Pilgrim and Sowams Settler Hugh Cole

Hugh Cole was baptized on June 29th,1628 in Barnstaple, Devonshire, England and traveled with his family at age five or six from England to the Pilgrim settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1631. As a six-year-old boy, he was paid 50 bushels of corn by the town of Plymouth for tending the cows of the townspeople. […]

Sowams Heritage Area Project now a Non-Profit Corporation

The Sowams Heritage Area Project has recently been incorporated with the State of Rhode Island as a non-profit corporation. Project Coordinator David Weed applied for the status in preparation for filing as a 501c3 tax exempt organization with the IRS. “This is an important step toward our goal of creating a National Heritage Area designation […]

Big Thunder's "Indian's Friend" tour of Sowams in 1860

  In 1894, Virginia Baker’s published “Glimpses of Ancient Sowams,” which contained the following: In i860, a company of Indians, under the leadership of Father Beeson, the “Indian’s Friend,” made a tour of the United States giving a series of entertainments in the principal cities and towns. Among the towns visited was Warren, RI, where […]

Ancient Pokanoket names are everywhere in Sowams!

The ancient place names of the Pokanoket people have been changed or eliminated by colonial settlers starting in the 17th century. In the map at the left are some of those ancient names over the places they once designated. In other cases, some of the original names have been retained to name businesses or street […]

What a Sowams Heritage Area could look like

The Sowams Heritage Area was envisioned by Barrington, RI resident Helen Trader in 2014 as a way to honor the Pokanoket Tribe who has resided here for the past 12,000 years and to better protect that land that remains today. That vision has evolved into a project that spans eight communities and connects over fifty […]

The History of Exploration of Sowams and New England

Starting with Leif Erickson’s exploration of the Newfoundland coast in 1,000 A.D., Europeans have been traveling to the coast of New England and Canada in search of fish, furs, and other resources as well as a route to China. At least twenty explorers’s found their way to North America from England and recorded their journeys. […]

The Kickemuit River in 17th century Sowams

The Kickemuit River ends at the Narrows in Bristol, RI, the site that was occupied by the Pokanoket Tribe for at least 7,000 years because of the abundance of seafood available at that location. Fresh water enters the salt water of Mount Hope Bay above dam at Child Street in Warren, RI, the location of […]

Settler Colonization and Indian Slavery in 17th Century Sowams

The goal of the English was to colonize New England by acquiring full or partial political control over Native societies and territories, founding a colony, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.  Compared to other settlements on the East Coast of America, this was relatively easy to do in New England because of the […]