Early Settlers of Albion RI

A Presentation by Robert L. Tessier
North Gate, Upstairs Hall
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI 02865
December 6, 2015, 2:00 p.m.

All are welcome.  Presentation is free, donations are gratefully received.

cropped-Scan-2While much of what is known about Albion revolves around the history of its mill, little is known about the area prior to 1822. What has been known about early settlement has come down through oral history and has been repeated many times since its original publication in 1936. Truth does not come through repetition, however. It comes from hard facts and reliable source documents. Based on comprehensive research, this program will identify some of the early settlers of Albion and the lands they owned, with particular emphasis on the Lapham family, who owned land in Albion for over 150 years. In the course of this discussion, many long-held claims will be debunked as well.
Image: View of Albion from Cumberland, Woonsocket Call, September 1948.  From the website, “Tell me about Albion, RI”
TessierBiography: Bob Tessier is a retired Federal employee and Providence College alumnus who spent his formative years in Albion. Currently living in Maryland, Bob has nevertheless maintained a keen interest in the history of Albion. He is the creator and administrator of the Facebook group page “Remembering Albion, Rhode Island” and also the website “Tell Me About Albion, Rhode Island.”  He is a member of the Blackstone Valley Historical Society and the Rhode Island Historical Society, and is completing a research project about an aspect of Albion history that is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Live at North Gate-Ken Lyon presents Nirk Nation




Saturday, November 14th, 2015
7:00 P.M.
North Gate Toll House
Upstairs Hall
1873 Old Louisquisset Pike (Route 246)
Lincoln, RI 02865

Tickets $15.00

Contact: Jason Dionne – jjhdio70@gmail.com, or 401-862-4202

The #1 member of the Rhode Island Hall of Fame, Ken Lyon, returns to North Gate with a brand-new mix of R&B, blues and rock with lead singer Heidi Nirk, whom Ken describes as one of the best singers he’s ever heard. Heidi will be accompanied by Jackie Howarth at the drums, Billy Metcalf on bass, Bill Lacaille on keyboards, Richard “L’il Cousin” Calitri and his harmonica, and, of course, Ken Lyon on guitar.  The incredible mix of such varied music styles, added to the beautiful voice of Heidi Nirk, make for an evening you’ll never forget!

In addition, for your musical enjoyment, the evening will begin with Justin “Winding Boy” Lyon, whose Hill Country Blues will have you moving to the beat, in preparation for the exquisite strains of music as only Ken Lyon can arrange.  Seating is limited, so be sure to get your tickets early: Only $15.00, available from Jason Dionne (above).  See you all then!


Aboard the Fabre Line to Providence

FabreSunday, October 18, 2:00 p.m.

William Jennings  will talk about the subject of his book, Aboard the Fabre Line to Providence: Immigration to Rhode Island, co-authored with Patrick. E. Conley.

Books will be available for purchase at the talk. This presentation is free, all are welcome. Donations are gratefully accepted.

Acute congestion at the port of New York during the early decades of the 20th century resulted in the Fabre Line, a French-registered transatlantic steamship company catering to immigrant transport, choosing Providence as a port of call for its steamers between the years 1911 to 1934. At that time Providence was experiencing a renewed maritime vigor. During its calls there the Fabre Line landed nearly 84,000 aliens at Rhode Island’s capital city, 11,000 of which chose Rhode Island as their permanent place of abode. The two largest immigrant groups to debark at Providence during Fabre’s years were the Portuguese and Italians; however, many others came from various countries around the Mediterranean basin. Immigrants were the mainstay of the line, as was passenger traffic.

Immediately before the outbreak of the First World War, the Fabre Line took off with a boom only to have the conflict dampen its business and its futureexpectations. Yet the line held on, and the initial postwar years were the company’s best at Providence. Then came the national immigration restriction acts of 1921 and 1924 which presented the line with a serious challenge. Seeking to hold on to passenger traffic, Fabre ships began the practice of sending its vessels to various ports in the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, along with its traditional calls at Italy, Portugal, and the Azores, in order to fill its passenger manifests. Also, in an endeavor to offset the loss of human traffic, the line sought to increase cargo handling at the port as well as making a vigorous effort to promote tourist business. The line was unsuccessful in each of these latter efforts. When the Great Depression of the 1930s deepened, the Fabre Line quit the port of Providence without recognition or announcement on July 4, 1934. The days of transatlantic glory at Providence came to an abrupt termination.

The Fabre story involves tales of Providence and the state making serious efforts to keep Fabre at the port, Fabre’s friction with the New Haven Railroad, whose dock the line used during it’s initial years at Providence, the perils of transatlantic travel during the war years, the immigrant experience upon landing and the fine efforts of those who assisted them when they arrived, and the line’s attempt to beef up cargo handling and promote tourist traffic at the port in an effort to bolster the losses from sagging immigrant traffic.

Many Rhode Islanders, and those residing in Southern New England, can trace the experiences of their intrepid ancestors journey to the “promised land” of America on the Fabre Line during those early years of the twentieth century.


BVHS Upcoming Events

Blackstone Valley Historical Society
Upcoming Events

Talks are free and open to the public.

300979_2552830339386_362005823_nNovember 14, 2015, 7:00 p.m. Ken Lyon presents “Nirk Nation”, featuring Heidi Nirk.
Mark your calendars!   A fundraiser for BVHS.  An evening of blues and rock and roll. Poster




cropped-Scan-2December 6, 2015, 2:00 p.m. Robert Teyssier, Tracing the Early Settlers of Albion, RI.
 Robert Teyssier is the creator and administrator of the Facebook group page “Remembering Albion, Rhode Island” and also the website “Tell Me About Albion, Rhode Island.”  He is completing a research project about an aspect of Albion history that is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.   Image: View of Albion from Cumberland (Woonsocket Call, September 1948), from “Tell me about Albion, RI”

Other Interesting Historical Events

The Museum of Work and Culture and Historic New England are having some interesting events:

MNap_Lajoie_Baseball_Carduseum of Work and Culture-Labor Day Open House

Monday, September 7, 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The Museum of Work & Culture, 42 S. Main St., Woonsocket

Admission and programming are free, with this year’s events themed to honor Woonsocket’s own Baseball Hall of Famer, Napoleon LaJoie. Activities including screenings of “Inning Three” from the Ken Burns documentary Baseball at 11am and 2pm and presentations & limited book giveaways by author & baseball historian Greg Rubano at 10am and 1pm. A cake from Wright’s Dairy will be served in celebration of LaJoie’s birthday and traditional stadium food from Buff’d Out BBQ will be available for purchase.  This event is made possible in part by the generous sponsorship of the Rhode Island Labor History Society.

Remembering the Storm of the (19th) Century with two programs

On September 23, 1815, an unusually high tide coinciding with a powerful hurricane created a disaster to remember in Providence. The storm caused extensive damage, tearing ships from their moorings, wrecking buildings, and destroying several bridges. Amazingly, only three lives were lost. The event was known as the Great Gale of 1815.  Join Historic New England and the Rhode Island Historical Society for two programs that will reflect on this catastrophic natural disaster and how it impacted Providence.

Remembering the Great Gale of 1815 

Wednesday, September 16, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Aldrich House, 110 Benevolent Street, Providence, R.I.

Join Robert P. Emlen, Brown University curator and senior lecturer in American studies, for a look back on the two hundredth anniversary of this natural disaster.

$5 Historic New England and Rhode Island Historical Society members
$10 nonmembers  Registration is required. Please call 401-728-9696 or register online at www.HistoricNewEngland.org .

Remembering the Great Gale of 1815 Walking Tour

Saturday, September 19, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
John Brown House Museum, 52 Power Street, Providence R.I.

Walk the historic area affected by the Great Gale of 1815 with Dan Santos of Historic New England and Barbara Barnes of the Rhode Island Historical Society.  Visit the very places that bore the impact of this impressive storm. The tour begins at the John Brown House Museum, 52 Power Street, Providence, R.I.

$10. Registration required. Please call 401-273-7507 ext. 2 or e-mail BBarnes@RIHS.org




Tour of Cogswell Tower


BVHS ON THE GO_2Wednesday, August 26, 6:30 p.m.   Meet at the entrance to Jenks Park on Broad Street, Central Falls, RI, 02863

Central Falls Councilman Bob Ferri invites you to walk with him around Jenks Park and tour the Cogswell Tower.  On Wednesday, August 26 at 6:30 p.m. he will explain this gem within the city, and show you what few know exists there: A grotto at the base of the Tower.


Bob will meet us all at the front entrance to the Park, on Broad Street, right next to City Hall.  Bring your family and friends to enjoy a fascinating night at the Park!

This walk is sponsored by the Blackstone Valley Historical Society, as part of its On-The-Go series of excursions around the Valley.

Jenks Park Plate Closeup3


Images: Above: Cogswell Tower from Wikipedia Commons.

View of Jenks Park, painting on a small souvenir china plate in the collection of the BVHS, from the Lysander Flagg Museum.


Don’t miss our upcoming events!  If you like our programs, please support us.  Membership is only $20 for individuals and $30 for families.  If you are interested in local history, please email us your program suggestions.  Or drop in at an event or meeting to talk to us.



Around the Blackstone Valley


Some exciting things are happening in the Blackstone Valley.

Don’t miss the Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park Ranger Walkabouts.  The Park and its partners will offer fourteen free programs on Thursday evenings through the end of August. Each week there will be a tour of a different part of Blackstone Valley.  See here for details.  Here is next week’s walkabout.

August 27 – Chepachet, RI
The Hidden Mill Village

Today Chepachet, RI is best known as a shopping center, a role it has played for over two hundred years. But Chepachet was once home to several mills, and the site of one of the most important events in Rhode Island’s political history that was spurred on by industrialization. Hear these stories of Chepachet’s hidden past.  Location: Meet at Glocester Town Hall 1145 Putnam Pike, Chepachet, RI, parking in the rear of Town Hall.

Joseph Spaulding House, Pawtucket, RI

375px-Joseph_Spaulding_House,_Pawtucket_RITake the new Virtual Tour of the Joseph Spaulding House in Pawtucket. Image from Wikipedia Commons.



Franklin Farm

A master plan to preserve Franklin Farm, Cumberland’s historic house and farm complex, has been presented to the Cumberland Town Council. Read about it here.

Strawberry Social and Other News

Welcome Summer at the Second Annual Strawberry Social at North Gate Saturday, June 13th!

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

North Gate Toll House, 1873 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI  02865

Strawberry Festival sign

With the warmer days of summer about to come upon us, what better way to celebrate than with Strawberry Shortcake.  The Blackstone Valley Historical Society as in days of old, will welcome the new season with the pick of the strawberry crop on homemade cake, and topped with whipped cream.

As part of the festivities, the old Bakery will be open, to show how cakes and cookies were made in the turn of last century.  Also, for children, there will be crafts to take home as souvenirs of this time of year.

The cost will be only $5.00, to benefit the historical research and archiving being done at the Blackstone Valley Historical Society.  We’ll see you all Saturday, June 13th!