The Cold War and other hazards

It was not unusual when attending school in the 1950’s to  experience “air raid drills” as  routinely, as fire drills.   Booklets were distributed providing instructions on building “fallout shelters” for protection in the event of a nuclear attack.


Additionally there were books for general first aid, first aid in chemical casualties and what to do if there was a nuclear attack or natural disaster.

chemical-casualties008             citizens-handbook007

In 1984, a chemical fire and spill occurred in the Wood River Junction area of Richmond.



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.


Richmond presently has a full time police department, however for many years it was a part-time force.  At times there were only  one or two covered shifts.  A Rhode Island State Police Barracks is located within the Town and was often relied on for coverage.  Even so, in 1970 Richmond purchased its first police car.


The 1970’s proved to be exciting at times, and occasionally not only local and State, but also federal law enforcement were called in for assistance:



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:


Wood River Junction Ladies Sewing Circle


On May 8, 1895 a group of women met at Mr. S. R. Hoxsie’s home to form “the Ladies Society for the purpose of helping to build and support a church”.  Officers were elected, rules and by-laws created, and weekly meetings held.  Dues in the amount of five cents were collected at each meeting.  Gentlemen were allowed as honorary members.


There were fines for not wearing an apron, or getting angry.  Monthly, a supper and entertainment was held.  An admission was charged for this event.


The last entry, dated May 6, 1903, referred to Mrs C.R. Nye settling her accounts.  It appears, at that time, she was “living so far away” and helping her new church.

Records such as this provide insight into the daily lives of the people living in our area.


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………


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