Friday, July 26, 2013

Portsmouth, Rhode Island Annual Report of 1899

Annual Report of the Town of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, with Treasurer's Report and Taxes Assessed for 1899.  Printed by S. E. Fiske, 46 Granite Street, Fall River.

The report contains a brief history of the the Town, including Prudence Island, as transcribed below.

Transcript from the two pages of history of the the Town of Portsmouth:

The town of Portsmouth, in the County of Newport and State
of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is situated on the
Island of Rhode Island and covers the northern half of said Island.
This town was one of the 4 original towns of the state and called
by the Indian name “Pocasset.” At a quarter meeting held on the
1st day of May A. D. 1639 it was agreed that the name of this town should be called Portsmouth, and at the General Court held at Newport on the 12th day of January A. D. 1840 the name of Portsmouth
was confirmed.

Portsmouth was always an agricultural town but the farmers

added to their gains and varied therefrom by fishing in the bays.

In 1647 the town received an addition to its territory, in the

acquisition of the Island of Prudence. This Island a part of Portsmouth has a peculiar history; its sale was that negotiated by the Narragansett Sachems to John Oldham before the coming of Roger Williams to Providence but after Oldham's death at Block Island in 1636 Roger Williams and Governor Winthrop of Boston purchased the Island and converted it into at large stock form. After holding it several years it passed from their hands to John Paine a merchant of Boston who desired to hold it free from the control of the colonial government and was successful for a time but soon the spirit of the State was aroused and Paine was arrested, imprisoned and found guilty of the charges reposed in him and finally the whole matter was peaceably and quietly settled and Prudence gave up her independent sovereignty and became a portion of the Town of Portsmouth, which it has since remained.

Portsmouth is girded on the cast by the waters of the Seaconnet

River, on the west by the waters of the Narragansett Bay on the
north partly by the waters of the Senconnet River and partly by
the waters of'the Narragansett Bay and is connected with the Town

of Tiverton by means of two bridges.

Population according to the last State census 1939.

Number of Persons enrolled to do military and naval duty 255.
Number of electors qualified to vote generally 410.
Number of births for the year ending December 1898, 42.
Number of deaths for the year ending December 1898, 28.
Number of marriages for the your ending 1898, 8.

Portsmouth was as very noted Town both in the Revolutionary

War of 1776 and the Civil War of 1861 and the residences where
General Prescott and General Lafayette quartered are still standing
and in good repair. Within the town are 4 Post Offices, namely: - 
Portsmouth, South Portsmouth, Bristol Ferry and Prudence Island; 5 Churches, 7 School Houses, 1 Public Library and 1 Park.

The report is too long for me to transcribe all of the names within.  If you're researching people who lived in Portsmouth, they may be noted here.

If you recognize names and have information to share, please leave a comment or contact me directly.  Thanks!

Portsmouth, Rhode Island

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