Rhode Island Picture Post Cards
The Old Snuff Mill - Gilbert Stuart Birthplace - 1906
(Popular Tourist Attraction in Saunderstown, RI) 
Reverse of cover canceled at Wickford, RI - DPO
(Dead Post Office)
(Scroll down for Stuart Biography & History of the Mill)

Canceled  April 3, 1906 with Wickford, RI Duplex Cancel
(North Kingstown Township, Washington County, Rhode Island)

The Wickford Post Office first opened on March 5, 1799 under Postmaster Daniel E. Updike. The
Post Office closed in 1957 and it's name was changed to the "North Kingstown Post Office."

Gilbert Stuart was born and raised in my hometown of Saunderstown, RI. I can remember many a fine weekend spent netting Buckies (or Alewife - a kind of herring) in the creek to the  front of the Gilbert Stuart Snuff Mill, (his historic birthplace) or renting one of the old rowboats they kept at the mill and taking it up the creek to the lake behind the mill and fishing for pickerel, bluegills, and white perch.

There was a very ancient,  (at least to a 10 year old boy) lady who lived at the mill and took care of the place. I suspect that she has long since passed away as it was during the years 1955 to 1960 when the mill was one of my favorite haunts.


Gilbert Charles Stuart was born on December 3, 1755 at the Old Snuff Mill in Saunderstown, Rhode Island. He grew up in Newport, RI where his family moved when he was still very young.

Gilbert Stuart was the foremost portrait painter of his era and is especially known for his famous 1796 unfinished  portrait of George Washington, (one of which, hung in most primary school classrooms when I was growing up). Other famous paintings by Stuart include portraits of Major General Henry Dearborn, and President John Adams

In 1775 Stuart moved to London to study under the Benjamin West. However, Stuart's style is more reminiscent of  Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds than of West's. Stuart opened his own studio in 1782 and began painting portraits of England's high society. Stuart didn't manage his finances verv well and fled to Ireland in 1787 to escape his creditors where he spent the next six years.

Stuart returned to the United States in 1792 and quickly established himself as the country's leading portrait painter. He lived in New York for a short period and then in Philadelphia for 12 years. He settled in Boston, Massachusetts in 1805.

Gilbert Stuart died on July 9, 1828 in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Old Snuff Mill

The Snuff Mill where Gilbert Stuart was born was originally built by his father, Gilbert Stuart, Sr., who was born and educated in Scotland. Gilbert supported the pretender to the Scottish throne, "Bonnie Prince Charlie" and fought under his flag at the Battle of Culloden. After the defeat, Gilbert emigrated to Rhode Island where in 1751, he built the first snuff mill in New England. The mill and surrounding land was sold to Thomas Moffitt in 1753 and in 1812 it was purchased by Benjamin Hammond and has been known ever since as Hammond's Mill or "The Birthplace of Gilbert Stuart.

The site is important not only as the birthplace of Gilbert Stuart, but also for it's ties to early Rhode Island's industrial heritage. The snuff mill and attached home have been restored to their original 18th century condition with period furnishings. The Gilbert Stuart Birthplace is open to the public from April to October on Monday through Thursday from 11 AM to 4 PM. The mill is located at 815 Gilbert Stuart Road off of Route 1A in Saunderstown, Rhode Island.


Saunderstown is a small village in the township of North Kingstown, Rhode Island. It is located about 2 miles south of the Jamestown Bridge crossing off of the Old Boston Post Road (Route 1A).  Saunderstown was the home of one of the states greatest shipwrights. John Aldrich Saunders began building schooners and steamships here. He built one of the fastest and largest Ferry Boats, the steam screw ferry Newport. Because of the ferries at Saunderstown, many vacationers traveling from New York to Newport would stop for the day. Many of them became permanent residents, enjoying the "working village-on-the-bay."

Encyclopedia Britannica 
The Post Offices of Rhode Island - Merolla
Gilbert Stuart Birthplace - Official Website 

RI Historical Society
The Post Offices
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