Two Historic Cemetery Programs in Little Compton this Week
Final Lecture in the “Remember Me” Speakers’ Series
This Thursday, September 6, Marjory O’Toole, “Remember Me” Project Director and Executive Director of the Little Compton Historical Society, will present “Lessons Learned from Little Compton’s 46 Historic Cemeteries” at the Little Compton Community Center at 7 pm. The talk will focus on the new information discovered after a year of research and restoration in the community’s historic cemeteries. Ms. O’Toole will touch on issues of cemetery ownership, the Town’s Negro Burying Ground, recent and continuing restoration efforts, and the recent discovery of numerous unmarked graves using Ground Penetrating Radar. The Little Compton Historical Society is presenting the lecture as the last in their “Remember Me” speaker’s series. It is free and open to the public thanks to a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. No registration is required.
Gravestone Cleaning Workshop
Then on Saturday, September 8, Ms. O’Toole and other Historical Society volunteers will host the next gravestone cleaning workshop in the Old Burying Ground on the Commons from 9 to Noon. The “Remember Me” project’s goal is to recruit 100 volunteers who will each attend a workshop to learn safe gravestone cleaning techniques approved by the American Association for Gravestone Studies and then pledge to clean 10 gravestones this year. If successful the result will be 1000 clean gravestones. To date 90 volunteers have attended or registered for a workshop and the Historical Society estimates that these volunteers have cleaned 500 local gravestones to date. Volunteers age 14 and up are welcome and are asked to register for the Saturday workshop by visiting littlecompton.org or calling the Historical Society at 401-635-4035. Additional cleaning workshops will be scheduled this fall, including one in the Adamsville Cemetery. Gravestone cleaning is important to prevent lichens from slowly breaking down the stone and to enable visitors to read the inscriptions on the memorials.
The “Remember Me” project has been generously supported by The Rhode Island Foundation, The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, The Ocean State Charities Trust and members of the local community. A Town-wide Cemetery Tour is scheduled for Saturday, September 22 to explore and celebrate the town’s 46 historic cemeteries, a number of which are not normally open to the public. For tickets please contact the Historical Society.
The REMEMBER ME lecture Series Continues August 21 at Friends Meeting House with Elizabeth Cazden
Rhode Island’s Quakers and their Burial Practices
Tuesday, August 21
Little Compton Friends Meeting House – 234 West Main Road Rd
Free & Open to the Public.
(Note start time and location – as they differ from the other lectures in the series.)
Elizabeth Cazden, an independent scholar who is expert in Rhode Island Quaker history, will speak on “Rhode Island’s Quakers and their Burial Practices” at the Little Compton Friends Meeting House on Tuesday, August 21 at 6 PM. Ms. Cazden will focus on how Little Compton’s Friends fit into the regional Quaker community and will explore regional Quaker burial practices. Recently, ground penetrating radar discovered multiple rows of unmarked graves to the east of Little Compton’s Quaker burial ground. The talk is hosted by the Little Compton Historical Society as part of their larger “Remember Me” project celebrating Little Compton’s 46 Historic Cemeteries.
This talk and the others in the series are free and open to the public and are made possible by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. No registration is required.
The final talk in the series will take place in September:
Remember Me – Little Compton’s 46 Historic Cemeteries
Thursday, September 6 –7 PM
Marjory O’Toole, Executive Director, Little Compton Historical Society
Gravestone Cleaning Workshops – Register Here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/little-compton-gravestone-cleaning-days-summer-2018-tickets-45214218946
Town-wide Cemetery Tour, Saturday, September 22, 11 am to 4 pm, Tickets $15 Buy Tickets Here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/town-wide-cemetery-tour-tickets-47304851083
New Cemetery Guidebook Goes On Sale Now at Wilbor House, Wilbur’s Store, Earle’s Gas Station, Partner’s Village Store, and Gray’s Daily Grind
Call 401-635-4035 with questions or to register by phone.
Little Compton’s 45 Historic Cemeteries
Local History Lecture by Marjory O’Toole
7 PM – March 19 – LC Community Center
FREE & Open to the Public
The 45 minute lecture will be followed by a brief project planning meeting for those interested in being cemetery volunteers.
The Little Compton Historical Society invites the public to enjoy a presentation on Little Compton’s 45 historic cemeteries given by Executive Director, Marjory O’Toole on Monday, March 19 at 7:00 pm at the Little Compton Community Center.
Ms. O’Toole will explain why Little Compton has so many cemeteries and how they’ve been lost, found, and altered through the years. She’ll also discuss some of Little Compton’s unique gravestones as well as recent evidence identifying the location of the town’s “Negro Burying Ground” and the presence of numerous unmarked graves in the Old Burying Ground on the Commons recently discovered by ground penetrating radar. The talk is free and open to the public and is the first of many events planned for 2018 to explore, restore and preserve Little Compton’s historic burying grounds.
Following the 45-minute lecture and slide show, Ms. O’Toole will invite interested audience members to stay to hear more about the Historical Society’s “Remember Me” project, a major community effort to research, clean, and repair historic cemeteries throughout Little Compton. Over 100 volunteers are needed this summer to clean 1000 gravestones. The Society also hopes to recruit 45 volunteers willing to monitor cemeteries in the future and to complete annual condition reports.
Community members are also asked to share their stories, documents, and photographs regarding local cemeteries with Ms. O’Toole no later than mid-April in time for their use in the special exhibition and cemetery guidebook the Society will launch this July. Loans or donations of objects related to death and remembrance including mourning clothing, decorations made from human hair, memorial embroideries, and even displaced gravestones are needed for this summer’s special exhibition. Anyone with these or similar objects is asked to contact the Historical Society at 401-635-4035 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: The Old Burying Ground on the Commons, by Bart Brownell.
We’ve made, and will continue to update, a public folder of resources that you can use in your classroom to teach your students about the history of slavery, indenture and freedom in Rhode Island.
Here is the link:
On February 10, 2018, our Executive Director Marjory O’Toole will be leading a workshop discussing ways to use her book “If Jane Should Want to be Sold: Stories of Enslavement, Indenture and Freedom in Little Compton, RI” in your classroom. Marjory is just one of a dozen excellent presenters featured in the “Next Steps: A Place-Based Approach to Teaching African American History in Rhode Island” conference at Rhode Island College. Tickets are only $10. Use this link to learn more.
This young girl is Moselle Gray. Enslaved in North Carolina as an infant by Arnold Gray formerly of Little Compton, Moselle was inherited by her master’s brother who granted her freedom and brought her to live in Little Compton with his family. Moselle’s life was not easy in Rhode Island, but today a large, diverse, and very vibrant Newport family honor her as their matriarch.