“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Portsmouth in Newport County, Rhode Island — The American Northeast (New England)

Portsmouth Compact


Portsmouth Compact Marker image. Click for full size.
April 13, 2010
1. Portsmouth Compact Marker
Inscription.  Erected to honor the memory and perpetuate the spirit and ideals of the founders of the first government in the world to allow and to insure to its citizens civil and religious liberty.

Established on this Site in the Year 1638
Portsmouth Compact
We whose names are underwritten do here solemnly in the presence of Jehovah incorporate ourselves into a Bodie Politick and as he shall help, will submit our persons, lives and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and to all those perfect and most absolute laws of his given in his holy word of truth, to be guided and judged thereby.

William Coddington * John Clarke * William Hutchinson, Jr.* John Coggeshall * William Aspinwall *Samuel Wilbore * John Porter * John Sanford *Edward Hutchinson, Jr. Esq. * Thomas Savage * William Dyre *William Freeborne * Phillip Shearman * John Walker * Richard Carder * William Baulston * Edward Hutchinson,Senr. * Henry Bull * Randall Holden * Thomas Clarke * John Johnson * William Hall * John Brightman,Esq
Erected 1936 by
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Portsmouth Tricentenial Committee.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial EraPatriots & PatriotismSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1638.
Location. 41° 37.643′ N, 71° 14.777′ W. Marker is in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in Newport County. Marker can be reached from Anthony Road Extention/Old Boyd's Lane, 0.1 miles west of Boyds Lane. Located off a small dirt road directly off Rt 24 at the Boyd's Lane exit. From Route 24/138, exit at Boyds Lane, go north and take the first left turn onto the dirt road (Old Boyds Lane/Anthony Road Extention). Visitors should park on the side of Old Boyd's Lane and enter the grassy park on foot. The stream is part of the park and will be to the right as you enter. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Portsmouth RI 02871, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. W 3 R (approx. half a mile away); Butts Hill Fort (approx. 0.9 miles away); Battle of Rhode Island   1778 (approx. 1.3 miles away); Garden of New England (approx. 1.3 miles away); Mount Hope Bridge (approx. 1½ miles away); Bridge Construction (approx. 1½ miles away); An Artistic Bridge (approx. 1½ miles away); Washington Crossed Here (approx. 1½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Portsmouth.
Plaque on Puddingstone Boulder image. Click for full size.
April 12, 2010
2. Plaque on Puddingstone Boulder
Leading up to the boulder is a pathway made from paving stones contributed by lineal descendents of Portsmouth's founders. Some of these stones can be seen here.

More about this marker. This plaque was erected in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. It contains the text of the Portsmouth Compact which was written by the settlers prior to leaving Boston. The compact was dated the 7th day of the first month, 1638. The year 1638 was under the old calendar system, making the date March 7, 1638. It was signed by twenty-three of the founding men of the Pocasset settlement, soon to be renamed Portsmouth. The last four names were partially erased from the original document.
Regarding Portsmouth Compact. The compact acknowledged that the settlers were to form "A Bodie Politick" as a new colony. They located this settlement on the north end of the island of Aquidneck on Rhode Island. The plaque is located in Founder’s Park, the original area of the settlement. It is affixed to a large Puddingstone boulder, near a stream with a waterfall that connects to Portsmouth Pond and beyond that to Mount Hope Bay. The tranquil, pastoral park is located off the dirt extension of Anthony Road by crossing Boyd’s Lane. When you visit it is intriguing to imagine the group of exiles from Massachusetts Bay Colony navigating from Mount Hope Bay to about one mile inland with hopes of establishing a government that welcomed all. The democratic
Waterfall at Portsmouth Settlement image. Click for full size.
April 13, 2010
3. Waterfall at Portsmouth Settlement
government set up by this band established a settlement where the inhabitants had freedom of and from religion. They left religious prosecution behind them as they fled Massachusetts establishing a community of refuge that embraced the new concept of separation of church and state.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 10, 2019. It was originally submitted on April 12, 2010. This page has been viewed 3,345 times since then and 264 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on April 12, 2010, by Marjorie Linhares of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.   2, 3. submitted on April 12, 2010. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 11, 2023