Local History Book lists added to Library website

Click here to see 5 new book lists featuring titles of local interest on the South Kingstown Public Library website. An image of each book’s cover and a link to its catalog record are included. The lists contain mostly newer titles, published within the last 25 years. Take a look here:

Historic Matunuck Postcards

atlantichouse7ATake a look at 54 historic Matunuck postcards from Special Collections at Robert Beverly Hale Library! Most date from the early 20th century. Images include views of Matunuck Beach, The Atlantic House, Admiral Dewey Inn, St. Romuald’s Chapel, and much more.

This collection is part of South Kingstown Public Library’s Digital Collections.


One South Kingstown 1918 influenza victim who survived

Without access to the Narragansett Times microfilm while the Library is closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is impossible to gain a full picture of the impact of the 1918 influenza epidemic on South Kingstown. But some internet research has turned up one local name, with a bit of evidence that he had the disease, and survived it.

That would be Thomas Pierrepont Hazard (1892-1968), known in the family as “Pierre”. Thanks to the detailed indexing of Hazard Family Papers at the Rhode Island Historical Society, and the availability online of Finding Aids for that extensive collection, it was possible to discover that among the letters Pierre wrote to his mother Mary P. Bushnell Hazard between 1898 and 1936, there is one folder from November–December 1918 labeled “Pierre’s influenza.”

Thomas Pierrepont Hazard served in the United States’ intervention in the Mexican Revolution in 1916; was commissioned as a Lieutenant in World War I, and served in World War II. He held a number of positions in Hazard family businesses in Detroit, Syracuse, and Peace Dale, and was active in public service in both South Kingstown and Rhode Island, serving as Chair of the Town Council, as a Rhode Island State Senator, and as Rhode Island State Treasurer. He ran unsuccessfully for the U. S. Senate in 1948 against Theodore Francis Green.

There is much more to discover in this story. Do you know of other South Kingstown residents who battled influenza in 1918? We look forward to learning more!

Narragansett Herald microfilm now available at Peace Dale Library

Thanks to the generosity of Prof. Richard Vangermeersch, the Peace Dale Library now owns nine reels of microfilm of The Narragansett Herald. This newspaper, published from 1876 to 1898,  was aimed at summer residents and visitors to Narragansett Pier. It contains local news, advertising, and train schedules, along with regional, national, and international items deemed of interest to the summer population.

Prof. Vangermeersch has studied the material in the Narragansett Herald and will  present a talk later this year at the Library to highlight some of the stories covered by the paper.

Anyone interested in looking at the Narragansett Herald may use the microfilm–just ask at the Peace Dale Library Reference Desk. it is possible to print, or to scan to a flash drive, from our microfilm reader ($.15 per copy).


Peace Dale Library’s George Washington Needlework

Take a look at our newly restored and re-framed George Washington needlework! Thanks to a recent collaboration between the Library, the Narragansett-Cooke-Gaspee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Friends of Peace Dale Library, and the Textile Conservation Laboratory at the University of Rhode Island, our first President is looking great!

This large work of cross-stitch, worked in wool on cotton canvas, dates from the last half of the 19th century and has hung in the Library’s Rhode Island Room for many years. We do not know who created it or how it came to the Library.

But we do know it is based on Gilbert Stuart’s 1796 Landsdowne portrait of Washington, of which Stuart painted several versions, two of which can be seen in Rhode Island (one at the State House and one in Newport’s Colony House). Kits for “needlepainting” of portraits like the Landsdowne were popular in the Victorian era, and a tapestry such as this would be the finished product.

The conservation process removed years of dust and particles and revealed the vibrancy of the colors. The needlework is now supported on an acid-free backing and framed under protective glass.

The Library appreciates the generosity and support of the Narragansett-Cooke-Gaspee Chapter of the DAR and the Friends of the Peace Dale Library towards this project, and was pleased to work with the URI Textile Conservation Laboratory, which in restoring our artwork provided a hands-on, real-world learning experience for Master’s-level students of Textile Conservation.





The 8 Fallen Soldiers from South Kingstown listed on the town’s World War I Monument

The South Kingstown, Rhode Island, World War I Monument was erected in 1932 to commemorate not only the World War I service of 256 men from the town, but also the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth, and the service of South Kingstown soldiers in earlier wars back to the American Revolution.

8 men are listed as having died in World War I. In preparing for a 2018 history of South Kingstown’s participation that war, we were curious about where these soldiers were buried and did some research to find out. 6 of the 8, it turns out, are buried locally. A list of the names and burial places, where known, follows.

Dewitt T. Allen–burial place as yet unknown (to us)

Gordon Bartlett–buried at Saint Mihiel American Cemetery, France

Raymond Cassidy–buried at Perryville Church Cemetery

Alfred H. Gadrow–buried at New St. Francis Cemetery*

Lloyd H. Gledhill–buried at Perryville Church Cemetery**

Millard M. Holland–buried at Riverside Cemetery

Andrew Johnson–buried at Henry Holland Lot, west of New St. Francis Cemetery

Ernest M. Rhodes–buried at Riverside Cemetery

*Sadly, the Gadrow family lost another son in World War II.

**By chance, we later discovered a notice in the Narragansett Times of October 22, 1920, reporting that the remains of Lloyd T. Gledhill were “expected this week”, and that a funeral would be held the following Sunday at Perryville Church. As other notices of this nature come to light, we will add them here, to document the final steps in the journey home of these men.

Research conducted and submitted by Jessica Wilson, Local History Librarian, South Kingstown Public Library/Peace Dale

Updated October 7, 2019

South Kingstown in World War I

A World War One Centennial Commission flag decorated the Peace Dale Library Meeting Room on Saturday, November 3, 2018, as South Kingstown Public Library/Peace Dale presented “South Kingstown Answers the Call to World War I”.

wwi flag

The program, attended by 55 people, was introduced by the Broad Rock Middle School Chorus, led by Chorus Director Andrea Theroux, performing “Keep the Home Fires Burning” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic. ” These two songs were chosen because they were performed in 1918 at patriotic events that also took place at Hazard Memorial, the building now known as Peace Dale Library.

Kingston Resident Tracy Heffron delivered brief remarks and provided a display about the World War I service of her grandfather Dr. Charles C. Pinkerton, Sr.

“Buddy Poppies” and poppy seed packets provided by a Veterans’ group and the World War One Centennial Commission were distributed to attendees.

Peace Dale Library’s Local History Librarian Jessica Wilson presented an illustrated talk about South Kingstown’s extensive participation in the War. Though the War started in Europe in 1914, American entered it on April 6, 1917, and South Kingstown’s involvement began shortly thereafter.

The talk covered the enumeration of those eligible for service; the sendoff of the first local soldiers; fundraising parades for “Liberty Loan” bonds that financed the war; town celebrations at the war’s end; the 1919 “Welcome Home” event featuring individual medals for all local servicemen; and the 1932 dedication of the monument on the grounds of Hazard School. Two letters home, published in the Narragansett Times, from South Kingstown soldiers serving overseas, were read aloud, followed by the names of South Kingstown’s 8 fallen soldiers listed on the monument.  The program ended with Taps played by South Kingstown High School Band member Zachary Siemmao.

WWI 1932 memorial names and eagle.jpg

South Kingstown’s 1932 War Memorial, located outside the Hazard School on Columbia Street, was restored in 2018.

Photograph by Jessica Wilson

Peace Dale Library Tour on Monday, July 30, 6 PM

Join us on Monday, July 30, at 6 PM, for our 3rd Annual Peace Dale Library Tour! This year’s tour will feature the old and the new, including our new library furniture (thanks to the Champlin Foundation), as well as the history and architecture of our 1891 building.

Here is a glimpse of our Rhode Island History Room’s new look!

The Tourstarts with a slide presentation in the Meeting Room and ends with a walk through the building and grounds.

Free and open to the public. Summer visitors welcome! Registration is preferred but not required at 789-1555 xt 108.


Spirits, Seances, and a Ringing Watch: Joseph P. Hazard and Spiritualism

Join us at Peace Dale Library, 1057 Kingstown Rd., Peace  Dale RI 02879, on Saturday, June 9, 2 PM, with Rhode Island College Special Collections Intern Patricia McIvor.

Joseph P. Hazard attended seances, worked with mediums, and kept records of his watch “ringing” with spirit messages. McIvor will share stories from Hazard’s papers at Rhode Island College and explain how the documents have been digitized in an online exhibit.

Click here to view the online exhibit. 

Please register to reserve a seat at jwilson@skpl.org or 401-789-1555 xt 108.