The Richmond Historical Society is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1968 by Lucy Rawlings Tootell. The purposes of the society are to:
• further the study and collection of the oral and written history of the region
• foster the collection, preservation, and archiving of manuscripts and articles of historic interest and
• encourage the preservation and marking of historic sites
Richmond, a town of approximately 50 square miles in Washington County(South County) Rhode Island is bounded by the Wood, Usquepaug, and Pawcatuck rivers and was founded in 1747. It was primarily an agricultural area composed of a number of mill vilages.
The Society tries to meet four to six times annually either at the Bell School (built 1826) in Wyoming, RI or at the Clark Memorial Library in Carolina, RI. These meetings are educational, business, and social in nature. Presentations are also given at the Wood River Chapel. Outside speakers have presented such varied subjects over the years as:
- the town’s role in the civil war
the town’s mill villages
stonewalls of South County
apple growing in Rhode Island
- the construction of interstate route 95
- outhouses and octogon houses
Officers for the year 2018 are:
• President – Richard Wolke
• Vice-President – Kristen Chambers
• Secretary – Johanna Wolke
• Treasurer – Carolyn Richard
• Members at large – Dory Wagner, Virginia Williams, and Jessica Wolke
• Archivist, Genealogist- Patricia Millar
The Society’s extensive archives are located at the Clark Memorial library. The Society owns and maintains two buildings: the Bell School and the original Richmond Town Clerk’s Office in the historic village of Carolina. It has, in conjunction with a member and the R.I.Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission, placed a marker at the historic stone dam in Hope Valley. It will assist those who own historical houses in placing such markers.
The Society has published three books, two of which are still in print and available. They are:
• Driftways into the Past a history of Richmond published in 1977
• Carolina: A Mill Village published in 2003
• “Down Country” Cookin’ a book of local recipes published in 1995. This book also contains a series of pen and ink drawings of Richmond houses and local lore.