Sowams history celebrated over 100 years ago in 1914 Warren pageant

In 1914, the Town of Warren put on a pageant to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Founding of the First Church and of Rhode Island College, and now Brown University, and of the setting off of the town of Warren in 1746. (Click to enlarge the program) This event happened a year after Charles Carr exhumed 42 Pokanoket burial sites at Burr’s Hill in Warren.


The program above (click to enlarge) consisted of seven episodes acted out by local townspeople, including Mrs. Frederick Young who played Swansea and the coming of the Welsh to settle the area in 1663.


The Pageant took place at the estate of James Maxwell Wheaton, Esq, on the Warren River. Townspeople dressed as colonial and Pokanoket characters, such as Miles Standish and the Massasoit Osamequin (above lett) and Anawan and the Massasoit (above right), with white people dressed as “Indians” with their faces colored dark red to depict Pokanoket people, a common practice at the time but now seen as highly demeaning. “I believe that we should share this history, even when there are derogatory images or inaccurate historical accounts,” stated Dancing Star (Tracey Brown), current Sachem of the Pokanoket Tribe.  “I believe that we do have a shared history and revealing all of it will help to correct those things and build really good relationships, she added.


The Pageant was given on the afternoons of October 9th, 10th and 12th and was designed to attract people returning to Brown University for its 150th anniversary.


(Above) John Waterman plays Myles Standish and Gordon Church plays Roger Williams in the pageant that described the early settlement of Warren.


Click here to see the original deed for the sale of Sowams to the colonists in 1653.