And for the first time anywhere, learn who the
FEMALE co-founders of Newport were!
© 2014 Christy K Robinson
William Dyer was 28 years old when he co-founded Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in 1638. (It was called by its native American name, Pocasset, at the time.) His name appears on the Portsmouth Compact with the other men who bought Aquidneck Island from the natives, and it's his handwriting at the top of the document.
|Portsmouth Compact, 1638. |
Click to enlarge.
He was 29 years old on April 28, 1639, when he co-founded the city of Newport, Rhode Island and signed the Newport Compact. As clerk of the town, and later Secretary of the colony, it's almost surely William Dyer's handwriting that headed the compact that the founders signed.
|Newport Compact -- click to enlarge|
|Battery Park in Newport, formerly Dyer's Point, is on land |
where Mary and William Dyer had their farm.
|Newport from the northwest. The small island in the|
foreground, Native Americans sold to
Newport in the 1650s. The Dyer land and burial site
were just beyond Coaster Island, and southward past
the Pell Bridge at the extreme right of the image.
|For a modern map of the city of Newport, |
with labels for its harbor walk which would take you
along the western edge of 17th-century Dyer land, click here.
Historical records mention only the men who attended assembly meetings, voted, held court, or signed documents, but the women should be remembered for their many sacrifices in moving the household, servants, small children, livestock, and possessions, and starting in a new, rugged place where they lived in wigwams while their first houses were being built. It was the Little Ice Age, and winters were longer and more severe than we experience now. They had just settled in Boston for a few months to four years when they were exiled and had to start again in the wilderness of Rhode Island. A year later, some of the settlers at Portsmouth began again at Newport.
Newport's female co-founders were:
|Unidentified English family circa 1640.|
- William Coddington and Mary Mosely Coddington
- Nicholas Easton (widowed, 2 sons, married widow Christiana Beecher later in 1638)
- John Coggeshall and Mary ___ Coggeshall, 7 children
- William Brenton and Dorothy ____ Brenton
- John Clarke and Elizabeth Harges Clarke
- Jeremy Clarke and Frances Latham Dungan Clarke, 4 Dungan children
- Thomas Hazard and Martha Potter Hazard, 5 children
- Henry Bull and Elizabeth ___ Bull, 1 child
- William Dyer and Mary Barrett Dyer, 1 child
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