Rhode Island in History

Historical Events


Event of interestEvent of Interest

1631-02-05 Rhode Island, founder, Roger Williams arrives in Boston from England

Theologian and Colonist Roger Williams
Theologian and Colonist
Roger Williams
  • 1636-07-04 City of Providence, Rhode Island form
  • 1644-03-14 England grants patent for Providence Plantations (now Rhode Island)
  • 1652-05-18 Rhode Island enacts 1st law declaring slavery illegal

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1663-07-08 King Charles II of England grants a charter to Rhode Island

King of England Charles II
King of England
Charles II
  • 1664-03-24 Roger Williams is granted a charter to colonize Rhode Island
  • 1675-11-02 A combined attack by the Plymouth, Rhode Island, Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut colonies attacks the Great Swamp Fort, owned by the Narragansetts during King Philip's War.
  • 1761-06-10 Puritan version of "Othello" opens in Newport Rhode Island
  • 1772-06-10 Burning of British revenue cutter Gaspée by Rhode Islanders
  • 1774-06-13 Rhode Island becomes first colony to prohibit importation of slaves
  • 1776-05-04 Rhode Island declares independence from Britain
  • 1776-12-31 Rhode Island establishes wage & price controls to curb inflation: Limit is 70 cents a day for carpenters, 42 cents for tailors
  • 1778-02-28 Rhode Island General Assembly authorizes enlistment of slaves

AgreementConstitution of the United States

1790-05-29 Rhode Island becomes last of original 13 colonies ratifying US Constitution

  • 1798-12-14 David Wilkinson of Rhode Island patents a nut & bolt machine
  • 1835-12-03 First US mutual fire insurance company issues first policy (Rhode Island)
  • 1907-02-11 Passenger ship Larchmont sinks by Block Island, off Rhode Island, 322 die
  • 1916-10-07 The German submarine U-53 arrives off Newport, Rhode Island, and sinks 9 British merchant ships in international waters
  • 1932-09-16 30.8 cm rainfall at Westerly, Rhode Island (state record)
  • 1942-01-11 -23°F (-31°C), Kingston, Rhode Island (state record)
  • 1956-05-26 A fire on board the aircraft carrier USS Bennington in Narragansett Bay, off Rhode Island, kills 103 crew
  • 1975-08-02 104°F (40°C) at Providence, Rhode Island (state record)
  • 1978-02-06 Snowstorm hits New England, parts of Rhode Island (54" / 137cm)
  • 1987-11-05 Iceberg twice size of Rhode Island sighted in Antarctic
  • 2003-02-20 During a Great White concert in West Warwick, Rhode Island, a pyrotechnics display sets the club ablaze, killing 100 and injuring over 300 others.
  • 2013-05-02 Rhode Island becomes the tenth US state to legalize same-sex marriage

Famous Birthdays

  • 1586-08-14 William Hutchinson, Rhode Island colonist (d. 1642)
  • 1754-03-04 Benjamin Waterhouse, physician co-founder of Harvard Medical School (smallpox vaccine pioneer), born in Newport, Rhode Island (d. 1846)
  • 1779-03-13 Oliver Shaw, early American composer, born in Newport, Rhode Island (d. 1848)
  • 1786-04-15 Walter Channing, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, American physician who was the first to use anesthesia during childbirth

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1794-04-10 Matthew C. Perry, Commodore of the United States Navy who opened Japan to Western influence and trade, born in Newport, Rhode Island (d. 1858)

Commodore of the US Navy Matthew C. Perry
Commodore of the US Navy
Matthew C. Perry
  • 1799-11-03 William Sprague III, American politician from Rhode Island (d. 1856)
  • 1801-09-04 Cullen Whipple, Providence Rhode Island, American Inventor (pointed screw machine)
  • 1830-09-12 William Sprague, governor of Rhode Island (1859-63)
  • 1841-11-06 Nelson W. Aldrich, U.S. Senator from Rhode Island (d. 1915)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1878-07-03 George M. Cohan, American father of musical comedy (Phantom President, Give My Regards to Broadway), born in Providence, Rhode Island (d. 1942)

Composer George M. Cohan
Composer
George M. Cohan
  • 1890-08-20 H. P. Lovecraft, Providence, Rhode Island, American horror writer (At the Mountains of Madness, Weird Tales)
  • 1921-01-18 Robert Glaser, Providence, Rhode Island, educational psychologist (National Assessment of Educational Progress), (d. 2012)
  • 1922-10-22 John H Chafee, (Sen-R-Rhode Island, 1976- )
  • 1927-03-29 John McLaughlin, TV commentator (McLaughlin Group) and Nixon aide, born in Providence, Rhode Island (d. 2016)
  • 1940-05-07 Jim Connors, American Radio personality, born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island (d. 1987)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1941-06-05 Spalding Gray, American actor (Beaches, Clara's Heart, Heavy Petting), born in Providence, Rhode Island (d. 2004)

  • 1942-12-16 Donald Carcieri, American politician, governor of Rhode Island
  • 1948-01-09 Bill Cowsill, rock guitarist/vocals (The Cowsills - We Can Fly), Newport, Rhode Island
  • 1948-07-13 Ronald K Machtley, (Rep-R-Rhode Island)
  • 1949-08-26 Robert (Bob) Cowsill, (The Cowsills - Hair, We Can Fly), born in Newport, Rhode Island
  • 1949-11-12 Jack Reed, (Rep-D-Rhode Island)
  • 1952-11-11 Paul Cowsill, rock keyboardist (The Cowsills-We Can Fly), Newport, Rhode Island
  • 1953-03-26 Lincoln Chafee, American Senator from Rhode Island
  • 1954-09-14 Barry Cowsill, rock bassist (The Cowsills - We Can Fly), born in Newport, Rhode Island (d. 2005)
  • 1956-03-02 John Cowsill, rock drummer (The Cowsills - We Can Fly), born in Newport, Rhode Island
  • 1960-01-28 John Caliri, American actor (Vinnie-Square Pegs, Double Trouble), born in Providence Rhode Island
  • 1960-05-20 Susan Cowsill, rock vocalist (The Cowsills - We Can Fly), born in Newport, Rhode Island
  • 1973-04-12 Claudia Jordan, Miss USA-Rhode Island (1997, top 10)
  • 1975-02-04 Elana Eve Chomiszak, Providence RI, Miss America-Rhode Island (1997)
  • 1976-02-03 Karen Bradley, Miss Rhode Island USA (1996)
  • 1979-07-03 Lauren Alviti, Miss Rhode Island Teen USA (1997)
  • 1980-06-24 Kelly Dutra, Miss Rhode Island Teen USA (1996)
  • 1981-06-22 Monty Oum, American Animator (RWBY), born in Providence, Rhode Island (d. 2015)

Famous Weddings


HeartWedding of Interest

1875-12-15 Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (41) weds Jeanne-Emilie Baheux Puysieux in Newport, Rhode Island

HeartWedding of Interest

1901-10-09 Philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr (27) weds Abby Aldrich in Warwick Neck, Rhode Island

Financier and Philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr
Financier and Philanthropist
John D. Rockefeller Jr

HeartWedding of Interest

1953-09-12 American Senator John F. Kennedy (36) weds Jacqueline Bouvier (24) in Newport, Rhode Island

35th US President John F. Kennedy
35th US President
John F. Kennedy
US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
US First Lady
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
  • 2011-07-15 Former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy (44) weds Amy Petitgout in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts
  • 2013-01-19 Figure skater five-time world champion Michelle Kwan (32) weds Clay Pell at the First Unitarian Church of Providence, Rhode Island

Famous Deaths

  • 1678-11-01 William Coddington, first Governor of Rhode Island (b. 1601)
  • 1856-10-19 William Sprague III, American politician from Rhode Island (b. 1799)