The DeAlmo property consists of two parcels located on Swamp Road in the Town of Little Compton, in Newport County, Rhode Island. The property lies north of Swamp Road and surrounds the entrance to the town-owned, publicly accessible, Wilbour Woods property. The DeAlmo property is directly north of the Shrewsbury property, which is also owned in fee by the Sakonnet Preservation Association.
The De Almo property contains both upland and wetland forest communities, as well as an area of shrub swamp. The property is accessible from Swamp Road and Wilbour Woods, though portions are extremely wet with a dense understory. The Wilbour Woods ‘South Trail’ currently extends across a small portion of dry forest in the northern portion of Lot 11, though no planned public access currently exists on the property. SPA conducts annual monitoring and no violations have been noted in the monitoring records.
According to local land history records, the DeAlmo property, also known as the Judge Williams Wood Lot, was once owned by Philip Wilbour. The property was conveyed to Irene and Joseph DeAlmo by Manuel DeAlmo on September 1, 1960. Joseph DeAlmo passed away on January 1, 1975. His wife Irene then sold the property 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, though some clearing is evident, indicative of the property’s historic use as a woodlot. 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.
February 22, 1979
wetlands, wildlife habitat, historic site, woodlands