Jamestown Historical Society

Author: Steve

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2023 Fall Newsletter

Our Fall Newsletter is now available for download. This spring and summer were very busy as the JHS offered talks, outings, exhibits, events, and gatherings.

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JHS Vault Signs
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Jamestown Signs

Hanging on a side wall of the JHS Vault is a collection of Jamestown signs from island merchants that have closed in years past.

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Stillman Saunders on the beach at his boatbuilding facility in Saunderstown
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Saunderstown man picks fight with ferries

Stillman Saunders on the beach at his boatbuilding facility in Saunderstown, circa 1905. Unhappy with the ferry service across the West Passage, he launched a rival company in 1906 to compete with the Jamestown & Newport Ferry Company.

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Jamestown Harbor at Sunset, 1895
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Edward Mitchell Bannister 1828 – 1901

The Providence Art Club recently mounted a tribute to commemorate the life and work of one of their original founders, the Black artist Edward Mitchell Bannister. Bannister, born in New Brunswick, immigrated to Boston in about 1848.

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Left to right: Nancy Peters, Shirley Whitehead, Maxime VonShade Clark, Jennie Clarke, Ellen “Midge” Matoes Wright, Eva VonShade, Genevieve Matoes Currie, Bess Sheehan, Millie Cullen, Harriet Beers, Dorothy Matoes Nunes. Photo taken in the Beers house #23
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Switchboard Operators

Between 1914 and 1964, the local telephone switchboard operators routed calls in and out of Jamestown.

Telephone service began in Jamestown on May 16, 1894, when Walter Wright, the Newport Telephone Company agent, called Charles E. Weeden at the Thorndike Hotel to check the circuit.

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Bunch Island in the Sierra Leone River, 1784
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Slaves linked to Africa

In 1816, Ormand Remington of Jamestown told the Newport Town Council that he “was born on the coast of Africa and brought into this country by Captain Robert Stoddard, [a Newport slave trader], when he was about 12 or 13 years old.”

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