We’ll post information on some of our notable past events here
September 8, 2019 The Ghostly Witness
A play: The Ghostly Witness: The Untimely and Uncertain Death of Rebecca Cornell by the Portsmouth Community Theater at the Portsmouth Historical Society in the Audience Room of the Portsmouth Historical Society Museum.
This was a free courtroom drama, based on an actual transcript of the 1673 murder trial of Thomas Cornell. Actors from the Portsmouth Community Theater portrayed witnesses that gave testimony during the trial. This was a smaller cast version of the original “Ghostly Witness” that was performed in honor of Portsmouth’s 375th Anniversary Celebration. After they have heard the evidence, the audience got a chance to take the role of jurors and vote on the verdict.
21 August 2019 – Lecture – “Spies in the Revolutionary War” – Christian McBurney –
13 Aug 2019 – Extraordinary Women of Portsmouth
Spanning more than three centuries of Rhode Island’s history, the Women of the East Bay Exhibition recognized and celebrated women who have made a difference in their communities. This exhibition is currently on display at Portsmouth Free Public Library. Four Portsmouth women are part of this exhibition – Anne Hutchinson, Julia Ward Howe, Sarah Eddy and Emeline Eldredge.
Gloria Schmidt of the Portsmouth Historical Society shared what she has learned about the lives and contributions of each of these women. Portsmouth’s founding and tradition of strong women can be credited in part to Anne Hutchinson. Julia Ward Howe, known as the author of the poem that became the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” was a summer resident of Portsmouth for over forty years. A pioneer woman photographer and artist, Sarah Eddy worked for women’s suffrage, arts education and humane treatment of animals. Emeline Eldredge was a pillar of the community as superintendent of schools, library volunteer, and director of an arts center for Portsmouth’s youth.
Re-enactment – “Barton’s Raid”.
July Wednesday 24 July. Re-enactment – “Barton’s Raid”. (The Weather Forecast Looks Good) –
This event, that was done last summer, re-traced the route of Col Barton of the revolutionary army who engineered a raid that started in Warwick Neck and sneaked by British warships in the bay, landed in Portsmouth, kidnapped British General Prescott and returned to Warwick the same night. A group of kayakers did the same this year. Since the weather did not cooperate on the 9th, the July 24th was perfect.
Timetable for Wed July 24:
- 1:56 pm high tide at Warwick
- 3:00 arrival at Oakland Beach boat ramp, Warwick (same launch point as last year)
- 3:30 departure after unloading and briefing
- 4 hours to paddle 11 miles with ebb tide (avg 2.75 mph = 22 minute miles) with 2-3 stops on Patience/Prudence
- 7:30 low tide at Weaver Cove
- 7:30 arrival Weaver Cove, Portsmouth; meet and greet with Portsmouth Historical Society (Actual 7″45)
- 8:00 departure Weaver Cove (actual 8:30)
- 4 hours back with flood tide, 2-3 stops
- 8:13 sunset
- 12:00 am return to Oakland Beach (Actual 1:30 am)
- 2:15 am high tide at Warwick
21 July 2019 – Anne Hutchinson Birthday and Celebrating Portsmouth Women Event – 2PM to 5PM at the PHS museum
Portsmouth, Rhode Island has a proud history of amazing men and women. Although it may be easier to trace the lives and influence of the Portsmouth men, our community has had women who shaped our character. As we remember the birthday of Anne Hutchinson, the Portsmouth Historical Society will celebrate some of these women on
This is our third annual celebration of Portsmouth Women.
Visitors will be able to view a special display of artifacts for many of the women from the Society’s collection. Items will be on display for this day only. At 3 PM in the upstairs meeting room there will be a “round robin“ presentation on these women who have contributed to Portsmouth. There will be a brief description of each woman’s role in the Portsmouth community. Cards for each woman will be read by audience members. Those who have a special connection with a woman are encouraged to read her card. After the presentation there will be an opportunity to continue viewing displays. The booklet “Portsmouth Women,” with more detailed information on each of the women in our past celebration, will be available for a donation ($5 is the suggestion) to pay for printing costs. A brochure on this year’s honorees will be added to the booklet.
Only one of our women, Dorothea Dix, could be considered famous. Some of the women have had quiet yet influential roles in our Portsmouth community. The story of Fannie Brent Scott came to light when the Society received the generous donation of a portrait of her which was painted by noted Portsmouth artist Sarah Eddy. Fannie’s story, from freed slave in Virginia to well loved Portsmouth community member, makes us aware of the diversity of experiences Portsmouth women have encountered.
This year we honor:
Teachers: Edna Griffin Fitzgerald and Edna Brophy
Community Workers: Alice Anthony Webb, Gertrude Macomber Hammond, Ruth Lunan and Fannie Brent Scott
Reformers: Dorothea Dix, Eunice Greene, Lillian Collins Borden
Faithful Women: Ada and Elizabeth Trout, Ellen Gustin
Farmers: May Chase Hanks