Portsmouth to break famous documents out of vaults

Town celebrates Founders’ Day on March 7

Posted 3/5/22

PORTSMOUTH — The town will celebrate Founders’ Day on March 7 with a showing of the original 1638 Portsmouth Compact and the 1776 Southwick copy of The Declaration of …

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Portsmouth to break famous documents out of vaults

Town celebrates Founders’ Day on March 7

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — The town will celebrate Founders’ Day on March 7 with a showing of the original 1638 Portsmouth Compact and the 1776 Southwick copy of The Declaration of Independence. 

The Portsmouth Historical Society has arranged a public viewing of the Compact with the R.I. State Archives to commemorate its signing. An archivist with police escort will carry the precious document, one of the oldest and most important in the state archives, to and from the Portsmouth Town Hall, where citizens can view it. 

The viewing will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, March 7. There will  be a short ceremony and Town Historian Jim Garman will give brief remarks from 12:15-12:30 p.m.

Also on display will be the town’s copy of The Declaration of Independence, believed to be the only Rhode Island copy that’s remained at its intended destination: at a town clerk’s office or in a town hall. About 36 copies were printed for the Rhode Island Assembly by Newport printer Solomon Southwick on July 13, 1776, and then distributed to each city and town clerk around the state to be read to the public or posted for the public to view. Portsmouth has one of only eight copies known to exist.  

Replicas of the compact will be for sale at the event.

For more information, visit www.portsmouthhistorical.org, or e-mail PHSinfo@portsmouthhistorical.org.

2022 by East Bay Media Group

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.