Lovely Little Compton by Paul E. Kandarian
Little Compton, Rhode Island, is one of my favorite towns. And not just because it’s got a great little convenience store in Adamsville where on my way back from Newport I pull off the highway to get a Powerball ticket, in this little village right on the Massachusetts border. A rich history Little Compton is big on cool, and like virtually all New England towns, huge on a rich past and foundation. History has it the land that comprises Little Compton once belonged to the Sakonnet tribe, led by Awashonks, cousin of Metacomet, a.k.a., King Philip, all of them mega-native names in the day and worthy of their place in our history. The first Europeans were Brits from Duxbury up the coast who came down to, naturally, selfishly expand their land 8
holdings by stealing it from the Indians, which eventually led to all manner of conflicts and bloodletting. They tried negotiating but failing that, Plymouth County officials granted them a charter for the land. And the lottery was big even then, though not quite in the same vein as today: in a series of lotteries starting in 1674, the colony divided the land into lots and started settling the land. All manner of historic sites naturally abound in Little Compton (which is thought to be named after Little Comp-
February 2010 / The South Coast Insider
ton in Warwickshire, England, though no solid proof exists), including the entire town commons, which is not only listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but is the state’s only town common, it is said. Not a lot of truly old buildings remain, but one includes the Wilbor House, built by Samuel Wibore in 1673, and which now serves as the headquarters of the Little Compton Historical Society, well worth a visit to inhale the historic feel of the place.
Truly un-common And speaking of historic, no better place in Little Compton for it than the town common, a great place to walk around and be enveloped by history. The Quaker Meeting House, Number 8 Schoolhouse, Town Hall, Wilbur’s Store and the United Congregational Church are all buildings of varying antiquity