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Customes, Manners, and Worships

Rhode Island Begins


EXHIBIT OPEN OCTOBER , APRIL ,
TUESDAY SUNDAY, : AM : PM
MANNI NG HALL GALLERY, BROWN UNI VERSITY
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A Mapp of New England (Detail), 1676, John Seller, London Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library
This map, with images taken from Theodor de Bry's Grands Voyages, is the rst large printed map of New England.
It includes a detail of ghting in King Philips War. The Indians are depicted with bows here, although they more
often used guns.
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THE FI RST HUNDRED YEARS
F
or everyone in Rhode Islands rst
century Europeans, Africans, and
Native Americans the English
invasion was a day-to-day process of adapting
to the new. Traditions collided and new life
ways emerged, bred less of ideals than of
persistent devotion to ones distinct customes,
manners, and worships the subtitle of Roger
Williams book about the lives of the peoples
he met when he arrived in what is now Rhode
Island years ago.
This exhibit offers glimpses into those
daily lives, demonstrating the proximity of
sometimes different, sometimes conicting,
sometimes cooperative life ways.
Rhode Islands rst century was shaped by
daily interactions among diverse peoples and,
through their connections, with the rest of the
world. Contact was but a moment; learning
to live together despite cherished differences is
still ongoing.
Curated and written by Caroline Frank and Kevin P. Smith, with Kirsten Hammerstrom
Printed by Meridian Printing
Acknowledgements
Contributors: Rhode Island Historical Society, Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Newport
Historical Society, John Carter Brown Library, Greene Farm Archaeology Project.
This exhibit celebrates Providence 375, commemorating the arrival of Roger Williams and
a small group of English religious dissidents in 1636 on the shores of what came to be called
Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. We wish to acknowledge the support of the Providence
Tourism Council, The City of Providence, and Mayor Angel Taveras.
A Mapp of New England (Detail), 1676, John Seller, London Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library
This map, with images taken from Theodor de Bry's Grands Voyages, is the rst large printed map of New England.
It includes a detail of ghting in King Philips War. The Indians are depicted with bows here, although they more
often used guns.

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L
ong before Rhode Island began,
hundreds of thousands of people lived
along the shores of Narragansett Bay,
Long Island Sound, Cape Cod, the islands, and
Massachusetts Bay. These people spoke related
Algonquian languages and belonged to vast
nations steered by powerful leaders.
At times allies, at times enemies, the people
of these nations Wampanoags, Narragansetts,
Mohegans, Pequots, Massachusetts,
Nipmucs were among the rst to welcome
and to be displaced by English settlers.
When the English arrived, more than
generations of Native Americans had lived here,
establishing dynamic histories, rich cultures,
and ways of life that were well-adapted to this
regions resources.
Around , Europeans accidentally
introduced smallpox to Wampanoag
communities on Cape Cod. Massasoit and
other tribal leaders subsequently welcomed
English pilgrims as potential allies and trade
partners.
By , the Narragansett, on the western
shore of Narragansett Bay, found themselves
living in a changed cultural landscape. To
the east, the Wampanoag communities were
rebuilding; their English allies were numerous
and dangerously armed. Seeking advantage in
a similar alliance, the Narragansett welcomed
Roger Williams when he arrived in exile. His
welcome was due as much to indigenous
political dynamics as to his character, faith, or
ideological message.

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Nature knowes no difference between
Europe and Americans in blood, birth,
bodies, &c. God having of one blood
made all mankind.
vooiv viiiiaxs
Stone Pipes
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
Native farmers throughout the Americas
domesticated many of the crops that Europeans
carried back to their home countries. Tobacco
had spiritual, ceremonial, and secular uses.
Its euphoric and addictive qualities ensured
it universal appeal beyond North Americas
shores.
Clay Pot
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
Native women made clay pots for cooking food,
serving meals, and storing raw materials.
Pot

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I have heard of many English lost, and
have oft been lost my selfe, and my selfe and
others have often been found, and succoured
by the Indians. vooiv viiiiaxs
W
hen Roger Williams, founder
of Providence Plantation,
openly questioned the
authority of Massachusetts magistrates,
they threatened him with banishment,
or worse. He ed to the region called
Narragansett Country. He was ill. First
Wampanoag and then Narragansett took
him in and cared for him. He later wrote a
linguistic and ethnographic account of their
life ways in his 1 book A Key into the
Language of America.
Pocket Sundial Compass, mid-17th century
Rhode Island Historical Society
Roger Williams may have used this compass to nd his way through the
frozen forests and rivers of New England on the January night in 1636 when
he ed Massachusetts.
Title page of A Key into the Language of America.

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Pocket Sundial Compass, mid-17th century
Rhode Island Historical Society
Roger Williams may have used this compass to nd his way through the
frozen forests and rivers of New England on the January night in 1636 when
he ed Massachusetts.
Title page of A Key into the Language of America.
SPI RITUALITY
R
hode Island communities structured themselves around diverse
spiritual beliefs and leaders. Although mainstream English
society did not recognize non-Christian practices, Rhode
Island was more accepting of religious diversity than most of the British
colonies in America. Yet Catholics, Africans, and Jews worshipped quietly
with their own prayers and rituals and the enslaved in Rhode Island often
practiced their beliefs out of sight. Despite attempts to convert them,
most Native Americans kept their own religion through the hard times of
English settlement and King Philips War. The majority of Narragansett
or Wampanoag never converted to Christianity.
Bear Efgy Stone Pipe
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
Smoking and tobacco had both sacred and cer-
emonial uses among Native peoples of Rhode
Island. The bear, along with some other animals
considered beautiful or dangerous, could mani-
fest manitou, a divine vital force potentially
present in all things.
Bible, printed in Geneva, Switzerland, 1607
John Carter Brown Library
Many rst generation pilgrims from England
brought large family bibles to America. This
one, in Latin, belonged to the Updike family
who lived in Wickford. Baptisms were often
recorded inside, as here for the Updikes, on the
page preceding the New Testament.
I nd what I could never heare before, that they have plenty of Gods or
divine powers: the Sunn, Water, Snow, Earth, the Deere, the Beare.
Roger Williams, describing Narragansett beliefs,

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AT HOME
M
ost of lifes activities took place at
home: from birth to burial, brick
making to hide tanning, bread
baking to cloth making, forging nails to int
napping. Livestock were kept in adjoining
structures. Home interiors could be cramped
and dark for all but the wealthiest, who had
glass windows. Much work, even sewing
and food preparation,
was performed
outdoors.
Iron key
Greene Farm Archaeology Project
Basket, probably late 17th century, Cranston
Rhode Island Historical Society
In 1842, when this Indian basket was given to
the historical society, it came with a date of
1676 and a story of the devastation at the end
of King Philips War, English compassion, and
Indian gratitude the way Rhode Islanders
wanted to remember the war. It is in fact later,
part of a long tradition of commerce between
Native Americans and English settlers.

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AT WORK
T
he implements characterizing Native
American and European domestic
life and work began to converge
from the moment of contact. All used metal
kettles, deer skin clothing, guns, reed baskets,
and domesticated animals. In many cases,
new materials were adapted to old forms: for
example, brass and glass projectile points
replaced stone.
Large Pig Jaw Bone, c. 16601690
Greene Farm Archaeology Project
Seal of Newport, 1696
Newport Historical Society
Brass Projectile Point
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

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COMMERCE
E
xchange
introduced new
goods, wealth,
friendships and
conicts. Early Rhode
Islanders turned to
the Dutch in New
Amsterdam for Iroquoian
trade goods, for
sophisticated European
and Asian products,
and for lower prices on
everyday necessities such
as gunpowder, metal
utensils, ceramics, and
liquor. Steel drills from
European traders allowed
Algonquian peoples to
increase commercial
production of wampum,
formerly used mainly
for ritual exchanges
and to mark prestige.
Bill for Rum & Molasses, 1671
Newport Historical Society
Benedict Arnold of Pawtuxet and Jamestown.
Store sign, 1718, Providence
Rhode Island Historical Society
Shoemakers, called cordwainers, were among
the most common tradespeople present among
English colonists to Rhode Island.

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PLEASURES OF LI FE
Anstis Updike of Wickford
Painted by Nehemiah Partridge, 1722
Rhode Island Historical Society
Early Rhode Islanders were quite comfortable
with sexuality in the proper context. Anstis Up-
dike, suggestively depicted here by an itinerant
limner, was one of Daniel Updikes three wives.
She bore his three children and her fertility is
celebrated in this 1722 painting.
Gold and Coral Baby Rattle, 16701690,
France Rhode Island Historical Society
Steatite Goblet
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
Strong drinke was everywhere present in early
Rhode Island, from Caribbean rum to Madeira
wines, imported whiskies and gin. Modeled af-
ter a European chalice or stemmed glass, this
goblet indicates a taste for ne drink among
tribal people.

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SELF PRESENTATION
T
he diverse languages,
accents, classes, literacy
levels, and religious
beliefs of early Rhode Islanders
were made visible in the way
they dressed in the quality and
origin of fabrics, head treatments,
degree of nakedness or number
of undergarments, and types of
jewelry and adornments they wore.
John Potter Family at Tea
Anonymous painter, 1742
Newport Historical Society
In this overmantel painting, an English-dressed
African-American child serves Chinese tea to
his wealthy Newport master and his family.
Mr. Samuel Browne, Jr. of Providence
Painted by John Smibert, 1734
Rhode Island Historical Society
Brownes lavish wig was an adornment
eschewed by many Rhode Island Protestants.

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WAR
R
oger Williams wrote of the
Narragansett in , Their wars are
far less bloody and devouring than
the cruel wars of Europe, and seldom twenty
slain in a pitched battle. While the colonists
scorned them as faint-hearted, the Indians
viewed total war as a tragic waste of lives. All
Europeans arrived in America expecting warfare,
and indeed colonial wars were continual.
King Philips War in altered the
relationships between Native peoples
and English in Rhode Island completely.
Wampanoag grievances and English mistrust
escalated into combat. Second-generation
English colonists had far less military
experience and support from Europe than
their pilgrim fathers, while these Indians
owned guns and were excellent marksmen.
The war, characterized by stealth and
starvation, was unlike conventional European
warfare, although the scale of violence was
similar. Mohawk attacks on their
long-standing Algonquian
enemies were pivotal to
English victory in .
long-standing Algonquian long-standing Algonquian long-standing
enemies were pivotal to
English victory in victory in victory .
Flintlock Musket, mid-17th century, England Rhode Island Historical Society
Flintlock mechanisms were superior to matchlock guns. Not all colonists could afford the newer gun,
but Indians refused to buy matchlocks. This gun has JW and 1667 scratched on its barrel as it
belonged to Joseph Williams, the youngest son of Roger Williams.

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Robin Spears, 2011
Photo by Lauren Meincke
Rhode Island Stone Walls
Jamestown
But yet let me add this by way of commendation
of the Narragansitt and Warwick Indians, who
inhabit in the jurisdiction, that they are an
active, laborious, and ingenious people; which
is demonstrated in their labours they do for the
English; of whom more are employed,especially in
making stone fences, and many other hard labours,
than of any other Indian people or neighbours.
Daniel Gookin,Historical Collections of the
Indians in New-England()
C
eremonial stone structures had long
been part of Native American life, but
with the arrival of European domestic
animals, walls became necessary. The exhibition
explores the ways that for everyone in Rhode
Islands rst century Europeans, Africans, and
Native Americans the English invasion was
a day-to-day process of adapting to thenew.
Traditions collided, and new life ways emerged.

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