The Town of East Greenwich dates from 1677, having been incorporated October 31st of that year. In June, 1678, the name of the town was changed to that of Dedford, but the former name was restored in 1689.
The boundaries of the township were nearly the same as at present, with the exception of the western line, which extended further than the present line runs. The settlement of the village was begun at an early period after the incorporation of the township. The excellence and safety of the harbor was a strong inducement for men of energy and business habits to settle on its shores.
At the General Assembly held for the Colony at Newport, May, 1667, it was
"Ordered that a certain tract of land in some convenient place in the Narragansett country, shall be laid forth into one hundred acre shares, with the house lots, for the accommodation of so many of the inhabitants of this Colony as stand in need of land, and the General Assembly shall judge fit to be supplied.
"In pursuance of said act of the General Assembly, this present court do enact and declare, that the said tract of land be forthwith laid forth to contain five thousand acres, which shall be divided as follows: Five hundred acres to be laid in some place near the sea, as commodious as may be for a town, which said five hundred acres, shall be divided into fifty equal shares or great divisions, and that each person hereafter named and admitted by this Assembly, to land in the said tract, shall have and enjoy to him and his heirs and assigns forever, in manner and form and under the conditions hereafter expressed, one of the said house lots, and one great division, containing in the whole one hundred acres.
"And further this Assembly do enact, order and declare, for the services rendered during King Philip's war, the persons here named that is to say:
James Eyles Pearce
In the year 1709 the boundaries of East Greenwich were enlarged by an addition of thirty-five thousand acres of land on our western border, which this old deed will show was acquired by purchase:
"Know all men by these presents, that we Weston CLARKE and Randal HOLDEN, Richard GREENE and Philip TILLINGHAST being a Committee appointed and fully empowered by the Governor and Company of this her Majesties Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations to dispose and make Saile of the vacant lands in the Narragansett country belonging to said Colony, have for and in consideration of the sum of One Thousand and one hundred pounds Current Money of New England in hand already well and truly paid to us who have Received the same, in behalf and for the use of the Governor and Company aforesaid of and at the hands of Benjamin BARTON, Thomas FRY, James CARDER, John SPENCER, Benjamin GREENE, Pardon TILLINGHAST, John WATERMAN, Thomas NICHOLS, John NICHOLS, Malachy ROADS, James GREENE and Simon SMITH, all inhabitants of Warwick and East Greenwich in the Colony above said, have bargained, sold conferred, made and passed over from the Governor and Company aforesaid, and their successors forever a certain tract or parcell of land being part of the vacant lands belonging to this Colony, lying in the Narragansett Country, within the Jurisdiction of this Colony, westward of East Greenwich, butted and bounded on the north by Warwick's south bounds; bounded on the East by East Greenwich bounds, and JONES his purchase bounded on the South beginning at the Southwest corner of JONES his purchase and so to run due West, parallel with Warwick's South bounds aforementioned until it comes to the Colony line that divides this Colony from Connecticut Colony, and bounded on the West by the said dividing line between said Colonys, containing by Estimation, thirty-five thousand acres, be the same more or less, all which together with the priviliges and appertanences within the bounds abovesaid we have sold as abovesaid unto the afore named persons, to them and every of them, their and every of their heirs, Executors and Administrators, and assigns forever jointly and severally to have and to hold forever the which we will warrant forever against the Governor and Company of the Colony above said and their successors or any other person or persons whatsoever lawfully laying claim to the above bargained premises or any part or parcel thereof, by, through or under them the said Governor and Company or their successors under what pretence sover, in witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seales this thirtieth day of June, in the eighth year of her Majesties reign Ann by the grace of God queen of Great Brittain, Ireland and France, Anno que Domini Nostri, 1709.
"Signed, sealed and delivered
in the presence of us,
"The day and year above written the Committee acknowledged this to be their act and deed before me,
John ELDRED, Clerk."
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