2020-2021 Program

Note: In order to advance the Association's quest to involve our youth, the Association
will pay the admission fee for children 12 years and under to any of the following events.

Click here to view past Bulletins and Programs.


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2020   1:00 PM
We will meet off Birch Swamp Road in Warren, RI and drive to within several hundred yards of Margaret's Rock in North Swansea, MA where Roger Williams sheltered in the winter of 1636. Margaret was a Wampanoag Medicine Woman who helped Roger return to good health following his banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Margaret's Rock is the only remaining abode in the Providence area whose walls Roger actually touched. Bring a folding chair and packed lunch for a brief meeting afterwards. Rain Date: Sunday, October 18th at 1:00pm. Please arrive 30 minutes early to carpool and/or caravan. RSVP by October 10th to rihistorybuff@gmail.com or 401-330-0314.

    Directions: From Providence, take I-195 toward Swansea and Fall River. In North Swansea take the Rt. 136 exit and travel south 1.7 miles. After crossing into RI, take a left onto Birch Swamp Road. Continue for 0.3 miles where the road takes a 90 degree turn to the south. At this bend, go straight onto the dirt road (sign "Windswept Farm"). DO NOT turn right into the drive to the Old Chase Farm. We will start assembling on this dirt road shortly after 10:30 AM where a group photo will be taken. We will then drive to within several hundred yards of Margaret's Rock in North Swansea, MA.

Robert Geake will talk about the life of Roger Williams at Cocumscussoc. Smith's Castle is maintained by the Cocumscussoc Association, the corporate entity that owns, maintains, and interprets the history of Smith's Castle and Cocumscussoc on behalf of the people of Rhode Island. This presentation will  be followed by a brief business meeting and family photo of our members. Please bring a packed lunch. RSVP by November 7th to rihistorybuff@gmail.com or 401-330-0314.

    Directions to Smith's Castle, 55 Richard Smith Drive, North Kingstown, RI: From I-95 South, take Exit 9. Merge left onto RI-4S toward North Kingstown. Take Exit 7B-A toward Quonset RI-403. Keep R onto RI-403E to Quonset. Take exit toward Post Road US-1. Keep right on Post Road toward Wickford Village. Turn left on Richard Smith Drive.

We will hold our annual holiday party and reception at the festively decorated home of President Dawn Williams in Cranston, RI. We will enjoy a seasonal music presentation and sing Christmas carols. A short business meeting will follow. Refreshments will be served; feel free to bring a little something for the table. RSVP by December 5th to rihistorybuff@gmail.com or 401-330-0314.

    Directions to 87 Ashburton Drive, Cranston, RI: Take I-295 North. At Exit 6, take ramp right for RI-14 toward Plainfield Pike. Turn left onto RI-14 / Plainfield Pike. Turn left onto Comstock Pkwy. Turn right onto Boylston Drive. Turn right onto Ashburton Drive.

Colonel Ronald W. Barnes, Commanding Officer of the Pawtuxet Rangers and RWFA member, will talk about the history of the Pawtuxet Rangers, the armory in Historic Pawtuxet Village, and the burning of the HMS Gaspee in 1772. This will be  followed by a tour of the armory and light refreshments. RSVP by April 10th to rihistorybuff@gmail.com or 401-330-0314.

    Directions to 59 Remington Street, Warwick, RI: Take the Route 37 exit off Route I-95 toward Warwick. Follow it to the end to Post Road North. Continue on Post Road to Rick's Auto Body (on right at 62 Post Road) and turn right onto Fair Street. Take second left onto Remington Street. The armory is on the corner of Bank and Remington Streets. If parking is unavailable, you may park at the Aspray Boat House parking lot at 2 East View Street (continue down Remington Street, turn left on Narragansett Parkway, then right onto East View Street).

TUESDAY, MARCH 30, 2021   7:00 PM
"More Than Roger's Wife: Writing Mary Williams into the Historical Record"
Please join us for an exciting evening in conversation with Carrington-Farmer and the Roger Williams Family Association via Zoom. History books have largely overlooked Mary Williams. If she gets any nod at all, it is a mere mention that she is the wife of Roger Williams, the great 17th-century political thinker and founder of Providence and the Colony of Rhode Island.

As the culminating event in our celebration of Women's History Month, Roger Williams University invites the community to discover the story of Mary Williams and the lives of other 17th-century women in England and New England in "More Than Roger's Wife: Writing Mary Williams into the Historical Record."

Through her presentation, Charlotte Carrington-Farmer, Associate Professor of History at RWU and resident scholar of our University namesake, strives to tell a fuller story about Mary Williams, beyond her life as a wife and mother. With meticulous research, Carrington-Farmer has pieced together a compelling narrative of Mary's early childhood in England and her religious upbringing, a tumultuous courtship with Roger Williams, and their harrowing flight from religious persecution, first from London and then from Salem, Massachusetts, settling on land that Roger would found as Providence when he was exiled for his radical views on freedom of religious conscience and separation of church and state.

"Mary Williams was more than Roger's wife – her experience matters and her place in history matters," says Carrington-Farmer. "It's clear from trying to piece together Mary's life that doing women's history is hard. You have to be creative with the sources that you use to shed light on their lives. Historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich famously wrote that 'well-behaved women seldom make history.' Mary is a case in point, and by centering her experience we can learn more about women who didn't try to make history, but most certainly did."

During the event, Dawn Williams, president of the Roger Williams Family Association, will discuss the Association's mission of honoring and sustaining the story of Roger Williams. As part of our commitment to preserving the history of our University namesake, RWU maintains a close relationship with the Roger Williams Family Association and dedicates space and resources to housing the Association's family archive collection.

The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Provost's Office, and the Roger Williams Family Association.

SATURDAY, MAY 15, 2021   1:00 PM   CANCELLED
Loren Spears and Tall Oaks will talk about the Narragansett tribe and Roger Williams, and how they coexisted during the Colonial era in Rhode Island. Afterwards a short drive to Arcadia Park for a picnic lunch and short business meeting. RSVP by May 8th to rihistorybuff@gmail.com or 401-330-0314.

    Directions to 390 A Summit Road, Exeter, RI: From the North, take I-95 South towards Providence, RI. Merge onto RI-102 south via exit Number 5A towards Exeter/RI-165/Arcadia/Beach Pond. Stay straight onto RI-3/Nooseneck Hill Road. Turn right onto RI-165/Ten Rod Road. Take a left onto Arcadia Road and go approximately 3 miles until you reach a stop sign. Turn right onto Summit Road and follow over a small bridge. When you see two stone pillars, turn right up the driveway to the Museum or, if lot is full, go to next drive on right and park in the lower lot. From the South, take I-95 North to RI-138 West via exit 3B toward Wyoming/Hope Valley. Stay straight through the first stoplight. You will pass a shopping area and the Richmond Police Station. Turn right onto Bridge Street, and go over the dam. You will see a white and blue RI-DOT sign on the corner. Bear right at the fork onto Arcadia Road. The Rhode Island Dept. of Transportation center will be on your left. Follow Arcadia Road approximately 4 miles, passing a bridge over a small dam and the Arcadia Forestry Station. Go straight through Summit Road intersection; RI Fish Hatchery will be on the right. Turn right onto Summit Road and follow over a small bridge. When you see two stone pillars, turn right up the driveway to the Museum or, if lot is full, go to next drive on right and park in the lower lot.

FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2021   1:00 PM
Join us in our Providence Capitol, home of The Independent Man, for a free tour beginning in the Library on the 2nd floor. The tour will encompass the 1663 Charter Museum with Roger Williams' artifacts and the Senate Chamber, along with magnificent paintings, murals, and marble. Parking should be available in the executive legislative lot, as well as street parking. RSVP by June 19th to rihistorybuff@gmail.com or 401-330-0314.

    Directions to 82 Smith Street, Providence, RI: From I-295 North to Exit 9, merging with US-6 toward Providence/Hartford, CT. Keep right, merging with US-6E. Keep right toward Memorial Blvd and Downtown. Turn left onto Francis Street. Turn right onto Gaspee Street. Turn left onto Smith Street. From I-95 North, take Exit 23 onto RI-146 toward State Offices/US-44. Continue on State Street toward State Offices. Right on Smith Street.

SATURDAY, JULY 17, 2021   11:00 AM
Bring a picnic lunch and a lawn chair for a brief meeting and a history talk by cousin and local historian, Neil Williams Ross, from his lovely beachfront summer cottage at Chepiwanoxet. Hear the stories of our Williams ancestors who have lived on Greenwich Bay since 1910.  Chepiwanoxet was left by the last glacier (10,000 years ago), and was the site of several firsts: Narragansett Indian summer campsite, early beachside resort (c. 1890s), Gallaudet Seaplane factory (1915), DYER Boats (1930), AMTROL Corporation (1946), the first true marina built in our state (c. 1956), and now Warwick City Park (1994). Wear sneakers if you would enjoy a hike around "Chepi" Island. RSVP by July 5th to rihistorybuff@gmail.com or 401-330-0314.

    Directions to 90 Herbert Street, Warwick (East Greenwich), RI: From I-295 South to I-95 South, take Exit 1A onto RI-113 West toward West Warwick. Get in left lane and make a U-turn at the traffic light at RI Mall/CCRI. Turn right onto Greenwich Avenue; at the roundabout, take the second exit onto Greenwich Avenue. At the roundabout, take the second exit onto Post Road. Turn left onto Chepiwanoxet Way and the yellow cottage will be on the right side. From I- 95 North, take Exit 8A onto RI-2 South toward RI-4 East Greenwich. Turn left onto Division Street, then a slight left to stay on Division Street. Turn left onto Post Road. Turn right onto Chepiwanoxet Way; the yellow cottage will be on the right side.


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