Jamestown Historical Society

Sue Maden & Rosemary Enright Book Signing and Talk at the Library

At a talk at the Jamestown Library on July 24, Sue Maden and Rosemary Enright spoke about their new book The 1874 Diary of Providence Reform School Inmate No. 2067: Dr. William Lincoln Bates of Jamestown, RI which was published by the historical society.  The book chronicles the diary kept by the founder of the Maplewood Sanitarium, Dr. William Lincoln Bates, while he was a reform school inmate.  Bates was born into the Carr family in 1855 when fewer than 400 people lived on Conanicut Island. When he was 17, Bates stole a wallet from his great-uncle and was sentenced to three years at the Providence Reform School. He kept a diary during his second year, recording the books he was reading, the cows he was milking and the turnover of boys at the penal institution.

Released as “reformed,” Bates as a free man worked as a gardener and horsecar driver before becoming a doctor specializing in the application of electricity, which was a popular form of alternative medicine at the time. 

In 1900, he established the Dr. Bates Sanitarium, a medical complex that occupied the land between Conanicus and Florida avenues across from the Bay Voyage. The sanitarium, also known as Maplewood, survived until 1944. During its tenure, it was the largest employer in Jamestown.

Along with transcribing the 1874 diary, Maden and Enright include related reports from the school during that period. The book tells the story of Bates’ life before and after his incarceration.

The book can be purchased at the Jamestown Museum, 92 Narragansett Ave.; McQuade’s Marketplace, 6 Clarke St.; Jamestown Hardware, 5 Narragansett Ave.; Conanicut Marine, 20 Narragansett Ave.; and the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum in Beavertail State Park.

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