|Pawtuxet VillageHazel's Vignettes|
The following are various snippets from Hazel Wade Kennedy as published
the years in The Bridge, the newsletter of the Pawtuxet
Village Association, and in Gaspee Days Parade programs. It
should be noted that much of Hazel Kennedy's material appears to have
been taken from a noted historian of the previous generation, Horace
Hazel Wade Kennedy was born in the Christopher Rhodes House at 25 Post Road in Pawtuxet Village. A 10th descendant of Roger Williams on her father's side and 11th on her mother's, she also was a direct descendant of William Arnold, one of the first settlers in Pawtuxet. Hazel was a charter member of the Gaspee Days Committee and active in the Committee for 35 years. Hazel wrote and published 3 books " Guide to historic Pawtuxet Village (1972, 1975, 1985); Fragments of Time in Pawtuxet (1986) and Bird's Eye View of Edgewood (1989). She was the Church Historian for Pawtuxet Baptist Church and a member of the Pawtuxet Village Association, and Warwick and Cranston Historical Societies. Hazel is listed in Who's Who in Rhode Island and, and in 1979, had an upstairs room at the Bank Cafe named in her honor. In 1989 she received the Abraham Whipple Award from the Gaspee Days Committee for her years of dedicated service. Hazel was a society writer for the Providence Journal Bulletin and has been published in numerous magazines. It was a fitting tribute and honor that Hazel Wade Kennedy was named the 1992 Grand Marshal for the Gaspee Day Parade. We all miss her dearly.
Pawtuxet was included in the Grand Purchase of Providence when Roger Williams received the land from the Indians in 1636. Pawtuxet, Indian name for "Little Falls", was settled in 1638. In 1638 each proprietor of the Pawtuxet Purchase paid 30 shillings to Roger Williams and was given 100 acres of land, a home lot, farm for planting, meadow and pasture land for cattle and a tract of woodland. During King Philip's War in January 1676, Indians raided the village, drove off cattle, and burned hay and corn. The youngest son of William Harris, Toleration, was killed.
From its early settlement days it was an important seaport village. During the first part of the 18th century many men of Pawtuxet were engaged in the Triangular Trade which lasted into the 19th century.
There were several grist mills and sailing crafts would bring corn from Providence and elsewhere to be ground into meal. Circa of 1810 there stood a large three story textile mill at the Cranston end of the Pawtuxet Bridge, owned and operated by Christopher and William Rhodes. The mill burned January 25, 1875. The Christopher Rhodes house at 25 Post Road was built in 1800 and is a National Register landmark. William Rhodes house is at 141 Post Road. They are both fine examples of the Federalist period. The Rhodes brothers became wealthy through their textile industries. Besides the Pawtuxet mill they also built the Bellefonte Mill in Cranston, where the first broadcloth was made in this country, and extended their mill interests to Natick, Wickford, Albion and into northeastern Connecticut.
Right: "Old Fish Hill Landing, Pawtuxet Cove, Rhode Island" by Whitman Bailey, 1935. We're not exactly sure of this location within Pawtuxet Village, and we have no specific reference to it except that at one time, Ed Johnson and Civil War veteran Samuel Greene both ran fish markets at the foot of Aborn Street. The artist, Whitman Bailey, was color-blind, and his black-and-white sketches first appeared in The Stamford Advocate (CT) in 1924. Avid readers watched for his weekly sketches of area locations. He was most likely descended from Jacob Whitman Bailey, a noted 19th century naturalist, artist, and professor at Brown University.
Taverns were the heart of the village in the 18th century, because the road through the village was the link in the Post Road and was the most traveled highway between Boston and New York. Some of the taverns were the Golden Ball Inn, Mitchell Tavern, Aborn Tavern and the Carder Tavern. The latter is the only one standing today at 118 Post Road, Warwick and was built in 1740.
Fort Avenue, running along Pawtuxet Neck in Cranston gets its name from the fort that once stood on a high bluff at the head of today's Sheldon Street. The fort was built on October 17, 1775 during the Revolutionary War. It went from shore to shore and within the fort was a guard house. Fort Neck was garrisoned by the Pawtuxet Rangers for many years. They were chartered in 1774 as an independent military company and in 1812 it became the Pawtuxet Artillery. After the fort was no longer in use the timbers from the guard house were used in building the dwelling of Captain Alonzo Crandall. The dwelling became known as the "Barracks House" and stands today at 69 Fort Avenue with additions added.
The Pawtuxet Armory stands at the corner of Bank and Remington Streets, Warwick and was erected in 1843 by the State as an armory for the Pawtuxet Artillery, partially in reward for the Pawtuxet Artillery's loyalty to the Law and order party during the Dorr Rebellion..
The Pawtuxet Bank, today's Bank Cafe, stands at the top of Post Road hill and was established by the Rhodes brothers in 1814 to serve the coastal trade of Pawtuxet.
Left: "House on Old Elm Street, Pawtuxet, Rhode Island" by Whitman Bailey, 1937. It turns out that Pawtuxet Village really did have an Elm Street as found in old maps c1895. The location was from the present foot of Post Road through the center of what is now Pawtuxet Park between Emmons and East View Street.
Wander where you will through the old Pawtuxet, on both sides of the bridge, and you will see architectural styles from 18th century colonial to late Victorian.