This morning’s drive was our shortest yet. It took us just under an hour to get from Middleborough, MA to Middletown, RI! We plan on staying here for two nights so I can research some of my family history. By the way, before we left our campsite this morning, we found out that the weather we experienced yesterday was only a very mild nor’easter. I’d hate to see a normal one!
The folks at this campground are very friendly and when I first went into the office to check in, they told me there is a place right next door with a historical society in it. The place is a historical school, and there is also a park with a windmill which we can see from our campsite.
We were also told we could check with Middletown Town Hall in their records department. I went there to see if I could find my ancestor, Stukely Westcott, who is supposed to have helped found Rhode Island, but there were no land deeds for him there. However, a woman from the historical society said that Rhode Island was first founded in Portsmouth, so I should check there.
By the way, Rhode Island actually is an island. Our campground is on the island. Providence and the rest of the towns are on the mainland, but this island is called Rhode Island. The woman from the local historical society was telling me that the men who first founded Rhode Island had come from Massachusetts where you had to be a Puritan to stay. The men who founded Rhode Island were businessmen who knew a good port when they saw one.
We drove to the northern tip of the island, about a fifteen-minute drive, to Portsmouth where I tried again at the Town Hall. This time, I was given birth and marriage records but still didn’t see Stukely’s name.
When we got home, I re-examined the information I have and found that Stukely had died in Portsmouth, so maybe I should have looked for death records. Tomorrow we plan to go to Providence and see if the state historical society will have any information.