Friday, July 31, 2015

In Which I Visit Colonial Newport Part 2

In Which I Visit Colonial Newport (Part 2)

I decided to walk around the town a bit before the French soldiers arrived.

Because the colony of Rhode Island did not have religious laws, Newport has become a place for people of different religions to settle. 

There are Quakers 
 This is the Great Friends Meeting House.The oldest part was built in 1699. It is the oldest surviving house of worship in Rhode Island. wow! The Society of Friends were already established in Newport by that time. This building was the largest and most recognizable building in town. It was expanded in 1705 and 1729. many Quakers left Newport when the British came, but people still come from all over to worship here and discuss many important topics. The Meeting House is plain in keeping with the Friends' plain style of living. Around the meeting house the grounds are used for shops, stables, businesses and homes.

and Jews

This is Touro Synagogue, the oldest Jewish congregation in Rhode Island and one of the oldest in the U.S.A. It was dedicated not too log ago - in 1763 but the congregation is much older. 

The first Jews came here in the 1650s. They were of Spanish and Portuguese origin; their families had migrated from Amsterdam and London to Brazil and then the islands of Suriname, Barbados, CuraƧao and Jamaica. I'm not dressed for worship, I'm not even Jewish but my godsisters Heather and Miriam are. Heather has been inside here and she says it's plain but beautiful. It was designed by famous Newport architect Peter Harrison.

When the British came, many Jews fled like the Friends did. The British used the synagogue as a hospital ward and meeting house. Isaac Touro stayed behind to keep watch over the synagogue. Since the British evacuation, many of the Jewish families have returned. I hope people will continue to worship here for many many years - like 250 years and more!

The Colony House  (where everyone is gathering for the candlelight procession) was built between 1736 and 1739.

It was supposed to help transform the Parade, (Washington Square) into an elegant public space like they have in English cities. It is designed in the English Georgian style but the floor plan follows the customary layout of English town or guild halls, with an open marketplace on the ground floor and civic offices on the second floor. It has been the site of many important meetings. On July 20, 1776, Major John Handy read the Declaration of Independence from the front steps. When the British occupied Newport the Colony House was used as a barracks. The French plan to use it as a hospital. 

White Horse Tavern

This is the White Horse Tavern. It first opened over a century ago in 1673! It was first built in 1652 as a private home for Francis Brinley. It was purchased by William Mayes, Sr. in 1673 and he converted it to a tavern.

 Before the Colony House was built, the tavern was the meeting place of the Colony’s General Assembly, Criminal Court and City Council. Mr. William Mayes, Jr., a pirate, took over from his father in 1702. He had a license to sell strong drink so I don't think young ladies were allowed inside. In 1730 the new innkeeper, Mr. Jonathan Nichols gave the tavern it's name.

Hessian mercenaries have been living here during the war. The owner, Mr. Walter Nichols, took his family out of the city. We hope he comes back now the British have gone.

Liberty Square
This is Liberty Square. It was donated to the Newport Magistrates about 30 years ago by members of the Newport Artillery. It was supposed to be a meeting place where people could go to discuss issues and speak freely. It doesn't belong to anyone except all the citizens of the town. Slaves gathered here to hold the first African election. The Sons of Liberty gathered at the towering tree to protest the Stamp Act.

There are lots of ordinary citizens living here. The British troops marched in and stayed in the homes of some of the town's residents. Those people were very upset. Now the French have come and some people are worried the French will move in like the British. Other people are happy the French have come to save us. Huzzah!

This is the Buffum-Redwood House built in 1700 and enlarged to a center-chimney 5-bay style house in 1750. I know the names of the people who lived here. Last year I did my Women's History Month report on Elizabeth Buffum Chace, a 19th century reformer. There's a Redwood Library here in town named after the home owner or his brother. Whoever lives here is wealthy.
This big house is called the Odlin-Otis House, built in parts from 1705, 1730 and later
Odlin-Otis House

This house is not symmetrical. I like it. I don't know the name of the person who lived here.

I like this green house. After purple, green is my favorite color!

This house was built in 1730 for John Coddington and enlarged since then. It has a steep gambrel roof and 3 interior chimneys.
John Coddington House

Once the war ended, people returned to Newport and built new homes.  

This house is owned by Joseph Rogers, a merchant. It was built in 1790. It has a three story wood frame and a hip roof. Its main facade is five bays wide, with a center entry framed by pilasters and topped by a fanlight.

This house is called the New Jersey house and it as built in 1800, in New Jersey?! What's it doing here?! Doris Duke, the tobacco heiress founded the Newport Restoration Foundation. This house was on her family's estate, Duke Farms. The NRF purchased it to preserve it. This is a one-and-a-half-story farm house with a gable roof and two end chimney.

The Wilbur-Ellery House was built in 1802. It is a good example of a Federal style home.
Wilbour-Ellery House

The Edward Wilis House was built in 1807. This is a nice size cottage.
 That is all I have time for now, but maybe later I can show you around the Point, the oldest neighborhood in Newport.

Bye for now,

Monday, July 27, 2015

In Which I Visit Colonial Newport

In Which I Visit Colonial Newport

Here are some navigational tools the sailors use to figure out where they're going. I think I know someone who could use these.
Newport is a busy city with many industries. There is the printing industry...
The Newport Mercury newspaper was founded by Benjamin Franklin's brother James and continued by James' wife Ann, after his death. 

There's also the furniture industry. The most famous furniture makers are Goddard & Townsend. They make the lovely Chippendale style furniture you see here.
A middle-class parlor 1750s
There is even a boarding school for girls. My guardian says she's going to send me here. Oh no! I do not think I would be good at sewing samplers and practicing stitching. 
Help! I don't want to go to boarding school!

More on the Revolution... 

Brothers in Arms: Daniel Lyman and Lafayette
Daniel Lyman is a Newport resident, Continental soldier, jurist and Industrial Revolution entrepreneur. Mr. Lyman was born in Connecticut and studied at Yale until independence was declared and Lyman enlisted in the Continental Army. Lyman served under General Nathanel Greene and the Marquis de Lafayette.
Lafayette served with Lyman in the Battle of Rhode Island in 1778. The friends were reunited in 1780. Lyman and Lafayette greeted Rochambeau. Lafayette was impressed with the American militia in Newport. Lafayette gave his friend Daniel Lyman a gentleman’s sword made in France around 1765 and a pair of silver spurs.
Lafayette's Sword 

 This is a Newport Artillery Company uniform, a wealthy, private company. The musket is an American copy of a British military musket. It is known as the Committee of Safety Musket. It was used earlier in the war until France brought us newer guns. This gun belonged to Eldridge Gerry, a member of the Committee of Safety. He was involved in the Battle of Lexington. Mr. Gerry signed the Declaration of Independence!

More on the French in Newport
Here is  a portrait of Comte D'Estaing. He is a French naval officer.

 The other image is a French map showing the defenses in Narragansett Bay. It shows the spots where the allied forces were in January 1781. 
 The red line shows where the French took advantage of the natural geography of Newport harbor to fire on the British. 

The diorama shows what is happening right now! The arrival of the French forces under General Rochambeau. There are many parades,  proclamations and parties to welcome them.

The Revolutionary War caused a great deal of destruction and damage in Newport. The British invaded first. They lived in churches and houses and used other houses for firewood. Many parts of the city were destroyed. Then the French came. They stayed here too. Many people have left the city and the economy is not good.

For now we are happy the French came to save us! Huzzah! Now follow me on a tour of the city.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Illumunating the American Revolution

Illumunating the American Revolution

Welcome to Newport, Rhode Island! It's July 10, 1780 and Newport has been occupied by the British for three years since December 1776. The British finally left in fall 1779. Over half of the town’s population fled. Now we have learned that thousands of French soldiers are coming to occupy the city. Some people are happy to welcome the strangers but others are not. Those who are happy about the arrival of the French are holding an illumination tomorrow evening. Everyone will put candles in their windows on all the streets leading out of town. 

I stop at the Colony House, the colonial version of a state house, to see what was going on. Newport was one of the shared capitals of the colony of Rhode Island. 

The townspeople gather at Colony House to hear the news and receive their candles.

I look at the newspapers to see what's happening.

A man told me I could sit down and look through this basket. He said they're all his son's things. My guardian asked where his son was and if his son would mind. He said his son was upstairs taking a nap - he's only 1. That man thought I was a baby! Do I look like a baby to you?!
 I like this lady's dress - green and purple- my favorite colors!

 The men discuss current events.
The boy is the son of the man next to him. The man kept asking some visiting boys what they do and how they support themselves. They said "nothing" and the man was very surprised. Boys back then had to work hard. Maybe the boys go to school. This man's son might be an apprentice. 

Here are some maps of Newport in 1780

This spoon belonged to General Rochambeau.

Boom! This cannon was used in the Revolutionary War in the Battle of Newport.

 We lit candles and paraded through the streets.

Then to the Brick Marketplace
"Vive le roi! Long live King Louis!" the men cry.

"Hip Hip Huzzah! Hip Hip Huzzah!" everyone cries out.

From July-August 1778 French forces under the command of of the comte d'Estaing attempted to help American troops and planned a siege of Newport from the British. First they miscalculated and then a large storm blew in so the French were forced to retreat. They tried again two years later. On July 11, 1780, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived with French troops in the tall ship L'Hermione (in French they say it "er me own"). Then General comte de Rochambeau and his troops finally reached Newport. 

The French stayed in Newport until 1781. In March 1781 George Washington arrived in Newport and met with General Rochambeau to plot out their next move. Rochambeau and his troops left Newport and met up with Washington and his troops in Yorktown, Virginia. Rest assured, Felicity, that the battle will be a victory for our side!
I want to go see the Hermione but the only way to get to Fort Admas is by boat and my guardian gets seasick. She was already travel sick from the very long carriage [you can call it a bus] ride to Newport so she said no. We planned to go to Boston the next day but my guardian said it was too hot and her back hurt so we stayed home. A pox on my guardian's plaguey back! I read about the event I time traveled to in the newspaper over 200 years later.
Bonus pictures: Look what I found in the gift shop! I see Caroline, Addy, Samantha, Rebecca and Kit - where's Felicity?!

 Stay tuned for more on Newport history next post.