Town History

Local History Timeline and Random Dates - this information on the town was taken from the book “A Swansea Stage Coach – A Local History” edited by Robert N. Cool, 1976 and published by the Swansea Historical Society.

1663 - founding of the First Baptist Church (intersection of Baptist Street and Rt 6)

1667 - Swansea founded (original Swansea included current Swansea in addition to what is now Somerset and much of present day eastern Rhode Island.  Swansea extended from the Taunton River to the west channel of Narragansett Bay until after 1700)

1667 - John Myles joins with Thomas Willet and several others to petition Plymouth Colony to let them form a new town.  John Myles, a Baptist Minister from Swansea, Wales, is the founder of the first Baptist Church in Swansea.  

1675 (June) - King Philip’s War battle at the Site of Bourne Garrison, locatd across from Gardner South cemetery. The Bourne Garrison was an 8-sided stone house used for business.  After the first battles of the war began, local settlers fled to the Bourne house for protection but were later massacred.  The killings marked a point of no return for both the English and the Wampanoags.  Please note that the site is located on private property.

1693 - Samuel Gardner and his friend Ralph Chapman purchase the land called Mattapoisett Neck for 1,700 pounds.  All of the houses on the Neck have been burned by the Indians during King Philip’s War so the men set out to rebuild the Neck and establish farms.  Samuel’s son Samuel would later have 10 children, 9 of who live to grow up on the farm and eventually raise their own families on the Neck.  One of these children is named Peleg who marries Hannah and they produce 16 children.   Mattapoisett Neck is now known as Gardner’s Neck (gee, I wonder why?).

1736 - The date of the first known bridge at the crossing of the Palmer River (John Myles Bridge, newly restored and rededicated in 2007)

1782-1861 - years of operation of the Mason Barney Shipyard. A monument exists at the corner of Barneyville Road and Old Providence Road

1821 (July 14) - date of death of Mr. Peleg Gardner, husband of Mrs. Anna who died April 18, 1838.

1841 (February 7) - date of death for Samuel Gardner, son of Col. Peleg and Hannah Gardner; final resting place located in the Gardner South cemetery, on Gardners Neck Road (Old Gardners Neck Road on the map)

1912 - monument to Mason Barney erected at the corner of Barneyville Road and Old Providence Road. In 1800, Mason Barney took over his father’s ship building business in the Bungtown section of town, now known as Barneyville.  Mason Barney’s ships sailed all over the world. 

1925 (January 1) - death date of Edwin C. Gardner whose finaly resting place is located in the Gardner North cemetery