Tiverton Four Corners
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A Walking Tour Through History

Four Corners has been an important part of Tiverton for 300 years. The town of Tiverton, originally part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, has an interesting history - as it has been a witness to Native American life, European settlement, multiple wars, the transfer to Rhode Island, and the remarkable transition from British to American rule.

 
 

Please pardon the missing photos as we are still building this page with current scenes.  ~ Thank you!

 

Chronology


1620 | Pilgrims arrive in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The town of Tiverton is still occupied by the Pocasset tribe of the Wampanoags. The tribe was governed by the squaw sachem, Weetamoo.

1629 | Governor Bradford of the Plymouth Colony purchased the area called Pocasset from its original inhabitants, making the town of Tiverton part of Massachusetts. 

1680 | King Philip's War erupts between the colonists and the Native Americans. Weetamoojoins with King Philip in fighting the colonists. Shortly after the war, Plymouth Governor Winslow sells the lands to Edward Gray and seven other English men for the sum of £1,200 lbs. This was known as the "Pocasset Purchase". The southern portion of the town became known by its native name "Punkateest". 

1683 | A 4-rod highway is laid out north of Four Corners, following the original trail along the course of the west Main Road. The proprietors of Puncateest laid out lots extending from the Sakonnet River east to Acoaxet.

1694 | Tiverton was incorporated as a township under British rule. 

1710 | The Four Corners area is measured and bounded by an 80 acre mill lot, including the mill owned by Joseph Taber. The mill and village were called "Nomscot" for the pond now called "Nonquit". Thirty building lots were measured and the nucleus of the village of Tiverton Four Corners was formed. 

1746 | By British Royal Decree the town of Tiverton, along with Little Compton, Bristol, Warren, and Cumberland, is brought within the jurisdiction of Rhode Island. 

1775-1777 | During the American Revolution the British held Aquidneck Island and Tiverton became an asylum for Americans fleeing the British oppression. The famous French General, Marquis de Lafayette, briefly used a house just north of Four Corners as his headquarters.

 

 

Beginning the Tour

The North End of the Historic Distric

 

 
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Amicable Congregational Church (c. 1845) [1]
3736 Main Road

This is the second Congregational church building on this lot. The church is a small but monumental Greek Revival building with a square, one stage belfry and three stained glass windows. It has a large polygonal bay in front flanked by double-door entries.

The Amicable Congregational Society was organized in 1746 and a church building was erected on Lake Road in 1747. In 1805 this half acre lot at Four Corners was given to the society to use as a meeting house site. Around 1808 the new church edifice was built here. Services alternated between the two buildings until 1844, when the original church was closed. In 1845 the meeting house was destroyed by fire, but was immediately rebuilt according to plans submitted by Pardon Seabury.

Hillside Cemetery  [1a] 
Address to Come...


3785 Main Road
Private Residence (c. 1950) 
Information Coming Soon

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Parsonage (c. 1832) 
3804 Main Road (Private Residence)

The church parsonage is a one-and-a-half story vernacular structure with a central entry in a 5-bay facade. This building would have served as the residence for the pastor of the church. 

3805 Main Road
Private Residence (c. 1903) 



3831 Main Road
Private Residence (c. 1850) 
 

 
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Union Public Library (c. 1868) 
3832 Main Road

The Union Library is a simple one-story, wood shingle building and is the oldest library in Tiverton and the second oldest in Newport county. The Library Society was founded in March 1820 when a group of young men wanted to establish a social library. The original constitution of the society stated that only "fair and honorable" company could be members and any person guilty of disorderly behavior could be expelled. The location of the library in Four Corners changed several times before the society purchased this Temperance Hall in 1914 from the Independent Order of Good Templars.

 

3838 Main Road
Milk & Honey Bazaar [3]

This lot was originally part of the Soule-Seabury Homestead. 
The current building was built in 2000

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Benjamin F. Seabury House (c. 1840) [5]
Sakonnet Collective
3842 Main Road


A two-and-a-half story, vernacular residence is set gable end to the road, with a Greek Revival entry at the left side of the front. The house once served as the location for the library during the nineteenth century. Benjamin Seabury was the son of Cornelius Seabury, a successful businessman. 

3841 Main Road
Four Corners Grille [4]
This property was built in 1940 as a restaurant. It has undergone several minor renovations. 


3845 Main Road
Salt
This property was built in the 1940s using timber frames of earlier houses. 
It served as the residence for the owner of the gas station noted below.


3847 Main Road
The Cottage at Four Corners [7]
Although not historic, this property was originally a concrete block gas station built in the 1940s. It was converted to a retail store in the 1980s. The entire concrete block structure of the gas station still exists behind the shingle walls. 


17 Puncateest Neck Road
Sayles Livingston Flowers
Originally a horse barn for the Davol family, this building was converted to retail use in the 1980s. 


3851 Main Road
Tiffany Peay Jewelry
Originally a residence built in the 1950s, this property was converted to a retail store in the 1980s. 

 
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Wilcox-Davol House (c.1809) [11]
Farm Coast Outfitters, Studio by the Sea, Wrigley Studio
3879 Main Road


A two-and-a-half story, Federal era residence, with a pair of small brick chimneys and a Greek Revival entry. In the late 19th century it served as the residence of B. Wilcox and A.P. White. 
The presence of the Wilcox family at Four Corners began in the late 1600s with Daniel Wilcox, who inherited his lot from his father-in-law John Cook, a passenger on the Mayflower. Wilcox's home was near where the Provender stands today and his grist windmill was close by on Puncateest Neck Road.

In 1693 Daniel Wilcox led a riot in protest of the merger of Plymouth County into the Province of Massachusetts Bay.Wilcox and his followers barricaded themselves inside his home and were eventually arrested by the Royal forces and found guilty of "mutinous and riotous acts". Wilcox refused to pay his fine and fled to Rhode Island. Eventually he wished to return to Tiverton and in 1701 he transferred some Tiverton land to the Massachusetts Bay Province in form of payment of his fine. He died the next year, 1702, in Tiverton. The Davol family eventually came into ownership of the house. An early general store was run by William H. Davol at the northeast area of Four Corners.

Wilcox Family Cemetery

This historical cemetery is located behind the Wilcox-Davol
house and the Provender

 
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A. P. White Store (c.1876) [12]
The Provender
3883 Main Road


The store was built by Andrew Peregrine White, who lived upstairs above the store. White was a direct descendant of Peregrine White, who was born on the Mayflower and is acknowledged as the first child born to the Pilgrims in the New World. The store was a two story commercial building with a bell-cast mansard roof, cupola, and a bracketed cornice. There is a one story porch across the front and part of one side. There would often be groups of men sitting out on the stoop of this porch. For a while the building served as a post office. White also ran the mill and ice house at nearby Pittsville. This building was restored in 1982.

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Soule-Seabury House (c. 1770/1809) [13]
Law Offices of Richard S. Humphrey
Four Corners Arts Center
3852 Main Road

The original home on this property was built in 1770 and it was enlarged to present size in 1809 by Abner Soule, a blacksmith, whale-man, and Revolutionary War soldier.  Abner Soule was a long line descendant of George Soule who came to the New World on the Mayflower in 1620. The property was inherited by Abner's son Cornelius Soule, a famous sea captain who was involved in the China trade. In 1816 he deeded the property to his cousin Cornelius Seabury, a successful merchant at Four Corners. Just two years later Soule was lost at sea when his ship sank off the coast of the Philippines. This stately Federal country house contains eight rooms, each with a fireplace, and a cellar kitchen with the original cooking fireplace. Cornelius Seabury ran the general store that was located on the corner of the property.

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3850 Main Road
The Meeting House [9]

The current building was built in 1994 and replaced a small horse barn that belonged to the Soule-Seabury property.

 
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Corn Crib (c. 1770)

This corn crib was part of the Soule-Seabury property.
It is one of the oldest corn cribs on the Sakonnet peninsula.

18 East Road
Arch Contemporary Ceramics
This property was built in 1994
 

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Seabury General Store
This general store was located on the corner of Soule-Seabury property. Cornelius Seabury ran this store for about thirty years. After he retired the store was operated by his sons-in-law, Oliver Hicks and Andrew Cory. 
This picture was taken facing north and shows the general store with the John Almy house in the foreground.

 
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Arnold Smith House (c. 1750)
3895 Main Road


This is a small, shingled, gambrel-roofed cottage with a central entry and a four light transom in a three bay facade. The house, built in 1750 is set on a slight rise.  About 1820 an addition was made at the west side.  Later the center chimney was removed

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8 Puncateest Neck Road
Robert Humphrey Law Offices; This building was built as a private residence in 1921. 

8 Puncateest Neck Road
Peter's Attic & Antiques II [14]; This property was built in 1900

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8 Puncateest Neck Road
Peter's Attic & Artemis

This property was built in 1900

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Wilcox Grist Windmill

The windmill was built by Daniel Wilcox in 1776 and was located on the north side of Puncateest Neck Road, close to the original Wilcox home.

The windmill was in use for about 100 years and is no longer standin

37 Puncateest Neck Road, Private Residence (c. 1875)

47 Puncateest Neck Road, Private Residence (c. 1900)

61 Puncateest Neck Road, Private Residence (c. 1850) 

 
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16 East Road; Gray's Ice Cream [16]

John Almy House (c. 1797)
The parking lot of Gray's Ice Cream was the site of the John Almy House,
which was built in 1797 and demolished in the 1950s.

 
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The Whipping Post (c. 1719)

At the corner of this property was an upright stone post, which was known as the Whipping Post from 1719 to 1812. Public floggings were permitted by law, as a Rhode Island statute stated that "the condemned prisoner shall be tied to an upright post and flogged according to the sentence of the Court".  The Whipping Post at Four Corners was utilized until it was knocked over by an angry group of women in protest.  
One day the governor of Rhode Island, Isaac Wilbour, was riding through Four Corners on horseback and came upon a riotous scene caused by the fact that a young woman, her back bared, had been tied to the Whipping Post.  Governor Wilbour, a Quaker, suggested to the women that if there were no upright post, the law could not be carried out. As he rode away from the scene the women pushed over the upright post and never again was a woman publicly flogged in Rhode Island.  The Whipping Post disappeared when the John Almy House was demolished and its exact location is still unknown

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Chase-Cory House (c. 1730)
3908 Main Road
Tiverton Historical Society Museum[17]
www.tivertonhistory.com

This house was built either by Benjamin Chase or his son Abner Chase. Benjamin was married to Amy Borden, who is the great-great-great-great-aunt of the infamous Lizzie Borden. The building is a gambrel roofed cottage with a large brick center chimney and a transom over the center entrance. There are several outbuildings on the property, including a corn crib, a washhouse, and a privy.  In 1816 it was acquired by Andrew Cory, a member of one of Tiverton's several whaling families, and his wife Jane Gray Seabury, granddaughter of Col. Pardon Gray.  In 1964 it was taken over by the Tiverton Historical Society and was restored to its present condition. It is one of the best preserved examples of a modest Colonial farmhouse to be found in Tiverton

3913 Main Road
Cantin Photography
This building was built in 1985

 
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Pardon Cory House (c. 1840) 
3920 Main Road

A Greek Revival cottage that is set gable end to the road, with a recessed entry at the right side. 
Pardon Cory was a fisherman, carpenter, and boat builder

 
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King Cottage (c.1800) 
3924 Main Road 

A shingled cottage with a small, brick, center chimney,
a central entry in a 5-bay facade, and an ell at the rear.

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Blacksmith Shop / Ice House  
3940 Main Road
MetalWorks 

A one-and-a-half story, wood-shingled building, set gable end to the road. Previously two separate buildings occupied this site, a blacksmith shop and an ice house. In the 20th century the site was used to store oil trucks and then was a gas station until Metal Works was established in 1961. 

 
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The A.P. White Grist Mill (c. 1850)
3948 Main Road
T.L. Holland Real Estate

This one-and-a-half story masonry building with stuccoed stone sides has a central, double-door entry in the gable end. It was originally built by William Pitt Bateman, who purchased the land around the brook from Joseph Taber and built the grist mill, store, and wheelwright shop. The area was thereafter known as Pittsville. The gristmill was sold to A.P. White in 1876 and it continued to ground corn for johnnycakes until after WWII. The miller lived in the house next to the mill

 
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The Grist Mill Store (c. 1870) 
3952 Main Road 
Cutie Curls

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Nonquit Grange (c. 1870)
3964 Main Road
Mill Pond Shops 

A two-and-a-half story, wood-shingled building with two single door entries at each end. It was originally built as a public hall and then was used as a grange hall after the grange society was organized in 1893.

 
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Preserved Tripp's Wheelwright Shop (c. 1800) 
3949 Main Road

A two-and-a-half-story wood shingled building, set gable end to the road. It was originally built as a wheelwright shop by William Pitts Bateman. In 1868 it housed the library and Mrs. Preserved Tripp, who lived on the second floor, was the librarian. The building was used as a gas station in the early to mid 20th century

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3980 Main Road
Courtyards
This building was moved to the site in 1980.

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William Davenport House (c. 1840)
3988 Main Road


A Greek Revival farmhouse with a row of small windows under the eaves. It was the residence of the Davenport and Manchester families in the nineteenth century. An Ebenezer Davenport once held part ownership of the nearby mill. 

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Tiverton Four Corners School House #1
4042 Main Road

his former one-room schoolhouse was built in 1800 by the Manchester Family. In 1854 the Town of Tiverton purchased this structure for one-hundred dollars. This Schoolhouse was one of twelve one-room schools used by Tiverton until consolidation to regional schools began in the 1920’s due to the advent of motorized bus transportation.

 
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Sakonnet Farm
4042 Main Road

Family compound originally built by Manny Cavaca. At one point was the home of the South Tiverton fire station. Was also a gas station.

 
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Captain Philip Cory House

The Captain Philip Cory House ( circa 1770) is a 2 ½ -story, wood clapboard, Federal-inspired, post-and- beam timber frame structure, set gable end to the road, with a 3-bay facade, having three large, brick, interior chimneys (6 fireplaces and an original kitchen bake oven). The house employs the classical details of the Federal and Greek revival styles, a historic architectural evolution reflected throughout this house. 

Captain Philip Cory, son of Philip Cory and Hannah Gray, was born on 23 November 1741 in Tiverton, Bristol County, Massachusetts, died on 23 October 1802 in Tiverton, Newport County, Rhode Island at age 60. He was buried in Tiverton, Newport County, Rhode Island in the family cemetery located behind the house. The cemetery, known as the Gardner Douglas Farm Historical Cemetery is now identified as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery No. 63 on the land of Captain Philip Cory, where he, his wife and descendants are buried. The cemetery plot number is No. 62 and is accessible behind 24 Peaceful Way. Philip was a long time resident of Tiverton, Rhode Island. When it came time to defend his beliefs against the British during the Revolutionary War he joined the Rhode Island Militia. He is listed in Isaac Cook’s records as a Lieutenant in the 1777 Military Census of Rhode Island town of Tiverton. In the DAR index he is listed as a Captain in the 1st Co. Rhode Island. His Mayflower index number is 47740. It appears from different records that he owned property in Westport Point, Massachusetts, his son Joseph rented this house. A record of this can be found in a 1798 tax roll taken on this property. There is also evidence that he was involved in ship building and sailing of these ships from a contract agreement between him and a brother. The Captain Philip Cory papers can be found at the New Bedford Whaling Museum which includes a large collection of business papers and ship logs from the whaling business that Philip and son Isaac ran from the 1790’s until the 1860’s. The family also owned and operated salt works in Westport. The war orders given to Philip from Colonel Pardon Gray requiring him to muster all the men under his command are of particular interest.