Class to Reveal Town's Industrial Past
An archival-research class at Roger Williams University will unveil what they discovered about Barrington before the Civil War on Tuesday evening, Dec. 11.
"It's kind of a big detective story."
That's how Nancy Austin, an adjunct professor of history at Roger Williams University, describes the research done by her class this fall on Barrington's "captains of industry" before the Civil War.
The archival-research class will reveal just what they found tonight, Dec. 11, in the Barrington library auditorium. The session starts at 7 pm.
It's titled “People in Place: Manufacturing Households in Antebellum Barrington, RI (1820-1860).”
The class did the research as part of a year-long Community Partnership with the Barrington Preservation Society.
“There are some fabulous little stories,” said Austin, who guided the class as part of a year-long Community Partnership with the Barrington Preservation Society.
“They’ve discovered more than I ever knew,” said Carole Villucci, director of the Town Museum operated by the preservation society.
The class’s starting point was the 1820 U.S. Federal Census, said Austin.
“Thirty-four Barrington households reported that they engaged in manufacturing,” Austin said. “Some of the families names were familiar, some were not.”
Then, using archives, land evidence, and other local resources, said Austin, the class researched the labor and social history of these Barrington families. You'll hear all about the brick works, oyster harvesting, shoe making, farming, coal delivery and even a distillery in Barrington.
A little-known map of Barrington from 1866 that has been digitized and enlarged for study purposes will be on display.