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Rhode Island History

 Rhode Island history and genealogy

Our Rhode Island history titles:

History of the Town of Smithfield, R.I. From its organization in 1730-1 to its division in 1871

By Thomas Steere (1881).  The volume was compiled at the direction of the voters of the town of Smithfield, North Smithfield, Lincoln, and Woonsocket at the time the larger town of Smithfield was divided into the four mentioned.  Smithfield had previously been part of Providence until it had been separated from that city.  With around 160 pages of text, and an additional 70 pages of appendices, there’s considerable material here regardless of where your historical interests in this area lie.  Quite compelling is the narrative of the transformation of greater Smithfield from an agricultural area of small villages into an industrial powerhouse, an important textile making locale in the second half of the 19th century.  244+ pages, in PDF format, download now for $4.00.

 History of Smithfield, RI

PROVIDENCE, RI:  List of Persons Assessed in the City Tax (June 1840) 

This list includes full names of persons (and businesses) assessed that year.  Included are valuations of real and personal property, as well as the amount of the tax assessed.  Both resident and non-resident are included.  "People of Color" are listed separately, making this a particularly useful source for information about the economic situation of African Americans in Rhode Island in the pre-Civil War period.  60+ paged, in PDF format.  Download now for $3.75.

Providence RI Tax list for 1840

The History of Warren, Rhode Island in the War of the Revolution, 1776-1783

(1901), by Virginia Baker.   Includes a narrative history as well as appendices providing muster rolls and militia lists, the 1778 valuation list of Warren, shipping lost, and a fascinating list, by household, of losses as a result of a British incursion in May 1778. Included as well is the crew of the General Stark, a 14 gun privateer, a letter home from one William T. Miller, and an accounting of "ancient landmarks."  68+ pages, download in PDF format.  $5.00. 

Warren, RI in the Revolution

Manual of the Richmond Street Congregational Church, Providence, RI  (1857) 

While this thin paper-bound volume also includes the Articles of Faith, Covenant, and Articles of Discipline of this Congregational Church, most will find the list of members of greatest interest.  Members are grouped by the year in which they joined the church, and the list indicates whether the member joined by letter (transfer from another Congregational Church) or by profession (by making a public statement of their beliefs).  In all, useful not only for the obvious genealogical value but also for an example of how Congregationalism worked in the capital city of a state founded in the interests of promoting religious freedom.  23+ pages, download in PDF format.  $3.25

Richmond Street Congregational Church, Providence

History of Massachusetts in the Colonial Period, by John Stetson Barry (1855) (Chapter 9 -- Rhode Island Founders and Religious Dissent 

While most Rhode Islanders are familiar with the history of their state’s founders (notably Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, and Samuel Gorton) from their point of view, it is interesting to review it from the point of view of Massachusetts. Similarly, while Massachusetts today is something of a paragon of religious tolerance, such was not always the case. This 1855 history sheds light on the issue in a way that is rarely seen today, at any rate.  This chapter is available as a downloaded PDF file, 33+ pages, for $1.75   

Rhode Island Founders

The 469 Ultra-Fashionables of America  --  A Social Guide Book and Register to Date,

by C. W. de Lyon Nicholls (1912).  Probably the last time in American history when a hereditary American upper class existed.  See our Americana page for more information.

Brief Sketch and Manual of the Providence High School (1878)

As well as a narrative of the decision process leading to a new high school building for Providence, this includes floor plans, a view of the ornate structure, speeches from the dedication ceremony, a history of the faculty, and 62 pages of names of teachers and students, from 1843 to 1878.  We think that this compilation of students and teachers is probably unique, and virtually a necessity if you are doing biographical or genealogical research about people who lived in Providence in that time frame.  The lists of students are by year of entry, further subdivided by academic -- or gender -- specialty (e.g. classical, English and scientific, and girls department).  Obviously it is also potentially useful for anyone studying the history of education.  132+ pages, PDF format.  Download now for $5.00.

 Providence RI High School

Governor William Coddington, by Mrs. Sarah K. Birckhead (1913)

This Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society (paper read to the Society on November 18, 1912) is a comprehensive biographical sketch of the early Newport governor.  A note by the author indicates that the material is a combination of two papers written by her father.  Coddington was certainly a figure worthy of study in a colony of outspoken religious dissenters:  Roger William and Samuel Gorton the best known today.  Coddington battled them both -- and others as well.  A fascinating paper!  26+ pages, in PDF format, download now for $3.25.

 Governor William Coddington

Rhode Island -- Warwick and south

This, our first Rhode Island CD-ROM  covers Warwick and the area south and west.  This CD-ROM is ready now. Learn more about it on our page about the Warwick and the South CD-ROM.


Rhode Island material we own that will be forthcoming eventually:

  • 20th Reunion of the class of 1934 of Central High School, Providence (1954)

68 pages.  This is a gem of recent genealogical information.  Most of the booklet is composed of biographies (circa 1954) of members of the 1934 Central HS class.  Current addresses (at least current as of 1954), where they went to college, their military service, whom they married, children, occupations.  Even most those who did not furnish biographies are listed with their then-current address, and the 59 classmates who could not be located are listed as well. There's an "in memoriam" page, and several pages of ads of local businesses.  A download will be forthcoming.

  • Follies of 1950 - the Junior League of Providence

A program booklet (48 pages plus covers) for a benefit revue by that organization.  Lots of ads as well as names and photos of League members/performers.  An interesting curiosity; the ads particularly make one aware how far back in history 1950 really is anymore.  This will be issued as a download.


Contact us at Between the Lakes Group to send us a message regarding your interest in this material.  We really do care what our prospective customers think, and we do prioritize our projects based on what people tell us they want to see (although we admit that personal interest does play a part, sometimes).  Our decision to go ahead with the "Warwick and south" CD-ROM was triggered by an e-mail from someone else who was descended from Samuel Gorton!

Or, join our notification list.  See the box below.   We'll keep you up to date periodically regarding new downloads we've added.



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