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Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850


Vital Record of Rhode Island. 1636-1850.
Volume 1. East Greenwich. Part II.

First Series, Births, Marriages and Deaths.
A Family Register For The People.

By James N. Arnold, Editor of the Narragansett Historical Register.

"Is My Name Written in the Book of Life?"

Published under the Auspices of the General Assembly.
Providence, R. I.:
Narragansett Historical Publishing Company. 1891.

Act for the Incorporation of East Greenwich.
In General Assembly, at Newport, October 31, 1677.

  Voted, Whereas, at the General Assembly held for the Collony, at Newport, in May last,it was ordered that a certain tract of land in some convenient place in the Narragansett Country shall be laid forth into hundred acre shares with the house lots, for the accommodatinge of soe may of the inhabitants of this Collony as stand in need of land, and the General Assembly shall judge to be supplyed. In pursuance of said act of the General Assembly this present court doe enact and declare that the said tract of land be forthwith layd forth to containe five thousand acres, which shall be divided as followeth; five hundred acres to be laid in some place neare the sea, and as commodius as may be for a Towne, which said five hundred acres shall be divided into fifty house lots, and the remainder of the said five thousand acres, beinge four thousand 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 have land in the said tract, shall have and enjoy to him and his heirs and assigns forever in manner and forme, and under the conditions and limitations hereinafter expressed, one of the said house lots and one great division, containing in the whole one bundred acres.
  And further this Assembly do enact, order and declare, that the persons before named, that is to say, -- John Spencer, Thomas Nicolls, Senr., Clement Weaver, Henry Brightman, George Vaughan, John Weaver, Charles Macarty, Thomas Wood, Thomas Frye, Benjamin Griffin, Daniel Vaughan, Thomas Derrigan, John Pearce Mason, Stephen Peckham, John Crandall, Henry Lilly, John Albro, Jun., Philip Long, Richard Knight, John Peckham, Thomas Peckham, William Clarke, Edward Lay, Edward Richmond, Edmund Calverly, John Heath, Robert Havens, John Strainge, Jun., John Parker, George Browne, Richard Barnes, Samson Ballou, Jonathan Devell, Benjamin Mowry, Joseph Mowry, William Wilbore, Jun., Gyles Pearce, James Batty, John Remington, Benjamin Gorton, Henry Dyre, John Knowles, Stephen Arnold, Jun., William Hawkins, John Sanford, John Gorton, and John Holden, are the persons unto whom the said tract of land is granted, and who sahll possess and enjoy the same, their heirs and assigns, accordinge to the true intent and meaninge of this present grant. And to the end that the said persons and their successors, the proprietors of the said land from time to time may be in the better capacity to manage their public affaires, this Assembly doe enact and declare that the said plantation shall be a Towne, by the name and title of East Greenwich, in His Majesty's Collony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, with all rights, libertys, and privileges whatsoever unto a Towne appertaininge; and that the said persons above mentioned, unto whom the said grant is made, are by this present Assembly and the authority thereof, made and admitted the freement of the said Towne, and they, or soe many of them as shall be then present, not being fewer than twelve on the said land, are required and empowered to meet together upon the second wednesday in April next, and constitute a Towne Meeting, by electing a Moderator, a Towne Clerk, with such Constables as to them shall seem requisite; and alsoe to choose persons their Deputies to sitt in General Assembly, and two persons, one to serve on the Grand Jury, and one on the Jury of Legalls, and soe the like number and for the said services at the said Court from time to time. And to the end that the said plantation may be speedily settled and improved according to the end of this present court in the granting thereof; be it enacted and ordained, that each person mentioned in this present grant, shall, within one year after the publication thereof make a settlement on his house lott, by building a bouse fit and suitable for habitation; and in case any person who hath any of the said house lotcs shall neglect or refuse by himselfe or his assignee to build accordingly, he shall forfeit both the house lott and greater division, to be disposed by any succeedinge General Assembly as they see cause.
  And further this Assembly doe enact and declare, that if any person unto whom the said land is granted, by this present act, shall at any time within one and twenty years after the date hereof, sell, grant, make over or otherwise dispose of any of the land or lands hereby granted unto him unto any other person interested in the said plantation, that then the said person or persons soe selling, or any other person or persons whatsoever, whithout liberty had and obtained from the General Assembly, that then the said person or persons soe sellinge or disposinge of the land, shall lose all other lands whatever that he is possessed of in the said plantation, and also the lands soe disposed of to be and remaine to this Collony, anything to the contrary thereof in this present act declared notwithstanding.
  And further it is enacted, and declared by this Assembly and the authority thereof, that the freeman of the said Towne shall make and lay out convenient highways from the Bay up into the country, throughout the whole Towneship, as shall be convenient for the settlement of the country above and about the said Towneship. [R. I. Colonial Records, Vol. II, page 587.]

Introductory Matter

The Third General Six Principle Baptist Church of East Greenwich.


NOTE--This church organized June 3, 1858, before that time was a branch
of the Maple Root Church, from June 3, 1808. The date first given is the date
of admission to the church.

The Baptist Church of East Greenwich.

The History of this church dates from Jan. 30, 1839. On this
day an Ecclesiatical Council met at the house of Rev. Thomas Tew,
to take into consideration the propriety of forming a Baptist
Church in this village. Delegates were present from two churches
in Providence and from churches in Westerly, Richmond, Paw-
tucket, Arkwright, Fiskville, Warwick and East Greenwich. The
Council was organized by the choice of Rev. John Dowling, D. D.,
as Moderator and Rev. E. K. Fuller, Secretary.

Seventeen members of Baptist Churches presented their letters
to the Council together with the articles of Faith and Covenant,
adopted by them and they were duly recognized and constituted as
an Independent Baptist Church. Rev. A. G. Palmer offered the
opening prayer; Rev. John Dowling preached the sermon; Rev. B.
C. Grafton gave the prayer of recognition; Rev. B. Johnson the
charge to the church and Rev. J. W. Allen the concluding prayer
A few weeks afterwards Mrs. Pardon Miller, of the First Bap-
tist Church, Providence, presented them a communion service.
The meetings of the church for a number of years were held in
a School House, or in the Court House, and were conducted by
Rev. Thomas Tew and others, until November, 1845, when the Rev.
C. C. Wheeler was called to the pastorate.

April 25, 1846, it was voted to build a Meeting House 40x50
feet, at an expense of not less than $3000, which house was dedi-
cated Jan., 1847, Rev. T. E. Jameson, of Providence, preaching the

Mr. Wheeler was in charge until Nov., 1847. After a short
lapse of time Rev. B. F. Hedden was called and continued in charge
until July, 1851. Doing his pastorate the church was enlarged 24
pews, a belfry was erected and a fine bell placed in it and Mr. Jabez
Gorham, of Providence, gave them a clock.

Since this time the church has had several pastors until Oct.,
1868, when Rev. Gilbert Robbins was called and continued to serve
them for more than a decade. Since that time the church has
frequently changed pastors.

Its present building is a fine wooden structure and very unique
in its design.

We are indebted for most of the above facts to Dr. Greene's
History of East Greenwich.


During the year 1831 the Society of Methodists erected their
house of worship on the corner of Main and Queen streets. Pre-
vious to this time they held their services in the Court House, that
Asylum for all societies who have no church of their own. For a
long time they struggled hard for existence, but are now in a very
flourishing condition. In 1846 they built a large and convenient
parsonage in the rear of their church. During the year 1850 they
found their church too small to accommodate all who wished to at-
tend the services, and that an enlargement was absolutely neces-
sary. The building was therefore sawed into two parts, the east end
moved off and a portion inserted large enough to contain twenty-
four additional pews. An excellent organ (for the time), the gift of
Power Street Church, Providence, was placed in the organ loft.

That organ was afterwards removed to the vestry and another
magnificent instrument was procured, purchased by the financial
efforts of Dr. Eben Tourjee.

Dr. Tourjee was formerly a resident of East Greenwich, and for
a long time the efficient Superintendent of the Sunday School of
this church.

The first Methodist sermon preached in Rhode Island was in
Charlestown by the Rev. Jesse Lee, then on a missionary tour from
New York to Boston, and was delivered on the third of September

East Greenwich first appears on the list of appointments in
1792. Up to the year 1807 it formed a part of the circuit connected
with Warren, Warwick and Providence at different times. Since
1807 it has had a regular appointment.

We are endebted to Dr. Greene's History of East Greenwich
for the above facts.


There was an Episcopal Church in the vicinity of East Green-
wich where many of our villagers worshipped as long ago as 1728.
It was on a lot at Coweset near the railroad station. The ground
on which it stood is now owned by Mr. Jonathan Pierce. The lot
was conveyed by the Rev. George Pigot "to the Society in London
for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts," for "erecting
a church according to the establishment of churches by law in Eng-

When the congregation of Trinity Church in Newport built
their new church in 1726, "they gave their old church to the people
of Warwick, who had no church of their own." It was taken down
and carried on sloops to Coweset (the Indian name for that part of
Warwick), where it was rebuilt. It was two stories in height, with
a steeple or spire fronting the West Road. After remaining unoc-
cupied a long time in a ruined state, it was taken down a second
time, about the year 1764, and removed to Old Warwick. Before
the materials could be removed from the shore a violent storm arose,
during which they were scattered and lost.

A number of graves, probably of individuals connected with
the church, are still to be seen on the lot. The Rev. George Pigot
resided in Warwick a number of years and owned a large tract of
land near East Greenwich. He probably furnished the means for
erecting the church. The Rev. Dr. McSparran, Mr. Fayerwether,
and others officiated once in a month. It appears the church was
never in a very flourishing condition. As Dr. McSparran says in
his diary; "Episcopacy never seemed to succeed in the north part
of the State, as the Quakers and other heretics are the dominant

The Parish of St. Luke's, East Greenwich, was organized "ac-
cording to the doctrine and dicipline of the Protestant Episcopal
Church in the State of Rhode Island," on the tenth day of August,
A. D., 1833, at a meeting of sundry of the citizens, at the Kent
Academy, the Rev. Sylvester Nash being Chairman and John P.
Roberts, Secretary. Charles Eldredge and Joseph J. Tillinghast
were chosen Wardens; Daniel Greene, Howland Greene, Wickes
Hill, Silas Weaver, Kingsley Bullock, John G. Ladd, Emory Fiske,
Wanton Casey and William G. Spencer, Vestrymen; Augustus
Greene, Treasurer, and John P. Roberts, Secretary.

Services had been held in the Academy for sometime previous
and they were continued there regularly until the new church was
consecrated in the April following.

The Rev. Sylvester Nash was the first Rector and continued
such until the spring of 1840. He died in Wisconsin in 1863. In
May, 1840, Rev. William H. Moore. He first officiated the second
Sunday of July and continued to be Rector for about a year.
In December, 1840, Rev. Silas A. Crane was engaged to supply
during the winter, but remained from that time until his death, July
12, 1872.

In 1875 the old church was removed and the present stone
structure erected in its place.

The church under the charge of Rev. George Pomeroy Allen
and his successor, Rev. Daniel Goodwin, and others, has been
very flourishing. The church edifice is a beautiful structure and a
fine adornment to the village.

We are indebted to Dr. Greene's History of East Greenwich
for most of the above facts.
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