Richard Smith, of Wickford, RI (1596 - 1666) MP

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Birthplace: Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England
Death: Died in Wickford, Narragansett, Rhode Island
Occupation: Yeoman
Managed by: Thomas Edward Shirley
Last Updated:

About Richard Smith, of Wickford, RI

Richard Smith b. 1596 d, 1666. Married unknown she d. 1664. This Richard was in Kings Town abt. 1637.

Their children were:

  1. Richard II m. Esther,
  2. James,
  3. Elizabeth m. I. a Newman 2. John Viall,
  4. Joan m. Thomas Newton,
  5. Katharine m. Gilbert Updike.

References

  1. The American Genealogist v. 27, pg. 222-3
  2. John Austin's "The Genealical Dictionary of Rhode Island"
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Richard Smith Information

Added by susasoul on 30 Dec 2008

Little is known about Richard's father, John other than his name and that he was an historian of the Berkley-Berkeley family in tidewater Virginia (i.e., Jamestown). He was born circa 1566-70 and lived in the county of Gloucestershire, England. About 1590, he married Mary Browning. She was born sometime around 1569-72 in North Nibley, Gloucestershire and died after 1667.

Richard is one of my most interesting ancestors and the only one who was both an early settler of Virginia and of New England. Noted as "of gentle blood" and of ancient family, he probably came of a line of gentlemen-farmers long settled in the village of Thornbury. On May 28, 1621, "Richard Smyth" and "Johan [Joan] Barton" were married at Thornbury Church in Gloucestershire.

On the James River in Virginia, between Williamsburg and Richmond, lies one of the first great estates in the New World called the Berkeley Hundred. It later gained notoriety as the home of the Harrisons: the family of a signer of the Declaration, two American Presidents and two Governors.

In 1619, 38 men from Berkeley Castle in Glouscestershire England formed the Berkeley Company and received a grant of 8,000 acres in Virginia. They sailed England on the small ship Margaret. It was an arduous three-month voyage. Finally, on December 4th, 1619 they arrived at their New World destination. Captain John Woodlief and Anglican missionary George Thorpe led the troop ashore and then, followed the orders they had been given in England. And, what were they to do? Observe a time of Thanksgiving to the Lord. A plaque states, "The first official, annual Thanksgiving in America was observed by BerkeleyÕs brave adventurers on December 4, 1619." This Thanksgiving was celebrated more than one year before the Pilgrims set foot on New EnglandÕs shore.

A much larger addition to the Berkeley Hundred was drafted from England in 1622, under the guidance of George Thorpe and Richard Smyth, son of John Smyth of Nibley. The Hundred, with the exception of a boy and girl, who escaped to the bushes, was annihilated in the Jamestown Massacre of 1622, in which so many of the other colonists lost their lives. The "Hundred of Barkley" was not immediately abandoned in consequence of the disaster. Richard Smyth escaped as he chanced to be elsewhere.

Richard appears to have been thoroughly discouraged with his experiences in Virginia. He removed, thence, to Plymouth Colony and settled for a time at Taunton, where he was an original purchaser and settler in 1638, and helped to establish the very first ironworks. But "many differences arising," he didn't tarry there long and soon removed to the Narragansett area of Rhode Island.

Another of my ancestors, Roger Williams came to Cocumscussoc around 1637. (Cocumscussoc. Its meaning and its spelling vary, it is tricky to pronounce and impossible to recall, but it designated an area that was destined to become one of the most significant spots in the history of Rhode Island.) Roger learned the Narragansett customs and language and established a trading post on land bought from his friend Canonicus, great sachem of the tribe. This transaction affirmed his belief in fair compensation for Native American land. Williams's other liberal ideas of religious tolerance and separation of church and state were to be key contributions to American political thought.

In 1638, Richard was made a citizen of newly settled Portsmouth Colony of Rhode Island. It was possibly through Williams's influence that Richard became interested in the Narragansett country. Probably as early as 1637, and not later than 1639, he established his trading post not far from the similar post of his friend. He bought from the Narragansett Indians 30,000 acres on the west side of Narragansett Bay, becoming the first white man to settle in Narragansett. Later he speculated in other large purchases or long term leases. One instance of how business was done in those days was his lease for 1000 years of a certain tract of land, payment to be one red honeysuckle every midsummer's day, when lawfully demanded.

His close friend and neighbor, Roger Williams, built a trading house about one mile from Richard Smith around the year of 1644. He often preached to the Indians at Smith's block-house. When Roger Williams went to England on colony business, he raised the necessary money by selling "all his belongings, including two big guns and a small island for goats" to Richard Smith in 1651 for £51. Testimony to Richard was given by Roger years later (July 24, 1679) as follows: "Being now near to four score years of age, yet (by God's mercy) of sound understanding and memory, do humbly and faithfull declare that Richard Smith, Sen. deceased, who for his conscience toward God left a fair possession in Cloucestershre and adventured with his relatives and estates to New England, and was a most acceptable and prime leading man in Taunton in Plymouth Colony, for his conscience sake (many differences arising) he left Taunton and came to the Nanhigansick country, where (by the mercy of God and the favor of the Nanhigansick sachems) he broke the ice (at his great charge and hazard) and put up, in the thickest of the barbarians, the first English house amongst them. I humbly testify that about forty-two years from this date he kept possession, coming and going, himself, children and servants; and he had quiet possession of his housing, land and meadows, and there in his own house, with much serenity of soul and comfort, he yielded up his spirit to God in peace."

A third post was set up by Edward Wilcox, another of my ancestors. Prior to 1649 the Indians could get liquor at Richard Smith's trading post, but Williams, at considerable economic sacrifice, refused to sell it to them except for medicinal purposes. When in 1651 Richard Smith purchased Roger Williams's trading house, he became the sole owner of the property at Cocumscussoc, having already acquired Edward Wilcox's interest in the trading center.

Richard continued to increase his holdings, and Cocumscussoc soon became a center of social, political, and religious activities. Richard erected a house for trade among the thickest of the Indians, and gave free entertainment to travelers. The new structure was more than a "house for trade" and a lodge for travelers. It was built as a blockhouse, part trading post and part fort, constructed, according to tradition, of timber floated from Taunton, down the river and across the bay. In those days of possible Indian hostilities, a large fortified dwelling was sometimes called a castle. Consequently, the structure came to be known as "Smith's Castle," a name that even up to the present has been used synonymously with Cocumscussoc, though the building is completely changed in form and function. No visible traces of the blockhouse remain, nor is any architectural plan or design known.

Under the hospitable roof of Smith's Castle have gathered notablesÑRoger Williams, William Blackstone, Governor Winthrop, George Fox the Quaker, Dean Berkeley the philosopher, Smibert the artist, Rev. Dr. MacSparran, Sir Edmond Andros and others like Benjamin Franklin, General Lafayette, General Nathanael Greene of Revolutionary fame.

It was some time before Smith was ready to settle his wife and children at Cocumscussoc, although he kept coming and going with his children and servants. It was a trading post, 50 miles from any settlement, and in a neighborhood abounding with dangerous savages. Leaving the blockhouse in the hands of agents, visiting it only occasionally, for several years he shifted his family about between Taunton, Portsmouth and New Amsterdam. Lured to Long Island by the attractions of land speculation he moved to what is now the Borough of Queens where he acquired large land holdings from the Dutch proprietors. Richard and his family spent about 20 years among the Dutch on Manhattan Island. While residing in New Amsterdam in 1643, the Smiths met the family of Lodowick Op Dyck. Within the year a son, Gysbert [Gilbert], had married Richard Smith's daughter, Katharine in the Dutch Church at New Amsterdam.

During all this time Richard Smith continued his Narragansett Indian trading house, making frequent visits there with some of his family, being himself skipper of his good sloop Welcome and occasionally appearing before the Dutch Council at New Amsterdam for protection of his rights or on questions connected with his trading. Richard is reported to have kept a house in New Amsterdam for trading advantage, and in all likelihood brought Dutch and German wares into Rhode Island to exchange for furs or other goods.

Presumably it was in 1651, or some time after Richard had purchased Roger Williams's house, that he brought his wife and younger children to Cocumscussoc to live. They probably moved into the Williams house, which was enlarged to suit the needs of the family and servants. It is highly probable that the blockhouse also was used to some extent for living quarters, as well as a center of trade, and a "resting place and rendezvous" for all travelers along the Pequot Path.

In purchasing Williams's property, Smith acquired besides the house, "two iron guns or murderers there lying," which surely strengthened the defenses of the blockhouse, together with "fields and fencing" and "the use of the little island for goates." Whereupon the new owner proceeded to "mow meadows," and "improve the land." [Smith's Castle as it appears today at right.]

While it is known that Roger Williams's trading house which Richard Smith acquired in 1651 was in close proximity to the blockhouse, its precise location has not been determined. In the absence of a title deed, which is believed to have been lost by fire, there has been considerable speculation as to whether it was the building enlarged by Smith on the present site, burned by the Indians in 1676, and subsequently rebuilt, or another building nearby. The former has been generally accepted as the plausible view. But even though the specific site of the trading-house is in doubt, it is an undisputed fact that Roger Williams was an habitual sojourner at Cocumscussoc.

From these endeavors, Cocumscussoc began to emerge as a "plantation"Ñin the sense of the South's use of the termÑa major agricultural enterprise expanding through the years, the first of its kind in Narragansett country. It is safe to assume that Smith acquired some of Roger Williams's swine and goats for breeding stock, and possible cattle and sheep from Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, or other sources, and that within the next decade he had built up substantial herds of some if not all of these animals. That during the lifetime of Richard Smith, Cocumscussoc was engaged in dairying on a considerable scale is a matter of record.

Although Richard's wife Joan may not have qualified as a typical dairymaid, she played a singular role in the dairy enterprise. Joan had brought with her from Gloucestershire the recipe for making the celebrated Cheshire cheese, and found time in her busy life, while providing for family and visitors, to supervise the converting of milk from the plantation cows into cheese, which, being fortified with cream, was of extraordinary richness and flavor. This proved to be the beginning of a new industry. So popular was the cheese from Cocumscussoc, as its superior quality became known, that the basic recipe was adopted by neighboring plantations, and through the ensuing years, great quantities were produced and marketed as Narragansett Cheese, both at home and abroad. Tradition has it that many of these cheeses were shipped from Smith's own dock in Mill Cove, probably the first shipping point in this section of the Colony, perhaps even during Joan's lifetime.

Two purchases of great tracts proved to be of special significance, both political and agricultural: the Pettaquamscutt Purchase of 1658, a tract about 12 miles square, and a smaller area adjoining it on the north and east known as the Atherton Purchase, acquired in 1659. Together they embraced most of the region commonly called the Narragansett countryÑincluding the whole of the present towns of South Kingstown and Narragansett, and portions of North Kingstown and Exeter. Richard Smith and his son Richard were partners in the Atheton purchase, along with Governor Winthrop of CT and Humphrey Atherton and others from MA. The expanded land holdings of the two Richard Smiths following the Atherton Purchase embraced all of the present site of Wickford village. Title to one large tract was in the form of a thousand year leaseÑtantamount to ownershipÑfrom Sachem Coginiquant, dated 1659, wherein the only lease-hold obligation of the two Smiths was "to pay on every mid-summer day [June 20] a Red Honney Suckell grasse" [red clover] if demanded. At their peak the Smiths' land-holdings comprised 27 square miles, an area nine miles long and three miles wide.

The Smiths' position as landowners was anything but secure, for they possessed questionable title to land over which there was no effective civil jurisdiction. The Narragansett country at the time was virtually a "no-man's land," coveted and claimed by three colonies, adequately governed by none. Massachusetts laid claim to the territory on the basis of a questionable grant which antedated Rhode Island's patent of 1644 by three months. Connecticut's claim, which involved the Atherton purchase, was reinforced by its royal charter of 1662, under which its lands, "extended easterly to the shore of Narragansett River." On the contrary, Rhode Island's Charter of 1663 extended its bounds westward to the Pawcatuck River which flows past the present town of Westerly. Massachusetts' claim was eliminated by the King's Commissioners in 1664, but the ensuing dispute between CT and RI was bitter and long.

For years the rival claims were batted back and forth by legal authoritiesÑa succession of petitions and protests, boards of arbitration and special commissions. Smith's Castle was, in effect, during this period, the "unofficial capitol of the Narragansett country." Governor Winthrop of Connecticut and his wife Elizabeth were frequent visitors. The Atherton proprietors, gathered at the Castle in July 1663, addressed a petition to the Hartford magistrates for immediate annexation. The Governor's Council promptly responded by pronouncing Narragansett a "Plantation" -in the New England sense of the term-naming Richard Smith, Sr. selectman and Richard, Jr. constable, and "Mr. Smith's trading house was the place designated for the transaction of public business." The newborn jurisdiction was christened Wickford (limits undefined), after Elizabeth Winthrop's birthplace in Essex, England. Further steps in the organization of Wickford were taken the following year when the Council designated Richard Smith, Sr. a "commissioner," and prescribed a local militia.

All this infuriated the Rhode Island authorities. In 1664 Richard Smith was ordered before the General Court of Trials on a charge of seeking to bring in a foreign jurisdiction, and Richard, Jr. received a similar summons. Later a warrant for the arrest of Richard, Jr. (the records read Richard, Sr., apparently by error) was ordered for unlawfully exercising the office of constable under a CT commission.

On May 14, 1664 he wrote to Captain Edward Hutchinson (another of my ancestors), at Boston, requesting it be made know to the Connecticut government. He complains of John Greene, Sr., being taken from his house at Aquidneset by warrant from Rhode Island, and adds: "Sir, it will be necessary for you to give Connecticut intimation of their proceedings for we may be easily overturned by them, if they stick not by us."

Nothing, it seems, came of any of these attempts. Probably a letter previously received from King Charles II recommending the elder Richard to the kindness and protection of the Providence authorities, along with the intercession of Roger Williams, saved the Smiths from harsher consequences. Midst the bitter confrontations and months of wrangling, Williams was hard pressed to prevent the forcible expulsion of the Smiths by a neighborhood mob.

Under such circumstances, the elder Richard Smith's closing years were sorely lacking in harmony. Added to the political turmoil, in 1664 he was bereft of his wife Joan. Nor did he live to see the Connecticut controversy resolved. Two years after he had lost his wife his own death occurred at Cocumscussoc. The rugged old planter-trader was buried in the family cemetery just off the Cove within sight of the Castle, his grave marked by a small pointed slate stone bearing the modest inscription "R. Smith 1666." A mural tablet in St. Paul's Church in Wickford, erected in 1903 to the memory of Richard Smith, recites the highlights of his eventful career. "he led a sober, honourable and religious life," it reads, and closes with the words of Roger Williams: "In his owne house with much serenitie of soule and comfort ye yielded up his spirit to God (the Father of Spirits) in peace." His will reads:

In the Name of God, Amen. The fourteenth day of July in the year of Our Lord, one thousand, six hundred, sixty and four, in the Sixteenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, Charles the Second by the Grace of God of England and Scotland, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Father, etc. I, Richard Smith, of Wickford, in the Narragansett Countrey, in New England, Yeoman, being in health of Body, and of good and perfect memory, (Thanks be unto God) Do make this my last Will and Testament, and I do hereby revoak and renounce all former and other Wills and Testaments whatsoever heretofore by me made, by Word, Writing or otherwise And make and ordain this to be my very true, last Will and Testament, and no other Concerning my Lands, Chattels, debts, and every part and parcel thereof, in manner and form as followeth.

First: I Commend my soul to Almighty God, and to his Son Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Redeemer, by whom I have to obtain full pardon, and remission of all my Sins, and to Inherit Everlasting Life. And I will that my Body be decently buryed by the Discretion of my Executors hereunto named.

Item. I will that my debts which I shall owe unto any Person or Persons at the time of my decease either by Law or Conscience be well and truly Contented and paid, within Convenient time, out of my Goods and Chattels.

Item, I give unto my Son Richard Smith all my Right, Title and interest of, in and to my Dwelling house, and Lands thereto belonging, Situate, being and lying in Wickford aforesaid, and is bounded on the Southwest by Annoquatucket river, and by the Lands of Capt. William Hudson, Northeasterly and on the East by a fresh river or brook and Creek and Cove.

Item, I give unto my Son the s'd Richard Smith, all my right title and interest of, in, and to my propriety of Lands lying in Cunnanicot Island and Dutch Island, with the privileges and appurtenances to them or either of them belonging or in any way appertaining.

Item, I give unto my daughter Elisabeth, wife of John Vial of Boston, Vintner, all that my Share, which is a oe Third part of Land lying on the Southerly side of my son, Richard Smith's two thirds part of a tract of land lying on the Easterly side of the aforesaid fresh river, or Brook, and Creek and Cove, Commonly Called by the name of Sagag. Item, I will that all my share and part in the Great Neck of Land beyond Capt. Edward Hutchinss house, Westward and Southward and all the rest of my share of Land belonging to that purchase And also my share of Land of the last purchase and all my Cattle, Horses, Mares, Sheep, Goats, & Swine and all my Goods and Debt whatsoever to me appertaining be (after my decease) Divided into Four Equal parts and portions, the which after my debts paid & funeral Charged thereout, I give and bequeath as followeth. That is to say. To my son Richard Smith, and his heirs, the one fourth part or portion thereof, and to my Daughter, Elisabeth, wife of John Vial and her issue, I give one other Fourth part thereof, and to my Grand Children, the Children of my dec'd daughter Katharine, sometime wife to Gilbert Updike, one other forth part thereof to be Equally Divided amongst them. And to my Grand Children, the Children of my deceased daughter, Joan, sometime wife to Thomas Newton, one other fourth part thereof to be Equally divided amongst them my S'd Grand Children, parts to be paid to each of them, Viz. To Each of my Grandsons as they Come to the age of Twenty one years; And to Each of my Grand Daughters as they Come to the age of Eighteen years, or on day of marriage which shall first happen, And in Case that any One of my Grand Children, the Children of my daughters Katharine and Joan, do Dyue before they come to be of the age aforesaid or Marr'yd, then such part or share, as should have been to such deceased, shall be to the Survivours of them, part and part alike to them to be divided.

Item, I make and ordain my sons, Richard Smith, and John Vial, to be my full whole and only Executors of this my last will and Testament. And my Well beloved Friend Capt. Edward Hutchinson of Boston. [Here the document is torn.] Before John Leverett Assistant, Entered and recorded at the request of the s'd Vial the 22d. of August, 1666. Robert Howard, Not. Pub., An attested Copy.

After Richard's death, Roger Williams wrote: "I humbly testifie yt about forty years (from this date) he kept Possession comming and going himselfe Children and Servants and he had quiet Possessien of his Howsing Lands and medow, and there in his own howse with much Serenity of Soule and comfort he yielded up his Spirit to God ye Father of Spirits in Peace.

"I do humbly and faithfully testify (as aforesaid) yt since his departure his hon'rd Son Capt. Richard Smith hath kept Possession (with much acceptation with English and Pagans) of his Father's howsing lands and meadows with great improvement, also (by his great Cost and Industrie) And in the Late bloudie Pagan War I knowingly testifie and declare yt it pleased the most High to make use of himself in person, his howsing his goods corn Provisions and Cattell for a Garison and Supply to the whole Army of N. England under the Command of the Ever to be hon'rd Gen Winslow for the Service of his Ma'ties honor and countrey of N. England."

Signed Roger Williams

Nahiggonsik 24 July, 1679

A petition of the inhabitants of Narragansett to the King (dated July 29, 1679) states very much the same matter as the testimony of Mr. Williams. "About forty-two years since, the father of one of your petitioners, namely Richard Smith, deceased, who sold his possession in Gloucestershire, and came into New England, began the first settlement of the Narragansett country (then living at Taunton, in the colony of New Plymouth) and erected a trading house in the same tract of land where now his son Richard Smith inhabits, not only at his cost and charge, but great hazard, not without the consent and approbation of the natives, who then were very numerous, and gave him land to set his house on, being well satisfied in his coming thither, that they might be supplied with such necessities as aforetime they wanted, and that at their own homes, without much travel for the same. The said Richard Smith, being as well pleased in his new settlement in a double respect, first that he might be instrumental under God in the propagating the gospel among the natives, who knew not God as they ought to know him, and took great pains therein to his dying day; secondly, that that place might afford him a refuge and shelter in time to come for the future subsistence of him and his." The petitioners state that there were no English living nearer to him that Pawtuxet, near twenty miles from his house.

The most exciting days at Smith's Castle, however, occurred after Richard's death when it became the military headquarters of the whole New England army of 1,000 men from Massachusetts, Plymouth and Connecticut both before and after the Great Swamp Fight of King Phillip's War. This battle, fought near Kingston in a freezing blizzard, resulted in victory for the white men and the beginning of the extermination of the Narragansetts. Forty of the colonists killed are buried in a common grave near the house. It is located about 1 1/2 miles north of Wickford on Post Road U.S. Route 1 opposite Police Barracks, between Wickford and East Greenwich.

-------------------- http://www.smithscastle.org/

History:

      Cocumscussoc. Its meaning and its spelling vary, it is tricky to pronounce and impossible to recall, but it designated an area that was destined to become one of the most significant spots in the history of Rhode Island.
     The word is Narragansett, the language and name of the preeminent Native American tribe of early 17th-century New England. Scattered in villages on the west side of the bay bearing their name, they were hunters, fishermen, and great farmers. 
     Roger Williams came to Cocumscussoc around 1637. He learned the Narragansett customs and language and established a trading post on land bought from his friend Canonicus, great sachem of the tribe. This transaction affirmed his belief in fair compensation for Native American land. Williams' other liberal ideas of religious tolerance and separation of church and state were to be key contributions to American political thought. 
     Also around 1637, Richard Smith, an original settler of Taunton in Plymouth Colony, established a trading post at Cocumscussoc and, according to Williams, "Put up...the first English house...in Nahigonsik Countrey." It is thought to have been a grand house that was, possibly, fortified: thus the name Smith's Castle. 
     Richard Smith purchased Williams' trading post in 1651. Smith continued to increase his holdings, and Cocumscussoc soon became a center of social, political, and religious activities. Smith died in 1666 leaving Cocumscussoc to his son, Richard Smith, Jr.
     In 1675, King Philip, sachem of the Wampanoags, led a coalition of Native Americans in a bloody conflict with the colonists over control of land. The Narragansetts, whose winter home was in the Great Swamp only 12 miles from Cocumscussoc, had pledged neutrality. Suspecting that the Narragansetts were harboring Wampanoag warriors, 1,000 colonial troops from Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, and Plymouth colonies massed at the Castle and attacked the Great Swamp village in December 1675. Both sides suffered great losses. Forty colonial soldiers were interred in a mass grave near the Castle. In retaliation for the attack, the Castle was burned in 1676. 
     By 1678, Smith, Jr. had built a new home with front rooms flanking a large stone fireplace, a kitchen lean-to at the back, and a massive two-story, gabled porch on the front.
  • ***************************************************************

Smith's Castle - Pencil Drawing By Mrs. John Wickes Greene c. 1875

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© 1997, Sam Behling

Richard Smith was born in 1596 in Gloucestershire, England. He came to New England and briefly spent time in Taunton, Massachusetts. Between 1637-1639, he came to the Narragansett country near present-day Wickford, Rhode Island and bought 30,000 acres of land on the west side of Narragansett Bay. Later he speculated in other large purchases or long term leases. One instance of how business was done in those days was his lease for 1,000 years of a certain tract of land, payment to be one red honeysuckle every midsummer's day, when lawfully demanded.

Richard Smith established a trading house in the midst of the Narragansett Indians, giving free entertainment to travelers passing through that section. Under the hospitable roof of Smith's Castle gathered famous people of the day such as Roger Williams, William Blackstone, Governor Winthrop, George Fox the Quaker, Dean Berkeley the philospher, Smibert the artist, and others like Benjamin Franklin, General Lafayette, General Nathanael Greene of Revolutionary fame. Richard Smith probably did not occupy this house with his family for any length of time, although he kept coming and going with his children and servants. It was a trading post, 50 miles from any settlement, and in a neighborhood abounding with dangerous savages.

As the Narragansett country was still too lonely and dangerous, Richard Smith came to New Amsterdam where he was gladly welcomed by the Dutch. He spent about 20 years among the Dutch on Manhatten Island. During all this time Richard Smith continued his Narragansett Indian trading house, making frequent visits there with some of his family, and occasionally appearing before the Dutch Council at New Amsterdam for protection of his rights or on questions connected with his trading. A close friend and neighbor, Roger Williams, built a trading house about one mile from Richard Smith around the year of 1644. He often preached to the Indians at Smith's block-house.

The most exciting days centered around December 1675 when Smith's Castle, as it came to be called, became the military headquarters of the whole New England army of 1,000 men from Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth and Connecticut both before and after the Great Swamp Fight of King Phillip's War. This battle, fought near Kingston in a freezing blizzard, resulted in victory for the white men and the beginning of the extermination of the Narragansetts. Forty of the colonists killed are buried in a common grave near the house. When troops were removed, Smith's Castle was attacked in 1676 by Indians after Richard's death and partially burned. Richard's son, Richard Smith, Jr., rebuilt it on the same site two years later. In 1664 Richard Smith died at his trading house and is buried on the farm about one-quarter mile from his house. Smith's Castle still stands today near Wickford.

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Glowing testimony was given Richard Smith by his friend, Roger Williams years later (July 24 1679) as follows: "Being now near to four score years of age, yet (by God's mercy) of sound understanding and memory, do humbly and faithfull declare that Richard Smith, Sen. deceased, who for his conscience toward God left a fair possession in Gloucestershire and adventured with his relatives and estates to New England, and was a most acceptable and prime leading man in Taunton in Plymouth Colony, for his conscience sake (many differences arising) he left Taunton and came to the Nanhigansick country, where (by the mercy of God and the favor of the Nanhigansick sachems) he broke the ice (at his great charge and hazard) and put up, in the thickest of the barbarians, the first English house amongst them. I humbly testify that about forty-two years from this date he kept possession, coming and going, himself, children and servants; and he had quiet possession of his housing, land and meadows, and there in his own house, with much serenity of soul and comfort, he yielded up his spirit to God in peace. I do humbly and faithfully testify (as aforesaid) yet since his department his hon'rd Son Capt. Richard Smith hath kept Possession (with much acceptation with English and Pagans) of his Father's housing lands and meadows with grand improvemtn, also (by his great Cost and Industrie) And in the Late bloudie Pagan War I knowingly testifie and declare yet it pleased the most High to make use of himself in person, his howsing his goods corn Provisions and Cattell for a Garison and Supply to the whole Army of N. England under the Command of the Ever to be hon'rd Gen Winslow for the Service of his Ma'ties honor and countrey of N. England."

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Richard Smith's will reads: "In the Name of God, Amen. The fourteenth day of July in the year of Our Lord, one thousand, six hundred, sixty and four, in the Sixteenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, Charles the Second by the Grace of God of England and Scotland, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Father, etc. I, Richard Smith, of Wickford, in the Narragansett Countrey, in New England, Yeoman, being in health of Body, and of good and perfect memory, (Thanks be unto God) Do make this my last Will and Testament, and I do hereby revoak and renounce all former and other Wills and Testaments whatsoever heretofore by me made, by Word, Writing or otherwise And make and ordain this to be my very true, last Will and Testament, and no other Concerning my Lands, Chattels, debts, and every part and parcel thereof, in manner and form as followeth. First: I Commend my soul to Almighty God, and to his Son Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Redeemer, by whom I have to obtain full pardon, and remission of all my Sins, and to Inherit Everlasting Life. And I will that my Body be decently buryed by the Discretion of my Executors hereunto named. Item. I will that my debts which I shall owe unto any Person or Persons at the time of my decease either by Law or Conscience be well and truly Contented and paid, within Convenient time, out of my Goods and Chattels.

Item, I give unto my Son Richard Smith all my Right, Title and interest of, in and to my Dwelling house, and Lands thereto belonging, Situate, being and lying in Wickford aforesaid, and is bounded on the Southwest by Annoquatucket river, and by the Lands of Capt. William Hudson, Northeasterly and on the East by a fresh river or brook and Creek and Cove.

Item, I give unto my Son the s'd Richard Smith, all my right title and interest of, in, and to my propriety of Lands ying in Cunnanicot Island and Dutch Island, with the privileges and appurtenances to them or either of them belonging or in any way appertaining.

Item, I give unto my daughter Elisabeth, wife of John Vial of Boston, Vintner, all that my Share, which is a oe Third part of Land lying on the Southerly side of my son, Richard Smith's two thirds part of a tract of land lying on the Easterly side of the aforesaid fresh river, or Brook, and Creek and Cove, Commonly Called by the name of Sagag.

Item, I will that all my share and part in the Great Neck of Land beyond Capt. Edward Hutchinss house, Westward and Southward and all the rest of my share of Land belonging to that purchase And also my share of Land of the last purchase and all my Cattle, Horses, Mares, Sheep, Goats, & Swine and all my Goods and Debt whatsoever to me appertaining be (after my decease) Divided into Four Equal parts and portions, the which after my debts paid & funeral Charged thereout, I gie and bequeath as followeth. That is to say. To my son Richard Smith, and his heirs, the one fourth part or portion thereof, and to my Daughter, Elisabeth, wife of John Vial and her issue, I give one other Fourth part thereof, and to my Grand Children, the Children of my dec'd daughter Katharine, sometime wife to Gilbert Updike, one other forth part thereof to be Equally Divided amongst them. And to my Grand Children, the Children of my deceased daughter, Joan, sometime wife to Thomas Newton, one other fourth part thereof to be Equally divided amongst them my S'd Grand Children, parts to be paid to each of them, Viz. To Each of my Grandsons as they Come to the age of Twenty one years; And to Each of my Grand Daughters as they Come to the age of Eighteen years, or on day of marriage which shall first happen, And in Case that any One of my Grand Children, the Children of my daughters Katharine and Joan, do Dyue before they come to be of the age aforesaid or Marr'yd, then such part or share, as should have been to such deceased, shall be to the Survivours of them, part and part alike to them to be divided.

Item, I make and ordain my sons, Richard Smith, and John Vial, to be my full whole and only Executors of this my last will and Testament. And my Well beloved Friend Capt. Edward Hutchinson of Boston." [Here the document is torn.]

"Before John Leverett Assistant, Entered and recorded at the request of the s'd Vial the 22d. of August, 1666. Robert Howard, Not. Pub., An attested Copy."

Smith's Castle, built in 1678, is a house museum on Cocumscussoc near Wickford, a village in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, United States. Smith's Castle is one of the oldest houses in the state. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993 as Cocumscussoc Archeological Site, due to the artifacts and information digs in the vicinity have yielded. It is located just off U.S. 1.[1]

History

Smith's Castle was built in 1678 as a replacement for an earlier structure which was destroyed by the Narragansett Tribe during King Phillip's War. The land on which the house was built was known as Cocumscussoc (or Cocumscossoc), and was the original site of Roger Williams' trading post. Williams was the founder of a Rhode Island and a prominent Baptist theolgian. He built the trading post on the site in 1637 to trade with the Narragansetts after receiving the land from the tribe. Eventually, Williams sold the trading post to Richard Smith to finance his trip to Great Britain to secure a charter for Rhode Island. Smith bought the trading post and surrounding lands from Williams and constructed a large house which was fortified, giving the house its nickname as a castle. His son Richard Smith Jr. inherited the plantation in 1666 and invited militias from Massachusetts and Connecticut to use the property during King Phillip's War. In retaliation for the Great Swamp Fight, the house was burned, and the present structure was built in its place, originally as a saltbox house, and later modified into its current form. Approximately 40 soldiers were buried on the property during King Phillip's War. Eventually the property was transferred to the Updike, Congdon and Fox families. It was the site of a large dairy farm into the twentieth century until it became a museum. In the early twentieth century, preservationsists, Norman Isham and John Hutchins Cady stabilized the house and performs several minor restorations.

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Register Report - SMITH

by Sam Behling

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First Generation


1. JOHN SMITH. Born in 1566/1570 in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England. Ca 1590 when John was 24, he married Mary BROWNING. Born in 1569/1572 in North Nibley, Gloucestershire, England. Mary died aft 1667; she was 98. They had one child:

    2      i. RICHARD (1596-1666)
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Second Generation

2. RICHARD SMITH (John1). Born in 1596 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. Richard died in Wickford, Washington Co., RI, in 1666; he was 70. Richard married Joan BARTON. Born in 1599 in Gloucester, England. Joan died in Wickford, Washington Co., RI, in 1664; she was 65. They had the following children:

i.Joan. Joan died in 1664; she was 41. Born in 1623/1624 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. At the age of <1, Joan was baptized in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England, in 1623/1624. Joan married Thomas NEWTON.

3 ii. KATHARINE (ca1627-<1664)

iii. Richard. Born in 1630 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. At the age of <1, Richard was baptized in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England, in Dec 1630. Richard died in Wickford, Washington Co., RI, in 1692; he was 62. Occupation: Merchant. Richard married Esther ?. Esther died in 1699.

4 iv. Elizabeth (1631-ca1686)

v. James. Born in 1629 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. James died in 1664; he was 35. At the age of <1, James was baptized in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England, in Dec 1629.

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Third Generation


3. KATHARINE SMITH (Richard2, John1). Born ca 1627 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. Katharine died in NY bef 1664; she was 37. At the age of <1, Katharine was baptized in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England, in 1627. On 24 Sep 1643 when Katharine was 16, she married Gysbert/Gilbert UPDIKE/OPDYCK, son of Lodowick OP DYCK & Gertrude VAN WESEK, in New Amsterdam Colony. Dutch church. Born in 1605 in Wesel, Rhenish, Prussia. At the age of <1, Gysbert/Gilbert was baptized in Wesel, Rhenish, Prussia, on 25 Sep 1605. Church of St. Willitrode. Gysbert/Gilbert died in Long Island, Suffolk Co., NY, aft 1664; he was 59. Occupation: Physician. They had the following children:

i. ELIZABETH (<1644-<1722)

ii. Lodowick (ca1646-1737)

iii. Richard (-1675)

iv. Sarah (<1650-)

v. Johannes/John (Twin) (<1658-1729)

vi. James (Twin) (<1658-1729)

vii. Daniel (-1704)

4. Elizabeth SMITH (Richard2, John1). Elizabeth died ca 1686; she was 55. Born in 1631/1632 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. At the age of <1, Elizabeth was baptized in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England, on 18 Mar 1631/1632. Elizabeth first married John VIALL. Born in 1619. John died on 26 Feb 1686/1687; he was 67. Occupation: Vintner. They had the following children:

i. James (<1664-)

ii. Samuel (1667-)

iii. Elizabeth (1670-)

iv. Benjamin

v. Jonathan (>1673-)

Elizabeth second married Deacon Samuel NEWMAN. Born in Of Rehoboth, Bristol Co., MA.

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My Direct Line

· John SMITH (1566/1570 - ) & Mary BROWNING (1569/1572 - aft 1667)

· Richard SMITH (1596 - 1666) & Joan BARTON (1599 - 1664)

· Katharine SMITH (ca 1627 - bef 1664) & Gysbert/Gilbert UPDIKE/OPDYCK (1605 - aft 1664)

· Elizabeth UPDIKE (bef 27 Jul 1644 - bef 1722) & George WIGHTMAN (4 Nov 1632 - 7 Jan 1721/1722)

· Alice WIGHTMAN (29 Dec 1666 - aft 1752) & Samuel WAIT (ca 1660 - bef 15 Apr 1752)

· Benjamin WAIT (1703 - bef 13 Nov 1745) & Abigail HALL (7 Aug 1702 - )

· Rev. William WAIT (9 Jan 1730/1731 - 30 Mar 1826) & Mary NICHOLS (8 Dec 1731 - 28 Dec 1822)

· Nichols WAIT (16 Apr 1763 - 14 Jun 1834) & Olive PHELPS (23 Mar 1771 - 27 Jul 1837)

· Russel WAIT (27 Dec 1787 - 10 May 1854) & Mercy BOOTH (26 Jan 1789 - 9 Jan 1835)

· Julius Porter WAITE (20 Nov 1830 - 22 Dec 1910) & Lucretia Melvina MOSHER (8 Jul 1835 - 30 May 1909)

· Edith Lusetta WAITE (10 Jul 1875 - 26 May 1967) & William (Will) Edgar DELANEY (17 Jun 1864 - 10 Oct 1956)

· Laura May DELANEY (5 May 1895 - 28 Jan 1984) & George Alvin BEHLING (13 Oct 1893 - 26 Nov 1948)

· James (Jim) Barton BEHLING (Living) & Dorothy Chloe WILLIAMS (3 Apr 1915 - 22 Dec 1990)

· Susanne (Sam) Lucretia BEHLING (Living)

Contact

	sambehling@aol.com
	http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~sam

-------------------- Little is known about Richard's father, John other than his name and that he was an historian of the Berkley-Berkeley family in tidewater Virginia (i.e., Jamestown). He was born circa 1566-70 and lived in the county of Gloucestershire, England. About 1590, he married Mary Browning. She was born sometime around 1569-72 in North Nibley, Gloucestershire and died after 1667.

Richard is one of my most interesting ancestors and the only one who was both an early settler of Virginia and of New England. Noted as "of gentle blood" and of ancient family, he probably came of a line of gentlemen-farmers long settled in the village of Thornbury. On May 28, 1621, "Richard Smyth" and "Johan [Joan] Barton" were married at Thornbury Church in Gloucestershire.

On the James River in Virginia, between Williamsburg and Richmond, lies one of the first great estates in the New World called the Berkeley Hundred. It later gained notoriety as the home of the Harrisons: the family of a signer of the Declaration, two American Presidents and two Governors.

In 1619, 38 men from Berkeley Castle in Glouscestershire England formed the Berkeley Company and received a grant of 8,000 acres in Virginia. They sailed England on the small ship Margaret. It was an arduous three-month voyage. Finally, on December 4th, 1619 they arrived at their New World destination. Captain John Woodlief and Anglican missionary George Thorpe led the troop ashore and then, followed the orders they had been given in England. And, what were they to do? Observe a time of Thanksgiving to the Lord. A plaque states, "The first official, annual Thanksgiving in America was observed by BerkeleyÕs brave adventurers on December 4, 1619." This Thanksgiving was celebrated more than one year before the Pilgrims set foot on New EnglandÕs shore.

A much larger addition to the Berkeley Hundred was drafted from England in 1622, under the guidance of George Thorpe and Richard Smyth, son of John Smyth of Nibley. The Hundred, with the exception of a boy and girl, who escaped to the bushes, was annihilated in the Jamestown Massacre of 1622, in which so many of the other colonists lost their lives. The "Hundred of Barkley" was not immediately abandoned in consequence of the disaster. Richard Smyth escaped as he chanced to be elsewhere.

Richard appears to have been thoroughly discouraged with his experiences in Virginia. He removed, thence, to Plymouth Colony and settled for a time at Taunton, where he was an original purchaser and settler in 1638, and helped to establish the very first ironworks. But "many differences arising," he didn't tarry there long and soon removed to the Narragansett area of Rhode Island.

Another of my ancestors, Roger Williams came to Cocumscussoc around 1637. (Cocumscussoc. Its meaning and its spelling vary, it is tricky to pronounce and impossible to recall, but it designated an area that was destined to become one of the most significant spots in the history of Rhode Island.) Roger learned the Narragansett customs and language and established a trading post on land bought from his friend Canonicus, great sachem of the tribe. This transaction affirmed his belief in fair compensation for Native American land. Williams's other liberal ideas of religious tolerance and separation of church and state were to be key contributions to American political thought.

In 1638, Richard was made a citizen of newly settled Portsmouth Colony of Rhode Island. It was possibly through Williams's influence that Richard became interested in the Narragansett country. Probably as early as 1637, and not later than 1639, he established his trading post not far from the similar post of his friend. He bought from the Narragansett Indians 30,000 acres on the west side of Narragansett Bay, becoming the first white man to settle in Narragansett. Later he speculated in other large purchases or long term leases. One instance of how business was done in those days was his lease for 1000 years of a certain tract of land, payment to be one red honeysuckle every midsummer's day, when lawfully demanded.

His close friend and neighbor, Roger Williams, built a trading house about one mile from Richard Smith around the year of 1644. He often preached to the Indians at Smith's block-house. When Roger Williams went to England on colony business, he raised the necessary money by selling "all his belongings, including two big guns and a small island for goats" to Richard Smith in 1651 for £51. Testimony to Richard was given by Roger years later (July 24, 1679) as follows: "Being now near to four score years of age, yet (by God's mercy) of sound understanding and memory, do humbly and faithfull declare that Richard Smith, Sen. deceased, who for his conscience toward God left a fair possession in Cloucestershre and adventured with his relatives and estates to New England, and was a most acceptable and prime leading man in Taunton in Plymouth Colony, for his conscience sake (many differences arising) he left Taunton and came to the Nanhigansick country, where (by the mercy of God and the favor of the Nanhigansick sachems) he broke the ice (at his great charge and hazard) and put up, in the thickest of the barbarians, the first English house amongst them. I humbly testify that about forty-two years from this date he kept possession, coming and going, himself, children and servants; and he had quiet possession of his housing, land and meadows, and there in his own house, with much serenity of soul and comfort, he yielded up his spirit to God in peace."

A third post was set up by Edward Wilcox, another of my ancestors. Prior to 1649 the Indians could get liquor at Richard Smith's trading post, but Williams, at considerable economic sacrifice, refused to sell it to them except for medicinal purposes. When in 1651 Richard Smith purchased Roger Williams's trading house, he became the sole owner of the property at Cocumscussoc, having already acquired Edward Wilcox's interest in the trading center.

Richard continued to increase his holdings, and Cocumscussoc soon became a center of social, political, and religious activities. Richard erected a house for trade among the thickest of the Indians, and gave free entertainment to travelers. The new structure was more than a "house for trade" and a lodge for travelers. It was built as a blockhouse, part trading post and part fort, constructed, according to tradition, of timber floated from Taunton, down the river and across the bay. In those days of possible Indian hostilities, a large fortified dwelling was sometimes called a castle. Consequently, the structure came to be known as "Smith's Castle," a name that even up to the present has been used synonymously with Cocumscussoc, though the building is completely changed in form and function. No visible traces of the blockhouse remain, nor is any architectural plan or design known.

Under the hospitable roof of Smith's Castle have gathered notablesÑRoger Williams, William Blackstone, Governor Winthrop, George Fox the Quaker, Dean Berkeley the philosopher, Smibert the artist, Rev. Dr. MacSparran, Sir Edmond Andros and others like Benjamin Franklin, General Lafayette, General Nathanael Greene of Revolutionary fame.

It was some time before Smith was ready to settle his wife and children at Cocumscussoc, although he kept coming and going with his children and servants. It was a trading post, 50 miles from any settlement, and in a neighborhood abounding with dangerous savages. Leaving the blockhouse in the hands of agents, visiting it only occasionally, for several years he shifted his family about between Taunton, Portsmouth and New Amsterdam. Lured to Long Island by the attractions of land speculation he moved to what is now the Borough of Queens where he acquired large land holdings from the Dutch proprietors. Richard and his family spent about 20 years among the Dutch on Manhattan Island. While residing in New Amsterdam in 1643, the Smiths met the family of Lodowick Op Dyck. Within the year a son, Gysbert [Gilbert], had married Richard Smith's daughter, Katharine in the Dutch Church at New Amsterdam.

During all this time Richard Smith continued his Narragansett Indian trading house, making frequent visits there with some of his family, being himself skipper of his good sloop Welcome and occasionally appearing before the Dutch Council at New Amsterdam for protection of his rights or on questions connected with his trading. Richard is reported to have kept a house in New Amsterdam for trading advantage, and in all likelihood brought Dutch and German wares into Rhode Island to exchange for furs or other goods.

Presumably it was in 1651, or some time after Richard had purchased Roger Williams's house, that he brought his wife and younger children to Cocumscussoc to live. They probably moved into the Williams house, which was enlarged to suit the needs of the family and servants. It is highly probable that the blockhouse also was used to some extent for living quarters, as well as a center of trade, and a "resting place and rendezvous" for all travelers along the Pequot Path.

In purchasing Williams's property, Smith acquired besides the house, "two iron guns or murderers there lying," which surely strengthened the defenses of the blockhouse, together with "fields and fencing" and "the use of the little island for goates." Whereupon the new owner proceeded to "mow meadows," and "improve the land." [Smith's Castle as it appears today at right.]

While it is known that Roger Williams's trading house which Richard Smith acquired in 1651 was in close proximity to the blockhouse, its precise location has not been determined. In the absence of a title deed, which is believed to have been lost by fire, there has been considerable speculation as to whether it was the building enlarged by Smith on the present site, burned by the Indians in 1676, and subsequently rebuilt, or another building nearby. The former has been generally accepted as the plausible view. But even though the specific site of the trading-house is in doubt, it is an undisputed fact that Roger Williams was an habitual sojourner at Cocumscussoc.

From these endeavors, Cocumscussoc began to emerge as a "plantation"Ñin the sense of the South's use of the termÑa major agricultural enterprise expanding through the years, the first of its kind in Narragansett country. It is safe to assume that Smith acquired some of Roger Williams's swine and goats for breeding stock, and possible cattle and sheep from Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, or other sources, and that within the next decade he had built up substantial herds of some if not all of these animals. That during the lifetime of Richard Smith, Cocumscussoc was engaged in dairying on a considerable scale is a matter of record.

Although Richard's wife Joan may not have qualified as a typical dairymaid, she played a singular role in the dairy enterprise. Joan had brought with her from Gloucestershire the recipe for making the celebrated Cheshire cheese, and found time in her busy life, while providing for family and visitors, to supervise the converting of milk from the plantation cows into cheese, which, being fortified with cream, was of extraordinary richness and flavor. This proved to be the beginning of a new industry. So popular was the cheese from Cocumscussoc, as its superior quality became known, that the basic recipe was adopted by neighboring plantations, and through the ensuing years, great quantities were produced and marketed as Narragansett Cheese, both at home and abroad. Tradition has it that many of these cheeses were shipped from Smith's own dock in Mill Cove, probably the first shipping point in this section of the Colony, perhaps even during Joan's lifetime.

Two purchases of great tracts proved to be of special significance, both political and agricultural: the Pettaquamscutt Purchase of 1658, a tract about 12 miles square, and a smaller area adjoining it on the north and east known as the Atherton Purchase, acquired in 1659. Together they embraced most of the region commonly called the Narragansett countryÑincluding the whole of the present towns of South Kingstown and Narragansett, and portions of North Kingstown and Exeter. Richard Smith and his son Richard were partners in the Atheton purchase, along with Governor Winthrop of CT and Humphrey Atherton and others from MA. The expanded land holdings of the two Richard Smiths following the Atherton Purchase embraced all of the present site of Wickford village. Title to one large tract was in the form of a thousand year leaseÑtantamount to ownershipÑfrom Sachem Coginiquant, dated 1659, wherein the only lease-hold obligation of the two Smiths was "to pay on every mid-summer day [June 20] a Red Honney Suckell grasse" [red clover] if demanded. At their peak the Smiths' land-holdings comprised 27 square miles, an area nine miles long and three miles wide.

The Smiths' position as landowners was anything but secure, for they possessed questionable title to land over which there was no effective civil jurisdiction. The Narragansett country at the time was virtually a "no-man's land," coveted and claimed by three colonies, adequately governed by none. Massachusetts laid claim to the territory on the basis of a questionable grant which antedated Rhode Island's patent of 1644 by three months. Connecticut's claim, which involved the Atherton purchase, was reinforced by its royal charter of 1662, under which its lands, "extended easterly to the shore of Narragansett River." On the contrary, Rhode Island's Charter of 1663 extended its bounds westward to the Pawcatuck River which flows past the present town of Westerly. Massachusetts' claim was eliminated by the King's Commissioners in 1664, but the ensuing dispute between CT and RI was bitter and long.

For years the rival claims were batted back and forth by legal authoritiesÑa succession of petitions and protests, boards of arbitration and special commissions. Smith's Castle was, in effect, during this period, the "unofficial capitol of the Narragansett country." Governor Winthrop of Connecticut and his wife Elizabeth were frequent visitors. The Atherton proprietors, gathered at the Castle in July 1663, addressed a petition to the Hartford magistrates for immediate annexation. The Governor's Council promptly responded by pronouncing Narragansett a "Plantation" -in the New England sense of the term-naming Richard Smith, Sr. selectman and Richard, Jr. constable, and "Mr. Smith's trading house was the place designated for the transaction of public business." The newborn jurisdiction was christened Wickford (limits undefined), after Elizabeth Winthrop's birthplace in Essex, England. Further steps in the organization of Wickford were taken the following year when the Council designated Richard Smith, Sr. a "commissioner," and prescribed a local militia.

All this infuriated the Rhode Island authorities. In 1664 Richard Smith was ordered before the General Court of Trials on a charge of seeking to bring in a foreign jurisdiction, and Richard, Jr. received a similar summons. Later a warrant for the arrest of Richard, Jr. (the records read Richard, Sr., apparently by error) was ordered for unlawfully exercising the office of constable under a CT commission.

On May 14, 1664 he wrote to Captain Edward Hutchinson (another of my ancestors), at Boston, requesting it be made know to the Connecticut government. He complains of John Greene, Sr., being taken from his house at Aquidneset by warrant from Rhode Island, and adds: "Sir, it will be necessary for you to give Connecticut intimation of their proceedings for we may be easily overturned by them, if they stick not by us."

Nothing, it seems, came of any of these attempts. Probably a letter previously received from King Charles II recommending the elder Richard to the kindness and protection of the Providence authorities, along with the intercession of Roger Williams, saved the Smiths from harsher consequences. Midst the bitter confrontations and months of wrangling, Williams was hard pressed to prevent the forcible expulsion of the Smiths by a neighborhood mob.

Under such circumstances, the elder Richard Smith's closing years were sorely lacking in harmony. Added to the political turmoil, in 1664 he was bereft of his wife Joan. Nor did he live to see the Connecticut controversy resolved. Two years after he had lost his wife his own death occurred at Cocumscussoc. The rugged old planter-trader was buried in the family cemetery just off the Cove within sight of the Castle, his grave marked by a small pointed slate stone bearing the modest inscription "R. Smith 1666." A mural tablet in St. Paul's Church in Wickford, erected in 1903 to the memory of Richard Smith, recites the highlights of his eventful career. "he led a sober, honourable and religious life," it reads, and closes with the words of Roger Williams: "In his owne house with much serenitie of soule and comfort ye yielded up his spirit to God (the Father of Spirits) in peace." His will reads:

In the Name of God, Amen. The fourteenth day of July in the year of Our Lord, one thousand, six hundred, sixty and four, in the Sixteenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, Charles the Second by the Grace of God of England and Scotland, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Father, etc. I, Richard Smith, of Wickford, in the Narragansett Countrey, in New England, Yeoman, being in health of Body, and of good and perfect memory, (Thanks be unto God) Do make this my last Will and Testament, and I do hereby revoak and renounce all former and other Wills and Testaments whatsoever heretofore by me made, by Word, Writing or otherwise And make and ordain this to be my very true, last Will and Testament, and no other Concerning my Lands, Chattels, debts, and every part and parcel thereof, in manner and form as followeth.

First: I Commend my soul to Almighty God, and to his Son Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Redeemer, by whom I have to obtain full pardon, and remission of all my Sins, and to Inherit Everlasting Life. And I will that my Body be decently buryed by the Discretion of my Executors hereunto named.

Item. I will that my debts which I shall owe unto any Person or Persons at the time of my decease either by Law or Conscience be well and truly Contented and paid, within Convenient time, out of my Goods and Chattels.

Item, I give unto my Son Richard Smith all my Right, Title and interest of, in and to my Dwelling house, and Lands thereto belonging, Situate, being and lying in Wickford aforesaid, and is bounded on the Southwest by Annoquatucket river, and by the Lands of Capt. William Hudson, Northeasterly and on the East by a fresh river or brook and Creek and Cove.

Item, I give unto my Son the s'd Richard Smith, all my right title and interest of, in, and to my propriety of Lands lying in Cunnanicot Island and Dutch Island, with the privileges and appurtenances to them or either of them belonging or in any way appertaining.

Item, I give unto my daughter Elisabeth, wife of John Vial of Boston, Vintner, all that my Share, which is a oe Third part of Land lying on the Southerly side of my son, Richard Smith's two thirds part of a tract of land lying on the Easterly side of the aforesaid fresh river, or Brook, and Creek and Cove, Commonly Called by the name of Sagag. Item, I will that all my share and part in the Great Neck of Land beyond Capt. Edward Hutchinss house, Westward and Southward and all the rest of my share of Land belonging to that purchase And also my share of Land of the last purchase and all my Cattle, Horses, Mares, Sheep, Goats, & Swine and all my Goods and Debt whatsoever to me appertaining be (after my decease) Divided into Four Equal parts and portions, the which after my debts paid & funeral Charged thereout, I give and bequeath as followeth. That is to say. To my son Richard Smith, and his heirs, the one fourth part or portion thereof, and to my Daughter, Elisabeth, wife of John Vial and her issue, I give one other Fourth part thereof, and to my Grand Children, the Children of my dec'd daughter Katharine, sometime wife to Gilbert Updike, one other forth part thereof to be Equally Divided amongst them. And to my Grand Children, the Children of my deceased daughter, Joan, sometime wife to Thomas Newton, one other fourth part thereof to be Equally divided amongst them my S'd Grand Children, parts to be paid to each of them, Viz. To Each of my Grandsons as they Come to the age of Twenty one years; And to Each of my Grand Daughters as they Come to the age of Eighteen years, or on day of marriage which shall first happen, And in Case that any One of my Grand Children, the Children of my daughters Katharine and Joan, do Dyue before they come to be of the age aforesaid or Marr'yd, then such part or share, as should have been to such deceased, shall be to the Survivours of them, part and part alike to them to be divided.

Item, I make and ordain my sons, Richard Smith, and John Vial, to be my full whole and only Executors of this my last will and Testament. And my Well beloved Friend Capt. Edward Hutchinson of Boston. [Here the document is torn.] Before John Leverett Assistant, Entered and recorded at the request of the s'd Vial the 22d. of August, 1666. Robert Howard, Not. Pub., An attested Copy.

After Richard's death, Roger Williams wrote: "I humbly testifie yt about forty years (from this date) he kept Possession comming and going himselfe Children and Servants and he had quiet Possessien of his Howsing Lands and medow, and there in his own howse with much Serenity of Soule and comfort he yielded up his Spirit to God ye Father of Spirits in Peace.

"I do humbly and faithfully testify (as aforesaid) yt since his departure his hon'rd Son Capt. Richard Smith hath kept Possession (with much acceptation with English and Pagans) of his Father's howsing lands and meadows with great improvement, also (by his great Cost and Industrie) And in the Late bloudie Pagan War I knowingly testifie and declare yt it pleased the most High to make use of himself in person, his howsing his goods corn Provisions and Cattell for a Garison and Supply to the whole Army of N. England under the Command of the Ever to be hon'rd Gen Winslow for the Service of his Ma'ties honor and countrey of N. England."

Signed Roger Williams

Nahiggonsik 24 July, 1679

A petition of the inhabitants of Narragansett to the King (dated July 29, 1679) states very much the same matter as the testimony of Mr. Williams. "About forty-two years since, the father of one of your petitioners, namely Richard Smith, deceased, who sold his possession in Gloucestershire, and came into New England, began the first settlement of the Narragansett country (then living at Taunton, in the colony of New Plymouth) and erected a trading house in the same tract of land where now his son Richard Smith inhabits, not only at his cost and charge, but great hazard, not without the consent and approbation of the natives, who then were very numerous, and gave him land to set his house on, being well satisfied in his coming thither, that they might be supplied with such necessities as aforetime they wanted, and that at their own homes, without much travel for the same. The said Richard Smith, being as well pleased in his new settlement in a double respect, first that he might be instrumental under God in the propagating the gospel among the natives, who knew not God as they ought to know him, and took great pains therein to his dying day; secondly, that that place might afford him a refuge and shelter in time to come for the future subsistence of him and his." The petitioners state that there were no English living nearer to him that Pawtuxet, near twenty miles from his house.

The most exciting days at Smith's Castle, however, occurred after Richard's death when it became the military headquarters of the whole New England army of 1,000 men from Massachusetts, Plymouth and Connecticut both before and after the Great Swamp Fight of King Phillip's War. This battle, fought near Kingston in a freezing blizzard, resulted in victory for the white men and the beginning of the extermination of the Narragansetts. Forty of the colonists killed are buried in a common grave near the house. It is located about 1 1/2 miles north of Wickford on Post Road U.S. Route 1 opposite Police Barracks, between Wickford and East Greenwich.

-------------------- http://www.smithscastle.org/

History:

Cocumscussoc. Its meaning and its spelling vary, it is tricky to pronounce and impossible to recall, but it designated an area that was destined to become one of the most significant spots in the history of Rhode Island. The word is Narragansett, the language and name of the preeminent Native American tribe of early 17th-century New England. Scattered in villages on the west side of the bay bearing their name, they were hunters, fishermen, and great farmers. Roger Williams came to Cocumscussoc around 1637. He learned the Narragansett customs and language and established a trading post on land bought from his friend Canonicus, great sachem of the tribe. This transaction affirmed his belief in fair compensation for Native American land. Williams' other liberal ideas of religious tolerance and separation of church and state were to be key contributions to American political thought. Also around 1637, Richard Smith, an original settler of Taunton in Plymouth Colony, established a trading post at Cocumscussoc and, according to Williams, "Put up...the first English house...in Nahigonsik Countrey." It is thought to have been a grand house that was, possibly, fortified: thus the name Smith's Castle. Richard Smith purchased Williams' trading post in 1651. Smith continued to increase his holdings, and Cocumscussoc soon became a center of social, political, and religious activities. Smith died in 1666 leaving Cocumscussoc to his son, Richard Smith, Jr. In 1675, King Philip, sachem of the Wampanoags, led a coalition of Native Americans in a bloody conflict with the colonists over control of land. The Narragansetts, whose winter home was in the Great Swamp only 12 miles from Cocumscussoc, had pledged neutrality. Suspecting that the Narragansetts were harboring Wampanoag warriors, 1,000 colonial troops from Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, and Plymouth colonies massed at the Castle and attacked the Great Swamp village in December 1675. Both sides suffered great losses. Forty colonial soldiers were interred in a mass grave near the Castle. In retaliation for the attack, the Castle was burned in 1676. By 1678, Smith, Jr. had built a new home with front rooms flanking a large stone fireplace, a kitchen lean-to at the back, and a massive two-story, gabled porch on the front.

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Smith's Castle - Pencil Drawing By Mrs. John Wickes Greene c. 1875

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© 1997, Sam Behling

Richard Smith was born in 1596 in Gloucestershire, England. He came to New England and briefly spent time in Taunton, Massachusetts. Between 1637-1639, he came to the Narragansett country near present-day Wickford, Rhode Island and bought 30,000 acres of land on the west side of Narragansett Bay. Later he speculated in other large purchases or long term leases. One instance of how business was done in those days was his lease for 1,000 years of a certain tract of land, payment to be one red honeysuckle every midsummer's day, when lawfully demanded.

Richard Smith established a trading house in the midst of the Narragansett Indians, giving free entertainment to travelers passing through that section. Under the hospitable roof of Smith's Castle gathered famous people of the day such as Roger Williams, William Blackstone, Governor Winthrop, George Fox the Quaker, Dean Berkeley the philospher, Smibert the artist, and others like Benjamin Franklin, General Lafayette, General Nathanael Greene of Revolutionary fame. Richard Smith probably did not occupy this house with his family for any length of time, although he kept coming and going with his children and servants. It was a trading post, 50 miles from any settlement, and in a neighborhood abounding with dangerous savages.

As the Narragansett country was still too lonely and dangerous, Richard Smith came to New Amsterdam where he was gladly welcomed by the Dutch. He spent about 20 years among the Dutch on Manhatten Island. During all this time Richard Smith continued his Narragansett Indian trading house, making frequent visits there with some of his family, and occasionally appearing before the Dutch Council at New Amsterdam for protection of his rights or on questions connected with his trading. A close friend and neighbor, Roger Williams, built a trading house about one mile from Richard Smith around the year of 1644. He often preached to the Indians at Smith's block-house.

The most exciting days centered around December 1675 when Smith's Castle, as it came to be called, became the military headquarters of the whole New England army of 1,000 men from Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth and Connecticut both before and after the Great Swamp Fight of King Phillip's War. This battle, fought near Kingston in a freezing blizzard, resulted in victory for the white men and the beginning of the extermination of the Narragansetts. Forty of the colonists killed are buried in a common grave near the house. When troops were removed, Smith's Castle was attacked in 1676 by Indians after Richard's death and partially burned. Richard's son, Richard Smith, Jr., rebuilt it on the same site two years later. In 1664 Richard Smith died at his trading house and is buried on the farm about one-quarter mile from his house. Smith's Castle still stands today near Wickford.

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Glowing testimony was given Richard Smith by his friend, Roger Williams years later (July 24 1679) as follows: "Being now near to four score years of age, yet (by God's mercy) of sound understanding and memory, do humbly and faithfull declare that Richard Smith, Sen. deceased, who for his conscience toward God left a fair possession in Gloucestershire and adventured with his relatives and estates to New England, and was a most acceptable and prime leading man in Taunton in Plymouth Colony, for his conscience sake (many differences arising) he left Taunton and came to the Nanhigansick country, where (by the mercy of God and the favor of the Nanhigansick sachems) he broke the ice (at his great charge and hazard) and put up, in the thickest of the barbarians, the first English house amongst them. I humbly testify that about forty-two years from this date he kept possession, coming and going, himself, children and servants; and he had quiet possession of his housing, land and meadows, and there in his own house, with much serenity of soul and comfort, he yielded up his spirit to God in peace. I do humbly and faithfully testify (as aforesaid) yet since his department his hon'rd Son Capt. Richard Smith hath kept Possession (with much acceptation with English and Pagans) of his Father's housing lands and meadows with grand improvemtn, also (by his great Cost and Industrie) And in the Late bloudie Pagan War I knowingly testifie and declare yet it pleased the most High to make use of himself in person, his howsing his goods corn Provisions and Cattell for a Garison and Supply to the whole Army of N. England under the Command of the Ever to be hon'rd Gen Winslow for the Service of his Ma'ties honor and countrey of N. England."

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Richard Smith's will reads: "In the Name of God, Amen. The fourteenth day of July in the year of Our Lord, one thousand, six hundred, sixty and four, in the Sixteenth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, Charles the Second by the Grace of God of England and Scotland, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Father, etc. I, Richard Smith, of Wickford, in the Narragansett Countrey, in New England, Yeoman, being in health of Body, and of good and perfect memory, (Thanks be unto God) Do make this my last Will and Testament, and I do hereby revoak and renounce all former and other Wills and Testaments whatsoever heretofore by me made, by Word, Writing or otherwise And make and ordain this to be my very true, last Will and Testament, and no other Concerning my Lands, Chattels, debts, and every part and parcel thereof, in manner and form as followeth. First: I Commend my soul to Almighty God, and to his Son Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Redeemer, by whom I have to obtain full pardon, and remission of all my Sins, and to Inherit Everlasting Life. And I will that my Body be decently buryed by the Discretion of my Executors hereunto named. Item. I will that my debts which I shall owe unto any Person or Persons at the time of my decease either by Law or Conscience be well and truly Contented and paid, within Convenient time, out of my Goods and Chattels.

Item, I give unto my Son Richard Smith all my Right, Title and interest of, in and to my Dwelling house, and Lands thereto belonging, Situate, being and lying in Wickford aforesaid, and is bounded on the Southwest by Annoquatucket river, and by the Lands of Capt. William Hudson, Northeasterly and on the East by a fresh river or brook and Creek and Cove.

Item, I give unto my Son the s'd Richard Smith, all my right title and interest of, in, and to my propriety of Lands ying in Cunnanicot Island and Dutch Island, with the privileges and appurtenances to them or either of them belonging or in any way appertaining.

Item, I give unto my daughter Elisabeth, wife of John Vial of Boston, Vintner, all that my Share, which is a oe Third part of Land lying on the Southerly side of my son, Richard Smith's two thirds part of a tract of land lying on the Easterly side of the aforesaid fresh river, or Brook, and Creek and Cove, Commonly Called by the name of Sagag.

Item, I will that all my share and part in the Great Neck of Land beyond Capt. Edward Hutchinss house, Westward and Southward and all the rest of my share of Land belonging to that purchase And also my share of Land of the last purchase and all my Cattle, Horses, Mares, Sheep, Goats, & Swine and all my Goods and Debt whatsoever to me appertaining be (after my decease) Divided into Four Equal parts and portions, the which after my debts paid & funeral Charged thereout, I gie and bequeath as followeth. That is to say. To my son Richard Smith, and his heirs, the one fourth part or portion thereof, and to my Daughter, Elisabeth, wife of John Vial and her issue, I give one other Fourth part thereof, and to my Grand Children, the Children of my dec'd daughter Katharine, sometime wife to Gilbert Updike, one other forth part thereof to be Equally Divided amongst them. And to my Grand Children, the Children of my deceased daughter, Joan, sometime wife to Thomas Newton, one other fourth part thereof to be Equally divided amongst them my S'd Grand Children, parts to be paid to each of them, Viz. To Each of my Grandsons as they Come to the age of Twenty one years; And to Each of my Grand Daughters as they Come to the age of Eighteen years, or on day of marriage which shall first happen, And in Case that any One of my Grand Children, the Children of my daughters Katharine and Joan, do Dyue before they come to be of the age aforesaid or Marr'yd, then such part or share, as should have been to such deceased, shall be to the Survivours of them, part and part alike to them to be divided.

Item, I make and ordain my sons, Richard Smith, and John Vial, to be my full whole and only Executors of this my last will and Testament. And my Well beloved Friend Capt. Edward Hutchinson of Boston." [Here the document is torn.]

"Before John Leverett Assistant, Entered and recorded at the request of the s'd Vial the 22d. of August, 1666. Robert Howard, Not. Pub., An attested Copy."

Smith's Castle, built in 1678, is a house museum on Cocumscussoc near Wickford, a village in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, United States. Smith's Castle is one of the oldest houses in the state. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993 as Cocumscussoc Archeological Site, due to the artifacts and information digs in the vicinity have yielded. It is located just off U.S. 1.[1]

History

Smith's Castle was built in 1678 as a replacement for an earlier structure which was destroyed by the Narragansett Tribe during King Phillip's War. The land on which the house was built was known as Cocumscussoc (or Cocumscossoc), and was the original site of Roger Williams' trading post. Williams was the founder of a Rhode Island and a prominent Baptist theolgian. He built the trading post on the site in 1637 to trade with the Narragansetts after receiving the land from the tribe. Eventually, Williams sold the trading post to Richard Smith to finance his trip to Great Britain to secure a charter for Rhode Island. Smith bought the trading post and surrounding lands from Williams and constructed a large house which was fortified, giving the house its nickname as a castle. His son Richard Smith Jr. inherited the plantation in 1666 and invited militias from Massachusetts and Connecticut to use the property during King Phillip's War. In retaliation for the Great Swamp Fight, the house was burned, and the present structure was built in its place, originally as a saltbox house, and later modified into its current form. Approximately 40 soldiers were buried on the property during King Phillip's War. Eventually the property was transferred to the Updike, Congdon and Fox families. It was the site of a large dairy farm into the twentieth century until it became a museum. In the early twentieth century, preservationsists, Norman Isham and John Hutchins Cady stabilized the house and performs several minor restorations.

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Register Report - SMITH

by Sam Behling

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First Generation

1. JOHN SMITH. Born in 1566/1570 in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England. Ca 1590 when John was 24, he married Mary BROWNING. Born in 1569/1572 in North Nibley, Gloucestershire, England. Mary died aft 1667; she was 98. They had one child:

2 i. RICHARD (1596-1666)

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Second Generation 2. RICHARD SMITH (John1). Born in 1596 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. Richard died in Wickford, Washington Co., RI, in 1666; he was 70. Richard married Joan BARTON. Born in 1599 in Gloucester, England. Joan died in Wickford, Washington Co., RI, in 1664; she was 65. They had the following children:

i.Joan. Joan died in 1664; she was 41. Born in 1623/1624 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. At the age of <1, Joan was baptized in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England, in 1623/1624. Joan married Thomas NEWTON.

3 ii. KATHARINE (ca1627-<1664)

iii. Richard. Born in 1630 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. At the age of <1, Richard was baptized in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England, in Dec 1630. Richard died in Wickford, Washington Co., RI, in 1692; he was 62. Occupation: Merchant. Richard married Esther ?. Esther died in 1699.

4 iv. Elizabeth (1631-ca1686)

v. James. Born in 1629 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. James died in 1664; he was 35. At the age of <1, James was baptized in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England, in Dec 1629.

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Third Generation

3. KATHARINE SMITH (Richard2, John1). Born ca 1627 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. Katharine died in NY bef 1664; she was 37. At the age of <1, Katharine was baptized in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England, in 1627. On 24 Sep 1643 when Katharine was 16, she married Gysbert/Gilbert UPDIKE/OPDYCK, son of Lodowick OP DYCK & Gertrude VAN WESEK, in New Amsterdam Colony. Dutch church. Born in 1605 in Wesel, Rhenish, Prussia. At the age of <1, Gysbert/Gilbert was baptized in Wesel, Rhenish, Prussia, on 25 Sep 1605. Church of St. Willitrode. Gysbert/Gilbert died in Long Island, Suffolk Co., NY, aft 1664; he was 59. Occupation: Physician. They had the following children:

i. ELIZABETH (<1644-<1722)

ii. Lodowick (ca1646-1737)

iii. Richard (-1675)

iv. Sarah (<1650-)

v. Johannes/John (Twin) (<1658-1729)

vi. James (Twin) (<1658-1729)

vii. Daniel (-1704)

4. Elizabeth SMITH (Richard2, John1). Elizabeth died ca 1686; she was 55. Born in 1631/1632 in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. At the age of <1, Elizabeth was baptized in Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England, on 18 Mar 1631/1632. Elizabeth first married John VIALL. Born in 1619. John died on 26 Feb 1686/1687; he was 67. Occupation: Vintner. They had the following children:

i. James (<1664-)

ii. Samuel (1667-)

iii. Elizabeth (1670-)

iv. Benjamin

v. Jonathan (>1673-)

Elizabeth second married Deacon Samuel NEWMAN. Born in Of Rehoboth, Bristol Co., MA.

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My Direct Line

· John SMITH (1566/1570 - ) & Mary BROWNING (1569/1572 - aft 1667)

· Richard SMITH (1596 - 1666) & Joan BARTON (1599 - 1664)

· Katharine SMITH (ca 1627 - bef 1664) & Gysbert/Gilbert UPDIKE/OPDYCK (1605 - aft 1664)

· Elizabeth UPDIKE (bef 27 Jul 1644 - bef 1722) & George WIGHTMAN (4 Nov 1632 - 7 Jan 1721/1722)

· Alice WIGHTMAN (29 Dec 1666 - aft 1752) & Samuel WAIT (ca 1660 - bef 15 Apr 1752)

· Benjamin WAIT (1703 - bef 13 Nov 1745) & Abigail HALL (7 Aug 1702 - )

· Rev. William WAIT (9 Jan 1730/1731 - 30 Mar 1826) & Mary NICHOLS (8 Dec 1731 - 28 Dec 1822)

· Nichols WAIT (16 Apr 1763 - 14 Jun 1834) & Olive PHELPS (23 Mar 1771 - 27 Jul 1837)

· Russel WAIT (27 Dec 1787 - 10 May 1854) & Mercy BOOTH (26 Jan 1789 - 9 Jan 1835)

· Julius Porter WAITE (20 Nov 1830 - 22 Dec 1910) & Lucretia Melvina MOSHER (8 Jul 1835 - 30 May 1909)

· Edith Lusetta WAITE (10 Jul 1875 - 26 May 1967) & William (Will) Edgar DELANEY (17 Jun 1864 - 10 Oct 1956)

· Laura May DELANEY (5 May 1895 - 28 Jan 1984) & George Alvin BEHLING (13 Oct 1893 - 26 Nov 1948)

· James (Jim) Barton BEHLING (Living) & Dorothy Chloe WILLIAMS (3 Apr 1915 - 22 Dec 1990)

· Susanne (Sam) Lucretia BEHLING (Living)

Contact

sambehling@aol.com http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~sam -------------------- Little is known about Richard's father, John other than his name and that he was an historian of the Berkley-Berkeley family in tidewater Virginia (i.e., Jamestown). He was born circa 1566-70 and lived in the county of Gloucestershire, England. About 1590, he married Mary Browning. She was born sometime around 1569-72 in North Nibley, Gloucestershire and died after 1667.

Richard is one of my most interesting ancestors and the only one who was both an early settler of Virginia and of New England. Noted as "of gentle blood" and of ancient family, he probably came of a line of gentlemen-farmers long settled in the village of Thornbury. On May 28, 1621, "Richard Smyth" and "Johan [Joan] Barton" were married at Thornbury Church in Gloucestershire.

On the James River in Virginia, between Williamsburg and Richmond, lies one of the first great estates in the New World called the Berkeley Hundred. It later gained notoriety as the home of the Harrisons: the family of a signer of the Declaration, two American Presidents and two Governors.

In 1619, 38 men from Berkeley Castle in Glouscestershire England formed the Berkeley Company and received a grant of 8,000 acres in Virginia. They sailed England on the small ship Margaret. It was an arduous three-month voyage. Finally, on December 4th, 1619 they arrived at their New World destination. Captain John Woodlief and Anglican missionary George Thorpe led the troop ashore and then, followed the orders they had been given in England. And, what were they to do? Observe a time of Thanksgiving to the Lord. A plaque states, "The first official, annual Thanksgiving in America was observed by BerkeleyÕs brave adventurers on December 4, 1619." This Thanksgiving was celebrated more than one year before the Pilgrims set foot on New EnglandÕs shore.

A much larger addition to the Berkeley Hundred was drafted from England in 1622, under the guidance of George Thorpe and Richard Smyth, son of John Smyth of Nibley. The Hundred, with the exception of a boy and girl, who escaped to the bushes, was annihilated in the Jamestown Massacre of 1622, in which so many of the other colonists lost their lives. The "Hundred of Barkley" was not immediately abandoned in consequence of the disaster. Richard Smyth escaped as he chanced to be elsewhere.

Richard appears to have been thoroughly discouraged with his experiences in Virginia. He removed, thence, to Plymouth Colony and settled for a time at Taunton, where he was an original purchaser and settler in 1638, and helped to establish the very first ironworks. But "many differences arising," he didn't tarry there long and soon removed to the Narragansett area of Rhode Island.

Another of my ancestors, Roger Williams came to Cocumscussoc around 1637. (Cocumscussoc. Its meaning and its spelling vary, it is tricky to pronounce and impossible to recall, but it designated an area that was destined to become one of the most significant spots in the history of Rhode Island.) Roger learned the Narragansett customs and language and established a trading post on land bought from his friend Canonicus, great sachem of the tribe. This transaction affirmed his belief in fair compensation for Native American land. Williams's other liberal ideas of religious tolerance and separation of church and state were to be key contributions to American political thought.

In 1638, Richard was made a citizen of newly settled Portsmouth Colony of Rhode Island. It was possibly through Williams's influence that Richard became interested in the Narragansett country. Probably as early as 1637, and not later than 1639, he established his trading post not far from the similar post of his friend. He bought from the Narragansett Indians 30,000 acres on the west side of Narragansett Bay, becoming the first white man to settle in Narragansett. Later he speculated in other large purchases or long term leases. One instance of how business was done in those days was his lease for 1000 years of a certain tract of land, payment to be one red honeysuckle every midsummer's day, when lawfully demanded.

His close friend and neighbor, Roger Williams, built a trading house about one mile from Richard Smith around the year of 1644. He often preached to the Indians at Smith's block-house. When Roger Williams went to England on colony business, he raised the necessary money by selling "all his belongings, including two big guns and a small island for goats" to Richard Smith in 1651 for £51. Testimony to Richard was given by Roger years later (July 24, 1679) as follows: "Being now near to four score years of age, yet (by God's mercy) of sound understanding and memory, do humbly and faithfull declare that Richard Smith, Sen. deceased, who for his conscience toward God left a fair possession in Cloucestershre and adventured with his relatives and estates to New England, and was a most acceptable and prime leading man in Taunton in Plymouth Colony, for his conscience sake (many differences arising) he left Taunton and came to the Nanhigansick country, where (by the mercy of God and the favor of the Nanhigansick sachems) he broke the ice (at his great charge and hazard) and put up, in the thickest of the barbarians, the first English house amongst them. I humbly testify that about forty-two years from this date he kept possession, coming and going, himself, children and servants; and he had quiet possession of his housing, land and meadows, and there in his own house, with much serenity of soul and comfort, he yielded up his spirit to God in peace."

A third post was set up by Edward Wilcox, another of my ancestors. Prior to 1649 the Indians could get liquor at Richard Smith's trading post, but Williams, at considerable economic sacrifice, refused to sell it to them except for medicinal purposes. When in 1651 Richard Smith purchased Roger Williams's trading house, he became the sole owner of the property at Cocumscussoc, having already acquired Edward Wilcox's interest in the trading center.

Richard continued to increase his holdings, and Cocumscussoc soon became a center of social, political, and religious activities. Richard erected a house for trade among the thickest of the Indians, and gave free entertainment to travelers. The new structure was more than a "house for trade" and a lodge for travelers. It was built as a blockhouse, part trading post and part fort, constructed, according to tradition, of timber floated from Taunton, down the river and across the bay. In those days of possible Indian hostilities, a large fortified dwelling was sometimes called a castle. Consequently, the structure came to be known as "Smith's Castle," a name that even up to the present has been used synonymously with Cocumscussoc, though the building is completely changed in form and function. No visible traces of the blockhouse remain, nor is any architectural plan or design known.

Under the hospitable roof of Smith's Castle have gathered notablesÑRoger Williams, William Blackstone, Governor Winthrop, George Fox the Quaker, Dean Berkeley the philosopher, Smibert the artist, Rev. Dr. MacSparran, Sir Edmond Andros and others like Benjamin Franklin, General Lafayette, General Nathanael Greene of Revolutionary fame.

It was some time before Smith was ready to settle his wife and children at Cocumscussoc, although he kept coming and going with his children and servants. It was a trading post, 50 miles from any settlement, and in a neighborhood abounding with dangerous savages. Leaving the blockhouse in the hands of agents, visiting it only occasionally, for several years he shifted his family about between Taunton, Portsmouth and New Amsterdam. Lured to Long Island by the attractions of land speculation he moved to what is now the Borough of Queens where he acquired large land holdings from the Dutch proprietors. Richard and his family spent about 20 years among the Dutch on Manhattan Island. While residing in New Amsterdam in 1643, the Smiths met the family of Lodowick Op Dyck. Within the year a son, Gysbert [Gilbert], had married Richard Smith's daughter, Katharine in the Dutch Church at New Amsterdam.

During all this time Richard Smith continued his Narragansett Indian trading house, making frequent visits there with some of his family, being himself skipper of his good sloop Welcome and occasionally appearing before the Dutch Council at New Amsterdam for protection of his rights or on questions connected with his trading. Richard is reported to have kept a house in New Amsterdam for trading advantage, and in all likelihood brought Dutch and German wares into Rhode Island to exchange for furs or other goods.

Presumably it was in 1651, or some time after Richard had purchased Roger Williams's house, that he brought his wife and younger children to Cocumscussoc to live. They probably moved into the Williams house, which was enlarged to suit the needs of the family and servants. It is highly probable that the blockhouse also was used to some extent for living quarters, as well as a center of trade, and a "resting place and rendezvous" for all travelers along the Pequot Path.

In purchasing Williams's property, Smith acquired besides the house, "two iron guns or murderers there lying," which surely strengthened the defenses of the blockhouse, together with "fields and fencing" and "the use of the little island for goates." Whereupon the new owner proceeded to "mow meadows," and "improve the land." [Smith's Castle as it appears today at right.]

While it is known that Roger Williams's trading house which Richard Smith acquired in 1651 was in close proximity to the blockhouse, its precise location has not been determined. In the absence of a title deed, which is believed to have been lost by fire, there has been considerable speculation as to whether it was the building enlarged by Smith on the present site, burned by the Indians in 1676, and subsequently rebuilt, or another building nearby. The former has been generally accepted as the plausible view. But even though the specific site of the trading-house is in doubt, it is an undisputed fact that Roger Williams was an habitual sojourner at Cocumscussoc.

From these endeavors, Cocumscussoc began to emerge as a "plantation"Ñin the sense of the South's use of the termÑa major agricultural enterprise expanding through the years, the first of its kind in Narragansett country. It is safe to assume that Smith acquired some of Roger Williams's swine and goats for breeding stock, and possible cattle and sheep from Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, or other sources, and that within the next decade he had built up substantial herds of some if not all of these animals. That during the lifetime of Richard Smith, Cocumscussoc was engaged in dairying on a considerable scale is a matter of record.

Although Richard's wife Joan may not have qualified as a typical dairymaid, she played a singular role in the dairy enterprise. Joan had brought with her from Gloucestershire the recipe for making the celebrated Cheshire cheese, and found time in her busy life, while providing for family and visitors, to supervise the converting of milk from the plantation cows into cheese, which, being fortified with cream, was of extraordinary richness and flavor. This proved to be the beginning of a new industry. So popular was the cheese from Cocumscussoc, as its superior quality became known, that the basic recipe was adopted by neighboring plantations, and through the ensuing years, great quantities were produced and marketed as Narragansett Cheese, both at home and abroad. Tradition has it that many of these cheeses were shipped from Smith's own dock in Mill Cove, probably the first shipping point in this section of the Colony, perhaps even during Joan's lifetime.

Two purchases of great tracts proved to be of special significance, both political and agricultural: the Pettaquamscutt Purchase of 1658, a tract about 12 miles square, and a smaller area adjoining it on the north and east known as the Atherton Purchase, acquired in 1659. Together they embraced most of the region commonly called the Narragansett countryÑincluding the whole of the present towns of South Kingstown and Narragansett, and portions of North Kingstown and Exeter. Richard Smith and his son Richard were partners in the Atheton purchase, along with Governor Winthrop of CT and Humphrey Atherton and others from MA. The expanded land holdings of the two Richard Smiths following the Atherton Purchase embraced all of the present site of Wickford village. Title to one large tract was in the form of a thousand year leaseÑtantamount to ownershipÑfrom Sachem Coginiquant, dated 1659, wherein the only lease-hold obligation of the two Smiths was "to pay on every mid-summer day [June 20] a Red Honney Suckell grasse" [red clover] if demanded. At their peak the Smiths' land-holdings comprised 27 square miles, an area nine miles long and three miles wide.

The Smiths' position as landowners was anything but secure, for they possessed questionable title to land over which there was no effective civil jurisdiction. The Narragansett country at the time was virtually a "no-man's land," coveted and claimed by three colonies, adequately governed by none. Massachusetts laid claim to the territory on the basis of a questionable grant which antedated Rhode Island's patent of 1644 by three months. Connecticut's claim, which involved the Atherton purchase, was reinforced by its royal charter of 1662, under which its lands, "extended easterly to the shore of Narragansett River." On the contrary, Rhode Island's Charter of 1663 extended its bounds westward to the Pawcatuck River which flows past the present town of Westerly. Massachusetts' claim was eliminated by the King's Commissioners in 1664, but the ensuing dispute between CT and RI was bitter and long.

For years the rival claims were batted back and forth by legal authoritiesÑa succession of petitions and protests, boards of arbitration and special commissions. Smith's Castle was, in effect, during this period, the "unofficial capitol of the Narragansett country." Governor Winthrop of Connecticut and his wife Elizabeth were frequent visitors. The Atherton proprietors, gathered at the Castle in July 1663, addressed a petition to the Hartford magistrates for immediate annexation. The Governor's Council promptly responded by pronouncing Narragansett a "Plantation" -in the New England sense of the term-naming Richard Smith, Sr. selectman and Richard, Jr. constable, and "Mr. Smith's trading house was the place designated for the transaction of public business." The newborn jurisdiction was christened Wickford (limits undefined), after Elizabeth Winthrop's birthplace in Essex, England. Further steps in the organization of Wickford were taken the following year when the Council designated Richard Smith, Sr. a "commissioner," and prescribed a local militia.

All this infuriated the Rhode Island authorities. In 1664 Richard Smith was ordered before the General Court of Trials on a charge of seeking to bring in a foreign jurisdiction, and Richard, Jr. received a similar summons. Later a warrant for the arrest of Richard, Jr. (the records read Richard, Sr., apparently by error) was ordered for unlawfully exercising the office of constable under a CT commission.

On May 14, 1664 he wrote to Captain Edward Hutchinson (another of my ancestors), at Boston, requesting it be made know to the Connecticut government. He complains of John Greene, Sr., being taken from his house at Aquidneset by warrant from Rhode Island, and adds: "Sir, it will be necessary for you to give Connecticut intimation of their proceedings for we may be easily overturned by them, if they stick not by us."

Nothing, it seems, came of any of these attempts. Probably a letter previously received from King Charles II recommending the elder Richard to the kindness and protection of the Providence authorities, along with the intercession of Roger Williams,

view all 36

Richard Smith, of Wickford, RI's Timeline

1583
1583
Stratford-O-Avon, , , Eng.
1584
1584
Stratford-O-Avon, , , Eng.
1595
November 16, 1595
Holy Trinity, Stratford, Warwick, England
November 16, 1595
Holy Trinity, Stratford, Warwick, England
November 16, 1595
Holy Trinity, Stratford, Warwick, England
November 16, 1595
Holy Trinity, Stratford, Warwick, England
November 16, 1595
Holy Trinity, Stratford, Warwick, England
1596
August 13, 1596
Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England
1622
1622
Age 25
Of Narragansett, Washington, R.I.
1626
1626
Age 29
Of Narragansett, Washington, R.I.