In 1891, American author Jane G. Austin (not to be confused with the better-known English writer, Jane Austen), wrote in the preface to her novel, Betty Alden: The First-Born Daughter of the Pilgrims, “He who would read for himself the story of…

In the Old Burial Ground is an odd grave maker. It reads, “In memory of Elizabeth, who Should have been the Wife of Mr. Simeon Palmer… died Augst 14th 1776 in the 64th year of her age.” A clue to the meaning of this inscription may lie in a…

Primus Collins was a man with great responsibilities within his community. He mediated disputes, ensured that laws were obeyed, and handed out punishments when necessary. He was similar to any other governor, with one exception—Primus Collins had…

Designated the “Oldest Continuously Operating Store in the United States” in 2007 by Rhode Island officials, Gray’s Store was forced to close after the unexpected death of its owner Grayton Waite in 2012. The store was first established by…

Adamsville’s first mill was established by Philip Taber prior to 1700. Most early mills in the Little Compton area were wind-powered, but in order to saw wood, it was necessary to have water power. The Adamsville mill pond provided power for both a…

Ebenezer Church built the original general store in 1820 and sold it to his partner Philip Manchester in 1864. Philip’s son Abraham slept every night at the store from the time he was six years old, taking over its operation as an adult. He was…

In the early 1800s local Baptists established the Christian Baptist Church here at the top of Adamsville Hill; after the church closed, the building was later used as a school. Today, the buried foundation is all that remains of the building that…

Little Compton was once full of Odd Fellows. That’s no insult. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is a fraternal and philanthropic organization established in seventeenth-century England. It arrived on American shores in 1819, and in 1875,…

“Young man, if you don’t get out you’re going to end up with a little round hole in the middle of your forehead.” The words were polite and calm, but ominous, spoken to a youthful group of summer people during a late night visit to Briggs…

Imagine a stereotypical small farm with a few chickens pecking around the yard, the sun shining on their bright red feathers. This image is close to the reality in Little Compton today, but for a few decades the town was the center of an…

The border between Adamsville and Westport was changed in 1747 from the west bank of the Westport River (which is just to the East of Brayton's Garage) to this location in the middle of the mill pond. The new border cut though established lots…

The Plymouth Court established Adamsville as part of "Sakonnet" in the seventeenth century. The settlement adopted the name "Little Compton" in 1683 (check). Although Adamsville village had no official name at that time, many people referred to it as…

Adamsville had its very own library in the early 1920s. It was housed in the north room of Hattie and Eugene Shurtleff's house at the corner of Colebrook and Stone Church Roads. The Shurtleff's daughter Venetta (Nettie) ran the library. According to…