1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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    R.I.H.S. Library page

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 Newport Town Records Collection

  Records, 1640-1888. Bulk: 1729-1829.

 Size: .5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 208

 Processed by: Amy Lappin, June 1997

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            The town of Newport was settled in 1639 and incorporated as a city in 1784. Newport's original charter was repealed in 1787 and the city was reincorporated in 1853.

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Scope and content:

            This collection contains papers from the Newport Town Records between the years 1640 -1888. The bulk of the collection is from the mid to late 1700s. Some of the earlier records are actually copies made in the 1800s. These cases are noted throughout the finding aid.

            Papers include tax lists, land records, town council minutes, resolutions and correspondence, citizens' petitions, and postal records.

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            The provenance of most of this collection is difficult to determine. Most of it appears to have been gathered together from various collections at the Society circa 1975, including the R.I.H.S.M. Collection, the Shepley Collection and the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection. The individual items for the most part do not seem to appear in the accession books, with the following exceptions:

1738 petition in folder 19: Purchased in 1966 from Goodspeed's Bookshop

1750 town meeting proceedings in folder 28: Gift in 1968 from the Providence Public Library

1774 Boston subscription in folder 42: Purchased in 1976 from Stephen A. Adams

1826 watch list in folder 43: Part of a large bequest in 1956 from Paul C. Nicholson

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Processing note:

            The records have been divided into eight series; tax lists, land records, water works, town council, town meeting, citizens' petitions, postal records and miscellaneous. The papers are arranged chronologically within each series.

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Series I : Tax Lists

Folder 1.         Tax List, 1783.

Town Rate, July 31,1783.

Folder 2.         Tax Lists, 1786.

                                    Second & Fourth wards, State Tax, June Session, 1786.

                                    Third Ward, State Tax, June Session, 1786.

Folder 3.         Tax List, 1822

                                    Copy of the rate or tax bill for the town of Newport, 1822.

                                    Certificate from the Town Clerk's Office, 1823.

Folder 4.         Tax Lists, 1823.

                                    "Schedule of the valuation of the real and personal estate of the Town

                                                of Newport, RI taxable by the act of the General Assembly, passed                                                 at the June session, A.D. 1822 and taken according to the                                         provisions of the said act," completed July 25, 1823.

                                    Copy of the rate or tax bill for the Town of Newport, 1823.

                                    Copy of the State Tax for the Town of Newport, 1823.


Series II : Land Records

Folder 5.         Land Records [copies], 1640-1782.

Journal of various land sales over 160 year period.

Folder 6.         Copy [1804] of land records re: Newport highways, February 15, 1654.

Folder 7.         Copy [1837] of 2 pages from the "Book of Proprietors Records in the Town Clerk's office in Middletown," January 12, 1702.

Folder 8.         Survey of the undivided lands in the southwest neck, June 16, 1703.

Folder 9.         Copy [1836] of Deed of Land Sale, January 8, 1704.

                                    Richard and Sarah Mews to Jahleel Brenton.

Folder 10.      Copy - "Nathanael Niles' Evidence," March 6, 1725/6.

Folder 11.       Copy of request to the General Assembly for bridge repairs, October 2, 1734.

Folder 12.       Relating to survey of "J. Brown's Land in South Field," September 12, 1784.

                                    This document concerns land between Marblehead and Lynn, Mass.                                     (Peabody or Swampscott?). The relationship to Newport, R.I. is unknown.

Folder 13.       Copy [1849] of Deed of Privileges - William Rotch of Little Compton,                               November 14, 1796.

Folder 14.       Deed - Thomas S. Townsend to Thomas G. Hazard, April 24, 1828.

Folder 15.       Deed for a Barn (building to be removed from the land) from Thomas Townsend                                     to John H. Eaton, April 24, 1828.

Folder 16.       "Decision on the Seaweed Case," August Term, 1829.

Re: Removal of seaweed and sand from White Farm Beach.


Series III : Water Works


Folder 17.       Report of the receipts and expenditures of the Newport Water Works over a 7 month period, December 31, 1888.


Series IV : Town Council


Folder 18.       Probate of Wills. Re: Adam Tucklate of Boston and Thomas Phillips of  

Boston, September 18, 1729.

Folder 19.       Petition to the General Assembly re: illegal trading practices, August 21, 1738.

Folder 20.       Document concerning bringing vessels and people on board into Coasters                           Harbour, 1751. 

Folder 21.       Appointment of Samuel Dyre, John Jepson and John Malbone to wait on a reply                                     from Nicholas Cooke, October 16, 1775.

Folder 22.       Letter from Nicholas Cooke to Newport Town Council. Re: Supplying ships                                     of war with beer and fresh provisions, October 21, 1775.

                                     Also see folder 30.

Folder 23.       Letter to Nicholas Cooke from William Coddington on behalf of the Town                                     Council of Newport. Re: Violation of truce in taking of two officers,                                     December 1, 1775.

Folder 24.       "Memorial of the town of Newport to the General Assembly of Rhode Island                                     praying to be exempted from taxation," October 1781.

Folder 25.       Letter to the council re: help for elderly resident, Elizabeth Stonehouse,                             September 5, 1785.

Folder 26.       Received memorial re: paper money, undated. [ca. 1790??] Also see folder 36.

                                                Series V : Town Meeting

Folder 27.       Town Meeting - Minutes, August 1654.

Folder 28.       Town Meeting Proceedings - Extracts, 1750-1774.

Folder 29.       Resolution from Town of Newport about the shutting of the port of Boston, 1774.

Folder 30.       Vote of thanks to a committee of the General Assembly for granting permission                                     to the Newport Town Council to supply ships of war with fresh provisions,                                     December 20, 1775. Also see folder 22.

Folder 31.       List of Freemen, April 19, 1780.  

Folder 32.       Instructions from the Town of Newport to their deputies, October 27, 1783.


Series VI : Citizens' Petitions

Folder 33.       Petition to the General Assembly, May 1, 1728.

                                    Petition re: voting on militia officers by freemen and soldiers.

Folder 34.       Petition from Freemen for Relief from the General Assembly, March 1761.

Folder 35.       Citizens' Memorial to George III, c.1761. Pages 7-44.

Folder 36.       Memorial to the General Assembly, February 26, 1786.

Petition re: paper money. Also see folder 26.


Series VII : Postal Records

Folder 37.       Record Book, 1748-1752.

Folder 38.       Record Book, 1765-1773.

Folder 39.       Record Book, 1767-1771.

Folder 40.       Postmaster Bills, 1772.


Series VIII : Miscellaneous

Folder 41.       Warrant for Sam Ox of Bristol, January 26, 1741.

Folder 42.       Boston Subscription, August 30, 1774.

Agreement to pay John Clarke funds for relief of the poor and suffering in Boston. Includes list of subscribers.

Folder 43.       Newport Town Watch, November 15, 1826.

                                    List of applicants to go on watch.

Folder 44.       List of Needy, undated.

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Boston Port Bill

Cooke, Nicholas (1717-1782)

Deeds - Rhode Island - Newport

Newport, RI - Land Use


Newport, RI - Militia

Newport, RI - Town Council

Newport, RI - Town Meeting

Newport Water Works

Postal Service - Rhode Island - Newport

Taxation Lists - Rhode Island - Newport

U.S. History - Revolution, 1775-1783

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