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 Exeter Rhode Island Home Improvement


In the early 1600's the colonial settlements of North Kingstown and East Greenwich referred to the area west of the Connecticut boundary as the "Vacant Lands." This large area of land consisted of the communities of West Greenwich, northern parts of South Kingstown, Charlestown, Richmond, Hopkinton and Exeter. There were no colonial settlements in this area, hence the name "Vacant Lands." However, this tract of land was by no means vacant, it was a stronghold of the Narragansett Indians.

The decline of the Narragansetts probably began with the famous Pettaquamscutt Land Purchase in 1657. Sixty-four thousand acres of land was purchased from the Narragansetts by land speculators for the small sum of goods worth approximately $175.00, although hostility still remained in the area.

After many intense battles between the colonists and the Indians, the Great Swamp fight broke the stronghold of the Indian Empire in the "Vacant Lands." Indian survivors of the Great Swamp Fight were later massacred in the Town of Natick, on the Pawtucket River. This massacre brought an end to Indian supremacy in this area.

From 1680 to 1725, the first permanent settlers of Exeter began to carve homesteads and farms out of the wilderness. The town expanded, rapidly, and by 1740, there was a grand total of approximately one thousand people living in Exeter. By 1820, the population had tripled, and villages grew in the lowlands where streams were located, providing a source of power for the mills and small factories. Grist mills, saw mills, stores, blacksmith shops, warp factories, flannel mills and cotton mills sprang up throughout the villages.

With the advent of the 1900's, many of the villages began to decline. The factories were closing, the population decreased and many stores and shops were abandoned or converted for other uses. By 1930, this way of life was practically nonexistent.

Today, Exeter is primarily a rural community. A distinctly elegant and charming countryside, the wooded hills, clear streams and lakes, plus a multitude of wild life make this a most desirable spot for a country home site. Several old homes and farms are still in existence in Exeter giving the town a quaintness all its own.






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