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Portsmouth, Rhode Island One Place Study

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Location: Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Islandmap
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Portsmouth, Rhode Island One Place Study

This profile is part of the Portsmouth, Rhode Island One Place Study.
{{One Place Study|place=Portsmouth, Rhode Island|category=Portsmouth, Rhode Island One Place Study}}



  • "23.2 square miles of land"
  • "Portsmouth encompasses some smaller islands, including Prudence Island, Patience Island, Hope Island and Hog Island. "
Continent: North America
Country: United States of America
State/Province: Rhode Island
County: Newport
GPS Coordinates: 41.6, -71.25
Elevation: 32.0 m or 105.0 feet

National Register of Historic Places


Other Interesting Portsmouth Places

  • Trip Advisor
    • Green Animals Topiary Gardens
    • Greenvale Vineyards
    • The Portsmouth Arts Guild Center for the Arts

Ferries and Bridges

"Early ferries were were an essential link in Portsmouth transportation. The Bristol Ferry and the Anthony Ferry to Tiverton were among the oldest. Additional ferries were the Fogland Ferry (to Tiverton from the end of Glen Road) and Howland’s Ferry to Tiverton."

  • Portsmouth to Bristol
    • John Tripp "With his marriage to Mary Paine, he incurred a three acre tract of land in Portsmouth, Newport, RI. She had bought the land for one pint of wine from a seaman named Richard Searl. They build their home upon this land and operated a ferry to Bristol, Bristol, RI.
    • The homestead s now the Pocassett Country Club. The ferry was first mentioned in 1676 when “Captain Church of Tiverton, the famous Indian fighter, crossed to Bristol on Tripp's ferry.”"
    • The Mount Hope Bridge built in 1927, replacing a ferry, connects Portsmouth to Bristol
  • Portsmouth to Tiverton
    • Howland's Ferry "In colonial times the main roads in Portsmouth led to the ferry landings. What we call East Main Road was known as the Path to Howland’s Ferry. Its location was close to where the remains of Stone Bridge are today. This location is one of the narrowest points on the Sakonnet River between Tiverton and Portsmouth. The ferry may date back to 1640. It was also known as Anthony’s Ferry and Pocasset Ferry.
    • Howland’s Ferry played an important part during the Battle of Rhode Island. American forces used the location to pour onto Aquidneck Island to fight the British who occupied the island. When they were forced to retreat, many of the American forces used that route to make their escape. Howland Ferry was less used once the Bristol Ferry was established."
    • Bristol to Portsmouth: "The Bristol-Portsmouth ferry dates back to colony days. Little is known of its history, other than the fact that a horse-ferry was operated there in 1825. Fully half a century ago Capt. West, the lighthousekeeper, accommodated the public by running his sailboat between the two towns." **"With the opening of the ferry between Bristol and Portsmouth, connecting with the New Haven's electric road, and the trolley line between Portsmouth and Newport, the old ferry stops ceased to be made. The electrification of the Providence, Warren and Fall River road was completed Sunday, Dec. 2, 1900, but the steam ferry connection with Portsmouth was not established until two or three years after."
    • Portsmouth to Tiverton: "Another ferry was established across the Seaconnet river, at Stone Bridge, in 1680, which was known as the Durphee ferry, afterward as the Howland ferry until 1795, when the first Stone bridge was opened. That structure was washed away in the following year, and rebuilt in 1797. The bridge was later out of service for several years, and was not again open to travel until 1810."
    • "And of course there are still well-established ferries in Rhode Island, the Block Island Ferry and the Prudence Island Ferry being the most obvious. Other ferries ply the bay sporadically depending on the season and the state of the economy."
    • "Bridges have since replaced all of the historical ferries mentioned here. In 1929 Bristol and Portsmouth were connected by the Mount Hope Bridge. ... In 1956 the Sakonnet River Bridge reconnected Tiverton and Portsmouth, replacing Stone Bridge which had been wiped out by Hurricane Carol in 1954. All of these bridges were built right next to, or very close to, former ferry sites".


  • The larger cemeteries are either religious cemeteries or large private cemeteries. Most cemeteries are farm cemeteries with only a few people. Some of these are now defunct. There are a few government or military cemeteries.
Religious Cemeteries
  • Saint Pauls Cemetery aka Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Portsmouth #9 as of 10/23/2020 460 interments
  • Portsmouth Friends Churchyard aka Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Portsmouth #10 The cemetery behind the meeting house started in 1706, markers were not used until 1830. As of 10/23/2020 366 internments.
  • Union Cemetery aka Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Portsmouth #16. The cemetery was started by the Portsmouth Christian Union Church. As of 10/23/2020 624 internments
  • Saint Mary's Episcopal Churchyard Also known as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Portsmouth #24 . As of 10/23/2020 2249 internments
  • Priory Cemetery Also known as Portsmouth Abbey Cemetery, Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Portsmouth #30 16 internmentst as of 10/23/2020
  • Trinity Cemetery Also known as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Portsmouth #43 1070 internments as of 10/23/2020
Town or Government
  • Town Cemetery aka Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Portsmouth #19 This was the cemetery of the Portsmouth Asylum. Inmates who died while in the Portsmouth Asylum were buried on the town poor farm (known as the Asylum Cemetery) if they could not afford burial themselves. There are no official records of transcription. as of 10/23/2020 41 interments
  • Prudence Island Cemetery Also known as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Portsmouth #41 49 internments as of 10/23/2020
  • Lovell General Hospital Cemetery Also known as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Portsmouth #46 In May 1868, all the 251 dead were removed and reburied in the Cypress Hills National Cemetery .
  • Hessians Hole Cemetery Also known as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Portsmouth #53 These are the graves of Hessian soldiers who died during the Revolutionary War.
  • Indian Cemetery Also known as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Portsmouth #626 Prudence Island, may be a slave cemetery. It was uncovered in a stom and skeletons were reburied.
Large private cemetery
  • Old Portsmouth Cemetery aka Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Portsmouth #7. Started as a small family cemetery on land once owned by the Anthony family, it is now a large privately owned cemetery with thousands of burials. as of 10/23/2020 1445 interments
Farm or family cemeteries

While this is the vast majority of cemeteries, they usually only a few people. Some have been moved to larger cemeteries. Not all have markers or stones.


Indians and Roger Williams

  • Aquidneck Island In 1638 Roger Williams helped Anne Hutchinson's group sign a deal with the indians for Aqiudneck: "They bought the island for 40 fathoms of white wampum, 20 hoes, 10 coats for the resident Indians, and 5 more fathoms of wampum for the local sachem, and Narragansett Sachems Canonicus and his nephew Miantonomi signed a deed for it.".

Settlement: 1638 to 1713

  • Founders Brook Park is near the original settlement
  • Portsmouth history
  • "“Founder’s Brook” (off Boyd’s Lane) is the traditional site of the first settlement. From the beginning, most of the people of Portsmouth were farmers. Early town records show they were concerned about how land would be given out and that records of land ownership should be kept.
  • They lived in the area between East and West Main roads from Sprague Street to the Mount Hope Bay. At first they were given two acre house lots near a spring and larger areas of grazing land further south from the settlement. The first settlers brought cattle with them. There was a common pasture for cattle in the area that became known as Common Fence Point.
  • Later on the house lots were given up as families began to live on their farms instead of together in a community."

Contracts and admitted people, Freemen

  • There were 2 contracts signed in 1638 (23 men) and 1639(31 men). There was also a list of admitted men in 1638. Several of those who signed contacts, or were admitted, did not stay. There was a large group led by 8 founders that left to settle Newport (1639) on the southern end of Aquidneck. Portsmouth also had a group that left with Samuel Gorton to settle Warwick (1643) . Others went to New Amsterdam, including Anne Hutchinson and her son Samuel (1643) Anne and many of her children were killed in 1643 by indians. Some left to return to Boston, or go to Taunton and South Kingston. A few even ended up back in England.
  • "In 1657 most of the open land in Portsmouth was given out to freemen. Though Newport welcomed new settlers, Portsmouth residents were more guarded in accepting new residents. Settlers were not admitted without a vote of the town citizens. Once someone was accepted as a freeman, the town took responsibility to help them in time of need. Some colonists were given as much as 300 acres of pastureland. There was a rule that farmers had to fence planting areas and orchards. They used stonewalls, rail fences and hedges as fences. We can still see stonewalls that mark the gardens and orchards of the old farms.
  • By 1713 the final acres of town land were given out. This time freemen received twelve acres. In 1755 there were 1363 Portsmouth residents. Most of them were farmers. Mills developed to help farmers. Saw mills started as early as 1642 to saw lumber for fences and houses. Grinding corn meal was very important to farmers and early water powered gristmills began in Lawton Valley and the Glen. By 1668 the first of many Portsmouth windmills was built on the Briggs Farm. This is the Butt’s Hill area and was commonly called “Windmill Hill.”"

First Portsmouth Contract March 7, 1638

We whose names are underwritten do hereby solemnly in the presence of Jehovah incorporate ourselves into a Bodie Politick and as He shall help, will submit our persons, lives and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and to all those perfect and most absolute laws of His given in His Holy Word of truth, to be guided and judged thereby."

Second Contract of Loyalty April 30, 1639



  • "On May 4, 1776, Rhode Island became the first of the 13 colonies to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown, and was the fourth to ratify the Articles of Confederation between the newly sovereign states on February 9, 1778.
  • It boycotted the 1787 convention that drew up the United States Constitution, and initially refused to ratify it. It relented after Congress sent a series of constitutional amendments to the states for ratification, the Bill of Rights guaranteeing specific personal freedoms and rights; clear limitations on the government's power in judicial and other proceedings; and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people.
  • On May 29, 1790, Rhode Island became the 13th state and the last of the former colonies to ratify the Constitution."
  • The Brittish Army occupied Aquidneck from 1776 to 1779. The Portsmouth Quaker Meeting House was used as a British Barracks.
  • British General Prescott was captured July 10, 1777 at Overing's house in Portsmouth. He was later traded for American General Charles Lee.
  • The Battle of Rhode Island in Portsmouth was fought August 29, 1778, during the American Revolution, to attempt to drive them out.
  • Butts Hill fort was the American command post.
  • Hessian Hole is an American Revolution battle site in Portsmouth: "During the American Revolution, the British employed German mercenaries to assist them in battle. These fearless Hessian soldiers were well-trained crack shots and sided with the English in large numbers."
    • "The exact location of the grave is lost to antiquity. Some claim it is on the Abby grounds near Barker's Brook where the Carnegie Golf Course now sits. A report from the Providence Journal Almanac written over one hundred years ago places the Hessian Hole in the Lehigh State Picnic Grove just off Route 114. A Works Progress and Administration Guide To Rhode Island And Massachusetts places the hole somewhere closer to Route 114."
  • Portsmouth's Historic and Architectural Resource report states:
  • "British troops, supported by three Hessian regiments, marched against the American troops at the north end of Aquidneck Island under the command of General John Sullivan.
  • The first fighting occurred on Union Street and in nearby fields, but the Americans withdrew to the north, took up defensive positions at Butts Hill and Lehigh Hill and the major battle took place in a broad valley between Lehigh Hill to the north and Almy Hill and Turkey Hill to the south.
  • Two assaults upon Lehigh Hill by the British and Hessians were repulsed by the Americans. A Colonial Black Regiment drove back three more Hessian attacks. When the battle ended, by midafternoon, the enemy had lost many men while General Sullivan’s forces suffered fewer casualties."
  • Patriots Park National Historic Landmark "It has a memorial to the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, and The Battle of Rhode Island, August 29, 1778. The Bloody Run Brook is where the First Black Militia fought and the site honors the first Black slaves and freemen who fought in the Battle of Rhode Island as members of the First Rhode Island Regiment ."

Abolition and Women's Suffrage

  • Oak Glen was the home of Julia Ward Howe

Other History

  • 1668 Erection of first windmill on Butt’s Hil
  • 1794 First bridge opened between Island Park and Tiverton
  • 1862 U. S. Army opened Lovell General Hospital at Portsmouth Grove
  • 1895 Town Hall constructed
  • 1898 Portsmouth Free Public Library dedicated, an electric Trolley between Newport and Fall River started
  • 1942 The Navy opened the Motor Torpedo Boat Training Center at Melville.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_of_Rhode_Island_and_Providence_Plantations "Rhode Island was the only New England colony without an established church"


  • Religion in Portsmouth, Rhode Island

46.9% of the people in Portsmouth are religious: - 1.7% are Baptist, - 4.0% are Episcopalian, - 34.5% are Catholic, - 0.4% are Lutheran - 1.2% are Methodist, - 0.1% are Pentecostal, - 2.1% are Presbyterian - 0.6% are Church of Jesus Christ, - 1.5% are another Christian faith - 0.3% are Judaism, - 0.1% are an eastern faith, - 0.0% affilitates with Islam

  • "In 1657 ,the first Friends, or Quakers, seeking refuge from persecution in Massachusett and Connecticut, settled on Aquidneck.
  • The first Monthly Meeting ,including Newport and Portsmouth, was probably held in 1658 ; in 1661 , a general Friends Meeting was appointed in Newport. Meetings in Portsmouth were held at the homes of members.
  • When George Fox, founder of the Society of Friends, visited the island in 1672, he attended one or more meetings in Portsmouth.
  • In about 1700 a meeting house #55 --aplain, wooden structure--was erected at QuakerHill.
  • Before the Revolution, a large and wealthy congregation supported the society, but many left for other places during the war and never returned .
  • During the war, the meeting house was used as a barracks by the British"
  • Rhode Island Quaker history "During the Years 1670-1695. Quakers were estimated to constitute half the voting population of Rhode Island. "
St. Mary's Episcopal Church
  • First services in 1843
  • Now has The Sacred Center "We are an interfaith center for wellbeing in Portsmouth. We offer yoga for all ages, retreats, dance, spiritual discovery groups and much more in a beautiful space welcoming all. We have a full weekly schedule of yoga classes that take place...more"


  • "1847 Bishop Henshaw presided at the laying of the Church's cornerstone on September 2nd. The church was designed by Richard Upjohn, a famous English architect, who also designed Kingscote and the Edward King House in Newport, Trinity Church in New York City, and many other churches around the country."
St. Paul's Epicopal Church
  • Opened in 1833. https://www.stpaulsportsmouthri.org/ "Saint Paul's Church was founded by a small group of Portsmouth residents, with the Rev. John Fenner from Saint Michael's, Bristol, RI, conducting its first Episcopal service on July 7, 1833."
Portsmouth United Methodist
  • Opened in 1838.


  • "In 1793, a Methodist Society was formed in Portsmouth under the direction of Rev. Lemuel Smith, an early circuit rider. They met at the home of Matthew Cooke which was located under the present day Mount Hope Bridge. "
  • "In 1838, the congregation purchased a lot in the middle of the developing town for the sum of $102.50. The new church was constructed for a cost of $2020.00 and was dedicated on December 25th the same year."
Union Church
St. Anthony's Church
  • Founded 1901. 2836 East Main Rd, Portsmouth, RI, 02871-2608



  • The Portsmouth Quakers also showed an early interest in education. In 1703 a Quaker schoolmaster was appointed and began teaching. A Yearly Meeting School was established at the meeting house in 1784, but closed four years later due to lack of financial support.
  • MosesBrown, treasurer of the school fund, invested the school’s money and made his own donations, and the school reopened in Providence in 1819 as the Moses Brown School.
  • A Quaker school house was built on a lot near the meeting house in 1804, but it too was unsuccessful and was sold in1 823.
  • Public education also developed at an early date. By 1720, there was a school house at each end of town, and soon after two more were constructed. One of the first built, the Southern most Schoolhouse#40 , still stands today, after several moves, next to the Portsmouth Historical Society.


March 7, 1638 23 men

William Coddington, John Clarke, William Hutchinson (husband of Anne Hutchinson), John Coggeshall, William Aspinwall, Samuel Wilbore, John Porter, John Sanford, Edward Hutchinson, Jr., Thomas Savage, William Dyre (husband of Mary Dyer), William Freeborn, Phillip Shearman, John Walker, Richard Carder, William Baulston, Edward Hutchinson, Sr., Henry Bull X his marke, Randall Holden, Thomas Clarke(brother of John), John Johnson, William Hall, John Brightman,

Admitted to be Inhabytants of ...Aqueedneck 1638

Samuel Hutchinson, Thomas Emons, Richard Awards, Edward Willcoks, George Gardiner, William Witherington, Samuel Gorton, John Wickes, Ralph Earle, Nicholas Browne, Richard Borden, Burden], Richard Maxon, Mr. Nicholas Esson, Thomas Spicer, Robert Potter, William Nedham, Sampson Shatton, Adam Mott, John Mott, Mr. Robert Jefferyes, Thomas Hitt, James Tarr, John Roome (his mark), Robert Gilham, Jeremy Clarke, Nicholas Davis, Wm. Baker, John More, Anthony Pain, George Potter, Wm. Richardson, Wm. Quick, Thomas Clarke, John Johnson, William Hall, John Briggs, James Davis, George Parker, Erasmus Bullock, George Cleer, Thomas Hazard, William Cowlie, Jeffery Champlin, Richard Sarle, John Sloff, Thomas Beeder, John Trippe, Osamund Doutch, John Marshall, Robert Stanton, Joseph Clarke, Robert Carr, George Layton, John Arnold, William Havens, Thomas Layton, Edward Poole, Mathew Sutherland

April 30, 1639 31 men

William Hutchinson only person to sign both contracts, Samuel Gorton, Samuel Hutchinson, John Wickes, Richard Maxon, Maggson, Thomas Spiser, John Roome (his mark), John Sloffe (his mark), Thomas Beddar (his mark), Erasmus Bullock, Sampson Shotten, Ralph Earle, Robert Potter, Nathanyell Potter, Wm Heausens, George Cleare, George Lawton, Anthony Payne (his mark), Jobe Haukins, Richard Awards, John More, Nicholas Browne, William Richardson, John Trippe, Thomas Layton, Robert Stainton (his mark), John Briggs (his mark), James Davice

Signers of Contracts or were admitted known to have stayed

  • William Freeborn, died 28 Apr 1670 in Portsmouth, Newport County, Rhode Island. He helped survey Rhode Island in 1639, and was elected Freeman in Portsmouth on 16 Mar 1641. On 1 December 1641, William Freeborn was a member of the Grand jury in Portsmouth, and in 1642 William Freeborn was Constable. On 10 December 1649 he received a grant of 140 acres in Portsmouth conditioned only that he must build a house within a year. In 1655 he purchased a mill from James Sands and Samuel Wilbor; this mill remained in the family until after 1800. On 19 May 1657 he was elected a member of the General Court of Commissioners and the same year was a member of the Rhode Island Assembly.
  • Phillip Shearman, died before 19 Mar 1687 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. In 1639 he was secretary of the colony; made freeman, March 16,1641; was general recorder, in 1648 to 1652; deputy from 1665 to 1667. On April 4, 1676, he was among sixteen persons who were requested to be at the next meeting of the deputies to give advice and help in regard to the Narragansett campaign.
  • John Walker, died about 1654 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island
  • William Baulston, died 1 Mar 1678 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. He held all important offices in Portsmouth, being re-elected and reappointed year after year, until 1673, after which there is some evidence that he was becoming infirm.
  • William Hall died 19 Apr 1676 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. "In 1639 he is of record in Newport, Rhode Island, a parcel of land granted him in Portsmouth, May 27, 1644, and his name is included in a list of freeman in 1655. "He was commissioner to the general court in 1654, 1656, 1660, and 1663; deputy 1665-66-67-68 and 1672-72. In the last-named year he was appointed on a committee to treat with the Indians concerning drunkenness and endeavor to persuade them to reform. Among the five chiefs in this council was Philip, whose terrible war so harassed the colonies in 1675.
  • John Sanford, died before 20 Nov 1653 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. He held many important offices in the Rhode Island Colony. He was chosen constable for the year 1640 and lieutenant Jan. 13, 1644. The three settlements were united by a common charter in 1647, and on May 21st he was chosen assistant governor, ad acted as coroner. At the time of his death he was president of the Colony.
  • John Briggs (his mark), Died before 17 Nov 1690 in Portsmouth, he played a prominent part in the government of the town serving as juryman, constable, town councilor, surveyor of lands, special commissioner, and Deputy to the General Assembly.
  • Nicholas BrownDied 17 Dec 1694 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. Nicholas was admitted to Aquidneck Island on June 27, 1638. Nicholas Browne appears on the roll of freeman at Portsmouth, 1655.
  • Ralph Earle,1655 List of Freemen Portsmouth RICR, may have moved.
  • Jobe Haukins Died after 1682 in Portsmouth, Newport ,Rhode Island.
  • George LawtonDied 5 Oct 1693 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. He arrived in New England before 1638. In that year, he was admitted as an inhabitant of Aquidneck, Rhode Island. On April 30, 1639, he was one of the incorporators of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.But he was also one of the original settlers of Westerly, Rhode Island in March 1661/62.
  • Thomas Layton,Thomas LawtonDied before 27 Sep 1681 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. 1639: April 30: Thomas Lawton/Layton among those listed in establishing the second government at Portsmouth, Rhode Island. 1639: July: Thomas was granted land at Portsmouth. 1655: Thomas was made Freeman. 655 to 1661: Served as Commissioner.
  • Anthony Payne Died 6 May 1649 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island.
  • John Trippe,Died 28 Oct 1678 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. list of freemen of Portsmouth drawn up in 1655. He was a member of the town council. He was deputy for Portsmouth in the General Court (legislature) thirteen times between 1648 and 1675 and in 1656 he served for Providence. He was chosen assistant in 1670, 1673, 1674 and 1675
  • Edward Willcoks Died after 20 May 1638 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. May 20, 1638, he was listed as an inhabitant of Portsmouth, Rhode Island
  • Adam Mott, Died 19 Dec 1673 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island.
  • John Mott, Died 2 Apr 1661 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
  • George Potter, Died Sep 1640 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island
  • William Havens, Died before 25 Sep 1683 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island

Signers of 1st and 2nd Contact and those admitted who left Portsmouth

  • Many people who had been part of the settlement at Portsmouth separated.
Went to Newport
  • Newport, also on Aquidneck, having a good harbor, became the larger town. The Portsmouth area remained more rural for many years.
  • Others who went to Newport
    • Thomas Clarke(brother of John), died 2 Dec 1674 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island
    • William Dyre (husband of Mary Dyer) removed to Newport by 16 Mar 1640/1 when he was made freeman there. Mary Dyer died a Quaker martyr 1 Jun 1660 in Boston, Massachusetts.
    • Robert Stainton Died 29 Aug 1672 in Newport, Rhode Island
    • George Gardiner, admitted an inhabitant of Aquidneck in 1638. In 1639 he was made a Freeman of Newport.
    • Ralph Earle He settled in Portsmouth and later Newport, Rhode Island.
    • Joseph Clarke,1838 He was admitted as an inhabitant of Portsmouth, RI, 1639 He was admitted as an inhabitant of Newport, RI. 1668 Westerly, Washington Co., RI. He was admitted as a freeman in Westerly, RI
    • Robert Carr, Died before 4 Oct 1681 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Islandmap
Back to Boston
    • Edward Hutchinson, Jr., decided in a few years he preferred Boston for his residence. During King Philip's War, Capt Edward Hutchinson, on Aug 2, was wounded by Nipmunk Indians at Marlborough, Massachusetts. ...He died of his wounds on August 19th, 1675, at Marlborough, aged 62, (carved on his grave stone). Edward's body was buried at Springhill cemetery, Marlborough, Massachusetts.
    • Thomas Savage, was married to Faith Hutchinson, daughter William and Anne. Faith died 20 Dec 1651 in Boston. Thomas married again and died in Boston.
    • Thomas Emons admitted as Freeman of Portsmouth on 12 March 1640, Thomas Emins, was admitted to be an inhabitant of Boston, June 29th, 1648."
Founders of Warwick

    • Richard Carder returned to Boston and Roxbury where he and additional men who were Gorton followers were tried for heresy and on November 3, 1643 ...by January 12, 1642/3 he was one of the men who bought the twenty-mile stretch of land from the Narragansett. By 1644 he was living in Warwick and found to be on a list of freemen by 1655.
    • Robert Potter Died before 14 May 1656 in Warwick, Rhode Island. "He became an inhabitant of Rhode Island; took the oath of allegience there, April 30, 1639; was one of the "surveyors for ye highways" that year, and one of the twelve grantees of Warwick, R.I., in 1642-3."
    • Samuel Gorton They removed to Rhode Island, being of Portsmouth ( formerly Pocassett) in 1639, where he was again expelled and then attempted to settle as Providence, but was at odds Roger Williams who would not grant his freemanship. He removed then to Warwick in 1642.
    • John Wickes Died 17 Mar 1675 in Warwick, Rhode Island. John, along with the other "Gortonists" removed to Portsmouth, Rhode Island. By March 1642, John Wicke and other Gortonists threatened by the court at Portsmouth that if they were to come to the island armed, the constable was to disarm them and bring them before the magistrate and require them to find "sureties for their good behavior." Having been expelled from a second location, the Gortonists crossed the Bay and settled the town of Warwick.
Nieuw Nederland
  • Anne Hutchinson She removed to Nieuw Nederland, what is now the Bronx, NY, after her husband died BET 1641 AND 1642. She and many of her children (excepting Edward) were massacred by American Indians in 1643 in NY.
  • Samuel Hutchinson,Died 20 Aug 1643 in Hutchinson Farm, Pelham Bay, Nieuw Nederland.
  • Richard Maxon, Maggson,"The Maxson family may have been one of the 35 families who went to New York with the John Throckmorton group... The next day Richard Maxson and his son Richard landed at Throggs Neck, New York to get food and supplies for those marooned in the boat and were massacred by Indians. "
Other Destinations
  • Samuel Wilbore had removed to Taunton, but his name as senior, and Samuel, Jr., were retained on the list of freemen in Portsmouth, 1655.
  • John Porter became very active in civic affairs, serving on numerous committees over a period of two decades, and being elected for several terms as Assistant, Selectman, and Commissioner. He was named in Rhode Island's colonial charter, the Royal Charter of 1663, as one of the ten Assistants to the Governor. In 1658, Porter joined several others in purchasing a large tract of land on the west side of Narragansett Bay, called the Pettaquamscutt Purchase, which became South Kingstown, Rhode Island. After 1665, he removed to Pettaquamscutt. He died 6 Sep 1676 in Kingston, Washington, Rhode Island.

Signers with not much information

  • John Johnson,

Other early settlers of Portsouth

  • John Albro died 1 Dec 1712 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. "Major John Albro was one of the most active and influential settlers of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. "
  • Abraham AnthonyDied 10 Oct 1727 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Abraham was a freeman in Portsmouth on April 30, 1672. From 1703 to 1705 and 1707 to 1711 he was Deputy from Portsmouth to the General Assembly and in 1709 and 1710 he served the colony as Speaker of the House of Deputies. His will, dated June 1727, was proved October 19, 1727.
  • Richard Borden Died 25 May 1671 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. He received land on Aquidneck Island in May of 1638, in the area known as "The Spring" on the neck of land separating Mt Hope Bay to the north, from "The Great Cove". Richard died in 1671 and was buried on a 4 rod x 4 for parcel given by Robert Dennis for a Friends Burial ground.
  • Thomas Brownell Died 24 Sep 1664 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Sometime between 1639 and 1641, Thomas and Anne moved to the settlement of Portsmouth on Rhode Island.
  • Thomas CookeDied 6 Feb 1677 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. Thomas Cook became an inhabitant of Portsmouth, R. I., and "gave his engagement to the government and propounded for a lot" in 1643. He was made a freeman of Portsmouth in 1655, and was a deputy in 1664.
  • Thomas CornellDied 23 May 1673 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island.
  • Robert Dennis Died 5 Jan 1691 in Portsmouth, Rhode island.
  • Thomas Durfee Died about Jul 1712 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island. Colonial General Assembly Of Rhode Island Election 1664, Constable Bet 1687 and 1688, Town Constable 1690, Deputy Election 1691, Member of Town Council Election Bet 1692 and 1694.
  • Thomas FishDied 1 Dec 1687 in Portsmouth. Thomas Fish was in Portsmouth by 5 October 1643, when the Portsmouth town meeting record of "land was ordered laid out to Thomas Fish at the First Brook." Thomas was admitted freeman to the Portsmouth, Newport, RI in 1655. He was a member of the town council Portsmouth, Rhode Island.



  • 1708 First census: 628 inhabitants, 104 eligible for militia
  • 1755 Census: 1363 inhabitants


  • The 1790 census showed 1560 residents - 243 families and 19 slaves.
  • The census of 1840 listed 1706 residents. Of the 882 white males, 491 are in agriculture, 61 in manufacture, 28 are miners, 6 in navigation of oceans, sailing on canals, lakes and rivers are 33, 7 are in commerce, 7 were retired military, and 264 were scholars (students?).


  • 1870 Census: 2008 inhabitants
  • 1900 Census: 2105 inhabitants
  • 1940 Census: 3683 inhabitants
  • 1960 Census: 8251 inhabitants
  • 2010 Census: 17,349 inhabitants


  • Vol. 2: Book Three: William Cor(e)y of Portsmouth Rhode Island. Ca 1640 through 1995. Cory, Al Bertus. Corys_of_America ( Jacksonville, Fla. : 1991)

  • Richard Pearce Pierce, Frederick Clifton. Pearce Genealogy (Rockford, Ill., 1888)



  • Portsmouth (Rhode Island). Town Council. Town council and probate records, 1697-1930 [Portsmouth, Rhode Island]. Council and probate records v. 2-5 1697-1763 microfilm pg. 742. Salt Lake City, Utah : Genealogical Society of Utah, 1973, 1996

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