Smithfield Police Ordinance – 1937

     An town ordinance relating to the Smithfield Police Department was passed on May 28, 1937 establishing the structure, pay, appointments, and duties of police officers.  It is copied here from Council Record Book #9, pages 18 – 23.   

To view PDF file of 1937 ordinance, click on link below.

Staples Scan 11-19-2019_10-09-33-016

     Below is a copy of the Smithfield Police Ordinance adopted April 3, 1913.  It was repealed with the passage of the 1937 ordinance.

Click on images to enlarge.

 

Little Known Victorian Legends of Christmas Past

Originally published in the Smithfield Times magazine.

By Jim Ignasher

 

An old legend explains why robins were once a symbol of Christmas.

     Mention the words “Victorian Christmas”, and all sorts of idyllic images worthy of a Charles Dickens novel come to mind. And speaking of Dickens, we all know his tale, “A Christmas Carol”, but did you ever stop to think that it’s actually a ghost story? Although out of fashion today, telling ghost stories during the Holiday Season was once a popular pastime, as was the telling of ancient Christmas legends. These legends came in all forms. Some were designed to frighten children into being good, while others were more whimsical, or spiritual.  

     For example, every kid today knows the story of Santa Claus, a kindly white-bearded man who brings toys and gifts to good little boys and girls, but more than a century ago children knew a Santa that also carried a switch for whipping those who’d misbehaved. This “Avenging Santa” manifested from ancient legends of evil creatures such as the Krampus, or the witch Frau Perchta, who prowled the world at Christmas time snatching children who’d been bad.

     The European legend of Belsnickle relates to a man dressed in rags who roams the countryside carrying a switch in one hand and a bag of gifts in the other, dispensing both according to each child’s behavior during the previous year.  

     From Iceland comes the legend of the Jolasveinar, thirteen gnome-like creatures that come down from the mountains at Christmas time and play pranks on the populace by hiding things, slamming doors, and harassing pets and farm animals. Bad children were warned about them.

     Another story tells how children who hang their stocking over the fire place on Christmas Eve had better wait until morning to see what Santa brought, lest they find a stocking full of soot and ashes.        

     Before the days of electric lights, the Victorian’s lit their Christmas trees with small candles. There are a few legends surrounding the origins of the Christmas tree, some of which were likely obscure even in the 19th century. One of French origin tells of a thirteenth century knight who beheld a vision of a giant fur tree covered with lighted candles, some upright, others upside down, with the Baby Jesus resting at the top with a halo around his head. The knight asked a priest what it meant, and was told the candles symbolized human beings, both good and bad, and that Jesus was their Savior.

     Another legend, told in an 1885 newspaper, tells of a modern-day Jesus visiting earth on Christmas Eve, and asking a passer-by why people had trees lit with candles in their homes? The man, not realizing who he’s speaking with, explains that it’s Christmas Eve, and that those are Christmas trees, to which Jesus asks “And why is Christmas Eve celebrated? And what is the meaning of the Christmas trees?”      

     In response, the man invites Jesus to his home to eat with his family. After the meal, the man escorts his guest into the living room where a tree adorned with lighted candles stood in a corner. “Heinrich,” said the man to his son, “what is Christmas Eve and why do we plant the Christmas tree?”

     “Because it’s the eve of the birth of Jesus our Lord,” he replied, “and to commemorate His love and sacrifice we plant the Christmas tree and fill it with gifts for one another.”

     The children then sang some carols and Jesus was deeply moved. After blessing them he went on his way with tears of joy in his eyes. It is then the family realizes who their guest was. It is said that where every tear fell a new evergreen sprouted, so that there would always be enough Christmas trees throughout the land.  

     There’s also a legend involving St. Ansgarius explaining why the balsam fir was chosen as the first Christmas tree. Its triangular shape represents the Holy Trinity. It stands as high as hope, as wide as love, and bears the sign of the cross on every bough.  

     The pink Sainfoin flower also figures into Christmas. According to French lore, seeds of this plant were in the straw that lined the crib of Jesus the night he was born. When Jesus was placed in the bed, the seeds suddenly sprouted and grew into flowers that formed a crown about his head.

     In Spain it was said that rosemary gives off its sweet scent at Christmas because Mary hung the tiny frock which she’d used to wrap Jesus on rosemary bushes to dry.        

     Birds are also included in Christmas folklore, and were once a common illustration on early Christmas cards.    

     There’s one legend that tells how the common robin came to have red feathers on its chest. On the night Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a plain brown-feathered Robin sat watching from the rafters of the manger. There was a small fire burning to keep the Holy Family warm, but when they fell asleep the embers died down until just a few faint coals could be seen. Fearing that the baby Jesus would get cold, the robin swooped down and hovered over the coals flapping its wings. In a short time he’d fanned the embers back into flames, but in doing so scorched the feathers on his chest. Despite the pain, the bird continued to keep the fire going until morning. Ever since that night, the bird was no longer a plain brown, and has worn the red fathers as a reward for his gift of warmth.

     People once put bird’s nests in their Christmas trees for it was said they brought good luck.

     And lastly, a nice story called “The Christmas Tree Chair”, which was presented as fact in a 1909 newspaper. There was a man who’d saved the trunk of every family Christmas tree since his daughter was born. After thirteen years, he brought the wood to a furniture maker who created a rustic, but comfortable chair, which was presented to the daughter on Christmas Eve as an heirloom gift of a lifetime.  

     And to all, a good night.

 

 

 

Vintage Christmas Cards Reveal That Santa Didn’t Always Wear Red

Originally Published in the Smithfield Times magazine, December, 2016

By Jim Ignasher  

 

An early Christmas postcard depicting a blue Santa Claus.

     If someone was asked to describe Santa Claus, they would most likely provide a description of Santa as we know him today – a big guy in a red suit, white beard, carrying a sack full of toys, flying in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. However, if the question was posed more than a century ago the answer would be entirely different.

     Santa has appeared in many forms over the years, beginning as a religious figure (St. Nicholas) in the 4th century, before morphing into Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, and finally the “jolly old elf” we know today.  

     The historical evidence can be found in antique Christmas cards produced between the 1870s and the 1920s, which offer an insight as to how Santa Claus has evolved over the last 160 years – give or take a decade. The origin of Christmas cards can be traced to the 1840’s, but it wasn’t until the later part of the 19th century that they became popular. These Victorian seasonal greetings were generally in the form of postcards, and were mass produced in countless designs that made the image of Santa Claus more popular than ever.

     Thomas Nast, an illustrator for Harper’s Magazine during the American Civil War and afterwards is generally credited with giving the world its first glimpse at what Santa might look like. Ironically, his first Santa illustration wasn’t revealed until after Christmas when it appeared on the cover of Harper’s on January 3, 1863. The black and white lithograph depicted Santa sitting in a sleigh pulled by reindeer wearing an outfit that made him look more like an early version of Uncle Sam than Saint Nick. Union troops are standing around the sled, and a banner saying “Welcome Santa Claus” can be seen in the distance.

     However, Nast continued to experiment with Santa’s image after the war, and in 1881 produced what is perhaps his best known version that laid the groundwork for what came later.

     Yet Nast wasn’t the only artist working on Santa’s image, and each had their own ideas as to how the man should appear, beginning with how he was dressed. Some had him in ankle-length heavy coats edged with thick fur, while others showed him wearing a long pull-over hooded garment, while still others depicted him dressed in a plain coat and pants with a red cape or shawl over the shoulders. And artists from Germany, Russia, Poland, and France, sometimes dressed him in the traditional vestments of their countries.

     Santa’s coats came in a multitude of colors, from greens, yellows, reds, and purples, to browns, blues, and even white. To make an observation, white doesn’t seem to make sense considering the guy spent his big night dropping down soot-lined chimneys. Perhaps that’s why many early illustrations depicted Santa’s coat(s) edged with dark fur instead of the bright white we’ve come to know. Santa’s boots and caps also varied in color and style from one artist to the next.    

A purple Santa.

     Despite Mr. Nast depicting Santa in a reindeer-powered sled, it’s interesting to note that many early representations had him walking his way around the world with the aid of a walking stick or cane, often carrying a Christmas tree or lantern in addition to his bundle of toys. And how he carried those toys also differed. Instead of the traditional cloth bag, some pictures show Santa with a large wicker basket strapped to his back, or one being carried by hand. There are other pictures that depict him with a knapsack, or pulling a small toy-laden sled behind him. Yet he eventually got around to the latest technology, for early 20th century images show him utilizing trains, balloons, airships, airplanes, and even flying automobiles, before he apparently decided that reindeer were more reliable for landing on rooftops.

     Some early postcards combined the religious aspect of the season where Santa can be seen making his rounds with a lighted church in the background. In some cases he’s accompanied by an angel, or the Baby Jesus riding on a donkey next to him.        

    One thing that every artist seemed to agree upon was that Santa had a white beard. It was only the length that was in dispute. Some had it nearly to his feet while others thought a short cropped beard was more dignified. As with the clothing, body shape and facial features were open to interpretation. Some depicted Santa as thin, or even gaunt, while others gave him a more rotund look. His face was usually depicted as unsmiling, or even stern, and he seldom wore glasses, but often carried a pipe. The pipe, by the way, didn’t go unnoticed by tobacco companies, who were quick to utilize Santa’s image to promote their products.              

     By the early 1900s the length of Santa’s coat began to grow shorter and it now included silver buttons. (One can wonder if this was more for the comfort of department store Santa’s which were beginning to appear.) Additionally, Santa’s simple rope or cord belt was replaced by a brown or black leather one sporting a shiny buckle.    

A red Santa with dark trim on his clothes.

     It’s generally believed that the “standard” image of Santa Claus that we’ve come to know today is due to the Coca Cola Company. In 1931, artist Haddon Sundblom created an illustration for a new ad campaign depicting a kind-looking, grand-fatherly Santa, wearing the soda company’s traditional red and white colors. The image was an immediate success, and helped solidify in the public’s mind as to what Santa Claus was supposed to look like. Coca Cola may not have invented the red and white Santa-suit combination, but their advertising certainly popularized it, and Santa has been commonly portrayed in that manner ever since.  

     Yet despite contemporary notions, there are many who feel that those “old world” Santa’s had a certain charm, which is why they’re still reproduced as figurines, tree ornaments, and even Christmas cards.

 

50 Years Ago, October, 1969

50 Years Ago – October, 1969

 

The Color Center
October, 1969

     Army First Lieutenant David L. Nuttall of Greenville was home on leave before reporting for duty in Vietnam.

     Army Private George Schenck of Douglas Pike graduated Fort Knox Armor School as an armor intelligence specialist.

     Air Force Staff Sergeant Peter E. Anthony of Greenville received the Air Force Commendation Medal for meritorious service in Vietnam.

     Robert E. Murphy of Esmond was serving with the 1st Marine Division.

     Gene Bernardo, age 3, of Greenville experienced the thrill of a lifetime at Fenway Park during a game between the Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles. Gene and his father were Orioles fans, and despite his young age, Gene had memorized the names and faces of all the team’s players.

     One the day of the game, Gene, his father, and grandfather, had seats next to the Orioles dugout, and as players appeared Gene greeted them by name. Gene was dressed in an Orioles uniform, and carried a child-sized baseball bat.   When he said hello to pitcher Clay Dalrymple, the man reached up and swung the boy down to the dugout. The two then went over to the edge of the field where the athlete pitched to Gene. By now they had the attention of the entire stadium and the crowd began cheering, and when Gene connected with ball the crowd went wild.      

     An Associated Press photographer covering the game snapped a picture which appeared in newspapers throughout the county.

     Gene was also presented with a team autographed baseball.

     A Smithfield Chevrolet dealership was advertising the new 1970 Chevelle SS, 396 convertible. These cars sold for about $3,700 in 1970. According to an Internet search, fully restored, these cars can sell for more than $70,000 today.

     Speaking of a return on an investment, People’s Bank was offering 5% interest on savings accounts.

     The third annual harvest festival was held at Waterman’s Field on the shores of Waterman’s Lake. Attractions included skydiving, karate, and trick roping exhibitions, folk singing, a barbershop quartet, and square dancing, as well as clowns, a puppet show, rides and raffles. Musical entertainment was provided by “Pastel Shade”.  

     Today housing occupies the former fairgrounds.

     On October 15, students at St. Peter’s School on Austin Avenue held a brief ceremony honoring American servicemen killed in Vietnam which included a moment of silence, and the reading of a prayer written by 8th grader George Allen.  

     On October 18, a “country auction” consisting of new and antique items was held at the Greenville Baptist Church to raise funds for needed repairs and painting of the historic church. It was said to be the largest auction of its kind ever held in Smithfield.

   On October 19, St. Xavier Academy held its 25th reunion at the Club 44 on Putnam Pike.

     The Smithfield Jaycees were selling safety flares to raise money for “Operation Scoreboard”, the funds from which would be used to purchase an electronic scoreboard for the high school athletic field. Road flares are rarely seen today, but in the 1960s they could be found in the trunk of most automobiles to be utilized in case of an accident.

     The East Smithfield Homemakers honored some of their members for their long-time service to the organization. These included: Bertha Fagan, Viola Jarvis, Giles Minard, Mabel Whipple, Helen Booth, Evyonne Shepard, Julie Shepard, Mildred Matlese, Doris Johnson, Ann DiCotio, Mary Rossi, Barbara Hill, Margaret Lawrence, Eve Jenkins, and Mary Weeks.  

     Smithfield firefighters held a parade in Georgiaville to launch “fire prevention week”. The parade included apparatus from Smithfield and nearby towns as well as floats promoting fire safety. Afterwards firefighting demonstrations were performed in the parking lot of Mine Safety.    

     How many are old enough to recall a time when people routinely burned leaves in the fall? Sometimes neighbors would gather around small piles as they burned them at the curbside, socializing into the night. Permits weren’t required and a fun time was had by all.

     An advertisement which appeared in one local paper advised everyone that “leaf burning causes air pollution!” And keep in mind this was a time before “yard waste” pickup.

     The Greenville Public Library announced that it had obtained a 3M “209” automatic copier which would be available for public use. Today we take copy machines and scanners for granted, but in 1969 they weren’t commonly found in small-town libraries.    

   The second annual Scituate Art Festival was held in North Scituate to raise funds for the old Congregational Church in that village.  

 

Lonsdale Railroad Accident – 1893

Click on images to enlarge.

The Evening Bulletin
Maysville, KY.
January 19, 1893

Evening Bulletin
Maysville, KY.
January 19, 1893

Evening Bulletin
(Maysville, KY.)
January 19, 1893

 

 

Smithfield’s Air-Line Railroad Newspaper Articles

    Air-Line Newspaper Articles from 1843 to 1893 

      The “Air-Line Railroad” became part of the Providence & Worcester Railroad. For a brief history, click here: Smithfield’s Air-Line Railroad

Click on articles to enlarge.

Woonsocket Patriot
December 22, 1843
Part 1

Woonsocket Patriot
December 22, 1843
Part 2

Woonsocket Patriot
December 29, 1843
Part 1

Woonsocket Patriot
December 29, 1843
Part 2

Woonsocket Patriot
December 29, 1843
Part 3

Woonsocket Patriot
June 21, 1844

New York Daily Tribune
January 8, 1846

Woonsocket Patriot
October 1, 1847

Woonsocket Patriot
October 17, 1847
Part 1

Woonsocket Patriot
October 17, 1847
Part 2

Woonsocket Patriot
October 17, 1847
Part 3

Woonsocket Patriot
October 17, 1847
Part 4

Woonsocket Patriot
October 17, 1847
Part 5

Woonsocket Patriot
October 17, 1847
Part 6

The Daily National Whig
(Washington, D.C.)
October 29, 1847

Air-Line Railroad Schedule
December 24, 1847

Woonsocket Patriot
March 10, 1848

Air-Line Railroad Schedule
August 1, 1851
Click on image to enlarge.

Woonsocket Patriot
February 10, 1854
Part 1

Woonsocket Patriot
February 10, 1854
Part 2

Woonsocket Patriot
February 10, 1854
Part 3

Air-Line Railroad Schedule
March 10, 1854

Woonsocket Patriot
May 12, 1854

Woonsocket Patriot
June 30, 1855
Part 1

Woonsocket Patriot
June 30, 1855 Part 2

Woonsocket Patriot
June 30, 1855
Part 3

Woonsocket Weekly Patriot
July 28, 1855
Accident happened July 21st.

Woonsocket Weekly Patriot
August 4, 1855

Rutland (VT.) Weekly Herald
July 14, 1870, Pg. 4

Woonsocket Patriot
June 9, 1871

Woonsocket Patriot
January 8, 1877

Morning Journal & Courier
(New Haven, CT.)
September 4, 1886

The Evening Bulletin
Maysville, KY.
January 19, 1893

Evening Bulletin
Maysville, KY.
January 19, 1893

Evening Bulletin
(Maysville KY.)
January 19, 1893

Evening Bulletin
(Maysville, KY.)
January 19, 1893

Vintage Rhode Island Sheriff Insignia

 Click Here To View PDF File:  Vintage Rhode Island Sheriff Insignia

Vintage Rhode Island State Police Insignia

 

Click on PDF link here: Vintage Rhode Island State Police Insignia

Early Rhode Island Municipal Police Insignia

Early Rhode Island Municipal Police Insignia

By Jim Ignasher

 

West Warwick Police
1st Issue patch
Worn 1930s

     Today’s police officers wear a patch on the left shoulder of their uniform which identifies their agency.  The patch is usually multi-colored, depicting a municipal seal or something else representative of the town or city.   However, there was a time when such emblems were plain and simple, stating only the department’s name with the word “police” added. This wasn’t due to any lack of imagination on the part of police chiefs. It had more to do with loom technology of the time and keeping costs low. 

     Some of these early examples are hard to find today, for not only were they produced in relatively small numbers, they were discarded when they became obsolete. Furthermore, collectors generally overlooked them in favor of the more elaborate designs which came later. It’s only in recent times that the historic value of these early emblems has been recognized.

     Rarer still can be the uniform patches worn by part-time officers.  Over the years many police departments appointed part-time officers to supplement the regular paid force.   These officers were known as constables, reserves, auxiliaries, and specials, depending on the municipal charter.  They might work one or two days a month, of fill-in as needed for special details, or work any other assignment deemed necessary by the chief.  Sometimes these officers wore their own insignia which clearly differentiated them from the regular force. 

     In most cases these part-time officers performed the same police duties as the regular officers, and therefore faced the same risks and dangers of the job, but there were some who viewed them as not being “real” police officers.  Consequently early emblems worn by these officers have largely been ignored by collectors and thus fewer have survived.   

     Perhaps the rarest insignia are the unaccepted prototype emblems produced for a police department when considering a style change.  In most cases only a handful would be produced, (generally about five), by a manufacturer and then presented to the chief for consideration.  If the prototypes were approved, then they were produced in large numbers, however, in cases where the prototypes were rejected, the emblems were generally disposed of, or kept by an interested officer. 

     This article depicts examples of Rhode Island’s earliest known municipal police insignia. They were culled from a private collection begun in the 1970s.  Most are “first issues”, meaning they were the first patch worn by the agency however, in some instances no “first issues” are known to exist. Therefore, the earliest succeeding issues are represented. All of the examples depicted are long obsolete having been replaced by various succeeding issues.    

     Sources for this article include the 1970 and 1971 yearbooks of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association.  These rare publications depict images of the uniform patches worn by each department at the time, as well as information about each department’s size and rank structure.     

     The history of law enforcement patches coincides with the evolution of the police uniform. Police officers in large cities like Boston, New York, and Chicago, began wearing uniforms in the mid-1800s, but it wasn’t until the early half of the 1900s that many local police departments adopted uniforms.  At that time, generally speaking, the only distinguishing feature from one department to the next was the breast badge worn by the officers.  This eventually led to the idea of using cloth insignia to differentiate agencies.  It is believed that the notion came from the shoulder patches worn on military uniforms to identify which unit or division a soldier belonged.      

Smithfield Chief of Police
William Kelley
C. 1935
Note the patch on left shoulder. It appears to be round with the wording “Smithfield Police” with an anchor in the middle.
Click on image to enlarge.

     Exactly when the first law enforcement uniform patches were introduced in Rhode Island is unclear, but there’s photographic evidence to support that Smithfield, Warwick, and West Warwick police departments were wearing simple uniform patches as early as the 1930s and 40s, and it’s possible that others were as well.  Many Rhode Island police departments were wearing shoulder patches by the 1960s, and all of them had some type of insignia by the 1970s.  Today every Rhode Island law enforcement agency wears some type of shoulder insignia on their uniforms.

     The earliest patches were made of a heavy felt material with a cheesecloth backing, or in some instances, a white cotton backing, almost like the cotton of a T-shirt.  Some versions were made of a ribbed twill fabric with cheesecloth backing.  Modern patches generally have a wax backing which helps prevent shrinkage and deformation after multiple washings. Patches produced from the 1930s through 1970s generally didn’t have a wax backing.

     One may be surprised to learn that full-time paid police departments as we think of them today are a relatively modern “invention”. The earliest law enforcement agencies in Rhode Island were the county sheriff departments which were established in the 1630s. By the 1700s some of the larger towns had constables who enforced local ordinances and patrolled (sometimes) at night.  The majority of Rhode Island municipalities remained under a constabulary system for well into the 20th century before establishing a permanent police department through city or town decree. 

First Issue Providence Police
Worn from 1962 to 1972.

     Perhaps the oldest police department in the state is the Providence Police, which can trace its origins to 1651 when a small number of constables were appointed by the Town Council under the command of an elected Town Sergeant. These men patrolled in pairs, and generally only at night.

     This system remained in effect until 1775 when the first “night watch” was formally established under town ordinance. The original night watch consisted of four men, but by 1826 had increased to twenty-four.

     In 1831 Providence incorporated as a city and created the position of City Marshall to lead the police constables.

     In 1848, Providence constables were issued badges for the first time, but initially many kept these symbols of authority in their pockets until a general order was issued dictating they be worn on the lapels of the outer coats.  (The constables did not wear uniforms at this time.)   

Providence Police
Community Service Officer
Worn 1960s

     The first day patrol was established in 1851, consisting of ten men.

   Two years later the department was increased to forty-six men and five police districts were created.   Each district came under the charge of a sergeant.

   It wasn’t until 1864 that the Providence Police Department as we know it today was formally established under city ordinance. The following year Providence officers began wearing uniforms for the first time.  Its unclear when they began wearing uniform shoulder patches, but its believed to have occurred in the 1960s.     

Providence Police Reserve
Worn 1960s – early 1970s

2nd Issue
Worn from 1972 to 1981

3rd Issue
Worn from 1981 to 1990.

      The Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy was established in 1969.  Below is the earliest known patch worn by recruits while they attended the academy. 

R. I. Police Academy Patch
First Issue, worn 1970s

2nd Issue
Worn in the 1980s
A similar, but later version had different wording.

Rhode Island
Municipal Police Academy
3rd issue
Worn C. 1990 – 1996

     Barrington was incorporated on June 16, 1770. 

     In 1970 the Barrington Police Department was staffed by a Chief, a Deputy Chief, five Sergeants, and sixteen Patrolmen.          

Barrington R. I. Police
Worn 1960s

Barrington Police
Worn 1960s
By 1970 the red lettering was changed to gold.

Barrington Police
c. 1970 to 1980s.

Barrington Auxiliary Police
C. 1970s

     The Town of Bristol was named after Bristol, England, and was incorporated January 27, 1747.   The patch pictured below has been worn since the 1960s, and although it has gone through some color changes over the years, it is still being worn today in blue and gold colors.   

     In 1970 the uniformed department consisted of one Chief, one Deputy Chief, one Captain, two Sergeants, and nineteen Patrolmen.

   

   

Either a prototype, or worn briefly after the black and yellow style pictured above. (1980s)

     Burrillville was originally part of the town of Glocester before its incorporation on October 29, 1806. The town was named after James Burrill, Rhode Island’s Attorney General from 1797 to 1814.

 

A reproduction of the style worn during the 1960s.

The second issue worn by the department shows the town seal.
Worn 1970s – mid 1980s
Some early examples of this patch have the date 1805 instead of 1806.

Third Issue
First worn in 1983

     Central Falls was originally part of the Town of Lincoln, which until 1871, was part of the Town of Smithfield. The City of Central Falls was incorporated February 21, 1895.

     In 1970, the department was staffed by a Chief, a Deputy Chief, two Captains, two Lieutenants, five Sergeants, and twenty-five Patrolmen.

     The Central Falls patch represented here is known as an “anchor style” – a generic “fill-in-the-top” patch worn by many Rhode Island police departments in the 1960s and early 70s.  Early versions were made of felt; later ones were made of twill.

Central Falls Police
Worn 1960s – 1970s

Central Falls Police
Second Issue
Worn 1970s – 1980s

Central Falls R. I. Auxiliary Police
C. 1970s

       Charlestown was incorporated on August 22, 1738, and was named in honor of King Charles II of England. 

     In 1970, the Charlestown Police Department consisted of the Chief of Police, two full-time patrolmen, and ten part-time constables.

Charlestown R. I. Police
worn 1960s – 1970s

Charlestown Police
2nd Issue Worn from 1985 – 1989

     Coventry was originally part of Warwick until its incorporation on August 21, 1741, and was named for Coventry, England.   

     Of the patches depicted below, the one with the small anchor was issued first.  It’s made of a felt material and has a cotton cloth backing.  The other two patches with the large anchor are newer, but still date to the 1960s.  The one with the grey background was worn on shirts. This style was discontinued by the department around 1968.

Coventry Police
Small Anchor
Worn 1950s – 1960s

Coventry Police
Large Anchor
Worn until 1968

Coventry Police
Grey Version
Worn until 1968

Coventry Police
Worn from 1968 to circa 1970, then “R. I.” was added under the elephant.

Coventry Police unaccepted prototype patch.
The accepted version said, “Town of Coventry” across the top.

     Cranston was originally part of Providence until its incorporation as a town on June 14, 1754. It was named in honor of Samuel Cranston, the Governor of Rhode Island from 1698 to 1727. Cranston became a city on March 10, 1910, shortly after which the Cranston Police Department was formally established as the first permanent police force under city ordinance, although Cranston had been utilizing police constables since 1754.

     The first permanent force consisted of one Chief of Police and ten Patrolmen, supplemented by part-time constables.

     Cranston’s first uniform patch was made of a heavy felt material.  Those with silver borders were worn by Patrolmen.  Those with gold borders were worn by ranking officers.  The patches were first worn in 1967, and continued in use until 1995.  

     The words “Dum”, “Vigilo”, “Curo” are Latin for “While I watch, I care.”   

Cranston Police
Worn 1967 to 1995

Unaccepted prototype -1990s.

     Cranston “emergency police” officers were civilian volunteers originally established under Civil Defense in the early 1950s, and who later patrolled city parks and buildings, however they were unarmed and didn’t have arrest powers.

Possibly a Prototype,
Early 1950s.

Worn by the Cranston Emergency Police, who were volunteer officers.  Round patches with a white background were worn by ranking officers.
Worn mid-1950s to 1967

Worn 1950s to 1967.

   

Worn from 1967 to mid 1990s.

 

     Cumberland was incorporated on January 27, 1747, and is named for William, the Duke of Cumberland. 

     In 1970 the police department was staffed by one Chief, one Deputy Chief, three Captains, three Sergeants, and twenty Patrolmen. 

     The patch depicts the shape of the town of Cumberland and the year of incorporation.

Cumberland Police
Worn 1960s – until c. 1984

     The town of East Greenwich was incorporated on October 31, 1677, and was named for Greenwich, England. 

     In 1970 the department was staffed by one Chief, two uniform Lieutenants, one Detective Lieutenant, one Sergeant, and fourteen Patrolmen, and eleven Special Officers.

An Xerox copy of an early East Greenwich PD patch.

     The patch depicted below has been worn by the department since the 1960s, and is still in use today.

     East Providence incorporated as a town on March 1, 1862, and as a city in 1958.

     The department’s current uniform patch was worn as early as the late 1950s or early 1960s, but it was originally blue and gold in color.   The current patch is red and black.  The city seal is in the center.

An early example of the East Providence Police patch. Worn c. 1960 to 1983

Worn by East Providence Special Police, 1970s – 1980s

     In 1960, East Providence received the All-America City Award, and for one year officers wore a custom All-America City patch on the right shoulder of their uniforms.  It’s unknown how many of these emblems were produced, and how many were issued to each officer.  The example illustrated below had metal snaps sewn to the back of it indicating that it was transferred from shirt to shirt by the officer who wore it.

Worn by members of the East Providence Police Department in 1960.

Reverse side showing the metal snaps attached.

     The Town of Exeter is currently the only town in Rhode Island without a police department.  However, the town did once have a police department consisting for a Chief of Police and several part-time officers during the 1960s and into the 1970s.     

     Original examples of the patch worn by members of the Exeter Police Department are rare, and in recent years someone has reproduced them. When compared to an original, it’s easy to tell the difference.  The originals are made of a ribbed twill fabric with a cotton cheesecloth backing, and the lettering is rounded, not flat looking.  

An original Exeter Police Patch
Worn 1960 to 1978

Worn for one year
1978 – 1979
Then the police dept. was disbanded.

     The Town of Foster was set apart from the Town of Scituate on August 24, 1781, and is said to be named for Theodore Foster, who was a U. S. Senator from Rhode Island.

     In 1970 the department was staffed by a Chief of Police and six part-time patrolmen. 

Foster R. I. Police
First Issue
Worn 1960s – 1970s

Foster R. I. Police
2nd Issue
Has the town seal, but not the word “Police”.
Worn 1970s – early 1980s

Foster R. I. Police
3rd Issue
Worn 1980s – early 1990s

     The Town of Glocester was incorporated February 20, 1730/31 after being set apart from the (then) town of Providence.

     In 1970 the police department consisted of a Chief of Police and ten part-time officers.  The patch illustrated below was no longer worn by 1970. 

Glocester R. I. Police
First Issue
Worn 1960s

     The Town of Hopkinton was incorporated March 19, 1757. 

     In 1970 the department consisted of a Chief of Police, a Deputy Chief, and several part-time officers.

Hopkinton Police
Worn 1960s – 1970s

  

Hopkinton R. I. Police
2nd issue
Worn 1970s – 1980s

     Jamestown was incorporated on October 30, 1678 and was named in honor of King James II of England.  the town occupies Conanicut Island in Narragansett Bay. 

     In 1970 the police department was staffed by a Chief of Police, one Lieutenant, one Sergeant, and four Patrolmen, and several special officers.

     The first patch known to be worn by the Jamestown police had a light blue background and dark blue lettering that read “Jamestown Police, R.I.”.  The second issue patch worn by the department came into existence in the 1960s, and was used into the early 1980s. 

Jamestown R. I. Police
Second Issue
Worn 1960s – early 1980s

Jamestown R. I. Police
3rd Issue

     Johnston incorporated as a town on March 6, 1759, and was named for Rhode Island Attorney General Augustus Johnston, who served from 1758 to 1766.    

     In 1970 the police department consisted of a Chief of Police, one Captain, two Lieutenants, three Sergeants, four Corporals, and 28 Officers.

     Of the two patch examples illustrated below, it’s unknown which came first.  The first has a fully embroidered background and black border, the second has a twill background and a gold border.  

Johnston Police
Worn 1960s to 1971

Johnston Police
Worn 1960s to 1971

     Johnston’s 3rd Issue uniform patch depicted an eagle.  It was worn until 1983, when it was replaced by an updated version with black thread outlining all of the eagle’s feathers.  Other variations followed, and today the department’s uniform patch depicts a black eagle.       

Johnston R. I. Police
3rd Issue
Worn 1970s to 1983.

Johnston R. I. Police
Worn 1996 to 2001.
Supervisors wore examples with a white background.

 

     The Town of Lincoln was originally part of the Town of Smithfield until it incorporated as its own municipality on March 8, 1871.   It was named in honor of former President Abraham Lincoln. 

     Its possible that the first patch worn by the department was a simple triangle  with the words “Lincoln Police” on it, but this is unconfirmed.  The earliest confirmed uniform patch worn by the department was the town seal pictured below.  At the time it was one of two police patches worn by Rhode Island departments that didn’t include the word “police”  on it. (The other being North Kingstown.)  This patch was worn by regular officers until 1971, and then worn by reserve officers for several years afterward.      

Said to be the first issue of the Lincoln, R. I. Police, but this is unconfirmed.

Lincoln R. I. Police
Worn 1960s to 1971

     The Town of Little Compton was formally incorporated on January 27, 1747. 

     In 1970 the police department was staffed by a Chief of Police , a Sergeant-Inspector, and several part-time officers.

Little Compton R. I. Police
Worn 1960s – 1970s

Little Compton Police
2nd Issue
Still worn by the department, but with “R. I.” added at the bottom.

     The Town of Middletown was originally part of Newport until its incorporation on June 16, 1743.  Its name comes from the fact that it occupies the middle portion of Aquidneck Island.

Middletown R. I. Police
Worn prior to 1970.

Middletown Police
2nd Issue
An early version made of heavy felt.

Blue background worn by Reserve Officers

     The Town of Narragansett was incorporated on March 28, 1901.  The name comes from the Narragansett Indian tribe, and the town also borders Narragansett Bay.

     In 1970 the uniformed officers included the Chief of Police, one Deputy Chief, one Captain, one Lieutenant, three Sergeants, and fifteen Patrolmen.  

     The current Narragansett police patch has been worn continuously since the 1960s.  It depicts the famous twin towers,  a famous Rhode Island landmark.

Narragansett Police
Worn since about 1970

Worn C. 1980s

     Newport incorporated as a city on June 1, 1784, but the charter was later repealed.  The city incorporated a second time on May 20, 1853. 

     In 1970 the Newport police consisted of a Chief of Police, one Assistant Chief,  three Captains, eight Lieutenants, thirteen Sergeants, and fifty-nine officers.       

     The department still wears the patch it was wearing in 1970.

Newport R. I. Police
Worn since at least 1970s.

This tab was worn above the shoulder patch by Newport’s Auxiliary Police in the 1970s and 1980s.

      The Town of New Shoreham is located on Block Island three miles off the southern coast of Rhode Island.  The town was admitted to the Rhode Island Colony on May 4, 1664 as Block Island, named for Adrian Block, an early Dutch explorer and seaman.  On November 6, 1672, the name was changed to New Shoreham.    

     In 1970 the island was policed by a Chief of Police who was assisted by several special officers.

     It is unknown which of the following three patches was used first. 

New Shoreham Police
C. 1960s

New Shoreham Police
C. 1960s

New Shoreham Police
C. 1960s

Worn early 1980s.

     North Kingstown  was originally part of “Kings Towne”, incorporated on October 28, 1674.  At that time, the town of North Kingstown and South Kingstown were one.  The town divided in February of 1723.

     The original North Kingstown uniform patch depicted the town seal, was made of felt, and did not have the word “police” on it.  Twill versions of this emblem also exist.  It was worn from the 1960s into the early 1980s.  

 

North Kingstown R. I. Police
Worn 1960s to 1980s.

North Kingstown, R. I., Police
3rd issue
Light blue background.

C. 1960s – 1970s A version of this patch was also worn by full-time officers with the lettering “DEPT.” instead of “AUX”.

     North Providence was incorporated on June 13, 1765. 

     In 1970 the department consisted of a Chief of Police, two Captains, three Lieutenants, three Sergeants, three Detectives, and 21 Patrolmen, as well as several Special Patrolmen.

North Providence Police
Worn 1960s – 1982

North Providence Police
2nd Issue
Worn 1982 to 1994

An early North Providence police reserve patch believed to date to the 1950s.

Worn C. 1960s

Worn C. 1970s

 

      The Town of North Smithfield was originally part of the Town of Smithfield until its incorporation on March 8, 1871. 

     The three hammers are representative of the town’s official seal. 

North Smithfield Police
Worn 1960s – 1970s

North Smithfield Police
2nd Issue
First worn in 1983

     The City of Pawtucket was incorporated as a town on February 29, 1828, and as a city on March 27, 1885.  The name is of Indian origin.

     In 1970 the police department consisted of 152 officers.

     Depicted on the patch is a view of the bridge which crosses Pawtucket Falls.  The patch is made of heavy felt. Cloth-twill examples are also known to exist.

Pawtucket R. I. Police
Worn 1960s – 1970s

Pawtucket R.I. Police
2nd Issue
Worn during the 1980s.

C. 1960s – 1970s

Pawtucket Police
Parks & Properties
Dates to the 1970s

Pawtucket Police
Housing Authority
Only worn for six months in 1995.

     The Town of Portsmouth was incorporated on January 12, 1640, and was named for Portsmouth, England.      

     The department wore two colored “anchor styles” in the 1960s.  One gold and the other silver.  Both were discontinued by 1970.

Portsmouth R. I. Police
Silver and black patch
Worn 1960s

Portsmouth R. I. Police
Gold and black patch
Worn 1960s

Portsmouth Police
2nd Issue
Worn in the 1980s

    The Town of Richmond was incorporated August 18, 1747.

    In 1970 the police department consisted of a Chief of Police, a Deputy Chief, and several special officers.   

     The patches shown below were worn by the Richmond Police from the 1960s until the mid 1980s.  The black patches were won on jackets, and the light blue patches were worn on shirts.

Richmond R. I. Police
Black felt
Worn on uniform coats
1960s to the 1980s

Richmond R. I. Police
Worn on uniform shirts
1960s to 1980s

     The Town of Scituate was incorporated on February 20, 1731.

     In 1970 the police department consisted of the Chief of Police, one Deputy Chief, one Captain, one Lieutenant, two Sergeants, one Corporal, eleven Patrolmen, and nine part-time officers.

Scituate R. I. Police
Worn 1960s and 1970s

     The Town of Smithfield was incorporated on February 20, 1730/31 and originally included the present-day municipalities of North Smithfield, Woonsocket south of the Blackstone River, Lincoln, and Central Falls, until its division in 1871.

     In 1970 the police department included a Chief of Police, one Deputy Chief, one Lieutenant, two Sergeants, and twelve Patrolmen.

     The first uniform patch, of which there are no known surviving examples, was round with the words “Smithfield Police” and an anchor in the middle.  The top example illustrated below is believed to be the department’s second issue, created sometime in the 1950s. 

Smithfield R. I. Police
Worn 1950s – 1960s

Smithfield R. I. Police
Worn 1960s – 1970s

A white version of the Smithfield patch.

Smithfield R.I. Police
Worn from 1973 to 2017.
This is an early issue. Later issues were fully embroidered.

     South Kingstown was incorporated on February 26, 1723.

    In 1970 the uniformed police department included a Chief of Police, two Captains, three Lieutenants, four Sergeants, and nineteen Patrolmen.   

    The department’s uniform patch has been worn since the 1960s, but has gone through some minor changes over the years concerning the arrowhead in the center.   In the original version depicted below, it was thought that the arrowhead appeared to be a Christmas tree, so modifications were made over the years to correct this.

South Kingstown R. I. Police
Worn 1960s to present

C. 1970s – 1980s

     Tiverton was incorporated as a town in Massachusetts in 1694, and was annexed to Rhode Island on January 27, 1747. 

     In 1970 the Tiverton police department consisted of a Chief of Police, one Lieutenant, three Sergeants, and twelve Patrolmen.

     The first issue Tiverton police uniform patch was similar to the second issue one pictured below, except that it did not indicate “R. I.” on it.  

Tiverton R. I. Police
Second issue with “R.I.” added
Worn prior to 1970.

Tiverton, R. I. Police
3rd Issue
Worn 1980s

Tiverton Police
Bridge Patch.
The current issue has an anchor instead of the bridge in the center.

     Warren was originally a town in Massachusetts until it was annexed to Rhode Island in may of 1746.  The original name of the town was Barrington until its division in 1770.  Barrington retained the original name, and the new town was named Warren in honor of Sir Peter  Warren, an Admiral in the British Navy.

     In 1970 the Warren Police Department consisted of a Chief of Police, one Deputy Chief, one Captain, three Sergeants, and twelve Patrolmen.

Warren R. I. Police
Worn prior to 1970

Warren Police
2nd Issue, worn until 1986

Warren Police
3rd Issue

Warren R. I. Police
4th Issue
Improved Town Seal

     Warwick originally included the towns of Coventry and West Warwick.  Coventry separated from Warwick in 1741, and in 1913, West Warwick separated from Warwick. 

     Warwick incorporated as a city on April 21, 1931, and is named for the Earl of Warwick. 

     In 1970 the Warwick police consisted of a Chief, two Commanders, six Captains, seven Lieutenants, sixteen Sergeants, twenty-four Detectives and 89 patrolmen.

Warwick R. I. Police
Worn 1930s – 1950s

Warwick Police
2nd Issue

C. 1960s – 1970s

     West Greenwich was originally joined with East Greenwich, and separated to become its own municipality on April 6, 1741. 

     In 1970 the police department consisted of a Chief of Police who was assisted by fourteen volunteer patrolmen and one part-time clerk.

West Greenwich R. I. Police
Worn 1960s – 1970s

West Greenwich Police
2nd Issue, Worn from 1970s to 1987/88

     The Town of Westerly was incorporated on May 14, 1669. 

     In 1970 the uniformed police department consisted of  a Chief of Police, one Captain, one Lieutenant, three Sergeants, and twenty Patrolmen.

     The department’s patch is currently a colorized version of the one it has worn since the 1960s.  The town seal in the center of the patch depicts three red salmon, once found in large numbers in the Pawcatuck River, and the memorial at the top represents monuments around the world made with Westerly granite.

Westerly R. I. Police

Worn C. 1960s

   

      The Town of West Warwick was originally part of Warwick until it incorporated on March 14, 1913, making it the state’s youngest municipality. 

     In 1970 the police department consisted of a Chief of Police, one Captain, one Detective Lieutenant, two uniform Lieutenants, two Sergeants, three Corporals, and twenty-seven Patrolmen.    

     The first issue West Warwick Police uniform patch was oval in shape, with a grey background and blue lettering.  Only one example is known to exist.

     The department’s second issue patch was a grayish-blue triangle with blue lettering which read “West Warwick Police”.  There are no known original examples still in existence today. 

     The department’s third issue was an anchor style which was worn in the 1960s to about 1975. 

West Warwick Police
1st Issue patch
Worn 1930s

A reproduction of the triangle style patch worn by the West Warwick Police.

West Warwick Police
Worn 1960s to 1975

Worn C. 1980s

     The portion n of Woonsocket north of the Blackstone River was originally part of the Town of Cumberland until it was incorporated as its own municipality on January 31, 1867.  The portion of Woonsocket south of the Blackstone once belonged to the Town of Smithfield until it was annexed to Woonsocket in March of 1871.   Woonsocket incorporated as a city on June 13, 1888. 

     The first patch worn by the department was made of heavy felt and depicted the city seal in the center.  A similar patch with “C. D.” added (For Civil Defense) was worn by auxiliary officers.   

Woonsocket Police
Worn 1960s – 1973

Worn 1966 to 1973

2nd Issue
Worn 1973 to 1985

Woonsocket Police
3rd Issue
Worn from 1985 to 1995
Patches with a white background were worn by ranking officers.

Auxiliary Police Patch     

     The simple (and generic) auxiliary police patch depicted below is believed to date to WWII, and was worn by members of the Civil Defense Corps.   It is unknown which police department(s) may have used it.  

 

 

 

 

Auxiliary Police Civil defense Armband
from the 1950s.

      A Final word…

     The patch pictured below, which dates to the 1960s – 1970s,  is fictitious.  While there is a Medway, Massachusetts, there is no municipality in Rhode Island known as “Medway”. 

There is no Medway, Rhode Island.

 

 

The Woodstock Generation Reaches A Milestone

Originally published in the Smithfield Times magazine, August, 2019 

The Woodstock Generation Reaches a Milestone

By Jim Ignasher

     Robert Leach of Greenville recalls exactly where he was between August 15th and 18th, in 1969. He was standing on a stage photographing music legends Jimmie Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Richie Havens, and dozens of other iconic musicians of the 1960s. Like thousands of others of his generation, he attended the famous Woodstock Music Festival, but his experience was different than most, for he had special credentials that gave him full access to the performers – credentials that he made himself!

     This month marks the 50th anniversary of “Woodstock”, an event held in upstate New York that was billed as “Three days of peace and music”. Perhaps this means little to those under 50, but Woodstock was an event that helped define the 1960s decade and its youthful counter-culture generation. The ’60s were a tumultuous time in our nation’s history marked by political assassinations, race riots, and the Vietnam War. In many ways the concert was a peaceful protest of what was taking place in our country.         

     In August of ‘69 Robert was a 20-year-old college student working as a photographer for “Extra Magazine”, a periodical that offered news and political commentary to certain Rhode Island colleges. It was as a press photographer that he was sent to cover Woodstock.

     Robert had covered large concert events in the past. “I knew what I was getting into,” he explained in a recent interview, “and I’d learned from my past mistakes. You don’t just show up with nothing.” The supplies he brought included tents, food, water, toilet paper, and other necessities which would prove invaluable over the next three days.

     He went on to relate how he and two friends, Charles “Chuck” Sweet, and Edward ‘Eddie” Alarie, arrived more than 24-hours before the concert was to begin. Even then area roads were jammed with traffic. As cars crawled along, Robert sat on the roof of Sweet’s 1963 Ford and was taking photos when Sweet suddenly stopped short and he tumbled onto the hood.     

After setting up camp, Robert went to check-in and receive his press credentials, but as he put it, “The place was totally disorganized.” Since nobody seemed to know what was going on, Robert, returned to his tent and “created” his own press-pass, complete with Woodstock logo. He then pinned it to his vest, donned his camera equipment, and went about his business. Nobody ever noticed his pass was homemade.

     The pass gave him complete access to the stage where all the acts were to perform, and although he didn’t know it at the time, it also afforded a front row view to a concert that would go down in history, and one still talked about half-a-century later.  

     “The stage had enormous speakers,” Robert stated, “but I’d brought chewing gum.” He explained how gum-wrappers, or the gum itself, could serve as improvised ear protection. People generally didn’t wear hearing protection in the 1960s, and Robert credits his technique for not needing hearing aids today.

     With 32 acts scheduled 24/7 over a period of three days, Robert realized he’d have to choose which ones he wanted to photograph, while he got whatever food and rest he could in-between.

     Some moments stand out in his memory, for instance, when Joe Cocker sang “I Get High With A Little Help From My Friends”, the entire audience sang along.

     There was also audience participation with Country Joe’s “Fixin’ To Die Rag”, a protest song about the Vietnam War. The song hit close to home, for Robert’s brother John was serving in Vietnam with the U. S. Air Force, and his long-time friend, Marine Second Lieutenant William “Gary” Schanck, Jr., had been killed in Vietnam only two months earlier.

     There was Carlos Santana’s guitar solo which he described as “Brilliant – people were mesmerized!” And Janis Joplin’s performance of “Little Piece Of My Heart” as “Very impactful”.

   He was a big fan of Crosby-Stills-Nash and Young, and was there when they took the stage at 3:00 a.m.

     “We looked to these groups to explain what was going on in society.” Robert added, “They were the poets of the day.”

     He also recalled a famous incident when Abbie Hoffman unexpectedly came on stage and took the microphone while Pete Townshend of The Who was performing, and began to make a political statement. Townshend quickly regained control of the situation and Hoffman was sent on his way.

     It was initially thought that 50,000 people would attend Woodstock, but nearly ten times that many showed up. (Sources vary on the numbers.) The wave of humanity overwhelmed food, medical, and sanitation resources, and when the rains came the fields became a muddy quagmire. There were drug overdoses, injuries, and two deaths, and one had to be wary of anything they consumed, but Robert also witnessed the good side of people helping each other out.

     Rock legend Jimmie Hendrix began his performance at 8:00 a.m. on the last day of the festival, and Robert had the opportunity to talk with him for a few minutes before he began. Fifty years later it occurs to him that he could have had his picture taken with Hendrix, but “selfies” weren’t done in 1969.  

     “By the time he took the stage most of the people had gone home.” He recalled. “There were probably between 60 to 80,000 people, which is still enough to fill a stadium, but the vast majority had left.”   Therefore, most never witnessed Hendrix’s famous electric guitar solo of The Star Spangled Banner.

     When Woodstock ended Robert and his friends took their time leaving, partly to avoid traffic, partly to take one last look at something that would likely never happen again.

     In 2017 the farm where the Woodstock festival took place became a designated historic site, and there’s also a museum dedicated to preserving Woodstock’s history.    

   Today the Woodstock Generation is in their 70s, with graying hair and grand-kids who read about the 1960s in their school history books. However the books can’t convey the “feeling” of Woodstock, the youthful enthusiasm, and of course, the thrill of being there. For those who lived it, Woodstock was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲