HISTORY OF SWANSEA
SWANSEA LANDS SWANSEA lies in the southwestern part of the county, and is bounded as follows: On the north by Seekonk, Rehoboth, and Dighton; on the east by Dighton and Somerset; on the south by Somerset and Mount Hope Bay. "A portion of this town was originally comprehended within the limits of ancient Rehoboth. It forms a part of the tract called by the Indians ' Wannamoisett,' situated in this town and Barrington, R. I. This town was incorporated in 1667, and then included within its limits the present towns, Somerset, Barrington, and the greater part of Warren, R. I. The town derived its name from ' Swan Sea,' in Wales, and was so spelled in the earliest records. In 1649, Obadiah Holmes and several others, having embraced the Baptist sentiment, withdrew from Mr. Newman's church, and set up a separate meeting of their own. The attempt to break them up, and the persecutions they met with, only increased their numbers. In 1663 they were much strengthened by the arrival of Rev. John Myles and his church. In the same year Mr. Myles formed a Baptist Church in Rehoboth the first in Massachusetts (the fourth in America). It was organized in the house of John Butterworth, and commenced with seven members. These and subsequent proceedings were considered such an evil by the rest of the inhabitants that an appeal was made to the Plymouth Court to interfere. Each member of this new church was fined five pounds, and prohibited from worship for a month. They were also advised to remove from Rehoboth to some place where they would not prejudice any existing church. They accordingly moved to Wannamoisett. "Capt. Thomas Willett, a magistrate, and a man of great ability and enterprise, having large possessions at Narragansett, near by, came and settled here. Hugh Cole and some others followed. Capt. Willett became subsequently the first Enghsh mayor of New York. He and Mr. Myles may be justly styled the fathers of the town. *'In 1670 it was ordered that the lands should be proportioned according to three ranks. Persons of the first rank were to receive three acres; of the second, two acres; of the third, one acre. In admitting inhabitants, the selectmen were to decide to which rank they should be apportioned. This singular division existed nowhere else in New England. "This town is memorable as the place where the first English blood was shed in ' King Philip's War.' On Sunday, June 20, 1675, King Philip permitted his men to march into Swansea and annoy the Enghsh by kilUng their cattle, in hopes to provoke them to commence the attack, for it is said that a superstition prevailed among them that the side who shed the first blood should finally be conquered. The Indians were so insolent that an Englishman finally fired upon one of them, and wounded him. The Indians upon this commenced open war. As soon as the intelligence of this massacre reached Boston, a company of foot under Capt. Henchman, and a troop under Capt. Prentice, immediately marched for Mount Hope, and being joined by another company of one hundred and ten volunteers under Capt. Mosely, they all arrived at Swansea June 28th, where they joined the Plymouth forces, under Capt. Cudworth. Mr. Miles' house, being garrisoned, was made their headquarters. About a dozen of the troop went immediately over the bridge, where they were fired upon out of the bushes, and one killed and one wounded. The English forces then pursued the enemy a mile or two, when the Indians took to the swamp, after having lost about a half-dozen of their number. The troop commenced their pursuit of the Indians next morning. They passed over Miles' Bridge and proceeded down the river till they came to the narrow of the neck, at a place called Keekamuit, or Kickamuit. Here they found the heads of eight Englishmen, that the Indians had murdered, stuck on poles; these they buried. On their arrival at Mount Hope, they found that place deserted."