Pawtuxet History

“In the beginning…”

Pawtuxet Village is one of America’s most historic sites.…the very spot where America launched its first official act of the Revolutionary War . It was here in 1772 where Rhode Island patriots took the first organized military action toward independence by attacking and burning the hated revenue ship,  the H.M.S. Gaspee in the bay. This first act led directly to the establishment of the Committee of Correspondence, unifying the individual colonies and starting the process of the American Revolution.
“PAWTUXET” means ‘Little Falls’ in the native language. This area was originally occupied by the Somonoce Pawtuxet tribe (part of the larger Narragansett Indian nation), who used the area as a feasting ground, until the year 1638 when Rhode Island founder Roger Williams purchased the property extending south from Providence to the Pawtuxet River. Meanwhile Samuel Gorton, the founder of Warwick purchased the land south of the Pawtuxet River.
Early 18th century inhabitants took advantage of the power of the Pawtuxet River by constructing various mills and took advantage of its excellent harbor by building one of America’s premier shipping ports.
Pawtuxet Village remains unique in that it is essentially shared by both Cranston and Warwick… the northern portion is in the city of Cranston, while the portion of the village to the south of the river belongs to the town of Warwick.