A compendium of odd facts, audacious anecdotes, goofy photos, and random flotsam.

This section is a catch-all for short items that don't fit elsewhere on Quahog. It includes news stories, advertisements, trivia, handy tips, "funny" photos, correspondence, and sights from around the Ocean State that are quirky, interesting, or otherwise fun, but that we don't feel we can, in good conscience, devote an entire article to (at least, not yet). We like to call this collection of spare parts and substandard materials... Quahogenstein.








Map of Camp Yawgoog from 1967

19670000_camp_yawgoog_map-01b
Image hosted on Flickr. Click to embiggen.

Portions of the movie Moonrise Kingdom, the events of which took place in September 1965, were filmed here. The style of this map is very similar to the style of the map used in the movie.

Posted April 28, 2015.

Rhode Island beyond Rhode Island—San Diego edition

A little piece of Rhode Island adorns the roof of the Jacobs' School of Engineering, part of the University of California at San Diego. They call it art, but what it essentially is, is a full-sized furnished cottage, perched precariously on a corner of the roof, as if dropped there by an errant Oz-bound tornado. Korean artist Do-Ho Suh based the piece, dubbed "Fallen Star," on a house in Providence, where he attended RISD in the early 1990s. The fifteen by eighteen-foot cottage weighs 70,000 pounds and cost $1.3 million.

Posted November 15, 2011.

Better than Torture

Christopher and Dan were recently interviewed by Gordon Forman for his nascent podcast series on weathergnome.com. In it they talk about how Quahog.org came to be and discuss the borders of South County, vampires, Johnnycakes vs. jonnycakes, and other Rhode Island minutiae. Take a listen. After all, there are far worse ways to spend thirty-five minutes of your life. Standing on line at the DMV comes to mind. Or buried up to your neck at the top of the Johnston Landfill, during a hurricane. Or regaining consciousness to find you're tied up, with one of Buddy Cianci's old toupees stuffed in your mouth as a gag, surrounded by hundreds of live, unbanded lobsters, at noon on a 100-degree day, inside the thorax of the Big Blue Bug. Those would be bad ways to spend thirty-five minutes.

Anyway, listen here and be thankful you're not being forced to endure a thirty-five-minute performance by The Dancing Cop.

Posted June 7, 2011.

A Tale of Two Sauces

Our line editor, Claudia, spotted this item on Boston restaurant Post 390's catering menu:

We'd never heard of such a condiment before. What magical ingredient, we wondered, would render mere tartar sauce "Rhode Islandy"? Clam juice? Olneyville New York System hot wiener sauce spice mix? Maybe a touch of chourico?

No, it turns out the ingredient that says "Rhode Island" to the chef at Post 390 is... wait for it... hot peppers. Well, we guess it kind of makes sense. Calamari in Rhode Island is very often served with hot pepper (pepperoncini) rings. In fact, we just assumed that was how calamari was served everywhere. Looking into it, we find that calamari with pepperoncini is yet another of those culinary items that is basically unique to our little corner of the world.

Okay, so Post 390's Rhode Island Tartar Sauce makes sense, once you think about it. Not so Sweden's "Rhode Island Sauce."

When we posted about the tartar sauce on our Facebook page, Janet from West Warwick responded "In Sweden, some restaurants offer Rhode Island sauce (for shrimp, I think). As I recall it's pink and a little like mixing equal parts mayo and ketchup."

Off to Google we went, and promptly found two different variations of Rhode Island Sauce. One from the Nordic Recipe Archive is described as "Mayonnaise flavoured with tomato puree, green apple, white wine and horseradish." The other, from Suite101.com, is specifically for shellfish, and includes "3 tbsp of mayonnaise, 2 tsp of tomato ketchup, 1/4 tsp of hot sauce, 1/4 tsp of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste."

What possible connection these ingredients have to Little Rhody, we have no idea.

Posted February 6, 2011.

Fraternal Cross-Pollination

Rhode Islanders Steve and Danny Smith are brothers. Steve plays in a local band; Danny writes for a well-known animated TV series. Put 'em together and what do you get?

I'm Huge (And the Babes Go Wild)

Posted January 4, 2011.

Rhode Island Zeitgeist Part 6

A January 2, 2011 Google search on the phrase "I hate Rhode Island" yielded about 5,420 matches. A search on the phrase "I love Rhode Island" yielded about 201,000 matches.

The lovers still outpace the haters, but what is it that the haters are hating?

Posted January 2, 2011.

A Difference of Opinion

Subject: Don Bousquet
Date Sent: Sunday, December 5, 2010 6:02 PM
From: JAYTNT@...
To: stuffie@quahog.org

I don't know who you are or what you do—but I'm pissed...

I am totally sick of Bousquet thinking that the Rhode Island Accent is funny. Making fun of a localities speech patterns and pronunciations just shows ignorance and bias.

If you see him, tell him to go back to what ever finishing/charm school he attended in whatever boring state he wasn't educated in and learn some manners.

Or just shut up! No resident of this state thinks he's funny when he makes fun of half the populace. Maybe in Kansas it's funny—not here.

Ray

Subject: Re: Don Bousquet
Date Sent: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 10:45 AM
From: Stuffie
To: JAYTNT@...

Hi Ray,

Hate him if you wish, but I respectfully suggest that you may be in the minority in your opinion of Bousquet's humor. Since 1980 his cartoons have appeared in newspapers and magazines all over New England. He's published more than twenty books and people stand in line for hours at his book signings. In 2009 he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. His book, The Rhode Island Dictionary (in collaboration with Providence Journal columnist Mark Patinkin), still stands as the definitive final word on the Rhode Island accent and language. No longer in print, Amazon.com currently lists the book at prices from $41 to $75 a copy.

Moreover, even in a state this small, there's enough interest in local humor to sustain a cartoonist, a columnist (Patinkin), and a comedian (Charlie Hall), all mining the same material. The thing is, though, they make fun, but they do it with a deep affection for their subject matter.

None of this, of course, negates that fact that you are offended. The same way that Rush Limbaugh being wildly popular with millions of people doesn't make me think he's any less of a douche. But Limbaugh has a right to make a living and to speak his mind, and so does Bousquet. And you and I have the right to complain about it, if it pleases us to do so. Ain't America great?

I don't have Mr. Bousquet's email address, otherwise I'd CC: him so he could be aware of your feelings, and possibly defend himself.

Respectfully,

Christopher Martin
Curator, Quahog.org

PS: Bousquet is a life-long Rhode Islander; born in Pawtucket, moved to Richmond at the age of nine, attended Chariho High School. His "finishing school" was the United States Navy.

Posted December 7, 2010.

We Pass the Savings on to You

Every state needs a guy like Robert J. Healey, Jr., founder of the Cool Moose party. The video below was part of his 2010 campaign for Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor (his third attempt at the office). His platform was simple: if he won the office, he'd work to eliminate it, thereby saving the citizens of Rhode Island more than one million dollars per year.

All You Need is Gov

PS: Healey lost, but in so doing still managed to garner an impressive 38.7 percent of the vote. Not bad for a candidate who spent only $3,600 on his campaign and promised to do absolutely nothing if elected.

Missing Point Judith

My name is Ruth and I grew up in Providence. My dad used to rent a cottage on Green Kinyon Driftway on Salt Pond in Point Judith in the 1960s. There was a good crowd of kids there, then. There were the Metcalfs and Dee Dee Steere; Wally Brine was there, as Salty's Shack was around the corner.

Forward now to the next generation, both my son and daughter went to URI and lived in the same house (not at the same time) near Scarborough Beach. My son graduated a business major and my daughter a nurse.

I attended Emerson College and stayed in Boston for twenty-five years, then I returned to Rhode Island. I raised my kids in East Providence and then East Greenwich. Now I am back in the Boston area. The cottage we stayed in was awesome, something out of Andrew Wyeth World. We had a little aluminum skiff that I would row out to the center of Great Salt Pond and chill out, with the smell of the ocean and the calm. I loved it. I hope to retire to South County, but my husband is comfortable being landlocked. When I go down, I am disappointed with Aunt Carrie's, but I found a great place for clamcakes on Narragansett Beach. My kids love Federal Hill, bravo to Buddy Cianci for making something wonderful out of the downtown area.

I will always enjoy going back to Rhode Island, but I most miss Point Judith.

—Ruth, Boston, Massachusetts

Emancipation Day at Crescent Park

I believe that tomorrow (August 1) is the anniversary of Emancipation Day at Crescent Park. My memories of it are somewhat my own and somewhat borrowed from my older sisters.

In 1960 and 1961, my oldest sister was employed by McCusker's Pop Corn stand, across the midway from the merry-go-round and next to the road and the bus stop for buses heading back to Providence. I remember that on both August firsts she came home at 11:30pm after work at the park and talked about the "mayhem" that occurred that evening on the midway. "Mayhem" wasn't the word she used. On one of those two August firsts, another two of my sisters had gone to the center of Riverside to the Gilbert Stuart Theatre to see a movie, and were walking the 2.5 miles home but were hoping to flag down a bus if one went by on Pawtucket Avenue in Riverside. One bus did go by and they tried to flag it down but the bus driver ignored them and kept on going. When they got home, they called the bus company (UTC, the forerunner of RIPTA) to complain. What they learned was that the bus driver saw them but didn't stop to pick them up because he didn't think it would be good to introduce two white teenage girls into the mob on the bus who were rampaging and ripping the seats to shreds.

By 1965, it was my turn to work at McCusker's during the summer. As usual on Emancipation Day, five minutes before the park closed, McCusker's would be mobbed with people wanting to buy $1.55 boxes of popcorn with 10s and 20s. People would be standing four to five people deep with arms thrust out waving money at us. Mae McCusker, who owned the concession and ran the stand, decided not to do business with this mob, so she made the decision to close five minutes early. So us girls stepped back, out of arm's reach, and the boys stepped forward, one boy to each window. On the inside of the building, there were wooden shutters that were raised and lowered on tracks, and when the bottoms of the shutters were flush with the counters, the shutters were then locked into place. So there was one boy per window/shutter and at the count of three, all the shutters started to come down. Every inch that the shutter could be lowered, it was, despite the arms thrust forward and waving money. Slowly, people came to realize that if they didn't pull their arms back, they were going to be crushed by the descending shutter, so eventually, all the arms disappeared and the shutters were closed and locked. But then we had to wait in the darkened building for twenty to thirty minutes until the crowd dissipated. Then we had to walk in groups back to our cars. No one, male or female, was allowed to leave the building alone.

The next year, 1966, word went out to the rides, games, and concessions that the park was going to close fifteen minutes early. Every night when it was closing time, a factory-type whistle would blow that could be heard the length of the midway. The whistle was located at the administration building which was across the street from the midway and next to the shore dinner hall. So on this particular Emancipation Day, in 1966, the whistle blew at 10:45pm instead of its usual 11pm time, and all the rides stopped and all the shutters on the concessions and games came down in unison, leaving everyone standing or walking on the midway looking stunned. But the crowd, having gotten over its surprise, dissipated quietly and without trouble. Again, we had to wait for the crowd to leave before we were allowed to walk in groups back to our cars.

By 1967, I was working somewhere else and lost track of events on Emancipation Day.

—Phyllis, Augusta, Maine

Disco is Dead? Tell that to Bobby Braciola.

Bobby Braciola, Rhode Island's "Italian Rapper," attempts to bring back all of those steps that we thought we had seen the tail end of in 1979.

Chooch to Gooch: The Ten Steps of Disco Dancin'

Need a job? How about Mayor of Providence?

Providence will soon elect a new Mayor, and a small group of residents is seizing the opportunity to encourage people to think differently about what the job means and what kind of person should hold the position. They call themselves the Uncaucus, and they launched their awareness campaign on February 17, 2010, with the following ad on Craig's List:

Wanted: Mayor of Providence 2011-2015

A Citizen-led Movement for Providence's Future
www.uncaucus.org
The Citizens of the City of Providence seek applications for the position of Mayor. Through policy and practice, the Mayor must inspire intelligent and transparent decision-making across city government and deliver services that support the well being of all residents.

The successful candidate will transform municipal leadership in Rhode Island by vigorously rewarding innovation, creativity and civic participation, even if it disrupts the status quo. He or she must be interested in running a city, not just a political career.

This position reports to the citizens of Providence, Rhode Island. We will be watching.

Requirements:

  • Ability to create transparent administrative and fiscal systems at City Hall.
  • Commitment to use new modes of citizen engagement that return real political power to the people.
  • Willingness to experiment with new ideas, even those that are disruptive to vested interests.
  • Effective negotiation skills and ability to create consensus across unconventional coalitions of interest.
  • Capacity to recognize and serve ALL of the City's residents.
  • Skills to develop new models for how city government partners with other public / private sector entities.
  • Courage to discuss the City's weaknesses and the vision to build on in its strengths.

How to Apply
Send a cover letter, resume, and materials that support your application to info@uncaucus.org

After less than a week the ad has attracted the attention of a number of possible candidates, including Julie Bellehumeur, a forty-nine-year-old teacher from Austin, Texas, and Laurel Casey, a local cabaret singer. The group's Facebook fan page has collected 339 supporters, among which were several officially declared office seekers, while their Twitter feed stands at fifty-eight followers and growing. Whether the non-partisan effort uncovers a candidate strong enough to challenge the status quo remains to be seen, but if the Uncaucus can get even a portion of the electorate to think differently about who should sit in the big chair at City Hall, it will have succeeded in its aim.

Providence Runner-Up in Most Overpriced City Sweepstakes

Forbes Magazine, bored with the ongoing worldwide economic crisis, fell back on one of its favorite hobbies—city bashing—in a May 6, 2009, article by Zack O'Malley Greenburg. Out of the twenty cities surveyed, Providence ranked number five based on cost of living, housing opportunities, unemployment rate, and average salary. Los Angeles was number one.

It should be noted that the geographic areas that were looked at are actually Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), used by the government in their statistical reporting, and were not limited to the cities themselves. Providence is part of the Providence-New Bedford-Fall River MSA, so for all we know our capital city is being dragged down by our neighbors to the southeast. Yeah, that's the ticket.

The Really Big "O"

The giant red letters on top of the Biltmore Hotel can be seen for miles. Up close, you realize that they have to be enormous. In fact, each letter is about three stories tall, and as wide as a double bed. Perhaps that is what inspired a tradition of amorous and adventurous couples of trying to have the big "O" in the big "O" of the Biltmore sign. If you didn't already experience this local variation on the mile-high club, fugeddaboutit! Security fences, cameras, and vigilant guards now prevent anyone from reaching the roof to try their luck.

—from "Five Legends of Downtown Lore" by Bob Burke, owner of Pot Au Feu and Federal Reserve, Providence Monthly magazine, May 2009.

I Heart Providence

Quahog staffers took part in their first public event on February 10, 2009, manning an information table at I Heart Providence. Organizers of the event invited people to Providence City Hall to meet, mingle, and confess their feelings for Rhode Island's capital city. The results can be seen in the following two videos.

We were too busy chatting with folks about Providence history and our website to be interviewed (or to sample any of the treats purveyed by some of the other event participants, darn it), but you can see us packing up in the background of a couple of shots, so that's kinda cool and kinda lame at the same time.

Rhode Island Zeitgeist Part 5

A December 17, 2008, Google search on the phrase "I hate Rhode Island" yielded about 211 matches. A search on the phrase "I love Rhode Island" yielded about 5,130 matches.

Interestingly, this would seem to be a step backwards, and we can only imagine that, in the months since we last took the pulse of the world's attitudes toward our fair state, Google has revised its search methodology in some major way. At least the lovers have maintained supremacy over the haters.

Spivak Redux

C.D. From Morristown, Arizona, wrote us in September 2008 with an answer to the question posed by Phyllis from Augusta, Maine: "Does anyone remember Joel A. Spivak who followed Salty Brine in the mornings on the radio?"

Sir, hell yes, sir!

I was something like ten [when he was on the air in Providence].

He was the first DJ I ever heard that didn't have "professional" diction like Ted Baxter. Listening to Spivak was like listening to Woody Allen—long pauses, bizarre ideas (well, for 1962), and an occasional whiny tone. He was probably Rhode Island's first "shock jock" (again, for 1962, which you wouldn't even think twice if you heard it today).

I remember one day he did a crossword puzzle on the radio. One of the answers was "slattern." He did a two-minute riff about what an odd word that was, how funny it sounded, why nobody used it today, and so on... along with his long pauses. I remember calling in an answer or two to that puzzle, and it was the very first time I ever called a radio station.

He was always very careful to accentuate his middle initial every time anyone used his name: "Thank you for tuning in to the Joel *A* Spivak show on 'Color Radio 63.'"

I enjoyed discovering quahog.org. I miss Rhode Island, but I make do with watching reruns of Family Guy.

Find the Spivak

Phyllis from Augusta, Maine, contacted us in May 2008 and asked: "Does anyone remember Joel A. Spivak, who followed Salty Brine in the mornings on the radio?"

Using the awesome power of the Internet, we were able to track down Mr. Spivak and piece together his resume. From what we can gather, he worked at WPRO-AM around 1962-'64. Previous to that, in 1958, he was at KILT in Houston. After his stint in Providence he moved on to KLAC-AM in Los Angeles (c1968), WCAU-AM in Philadelphia (1970-'87), and WWRC-AM in Washington, D.C. (1987-'95). Some of these stations had sister television stations and he worked for them as an anchor or commentator. Since 1995, says Mr. Spivak, "I've done press relations for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a national anti-tobacco advocacy group headquartered in D.C."

"I have a lot of wonderful memories of my time in Providence," Mr. Spivak writes. "WPRO has a very active alumni group and, over the years, I have heard from several of the people I worked with on radio and TV while I was there. I am stunned that anybody up there remembers me, and I must say I'm flattered."

Whatever else Spivak got up to on the air during his tenure in Providence, it may have been something as simple as a cookie that imprinted his show on the memories of listeners. According to Phyllis:

One of the regular features on Joel Spivak's morning radio program was a contest in which he would pose a riddle and ask people to call in with the answers. The riddles were logic problems. He promised to give a cookie to anyone who got the riddle right. One day my mother called in with the correct answer. When she told us that evening that she had won a cookie, we wondered how the station would get her her cookie. Was it a REAL cookie she'd won? Would it be mailed? Would it arrive in crumbs? A few days later, she got an envelope from WPRO with a "lump" inside. When she opened it, she discovered a Fig Newton wrapped in aluminum foil. I thought it was very clever to send a Fig Newton, because the filling would keep the cookie from breaking up into bits. The cookie was edible, and she enjoyed eating her cookie.

In the Company of Misery

Another ranking based on a selection of arbitrary measures, this time by Forbes.com, places Providence at number ten on their Misery Index (as of January 30, 2008). 150 cities were ranked based on unemployment, taxes, commute times, weather, violent crime, and Superfund sites, then the ranks were added together for an overall score. With ranks of 121, 149, 69, 110, 51, and 111, respectively, Providence's Misery Measure added up to 611. Detroit was number one with an overall score of 696. With a tax rank of 149, Providence is second only to New York City.

Critics of the ranking point out the obvious, that there are good things about living in these cities that, for many of us, counterbalance or outweigh the bad (for example, taxes pay for good things like schools and roads). Not included in the equation are access to beaches and green space, historical and cultural resources, local cuisine, or [insert your favorite local boastable here]. At best, this kind of ranking system is mere trivia, filler for a slow news cycle. At worst it reinforces the feelings of those citizens who believe that where they live is a big part of why their lives suck. Take it for what it's worth.

A Sighting of the Ghostly Palatine

In September 2007 we received the following from Paul in New York City:

In 1980, in late September, I and my wife stayed at the 1661 Inn at Old Harbor on Block Island for a week to celebrate our honeymoon and enjoyed an island predominantly closed to tourists and gearing up for approaching winter and bird watchers' clubs. The weather was rainy, windy, and blustery and added to our desire to stay in each other's close company. One evening, I went out back to socialize with a pair of goats that roamed free on the property and to watch the view on Old Harbor. Among the rolling whitecaps I saw a triangular blue light that flickered and reappeared. It was some distance from the shore. It looked like the sails and mast and craft of a middle-sized sailing vessel, but the surreal light of the sail waxed and waned like a flame. The blue sail light was phosphorescent and vanished and then appeared a small distance from where I had last sighted it. I watched this odd appearing and reappearing of this bluish triangular sail for several minutes convinced, at first, that it was a ship in distress, then, in more wonder, as its shifting movements and oddly lit nature was something I had never seen before. It has haunted my memory for all these years. Not until years later, reading in Livermore's History of Block Island about the Palantine ghost ship did I realize what I may have caught and observed.

Paul wonders if anyone else has seen what he saw. If you have a similar story send it along to us at stuffie@quahog.org. If we get enough responses, we'll create a separate page just for Palatine sightings.

A Cartoon by Jerry Shippee

Cat of Death

Dr. David M. Dosa, in the July 26, 2007, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, reported that a cat residing at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 100 Borden Street, Providence, seems to be able to predict patient deaths. Two-year-old Oscar, a grey and white long-hair, has been observed consistently choosing to cat-nap with end-stage Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease sufferers who only have two to four hours left to live. Once their time is up, Oscar rises, stretches, and casually walks away.

If we were more superstitious people we might imagine that Oscar was somehow sucking the last spark of life from these unfortunates to stoke the fires of his own nine lives. The staff at the nursing home sees a bright side to the fluffy little harbinger of death's cuddly visits, though—it gives them time to notify next-of-kin that the paradise train is probably about to leave the station. In recognition of Oscar's eerie gift, the cat was awarded a certificate of merit by Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island, "for providing exceptional end-of-life care."

State House of Cards

Professional card stacker Bryan Berg of Santa Fe, New Mexico, created this sixty-pound replica of the Rhode Island State House out of 22,000 playing cards in the summer of 2007. Filmed over three days, the video has proved to be a boon to sponsor Showtime, with more than 1.4 million hits as of August 2008.

Rhode Island beyond Rhode Island—Old Stone Tower edition

There's a tower in Cheshire, Massachusetts, that's based on Newport's Old Stone Mill. The tower, known as the Stafford Hill Monument, was erected in 1927 "in memory of the patriots and pioneers of New Providence," a town settled by emigrants from Rhode Island in the 1760s.

We also have a circa 1915 postcard showing a similar tower located in Institute Park in Worcester, Massachusetts. According to worcestermass.com the tower has since been torn down and replaced with tennis courts.

Among the comments about the park on that site is this one from Jeff: "The thirty-foot tower shown here was built in 1892 by Stephen Salisbury III. Although it was meant to mimic an ancient tower, it was mistakenly called the Norse Tower because of the Viking feel of its architecture."

Celebrating eye strain

The Providence Journal has begun running television and radio ads touting their new expanded classifieds section with the slogan "You give me double vision—ProJo." Now, we understand the concept—they've doubled their classifieds content and it's accessible both in print and online—but we can't help but do a mental double take (so to speak) every time we hear the commercial. Double vision to us means you've been spending too much time reading small print or staring at a computer screen. It also means blunt force injuries to the skull, overuse of alcohol or controlled substances, sleep deprivation, or a symptomatic indication of a growing brain tumor. Not since the Foreigner song, which celebrated the effects of an all-night bender, have we heard a more ineffectual attempt to rehabilitate an unpleasant occular condition.

Rhode Island Zeitgeist Part 4

An April 7, 2006, Google search on the phrase "I hate Rhode Island" yielded about 390 matches. A search on the phrase "I love Rhode Island" yielded about 43,200 matches.

The lovers of Rhode Island are clearly outpacing the haters at an exponential rate. We like to think we have something to do with that.

Bridge boggin

We couldn't believe it at first, so we did it again. Then we asked a friend to do it and it came out the same. So it's true, a roll of Newport Bridge tokens is possibly the biggest bargain in Rhode Island. Here's the deal: the cost to drive your car once over the bridge is $2. But if you hand the toll operator a $10 bill and ask for a roll of tokens, you get ten tokens and you get to drive over the bridge. That's eleven trips for $10, a savings of $12, or almost fifty-five percent off the full price! So why wouldn't you buy a roll of tokens, even if you only drive over the bridge a few times a year? Keep 'em in your glove compartment—you'll use them eventually.

Update: Since writing the above, we came across a June 1969 Evening Bulletin article announcing the sale of discounted tokens. While we're somewhat chagrinned to find we trumpeted something that probably everyone but us knew about, we're amazed by the fact that this discount has been in place almost forty years. Can you name any other product or service that costs the same now as it did in 1969?

Update, May 2008: Tokens will soon be a thing of the past with the installation of the E-ZPass electronic toll collection system on the Newport Bridge. However, once you get past the $10 cost of your first transponder (a second is $15 and any other boxes will run you $20.95 each), the cost of the toll for Rhode Island residents will remain at 83 cents a pop for the foreseeable future (which matches the current cost of "bulk" tokens—$50 for sixty). The fare for drivers paying cash will remain at $2. The Rhode Island Bridge and Turnpike Authority plans to have the system in place by January 2009.

Milk crate Eiffel Tower

Moulin Rouge Restaurant, 1403 Main Road, Tiverton.
Photographed March 11, 2006.

A gastronomic dare

Earle's Service Station, Meetinghouse Lane, Little Compton.
Photographed March 11, 2006.

Rhode Island Beyond Rhode Island—Iowa and California

Betsy, formerly of Rumford and currently from California, dropped us a line to let us know about What Cheer, Iowa, named "by a transplanted Civil War veteran from Providence." She also told us that "here in Riverside, California, my husband grew up calling certain sandwiches 'grinders' due to the D'Elia family which moved here from Rhode Island and opened up a shop in the 1950s."

Debt threat

Providence Journal columnist Bob Kerr reported on February 24, 2006, that a Scituate couple, Walter and Deanna Soehnge, had recently been investigated by the Department of Homeland Security. Why? Because they paid off their credit card.

You read that right. Deciding that the balance on their JCPenney Platinum MasterCard had gotten way too high, they conscientiously paid off the entire $6,522 amount... and promptly came face to face with Big Brother. The credit card company, noting the unusually large payment, notified Homeland Security and froze the Soehnge's account.

The account was later freed up—the Soehnges were apparently found to be no threat to national security—but no explanation was ever offered as to how paying a debt could be viewed as subversive behavior.

Grave of Princess Wawaloam

Our school has a unique name that comes from a Native American legend about Princess Wawaloam who is buried under the rock and the oak tree that stand at the southwest side of the school. When the school land was deeded to the town by the Metcalf family, Mrs. Metcalf requested that the large rock on the site never be moved. To this day the rock sits embedded firmly in the ground with the stately oak tree by its side.

—from the Wawaloam Elementary School website.

Rhode Island Zeitgeist Part 3

A January 10, 2006, Google search on the phrase "I hate Rhode Island" yielded about 360 matches. A search on the phrase "I love Rhode Island" yielded about 22,900 matches.

Blue motorcycle sculptures

Phillipsdale Landing, 310 Bourne Avenue, East Providence.
Photographed June 11, 2005.

Bursting Forth in Song

So inspired is Providence-born fine artist Rossi d'Providence by the charms of his home state that he couldn't restrain himself from sharing the following little ditty with us:

Oh, Rhode Island (The State Song)
by Rossi d'Providence
May 21, 2005

Oh, Rhode Island, my Rhode Island
You are the nation's finest to me
From Woonsocket to the Scarborough beach
Good people are all I see.

How proud we are for whom we are
The Hummingbird, the Narragansett and thee
Together we're the grandest land of all
Oh Rhode Island, nature's jewel by the sea.

And Quahogs, tooooooo…

Scaaary children sculpture revisited

210 8th Street, Providence.
Photographed May 10, 2005.

The sculpture has been broken, leaving only one child. Was it termites? Rot? Vandalism? Or was the property purchased by new owners who really hate kids?

We returned on May 14 to find the sculpture erased altogether.

Floating bust

Providence River, Providence.
Photographed May 1, 2005.

Confirmation of our most widely held belief

In late May 2005, GMAC Insurance released the results of a nationwide survey of drivers' knowledge of the rules of the road, confirming what many of us already knew: Rhode Island drivers suck. That's right, we came in dead last with an average score of 77 percent (wooo, high five!), while Oregon drivers tested best, with an average score of 89 percent. Are you one of those pulling our numbers down? Take the test online and find out: www.gmacinsurance.com. As an additional point of reference, the staff of Quahog.org (one of whom has been living in Japan for the past twelve years, where they don't even drive on the right side of the road), got an average score of 92.5 percent. In your face, Oregon!

It could happen to anyone

On April 4, 2005, former Rhode Island Attorney General (1999-2003) Sheldon Whitehouse emerged from the front door of his Elmgrove Avenue home and, flanked by his wife and two children, formally announced that he would run for the United States Senate seat held by Republican Lincoln D. Chafee.

At the conclusion of the press conference, in which Whitehouse spouted the usual political ka-ka and promised to "work my heart out in this race for every vote… and take absolutely nothing for granted," he and his family turned to reenter their house, and found the door locked.

—from Providence Journal reports.

Rhode Island beyond Rhode Island—British edition

The following came to us from a friend of a friend of a friend who recently moved to Altrincham, England:

Altrincham also has a little coffee shop/cafť called Rhode Island Coffee. Their frequent drinkers card says "Rhode Trip" on the front and on the back it has a picture of Rhode Island and you get a stamp for Rhode Island cities with each drink you buy. Mikey and I went and got our Woonsocket and East Providence stamped, but we need another cocoa and a cappuccino before we can get our Cranston stamp. I tried to find out what the scoop was on the name, but only got blank looks. Will try again and report back to any interested parties.

Rhode Island Zeitgeist Part 2

A February 9, 2005, Google search on the phrase "I hate Rhode Island" yielded about 160 matches. A search on the phrase "I love Rhode Island" yielded about 285 matches.

Scaaary children sculpture

210 8th Street, Providence.
Photographed November 7, 2004.

What's the story here? Is it some kind of memorial? Might it be the almost-life-sized equivalent of a family portrait carved in wood? Or it is merely an oversized lawn ornament? Whatever it is, it's vaguely unsettling.

Rhode Island beyond Rhode Island—Providence, the Disneyfied version

Tired of New England winters? Want to move down south but don't want to give up the comfortable architectural ambiance of Rhode Island's capital city? Well, why not move to Huntsville, Alabama's, Village of Providence?

Designed to mimic a typical New England community, as exemplified by the city of Providence, this mixed-use development includes street names like Chalkstone, Thayer, Hope, Benefit, Biltmore, and Meeting, as well as a fountain reminiscent of the one at DePasquale Square on Federal Hill. Architectural styles include Victorian, Classical, Federal, Italianate, Craftsman, and Greek Revival. A restaurant called Tony's Little Italy features sandwich selections with Mafia-inspired names. The development even has a creek running through the middle of it. Can CreekFire be far away?

Piano guardians

Alpine Pre-School/Day Care, 400 Pippin Orchard Road, Cranston,
Photographed August 27, 2004.

Lions, dogs, cherubs—even dragons and gargoyles—these are the sorts of things you often see perched atop pillars in front of homes the world over. But pianos? What's up with that?

Turns out the building, which now houses a pre-school, was once the home of concert promotor Frank J. Russo who, in the 1970s and 1980s, promoted the Rolling Stones' concerts, the Michael Jackson Victory Tour, Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti, and Whitney Houston, among others, with his full name, including the middle initial.

Russo now lives in Florida and the school is run by his daughter.

Air Mail mailbox

60 Moosup Road, Foster.
Photographed August 17, 2004.

Isn't it the case that every state has at least one example of this cheesy visual pun? Well, here's ours. We can't help but wonder what the stats are regarding the number of people who come up with this idea on their own versus those who are merely imitators.

Now if we can only find a two-story outhouse…

"My Lynchey sense is tingling"

When Rhode Island Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse took office in 1999, he had a bronze plaque affixed to the wall outside his building on South Main Street in Providence. A quote from English poet William Blake, it read, "I will not cease from mental fight. Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand..." Nothing unusual about that, right? But it set a precedent, and when Patrick Lynch succeeded Whitehouse in 2003, he wanted to make the office his own with a quote of his choosing. Lynch told the Providence Phoenix how he was handed the perfect phrase:

As Iím walking into the State House, my [six-year-old] son grabs my pants, literally—Iím going through the archway, jets are flying overhead, the bands are out there, Iím going to step out, and Chief Judge Frank Williams is going to swear me in. Itís on TV and everything—and my son grabs my coat. And I say, "Whatís up, Graham?" And he looks up at me and says, "Always remember: with great power comes great responsibility."

Perhaps these weighty words sound familiar. Are they those of a great poet, philosopher, or historian? No. They are the words of Stan Lee, creator of the comic book character Spider-Man. You may have heard them spoken by Peter Parker's Uncle Ben in the big screen adaptation released in 2002.

The plaque bearing the phrase was installed during a public ceremony on June 30, 2004, timed to coincide with the release of the movie Spider-Man 2, and attended by hundreds of children, daycare providers, and chaperones. Stan Lee even made a statement via video ("We must never forget: With great power comes great responsibility. And remember, whatever you do, enjoy the movie. Excelsior!"). The unveiling was followed by a cookout, a toy giveaway, and a private screening of the movie.

—from Providence Phoenix, Providence Journal, and Channel 12 Eyewitness News reports.

Bullrake to the rescue!

Outside the Island Tap bar on Park Avenue in Portsmouth, Friday afternoon, February 6, 2004, one guy allegedly whacked another in the chest with a quahog rake.

According to police, the man with the rake, Michael Archambault, 45, of Portsmouth, got into a verbal disagreement with two brothers, Bradford and Christopher Landerville (23 and 26, respectively), also of Portsmouth, inside the bar. The disagreement became physical, with Archambault getting the worst of it.

Archambault exited the bar followed by the brothers, and the fight resumed. At some point Archambault ended the altercation when he took a quahog rake from his car and thumped Bradford Landerville a good one.

The fracas resulted in a bloody nose, other head injuries, and a charge of assault with a deadly weapon for Archambault; a trip to Newport hospital with "critical" chest injuries for Bradford Landerville (his condition was later upgraded); and a felony assault, a bail violation (in connection with a previous Newport drug charge), and a trip to the ACI for Christopher Landerville.

—from East Bay Newspapers reports.

Rhode Island Zeitgeist Part 1

A November 17, 2003, Google search on the phrase "I hate Rhode Island" yielded two pages of matches. A search on the phrase "I love Rhode Island" yielded seven pages.

It's funny because it's cruel

A young woman from Cranston was so depressed that she decided to end her life by throwing herself into Rhode Island Sound. She went down to the docks and was about to leap into the frigid water when a handsome young sailor saw her tottering on the edge of the pier, crying.

He took pity on her and said, "Look, you've got a lot to live for. I'm off to Europe in the morning, and if you like, I can stow you away on my ship. I'll take good care of you and bring you food every day."

Moving closer, he slipped his arm around her shoulders and added, "I'll keep you happy, and you'll keep me happy."

The girl nodded yes. After all, what did she have to lose? Maybe a fresh start in Europe would give her life new meaning.

That night the sailor brought her aboard and hid her in a lifeboat. From then on, every night he brought her three sandwiches and a piece of fruit, and they made passionate love until dawn.

Three weeks later, during a routine inspection, she was discovered by the captain. "What are you doing here?" the captain asked.

"Well, I have an arrangement with one of the sailors," she explained. "I get food and a trip to Europe, and he's screwing me."

"He sure is, lady," the captain said. "This is the Block Island ferry."

An address to die for

Small Pox Trail, South Kingstown.
Photographed September 21, 2002.

Muffler man terminator

Quad's Maximum Exhaust, 270 Point Judith Road, Narragansett,
Photographed March 30, 2002.

While tooling around down Narragansett way in March 2002, what to our wondering eyes should appear, but another Rhode Island muffler man! And golly, he was a magnificent specimen, standing there on the lawn in front of Quad's Maximum Exhaust, all silvery and shiny, with his devil-may-care grin and his mighty flamethrower thrusting boldly from his hip. Gazing upon him, we were ashamed to remember our former debasement before lesser muffler creatures. We decided then and there to cast off all previous promises of obeisance to the other, for it was obvious that we had been but wanderers in the valley of ignorance. In Narragansett our eyes were opened to the true way.

The God of Meineke is dead! Long live the God of Quad!

A Missed Opportunity for Johnston

The Eagle-Tribune reported in August 2001 that a retired Johnston demolition and structural preservation contractor named Robert K. Sahajian was frantically trying to save Jay Leno's boyhood home from destruction. He claimed to have purchased the 1952 Cape from the property's owner, Todd D. Wacome of Wynwood Associates, for one dollar, and that he had plans to dismantle the house and reassemble it on property in Johnston owned by his fiancée. He said he hoped to use the building as a guest house, but that he planned to send a set of keys to Jay Leno so that he could visit whenever he wanted. When contacted by the Eagle-Tribune, the Tonight Show host said he had fond memories of the time (from ages nine to eighteen) he lived in the little grey house with blue shutters, but that he had accepted that it was going to be razed, and he poo-pooed Sahajian's good intentions: "This guy's a phony looking for publicity. He called and talked to someone here but I have no idea who he is."

Unfortunately for Johnston's informal tourism infrastructure, Sahajian was unsuccessful in his efforts. An Associated Press story reported in early September that the Leno home was no more, having been replaced by landscaping in the backyard of a new five-bedroom, $2.6-million home.

We hear, however, that Oprah Winfrey's childhood home might still be available.

Advertorture

Rhode Island Monthly reported in April 1991 on a new Blue Cross/Blue Shield television commercial:

A professor asks if anyone knows where Rhode Island is. His dimwitted students mumble a few stupid guesses and then a voice-over explains that, while it's true not everyone knows the location of the littlest state, everyone around the country is familiar with the Blue Cross line of coverage.

But the final frame holds an unintentional gaffe. The teacher, clearly exasperated, throws up his hands, then turns to a map and points to…

Delaware.

"Well," said one member of the Blue Cross public relations staff, "they're both small states."

Useful and Amusing

In the most intricate of all toy traps, Patent No. 724,931, A.W. Phillips of Providence, Rhode Island, built a miniature tricycle, four inches long and made of perforated metal. The mouse was first lured into the tricycle's rectangular body, but "in roaming about to find an exit" ultimately tumbled into the front wheel—a treadmill—wherein it was obliged to run, and so power the little vehicle about the house.

—from "A Better Mousetrap" by Jack Hope, American Heritage Magazine, October 1996

Rhode Island beyond Rhode Island—Doppleganger edition

There are many, many places around the world that share the same name as places in Rhode Island. Here's a healthy selection:

There's a Rhode Island, New York, and a Rhode Island Corner, Vermont.

Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, and Utah all have a Providence. Additionally, look at maps of Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee and you'll find a New Providence on each one. And don't leave out Virginia—that's where you'll find Providence Forge.

Then there's New Providence Island, Nassau, the Bahamas, which was the first place attacked by our navy at the beginning of the American Revolution. Ironically, the first Continental ship to land marines on the island was the sloop Providence.

There's a Woonsocket in South Dakota and a Cranston in Iowa. And of course our Scituate was named for Scituate, Massachusetts.

Lastly, the country is lousy with Newports—no fewer than twenty-three other states have one: Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington. Additionally, there's Newport Beach and Newport Coast, California; Newport Center, Vermont; Newport Hills, Washington; Newport News, Virginia, and Newportville, Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island beyond Rhode Island—Sister city edition

The political practice of establishing relations between cities and towns in different parts of the world has produced some pairings that are obvious, and others that are not so obvious:

  • Bristol... Lagoa, the Azores, Portugal
  • Coventry... Meschede, Germany, and Coventry, England
  • East Providence... Ribeira Grande, Portugal
  • Newport... Shimoda, Japan
  • Portsmouth... Portsmouth, England
  • Providence... Niquinohomo, Nicaragua
  • Tiverton... Tiverton, England
  • Warwick... Warwick, England
  • Wickford... Wickford, England
  • Woonsocket... Woonsocket, South Dakota

Mannequin shenanigans

Ann and Hope Department Store, Route 6, Seekonk, Massachusetts
Photographed December 20, 1990.

Although Seekonk is not technically part of Rhode Island, Ann and Hope Department Stores were an Ocean State institution. In this 1990 photo, a girl mannequin appears to be wildly amused by the joke she has just played on her younger companion.

And the first shall be first

Author William Manchester offered up this anecdote in the August/September 1982 issue of American Heritage:

My mother belonged to one of the First Families of Virginia; my father was a New England Yankee. Late in life his last surviving brother became interested in genealogy, digging in the records of, among other places, Little Compton, Rhode Island. He found that Thomas Manchester, the first of our small but plucky clan, arrived from Yorkshire, England, in 1638, and three generations later, on August 16, 1723, in Little Compton, Benjamin Manchester married Martha Seabury, a great-granddaughter of John Alden and Priscilla Mullens. That put my father's family's roots in Plymouth, where, I had believed, the colonies had started. I mentioned it to my mother. In a voice like a bearing about to go, she replied, "That was in 1620. We were in Jamestown in 1608."

Rhode Island beyond Rhode Island—Texas edition

This clip, regarding a ghost town, comes from The Handbook of Texas Online:

RHODE ISLAND, TEXAS. Rhode Island, formerly known as Rischer Town, is on Farm Road 833 eight miles north of Fairfield in north central Freestone County. The community was originally named Rischer Town for Anthony Rischer, who had a store there and was a prominent black citizen of the county. The local Methodist church was named Rhode Island, and the town name soon changed to match. By 1891 the community had a school for black students; in 1893 the school had an enrollment of twenty-four, and by 1899 the enrollment was thirty-eight. In the 1930s Rhode Island consisted of a business and a few scattered dwellings, and by the 1960s only the church, a cemetery, and a few dwellings remained. The church and cemetery were still at the site in the late 1980s.

Distinction can't be taken for granite

In 1968 an inquiry from Canada through the Rhode Island Development Council indicated that the game of Curling in Canada was having difficulty in obtaining good curling stones. Apparently the very best curling stones had come from Rhode Island, but the quarries had ceased to operate. From the descriptions supplied in the inquiry it seemed almost certain that Westerly Granite was what they wanted, and it was true that most of the Westerly quarries had closed. Rhode Island's apparent distinction as the Curling Stone Capitol [sic] of the World had not been known to most Rhode Islanders.

—from Rhode Island Geology for the Non Geologist by Alonzo W. Quinn, (Providence, Rhode Island: Rhode Island Department of Natural Resources, 1973).

Note: So what has the curling world been doing for stones since the 1960s? Another island, Ailsa Craig, off the coast of Scotland, also lays claim to having the best granite for curling stones. According to Mike Thompson, the secretary general for the World Curling Federation in Perth, Scotland, 60 to 70 percent of curling stones in use in the world today came from Ailsa Craig.

Citified East Providence Puts Horse Laws Out to Pasture

Now that East Providence is a city instead of a town, it plans to ignore the horse and buggy and concentrate on more modern means of transportation. A contract let to codify the community's ordinances specifies that all references to laws governing the conduct of horses and their owners be eliminated, leaving nothing but the wholesome smell of gasoline in the East Providence air. No longer will it be unlawful for a citizen to hitch his horse to a tree or shrub, a public lamp, fire alarm, or police signal post or box. One rather confusing ordinance which is being put out to pasture is that which required horses to head "in the direction of travel." The codification of the ordinances is required by the city's home rule charter. The contract for the job of weeding out the laws of an earlier era went to the Michie City Publication Company of Charlottesville, Virginia, for $4,500.

—from the Providence Evening Bulletin, July 30, 1959.

Roads to Romance

This Chevrolet-sponsored travelogue is supposed to be all about Rhode Island, but it focuses on Newport and Narragansett. Were you a resident of one of those towns in 1951? Compare your memory to the romanticized version presented here.

Necessity is the mother of invention

South County.
Photographed September 1938.

In the days following the Hurricane of 1938, many Rhode Island residents had to make do without electricity. Here a boy uses a rigged bicycle to pump gas at a service station somewhere on the southern shore of the state.

It's all about paying attention

To put an end to, or at least expose the promiscuity with which the Rhode Island Senate granted one-hundred-dollar bonuses to World War veterans who failed to apply for them during the specified period which ended in 1923, a Republican member in 1936 introduced in the Democratic-controlled [sic] legislative chamber a bill to pay a bonus to Sergeant Evael O.W. Tnesba of the Twelfth Machine Gun Battalion. Unanimous consent for its immediate consideration was granted, a Democratic senator seconded it, and the bill was passed. It was reconsidered after someone read the machine gunner's name backwards.

—from Hoaxes by Curtis D. MacDougall, (New York: MacMillan Co., 1949).

On the 1890s' "Dogs' Dinner," a noted Newport social event

The menu was stewed liver and rice, fricassee of bones, and shredded dog biscuit. The dinner was greatly appreciated; the guests ate until they could eat no more, and Elisha Dyer's dachshund so overtaxed its capacities that it fell unconscious by its plate and had to be carried home.

—from Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Federal Writers Project, 1937.

A fish story

Anthony Fish's wife, who lives on Prospect Hill Street, was arrested this morning for assaulting her husband. While drunk she threw a brick at him and inflicted an ugly wound in his forehead. He was taken to W.H. Cotton who dressed the wound. Both the Fishes have been to the state farm, and the woman will go there again. There are several little Fishes.

—from the Newport Daily News, June 29, 1875.

Warped

Can't something be done for the Pawcatuck Bridge? It is a nuisance in its present state. The planks that are not entirely worn off have warped themselves into a sort of semi-circle, so that when man or beast puts a foot on one end, the other jumps up for the unlucky traveler on the opposite side to stumble over. The railing is in a dilapidated condition, and the whole concern wouldn't sell for eighty-seven cents at auction, for bridge purposes. If there is a village as large as this in New England states with as poor a bridge, we stand ready to head a subscription for its relief.

—from Narragansett Weekly, August 30, 1860.

Interesting baptism

Judge Job Clark, of Hopkinton, aged 93 years, was baptized on the 2d instant, and united with the 1st Seventh-day Baptist Church in that town. The rite was administered at his residence by Elder Joshua Clark, pastor of the Church, assisted by Eld. Henry Clark, son of the Judge. Mr. C. has been from early life a disbeliever in the divinity of Christ, the Gospel, and the Christian religion, and has therefore depended upon morality, or, as he says, "natural religion," until within a year, when he renounced this dependence as inadequate, and professed undoubting faith in Christ, his Gospel, and unshaken confidence in all promises of the Saviour of sinners. Truly, this is "at the eleventh hour."

—from Narragansett Weekly, May 13, 1858.

Note: "Instant" used in the above context means the current month. Thus, the geezer was baptized on May 2.

House to let

"Strange that a harp of thousand strings Should keep in tune so long."

THE subscriber has several chambers to let in his house which is beautifully located directly opposite Trinity Church Burying Ground; he will rent the rooms with furniture, or without, as may best suit the tenant. There is, probably, no more desirable spot in Newport, for those whose souls are not entirely steeped in sin, and wrapped up in the flimsy veil of this world's delusion; the occupant may sit at the window, and view the last home of man in all its mysterious and solemn grandeur,—and seriously reflect upon the great uncertainty of all things human. Here he can commune with himself, and meditate, in full view of the grave yard, on the final consummation of all things, and anticipate that universal crash, when the earth shall be burned up, and the heavens be rolled together as a scroll. We must reflect upon these things here, and be prepared with our passport when we meet the last Tyler, or we shall receive the fatal mark of the black brush; why, land! what is a few day's sojourn in this miserable world, compared to a high seat in the Celestial Lodge above, where the Knighthood will be gathered in the pure robes of innocence and beauty: In order to secure the chambers, early application should be made, to
Sir THOMAS PRATT, K.H.S.

—from the Newport Times, May 4, 1846.

Quote

Boys, when you see the enemy, fire and then run, and as I am a little lame, I will run now.

—General John B. Stedman to the Rhode Island militia during the Dorr Rebellion, 1842.

On the Barrington Library Society, founded 1806

The society would permit no books of fiction in its collection because the town fathers believed that fiction "worketh abomination and maketh a lie."

—from Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Federal Writers Project, 1937.

On Newport society at the end of the 18th century

Fashion required the suppression of all naturalness—"to walk upright, with unbending joints; to shake hands after the pump-handle formula; to look inexpressibly indifferent towards everybody and everything; and speak only in a mincing voice was to be a decorous member of society."

—from Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Federal Writers Project, 1937.

On Isaiah Ray, a late-eighteenth-century resident of Hope Valley

It is said that he once had a sore toe that so annoyed him that he went to the woodpile and chopped it off with an axe, quoting the Scripture, "If thy foot offend thee, cut it off."

—from Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Federal Writers Project, 1937.

Note: The "Isaiah" refered to is very likely Isiah Ray (1772-1861), who is buried in Hopkinton Historical Cemetery #16.

Half a Cent Reward

RAN away from the Subscriber, on the 6th Instant, an Apprentice Boy named Isaac Bowers, about 15 Years of Age, about 5 Feet high; had on a grey short Jacket, green Trowsers and a grey Great-Coat. Whoever will return said Apprentice shall be entitled to the above Reward, but no Charges. Masters of Vessels and others are forbid to harbour said Apprentice, on the Penalty of Law.

MARY WINSOR
Rehoboth, Nov. 9, 1797

—from the Providence Gazette, November 11, 1797

Two Sides to Every Story

WHEREAS Abigail, the Wife of the Subscriber, has behaved in an unbecoming Manner: this is to forbid all Persons trusting her on my Account, as I shall Pay no Debts of her contracting after the Date hereof.

WILLIAM S. BRADLEE
Providence, January 29, 1796

—from the Providence Gazette, January 30, 1796

WILLIAM S. BRADLEE, my Husband, has endeavored to injure me in a public Manner, and circulate Reports the most inconsistent as well as vile. By Reason of his base Conduct, and stealing Articles from the House where I live, he has been turned away from it; and now, to avoid Prosecution, has suddenly ran away, spreading lies as he went. It is well known that I have lived in a House for a long Time where four Families are closely connected, all of whom will fully declare that I have never behaved in an unbecoming Manner in any thing, except in keeping with that most worthless of Men.

ABIGAIL BRADLEE
Providence, Feb. 4, 1796

—from the Providence Gazette, February 6, 1796

You, Sir, Have Been Served

WHereas Capt. David Dexter of Col. Lippet's Regiment, has reported in public Company that I the Subscriber was a Coward, and acted the Part of such at the Engagement at Princeton—As the Honor of a Soldier is dearer to him than his Life, I hereby call upon said Dexter, in this public Manner, to made Declaration of all he knows of the Action, and wherein I acted the Part of a Coward; for as my Character stands impeached, I desire the Public may be made acquainted with the same, that they may judge of the whole Proceeding. If it has been said with a View to injure my Character, I apprehend he will be fond of communicating the whole to the public, in order to exculpate himself; but if it has been said by Way of Romance, while under the influence of the Bottle, he will be as fond of asking my Pardon. If he refuses to take any Notice of this Advertisement, I am determined never to leave him until I have obtained Satisfaction for the Abuse done me.

JOHN CARR, Captain at said Time.

—from the Providence Gazette, May 17, 1777.

On the Reverend Nathaniel Clap, minister in Newport, circa 1725

If, during his daily walk, he met any children flying kites, playing marbles, or whirling peg tops, he would buy the toys from them and exhort them not to gamble or indulge in vain sport.

—from Rhode Island: A Guide to the Smallest State, Federal Writers Project, 1937.

Note: Reverend Clap (1667-October 30, 1745) is buried in Newport Historical Cemetery #11.

This article last edited December 22, 2015

© 1999–2017 Quahog.org (with the exception of elements provided by contributors, as noted).