“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 bobertello@skpl.org.


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 jwilson@skpl.org.

Ancestry.com 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

New Microfilm Reader at Peace Dale Library

Did you know that the Peace Dale Library has a full run on microfilm of the Narragansett Times from 1855–2010, and of the Independent from 1997–2010?

new microfilm reader

Not only can you view these newspapers on our new ScanPro 3000 microfilm reader, you can print your findings for 15 cents per page! Our new machine uses a mouse for easy point-and-click access as well as offering special updated features that weren’t available on our previous machine.

You can convert a microfilm image to a word-searchable PDF page, save an image to a flash drive, adjust brightness and contrast, zoom in to specific sections more easily, and more. Copies are sent to a nearby printer, and you can pay and pick up your pages right there.

Reference staff are available to show you how to navigate to find what you are looking for. If you’re not familiar with using a mouse, staff will show you how it works.

We don’t have a full index to these newspapers, but if your research includes 1855-1897, we’d like you to know about a searchable online Narragansett Times index for those years. Prepared by archivists at URI, it gives you citations only, but it can be accessed  from any computer.  Find it at ntimes.apps.uri.edu.

Drop by the Peace Dale Reference Desk to get started with your search!


“Joseph P. Hazard: Man of Mystery”, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 6 PM

Join us at Peace Dale Library on Tuesday, September 26, 6 PM, with local historian Prof. Richard Vangeermeersch and Rhode Island College Special Collections Librarian Marlene Lopes for a presentation about Joseph P. Hazard (1807-1892).

Joseph P Hazard seated view

Hazard was part of the prominent mill-owning Peace Dale family but was not involved in running the family’s business ventures. Prof. Vangermeersch will speak about Hazard’s diary and letters and their historical context. Artifacts and documents relating to Joseph P. Hazard from both Rhode Island College and Peace Dale Library will be on display.

Registration preferred but not required at 789-1555 xt 108 or jwilson@skpl.org.

Photos of the Peace Dale Fountain in its original location, c. 1903

Dexter Hoxie, who spent much of his life in Peace Dale and served as personal secretary to Rowland Gibson Hazard II, also took many fine photographs of the village in the first years of the 20th century. Here are 4 from the Library’s Photograph Collection that show the Fountain in its original location. These date from approximately 1900-1905.

Mill workers at noon; note the Fountain filled with water at lower right


The Library and Fountain as seen from the Peace Dale Office Building

Looking east on Kingstown Road with the Fountain on the right



Relocated Peace Dale Fountain dedicated



A public outdoor ceremony was held at Peace Dale Library on Saturday, June 10, 2017, to celebrate the relocation of the village’s historic 3-tier stone Fountain to its new location on the Library’s front lawn.

Library Director Laurel Clark welcomed attendees and thanked all those who had a hand in the moving of the 1890 Fountain, mentioning as well the Narragansett Indian stonemasons who built not only the Fountain but many other stone buildings in Peace Dale. Library Board of Trustees President Betty Cotter outlined the history of the Fountain and compared its symbolic significance as a source of water and sustenance, to the Library as a source of knowledge and community life. Town Council President Abel Collins conveyed the greetings of the Council and shared his own admiration for libraries.

Music was provided by the Broad Rock Middle School Orchestra, who, directed by Andrea Theroux, performed Hornpipe from Water Music by Handel, and Shimmering Water by Joyce Grill. Trustee President Cotter stated that, with the stone for the Fountain having been quarried at the former Broad Rock Farm, it was especially fitting to have musicians from that school perform at the event.

Also among the 60 or so people in attendance were State Representatives Kathy Fogarty, State Senator Mark Gee, Town Council members Bryant Da Cruz and Liz Gledhill, Town Manager Steve Alfred, Library Trustees Catherine Taylor, Susan Cohen, Nicholas Gvosdev, Donna Gilton, Dianne McHugh, and Colin McCullough, and members of the public.

Following the ceremony, the public was invited inside the Library for refreshments and to see a display of Library artifacts in the Old Main Reading Room. Originally built in 1891 as Hazard Memorial Hall to contain both a Library and auditorium, the building was home for many years to theatrical productions, graduations, and concerts. Items on exhibit included a painted banner from 1898 that was used as a theatrical backdrop for a play called “South County Magazine”; the April 1898 Narragansett Times notice promoting that event; 3 steamer trunks belonging to Joseph P. Hazard; Library signs from bygone eras including one reading “No Boys in Balcony”; and more.

The Fountain originally hooked into the village’s water system and was located near what is now the traffic island between the Library and the Peace Dale Office Building. The 3 graduated stones were designed for horses, oxen, and dogs. Eventually, a large elm tree next to the Fountain had to be taken down. The Fountain by itself in that location would have created a traffic hazard, and in January, 1950, it was moved to the west side of the Library. It remained there, dry, for 66 years. In 2016, the planned installation of a guard rail along that part of Kingstown Road necessitated another move, and it was brought to its present location. Lines for a recycled, non-potable water feature were put in at that time and ensured that Peace Dale’s Fountain was once again filled with water for the event.

Jessica Wilson, Local History Librarian


DAR donates shelves to Rhode Island History Room at Peace Dale Library

The Peace Dale Library announces the installation and dedication of new shelving in its Rhode Island History Room that was made possible by a donation from the Narragansett Cooke-Gaspee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The shelves embody the generosity of longtime Chapter member Mary Daniel Whaley Bray, whose gifts over many years have also made possible the acquisition of numerous genealogy and local history materials. The Library’s collection includes genealogies of families with roots in southern Rhode Island, a full set of Mayflower books, Arnold’s Vital Records, and a wide variety of publications of local and statewide interest. The Rhode Island History Room is open to the public during library hours and the Library is located at 1057 Kingstown Road in South Kingstown.
DAR Bookshelf dedication
A photo of those in attendance at the May 31, 2017, dedication is attached.
Seated, l-r: Camilla Wiener, DAR Chapter Regent; Priscilla Chappell, DAR Chapter Librarian.
Standing, l-r: Jessica Wilson, Local History Librarian; Elizabeth McNab, DAR Chapter Historian; Elizabeth Candas, Past DAR Chapter Regent and Honorary State Regent; and Laurel Clark, Library Director.