Filed Under Barrington

Nathaniel and Peleg Heath Houses

The Heath Brothers - Tavern Patrons & Officers in Revolutionary War

Nathaniel and his brother Peleg (II) were sons of the Rev. Peleg Heath. Reverend Heath was the minister of the Old Barrington Village's Congregational Meetinghouse from 1728 until 1740, when it moved from Jenny's Lane to its current County Road location. As the new meetinghouse was being built, it was voted that Reverend Heath should continue to preach at the private home of Mr. Edward Bosworth. Following his refusal to do so, the town voted to dismiss "Mr. Peleg Heath from being minister of this town."

Although Rev. Heath faded from prominence and died within eight years of leaving his ministry, his sons Nathaniel and Peleg (II) remained active and prominent figures in their own right. Both served as officers in the American Revolution from c. 1776 to 1778. Nathaniel was a lieutenant in Captain Samuel Bosworth's Artillery Company. Peleg (II) served as a Major in the Bristol County Regiment and fought battles at Roxbury and Cambridge.

Although no battles were fought in Old Barrington Village, the American war for Independence against the British (1775 to 1783) touched the lives of many citizens and patriots living in town. Nowhere was this more true than in the Taverns.

Two days after the Battle of Bunker Hill, there was a gathering of patriots at Bowen Tavern. According to Henry Bowen's ledger, dated June 19, 1775, those gathered at the Tavern were served a large drink dubbed the "Defiance Bowl" - voted on and paid for by "The Town of Barrington."

Henry Bowen's support for the war against the British is evidenced further by his role as the Town's Military recruiting officer. When the brothers Nathaniel and Peleg (II) Heath decided to join the cause for independence, their enlistment would most certainly have been recorded by Henry Bowen and taken place within the Tavern--perhaps while sharing a Defiance Bowl.

Aside from his patronage and military enlistment at Bowen's Tavern, Nathaniel Heath benefited from his skills as a cabinet maker. When the prominent statesman Samuel Allen--and frequent patron of Bowen's Tavern--was charged 5 shillings and 7 pence for breaking Mr. Bowen's chair, door, and window pane, it was Nathaniel Heath who received payment for the repairs. Nathaniel was also paid another 6 shillings for repairing one of Mr. Bowen's ladders, apparently damaged by Joshua Bicknell.

In 1782, the brothers built twin homes on the same block, about a ΒΌ mile north of Bowen's Tavern - Peleg at 1825 Wampanoag Trail and Nathanial at 38 Old River Road.

As battle-tested veterans, no doubt each brother had many a tale with which to regale their fellow neighbors and tavern patrons, just a short walk away down the road.

Images

Drawing of Old Barrington Village In Mid-1700s
Drawing of Old Barrington Village In Mid-1700s This drawing by the artist Joan Booth depicts how Old Barrington Village would have been laid-out in the mid-1700's. The homes of Nathaniel and Peleg Heath (II) are shown along with two nearby Taverns. Bowen's Tavern is labeled for its second owner (Enoch) Remington. Date: 1968
Nathaniel Heath House (Private Residence)
Nathaniel Heath House (Private Residence) This photograph is of the home built in 1782 by Nathaniel Heath on Old River Road. Nathaniel was the oldest son of the Reverend Peleg Heath, minister at Barrington's meeting house from 1728 to 1740. Date: 2019
Peleg Heath II House (Private Residence)
Peleg Heath II House (Private Residence) This photograph is of the home built in 1782 by Peleg Heath II, at what is now 1825 Wampanoag Trail. Peleg II was the younger of the Reverend Peleg Heath's two sons. The house appears on an 1870 map with a schoolhouse located in the now empty adjacent lot. Both Peleg II and his brother Nathaniel were patrons of local taverns. Date: 2019

Location

1825 Wampanoag Trail, Barrington, RI, 02806 | Private Residence

Metadata

Stephen Venuti, “Nathaniel and Peleg Heath Houses,” Rhode Tour, accessed February 24, 2024, https://rhodetour.org/items/show/364.