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Bristol, Rhode Island One Place Study

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Location: Bristol, Rhode Islandmap
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Bristol is situated on 10.1 square miles (26 km2) of a peninsula (the smaller sub-peninsula on the west is called Poppasquash), with Narragansett Bay on its west and Mount Hope Bay on its east.


  • 22,954 at the 2010 census.

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  • Roger Williams University, named for Rhode Island founder Roger Williams.



Settlers of Rhose Island

  • Bristol's early history began as a commercial enterprise when John Gorham was awarded 100 acres of land if it could be "honorably purchased from the indians." Gorham's enterprise succeeded on 18 Sep 1680 when four proprietors were awarded the deed to Mt. Hope Lands (known as "Mount Hope Neck and Poppasquash Neck")
    • John Walley, Nathaniel Byfield, Stephen Burton, Nathaniel Oliver (sold share to Nathan Hayman), Nathan Hayman
  • On 27 Aug 1680, twelve men signed Articles agreeing to purchase lands:
    • Capt. Benjamin Church, Doctor Isaac Waldron, Timothy Clarke, William Ingraham, Nathaniel Paine, Nathaniel Reynolds, Christopher Saunders, John Wilkins, Nathaniel Williams, Samuel Woodbury, Nathaniel Bosworth, Benjamin Jones
  • Bristol was a town of Massachusetts until the Crown transferred it to the Rhode Island Colony in 1747.

American Revolution

  • During the American Revolutionary War, the British Royal Navy bombarded Bristol twice. On October 7, 1775, a group of ships led by Captain Wallace and HMS Rose sailed into town and demanded provisions. When refused, Wallace shelled the town
  • a second attack took place on May 25, 1778. This time, 500 British and Hessian troops marched through the main street (now called Hope Street (RI Route 114)) and burnt 30 barracks and houses, taking some prisoners to Newport.

Slave Trade

  • Bristol and Rhode Island became a center of slave trading.James DeWolf, a leading slave trader, later became a United States Senator from Rhode Island. Beginning in 1769 and continuing until 1820 (over a decade after the slave trade was outlawed in the Atlantic).

National Register of Historic Places



  • Saint Marys Cemetery Also known as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Bristol #2
  • Congregational Churchyard Also known as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Bristol #9


  • North Burial Ground Also known as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Bristol #1
  • Juniper Hill Cemetery Also known as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Bristol #3
  • East Burial Ground Also known as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Bristol #4

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