From pre-colonial times through World War II , the town of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, has served as a stage for the dramatic evolution of American history. Dispossessed citizens from the Massachusetts Bay Colony came to Portsmouth in the spirit of religious and political tolerance, paving the way for the establishment of a large Quaker settlement in town.
Revolutionary leaders such as George Washington, Lafayette,
and Rochambeau visited the summer residences of wealthy
Newport merchants in Portsmouth, including the home of
Tory, Metcalf Bowler. During the Civil War, the Melville area of Portsmouth was the site of a hospital for wounded Union soldiers and Confederate prisoners, and was an active stop on the Underground Railroad. Prior to World War II , John F.
Kennedy received his PT boat training in Portsmouth, and
Raytheon has kept many employed in the defense industry ever since.
About the Author
Authors Nancy Jensen Devin and Richard V. Simpson are area historians who have combined the photograph collections of the Portsmouth Historical Society with many previously unpublished images from local families’ albums to produce this remarkable new photographic history of the town. Mr. Simpson is the author of Bristol in the Images of America series, and Ms. Devin is the creator of a popular multimedia presentation called The Story of the Town of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. The authors’ affection for the area and knowledge of its history are evident in this exciting tribute to the town and the people of Portsmouth.