The Peace Dale Fountain

On November 10, 1890, a 3-tier stone fountain was installed in Peace Dale and hooked up to the community’s water system. Consisting of three large stone basins, it was designed to provide watering for horses, oxen, and dogs. It also featured a faucet for villagers to obtain water. The Narragansett  Times of November 28, 1890, reported that it took 4 teams of oxen to get the largest stone in place. It was located in front of what is now the Peace Dale Library and the Peace Dale Office Building.

Peace Dale Fountain

The fountain stayed in that location for about 60 years. The January 13, 1950 issue of the Narragansett Times reported that the removal of a large elm tree next to it would have caused it to become a traffic hazard, so the fountain was moved to its present location a few hundred feet away, on the western corner of the Peace Dale Library property. Now dry, the fountain remains a community landmark.


New Addition to RI History Collection

Peace Dale Library has acquired a copy of Brethren by Nature: New England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of American Slavery by Margaret Ellen Newell, published by Cornell University Press, 2015. The book deals with Indian slavery in southern New England, its role in the Pequot War and King Philip’s War, and the far-reaching destiny of numerous Indian slaves. The period covered is from about 1640 through 1750.
brethren by nature

“Scalloping on the Mister G” Film Debut at Peace Dale Library

Photographer Markham Starr‘s new movie about one of the last independent scallop boats operating out of Point Judith will have its first public showing at Peace Dale Library on Saturday, May 21, 2016, at 2 PM.

The film takes viewers aboard the Mister G on a day trip with Captain Mike Marchetti and crew Frank Nelson and Greg Verdon.

Starr’s work focuses on vanishing ways of working life in Rhode Island and New England. He is the author of, among many others, two books in Peace Dale Library’s collection, In History’s Wake: The Last Trap Fishermen of Rhode Island and Against the Tide: The Commercial Fishermen of Point Judith. His photographs are in the permanent collections of Mystic Seaport and the Library of Congress.

The event is free and open to the public.

Museum Pass to R. I. Historical Society

The Friends of the Peace Dale Library have purchased a Rhode Island Historical Society Museum Pass which provides free admission for up to 4 people to the John Brown House, the Museum of Work and Culture, and the RI Historical Society Research Library.

Rhode Island Historical Society

Pick up a pass at the Peace Dale Library Reference Desk and enjoy your visit to these great places that all Rhode Islanders should see!

Origins of the Peace Dale Mill

The Peace Dale Library owns a small publication in the Rhode Island History collection titled Some Notes Upon on the Introduction of the Woolen Manufacture into the United States, by Royal C. Taft, published in Providence, 1882, by Sidney S. Rider. It contains the text of a paper read before the Rhode Island Historical Society on April 18 of that year.

The paper traces the roots of woolen manufacturing enterprises, and the development and spreading use of machinery for that purpose, in New England by a number of people.  Sources are not listed, but of significant local interest is the following section (starting on page 39) outlining the role taken in Peace Dale by Rowland Hazard (1763-1835):

“The first attempt at woolen manufacture in  Rhode Island, was at Peace Dale, by Joseph Congdon and John Warren Knowles, who set up a carding machine in 1804, and soon afterward sold out to Rowland Hazard. This machine simply carded the wool into rolls which were put out to be spun by hand.

“About 1812, Thomas R. Williams invented a power-loom or weaving saddle girths and other webbing, and probably in 1813, and certainly not later than 1814, these looms were started at Peace Dale. After they had been fully tested, Rowland Hazard purchased four of them for $300 each, and 1814 or 1815, they were in successful operation.

“The operation of power-looms at Peace Dale antedates those started in Judge Lyman’s mill at North Providence, in 1817, by at least two years, and it is most probable that they were the first power-looms successfully operated in America, unless exception be made in favor of Francis C. Lowell, at Waltham, in 1814.

“It is the opinion of James Scholfield, that the first application of water-power in this country for operating the spinning-jenny was by Mr. Hazard at Peace Dale. Isaac P. Hazard and Rowland G. Hazard, sons of Rowland Hazard, took charge of this business in 1819, and they with their successors in the family, have made many additions to the property, until, from this small beginning it has grown into the present extensive establishment of the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company, and has continued in the ownership of the family for nearly eighty years.”






Joseph P. Hazard Diary

The Peace Dale Library Special Collections holds  a handwritten diary/ledger book compiled between about  1850 and 1890 by Joseph Peace Hazard (1807-1892) . The volume contains many kinds of information, with occasional repetition. In among his clippings, meticulous travel notes, family history, and spiritualist narratives, Joseph P.  Hazard wrote and illustrated much about the development of his extensive property in Narragansett, including plantings, boundaries, the layout and naming of streets, and more.

In 2015, several generous donors collaborated to have this 300+ page diary digitized by the New England Document Conservation Center (NEDCC). The Library is very grateful to local historian and URI Prof. Emeritus Richard Vangermeersch, Narragansett Historical Society, Middlebridge School, and Friends of the Peace Dale Library for their kind support of this project.

Images of pages containing text will be posted on this blog, a few at a time, for the present moment. They are not transcribed or indexed at this time. Eventually the Library plans to catalog and index the pages with transcriptions and subject headings to facilitate access for researchers. Images shown are in JPG-100 format. It will take some time to post the whole document.

Following are selections from images 1-10, as numbered by NEDCC. They can be viewed individually by following 3 steps: 1) Left-click on the image, then 2) right-click on the image. Then 3) click “View Image”. At that point, if you wish, you can enlarge the image on the screen, by hitting “Ctrl +” (or “Command +” on a Mac).

The images presented here are for reference only and not for legal use. Those with an interest in matters of property lines and boundaries are encouraged to contact the Library for an appointment to consult the original document. For more information, contact Jessica Wilson, Local History Librarian at Peace Dale Library, 401-789-1555 xt 110 or


Mary Peace Hazard 1813 Letter


Mary Peace Hazard (1775-1852), for whom the village of Peace Dale is named, grew up in Charleston, S.C., the daughter of  Isaac Peace and Elizabeth Gibson, both of whom came from Barbados. As a girl Mary spent a year in England. In 1793 she married Rowland Hazard (1763-1835), and had nine children, among them Rowland Gibson Hazard (1801-1888) and Joseph Peace Hazard (1807-1892).  Her parents relocated to Bristol, Pennsylvania, where she lived between 1807 and 1820, taking care of her aging father. A letter she wrote from there to  her husband in 1813 was donated to the Peace Dale Library in about 2000 by a descendant of a Hazard property manager, and is now held in the Library’s Special Collections. Composed during the War of 1812, the letter refers to blockades and British ships impeding the shipping of goods (household furniture in this case) by water. Mrs. Hazard’s use of “thee” and “thy” reminds readers of the family’s Quaker heritage. Included here are images of part of the letter, and the full text.

1813 Letter time

1813 Letter Rowland


My Dear Rowland

Soon after my last to thee I was favored with a letter from thee, also one from each of the boys, I was very glad to find you were all so much pleased with your new mode of living, & hope you may continue to experience it to be a more comfortable plan than that of boarding out, & with a good homekeeper, I have no doubt it will be much more satisfactory, than your being so separated as you have been, thee mentions thy having a very small number of beds, I cannot just now find thy letter but think thou says two, I cannot tell what can become of them, besides what were [?] in Newport I left in Narragansett 3 good beds & two or more turkey feather beds, I have 3 here which were brought from Newport, the best of them left at Burlington when thou came there from Charleston, two I brought with me one of them a Turkey feather bed & the other one of the small Connecticut beds thou bought at Tower Hill, thou dost not mention if thou wishes them sent on, if thou does mention what way I shall send them, I suppose [?] a considerable risqué would attend sending them by Water, as the Harbors this way are generally blockaded, I do not see how thou canst make out to lodge [?] thy not very small family with two, Ritta I suppose must have his own, & even if H. Babcock has brought one with her, I think thou canst not [?] without one or two spare ones, I was pleased to hear Robert Hazard [?] here down I hope he [?] his home with thee & the boys as Isaac & Flora have had very little opportunity of seeing any of thy Brother’s children,

Rowland left Bristol last fifth day, I expect he would get to Weston on seventh day, he went away in good spirits, I hope I shall soon hear from him, he went in the Steam boat under [?] Griggs care she was to leave him with Cousin Mary Robinson, & would also attend to taking his passage in the Weston Stage & go to see him off on seventh day morning, without doubt thou hast heard of the death of [?] Attmore had not that have been the case, I should not have been willin to have sent Rowland to stay there, as I should have considered that cousin Mary’s

[Text, page 2]

Time to have been sufficiently engrossed [written “engrofsed”] by the care of her Mother without being troubled with my child, I was much puzeled [sic] to know what to do with him, it would I think have been impropper [sic] to have sent him to Walnut Street, & if I sent him any wheres else, I have no doubt but Markas feelings would be hurt, & I would gladly avoid doing that if I could, her children are expected up today all of them except the youngest & Robert Barker with them whether any of them will come here or not I do not know, I have directed Amey to send the girls here to [day?] altogether, Brother has been up nearly or [quite?] a week attending to his garden & Amey stays with him, he looks much altered, grown fleshier & much sun burnt I thought, he told me his wife was on board also Elizabeth Rodman, he did not mention it until just before they rushed off from the wharf or I would have gone on board & endeavored to have got an opportunity of speaking to them, there were many [?] on board going on to the yearly meeting which commences for business today, I should have been very glad to have attended it if had been proper for me to have left my father, but I should not have been easy to have done that without I had had some careful person, or my sister to have left with him, I think his strength fails, he has had several fals [sic] lately twice within a week only in crossing [spelled “crofsing”] the entry he did not hurt himself but a few weeks ago he fell in the night & cut his Ear badly, the rim entirely through, but it has got quite well, I had a letter from Eliza a few days since she mention [sic] she had wrote to thee not long before she is I believe very happy there, the superintendant [sic] was sick in Jersey when she wrote & his wife had not been sent for, Eliza speaks very affectionately of him, I am glad to find she has such a regard for him, she says he is like a father to the children, My sister [?] has not been over I think for 5 or 6 weeks, I had a letter from her in the day before

[Text, page 3]

Rowland set off she mentioned it had been her intention to have spend this week with us but Rachel had been sick for some time & had gone home, & she did not think she would be able soon to go to work again & she had got no one to [supply?] her place, that I do not know when we may expect her, Brother visits us very seldom & then makes them short my father feels it severely, I am sorry for it, he [?] his love to you all give my dear love to Grace [?] & Thomas & tell them I am much obliged for their letters & will answer them at some other time, I hope Eliza & Rowland will write to you all by cousin Robinson, I do not know when she expects to return, but as her children are at Weston it is likely they can know from them, give my love to H. Babcock who I hope is still with you, & remember me to Ritta, the Children desire [?] their love to you all, Isabella often talks about Pa & Burty she says they are at Lodoyly meaning Rhode Island, she continues as hearty as ever, & when her Grandfather troubles her threatens to send him to Canada, she says they shoot the boys with fire & water I do not know what she has taken her idea from unless [spelled “unlefs”] it is seeing the boys squirting water , [words missing] & D Gregg leave Bristol tomorrow, after the yearly Meeting is over [word missing] Gregg will take them to Eli Hillis’s School at Wilmington, at least but I should not be surprised [sic] if she should [be dis?] couraged from doing so, for I suppose a number of british [sic] [words missing] near there & have been for several weeks,

My love to all my acquaintances, thy very affectionate Wife

Mary Hazard


Bristol. Pa April 18
Rowland Hazard
To be left at the Tower Hill post office South Kingston
Rhode Island
Bristol 4th mo 19th 1813
A folded, handwritten sheet, 16” x 13 ¼” when laid flat. Some damage, holes, a rip, but otherwise intact and legible.

According to Guide to the Hazard Family Papers at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library, Mary Peace Hazard’s nine children mostly grew up in Bristol, PA. Her husband Rowland Hazard (1763-1835) continued to live in Rhode Island in the Tower Hill house of his father, “College Tom” Hazard (1720-1798).

This Rowland Hazard (succeeding generations of the family always named a son Rowland or Rowland Gibson) was involved in commerce and shipping along the Atlantic Coast, and worked with a number of business partners in South Carolina from 1789 to 1803. When profitability in these enterprises declined early in the 19th century, he turned his attention to innovative textile ventures in his home state of Rhode Island, laying the groundwork for what became the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company.

Transcription by Jessica Wilson, Local History Librarian, South Kingstown Public Library/Peace Dale