Murder, Moonshine, and Mayhem

A news clipping, dated March 15, 1931, linked below, concerns the investigation of the murder of Della Brady by her husband, Richard.  Dr. Edward J. Knerr was the medical examiner  and Dr. J. W. Saunders, the coroner.  They were summoned by Sheriff Wilcox to examine the body.  The article goes on to report that when Constable Elmer A. Smith visited the Brady residence with a search warrant, he discovered a still along with moonshine.


On August 10, 1988, Joan B. Gilberti killed Dennis B. McConaghy with a shotgun.   Gilbert was charged with the crime in April, 1989, after a Grand Jury indictment.  The incident is described in a Westerly Sun article dated April 27, 1989:


New book and other Richmond cemetery stuff

According to Dory Wagner, a member of the RI Historic Cemetery Committee, “All of Richmond historic cemeteries now have a new sign installed”. Dory explained “This is important because often times people will think they have come upon a new cemetery.  Now it will be easy to tell if that is correct. If it has no cemetery sign then it is very likely a newly discovered cemetery. That’s always very exciting.”
Dory also reports the new Richmond historic cemetery book is getting nearer completion. ” Lorraine Arruda’s  research and headstone recordings are flawless perfection. This book will be such a wonderful gift to the town of Richmond. “
Refer to our heading: Cemeteries: A constant labor of……….for more information.

Everything has a story………

So the story begins:

On June 26, 1850 Thankful Lillibridge and Deborah Lillibridge “for an inconsideration of Six Dollars….Said Lot of Land Being Purchased by the Inhabitants of Said Town (of Richmond) for the Purpose of Building a Publick Town house on the Same to hold Town Meetings Town Councils and Courts of Probate in the same forever………”

(This land was part of a farm owned by the Lillibridge family.   Meadowburg is still a working farm and presently owned by the Kenyon Family.)

At this point in time, Richmond had been a Town for a little over 100 years.  A town house was built on the property and used for the purposes as laid out in the original deed. 

In 1883 the Town House needed repairs.  John L. Kenyon, Halsey P. Clarke, and N. K. Church were appointed to form a committee to “ascertain the practibility and probable cost of a new building…….”  They reported that “the gable ends are gradualy working in & that a part of the North side & Northwest Corner we belive to be unsafe….”  They provided an estimate of $1200 for a new building, 40’ x 28’ to be placed upon a stone foundation.

So the story continues:

At a Town Meeting held November 4, 1884, it was voted to build a shed on the Town Hall Lot.

On December 1, 1885, Nelson K. Church,  “Quitclaim…the Town of Richmond…a certain tract or parcel of land…conveyed for the use of the public for the purpose of having placed thereon that part of the Town shed…”

If “…said portion of said shed…should be removed therefrom then this Deed shall become null and void…and the above conveyed land shall immediately revert to the said grantor his heirs and assignes forever…”

The rest of the story….

The Richmond Town Hall is still located on the land deeded to the Town in 1850.  The carriage shed just a memory………


Alton Volunteer Fire Department

At a meeting held April 11, 1943, the Alton Volunteer Fire Department was created.  As a result of the tenacity of residents of that community, it grew to eventually be included as part of the existing Hope Valley-Wyoming Fire District.

The first officers were: Oscar Pratt, William Noyes, Charles Moen, Reginald Beers, Joseph Vigue, and Walter Collins.  Drivers were:  Joseph Bruseau, Robert Anderson, and George Baton.

 There was no budget, as there was no taxable income.  Money was raised through the gathering and selling of scrap metal, rags, and anything else of value.  A piece of land was donated and raffled off to raise funds.  Remember, at this time most of the goods we take for granted were earmarked to the War effort.  As part of the documents, there are waivers  from the Federal Government allowing the Fire Department to purchase certain materials (such as foam) necessary in fighting fires.

The original “fire station” was a two car garage and the addition used for a kitchen, was a building that had been damaged during a hurricane.   A Ladies Auxiliary was formed and suppers were held to raise money.

It is through the dedication of members of the small community of Alton that allowed fire coverage for the hazards located nearby.  In addition to a textile plant, a radioactive recovery plant, a chemical plant, railroad, large farms, and fuel storage facility, the Chariho Regional High School was also located within the boundaries of the Alton District.

In 1978,  the Alton Fire District boasted the youngest Fire Chief in Rhode Island.  Timothy Brusseau, an Assistant Fire Chief at age 19, assumed that position on the death of former chief, Francis Fleck.

We are very fortunate to have the donation of these records and thank Richard Heines, former Alton Fire Chief and “the last active member of the Alton Volunteer Fire Company before its induction into HVWFD” for his preservation of these records and  their donation to us.

Clark Library

We are fortunate for the generosity of Clark Library in allowing us to use some of their space for our archives.  It has proven to be an asset for us both.

Eleanor Smith, one of the  founders of the Richmond Historical Society (and mother of our archivist), left us a mountain of newspaper clippings.  It is an ongoing project to sort through these.  Today  was one of those quieter days where there was time for “the clippings”.  To my amazement, one of the first was  a youthful picture of one of our archivists doing a project at the library.

As we look forward to 2015, it seems like a good time to both recognize and thank our benefactor, Clark Library, and to share part of our genealogy.

Kate Desrochiers