Archiver > RIGENWEB > 2004-05 > 1083642923

From: Beth Hurd <>
Subject: History of Cumberland, RI (part 1)
Date: Mon, 03 May 2004 23:58:08 -0400

History of the State of Rhode Island with Illustrations
Albert J. Wright, Printer
No. 79 Mille Street, corner of Federal, Boston.
Hong, Wade & Co., Philadelphia
pp. 110 - 117. (part 1)

The history of this town is particularly interesting, from the fact that it
was here, within the territory now embraced in the town of Cumberland, that
the first white settlement was made in the State. William Blackstone came
from Shawmut, the peninsula on which the city of Boston now stands, and
located at a spot in the town of Cumberland, familiarly known as Study
Hill. When he came over to this country is not definitely known. The
Pilgrims found him in quiet possession of the point of land, as above
stated, upon their first arrival, but when or how he came there is
enshrouded in mystery.

As no history of the town of Cumberland would be complete without a brief
sketch of the life and character of this celebrated personage, we give
here, as a very appropriate introduction to the history of this town, some
reminiscences of this remarkable personage; this pioneer settler and
founder of two States, whose life was characterized by that love for
seclusion and self-devotion that stamps it with a degree of romance, that
renders its perusal both interesting and profitable.

The old town of Rehoboth, comprised in its greatest extent, Seekonk,
Pawtucket, Attleborough, Cumberland, R. I., and that part of Swanzey and
Barrington which was originally called by the Indians Wannamoisett. In
1641, the first purchase was made of Massasoit, and was, according to the
measurement of those times, some eight miles square, although, by
subsequent measurement, it was found to contain an area of ten miles
square. This tract was what once embraced Rehoboth, Seekonk, and
Pawtucket. The second purchase was the tract known by both the Indians and
English as Wannamoisett, and formed a part of Swanzey and Barrington. The
third and last purchase was called the North Purchase, and formed
Attleborough, Mass., and Cumberland, R.I. This tract included within the
limits of Cumberland, was formerly known as Attleborough Gore.

In 1667, the town of Swanzey was incorporated, and included Wannamoisett,
Somerset, Mass., and a greater portion of Warren, R. I. The North Purchase
was, in 1694, incorporated into a separate town, and took the name of
Attleborough. This was also divided in 1746, and that which was formerly
called the Gore, became Cumberland. Up to 1812, the original town
continued, when it was again divided, and Seekonk became a separate
township, retaining, however, its original Indian name. Again, in 1828,
the town of Pawtucket was set off, which has since been enlarged by the
addition of a portion of what was once North Providence."

continued in part 2.

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