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 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.

Please register to reserve a seat at or 401-789-1555 xt 108.


“Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines: American Aviation and the Great War in the Air” with Prof. Stanley Carpenter

Join us at Kingston Free Library, Wednesday, April 25, 7 PM, for a talk by Prof. Stanley Carpenter of the Naval War College on the air war on the Western Front in World War I. The talk will include the founding of a nascent U. S. Army Air Corps; the Lafayette Escadrille of American aviator volunteers in the French service, and Captain Rickenbacker.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is preferred. Call 401-783-8254 or

Draft Registration in World War I talk, Saturday, April 14, 2018

Join us with Matthew McCoy, Coordinator of the Rhode Island World War I Centennial Commission, at Peace Dale Library on Saturday, April 14, at 2 PM, for a talk on Draft Registration in World War I.

The United States entered the War on April 6, 1917, and by the middle of June had identified thousands of men eligible for service. This rapid process required the organized efforts of many people in towns and cities all over the country, as well as Washington D.C., where the Selective Service Act was passed. Matthew McCoy, who is coordinating Rhode Island’s commemoration of World War I, will describe how it all worked, with special emphasis on Rhode Island.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jessica Wilson at 401-789-1555 xt 110 or now available at all South Kingstown Public Library locations

We are pleased to offer a new resource that uses technology to make tracing family trees easier. Ancestry® Library Edition, a Web-based reference tool distributed by ProQuest, will allow you to start exploring your roots by searching a surname. Anyone can come into the library to dig into Ancestry Library Edition’s millions of records – as far back as the 1400s. Ancestry Library Edition is available on all the public Internet stations located in the Peace Dale, Kingston Free and Robert Beverly Hale Library.

Who was Joseph Peace Hazard?

Joseph Peace Hazard (1807-1892) was one of at least 8 children born to Rowland Hazard I (1763-1835) and his wife Mary Peace Hazard (1775-1852).

Joseph P Hazard seated view

IN 1802, Rowland Hazard I purchased a small mill in what is now Peace Dale and his older sons Isaac Peace Hazard (1794-1879) and Rowland Gibson Hazard (1801-1888) developed the mill business into a hugely successful enterprise. As a young man, Joseph worked in business alongside his brothers, but he wrote in his diary “I was incompetent to business. My brothers Isaac and Rowland aided me generously but this was unavailing.”

Like several of his brothers and sisters, Joseph never married or had children. He appears to have maintained cordial relations with his family throughout his life and his diary reveals his fond regard for his mother, siblings, and ancestors.

He is perhaps best remembered today for 3 properties in Narragansett which he developed over a long period from about 1840—1890:  his “Castle” on Hazard Avenue, at what he called “Sea Side Farm” and which now houses the Middlebridge School; the stone house he called “Druidsdream” on Gibson Avenue in Narragansett; and the area across the street from that house that is now designated as a historical cemetery, which he called “Kendal Green”. He intended to be buried there but was interred in Portsmouth near the home of his brother Thomas R. Hazard (1797-1886).

Like his brother Thomas and many others in the 19th century, Joseph Peace Hazard was interested in spiritualism and his diary describes a number of experiences where he felt he was close to spirits.

His love of plants, gardens, nature, birds, and animals is also evident in the diary. He devoted many years and much money to developing gardens at the Castle and at Druidsdream.

Joseph traveled all over the world and had many unlikely adventures. Peace Dale Library has 3 of his traveling trunks.

He put up a large tombstone at Kendal Green which reads in part: “Whatever their mode of faith, or creed, who feed the wandering birds will themselves be fed.” The tombstone is no longer there but engraved granite posts memorializing his mother and other relatives remain today.

Peace Dale Library owns a 385-page diary he kept for recording expenses and experiences. With the help of Narragansett  Historical Society, Middlebridge School, Prof. Richard Vangermeersch, and the Friends of the Peace Dale Library, it has been digitized. The difficult process of transcription is ongoing.

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

September, 2017