Postal Stationary - Postal Cards
Postal Card - Settling of Rhode Island 1636
Designed by David Blossom - Andrew Dobak Cachet
Issued on June 26, 1986 in Providence, RI - Scott #UX112

The Old Stone Mill in Touro Park located off Bellevue Avenue in Newport, RI has been a source of mystery and conjecture for many years. When we lived in Newport, I passed by the old mill almost daily. I remember at that time being told that the structure was built by Viking explorers when they visited Vineland. Since that time, I have heard several different explanations concerning the original builders of the Old Stone Mill.

In recent years it has been fairly well established that the Norsemen did not get as far south as Rhode Island. The claim for the Vikings is mostly based on the similarity of this structure with other structures known to have been built by them.

Another theory put forth by a chief of the Yakima tribe in Washington state is that the tower was built by the Narragansett Indians as a temple. (Many of the stone walls that dot the RI countryside were originally built by Indians working for the early settlers.)

The most probable and logical theory is that it was built as a windmill for an early settler. (Carbon dating techniques have shown it to have been built later than the time of the Viking explorations.) One of the stronger cases for it's origin is that it was built by George Lawton for Governor Benedict Arnold, (Not the Benedict Arnold of Infamy). There are two historical documents that seem to point in that direction. The first is a 1668 land document that refers to George Lawton's mill and mentions Mill Street which runs alongside Touro Park where the mill is located. The second is the Last Will and Testament of Governor Benedict Arnold. The pertinent part, of which is reproduced below.

Portion of the will of Governor Benedict Arnold
(with original spelling intact)

I do also give and bequeath unto ye proper use and behoof of my said wife Damaris Arnold, during her naturall life and after her decease to ye use and behoof of my dearly beloved and youngest daughter Freelove "Arnold, all and singular ye lands and buildings severally hereafter mentioned in particular, that is to say my dwelling house and lands buildings and tenements hereafter named, namely one tract of land being and lyeing in ye precincts of ye aforesaid Town of Newport containing by estimation sixteen acres distinguished into two parcells by a highway belonging to ye said Town and bounded severally as followeth, that is to say, the lesser parcell whereon is erected my Warehouse and Wharf, and bounded as followeth on ye East by ye highway aforesaid, on ye South by a parcell of land I have bequeathed unto my son Oliver Arnold, on ye West by the sea or harbour of Newport, on ye North by land now or late in ye possession of Pardon Tillinghast or his assigns, ye other and greater parcell of ye tract of land above said upon which standeth my dwelling or mansion house and other buildings thereto adjoining or belonging as also my Stone Built Wind Mill

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