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History of Woonsocket
by E. Richardson
Woonsocket: S. S. Foss, Printer, Patriot Building, Main Street, 1876.

page before introduction (not numbered):

STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, Etc. In general Assembly, January Session, A. D. 1876.

Joint Resolution of the Celebration of the Centennial in the several Cities and Towns.

Resolved, the House of Representatives concurring therein, that in accordance with the recommendation of the National Congress, the Governor be requested to invite the people of the several towns and cities of the State, to assemble in their several localities on the approaching Centennial Anniversary of our National Independence, and cause to have delivered on that day an Historical Sketch of said town or city from its formation, and to have one copy of said sketch, in print or in manuscript, filed in the clerk's office of said town or city, one copy in the office of the Secretary of State, and one copy in the office of the Librarian of Congress, to the intent that a complete record may thus be obtained of the progress of our institutions during the First Centennial of their existence; and that the Governor be requested to communicate this invitation forthwith to the several Town and City Councils in the State.

I certify the foregoing to be a true copy of a resolution passed by the General Assembly of the State aforesaid, on the 20th day of April, A. D. 1876 Witness my hand and the Seal of the State, this 27th day of April, A. D. 1876.
Joshua M. Addeman, Secretary of State.

State of Rhode Island.
Executive Department.

Providence, April 27, 1876
To the Honorable Town Council of the Town of Woonsocket.

I have the honor herewith to enclose a duly certified copy of a Resolution passed by the towns and cities of the State, to assemble in their several localities on the approaching Centennial Anniversary of our National Independence, and cause to have delivered on such day an Historical Sketch of said town of city from its formation.

By pursuing the course suggested by the Resolution of the General Assembly, the people of the State will derive an amount of information which will be invaluable to the present generation, as showing the wonderful progress of the several towns and cities since their foundation.

It will also be of great value to future generations when the materials for such sketches, now accessible, will have been lost or destroyed by accident, or become more or less effaced and illegible from time.

Therefore, in pursuance of the request of the General Assembly, I respectfully and earnestly, through you, invite the people of your town to carry out the contemplated celebration of the Fourth day of July next.

Henry Lippitt, Governor.

Copy of a Resolution passed by the Town Council of Woonsocket, June 8, 1876.  In pursuance of chapter 565 of the Public Laws, passed at the May Session, 1876, by the General Assembly of the State, RESOLVED:  That a sum not to exceed $825 be appropriated for a proper celebration of the approaching Anniversary of our National Independence, and also for the purpose of printing and putting into book form the "History of the Town", as prepared by Erastus Richardson, Esq., said sum to be expended under the direction of the following committee:  George A. Wilbur, John H. Sherman, George S. Read, Amos Sherman and L. C. Tourtellot.

It moved down Clinton street, through Cross and Main streets, returning to Market Square; then through Bernon, Bridge and Greene streets, and through Centre Avenue to the Grove, where the literary exercises were held.  The order of exercises at the Grove was as follows:

Prayer by Rev. Mr. Talbot.
Reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Recitative and Chorus.

After which the line reformed and marched to 'Liberty Hall'.  (This was a spare room in a new mill of Mr. Edward Harris.)  Here the guests, consisting of about six hundred ladies and gentlemen, partook of a collation.  After the feast came the toasts and the speeches.  The exciting theme of the day was the Temperance question, and King Alcohol and the late King George were berated with extraordinary vehemence.  The toast master was Colonel Edward H. Sprague, without whom no literary exercise in Woonsocket, in those days, was complete.  The thirteen regular toasts were as follows, each being accompanied, of course, with pertinent and pointed remarks:

  1. 'The Event and the Day which we Celebrate.'
  2. 'The Constitution.'
  3. 'The President of the United States.'
  4. 'The Army and Navy.
  5. 'Agriculture, Manufacturers and Commerce.'
  6. 'The White Banner of Temperance.'
  7. 'The Public Schools of New England.'
  8. The Memory of Washington.'
  9. 'The Surviving Soldiers of the Revolution.'
10. 'Liberty of Conscience.'
11. 'The American Flag.'
12. 'Rhode Island.'
13. 'Our Fair Countrywomen.'

After which came volunteer toasts by the guests.  That of Colonel Tourtellot bore off the palm, and was: 'Rhode Island - Small in territory and in nothing else.'  L. W. Ballou (now our Hon. Representative in Congress) was present, and gave one of his characteristic addresses, which then, as now, was received with respect and applause.

The next grand celebration in Woonsocket was in 1848, and occurred (by the way) on the same day of the week as that of this Centennial year (Tuesday).  The chief marshal was Colonel Arnold Briggs.  The place of the literary exercises and of the collation, the reader of the Declaration and the toast master, were the same as before.  But the orator was a young man who has since become widely known throughout Rhode Island, and to whom I am largely indebted, not only for much valuable historic material, but for many other favors of a personal nature - I refer to Hon. Thomas Steere.  The oration received the applause which it merited, and was referred to by the press in flattering terms.  At the banquet were the thirteen regular toasts and the customary speeches.  The wit of the day was P. P. Todd, Esq.   Two of his toasts given on the occasion are worth preserving:  'Thomas Steere, the orator of the day, though a Steere in years, he is a real ox for Fourth of July celebrations.'   'Henry Clay (the country's Harry) and Edward Harris (our Harry) - the one in favor of home producers, the other ever ready to furnish this hall for home consumers.'   In the evening there were fire-works, given on rafts anchored on the Bernon Pond.

There have been many celebrations in Woonsocket quite worthy of mention, but I pass on to that of last year.  This was quite unique in its character, and partook more of the nature of a fair than of a celebration.  But as it was a sort of introduction to the Grand National Centennial Celebration, our citizens were enthusiastic in its observance.  The exercises took place on the farm of Mr. Rensalier A. Jillson.  It was gotten up by the ladies for the purpose of raising money in furtherance of the national project.  The President was Mrs. Cyrus Arnold, assisted by almost every other woman in town.  After the 'clam-bake', which was served in a capacious tent, came the literary exercises, which were conducted by Hon. L. W. Ballou.  The Declaration was read by Charles F. Ballou.  The oration was given by Erastus Richardson, and was in rhyme.  Following the 'Centennial Epic' were eloquent and stirring speeches by Hon. L. W. Ballou, Rev. F. Denison, Colonel Amos Sherman, Colonel James W. Smyth, Hon. A. J. Elwell, Hon. Thomas Steere, Edwin Metcalf, Esq., and Rev. C. J. White.  Between the addresses the Glee Club enlivened the occasion with spirited and appropriate songs.

p. 5 - 7:


Among the requirements of the American citizen, is that of celebrating the natal day of his Country's Independence.  It being a requirement which requires no sacrifice, it is generally performed with commendable zeal.  He may be remiss in the discharge of many other of his obligations as a freeman and a patriot, but the observance of the Fourth of July is seldom overlooked.  He must either see or participate in a parade of some kind; and if he is denied the ecstasy in his own neighborhood, he seeks it elsewhere.

The first public demonstration in Woonsocket, that is worthy of mention, took place in 1833.  The literary exercises were held in the Baptist Meeting House.  The dinner was eaten and the toasts drank in the Woonsocket Hotel, then kept by Mr. Cephas Holbrook.  The orator of the day was Christopher Robinson.  That there was the requisite amount of 'spread eagle' in this oration of Mr. Robinson, I have no doubt, for at that period the American people required it in large doses at their Fourth of July celebrations.  But I am equally confident that his oratorical flights were tempered with wit, good judgment and learning, for in all the town, State and national affairs in which our distinguished townsman has been a prominent actor during his long and useful life, these have been his distinguishing traits.

The next celebration in Woonsocket was what is remembered to this day as the 'Roaring Celebration'.  This occurred in 1835, and was indeed a 'roaring celebration', for reasons which the dignity of history prevents me from recording.  The literary exercises were held in the Episcopal Meeting House.  Jonathan E. Arnold was orator of the day.  A booth was erected on Arnold street, where the toasts were to be drank.  Tristam Burgess and Henry Y. Cranston were present.  The guests had comfortably seated themselves in the 'booth', Tristam Burgess had just arisen to respond to a toast, when a storm suddenly arose, and the company adjourned in a hurry to the Woonsocket Hotel, then kept by Messrs. Whitcomb Brothers.  The rooms were close, and the wine flowed freely.  Many of the guests rolled under the table; and one of them jumped on top of the table, and sang the 'Star Spangled Banner'.

In 1838 there was another 'glorious' celebration.  The oration was given by Edward  H. Sprague in the Baptist Meeting House, and the Declaration was read by Christopher Robinson.  The dinner and toasts were discussed in a vacant room of a building owned by Messrs. W. & L. A. Cook, on Main Street.  It was at this celebration that a certain dignified citizen of the village honored the American Eagle with a toast and a speech which brought down the house.  The escort duty to these celebrations was performed by the Bellingham Rifles, under the command of Abiram Wales, assisted by Lieutenant Landers.

In 1846 occurred what is remembered to this day as the 'Temperance Celebration'.  The church bells were rung at sunrise and sunset, and during the day the usual national salutes were fired.  At ten o'clock a procession was formed on Market Square by Lyman A. Cook, Chief Marshal, assisted by Arnold Briggs and Peleg W. Lippitt.  The line was as follows:

Chief Marshal.
United Brass Band.
Woonsocket Guards.
President (John Boyden, Jr.)  Chaplain (Rev. Mr. Talbot).
Orator (James W. Smith).  Reader (L. W. Ballou).
Vice-Presidents: (Samuel Greene, George S. Wardwell, Samuel F. Man, Eli
Pond, Jr., George C. Ballou, Nelson Jenckes and Dr. H. A. Potter).
Committee of Arrangements.
Revolutionary Pensioners.
Members of General Assembly.
Town Councils of Smithfield and Cumberland.
Other Town Officers.
Martha Washington Society.
Woonsocket Total Abstinence Society.
Hamlet Temperance Society.
Woonsocket Young Men's Temperance Society.
Woonsocket Fire Department.
Odd Fellows.
Delegation from Neighboring Towns.
Citizens and Strangers.

p. 8 - 10:

Finally comes the Grand Centennial Celebration of 1876.  This celebration of the Fourth of July began on the 3d.  There was probably more noise put into a given space on the eve of the Fourth than was ever before accomplished in the same period since the settlement of Northern Rhode Island.  Tin horns were tooted, cannon fired, Roman candles and sky-rockets were sent up in all directions, houses were illuminated, and a grand torch-light procession of our firemen, headed by the Cornet Band, paraded the streets.  On the morning of the Fourth, the Antiques and Horribles, under the command of Grand Mogul Frank M. Cornell, came out in full force and costume.  It was the most horrible display that ever limped and hobbled through a civilized community.  The grand civic and military procession moved from Greene street about ten o'clock A. M., passing direct to Cold Stpring Grove, where the literary exercises were held.  The procession was as follows:

Platoon of Police, in charge of Sergeant Allen
Chief Marshal L. C. Tourtellot.

First Division.
Aids: Captain Charles M. Arnold and Major S. H. Brown.
Woonsocket Cornet Band, B. W. Nichols leader, twenty-five pieces.
Escort:  Co. A, Third Battalion, John R. Waterhouse commanding, twenty-nine muskets.
Committee of Arrangements.
Reader of the Declaration of Independence.
President of the Day and Chaplain.
Honorable Town Council, Senator, and Representatives of General Assembly.
Members of Congress, Clergy of the Town and vicinity.
Disabled Soldiers.
Thirty-eight Young Ladies, representing the States of the Union.
St. John Society, Jos. Danis, President, seventy members.

Second Division.
Division Marshal, Michael Baggan.
Aids:  William Powers and Daniel Ahearn.
Union Brass Band, twenty-five pieces, Professor Leavy leader.
National Flags.
Civic Societies: Temperance Cadets, fifty members.
Father Mathew Temperance Society, thirty members.
No. 2, Benevolent Aid Society, fifty members.
A Jaunting Car, in which five Young Ladies represented the four Provinces of Ireland and the Goddess of Liberty.
No. 3, Shamrock Society, forty members.
No. 4, Ancient Order of Hibernians, eighty members.
No. 5, Christian Doctrine Society, forty-five members.

Third Division.
Marshal:  Frank Cornell.  Aid: O. Roberts.
Woonsocket Steamer Co. No. 1, Richard Barnett captain, twenty members, with machine trimmed with evergreen and a profusion of flags and flowers, two large flags bearing dates, representing 1776 and 1876.
Social Steamer Co. No. 2, James Pickford foreman, eighteen members, with machine trimmed with red, white and blue, and a beautiful bouquet of flowers in smoke stack.
Old Rotary, dated 1825.
Elliott Hook and Ladder Co., fifteen members, William H. Smith captain.
And a long Line of Citizens in carriages and on foot.

Arriving at the Grove, where platforms had been erected for those who took part in the exercises, the Choir, consisting of one hundred voices, assisted by the Cornet Band, and under the direction of Prof. S. N. Lougee, sang 'Old Hundred' with grand effect.  After which, Judge George A. Wilbur, chairman of the Committee of Arrangements, introduced the Hon. Francello G. Jillson, President of the Town Council, as President of the Day, who opened the exercises by saying:

'Fellow Citizens:  -- I congratulate you upon being permitted to witness this centennial anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the thirteen Colonies, upon which Declaration was founded our national existence and Government, and from which thirteen Colonies have arisen thirty-eight great, powerful and wealthy States, bound together for each other's welfare and protection - then rebels, now one of the most powerful nations of the globe.  Representatives of the various nations of the earth have assembled to-day in the very city and upon the very spot where that memorable Declaration was adopted and signed, to congratulate us as a nation upon our successful existence and wonderful progress, at the same time exhibiting to us as peace-offerings the products of their lands, industry and skill.  Therefore, it is indeed fitting that the people of these United States should assemble together in their various towns and cities, and thank the God of nations for the protection, guidance and progress which He has vouchsafed to us in the past hundred years, and pray for the continuance of His favor and blessing in the century upon which we now enter; to review our history, both as a nation and as towns and cities; to take fresh courage, and strengthen and enlarge our purpose for the coming years; but, above all, to thank God that we are now in very deed united, free and independent, and that not the clank of the chains of a single slave is now heard within our borders, but all, whether of high or low estate, equally enjoy the rights of personal liberty.  Let us, therefore, attend with reverent hearts to prayer by the Chaplain of the Day, Rev. J. E. Hawkins.'

After the prayer by the Chaplain of the Day, the Choir sang the 'Angel of Peace'.

Mr. Jillson then followed with an eloquent and stirring speech, in which he briefly recounted some of the Revolutionary scenes in which our State took an active part.  He then introduced Colonel Henry Holbrook Robinson, the reader of the Declaration of Independence, who put a meaning and a soul into his rendering of this immortal document which awakened a thrill in the breasts of all.

p. 10 - 12.

An original piece, entitled 'Columbia's Flag', composed by Prof. Spencer Lane for the occasion, was then sung, and received a well-merited applause.

Next came the oration by Erastus Richardson, which consisted of extracts from the following 'History'.

After the oration the 'Centennial Hymn' was sung, and the exercises at the Grove were closed with benediction by Rev. J. L. Miller.  The line then reformed, and completed the route of march to THE SOLDIERS' MONUMENT.

The young ladies representing the thirty-eight States of the Union encircled it, and the various organizations, civic and military, massed.  The Hon. Latimer W. Ballou, M. C., was called upon by the President, and taking position at the base, said that it was very appropriate that on this day we should come here and gather about the monument, in memory of those who had given their lives for freedom, and acknowledge that all are now equal, with no East, no West, no North, no South.  He was glad that on this occasion it had been deemed appropriate that the young and beautiful should come and sing songs of praise.  He hoped that on the Fourth of July, 1976, the country will bear the same relative progress in wealth, prosperity and greatness that the present bears to 1776.  The young ladies then united in singing 'America', accompanied by the Cornet Band, with impressive effect, after which Chief Marshal Tourtellot announced the parade dismissed.


Social Steamer Co., No. 2, Captain James Pickford, invited Steamer No. 1 and Elliot Hook and Ladder Co. to a grove near their engine-house, where a model Rhode Island clam-bake was enjoyed by the firemen and families, with the Board of Engineers and a few friends as invited guests.  Some two hundred sat down at the long tables, which were laden with a tempting display of native bivalves in every conceivable shape, with fruit and ice-cream as a sequel.  After justice was done to this pleasant episode of the day, an hour was given over to greetings, song and sentiment, and the bond of unison and fraternal love was firmly cemented.  The Woonsocket Guards, and invited guests, dined at the Woonsocket Hotel, and made merry for an hour or more in an informal, social way.  The Mitchel Guards had a target-shoot on the island, and participated in the merry scenes at the picnic.  The picnic by the societies of St. Charles parish was very liberally patronized, some two thousand people attending, and a series of athletic sports kept up the interest till dark.  Among the attractions was a base-ball contest, in which the Oceans, of Providence, defeated the Mutuals, of this town - 13 to 4.  Excellent order was maintained, and all who attended seemed to regard the picnic as the most enjoyable of any ever held in town.


In the evening were a disappointment to some who did not take position near enough to fully enjoy the display, but the programme was carried out, terminating with a huge bonfire that lit up the country for miles around.


it may not be amiss to say that the Committee of Arrangements - Judge George A. Wilbur, Major George S. Read, Councilman J. H. Sherman, Colonel Amos Sherman and General L. C. Tourtellot - are entitled to much consideration for their faithful, successful and gratuitous services.

The following was the Introduction to the Historical Sketch:

'Two hundred years have rolled away since the axe of the pioneer first broke the solitude of these regions.  While the first settlers were erecting their rude cabins and struggling with Nature to unveil her hidden charms, King Philip, with the remnant of his tribe, was marching up the Valley of the Blackstone, on his terrible mission of revenge.

A century passed.  The red-skinned enemy had long since ceased to be an object of terror, and the red-coated enemy was just making his appearance.  In the meantime, a saw-mill, a corn-mill, an iron-mill and a meeting-house had found a nestling-place among these hills; the hum of the spinning-wheel and the clink of the farmer's scythe upon the meadow had hushed the war-whoop of the savage, and the nucleus of a busy hamlet had taken root in these parts.

Another century.  The spinning-wheel is draped with cobwebs in the ancient attic; the scythe hangs rusting upon the dying apple-tree; the meadow is submerged beneath the waters of the river; the busy hamlet has outlived its usefulness, and a new order of things has been inaugurated.

Amid the strange events which have crowded themselves into the last two centuries, Woonsocket has played no unimportant part.  In the political, the industrial, the religious and the educational questions which have arisen from time to time, her voice has not been silent, and her influence has not been powerless.

It will therefore, be a pleasant and a profitable task to trace the progress of our busy hamlet from its rude beginning to its present incompleteness.' [end - introduction.]

p. 13 - 14.



About the year 1641 a company was formed at Weymouth, Mass., consisting of the Rev. Samuel Newman* and a part of his congregation.  They purchased a tract of land of Massasoit, and three or four years afterwards removed to their new purchase, which at the time was called 'Seacuncke', which being interpreted, means 'Black Goose' - a name applied by the Indians to the locality from occasional settlers on the adjacent river, rather than the Rev. Mr. Newman and his flock.  Here around** the Great Plain (Seekonk Plain) they erected their dwellings, with their meeting-house in the centre, and named their settlement after one of the cities of Edom - a name selected by Mr. Newman, for, said he, the Lord hath made room for us - the word Rehoboth being from the Hebrew work 'rehob', signifying a broadway, plateau or forum.

*Mr. Newman was born at Banbury, England, in 1600.  He was educated at Oxford, and began his ministry in his native country.  He emigrated to America, arriving at Dorchester about the year 1638.  The following year he removed to Weymouth, and about the year 1644 came to Rehoboth, where he passed the remainder of his days.  He died July 5, 1663.  He is spoken of as a 'deep student, an animated preacher, and an excellent and pious man'.  Among his works was a 'Concordance of the Bible', which far surpassed any that hitherto appeared, and was the basis of the celebrated 'Cambridge Concordance'.

**The proprietors first selected their lots, and erected their dwellings in a semi-circle, the circle opening towards Pawtucket, or Seekonk river, with their parsonage and meeting house in the centre.  The circle was called the 'Ring of the Town'.  It can still be seen in the present location of the houses, in an eastern view from the meeting house.

The first settlers of Rehoboth had pitched their tents in a barren spot.  Previous to their coming the Indians had so nearly exhausted the natural fertility of the soil, that after a short residence of about twenty years, they were forced to look about them for more fertile fields, on which to pasture their cattle and plant their corm.  Thereupon Capt. Thomas Willitt* was employed by the town, and empowered by the court, to make a new purchase from the natives.  This was consummated in 1661; and Wamsutta, the son of Massasoit, and brother of King Philip, yielded the large territory which was afterward known as the REHOBOTH NORTH PURCHASE.**

*This man deserved more than a passing notice.  He was born about the year 1610.  He arrived at Plymouth when in his twentieth year.  Previous to this he had spent the greater part of his life in Holland, where he acquired the intimate knowledge of the language, manners and customs of the inhabitants, which in after times made him 'so acceptable' to the Dutch of New York.  In 1647, he succeeded Miles Standish as military commander at Plymouth.  In 1651 he was elected one of the Governor's assistants, which office he retained fourteen years.  In 1660 he became an inhabitant of Rehoboth.  After the surrender of New York to the English in 1664, he was elected the first English Mayor of the city.  He was twice chosen to the position.  So much confidence had the Dutch in his integrity that he was by them chosen umpire to determine the disputed boundary between New York and New Haven.  He returned from New York to Rehoboth, where he passed the remainder of his days.  He died August 4, 1674.  His remains now lie buried and neglected, at the head of Bullock's Cove.  He was the original purchaser of the Taunton North Purchase (now Norton, Mansfield, and Easton), of Wollomonopaug (now Wrentham), and of the Rehoboth North Purchase.

**The description of this purchase is as follows:  From the bounds of Rehoboth ranging upon Pawtucket river, unto a place called Waweypounshag, the place where one BLACKSTONE sojourneth, and ranging along said river unto a place called Messanegtacaneh; and from this upon a straight line crossing through the woods unto the uttermost bounds of a place called Mamantapett or Wading River (probably the source of the Ten Mile River), and from said river one mile and a half upon an East line, and from thence upon a South line unto the bounds of the town of Rehoboth.

p. 14 - 17.

That portion of this territory which afterwards became Cumberland, was for many years 'in controversy' between Rhode Island and Massachusetts; indeed, the jurisdiction of the northern portion thereof, and which includes Eastern Woonsocket, is an open question even to this day.  To the ignorance and the carelessness of the English Sovereigns these troubles are mainly due.  Probably supposing that the Narraganett (Blackstone) river flowed due South, they bounded Plymouth Colony on the west side of the river, and Rhode Island on the cast by a line extending due North from the Pawtucket Falls to the southern line of Massachusetts.  They defined the southern line line of Massachusetts to be a line from a point 'three miles south of the southernmost waters of the Charles river', overlooking the difficulties which might arise were one party to construe the 'waters of the Charles river' to be the main stream, and another party to define them as the waters which ran into it.  As might have been anticipated, this carelessness resulted in Massachusetts claiming her southern line to be nearly as far south as where the village of Manville now is, and in Rhode Island claiming her northern line to be even further north than where it is now established.

But this dispute was not the source of much difficulty until about the year 1694, when the 'Rehoboth North Purchase' was incorporated into a township and named Attleborough.  It had then become thickly settled enough to reward the tax-gatherer for his annual visit, and the dispute begun in earnest.  The locality became famous as 'disputed territory', and was known as the 'Attleborough Gore'.  As the inhabitants of the 'Gore' were more in sympathy with their neighbors of Rhode Island, the officers from Massachusetts were frequently sent away with empty hands and with sore heads.  At the annual Rhode Island elections officers were appointed for the territory, which tended to increase the strife, and conveyances of real estate thereon were placed both upon the records of Rhode Island and of Massachusetts, containing the clause, the 'Gore of the land in controversy between Massachusetts Bay and Rhode Island'. *

*The deed of John Arnold to his son Anthony, given August 24, 1733, and which conveyed what is now the most valuable portion of our town, namely, the estates between Market and Monument Squares, reads as follows: 'Thirty acres in the township of Smithfield, on the cast of the Great River, and is a part of the Gore of land in controversy, etc.' (Smithfield Records, Book 1, page 72)

Whether the Rehoboth North Purchase extended as far north as Woonsocket, I shall not venture to discuss.  It is one of the many questions which have taxed the legal skill of centuries without avail, and I am content to leave it where it is - in the courts.  Committees were appointed from time to time by Rhode Island and Massachusetts to run our northern line.  On one of these was Richard Arnold, and on another was his son John, of whom I shall have much to say in succeeding chapters.  But the point, 'three miles south from the southernmost waters of the Charles river', could never be satisfactorily found, and thus the case rests to-day.  Petitions were frequently and numerously signed by the inhabitants of the 'Gore', praying to be set off to Rhode Island.  Indeed, in 1729 Attleborough herself prayed to become a member of our little colony.  At last, in 1746, by a decision of George II in Council, the 'Gore' was detached from Attleborough, annexed to the county of Providence, and named in honor of Prince William, Duke of CUMBERLAND.

The first election of officers for the new town of CUMBERLAND was made February 10, 1746-7.  For one hundred and thirty years the inhabitants of Woonsocket, who lived east of the river, participated in its annual elections, until at last they were permitted to set up housekeeping for themselves.  This act was consummated January 31st, 1867.

Although that portion of Woonsocket which lies east of the river is an offspring of old Cumberland, it is a curious fact that the territory which eventually became the property of the Arnold family, and which now comprises the chief business portion of the town, is now held under the Mendon instead of the Rehoboth proprietary.  Whether the lands were not deemed worth quarreling over, or whether the Mendonites had become too firmly fixed thereon to be easily removed, at all events, the claim of Mendon (Note: this word 'Mendon' is crossed out in pencil, and notated as 'Rehoboth' in this volume), if she ever made any, was never conceded, and MENDON* may now be fairly considered as the parent of the most valuable portion of Eastern Woonsocket.

*The Indian name for the large territory which afterwards became Mendon was Qunshapauge or Squnshopog.  It was purchased of the Indians by Moses Paine and Peter Brackett, of Braintree, April 22, 1662.  The consideration therefor was 24 pounds.  The witnesses to the instrument were John Elliott, sr., John Elliott, jr., and Daniel Weld.  The purchase was incorporated May 15, 1667, and May 12, 1670; the original purchasers assigned their rights to the selectmen of the town.

A line running nearly south from a stone now standing a little east of Jenckesville, to its intersection with the river near the Hamlet mills, was claimed by Mendon as its eastern boundary, and the river as its southern and western boundaries.  I will now briefly follow down the land titles of this territory from its original Mendon proprietors to the ARNOLD FAMILY.

p. 17 - 19.

May 19, 1669, the General Court at Boston granted two hundred acres of land to Samuel Chapin, of Springfield, for 'services rendered'.  From a plat of this estate, now in the archives at Boston - a copy of which was kindly furnished me by Dr. J. F. Metcalf, of Mendon - I judge this land to have been in the vicinity of the 'Falls'.  This man never came here to reside; and in 1716 the Court granted two hundred acres to his son, 'in lieu of the two hundred acres granted to his father.'  But I think that the first grant, or a portion of it, was retained in the possession of the Chapin family until November 15, 1710.  On that day Capt. Seth Chapin conveyed the following described estate to John Arnold:*

*I am indebted to Moses Roberts, Esq., for the original document.  It is copied among the papers of Suffolk Co., Mass., Book 65, page 31.

Forty-two acres and eighty rods, bounded on the east by the Great (alias the Nipmuck) River, by the saw-mill; southerly, upon said river; westerly, part on said river and part on land of Capt. Richard Arnold (the father of John); northerly on Common, by a direct line one hundred and twenty rods; and easterly upon Common down to the river, with an allowance for a roadway down to the saw-mill and to the Wading Place below the 'Falls'.

A straight line, from a point near where 'Dr. Ballou's bridge' is now located, to a point on the river near the Clinton mill, and the winding course of the river from one point to the other, will encircle the above-mentioned estate.

This was conveyed in after times by John Arnold to his son Anthony, by Anthony to his brother Seth, and by Seth to his son James, who, in the last generation, disposed of it to various parties.

May 20, 1711, twenty-five acres were laid out by the proprietors of Mendon to James Bick.  About the same time lands were laid out to Jonathan Sprague and Thomas Sanford.  These three estates were probably adjoining.  Bick's homestead was a little above 'Dr. Ballou's bridge'.  Sprague lived near the new mill of Harris Woolen Co., at Mill river, but probably owned lands in the vicinity of what is now Monument Square.  The residence of Sanford I am unable to locate.

William Arnold (the son of John) purchased the whole of the Bick and Sanford estates and a portion of Sprague's, thus becoming the proprietor of a belt of land adjoining the section before described, and extending from the river above 'Dr. Ballou's bridge' acroos the country to the river again below the Clinton mill.  That portion of this estate which was situated in the vicinity of the Monument House was conveyed August 12, 1747, by William Arnold to his nephew Moses.  The heirs of Moses sold a part of their inheritance to Joseph Arnold, the grandson of Daniel, who was the brother of William aforesaid, and another portion to Prince Aldrich, a negro.   Cato street, named in honor of one of the heirs to this last-mentioned property, passes through the centre thereof.  The remainder of William Arnold's estate, extending from where the Providence Railroad now is, to the river above 'Dr. Ballou's bridge', eventually passed into the hands of Darius D. Buffum, where I will leave it for the present.

In 1719, and again in 1749, lands were laid out to Ebenezer Cook.  He probably increased his estate by purchasing the lands which were laid out to Samuel Thayer, July 6, 1705, consisting of forty acres 'on both sides of Mill river near the Great River'.  August 19, 1721, fifty-five acres were laid out to Jonathan Richardson, 'beginning at James Bick's land, then by Ebenezer Cook's land, and so running near where John Sprague did live' (at Mill river, as before mentioned).  The lands of Cook and Richardson were adjoining.  Cook lived at the Social, and Richardson somewhere in the vicinity of the Harris homestead.

This belt of land, extending from the river at Cold Spring across the country to the river again at the Social, was conveyed by the original proprietors to Daniel Arnold, the son of John and brother of William before-mentioned.  Daniel bequeathed this large estate to his grandson Joseph.  Joseph conveyed the Social portion to his sons, Joseph P. and Smith, and gave his son Benjamin that portion which extended to, and included, the Cold Spring Grove.  There are many now living who remember the farm-house of Benjamin Arnold, and locate the well thereto where the front yard of  Smith Brown's residence now is.

March 19, 1705, lands were laid out to Nicholas Cook on the east of the Great River and on both sides of Peter's river.  The larger part of this outer belt of land, and which was originally owned by Cook, Boyce, Sewell, Chace, and perhaps others, eventually became the property of the Aldrich family.

[end chapter 1]

p. 20 - 24.


A LIST OF CUMBERLAND TOWN OFFICERS, from its incorporation, in 1747, to the incorporation of Woonsocket, in 1867.

The first town officers were chosen February 10, 1746.  The year at that time began in March, so that it was really 1747.  These officers served until the regular election in June.  The reader, will, therefore, understand that while I use the date 1746, it is simply as a matter of convenience.  For instance, David Raze was elected Town Sergeant, February 10, 1746.  On the following June he was succeeded by Uriah Jillson.  My record will read:  David Raze, 1746; Uriah Jillson, 1747.

Job Bartlett            1746
Daniel Peck             1748
John Dexter             1751
David Dexter            1766
John Dexter             1768
*John Singer Dexter     1785
Jotham Carpenter        1791
**John Rogers   1799
Stephen Joslin  1804
Pardon Sayles   1830
Lewis B. Arnold 1842
Pardon Sayles   1854
William G. Arnold       1855
F. G. Jillson           1865

*John S. Dexter was chosen in November, 1785, upon the decease of his predecessor.
** John Rogers was chosen in February, 1799, upon the resignation of his predecessor.

Samuel Bartlett 1746
Uriah Jillson           1755
Abner Lapham    1764
Isaac Kelley            1769
Abiel Brown             1770
Philip Capron   1775
Nathan Staples  1778
Abner Lapham    1783
Elijah Brown            1788
Col. Simon Whipple      1790
Elijah Brown            1794
John Rogers             1798
Stephen Joslin  1799
Isaac Raze              1804
Ariel Cook              1814
Isaac Raze              1815
Ariel Cook              1816
Isaac Raze              1818S.
Arnold W. Jenckes       1821
Barton Cook             1838
Gladding O. Thompson 1842
William Whipple 1852
George Cook             1855

David Raze              1746
Uriah Jillson           1747
Jonathan Armsbury       1748
Abiel Brown             1759
Isaac Kelly             1762
John Fisk               1765
Rufus Bartlett  1775
Benjamin Ballou 1779
William Sheldon 1781
Gilbert Grant           1782
Jeremiah Armsbury       1785
Elijah Brown            1786
Capt. Amaziah Weatherhead 1787
Barney Clark            1791
Jeremiah Armsbury       1793
David Bartlett  1797
Amos Arnold     1803
David Bartlett  1805
Elihu Darling           1812
Jabez Armsbury  1813
Fenner Brown    1817
Ezekiel B. Brown        1818
Olney Ballou            1819
Jonathan Sweet  1821
Amost Cook, jr. 1828
Ariel C. Whipple        1842
Lucien J. Arnold        1855
George C. Wilder        1856
Horace M. Pierce        1857
Elijah B. Craig 1859
Horace M. Pierce        1860

Job Bartlett            1746
Jos. Brown              1747
Job Bartlett            1748
Jeremiah Whipple        1754
Nathaniel Robinson      1764
Jeremiah Whipple        1767
Daniel Wilkinson        1770
James Dexter            1771
John Lapham     1779
Levi Ballou             1789
John Lapahm     1790
Davis Cooke             1816
Levi Barlett            1818
William Whipple 1819
Jabez Armsbury  1821
Levi Cooke              1823
Levi Ballou             1824
Job Jenckes             1828
Levi Ballou             1829
Davis Cook              1835
Jos. A. Scott           1839
Davis Cooke             1840
Jos. A. Scott           1842
Olney Ballou            1846
Abner Haskill   1849
Lyman Burlingame        1852
Fenner Brown    1854
Willard H. Whiting      1855
Davis Cooke             1856
Turner Haskell  1861
William E. Hubbard      1862
Nathaniel Elliott       1863
James M. Cook   1864
J. B. Aldrich           1865
James C. Molten 1866

Jos. Brown              1746
Josiah Cook             1747
Nathaniel Jillson, jr.  1748
Daniel Wilkinson        1754
Nathaniel Jillson       1755
Daniel Jenckes  1764
Nathaniel Robinson      1767
James Dexter            1768
Nathan Staples  1771
Daniel Jenckes  1772
Nathan Staples  1776
John Lapham     1777
Enoch Weatherhead       1779
Levi Ballou             1780
Capt. Stephen Whipple   1789
Elisha Waterman 1793
Jason Newell            1794
Jesse Brown             1796
Stephen Whipple 1801
Levi Ballou             1802
Elisha Waterman 1806
Nathaniel Scott 1808
Levi Cooke              1811
Stephen Whipple (2d)  1816
Levi Cooke              1818
Levi Ballou             1821
Amos Whipple    1824
Levi Cooke              1828
William Whipple 1829
Levi Cooke              1830
Mowry Taft              1839
Jervis Cooke            1841
Columbia Tingley        1842
James Wilkinson 1844
Abner Haskill   1845
George L. Dana  1849
John E. Brown   1850
John A. Cory    1853
Willard H. Whiting      1854
Lovet Haven             1855
Abner Haskill   1856
Olney B. Scott  1857
Elijah B. Newell        1860
Nathaniel Elliott       1861
Olney B. Scott  1863
Clinton Puffer  1865
James F. Smith  1866

David Whipple   1746
Nathaniel Ballou        1747
Gideon Tower    1748
Daniel Jenckes  1754
Job Bartlett            1757
Daniel Jenckes  1760
James Dexter            1764
Daniel Jenckes  1767
James Brown             1768
Nathan Staples  1772
Peter Darling           1776
Jos. Raze, jr.          1779
Capt. James Lovett      1781
John Bartlett           1782
Nathaniel Shepherdson    1785
Stephen Whipple         1786
Catp. Elisha Waterman     1789
Jos. Raze               1793
Benjamin S. Walcott     1795
Absolom Ballou  1796
Stephen Whipple 1799
Abner Ballou    1796
Jason Newell            1803
Absolom Ballou  1804
Levi Cooke              1810
William Aldrich 1811
Abner Ballou    1814
William Whipple 1815
Bennett Whipple 1816
Nathaniel Scott 1818
Pardon Sayles   1820
Levi Ballou             1821
Amos Whipple    1823
Jos. Whipple (2d)       1824
Levi Cooke              1826
Abner Haskill   1828
Jonathan Sweet  1829
Jere. Whipple   1830
Nathan Harris   1837
Ezra Blake              1839
Alfred Arnold   1841
Jos. C. Aldrich 1842
Abner Haskill   1844
Leonard Wakefield       1845
George L. Dana  1847
John E. Brown   1849
Lyman Burlingame        1850
John A. Cary            1852
James R. Case   1853
Alfred Hixon            1854
Christr. C. Gates       1855
Bailey E. Borden        1856
Elisha Gaskill          1857
William O. Mason        1860
Warren J. Ballou        1861
Ellis L. Blake          1863
James W. Taft   1865
James F. Smith  1866

Jacob Bartlett, jr.     1746
Nathaniel Jillson, jr.  1747
William Walcott 1748
David Whipple   1750
Robert Aldrich  1752
Ichabob Peck    1754
John Nicholson  1755
Daniel Jenckes  1758
Gideon Tower    1760
Nathaniel Robinson      1762
Peter Darling           1764
James Dexter    1767
Daniel Jenckes  1768
Peter Darling           1772
Levi Ballou             1776
Stephen Whipple 1779
Cat. Elisha Waterman     1780
Nathaniel Shepherdson  1783
Capt. Amos Whipple       1785
Amos Whipple    1786
Jos. Raze               1788
Jason Newell            1793
Benjamin S. Walcott     1794
Nathaniel Jillson       1795
Stephen Whipple 1796
John Walcott    1799
Absolom Ballou  1801
Jacob Smith             1803
Abner Ballou    1806
William Aldrich 1810
Enoch Arnold    1811
Samuel Grant, jr.       1814
Reuben Whipple  1815
Abner Ballou    1816
Levi Ballou             1818
Amos Whipple    1821
Jos. Whipple (2d)       1823
Nathaniel Aldrich       1824
Palemon Walcott 1825
William Whipple 1826
Jeremiah Whipple        1828
James Whipple   1829
James Weatherhead       1830
Nathan Harris   1833
James Weatherhead       1837
Nelson Jenckes  1838
Jervis Cooke            1839
Tyler Daniels   1841
James Weatherhead       1842
Jerry A. Olney  1844
George L. Dana  1845
Abner Jillson   1847
Lyman Tourtellot        1848
Lyman Burlingame        1840
John A. Corry   1850
James R. Case   1852
Willard H. Whitney      1853
William C. Crapon       1854
Thomas Carpenter        1855
William H. Pierce       1857
Potter G. Hazard        1859
William M. Rawson       1860
William E. Hubbard      1861
Turner Haskell  1862
James F. Smith  1865
Batavia Matthewson  1866

Nathaniel Ballou        1746
William Walcott 1747
Daniel Wilkinson        1748
Charles Capron  1752
Benjamin Tower  1754
Gideon Tower    1758
Elisha Newell   1760
Ariel Ballou            1762
James Dexter            1764
Peter Darling           1766
John Gould              1768
Nathaniel Carpenter     1769
Robert Aldrich  1772
Nathaniel Jillson       1773
Amos Arnold     1775
Roger Sheldon   1776
Thomas Joslin   1779
Capt. Jos. Tillinghast  1781
Simon Whipple   1782
Jos. Raze               1785
Thomas Joslin   1788
Jesse Brown             1789
Jason Newell            1792
Holomon Potter  1793
Nathaniel Jillson       1794
David Sayles            1795
Benjamin Tingley        1796
John Walcott    1798
Abner Ballou    1799
Elisha Waterman 1801
Levi Cooke              1804
Enoch Arnold    1810
Jos. Whipple (2d)       1811
Absolom Ballou  1814
Nathaniel Scott 1815
Oliver Harris           1816
Amos Whipple    1818
Nathaniel Scott 1821
Palemon Walcott 1823
Levi Cooke              1824
Job Jenckes             1826
Oliver Harris           1828
Fenner Brown    1829
Olney Mason     1830
Nathan Jenckes  1832
Dexter Ballou   1833
James Weatherhead       1835
Nelson Jenckes  1837
Abner Haskill   1838
Columbia Tingley        1839
Abner Haskill   1840
Jos. Jacobs             1841
Stukely S. Waterman  1842
Leonard Wakeifld        1844
Linus M. Harris 1845
Abner Jillson   1846
Jeraul O. Willcox       1847
John A. Cary            1848
James R. Case   1850
Willard H. Whiting      1852
Alfred Hixon            1853
Arnold Carpenter        1854
Osmond S. Fuller        1855
John L. Clarke  1856
Daniel Wilkinson (2d)  1857
William O. Mason        1859
Daniel C. Mowry 1860
Batavia Matthewson   1862
James W. Taft   1866

William Walcott 1746
Daniel Wilkinson        1747
John Dexter             1748
Samuel Bartlett 1749
Jos. Brown              1751
John Nicholson  1752
Obadiah Ballou  1754
Gideon Tower    1755
Elisha Newell   1758
James Dexter            1760
Peter Darling           1763
Abner Ballou    1764
Nathan Staples  1765
Gideon Tower    1767
Nahan Arnold    1768
Ezekial Ballou  1771
Nathaniel Shepherdson  1772
Levi Ballou             1775
Sam Whipple     1776
Capt. Reuben Ballou     1779
Daniel Jenckes  1782
Gideon Sprague  1783
Jos. Raze               1784
Christr. Whipple        1785
Jotham Carpenter        1787
Jesse Brown             1788
Levi Arnold             1789
Jason Newell            1791
Holomon Potter  1792
Thomas Joslin   1793
Jesse Brown     1794
Benjamin Tingley        1795
Abner Ballou    1796
Absolom Ballou  1799

In 1799 there were seven Councilmen, the seventh being Elisha Waterman.

In the year 1800 the number was reduced to five, and continued so to the present time.

[End - Chapter 1]


These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project. Transcribed 2001 by Beth Hurd
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