Portsmouth Historical Society

Portsmouth Historical Society

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Catch me next Saturday at Portsmouth main library from 2-3pm #HonorTheAncestors #TheyWillHonorYou #LivingHistory #Storytelling
The Gosport Liners - have a sneaky peek inside the book
Does anyone know whether there is a house still standing on East Main that belonged to Sampson Sherman/Shearman back around 1800?
Due to a heating issue at the Portsmouth Free Public Library (which has been closed for the day), the book club discussion on "King Philip's War" by Eric B Schultz and Michael J Tougias has been postponed until next Monday evening, Oct 29th, from 6 to 7:30 PM. The library still has copies available if you want to come-another week to read!
Looking for a little information. I have found that my grandparents 1918 address was listed as "Coal Mines". I did find a postcard with a picture of the homes. On the back it says that they were located at Lehigh Hill. Where would that be on today's map?
Hello, I am trying to contact a manager regarding field trip options. If you can have them email me ([email protected]) at their earliest convenience I would greatly appreciate it. Cheers! Chris
34th Beirut Bombing Memorial Observance ceremony Monday 10-23-2017 10:00 sharp upstairs Chapel Wreath laying after indoor portion Refreshments provided following the ceremony By Gold Star relative's

The Portsmouth Historical Society is a non-profit volunteer entity devoted to the preservation of Portsmouth's historic buildings, sites, and artifacts.

The Portsmouth Historical Society has worked to preserve the Christian Union Church (1865) as its headquarters and museum by using grants from the Champlin Foundations. The cataloging of items and the creation of exhibits using the various artifacts collected over the past 60 years is an ongoing process. The Southermost School (1725) was moved to the Portsmouth Historical Society site in 1952. It has been entered on the National Register of Historic Places. The Old Town Hall (c. 1850) was moved to the Portsmouth Historical Society site in 1975. The Board of Directors meets on the third Monday of each month at 7:00 PM at the Portsmouth Historical Society Museum. The Portsmouth Historical Society: Provides programs of interest about Portsmouth to the public; Has provided assistance with genealogical searches and property identification; Has provided tours of various historical sites;

Mission: The Portsmouth Historial Society works to preserve Portsmouth historical sites and buildings. We maintain the Southermost School, the Christian Union Church and the Old Town Hall.

Operating as usual

Kindred Spirits

Here's the promo from the show!!

All new episode of Kindred Spirits drops this Saturday morning on @discoveryplus! We tackle a 400 year old mystery. All seasons of Kindred Spirits streaming at any time on Discovery+. #StreamWhatYouLove #KindredSpirits

Rhode Island Historical Society

Check this out!

We had an amazing turnout at the kickoff to our Valley Talk Series this past Sunday with over 250 people in virtual attendance! For those who missed National Park Ranger John McNiff lead an excellent discussion on the history of King Philip's War, you can see the presentation in it's entirety on our YouTube Channel through the link below. Be sure to subscribe to see more content like this!

https://youtu.be/dtVZ6vaF3N0

Reality TV comes to Portsmouth! We are finally able to share that the Portsmouth Historical Society participated in the filming of a
"Kindred Spirits" episode, which will air this Saturday night January 16th at 10 PM on the Discovery Plus Channel.

Intrigued by the infamous Rebecca Cornell murder trial, paranormal investigators Amy Bruni and Adam Berry investigated the Valley Inn Restaurant, and met with Anne Northup Burns and Gloria Schmidt, pictured together at the Portsmouth Historical Society, for background information and historical content. We are hoping to hold a Covid-19 compliant watch party or follow up event in the near future, which will be posted on our websites. We are "dying" to know how it turned out!

Out with the old year. In with the new year. Here are some New Year superstitions listed in the Newport Mercury of 1894. Many of the traditions concern money.
*It is bad luck to lend money on New Year's Day.
*"Put money away on New Year's Day and all the year you will have money to pay."
*Before locking the door on New Year's Eve place a gold coin near it and let it remain there until the church bells ring the next morning and you will have plenty of money all the year out."
*"If you wash clothes on New Year's Day, one of the family will be washed out of existence before the year is out."
*It was lucky to have a dark complexioned man crossing your threshold first on New Years Day. If a blonde were the first it would. be unlucky and if a redheaded man, "dire disaster will surely follow."

How was Christmas celebrated in Portsmouth over a hundred years ago? A Newport Daily News article from 1914 gives us an idea. Most of the celebrations were centered around the church community. The churches in town had similar parties, but I will share the events at the Christian Church because that building is the headquarters of the Portsmouth Historical Society. The tree is described as "decorated with colored electric bulbs," tinsel and Christmas bells. Music was important to the church, so the celebration started with an "organ voluntary." Some of the songs are familiar - "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" and "Joy to the World". Some songs are not so familiar such as a duet version of "The Sign of the Star" or the children singing "Looking for Santa Claus". There were recitations, readings and "tableaus." "At the conclusion of the program the many gifts were distributed from the tree, the principal part of the whole program for little children." Photo from Sarah Eddy Social Studio postcard.

"The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh..." The Portsmouth Historical Society has two sleighs in its collection. One is from a gentlemen's farm and the other is from the Holman Farm (known as the Sea Meadow development today.) Most of our student visitors have never seen a sleigh and can't imagine how it can be used. In the old days the sleigh runners were the way to get around when we had more snow during the winters.

portsmouthhistorynotes.com

The Poor and Needy in Early Portsmouth: “Parish Children” and Indenture

At this time of year we think about reaching out to the needy in our community. Through documents in the archives of the Portsmouth Historical Society we can begin to understand how the needy were cared for in colonial Portsmouth. This article is on Parish Children or pauper children who were wards of the town council. What do we think about a seven year old being placed into servitude for fourteen years?

portsmouthhistorynotes.com The residents of colonial Portsmouth were well aware of scriptures that asked them to take care of the poor among them. Deuteronomy 15:11 is a good example: “You shall open wide your hand to …

portsmouthhistorical.org

Membership/Support/Donate – Portsmouth Historical Society

We are conducting a membership drive! Join the Society now to learn about our town's proud history, and be a part of our bright future. It's easy to become a member, just visit our website link below. Join, contribute and/or volunteer-your talents are needed!

portsmouthhistorical.org The Missouri History Museum created the Time Travelers program in 1998 so that members of historical institutions could receive exclusive benefits and privileges at museums and historical sites nationwide.

Happy Holidays from our door to yours!

Portsmouth Historical Society's cover photo

Tradition: One of our favorites is the Portsmouth Garden Club's adornment of our doors with handmade wreaths. They look great, and we love them! It really feels like the holiday season now! Thank you very much Portsmouth Garden Club!!

No surprise that Bill Douglas is a new, welcome addition to our Board of Directors! We are recruiting more, come join us!

Thirty-five years ago, five members of Portsmouth High School’s chapter of Future Business Leaders of America were elected as state FBLA officers. That were (from left) Joan Kelly, William Douglas, Renee Weber, Shelly Cote and Rick Lauder. This photo appeared in the Nov. 21, 1985 issue of The Sakonnet Times.

portsmouthhistorynotes.com

Remembering Our Veterans: Mary E. Lopes Clark – World War I

portsmouthhistorynotes.com Mary Lopes was a Portsmouth girl who volunteered for service during World War I. Many Portsmouth women helped with the war effort. As I researched the local suffragists I learned that many women ai…

portsmouthhistorynotes.com

Remembering our Veterans: Lt. Raymond Ayler Serves in a Black Unit during WWI

portsmouthhistorynotes.com “Negroes Selected for Service Entertained by Club” read a Newport Mercury headline on November 2, 1917. The article calls them “selected for service” but we might use the te…

portsmouthhistorynotes.com

Remembering Our Veterans: Major General James Parker – Awarded Congressional Medal of Honor

We honor the service and sacrifice of our Portsmouth veterans.

portsmouthhistorynotes.com Major General James Parker retired to Greenvale Farm in Portsmouth after a forty-two year career in the military. His service record is extraordinary. West Point Graduate 1876 Indian Territory camp…

portsmouthhistorynotes.com

Remembering our Veterans: Lt. Raymond Ayler Serves in a Black Unit during WWI

In honor of Veteran's Day, we uncover the stories of some of our veterans. Raymond Ayler was from a prominent Portsmouth farming family.

portsmouthhistorynotes.com “Negroes Selected for Service Entertained by Club” read a Newport Mercury headline on November 2, 1917. The article calls them “selected for service” but we might use the te…

portsmouthhistorynotes.com

Remembering Our Veterans: Mary E. Lopes Clark – World War I

Portsmouth woman Mary Lopes served in World War I and went on to serve in the American Legion.

portsmouthhistorynotes.com Mary Lopes was a Portsmouth girl who volunteered for service during World War I. Many Portsmouth women helped with the war effort. As I researched the local suffragists I learned that many women ai…

youtube.com

Women's Suffrage - Schmidt 10 14 20 - YouTube

Women's Suffrage 100 Years Ago - Lecture by Gloria Schmidt 10-14-20
https://youtu.be/OHdeJykezxA

youtube.com Lecture on the 100th Anniversary id Women's right to vote by Gloria Schmidt of the Portsmouth RI HiIstorical Society - Oct 14, 2020

youtube.com

Portsmouth in 1920 Jim Garman 1920 9 24 20

Portsmouth in 1920 - Lecture by Jim Garman Sept 24, 2020
https://youtu.be/OM1aPB98Jss

youtube.com Lecture by Town Historian and Portsmouth Historical Society Past President on :Portsmouth in 1920. Sept 24, 2020

100 years ago today, Portsmouth women voted for the first time.

From the Diary of Abby Sherman
1920, 2nd of November: Today we cast our first ballot. The women of Portsmouth. Everything was conducted in a quiet manner. It was the greatest event of our lives. The men all said that it was the best town meeting that we ever had.

*Transcriptions of Abby's diary are by Portsmouth Historian Jim Garman.

portsmouthhistorynotes.com

Remembering our Veterans: Thomas Julian – Beirut Bombing

Remembering our Veterans as we prepare for Veterans Day.

portsmouthhistorynotes.com On the front grounds of the Portsmouth Historical Society is a stone that commemorates Rhode Island Marines who were killed in the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon on October 23, 1…

portsmouthhistorynotes.com

The Stories Behind the Objects: The Horse-drawn Hearse

Our horse-drawn hearse is a very unique piece in our collection. It let us to stories about Asa Anthony the town coroner and mourning traditions from our past.

portsmouthhistorynotes.com As we approach Halloween it might be fitting to tell you the story behind our horse-drawn hearse. Visitors to the Old Town Hall exhibits at the Portsmouth Historical Society either love the hearse …

2020census.gov

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2020census.gov Learn about the 2020 Census - how to respond, and why it matters. Shape your future. START HERE.

portsmouthhistorynotes.com

Lillian Wheeler Boone (1888-1978): A Suffragist’s Life Story

Portsmouth suffragists, like Lillian Wheeler Boone, were active in the Portsmouth community for years. They were the pillars of the community. Hear more about Portsmouth Women and their first vote at a presentation Wednesday, Oct. 14 from 6:30 -7PM at the Portsmouth Historical Society. Reserve your place by emailing [email protected]. Don't forget to bring your mask.

portsmouthhistorynotes.com Lillian Wheeler Boone was one of the younger members of the Newport County Woman Suffrage League. She lived a long and remarkable life, full of adventure and community service. Through the kindness…

smallstatebighistory.com

Prudence Crandall, Sarah Harris Fayerweather and Ann Hammond: Their Pre-Civil War Struggle for Equality for Black People - Online Review of Rhode Island History

Prudence Crandall, Sarah Harris Fayerweather and Ann Hammond: Their Pre-Civil War Struggle for Equality for Black People - Online Review of Rhode Island History
http://smallstatebighistory.com/prudence-crandall-sarah-harris-fayerweather-and-ann-hammond-their-pre-civil-war-struggle-for-equality-for-black-people/

smallstatebighistory.com In the first half of the nineteenth century, while most white New Englanders opposed slavery in the South, they nonetheless did not believe that their freed Black neighbors should be ... Read More

youtube.com

Portsmouth Historical Society On the Road: Friends Meeting House

This is the last of our "On the Road" videos. Denise Betz portrays Pastor Elizabeth Trout sharing a history of the Friends Meeting House in Portsmouth.

youtube.com PHS on the Road: Friends Meeting House

portsmouthhistorynotes.com

Cordelia Holman Lawrence’s Sketchbook: Portsmouth Art 1865

There are stories behind the objects in the Portsmouth Historical Society collection.

portsmouthhistorynotes.com Items in the Portsmouth Historical Society collection lead us to uncover stories about our past. A few years ago Portsmouth Historical Society curator, Nancy Crawford, discovered a sketchbook while…

portsmouthhistorynotes.com

Portsmouth Artist Bessie T. Cram (1875-1966)

Portsmouth has a great heritage of artists. Bessie T. Cram was just one of them.
https://portsmouthhistorynotes.com/2020/09/29/portsmouth-artist-bessie-t-cram-1875-1966/

portsmouthhistorynotes.com Bessie Thompson Cram was a Portsmouth summer resident and painter for almost 70 years. Bessie was born in Middleboro, Massachusetts, but her ties to Portsmouth were deep. She was the cousin of Gert…

youtube.com

PHS on the Road: Glen Barns

Portsmouth Historical Society On the Road: Glen Farm Barns. "Manuel Camara" (played by Jim Killavey) tells the story of the Glen Farm and how a cow - Missy of the Glen - ended up at the Supreme Court.
https://youtu.be/FOEZrCT-rqQP

youtube.com "Mauel Camara " introduces Glen Barns

Portsmouth Historical Society on the Road: Mt. Hope Bridge

The resident engineer of the Mt. Hope Bridge shares the story of the Mt. Hope Bridge. Richard Schmidt plays William Brenneke - the engineer.

Bridge Engineer William Brenneke (Richard Schmidt) tells the story of the construction of the Mt. Hope Bridge.

Let's Restore the Fort Aug 19, 2020

PHS Event at Butts Hill Fort

Let's Restore the Fort 8 29 20

Let's Restore the Fort. PHS video Aug 29, 2020
https://youtu.be/kOKOzIdhTrw

Portsmouth Historical Society event at Butts Hill Fort, Portsmouth, RI. The event is to gain an appreciation of the historical value of the Fort and start a ...

Portsmouth Historical Society on the Road: Prescott House

Samuel Cory (Dr. Ron Marsh) tells the story of Barton's Raid at Prescott (Overing) House.

Portsmouth Historical Society on the Road: Ft. Butts

Major Samuel Ward (RIchard Schmidt) tells the story of the building of Ft. Butts and the Battle of Rhode Island

Photos from Portsmouth Historical Society's post

Our Story

The Portsmouth Historical Society has worked to preserve the Christian Union Church (1865) as its headquarters and museum by using grants from the Champlin Foundations. The cataloging of items and the creation of exhibits using the various artifacts collected over the past 60 years is an ongoing process. The Southermost School (1725) was moved to the Portsmouth Historical Society site in 1952. It has been entered on the National Register of Historic Places. The Old Town Hall (c. 1850) was moved to the Portsmouth Historical Society site in 1975. The Board of Directors meets on the third Monday of each month at 5:15 PM at the Portsmouth Historical Society Museum. The Portsmouth Historical Society: Provides programs of interest about Portsmouth to the public; Has provided assistance with genealogical searches and property identification; Has provided tours of various historical sites;

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Videos (show all)

Let's Restore the Fort Aug 19, 2020
Portsmouth Historical Society on the Road:  Prescott House
Portsmouth Historical Society on the Road:  Ft. Butts
Portsmouth Historical Society On the Road:  Founder's Brook

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Telephone

Address


870 E Main Rd
Portsmouth, RI
02871

Opening Hours

Sunday 14:00 - 17:00
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The Newport Car Museum has six galleries with 75+ cars from the early 1950s through to current models. 70,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space also features driving simulators, Mid-Century modern furniture, award-winning videos and a gift shop.

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