Portsmouth celebrates founding with display of 1638 Compact
|Portsmouth Compact (click to enlarge)
Portsmouth's Town Hall was standing room only this morning as citizens gathered to celebrate the town's 378th anniversary with a special viewing of the original Compact, signed by 23 of the town's founders.
The 378-year-old document, which normally resides in the state archives, was on display in the town council chamber. Council Vice President Jim Seveney was on hand to welcome residents and share the council's proclamation marking Founder's Day.
"This kicked off our inaugural Founder's Day event celebrating the history of the town," Seveney told harddeadlines. "It was great to see lots of people there and engaged."
Town historian Jim Garman offered remarks proving the historical context behind the Compact -- one of the oldest surviving.
"it's a very special document," said Garman. "Not too many towns have a founding document still in existence."
Garman outlined the history behind Portsmouth's founding -- how Anne Hutchinson's disagreements with religious leaders in Massachusetts Bay prompted a group to look for a place of their own. Providence's Roger Williams assisted them in buying Aquidneck Island from the Narragansetts for 40 fathoms of white beads and a couple dozen farm tools.
The ceremony was attended by State Rep. Dan Reilly (R-72), and Council members David Gleason and Liz Pedro, and featured live music by harpist Arilyn Mitchell, who also accompanied attendees in the National Anthem.
Garman promised to add more interesting historical info at his lecture on the early days of Portsmouth which will happen this Wednesday at the Portsmouth Public Library from 6:30 to 7:30pm. He advised that there are only 10 seats left, so you'll want to reserve your seat with the library.
Garman also invited attendees to become members of the newly expanded Portsmouth Historical Society, which works to preserve the Town's rich heritage.
|Town Council VP Jim Seveney welcomes attendees.
|Jim Seveney and Portsmouth Historical Society board member Rich Talipsky (center) talk with Town Historian Jim Garman.
|Attendees inspect the original Portsmouth Town Compact of 1638.