The Small property is located south of Swamp Road in the Town of Little Compton, in Newport County, Rhode Island. The property lies along Meadow Lane, a private right of way, immediately south of the Shrewsbury Property which is also owned in fee by Sakonnet Preservation Association.
The Small property is entirely forested, with both wetland and upland habitats present. A small footpath enters the property from an adjoining house lot on Meadow Lane, but otherwise the property is relatively inaccessible due to its lack of public frontage and its wetland hydrology. Currently, SPA conducts annual monitoring of the property; 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 4 to the Smalls in 1966. She then conveyed the adjacent Lot 3 to her children in 1973. Both parcels were 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 boundaries 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 Small property was gifted to the Sakonnet Preservation Association by Wilfred T. and Muriel G. Small on December 31, 1979.
December 31, 1979
wetlands, upland habitat, historic site, woodlands