steere is also engaged quite extensively in the carriage, harness, and robe trade, keeping constantly on hand a full supply of all kinds of horse furnishing-goods; also deals in fine coach and road horses. He is also interested, at Lippitt, as a dealer in horses and carriages, and owns the hotel and stables at Fiskville.
Elmdale Mills. Erected about the year 1840, by Asel Harris. It was leased to Daniel Smith, for the manufacture of cotton-yarns, who conducted the business several years. It was subsequently leased to Darius Lawton for a woollen-mill. It was afterwards leased to A. W. Harris, and, after a few years, he bought the entire property. The two lower floors have been used for the manufacture of spindles, fliers, rings, &c., and the upper floors for the manufacture of cotton-yarn. It is not occupied at present. It has a capacity of about forty horse-power, and usually, when running, employs some thirty hands. Upon the same water-privilege, there is also a saw and grist mill. The Harrisdale Mill, formerly owned by Mr. A. W. Harris, was burned June 30, 1875. It was erected about the year 1845, by Asel W. Harris and A. W. Harris, who ran it under the firm-name of Asel W. Harris & Co., in the manufacture of print-cloths. A. W. Harris exchanged his half of the above property for the Elmdale Mill. In connection with the mill, Mr. Harris has a large and beautiful farm, which is under excellent cultivation.
Scituate Manufacturing Company's Mill, North Scituate. This company was incorporated January, 1834. One mill is located at North Scituate, the other at Ashton, about three miles down the stream. This is an excellent water-privilege, although steam is used in connection with it. The capital of the company is $160,000. Capacity of the mill is about nine thousand spindles, two hundred looms, with an annual production of two million yards of 64 x 64 print-cloths. The mill at North Scituate, was formerly superintended by Isaac Cowee, who has been in the employ of the company for nearly forty years, a fact that illustrates his peculiar fitness and integrity of character. He was recently superseded by Henry F. Nichols, under whose supervision the mill is at present conducted. The mill at Ashton has been, for years, under the superintendency of Mr. Allen, a gentleman, in every way worthy of the confidence and respect thus extended toward him by members of the corporation. The company have an office at No. 56 Westminster Street, Providence. Horatio Rogers, Treasurer.
Turning and Grist Mill, Kent's Corners. Erected in 1873, by A. B. Cahoon, and used as a bobbin and spool factory, and also as a grist-mill. Capacity, twenty-five horse-power, and, when running, usually employs from six to eight men, and does a business of eight to ten thousand dollars per year. It is run by the Angell iron water-wheel, fifteen inch, which is one of the best of their manufacture. It was here that Mr. Alanson Steere commenced his manufacturing, in the year 1836, by the purchase of a saw-mill upon this site, which he converted into a cotton-mill. His brother went into company with him, and they commenced business under the firm-name of A. & O. Steere. They manufactured cotton-warp for about ten years, when they sold the property to Ralph & Field, who continued in the business a few years, when the mill and machinery were destroyed by fire. It was subsequently purchased by Mr. A. B. Cahoon, who, in 1873, rebuilt it, as above.
Rhode Island was, from the start, tolerant of all Protestant religions, allowing the freest utterance of doctrine; from which cause, she attracted settlers professing various faiths and creeds. The Friends, or Quakers, had a church burned at Scituate before the Revolution, showing how early they began to erect church edifices. At this early date, the Quakers and Baptists were by far the most numerous, but, of late, owing to the decline of membership, the Friends, or Quakers, have been nearly extinct. However, they, at one time, embraced in their membership some of the most distinguished citizens of the town. Their first church was erected on land donated by Gideon Harris, in what is known as the 'Old Bank', and was supposed to have been accidentally burned.
The Six-Principle Baptist Church, South Scituate. Constituted in 1725, and receiving a grant of land near the centre of the town, they erected a meeting-house thereon the following year. Samuel Fisk was ordained pastor, and Benjamin Fisk, deacon, in 1727, by Elders Brown, Morse, and Martin. James Colvin was ordained colleague with Elder Fisk, about the year 1738. Elder Fisk died in the year 1744. Hezekiah Fisk was ordained to the deacon's office in 1750. Elder Colvin sustained his pastoral office with much zeal and ability until the year 1755, at which time he died. The church was then left unprovided for, but Deacon Fisk occasionally preached to the people until 1762. Reuben Hopkins was then ordained pastor, and continued his pastoral labors with great diligence and acceptance to his congregation. One day, while in the exercise of his sacred duties, he was suddenly attacked with indisposition of body, and, supporting his tottering frame by holding on to the desk, he continued his discourse for nearly half an hour, when he fell, exhausted, into his chair. He was taken home, and soon expired; and thus did this aged servant of God pass away, after a life spent in the service of the church he loved, and among a people he venerated. Elder Wescott then officiated occasionally as its pastor, attending funerals, weddings, &c. Soon after, the old church was replaced by a new and more commodious edifice, which now remains, in good repair, and is well attended. Its present pastor is Elder James Jacques. Solomon Franklin and Benjamin Wilbur are its present deacons. The church and its ministry now, as in the past, exert a beneficial influence upon the town. For upwards of a hundred years, this church has steadily maintained its faith in, and practice of, the six principles of Christ's doctrine, upon which it was founded.
Congregational Church, North Scituate. Organized Jan. 1, 1834. A house of worship was dedicated in the same year, and is now standing, and in good repair. Service is held every Sabbath, although the congregation is small. Its pastors have been: Revs. Benjamin Allen, Charles P. Grosvenor, Benjamin J. Relyea, James Hall, Charles C. Beaman, Thomas Williams, Loring P. Marsh, J. N. H. Dow, William A. Fobes, J. M. Wilkins, Thomas L. Ellis, and J. H. Mellish, who is the present incumbent. All these are now living, with the exception of Rev. Messrs. Allen and Ellis. There is a small Sabbath school in connection with the church, and its influence for good is felt in the town, and the progress of the church knows no hindrance, and gives fair promise to continue.
Freewill Baptist Church, North Scituate. Gathered Jan. 7, 1832, as a branch of the Smithfield Freewill Baptist Church. It had thirty-two members, with Rev. Reuben Allen as pastor. The church was organized in April, 1835, with thirty members. Their pastors have been: Revs. Martin J. Steere, Eli Noyes, D. P. Cilley, Reuben Allen, J. B. Sergeant, John Chanly, Amos Redlow, William H. Bowen, O. H. True, J. M. Brewster, and L. P. Bickford. All but Rev. Messrs. Allen, Noyes and Cilley, are now living. A small Sabbath school is connected with the church, and both still continue their regular Sabbath services, and are in a prosperous condition. In the northwest part of the town there is another Free Baptist Church, and has been in existence for a long time. They have a comfortable house of worship.
Christian Union Church, Kent's Corners. Organized March 7, 1877, as the 'Christian Union Church of Scituate'. Rev. Daniel R. Knight was chosen pastor. He filled the sacred duties of his pastoral charge but once, when he was taken sick, and died soon after. In consequence of the sudden decease of Mr. Knight, the society is at present unprovided for. Fenner Kent, Clerk, and Lyman A. Knight, Treasurer.
There is also a Sabbath school connected with the church, with Lyman A. Knight as Superintendent, Treasurer and Collector; Fenner Kent, Assistant Superintendent; Mary A. Knight, Librarian. It has an average attendance of twenty to twenty-five.
Methodist Churches. One, established at Richmond, as also an Episcopal Church some years ago, which had quite an extensive membership; also, one at Ashland, and another at Hope, erected a few years ago since by the Hope Manufacturing Company. All these churches have a fair membership, hold services on the Sabbath, and are in a prosperous and flourishing condition.