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Archive - Feb 5, 2012 - News Article

Tell Me Your Story: It wasn't a 'castle' to 17th Century black residents

February 5, 2012

Special to the Standard

NORTH KINGSTOWN – They slept in the kitchen garret, high under the eaves in a room whose ceiling was so low they had to stoop.
With only two small windows, they sweltered in summer; in winter, they huddled around the stone chimney for warmth.
They were the slaves of Richard Smith Jr. – two men, one elderly woman and five children – and their existence is confirmed in a 1691 property inventory of Cocumscussoc, more commonly called Smith’s Castle.
When Daniel Updike died here in 1757, the slave population had risen to “18 Negroes and a baby.”

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers


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