1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Warwick Town Records Collection

  Collected records, 1647-1931. Bulk 1647-1844.

 Size: 2.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 221

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, March 1995

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            The first European settlement within the bounds of the present town of Warwick, Rhode Island, was in November of 1642. Samuel Gorton and several of his followers named their settlement Shawomet; it was chartered in 1648, and named after Gorton's benefactor in England, the Earl of Warwick.

            In 1729, the state of Rhode Island was first divided into counties, providing for local courts. Warwick was part of Providence County until 1750, when it was set off as part of the new Kent County.

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Scope and content:

            This collection was gathered over many years from miscellaneous items found in the library's holdings. It theoretically contains only records created or collected by the Town of Warwick, or transcriptions thereof; this rule is somewhat flexible. Major types of records include: town meeting records, town tax and treasurer records, vital statistics, and school committee records.

            Certain types of records will not be found in this collection. They include court records after 1729, state and federal tax records, and records of private Warwick citizens. These records are for the most part located in governmental archives; those few that have found their way to the Historical Society would be filed under their creating body.

            The four photostat pages showing a deed from Newcom and other Indians to Randall Holden and Samuel Gorton, dated May, 1659, are taken from the first book of town records, 1647 to 1667. They were originally pages 83 through 86 of that book. A handwritten transcription of the photostats is in volume one (box 1) of this collection. Series 1: Meeting Records includes 3 bound volumes of handwritten Town Council Meeting Minutes, 1759 - 1798, a gift from the Connecticut State Library in 1930, corresponding to volumes 4, 5 and 6 in Box 1, and containing numerous references to Native Americans and African Americans (see Guide to People of Color).

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            The provenance of this collection is extremely varied, and where known is noted in the inventory. Noteworthy is an entry in our accession file, #1928.14.2, described only as "Warwick Manuscripts", a gift of Mrs. George S. Matthews. The mounted photostats of a 1659 deed to Samuel Gorton and Randall Holden which show an old form of shorthand were donated by Frank Bliss in 1998. The November 1757 tax list was purchased from Antique Associates of West Townsend in 2001.

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Processing note:

            The bulk of this collection was probably gathered in one place by Harold Kemble circa 1980, and was stored in loose volumes and folders. In 1995, it was boxed and organized.

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Series 1: Meeting Records

Series 1, subseries 1: Early Records

Box 1, Volume 1.

"Town Records, Warwick, R.I. First Book, 1647-1667."

Transcription, of original held by Warwick Town Clerk in 1911, done by Louise Prosser Bates for the R.I.H.S.

Box 1, Volume 2.

            Typed transcript of Volume 1.

Box 1, Volume 3.

            "Copies of Records in Warwick, With Some Original Deeds."

Transcriptions of selected items from Warwick record books, 1652-1702, done ca. 1900. Bound with 15 original documents and transcriptions, 1659-1749. Includes table of contents. In serious need of disbinding and conservation. Apparently collected from R.I.H.S. holdings ca. 1900.

            Original 17th century documents include:

                        Indian deed of Warwick land to Robert Weskot (Westcott), June 23, 1659.

Deed of Tacommanan (father), Wassewkit (son) and Namowish (grandson) to the Coweshasuck proprietors, August 16, 1659.

King Philip deed to Edward Inman, May 13, 1669. (Gift of Henry Bowen, 1837)

Letter, Benjamin Gorton to town moderator, April 19, 1682.

                                    (Gift of J. Francis Lippitt, accn. 1832.3)

Letter, Joseph Jenckes, Assistant, to Charles Tillinghast, Nov. 23, 1691.

                        Petition of "Indian Ben" for freedom, Sept. 22, 1693.

Box 1, Folder 1.

            "Book A2, Land Evidences" (photostat). 351 pages.

Register of deeds; covers 1668-1681.

Box 1, Folder 2.

            "Book A2, Town Orders" (photostat). 212 pages.

                        Covers 1668-1680.

Box 1, Folder 3. Photostats of original pages 83 through 86 of 1st Book of Warwick Town Records. Deed from natives to Samuel Gorton and Randall Holden, May, 1659.

Box 2, Folder 3. Court of trials records, 1659-1674.

Bound original, with bound transcription (1919). Probably purchased as part of the George Shepley Library.

Box 2, Folder 3a. Court records, 1718-1729. Loose original papers.

Box 2, Folder 4. Town charter, 1648. Transcription.

Original in oversized storage. Accn. 1917.20, purchased of Joseph R. Bullock, Jr. Copy negative available, number Rhi (x3) 1358.

Series 1, subseries 2: Town Council Records

The first three volumes were part of a 1930 gift from the Connecticut State Library of material they had received from the widow of Edward Field. The 1799-1800 volume was a gift of Bradford Swan, #1971.42.1


At least two transcriptions of these records have been identified by researchers. The Warwick City Archives reportedly has a transcription of the first 81 pages of the 1759-1763 volume. This transcription includes some 1763 pages that have been lost from the original, but does not include the contents of pages 82 through 91. The New England Historical and Genealogical Society also has a transcription, which has been microfilmed by the Family History Center of the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

Box 1, Volume 4. "Warwick Town Council Meetings. Vol. 1, 1759-1763." 91 pages.

Box 1, Volume 5. "Warwick Town Council Meetings. Vol. 2, 1780-1789." 338 pages.

Box 1, Volume 6. "Warwick Town Council Meetings. Vol. 3, 1789-1798." 429 pages.

Box 2, Folder 2. Town council minutes, 1799-1800. 66 pages.

Series 1, subseries 3: Town Meeting Records

Box 2, Folder 1. Town meeting proceedings. Loose originals.

1685, 1686, 1687, 1690, 1700, 1711, 1712.

Box 1, Volume 7. "Warwick R.I. Town Meetings, 1776-1795"

Original manuscripts, bound. 1930 gift of the Connecticut State Library, which had received it from the widow of Edward Field.

Series 2: Tax and Treasurer Records


Box 2, Folder 5 and 6. Treasurer account books, 1879-1894, kept by Moses Fifield. 2 vol.

                                    Accn. #1971.73.2.1-2, gift of Mrs. A.D. McNab and Mrs. Howard Willand.

Box 2, Folder 7. Town accounts, 1807-1812, kept by Thomas Arnold. 1 vol.

                        Accn. 1992.5.15, gift of Florence and Francis Cole.

Box 2, Folder 8. Tax list, June 1757 (photocopy).

Box 2, Folder 8a. Tax list, November 1757 (original). Accn. #2001.2, purchased.

Box 2, Folder 9. Tax list, 1759 (photocopy).

Box 2, Folder 10. Tax list, 1760 (photocopy).

Box 2, Folder 11. Tax list, 1767 (photocopy) and partial original (#1971.42.2, gift of Bradford Swan)

Box 2, Folder 12. Proprietors' property list, 1778 (photostat from Warwick Historical Soc.)

Box 2, Folder 13. Tax list, 1822 (original)

Box 2, Folder 14. Tax list and miscellaneous, 1823 (original)

Series 3: Vital Records

Box 3, Folder 1 to 3. Warwick Marriages, 1750-1850. Transcriptions.

Alphabetically arranged. These appear to duplicate the vital records published by Arnold. Abstracted by Charles W. Hopkins? Gift of Mrs. George S. Matthews, accn. #1914.19.1

Box 3, Folder 4 and 5. Warwick Births, Deaths, 1750-1850. Transcriptions.

Alphabetically arranged. These appear to duplicate the vital records published by Arnold. Abstracted by Charles W. Hopkins. Gift of Mrs. George S. Matthews, accn. #1914.19.2

Box 3, Folder 6. Warwick Wills, 1703 - ca. 1761. Transcriptions.

"Abstracts deposited by Norman M. Isham and Howard W. Preston, Oct. 11, 1921."

Box 3, Folder 7 and 8. Warwick marriage certificates, unbound, 1836-1844.

For weddings performed by Rev. Moses Fifield. The information all seems to be present in the vital records. Accn. #1971., gift of Mrs. A.D. McNab and Mrs. Howard Willand.

Box 4, Folder 1. Warwick marraiges, bound list, 1770-1807.

By Elder Littlefield. With abstract. Gift of George O. Gorton, accn. 1900.28

Series 4: School Records

Box 4, Folder 2. General miscellaneous, 1823-1839

Box 4, Folder 3. Arnold's Bridge (Clarkville) District, rosters 1833-35

Box 4, Folder 4. Coweset District rosters, 1828, 1829, 1838

Box 4, Folder 5. Natick District rosters and attendance, 1828-1837

Box 4, Folder 6. Pawtuxet District rosters, 1828-1834

Box 4, Folder 7. Plains (Great Plains) District rosters, 1828-1835

Box 4, Folder 8. Potowomut District rosters, 1829-1830

Box 4, Folder 9. Spring Green District rosters, 1829-1838

Box 4, Folder 10. Apponaug District rosters, 1828-1834

Box 4, Folder 11. Old Warwick District rosters, 1828-1838

Box 4, Folder 12. Centreville District rosters, 1829-1835

Box 4, Folder 13. Phenix District rosters, 1832-1833

Box 4, Folder 14. Lippitt & Thomas District rosters, 1835

Box 4, Folder 15. Greenwich District rosters, 1828-1834

Box 4, Folder 16. Greenville District rosters, 1831-1835

Box 4, Folder 17. Crompton Mills District rosters, 1830-1835

Box 4, Folder 18. Receipts and bills for instructors, etc. 1828-1834

Box 4, Folder 19. Unidentified rosters, n.d. (3 items)

Box 4, Folder 20. School subscription, 1794.

Box 4, Folder 20a. Arctic student list, 1859.

Box 4, Folder 20b. Warwick High School "Who's Who". Typescript biographical notes by students at Warwick High School, arranged by English class, 1932-1933. Gift of Warwick Historical Society, #1999.49.4.

Series 5: Miscellaneous

Box 4, Folder 21. Warwick Proprietors. 1647 - ca. 1720.

Ca. 50 items, original land records.

Box 4, Folder 22. Pawtuxet Bridge Committee. 1796. Bill, receipt

                        (copied from Warwick Historical Society Deposit)

Box 4, Folder 23. Classing committee. Accounts, etc. 1780-1782.

Box 4, Folder 24. Warwick Charter Commission. Records relating to charter as city, 1929-1931.

                        Gift of Harold Whyte on behalf of the commission, 1931.

Box 4, Folder 25. Thatch lots. Notes and abstracts of early records. Indexed, ca. 1650-1900.

Box 4, folder 26. Deed from Miantonomi to the Warwick proprietors, 1642. Photostat; original at John Carter Brown Library, published in Rhode Island History Fall 1971.

Box 4, folder 27. Testimony of Samuel Gorton et al to the General Court of Massachusetts, 1661 Photostat; original in Massachusetts Archives, volume 2.

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Arnold, Thomas

Fifield, Rev. Moses

Gorton, Benjamin

Indians - Land Records

Inman, Edward

Jenckes, Joseph

Littlefield, Elder

Philip, King

Schools - Rhode Island - Warwick



Tillinghast, Charles

Warwick High School

Warwick, Rhode Island - Charters, 1648 and 1931

Warwick, Rhode Island - Land records - 1647-1900

Warwick, Rhode Island - School records - 1828-1839

Warwick, Rhode Island - Tax records - 1757-1823

Warwick, Rhode Island - Vital Records

Westcott, Robert

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