Place:Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States


NameLittle Compton
Alt namesCommonsource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS44000879
Comptonsource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS44000879
Compton Commonssource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS44000879
Little Compton Commonssource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS44000879
The Commonssource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS44000879
Coordinates41.5°N 71.167°W
Located inNewport, Rhode Island, United States
Contained Places
Old Commons Burial Ground
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Little Compton is a coastal town in Newport County, Rhode Island, bounded on the south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by the Sakonnet River, on the north by the town of Tiverton, and on the east by the town of Westport, Massachusetts. The population was 3,616 at the 2020 census.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Little Compton was originally inhabited by the Sakonnet Indians and their settlement was called Sakonnet or Saughonet. The name has been interpreted in a variety of ways including "where the water pours forth".

The first European settlers were from Duxbury, Massachusetts in the Plymouth Colony, which granted them their charter. The ruler of the Native Americans was a female sachem named Awashonks who was friendly to the newcomers and remained so during and after King Phillip's War.[1] With her acquiescence, the new settlers divided the land into standard-sized lots for farms.[1] Among the 29 original proprietors was Colonel Benjamin Church, who would become well known for his role in the late 17th-century conflicts with surrounding Indian tribes, initially the Wampanoags and later, the Narragansetts. In 1675, Church built a house in Little Compton, just prior to King Philip's War. Today, a plaque marks the location on West Main Road.

In 1682, Sakonnet was incorporated by the Plymouth Colony and was renamed Little Compton, probably in reference to Cullompton, Devon, England. After the "Old Colony" was merged into the Massachusetts Bay Colony to the north, a local colonial representative to the General Court in Boston boasted that all the stone walls in Little Compton would stretch to the State House and back, if laid end to end. A Royal commission changed the state border in 1747, and Little Compton along with Tiverton and Bristol became part of Rhode Island. All probate and land records prior to 1746 are kept in Taunton and New Bedford, Massachusetts. Beginning in the late Victorian era, the town became a destination for summer visitors drawn to its beaches and farms seemingly untouched by modernity, and for its relatively cool, maritime climate.

Sites of historic interest in Little Compton include the Wilbor House, built in 1692 by Samuel Wilbore and now the home of the Little Compton Historical Society, the Friends Meeting House and Cemetery, and the William Whalley Homestead. There are about 57 historic cemeteries in the town.

Little Compton is home to one of only three town commons surviving in Rhode Island; the others are in Bristol and Warren. Land for the common was designated in August 1677 and has been used ever since as both a religious and civic center, the location of churches, a school, the town hall, town library, and other government buildings and civic institutions. The Common contains a large cemetery. Benjamin Church and his family are buried in the cemetery, as is Elizabeth Pabodie, the eldest daughter of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins of Mayflower fame. The stones in the cemetery reflect a style of carving similar to that found both in Newport and Boston during the same time period. The entire common is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as an historic district.

Another distinctive feature of the town is the c.1905 "Spite Tower" found in the hamlet of Adamsville. Built as a water tower, local lore claims that it was constructed to obscure the sightlines of a rival abutting neighbor.

Fort Church was built near Sakonnet Point during World War II and was named for Benjamin Church. The largest of the four batteries was Battery Gray with two 16-inch guns, an area that became the Sakonnet Golf Club.

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