Thanks to Caroline Hazard
May 16, 2008,
Submitted by Helen Farrell Allen broadened April 21, 2010
The Bishop of London, in his Pastoral Letter of 1725, addressed to the Masters and Mistresses
of Families in the English Plantation declared, "Let me beseech you to consider your slaves as men
and women who have the same frame and faculties with yourselves, souls capable of happiness,
and reason and understanding to receive instruction in order to it."
"Negro Slavery in Colonial Rhode Island" is one of Esther Bernon Carpenter's chapters in
South County Studies of Some Eighteenth Century Persons, Places & Conditions in that Part of
Rhode Island called NARRAGANSETT. "Printed for the Subscribers" in 1924 at D. B. Updike's
Merrymount Press. We can guess who the chief subscriber was, and who, indeed, footed
Including Miss Carpenter's chapter, "Negro Slavery in Rhode Island" in 1924 reflects the
Hazards' pride in their long-standing positions against slavery. "College" Tom Hazard freed his
slaves in 1745, as a young man setting up his plantation. Rowland Hazard, (1763-1835) founder
of the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company shipped cloth to the South, "Negro cloth" bought by
plantation owners. Swatches of this cloth, held at the Harvard Business School reveals this much-
reviled material, at least in its Hazard version to be lovely stuff, duo-color, and loosely woven for
comfort in the Southern heat.
Mr. Hazard regularly toured the South on business. His travels included New Orleans, where
he is famed for having seen to the release, hiring local lawyers, of slaves held illegally in that city's
In 1894 Rowland Hazard admired the preaching of a young black seminarian to his fellows,
summer help in the hotels of Narragansett Pier. He befriended him, and supported his education
at Phillips Academy, Andover as well as Lincoln University, chartered in 1854 outside. The
benefactor of this largess was Joseph Winthrop Holley.
At first, Hazard planned to open a school, with Holley its head, not far from Narragansett, but
plans changed. With a loan of $2,500, Holley returned to the South where, with local white
support, he established the Albany Bible and Mechanical Technical Institute in a Georgia's "Black
Belt". It is now Albany State University, a major Historic Black University, and home of the
"Albany Movement", one of Martin Luther King's first protest centers.
The Hazard family, Miss Caroline in particular was honored in the school's Founder's Day on
April 3. In 1904, Rowland Hazard's $2,500 check to Joseph Winthrop Holley, a son of slaves,
allowed him to open a tiny school, the "Bible and Mechanical Institute". Through my work
supported by a 2008 NEH grant, archival holdings in Rhode Island and at Wellesley College (run
by Caroline Hazard from 1899 to 1910) were combined with those at Albany State University;
the outgrown of Holley's dogged work. ASU’s serials librarian visited Peace Dale and
collaboration is in July of 2009.
The Hazard family, represented by "Miss Caroline" after the death of her brother Rowland in
1917, gave eight of the first nine buildings of Holley's school. She dedicated each one. Her gifts
to the school continued up to her death in 1945. Dr. Holley survived her, dying only three years
Albany was a major factor in the work of Martin Luther King; the "Albany Movement" led to
the marches in Selma and Montgomery. It’s hoped that a Hazard will be on hand for next year's
Word of this 1725 admonishment to the Anglican Church in America 1725 may or may not
have reached "College" Tom: Hazard. He was a Quaker, a stalwart member of the Narragansett
meeting, not the Reverend MacSparran's parish, St. Paul’s, on Shermantown Road. Hazard
preached, as much as Quakers can be said to preach, to his fellows at Meeting for forty years.
"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness . . .",, Jefferson, 1776, yes, but also the opening of the
Rhode Island act for the gradual abolition of slavery of February, 1784, long urged upon the
people and officials of the State by Hazard, and by other early advocates of universal freedom.
In 1756, "College" Tom, as this Hazard was known in deference to his Yale degree, was
approaching marriage and the setting up of his own home and farm. Knowing of a fine herd
down in North Stonington, he travelled down there, having arranged with its owner to buy a few
of the finest specimens. During the transaction, delayed from a Sunday to the following Monday,
the Connecticut man remarked with disdain, that the Hazards were known to hold slaves. He, a
Congregationalist, did not. Learning that Hazard was a Quaker, he remarked, "I do not find that
there is any held by Friends as slave".
The man's admonishment haunted Hazard as he made his way back to the Narragansett country,
driving the animals before him. On arrival, against his father's principles, he then manumitted the few
slaves he had held. On his example, members of the Narragansett Meeting members soon released
Legislation of June, 1774, that Hazard helped to frame, forbade the importation of Negroes.
Esther4 Carpenter writes, "In those early and ominous days of the long contest opening before them,
(the people of Rhode Island were yet firmly resolved that the ward of the State should enjoy the same
liberty for which its citizens were preparing to contend in the field. . . . All slaves thereafter brought
into the State were to be free, with the usual exceptions in favor of persons traveling through the
country, or coming from other British dependencies to reside here. Citizens were forbidden to bring
slaves within the colonial limits, without giving bond to remove them in year".
Moses Brown was instrumental in getting the 1784 act empowered. Its preamble follows:
"Whereas all men are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the holding of
mankind in a state of slavery as private property, which has gradually obtained by unrestrained custom
and the permission of laws, is repugnant to this principle and subversive of the happiness of mankind,
the great end of all civil government," etc.
All future children of slaves were to enjoy complete freedom, and fitting regulations were made for
their support. The importation as well as the sale of Negroes the State was forbidden.
In 1790, according to our country's first census, nine hundred and forty eight souls were still
enslaved in Rhode Island. Over two thousand were held in Connecticut. Thomas Hazard, Moses
Brown and many of the leaders of Newport may take credit and we, still here in the beautiful and and
fertile county they graced, may consider ourselves their heirs.
What a boost for
There’s no document, but there are many who believe that Colonel George Washington, with his Captains Mercer and Stewart and servants John Alton and William Bishop slept on Sugar Loaf Hill, outside Wakefield, at a hostelry later known as “Ye Olde Tavern” in 1756. The five were headed for the Narragansett Ferries, at URI’s Bay Campus. Editors at the
“Why, we wouldn’t take a horse out in your weather”, Beverly Runge politely demurred. Horses were left with Thomas Chew,
My friends in
“Every officer on horseback, except mr. Washington, was killed or wounded”, Justice John Marshall, reports in his Life of Washington, in 1804. This was “Braddock’s Defeat”, the July, 1755 ambush of the English troops out in
But what of the
Up the old Queen’s
The proud old building appears as the “Willard Hazard place” up to 1910 in the South Kings-town deeds. Thomas O’Neill Gordon. was born there, he told me, in its front room., in 1917. His mother and her sisters maintained the place as “Ye Olde Tavern” up to its demise in 1958. Despite State preservation recording, down it went. The 11/25/57 document states, “
“There wasn’t a fall when we didn’t have a chimney fire in the Old Tavern,” I gathered from Leona Kelley, social worker, teacher and long-time legislator. Mr. Gordon, in his nearby house where he lived with his eldest son, anxiously showed me a brass plaque, an eagle. “Do you think this was on their uniforms?” How much I wished I could assure him, but the Roman eagle was no British emblem in 1756. Mr. Gordon died that fall of ’93. He had been sent a letter from the Ladies of Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, keepers of the home of
Mr. Gordon described the June day the beloved old site went down. “It was put together without a nail . . it just wouldn’t go down, it was that strong. It was taken down, not torn”. Its great oak timbers were taken away; some flooring was installed nearby, across from
Friends with a chain-fall saw that the great granite lintel, nine feet by four and one-half, eighteen inches high, was reset in the new house built for Mr. and Mrs. Gordon, not far away.
In 1960 a house went up on the triangular plot. It’s still lived in by the original owner who encouraged the mounting, on her land, of a granite fence post from the tavern, also removed that hot June day to the Gordons’ new home. Funds from the Washington Trust Company enabled the South County Tourism Council to emplace it. Its bronze plaque saves the story. A patriotic Wakefielder sees that its Stars and Stripes is renewed each year.
“Will you go with me to the banks of the Monongahela, to see your youthful
* * * * *
An Article for Wellesley, on their President Caroline Hazard, 1899-1910,
of Rhode Island
A century ago, President Hazard retired. She was a fine student, a canny businesswoman and a romantic.
Your Chapel’s iridescent marble relief by Daniel Chester French commemorates Alice Freeman Palmer, “in the heart of the college she loved” upon her death in 1902. President Palmer brought Miss Hazard to Wellesley; she cherished the love that required Miss Freeman’s retirement.
President Angell of Michigan supplied Henry Durant excellent graduates for his faculty. In 1879, Miss Freeman arrived, only twenty-four years old, to teach history.
Angell was the closest of college friends of Rowland Hazard, whose father established the first American woolen manufactury. His daughter Caroline, born in 1856, was stringently educated. German was spoken in her nursery; she attended Providence’s best “classes”. At fifteen, was taken en famille on a glorious four-month tour of Europe, crossing to Liverpool on the Scotia, the last ocean-going side-wheeler. In Florence, a winter of piano teachers, a singing coach for her brothers and lectures amongst the galleries, palaces and museums awaited.
In Providence, Mrs. Hazard arranged for Caroline and her friends to be tutored by J. Lewis Diman, Brown’s distinguished professor of history. He died, mid-career. Such was Caroline’s grief, that Mrs. Hazard suggested she com-pose his biography. Horace Scudder (whose wife taught at Wellesley) published the memoir for Houghton Mifflin, and then brought out her Rhode Island history and ballads. Soon, she was established in Boston intellectual circles. President Freeman invited her to join a visiting committee.
In 1887, Alice Freeman resigned to marry a Harvard professor of Greek, George Herbert Palmer. Despite weak health, she travelled widely, as a senior academic. Upon Julia Irvine’s 1899 resignation, she and her husband nominated Miss Hazard, and courted her (and Rowland, her business-man brother) for months, bringing success.
Miss Hazard dedicated ten buildings in ten years. Some have, of course, gone, among them the Hemenway Gymnasium, so much ahead of its time. The four Elizabethan dormitories of your “Hazard Quadrangle”; your white marble library; and “Oakwoods”, an outright gift as the president’s house, recently converted for admissions use stand. The library graces “Rhododendron Hollow”, enhanced by President Hazard, whose estate in Rhode Island boasted a species, early introduced to America.
Miss Hazard treasured your landscape. She contracted with Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and “when the time came”, according to your fine survey, The Landscape and Architecture of Wellesley College, “she sent her personal check”. She led the buildings and grounds committee into the 1920s.
Her friendships, with George Herbert Palmer who presented rare books to Wellesley upon each anniversary of his wife’s death and with Katherine Lee Bates, with whom she shared her 1906 sabbatical in the Holy Land, enrich Wellesley today.
Her introduction to An Academic Romance, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1940 pairs the Palmers’ letters with the Brownings’. Caroline Hazard bought those, including the “caskets in which they were kept” on the New York market in 1930, for your college.
Other treasures arrived: a Florentine manuscript, bearing its book-sellers stamp, indicating it was bought by President’s mother on that glorious family venture is one. The royal-white caparisoned ceramic elephant, reputed to be one of four minister’s seats in the court of Cathy stood guard in the foyer of her Santa Barbara home, “Mission Hill”.
Miss Hazard’s pilgrim’s scallop shell of St. James of Compestela appears on the cornerstone of her library and in her quadrangle. It formerly graced the mantel in the president’s house. The faith she had in Wellesley, sustained by Alice and George Herbert Palmer’s lives and of all the college scholars she admired enriches us now.
October 1, 2009
Helen Farrell Allen, Principal, Tempus Fugit
supported by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities
By Helen Farrell Allen, Principal, Tempus Fugit
A granite block supporting a bronze tablet stands before a Victorian house outside Westerly, where Langworthy and Shore Roads meet. It hails Samuel Ward, Jr., Lieutenant-Colonel of the Continental Army. I’ve long wondered why the father, not the son, is hailed.
Samuel Ward, Sr. governed Rhode Island during the Stamp Act controversy, but his resolutions for Rhode Island’s Committee of Correspondence and his leadership in both Continental Congresses are almost forgotten. He died “at his meridian”, as his admirers wrote. Smallpox took him, in Philadelphia in March of 1776. He would have “Signed”.
Ward was born in Newport, son of Richard Ward, Rhode Island governor in the 1740’s. He followed his father to that post in 1762-3 and 1765-7. He was a delegate to both Continental Congresses, that of September, 1773 and the Second, following the conflict at Lexington and Concord: “April the Eighteenth of ‘75”. He died, as it is carved on his grave in Newport, “on station” in Philadelphia, March 26, 1776.
At twenty-five, Ward married Anna Ray of Block Island, daughter of Simon Ray a leading proprietor of the Island. They settled on her dowry land, some six hundred acres called by the Ninigret Indians Tushcottock, in Westerly. Ward frequently wrote to Anna as his “better half”, and that she was, sharing the business tasks of the farm with him. In 1765, 2,000 pounds of cheese were shipped to Boston.
Anna died, perhaps of cancer, in 1770. Of their eleven children, all lived to adulthood except Hannah, their second daughter. She joined her mother in the graveyard on September 8, 1774, shortly before Ward’s return from the First Continental Congress. A long and sad ride that must have been, accompanied only by Cudjoe, one of three family slaves.
A night for George Washington? I maintain that Colonel Washington stayed at Tushcottock en route to Boston in late February, 1756. He travelled, with four men, on a matter of Lord Braddock’s “Dismal Tragedy”, his defeat in the Pennsylvania forests, via Newport. Geoffrey Malbone, the resplendent Virginian, Newport’s leading merchant, awaited them. A Westerly stop following a New London night with Post Master Joseph Chew verified in The Letters of George Washington would be logical. Dr. Joshua Babcock, Franklin’s correspondent would have recommended Ward, for fresh horses would be on his farm, ready for the next stop, “Sugar Loaf Hill”, (later Wakefield) and the Narragansett Ferries beyond. Dr. Babcock’s house stands today, the pride of Westerly, on US 1, the old Post Road.
In the morning, Washington might well have been introduced to Rhode Island’s own Narragansett pacer, small but smooth-riding for the long uphill journey to the Bay. We know he bought a “golden Narragansett” in 1799, the year he died and that Ward was well-known for breeding them.
As taxes grew and threats to their rights as Englishmen developed, Ward was among the first, in 1773 to propose Committees of Correspondence among the colonies. Resolutions were respectfully addressed to the Ministry, not the Monarch. The closing of the Port of Boston in 1774, however, triggered the First Continental Congress. From each Colony, the men hastened to Philadelphia. Ward quickly impressed his fellow delegates. They named him Chairman of the Committee of the Whole that met in camera and controlled agendas. The Congress closed in late October; Ward and Cudjoe negotiated the long return to Westerly, with the dismal realization of his daughter’s death.
The Second Congress was called, with greatest alarm, after the events at Lexington and Concord. Ward was made chair of the “secret committee” immediately charged with obtaining munitions from France, the Caribbean or anywhere else. Franklin, Robert Morris and Silas Deane joined him in that enterprise.
In June Ward’s committee proposed Colonel George Washington of Virginia as Continental Commander. He alone could moderate Yankee, Quaker and plantation interests. Granted, he was the only delegate in uniform (mothballed from the Braddock campaign), but other qualities quickly became apparent.
Ward’s elder sons, Charles and Samuel had joined the forces in front of Boston in March of ’75. His namesake was captured on the disastrous Quebec expedition that saw the death of General Montgomery, a young leader of such promise. Samuel Ward was taken and held prisoner until August of 1776.
Two daughters had husbands under Rhode Island’s James Varnum, defending Boston: Christopher Greene, brother of General Nathanael Greene and Captain Ethan Clarke of Westerly. Imagine keeping Ward’s farm going. The younger children were left in the charge of a Newport cousin. Governor Ward’s letters from Philadelphia parallel those from Washington to Mount Vernon.
A Philadelphia widow intervenes before tragedy strikes. Mrs. Mary House, a well-to-do Philadelphia widow let rooms in her Lodge Street house to delegates to the Congress. Ward, most fortunately, was one of her boarders, for both of the meetings. He became more than a boarder, it appears. Silas Deane wrote Mrs. Deane on December 12, “Governor Ward has, in a formal manner laid siege to Mrs. House, and I am apt to think the fortress will surrender on the first serious summons”.
Nathanael Green, from Rhode Island’s camp in front of Boston wrote Catherine Ward Greene, the Governor’s eldest daughter on January 13, 1776, “I hear (your Daddy) is paying his addresses to a very Rich Widow worth Ten thousand Pounds Sterling. How does it (sit) with you? Mother in Law (editor’s note: stepmother was a parallel term) has an ill sound, but a father’s happiness doubtless will qualify the Evil.”
Smallpox arrived in Philadelphia in the winter of ’76 and held the frozen city captive. Ward, berudging time from Congress, refused inoculation, at that time a danger in itself. Lister’s cow-pox serum was years away. “There never was a sick person more assiduously attended in any part of the World than Mr. Ward”, writes Thomas Young, one of the five doctors that attended him.
“Besides the tender and affectionate Mrs. Mary House with whom he lodged,” Doctor Young reports, “he had constant attendance every night by some or other of the most respectable persons in town.”
Congress mourned him for a month, “with crepe upon the arm.” Young continues, “One at least of the mighty advocates for American Independency is fallen in Mr. Ward, to the great grief of the Protopatriot, Samuel Adams.
The bereaved Mrs. House sent a letter to Mary Ward Clarke, packed in her father’s trunk that Cudjo brought north in April. “Permit me in the most affectionate manner to Sympathize with you in the loss of your tender and truly respectable father . . . the sorrow in which he has left his surviving Relations, friends and Country can only find relief and consolation in a pious Reflection upon the Example he has set and how much he lived and died the Christian.”
John Adams wrote to Abigail on March 29, “We have this week lost a very valuable friend of the Colonies. . .” In 1821, Adams responded to a letter from his son, Samuel, Jr., the thriving founder of the Bank of New York, “When he was seized with the smallpox, he said that if his vote and voice were necessary to support the cause of the Country he would live, if not, he would die.”
Ward now lies in Newport’s Common Burial Ground, moved there from Philadelphia by the State of Rhode Island in 1860. The marble table monument flanks his fathers. Governor Richard Ward’s plaque boasts his family’s arms and Tudor roses. No heraldry for the son: his American record stands as Governor and as delegate to the Congresses, “on station at the General Assembly.”
Not far away in the crowded cemetery stands the tomb of William Ellery, Esq. He was called to Philadelphia upon Ward’s death. He and Stephen Hopkins signed for Rhode Island. Ellery’s grave is surrounded by an iron fence, secure and grand. It is opened only on the Fourth of July when, with the glory of the Newport Artillery and the Sons of the American Revolution in attendance. Ribbons and flowers shine.
Squinting through the iron pickets, one can make out the grave of a daughter. Her name is Philadelphia. The family thus marked its glory. But nearby, in the earliest part of the cemetery lies Samuel Ward, known to the few today who know his letters. No biography exists; a few letters were published in 1952. He deserves more, and perhaps more is to come, dear reader as we conclude his story.
Credits: Mrs. Houses’s letter is held by the Rhode Island Historical Society
Dr. Young’s letter and the Silas Deane and John Adams quotes are in The Correspondence of Governor Samuel Ward, May 1775-March 1776, Bernhard Knollenberg, editor, Providence Rhode Island Historical society.
Nathanael Greene’s quote is in The Papers of General Nathanael Greene, Vol. 1, Richard K. Showman, Editor, University of North Carolina Press, 1992.
This article appeared in Rhode Island Home, Living and Design
Volume 5, Issue 2.
(Date of this posting: September 29, 2009)
Whence the Names of the Towns in
In the introduction to the Vital Records of Rhode Island 1636-1850, James Arnold provides an interesting sketch about the origin of the town names in
What follows is an updated version of
South Kingstown, separated from North Kingstown, February 26, 1723, which provided that North
Hopkinton, incorporated March 19, 1757. Separated from
Narragansett, set off from
- A. Craig Anthony
The View from Little Rest Hill
Ever want to climb the stairs up to the cupola of the Old Washington County Courthouse and take a look around? For many years I wanted to but the pigeons had turned it into a hazardous waste site prohibiting such a venture. A few years ago it underwent a major cleanup and restoration. Recently, with the kind permission of the Kingston Free Library branch librarian, Pam Mead, I was finally able to make the journey inspired by the words of Jonathan Helme in his Recollections of
[We shall next] go up to the Court House. This belongs to the State; is a large and substantial wooden building, standing on the apex of Little Rest Hill. Looking out of the windows perhaps the most extensive view of the country round about can be obtained, including the great Atlantic Ocean; and I am not sure since we have
Traveling up the stairs I was greeted with ancient graffiti – the most prominent reading: “John Ladd Nov. 10, 1945
In the PHS photograph collection there are many views of this largely treeless agricultural landscape in the in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I regret to report that much like the Hannah Robinson Tower the view from atop the Old Courthouse is now unfortunately obscured by trees for approximately 270 degrees, excepting, “in a westerly direction (towards) the State of Connecticut; and Hopkinton, Richmond, and Westerly.”
View to the West
-- A. Craig Anthony
The Mystery Safe
Did you ever wonder about the Old County Records Office that stands next to the Kingston Free Library, formerly known as the Old King’s County Court House? The small, one-story, granite block building was built in 1857 to store court records of the first King’s County Court House built in 1752, originally across the street on the south side of Kingstown Road. The Records Office was reportedly the first totally fireproof building in the United States. The Court House was rebuilt at its present location in 1775 and was in use until 1891. A new Washington County Court House was built in West Kingston in 1894. Soon after, the contents of the Old County Records Office were relocated as well.
In the ensuing years the building served a variety of uses. At one time it was a carpenter’s shop for the local youth. In 1954, the Kingston Free Library Association converted it into the Little Rest Museum and later it also served as a repository for local history and genealogical resources, called the Little Rest Archives. In 1974 and 1995, the majority of the building’s collections were transferred to the Pettaquamscutt Historical Society.
In the summer of 2004, an opportunity arose to visit the Old County Records Office. Inside, a central entry is flanked by two windows in the gable end that faces the road. The back of the building is divided into two vaults with steel doors and two windows. Between the entrance to the two doors is a large safe called the “mystery safe,” as no one knows the combination to the lock or what might be in it.
Some artifacts and papers from the Little Rest Museum were still left behind, including a bass drum from the Kingston Cornet Band, several large wall maps, George Rose’s 1865 account book, a printed color roster for Company H, 4th Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers, and other miscellaneous papers. Branch librarian Pam Mead recommended to the library board that these remaining items be transferred across the street to PHS for safekeeping. With the help of eager volunteers, these items were reunited with the Little Rest Museum and Archives collections, as well as 140 boxes of The Narragansett Times, a near complete run!
But what was in the Mystery Safe and would we ever know? I recently came across a small file box filled with typewritten index cards, which appears to be the original catalog for the Little Rest Museum and Archives. In reviewing the cards I noticed a few with the words, “Filed: Safe in Little Rest Archives,” written on the bottom. After going through the whole box of cards, here is the list of what may or may not still be in the Mystery Safe:
1. A manila envelope with notes and reports on the Kingston Free Library 1936-1945 and a newsprint photograph of the Old Reading Room.
2. The financial records of the Kingston Congregational Church, May 1939-December 1948.
3. Reports of the Every Tuesday Club.
4. The Act of Incorporation for The Pettaquamscutt Historical Society, June 26, 1959.
5. And last, some old sulphur matches.
Not exactly a bar of gold, but at least the mystery is solved. If anyone knows of a good locksmith or a safecracker who would like a challenge, perhaps it would be worth retrieving these items.
There is yet one more mystery safe in Kingston, the one from the Old Kingston Post Office . . . .
-A. Craig Anthony