The Shrewsbury property is located on Swamp Road in the Town of Little Compton, in Newport County, Rhode Island. The property lies south of Swamp Road and west of Meadow Lane, a private right of way. It is immediately north of the Small property and immediately south of the DeAlmo property, both of which are also owned in fee by the Sakonnet Preservation Association.
The Shrewsbury property is entirely forested, with both wetland and upland habitats present. Although the property has frontage on Swamp Road, it is relatively inaccessible due to its hydrology and well developed understory. Currently, SPA conducts annual monitoring of the property and no violations have been noted in the monitoring records.
According to local land history records, the Shrewsbury family previously owned a larger parcel of land on the southern corner of West Main Road and Swamp Road. Mrs Anassa E. Shrewsbury conveyed Lot 3 to her children in 1973, who then conveyed to SPA in 1979.
Land in the Swamp Road area has long been referenced as a settlement site of the Sakonnet band of the Wampanoag tribe, and their settlement period leader, a female sachem named Awashonks. The Sakonnet called the area Tompi Swamp, in honor of one of the band’s sachems, but it was later known as Awashonks Swamp or Awashonks Wood, in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Historic aerial photographs of the property dating back to 1939 show a forest community similar to what is present today. Stone walls along the boundary of the property suggest that it may have been used as a woodlot, or possibly for grazing, but little clearing is apparent in recent history. The property’s wetland hydrology undoubtedly limited its conversion to agricultural or other uses. Aerial photos dating from 1939 onward indicate little human disturbance to the property.
The Shrewsbury property was gifted to the Sakonnet Preservation Association (SPA) by Kenneth O. & Julianne B. Shrewsbury and John Shrewsbury & Joan de Gelleke Shrewsbury on October 4, 1979.
September 21, 1979
wetlands, upland habitat, historic site, woodlands