Until the early 19th century, it was common for farms to include a family cemetery. Later, as industrialization took over and people moved into towns and cities, family cemeteries were supplanted by larger, centralized municipal cemeteries. The…

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…

In June 1830, the residents of Tiverton gathered for the annual town meeting, an opportunity for the freemen of the town to participate in local government. Included on the day’s agenda was a proposal to create a town farm as a refuge for the…

“In Memory of Duchess Quamino, A free black of distinguished excellence: Intelligent, Industrious, Affectionate, Honest, and of Exemplary Piety, Who deceased June 4, 1804, aged 65.” Quamino’s weather-worn marker, along with nearly 300…

All across America people ridiculed and smashed Henry D. Cogswell’s fountains, but this one survives in downtown Pawtucket.Cogswell – a dentist, millionaire, and crusader in the temperance movement against alcohol – had not always been a…

In June 1830, the residents of Tiverton gathered for the annual town meeting, an opportunity for the freemen of the town to participate in local government. Included on the day’s agenda was a proposal to create a town farm as a refuge for the…

In the summers, Providence residents waded into Mashapaug Pond to get clean – or, more precisely, for spiritual cleansing. "The choir would sing and the Word was preached before the candidate entered the water to have his sins washed away,"…