Monday, March 14, 2011

14. March 2011, Westerly, R.I.

    We arrived in Boston at around 11:30 a.m.  We had quite the adventure with our rental car, but I shall spare you the story.  Once we finally got our rental car (at 1:40 p.m.), we hopped on 90, then on 93 and finally on I95 towards Westerly, Rhode Island.  Not quite 2 hours on the road, we made it to the Hotel.  Lovely two story, horse-shoe shaped, all wood exterior Hotel right by the ocean.  We settled in what they call the penthouse suite.  My room has a balcony facing the ocean and the picture to the left (remember, you can click the images for a larger display) shows my view.  This little town makes one feel as if traveled back in time.  Old, but somewhat charming.  The weather was beautiful yesterday, sunny and in the 50's.  We went out for dinner to a lovely Italian restaurant "Venice".   Went back to the hotel, got organized for today.  First stop, Coventry Town Hall to meet with the Town Clerk, Darleen.  After that, back to Westerly, to meet with the Librarian, Nancy, at the Westerly Library.

The visit to the Town Hall in Coventry turned out somewhat fruitful, but no connection between Caleb Lewis and John Lewis (born 1780) made.  We spent numerous hours reading through numerous books Vital Records and Probate Records.  We found the will of the above mentioned John Lewis, who named his father John Lewis (born 1747) his administrator when he wrote his will in 1810.  He names his wife Mary, but makes no mention of any children.  John Lewis (born 1780) died in 1816, Caleb was born in 1809.  I was hoping to find somewhere at least a mentioned of Caleb.  We found the Lewis Cemetery in the Westerly Cemetery Book, which listed all of the Lewis-Family members buried there, John Lewis (1747-1833) listed right next to his wife Amy (Sheldon) Lewis who died in 1806.

What surprised me while reading through the town meetings of the time, was the handling of "poor people" in the town of Coventry.  It was decided, voted, actually, who would have to take care of and be responsible for a poor person.  Those who had that duty to take care of such individual would be reimbursed by the town treasurer.  One had to take care of a person for at least three months.  John Lewis took care of at least six people (not all at the same time and not all for the same length), having cared for a lady named Jane Philips for at least four years.  His sons Benjamin and Eason had also such responsibility.  Benjamin's wife Huldah King was listed  as taking care of a child, sometimes referred to as "her" child.  I do not know how to interpret this as of yet, but will ask the lady we will meet tomorrow at the Coventry Historical Society.

We finally packed up at 4:10 p.m. as the town hall was only open until 4:30 p.m.  We have stayed at the Town Hall much longer than we originally anticipated.  We knew that we would not see Nancy at the Westerly Library today anymore and decided to go and drive to the Lewis Cemetery at Farm Road.  Darleen told us to take a left out of the parking lot and it would not be very far.  Well, unfortunately, we were faced with a view different Farm Roads and with that, I decided to take a look at the GPS which Lewis (my Lewis) had programmed with all the places I wanted to see.  I found Austin Farm Road, Lewis Cemetery.  Voila, I clicked on it and we were on our way.  On the right appeared a very old little cemetery and to my left "The Rathburn House".  Wait a moment... Rathborn House... I recall Peter Lewis writing me about this house.  Could that little cemetery have been it?  But my GPS told me to keep going; and so I did.  Arriving at Austin Farm Road, a very old and very dark looking road.  To the right, an old cemetery, elevated from the road, but the GPS said that I have not reached my destination.  The houses to the left and right were few, but very old and on large pieces of land.  We ended up deeper and deeper into the dark, passing the destination, which did not have a cemetery.  I truly had enough of this dark road and turned around, wondering if the one we had passed was the one we were supposed to stop at.  I got out of the car, leaving my mom-in-law behind, just to go and see what (who) is in that cemetery.  Bingo... the Lewis Family.  However, those names on the headstones are not those of John Lewis and his wife Amy, nor were any other names familiar.                 There, a sign in the dirt:

We actually drove all the way to Exeter, Rhode Island....  WRONG Cemetery !!!   But interesting nevertheless.  First headstone to the left is that of Lydia Lewis, wife of Ambrose Brown.  In the very back is a large headstone of George Lewis.  I have no idea as of yet who those Lewis-Family members are.  They all do not sound familiar to me.  I took pictures of every singe headstone (for those readers who know those names and are interested in receiving those pictures).

Snow flurries are falling and it is getting quite cold.  The high for today was only 40F or some silly low number like that.  We were quite hungry and decided to call it a day and head back towards Westerly.  Stopped for dinner and then came back to the room.

And that was our first "working" day here in Rhode Island.  I just cannot get over how old everything looks here. 

Tomorrow, we will go back to Coventry to the Coventry Historical Society where we will hopefully find something that will link Caleb to John Lewis (1780).  We will also stop at that little cemetery across from the Rathburn-House (I will have to look at the e-mail I received from Peter Lewis).

Good night from us here in Westerly, Rhode Island.   I will report tomorrows adventure in the evening.  :-)


  1. Liane, thank you for the travelogue. This is awesome, your descriptions of the places and of all that you encounter lift me from where I am and place me squarely in your presence. I like your new hair, too, by the way... you are a vision, regardless of the hair color... I genuinely look forward to your next report. (The marching band was in Rhode Island last summer, their report was that it was very hot... must be a timing thing, yes?)

  2. Wow-great first day, huh? So interesting to look through history. Have a good day tomorrow!

  3. LOL Tom, yes, I believe it is a timing thing... it is soooooo not hot here..

    Lisza... yes, the first day was interesting, second day somewhat questionable, but got a bit better in the evening.

  4. I'll be stopping in Westerly in a few weeks with my sister and nieces while traveling, and have a Lewis cemetery we're hoping to visit. Came back to re-read your blog!
    -Edd Lewis


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