Bicknell has written a history of the town of Barrington, Rhode Island, from 1621 to 1898, that combines the chronological and the topical arrangements, and incorporates extensive material from original sources, providing detailed information on town officers, church membership and military service.
The area that became the town of Barrington was part of a larger region known by the Indian name of Sowams. This included the home of Massasoit, the leader of the Wampanoag tribe. The early settlers at Plymouth made frequent trips to Sowams to deal with Massasoit and his people.
The town of Swansea was established in this westernmost part of Plymouth Colony, bounded on Narragansett Bay, in the 1660s. The first church in Swansea was one of the first Baptist churches in New England. When Plymouth Colony merged with Massachusetts Bay in 1692, Swansea became part of Bristol County. As the population grew, the residents in the western part of Swansea wanted their own church, and eventually their own town. As a result, Barrington was set off in 1717. To this point the volume covers much of the history of Swansea.
In 1747 several Bristol County towns, including Barrington, were transferred to Rhode Island, and Barrington was renamed Warren. In 1770 the town of Warren split into two parts, the eastern half retaining the name of Warren and the western half reassuming the old name of Barrington.
The author includes extracts from town, county, church and other records. There are lists of church members from the first church of Barrington, and for about a dozen years records of baptism and marriages, including many vital events for blacks and Indians. There are many militia lists, including especially complete lists of service in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
The volume concludes with biographical sketches for more than a hundred prominent residents of Barrington, and genealogical information on some of the families.
Summary by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG
for Archive CD Books USA
The CD includes high-quality images of every page as originally published (not just a transcript) and is fully searchable using Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 5 or later recommended) on any Windows, Macintosh, or Unix computer. The data on this CD is completely self-contained, and requires no installation.