This week in Block Island history -March 22, 1877

The Block Island Times (RI) is paying a small tribute to Samuel T. Livermore (not so much a tribute as a “you need to check this person and their book out” kind of thing). Interesting guy, wrote a great book almost 130 years ago about the history of Block Island, Rhode Island. He even mentioned the house painters on the island.

Excerpt from the article:

This week in Block Island’s history, 129 years ago, Rev. Samuel T. Livermore placed a pen to his manuscript of the island’s history for the final time, signing his name and the date: March 22, 1877.

In the remarkably short time of nine months, while maintaining his duties at the old Baptist Church at the Centre, he had finished a comprehensive 371-page chronicle of this unique pork-chop in the sea. The project was at the behest of the Town Council, who authorized the book in June 1876 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States of America.

The reverend delved into genealogy too, covering the Balls, Champlins, Dickens, Dodges, Hulls, Littlefields, Lewis’s, Mitchells, Motts, Paynes, Roses, and others – the same names that populate the overwhelming majority of the old Island Cemetery.

Two areas of his effort, though, make Samuel Livermore the greatest Block Island historian, one who can never be topped.

First, to Livermore’s credit, he was the original “oral historian” here, writing down anecdotes of his fellow islanders that would have been lost forever, as were those of previous generations already at the cemetery.

We should all be so lucky to find our house painting ancestors in such a book. Seriously, if you have finished your genealogy research for the year, you too could complete your area’s history within the next nine months. Make sure and add a lot of genealogy information (yes, you probably have a lot more history to write about, but you also have a computer and the internet to help out). Make sure and record as many “older” people as you can, because I have a feeling a lot of people aren’t.

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