East Greenwich, Rhode Island

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East Greenwich is a town in and the county seat of Kent County, Rhode Island, United States.[3] The population was 12,948 at the 2000 census. It is the wealthiest municipality in Rhode Island.

Formed in 1677 it was named for Greenwich, England. It was renamed Dedford in 1686 but reverted to its original name in 1689. In 1741 the more rural western three-quarters of the town was set off as West Greenwich, the remaining quarter of it thenceforth being called East Greenwich.

Until 1854, it was one of the five state capitals for Rhode Island. The General Assembly, when meeting in East Greenwich, used the local courthouse, which is today the town hall.

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Birthplace of the American Navy

On 12 June 1775, the Rhode Island General Assembly, meeting at East Greenwich, passed a resolution, which created the first formal, governmentally authorized navy in the Western Hemisphere: “It is voted and resolved, that the committee of safety be, and they are hereby, directed to charter two suitable vessels, for the use of the colony, and fit out the same in the best manner, to protect the trade of this colony... “That the largest of the said vessels be manned with eighty men, exclusive of officers; and be equipped with ten guns, four-pounders; fourteen swivel guns, a sufficient number of small arms, and all necessary warlike stores. “That the small vessel be manned with a number not exceeding thirty men. “That the whole be included in the number of fifteen hundred men, ordered to be raised in this colony... “That they receive the same bounty and pay as the land forces...”

Wasting no time, on 12 June 1775, the same day as the above resolution, Governor Nicholas Cooke signed orders addressed to “Captain Abraham Whipple, commander of the Sloop Katy, and commodore of the armed vessels employed by the government…”

A number of other towns also claim to be the birthplace of the American Navy, but none are as early, and none involve specific government authorization.

From 1802 to 1943 the East Greenwich Academy (Kent Academy), a prominent boarding school, operated in the town.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau[1], the town has a total area of 16.71 square miles (43.3 km2), of which, 16.58 square miles (42.9 km2) is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2) is water. Division Street forms the border of the town of Warwick to the north and west until Route 2. Greenwich Cove, an arm of the Greenwich Bay and mouth of the Maskerchug River, is the eastern most part of the town. Four hills roll progressively up to the border of West Greenwich, and Frenchtown Road is a rough reference to the southern boundary of North Kingstown.

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