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.”