Thursday, August 4, 2016

Visiting Newport Historical Society

© 2016 Christy K Robinson
William Dyer's name is to the left
of the center tile.
Newport Historical Society
Museum and Shop.
Click to enlarge.
On my recent visit to Newport, Rhode Island, on a mission to do research, and get a Dyer monument project rolling, I visited the Newport Historical Society. Their museum and shop is located at the nearby Brickmarket. Outside the shop is a brick mosaic with the Newport co-founders' names on it.

At Newport Historical Society:
Christy Robinson, author, with Molly Bruce Patterson,
archivist and manager of digital initiatives. The documents
on the table were written by William Dyer, and there were
other documents written by William's descendant, about
90 years later.
 I made an appointment to visit the Newport Historical Society to view documents in William Dyer's handwriting. They had several papers there from the 1640s, that I was able to breathe upon at least, though they're very fragile and touching 400-year-old documents is not a best practice for preservation. They photographed the documents (for a price) and sent me the links to download my purchases.

Seventh-day Baptists in Newport
While I was in the NHS headquarters building waiting for my appointment, my friend Valerie and I wandered around the main floor, and into a chapel. The NHS membership man, Mathew J. DeLaire, left his desk to show us around the chapel, which was actually an 18th-century Seventh-day Baptist meetinghouse. I asked if I could take photos of the room, but was told no. Click that link above to see the photos on their website.

The Sabbatarians (Saturday) and first-day (Sunday) Baptists shared the same minister, as I knew they did in Shiloh, New Jersey, where I had numerous SDB ancestors for many generations. In fact, there was a strong connection between Newport Baptists and the Shiloh Baptists: Obadiah Holmes, the Newport Baptist pastor when Dr. Jeremiah Clarke was acting as the Rhode Island agent in England, had a son by the same name. Obadiah Sr. was whipped to a bloody pulp by Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans in 1651 when he celebrated Communion with a Baptist man in Salem. The son, Obadiah Holmes Jr., practiced his Baptist ministry in New Jersey and was a well-known colleague of Rev. Nathaniel Jenkins. Jenkins was a Baptist minister who also was a New Jersey assemblyman in the early 1700s. He stood up against a bill that would punish people for believing in a unitarian Deity rather than a trinitarian Deity, and the bill was quashed. Rev. Jenkins was only two or at most three "degrees of Kevin Bacon" from Mary Dyer! Read my article about Jenkins and religious liberty at

Charles Dyer's headstone in Newport's Common Burying Ground
I met Bert Lippincott, NHS librarian and genealogist, who marked a map of Common Burying Ground so I could visit the grave of Charles Dyer, 1650-1709. Charles may have been buried first on the Dyer home farm, where he lived after his father and brothers died. His remains were moved to the large cemetery later.
Common Burying Ground
click to enlarge

Dyre Avenue in the CBG cemetery

Christy K Robinson is the author of this Dyer website and three five-star-reviewed books on the Dyers, available by clicking these links.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Reasonable, thoughtful comments are encouraged. Impolite comments will be moderated to the recycle bin. NO LINKS or EMAIL addresses: I can't edit them out of your comment, so your comment will not be published. This is for your protection, and to screen out spam and porn.