|Gaspee Days Committee History Files|
|1966 Press Release
The following was a standard press release from the Gaspee Day(s) Committee, and probably appeared in the Warwick Beacon sometime in May 1966.
The Burning Of The 'Gaspee'
On the night of June 9-10. 1772, three years before Concord and Lexington, a party of Rhode Island men in eight longboats captured and burned the British customs schooner, "Gaspee", wounding her captain and taking her crew prisoners in the first armed conflict of the American Revolution. The incident took place off the Warwick shore in Narragansett Bay, where the "Gaspee" had run aground that afternoon on Namquit Point, since called Gaspee Point.
The Americans from Providence, Warwick, Bristol and East Greenwich landed at Pawtuxet Village before dawn the following morning, about one mile north of the <stranded> vessel.
The "Gaspee Affair" eliminated the last of the hated vessels that had harassed Rhode Island shipping for eight long years, ever since the passage of the Stamp Act. Although everybody knew the prominent men who led the Gaspee Raid, no name was ever revealed to the King's Commission that was promptly sent over to investigate.
However, as a direct result of the burning of the Gaspee, the colonies organized the famous Committees of Correspondence that first drew them together to act as one against the common danger.
"GASPEE DAY," proclaimed by the Governor, will be observed June 4, the first Saturday of the month, with services and dedications suited to the occasion.
Highlight of the day will be the afternoon parade, starting at 2 pm, sponsored by all the civic, patriotic, business, and fraternal groups in Warwick and nearby Cranston.
Besides distinguished visitors, there will be an assemblage of civilians and the military, including many of the oldest, historic Chartered Commands and musical organizations from all over New England, Rhode Island has ever brought together.
A pageant of men, women, and children in colonial garb will depict the taking of the British prisoners, drums will beat in the streets, historic flags will fly from the 24 houses still standing in Pawtuxet that looked down on the Gaspee raiders, and many direct descendants of those men will be in line of march.
First class bands and fife, drum, and bugle corps will sound the ancient marching rhythms, as an 18th century cannon booms out over Pawtuxet Cove.
There will be a historic exhibit in Pawtuxet, and the 1791 home of the Warwick Historical Society will be open for public inspection. It is hoped also that the marine divers now searching in the Bay for remains of the actual Gaspee may have discovered something by that time to put on exhibition.
The Daughters of the American Revolution will dedicate a plaque and a grove of trees at the Gaspee Overlook, there will be a memorial service in Pawtuxet Baptist Church, and dedication of a flagpole flying the 1775 Grand Union flag and the 1776 Rhode Island flag at Pawtuxet Bridge--starting at 10 o'clock that morning.
During the noon hour, colonial foods will be served at all the restaurants in the area, including bear steak, venison, jonny-cakes, hasty-pudding, Indian pudding, and pompion pie. Colonial drinks will be available, too—sillabub, flip, blackstrap, and others.
3 - Day Observance
Friday, June 3, will bring experts together for the First Annual Marine Historical Symposium, an all day meeting being held as a part of the annual Gaspee Day celebration.
On Sunday, June 5. the public will see a marathon three-hour race for outboard motor boats on upper Narragansett Bay, running a triangle from Gaspee Point across the Bay to Bullocks Point and back along Pawtuxet Neck.
Maps and lists of historic places to visit, hotels, motels, and restaurants will be available upon request. Centering around Pawtuxet, at the mouth of the Pawtuxet River, between Warwick and Cranston, the three-day observance will be a state-wide celebration of Rhode Island's historical past.
Tourists and natives alike are invited to attend and to participate in this great pageant of Rhode Island history.
For further information, write: The Gaspee Day Committee, <PO Box 1772>, Warwick, R.I. 02888.
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