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Rocky Brook

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From a Hazard village to a Rodman village, established by another of the major nineteenth-century mill-owning families in southern Rhode Island. The Rodman tract of some 1,000 acres, including Rocky Creek, a tributary of the Sauguatucket, goes back to the late seventeenth century. Samuel Rodman, who began by managing the Hazard mills while operating a shipping business at Narragansett Pier, early in the nineteenth century purchased a piece of the ancestral property (from a Hazard who then owned it) and built a masonry mill complex which once included three mills for yarn production, two gutted by fire in the 1870s. Prosperous before the Civil War, the Rodman mills fell on hard times afterward, and finally ceased operation completely in 1895. Thereafter, the millpond became a local reservoir with a cobblestone pumping station. In its heyday during the 1850s, Rocky Brook won praise in J. R. Cole's History of Washington County (1889): Samuel Rodman “built pretty cottages for his operatives, made roads, set out trees and beautified the place until it became … one of the thriftiest as well as one of the most picturesque villages in New England.”

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.

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