March 2016 Newsletter

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Dear Friends and Fellow Members:

Please join us on April 14 at 6:30, for our annual membership meeting. Light refreshments will be served.

On a very sad note, one of our members, David Brooks passed away on March 13, after a short illness.  David was the spouse of Deb Cote, our Historical Society President.  A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, June 11, 2016, at 11 am at the Episcopal Conference Center, Pascoag.  David had begun to be very active with the society following his retirement last year.  This past Christmas for our open house, David, and Mary Ann Lowe helped make magic moments for over 100 children, as Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  You will wonder that I share with you this story, given the sad news about David, but above all he enjoyed a good laugh.   I’m sure I will tell this poorly, but Mary Ann shared with me a conversation with one little girl.  Apparently she observed Mary Ann for some time, eyes just slits, while sitting on Santa’s lap.  “Are you Mrs. Claus?” she asked.  “Yes,” replied Mary Ann.  “If you are, then what did I leave you last year?”  Luckily, the little girl’s mother mouthed “cookies” allowing Mary Ann to keep the illusion safe. 

Another little girl left her note for Santa, asking for a watch:  It goes around your wrist, and has a clock on it.I guess kids today don’t wear watches so much anymore. 

Things have been rather quiet at the museum, the cold rather discouraging too much “hanging around,” and explaining why until about mid-March the Christmas trees (live!) and other decorations were still up.  Many thanks to Jim Ignasher who magically made the majority of the decorations go away!

As mentioned in the last newsletter, we are hoping to use the property for more rentals this year, however we require the assistance of a few volunteers so that someone can be on site during the day of the event.  Let me know if you are interested in helping. 

We will be soon be planning the school programs for this year, so please let me know if you would like to help with the children.  Of all the things that we do at the museum, I think these programs are the most rewarding.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy spring, and I hope to see you at the Membership Meeting on April 14, 2016, at 6:30.  I’ll put a pot of de-caffeinated coffee on!

Maggie Botelho
Program Director

December 2015 Newsletter


Dear Friends and Fellow Members:

Seasons Greetings!

Please join us on December 6, from 1 – 4, as once again Santa & Mrs. Claus will be bringing joy to happy, and some, terrified children.  If this newsletter should reach you in time to allow for some baking, we can always use cookies, and extra hands.

The following Saturday, December 12, is our membership potluck Christmas party.  We will have our usual Yankee Swap (if you would like to participate bring a wrapped gift, of approximately $10 value).  Completely breaking with tradition, I would like to move up the party to 4:00 in the afternoon, to allow for daylight travel to, and not so late, home.  Please leave a message at the museum (401) 231-7363, and let us know what you would like to bring for a dish.

I must admit I dearly love watching tree work done, seeing huge pieces of wood being removed from a tree until it is reduced to a stump.  I missed all that on November 25, as three trees were taken down before I got to the museum!  We had two standing dead trees near the road, and a box elder near the outdoor restroom that was growing through all the power wires leading to the house. Thanks to Above and Beyond Tree Service for their professionalism, and for leaving us some branches for fire wood.  For those of you who enjoy bugs, we have an amazing infestation of box elder beetles every year in the restroom, as they are attracted to the female box elder.  It would be a nice side effect of the tree removal if we should no longer have the beetles!

Other improvements to the house include – wait for it – the ceiling in the kitchen.  We can now open and close the door to the second floor without scraping the ceiling.  We worried about what we should find, but it was basically a buildup of plaster, and the original 1830 accordion lath was as strong and beautiful as the day it was nailed in place.  After 15 or so years of ceiling scraping, it may take some time to get used to it!  Additional work was done on the drainage system – downspout transitions, and I think we will have less water in the cellar.  The clapboards on the end wall of the kitchen ell were replaced with new western red cedar, so it looks very fine.  Wayne Moreau of All Trades Construction did this work, and we are very grateful to him for his care, and exceptional work.

I would like to greet a new member to the Historical Society, Ms. Cheryl Wenzel, who joined us for the Colonial Dinner, visiting Rhode Island from Texas.  Thank you to member Anne Allen, who donated some vintage recipe books.  We received $70 in donations for the books at the dinner, and still have quite a few left for another event.  Thanks also to Teresa Ignasher for her work as our Membership Chairperson, with apologies to Teresa and the membership, as I have been the bottleneck in her ability to get membership cards out in a timely fashion!

Regarding past events, our Colonial Dinner was well received, with thanks to all of the volunteers who helped in so many ways.  We will not have a Colonial dinner next year, but will perhaps host one or two “Savory Soup” nights, using cooking pots over the hearth.  These events will require less setup and staffing.

We are hoping to make up the loss of Colonial Dinner revenue with a few more rentals, however we require the assistance of a few volunteers so that someone can be on site during the day of the event.  We are restricting the total number of guests, and will have the events end by 8:00 pm, so it is not as taxing for the person on site.

Unfortunately, our Antique Show was cancelled due to an impending storm system that was in the weather forecast.  A decision had to be made a few days in advance, as various vendors were planning to sell baked, and other food items, and as the day approached many of the vendors cancelled.  Best efforts were made to notify people of the cancellation by way of every method available to us, but I know we disappointed some people, which we regret.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy holiday season, and for those of you nearby, hope to see you for the membership Christmas party on December 12, at 4:00 pm.


Maggie Botelho

Program Director

Summer 2015 Newsletter


Dear Friends and Fellow Members:

Greetings to all! 

As you may be aware, the membership meeting scheduled for March 12th was cancelled due to the impassible driveway.  Remind me next time to choose a “rain” date, and include that in the newsletter!  Unless we form a calling tree, mailings are a bit cumbersome! 

The Annual Membership Meeting is being held at the Smith-Appleby House on September 10th at 6:30 pm.  We hope you will be able to attend.  As a gentle reminder, your membership dues must be current in order to vote.  Our new fiscal year begins September 1, so if you have not paid your dues in advance (check your membership card please) then most likely your “dues are due.”  When making out your check, please make sure to make it out to: The Historical Society of Smithfield, as that is the official account name.  This will make things easier for our Membership Chairperson, Teresa Ignasher. On more than one occasion I have wished for some special reward, prize, gift or acknowledgement for our steadfast members.  Instead I offer gratitude, for those that appreciate the behind the scenes work done on, around, and for the property – to keep it safe and enjoyed for today, and tomorrow.  Your membership dollars are a real, and important part of that. 

For the faithful few that spend many hours at the museum you understand how busy the days are with cleanup, preparation, and recovery for the many events we hold.  Perhaps that is why the days slip by so fast, and not everything is accomplished to a schedule! 

We have been rather blessed with the participation of a group of young people from Smithfield High School, under the direction of Mr. Vincent Zibelli, Social Studies, who have helped with yard work, the May Breakfast and the following school programs. 

During the period of June 10 – 18 we hosted field trips for the young people of Anna M. McCabe Elementary, Raymond C. LaPerche Elementary, & William Winsor Elementary.  I think these schools shared with us a total of over 275 children who toured the museum, learned about Rhode Island with Ranger John McNiff, participated in 18th Century “chore related” relay races – as well as candle dipping, stenciling, having a silhouette done, weaving, doll making, scroll making, writing with a quill pen, tin punch and paper making.  I believe I am forgetting something, but for any of you who have ever spent even one day with grandchildren, or any children, will perhaps join me in saying, “whew!”  As ever, when working with these groups of children, Deb Cote is the driving force, and organizer.  

We have hosted two Rhody Ramble events this summer, on July 12th a Rain gutter Regatta, and on August 9th, a Weaving class.  Deb Cote was again instrumental in signing up volunteers and running the event, with assistance from David Brooks, Julia Mendonca, and Michael Korba. 

Thanks also being in order for the gardens, and grass – thank you to Pete and June Giammarco, and to Bob Guertin for keeping the property looking so beautiful. 

We will be hosting another Antique Show on October 4th, hoping the weather will be a little warmer than last year.  We had a lot of fun with the Historical Society table (your donated items), so if you have any “bane or blessing” items you would like to donate, we can arrange for drop-offs! 

On November 14, our Colonial Dinner will also be themed “A Colonial Dinner in New England.” As ever, I will be looking for brave souls to help with cleaning, table set up, food preparation, etc., etc., etc. 

Our Christmas Open house is scheduled for December 6th, and a call for cookies around that time would be appreciated!  Following our tradition, the members Christmas party will be on December 12th.  Not meaning to distress anyone, but it seems that interest in the party has dwindled in the past few years, so perhaps we can make that a topic for discussion at the next meeting. 

Again, the Membership Meeting is scheduled for September 10th, at 6:30.  Looking forward to seeing you! 

Warmest wishes, 

Maggie Botelho
Program Director


December 2014/March 2015 Newsletter

SAH-header-02-1024x281Dear Friends and Fellow Members:

Well, I think this is a first for me, a combination newsletter!  A consequence of “busy-ness” but maybe a real time saver! 

Please note on your calendar the membership meeting scheduled for March 12, at 6:30.  In the event of inclement weather, severe cold, or impassable driveway, we will leave a voicemail message on the answering machine with notice of cancellation.  Please call the museum before venturing out!

For those of you who read the quarterly newsletter (I know there are at least two of you!) you will know how I try to re-cap the previous month’s events and activities.  This will be the case with this newsletter as well, but for a change I would like to project forward to the calendar in 2016.  The Smith-Appleby House will be celebrating its 320th birthday, and looking quite well for a lady her age.  I would like to see this as a year with special events to celebrate the occasion.  I’ve been allowing my imagination to run wild; a picnic on the grounds for the Town of Smithfield, dedicating a time capsule, having special “A day in the life of an 18th Century girl” for girl scouts, and brownies.  Open houses that feature clothing through the generations, photographs etc.  For any of you that have experience with large birthday celebrations, I would love to learn from you.  If you have an idea that would help to illustrate and celebrate the house, I would love to hear from you.  A year to plan seems like a lot, but perhaps you too have noticed how the time flies by?  Hands are always needed for all we do at the museum, is this the year we hear from you?

Looking back to our September Membership Meeting, the following were elected to the Executive Board Positions:

  • President, Deb Cote
  • Vice-President, Vacant
  • Treasurer, Vacant – but filled kindly by Don Goncalves
  • Publicity – Don Goncalves
  • Membership – Teresa Ignasher
  • Grounds – Don Burns
  • Buildings – Glenn Graham
  • Recording Secretary – Sal Capirchio
  • Program Director – Maggie Botelho

Again, for those of you actively interested in the organization of the board, you will note the same names appearing year-after-year.  This is as a result of the small number of people who are active in the Society, who live close enough to help, and who have the time to dedicate to the task. 

I believe any one of us would be glad to step down, to make room for whatever position you would like to take on.  This is not an exclusive club, we want all of our members to be involved!  Please let us know how you would like to be more actively involved in the society!

We are still seeking funding for the beehive oven; send a check (specify “oven”), payable to the Historical Society of Smithfield, to the address in our letterhead.  Your donation is tax deductible.

Now to our past events; On October 19, the Antique Show organized and run by Deb Cote was very successful, with more vendors than the previous year.  I think that this will continue to be part of our calendar as it grows in size and popularity.

On November 15, our Colonial Dinner themed “A Colonial Dinner in New England,” was again a sold out event.  Reducing the dinner to just one evening made things a lot easier, and the decorations, boughs and branches, made for such a nice transition to the Christmas Open House, I think we will do it again in 2015!

On December 7, our Christmas Open House was a delight to a great many children, and we were very grateful to Mary Ann and Barry Lowe, who braved the unknown, and donned the scarlet (and tartan) robes of Santa and Mrs. Claus.

We are in the process of putting the events calendar together for the upcoming season, and should have that for you at the meeting.

Again, the Membership Meeting is scheduled for March 12, at 6:30. 

Warmest wishes,

Maggie Botelho
Program Director

September 2014 Newsletter

 SAH header 02Dear Friends and Fellow Members:

I have been known to “bury my lead” so for your awareness the Annual Membership Meeting is being held at the Smith-Appleby House on September 11 at 6:30 p.m.  We hope you will be able to attend.  As a gentle reminder, your membership dues must be current in order to vote.

Water.  A missionary friend once told me the story of being in Africa, stranded by a disabled vehicle, and needing water for his wife and small child.  He told of his efforts to make a native woman understand their need, and the gratitude he felt for the relief of good, cold, clear water.  A well is a wonderful source of good cold water, and the water at the Smith-Appleby house has been known in the past to be exceptionally good.  At the museum this summer we were rather blessed to discover the well pump had burnt out – but luckily with enough time to replace it before a wedding on the grounds.  Doubly blessed, to have the water of Georgiaville Pond restored to us.  As some of you may know, the water level was dropped dramatically in October of last year, in order to repair the dam, and was only allowed to refill as of the third week of June.  Sometime during the period when the water was at its lowest, a cleanup was undertaken to remove trash from the pond.  Also during this time, an artist with rocks created several rock formations that now rise above the water – a perfect place for turtles to bask in the sun.

On August 14, we hosted a Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council paddle on the pond, another reason it is nice to have the water back! 

On August 17, the volunteers and children made tops for a Rhody Ramble, and managed to have a watermelon seed spitting contest, without the benefit of finding ANY watermelons that still have seeds.  You must attend the membership meeting to learn how this was accomplished.  Many thanks to all of the volunteers who helped with the Ramble.

We are still seeking funding for the beehive oven; send a check (specify “oven”), payable to the Historical Society of Smithfield, to the address in our letterhead.  Your donation is tax deductible.

On October 19, at the Antique Show, the Historical Society will have a table so now is a good time to clean house and bring any glassware, ornaments, bits & bobs, gadgets, functional lamps etc. etc. Bring them along the day of, or drop them off before October 19, and we will sell the donated items to raise funds.  I have three boxes already!  Less clutter at your house means less dusting!

On November 15, our Colonial Dinner is themed “A Colonial Dinner in New England.  This year we will only be hosting the Colonial Dinner one evening, to reduce the general stress and work load of doing two 4-course meals for 50 people back to back. We would be grateful for extra hands to clean and set up the tables.

On December 7, our Christmas Open House will, as ever require a bunch of cookies, so if you can bake a few dozen (or so!) for us, we would be grateful! 

Lastly, December 13 is our members Christmas party. 

Please join us on September 11, 2014, for our second Membership Meeting of the Fiscal Year.

Warmest wishes,

Maggie Botelho,

Program Director 

June 2014 Newsletter

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Dear Friends and Fellow Members:

Perhaps some of you have traveled to Ireland, I never have – but if Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle, and the green there is famous, then I think we have its rival in the fields around the Smith-Appleby House.  In the days preceding the May Breakfast, the green was almost luminous.  Maybe that is a bi-product of a long, cold, snowy winter! 

On the property we have seen bluebirds, a hawk, blue herons, robins and eastern orioles, an abundance of feathered color!  The cherry tree was gorgeous; violets in the grass, and the many hundreds of bulbs have made the whole property sparkle.  Pete and June Giammarco planted daffodils along the nature walk beyond the wooden bridge and that was an absolute delight this year, enough to make me forget the winter.  This newsletter includes a poem by fellow member James Maloney, entitled “Spring at Last.”

Highlighting the appearance of the property is our new cedar shake roof, funded by the Champlin Foundation, work performed by Above Board Contracting.  You can see it gleaming from highway 295.  Also contributing to the appearance of the property, the newly scraped and painted caretakers house, with several windows glazed, work performed by member Frank Pfeiffer, who cannot always remain anonymous!  The kitchen fence is complete, with a canon ball gate closure – framing and protecting the garden.  Don Burns and a crew managed to fix the wooden stairs by the barn so they are now safe, and no longer list to one side and I understand one of the wooden bridges has been shored up as well. 

Our web site has been updated to include many more photographs, and if you enjoy Jim Ignasher’s stories as much as I do, you will now find them on our web site as well.  So many hands involved in promoting and enriching our presence, and maintaining and improving the property, and so, many thanks to all.

Our 41st Annual May Breakfast was sold out, and well received, again thanks to the faithful members who give of their time and talent to make it a memorable event for our guests. 

On May 23, we hosted a field trip for the Anna McCabe School, with Deb Cote, June Giammarco and Kathy Nolett managing the 44 third grade children.  The day included some very strenuous field games, and the children declared it the best field trip – EVER.  If you have some free time, let Deb know, as we can use some extra hands with the school programs.

We have mentioned in the past, our interest in building a historically accurate outdoor beehive oven on the property.  This is part of our continuing mission to preserve and present important Smithfield artifacts and history.  Our beehive oven will copy  a typical New England clay and stone oven made with wood, rocks with clay, sand and straw. The design will be period correct, constructed as a traditional summer oven would have been built 300 years ago.  If you would like to support the creation of this oven by a donation, send a check (specify “oven”), payable to the Historical Society of Smithfield, to the address in our letterhead.  Your donation is tax deductible.

On June 29, we have a Rhody Ramble open house with a Fourth of July craft in the barn, stop by to say hello. 

Completely zooming ahead to some of the late season programs, on October 19 we are hosting the second antique show on the property.  The Historical Society will have a table at this event, so if you have the typical bane & blessing items:  Glassware, ornaments, bits & bobs, gadgets, functional lamps etc. etc. bring them along, or drop them off before October 19, and we will sell the donated items to raise funds.  I have three boxes already!  Less clutter at your house means less dusting!

On November 15, our Colonial Dinner, is themed “A Colonial Dinner in New England.”  This year we will only be hosting the Colonial Dinner one evening, to reduce the general stress and work load of doing two 4-course meals for 50 people back to back.

On December 7, our Christmas Open House will, as ever require a bunch of cookies, so if you can bake a few dozen (or so!) for us, we would be grateful!  Lastly, December 13 is our members Christmas party, I promise to be clearer if we need to postpone the dinner, I know last year some one (George) ended up with a lot of salad to eat!

Regarding membership dues, watch for that telltale red dot on your envelope, to see if you are current!

Warmest wishes,

Maggie Botelho
Program Director


Spring at Last – By James Maloney

I have heard a robin sing
On this lovely early morn
Announcing once again
That another spring is born.

 Seeking his old nesting place
A bird house on my tree
Two doves came fluttering down
To complete my feathered family.

 I bought a muffin at Dunkin Doughnuts
Ate the crown and saved the rest
Threw it in my yard
A squirrel got there before the rest.

 My heart rejoices at the sounds
That my feathered friends doth bring
Spring has come at last
For I heard a robin sing.

March 2014 Newsletter

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 Dear Friends and Fellow Members:

I hope you will join us on March 13, 2014, at 6:30, for our first membership meeting of the year. If we should have snow forecast for that date, we will meet the following Thursday, March 20.  A message on our voicemail at the museum will confirm a cancellation (401) 231-7363.

As some of you might know, I grew up in Canada.  My parents, family and friends played a card game called euchre (pronounced you-cur).  It is played by four, or six people, in two partner sets.  After the cards are dealt, the top card from the deck is turned over, and that suit becomes the trump card, if either “ordered up” or “picked up” by one of the players.  When a suit is named trump, any card of that suit outranks any card of a non-trump suit. The highest-ranking card in euchre is the Jack of the trump suit.  Whoever wins the most “tricks” wins that game.

Although my father only went to school until he was nine years old, he had an uncanny knack at playing this game.  I can remember him coolly sitting at the table, and saying, “let’s make it diamonds.”  I would watch as each hand was played, my father leading with an ace of hearts.  Everyone would follow suit, and he would win the trick.  At the end of that hand, I would realize my father didn’t have even one trump card.  But he would win.  Another way he would begin a trick was by saying, “on the strength of my partners hand” and he would pick a suit.  If you were his partner, you really needed to play your cards right!  I have thought of that phrase quite often, and realize how it applies in life.  There is not much accomplished without our relying upon the strength of our partners.  Perhaps that is the miracle of any volunteer organization, to realize when you forgot to call someone to help with an event, and they show up anyway.  Or a dinner to feed volunteers magically appears because someone brought a salad, a pie, and another a pork loin.  I would like to express my appreciation for all the Smith-Appleby House family that contributes to the care and growth of the Historical Society; it would not be possible without you.

We have quite a few projects underway, the largest of which will be a new roof this year.  We are grateful to the Champlin Foundation for the funding required.  The new fence for the kitchen garden is making good progress.  We have collected funds for the beehive oven, and will begin that project as time and energy permits.  We also have a possible land acquisition underway.

We have been working on our event calendar for the year:

  • May 4 – 41st Annual May Breakfast
  • May/June (School programs throughout for our local schools)
  • June 21 – Wedding
  • August  – Possible Open House, Rhody Ramble
  • September 7, 20  – Weddings
  • September 28 – Possible Open House – Smithsonian Day
  • October 19 – Antique Show
  • November 14 & 15 – A Colonial Dinner in New England
  • December 7 – Christmas Open House, December 13 (members Christmas party)

As ever, we are glad for any assistance with our programs!

Regarding membership dues, one of our steadfast members, Connie Costa completely charmed me when sending in her dues this year.  She commented that the delay in sending her dues made her a member of the “Red Dot Society.”  It is possible to be both, if you are a member of the Historical Society, and somehow miss the renewal date.  Just watch for that telltale red dot on your envelope, and it will keep you current!

Membership dollars are a very real part of our finances, and also a sign of your support for the work being accomplished to preserve the Smith-Appleby House.  A red dot on your envelope signals your membership is in arrears.  You must be a member in good standing to vote at the Membership Meeting on March 13, 2014, and we hope to see you there.  Checks should be sent to the Stillwater Road address on our letterhead.

Warmest wishes,

Maggie Botelho
Program Director 

December 2013 Newsletter

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Dear Friends and Fellow Members:

Please mark your calendars for the Member Christmas Party on Saturday, December 14, at 6:30. This is our annual potluck dinner, with Yankee Swap; bring a wrapped gift ($10 suggested) if you would like to participate.  Leave a message at the museum (401 231-7363) with your name and telephone number, and what you would like to bring.  We will give you a call if the dish you have chosen has already been selected.

I am always a little amazed to be writing the December Newsletter, as it means another year has embraced us, or graced us, or wrestled us to the ground.  I hope for all of you that it was the first!  Working from newest to oldest, I want to share with you some of the goings on at the museum.  Just this past Thursday, November 14, Girl Scout Troop 373 had a cookies & candles evening at the museum.  The girls decorated seasonal sugar cookies, and we made no-bake cookies after melting sugar, butter, peanut butter and other ingredients in a Dutch oven, over some coals.  The evening’s preparations were all undertaken and accomplished by Deb Cote

On November 11, Gregory Soito arrived with his team of dads & lads to work on a zigzag fence, part of a Fences of New England project for his Boy Scout Eagle badge.  Gregory and crew were able to obtain some old wood, and the fence looks like it has been on the property, always.  The kitchen garden fence is the next piece.

November 8 & 9, saw another of our sold out Colonial Dinners.  Our theme this year “A Pirates Bounty Colonial Dinner” was well received, some folks (guests & volunteers) thought it was our best yet.  We decorated the museum as a public house called the Silver Oar, and were graced with the Rhode Island Pirate Players, taking center stage, under the direction of Casey Duckett.  Doug Frongillo, Carol Lawton, Jim Cosgrove and others, who were also instrumental in creating a three mast sailing ship, complete with colors flying.  Once again, the volunteers who peeled, chopped, cooked, swept, dusted, vacuumed, served, lumped, cleared, washed, set – etc., etc. are the ones who made it a success. Thank you all.

On October 20, we held an Antique Show on the property, with 6 vendors in attendance.  This was planned and organized by Deb Cote, with the proceeds earmarked for our outdoor beehive oven project.  We had a very good turnout, and all of the vendors were pleased with the location, and would like to come again.  Deb is planning on hosting this event next year with even more vendors.  On September 12, we had our annual Membership Meeting.  Our Officers are largely unchanged from last year, but with changes as noted:  President – Deb Cote, Vice-President – Jim Ignasher, Treasurer – Don Goncalves, Recording Secretary – Sal Capirchio, Publicity – Don Goncalves, Membership – Michele Krakowski, Grounds – Don Burns, Program Director – Maggie Botelho.  We have several other positions available, just waiting to be filled with talented people, is that you?  Buildings – Curator – History

On August 25, we rented the museum to Alec Asten, producer of a documentary called “The Tillinghast Nightmare.”  The keeping room was used as a backdrop in several scenes, as well as one of our apple trees! A screening of the film was held in Providence on October 28, with Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker’s great-grand nephew giving a presentation in advance of the screening.  Our own Barry Lowe is featured in the role of the grandfather!

Does this bring me up to the present?  We will be presenting our Christmas Open House on December 8, from 1-4.  I think this is a very special time at the house, because it really looks like a home with all the decorations.  If you have driven by, you will see the sleigh already in place.  We are looking for: help with decorating, boughs, berries, trees, hands & cookies.  If you have any of these, please leave a message at the museum, and I will give you a call.  My work schedule is flexible enough that I can most likely meet you, when you have the time.  Please let me know if you can help on the day of the event with serving cookies, collecting money at the door, pouring hot chocolate, or manning the s’mores table.

On a membership note, some dues are still outstanding, so if there is a red dot on your envelope, our records show your dues are in arrears.  Please send your check at your earliest convenience, $20 for a family membership, $10 for an individual, and thank you! 

As mentioned previously, we are working on an out-door beehive oven.  If you are thinking about seasonal giving, the Historical Society is a 501c 3 charitable organization, and any donations are tax deductible.  If you would like to be part of this project, any donations would be gratefully received. 

And don’t forget the membership Christmas Party, December 14, starting at 6:30.  I’ll turn the heat on this year!

Warmest wishes,

Maggie Botelho

Program Director

September 2013 Newsletter

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 Dear Friends and Fellow Members:

I recently received an email from our Treasurer, Mr. Bob Sherman, regarding a proposed Boy Scout Eagle project.  If approved, we will be working with Gregory Soito on a garden fence.  Bob said in his email, this would be a fall project after the last row of corn has been taken up.

That phrase “after the last row of corn has been taken up” got me thinking.  Doesn’t that just completely sum up the ending of the summer season, an awareness of the fall upon us, and the passage of time?  I measure time at the museum by the events we present – end of school programs, summer rambles, Colonial Dinner – then Christmas – Christmas party, and the beginning of the winter hours – lack of snow and abundance of volunteers permitting.  Milestones in a museum calendar, not unlike the farmers of old, laying in sufficient wood for the winter, spring planting and fall harvest -lack of snow and abundance of family members permitting!

Part of our calendar includes the Annual Membership Meeting, to be held at the Smith-Appleby House on September 12 at 6:30 pm.  As a gentle reminder, your membership dues must be current in order to vote.

 We would love to see the following positions filled:

  • Treasurer
  • Buildings
  • Curator
  • History

Anyone interested in these positions can leave a message at the museum (401) 231-7363.  As well, we are always seeking interested parties to assist with tours, and our educational programs.  Additionally, please let me know if you have a contribution for the newsletter, I value stories from the past, and poetry! 

By way of an update, the new gutters and two French drains were installed to help move water away from the foundation.  Also, an updated brochure was designed and printed – thanks to Deb Cote and Jim Ignasher.  A kiosk was installed on the end of the barn – thanks to Kyle Hannon, who created the kiosk as his Eagle Scout project.  Our grant application for an outdoor beehive oven was not approved, but our plans will be resubmitted for a second round this fall.  Speaking of bees, Mr. Tom Smith, beekeeper has established a hive beside the train station.  I keep thinking about marketing a Smith-Applebee Honey line, unless that name is taken? (!)

On August 17, we had a cornhusk doll craft at the museum, and were privileged to display the Blackstone Valley Quilt that represents 24 towns.  The quilt is on loan, and unfortunately will have moved to its next site by the time of our membership meeting.

We recently purchased a new weed whacker – a commercial model, and let’s just say Peter Giammarco is happy, and making good use of it!  Thanks to Don Burns for making a recommendation for the purchase.

The remaining open house dates on our calendar are:

  • September 28 – Open House – Smithsonian Museum DayScherenschnitte & Thaumatropes crafts
  • November 8 & 9 – Colonial Dinner – A Pirates Bounty
  • December 8 – Christmas Open House
  • December 14 – Members Christmas party

We hope you will try to join us on Thursday, September 12 at 6:30 for the Annual Membership Meeting.  Your executive board tries very hard to make good decisions regarding the care and upkeep of the Smith-Appleby House, but your voice, and opinion is very important.

Lastly, we are still collecting email addresses (saving a stamp); so if you have not already done so, send me your new email, ( and I will send it along to the Membership Chairperson!

Warmest wishes,

Maggie Botelho
Program Director

June 2013 Newsletter

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Dear Friends and Fellow Members:

My sister and I used to make a great many excuses in years gone by when we were out of touch for a time.  My favorite thing to say was “my heart has written you many times, but my hand has not.”  That’s my excuse for this delayed June Newsletter.

Unfortunately, I begin this newsletter on a sad note, to let you know of the passing of one of our membership, Sally (Aldrich) Adams.  Sally departed our world on April 18th, at the age of 95.  It was my joy to communicate with Sally via emails, and then finally in person at her home in Medfield.  Her son Roger made a visit to the Smith-Appleby House possible for her, and it was a very happy day for all of us.  Sally helped at one of Maria (Myra) Appleby’s famous May Breakfast in the 1930’s, and shared with me how she discovered a purse that had been thrown away on an embankment on the property, and how she found several coins inside.  Sally wrote to me with her family connection:

“My father, Frank Shaw Aldrich, was the son of Cora Shaw Aldrich.  Cora was the daughter of Waity Appleby and Job Shaw of Smithfield.  Waity was the daughter of John Appleby and Patience Harris.  John was the son of Thomas Appleby and Waite Smith.” 

Sally’s son Roger has made it possible for a great many items belonging to the family to become what will be a very important collection for the Smith-Appleby House.  For this, and for the amazing person Sally was, we are very grateful.

To other matters pertaining to the museum, I think there is always time for tea, and that was the case on Sunday, April 7th, when Smithfield Troop 922 joined us for a Martha Washington Tea.  We entertained 10 Daisies, who were resplendent in 18th Century clothes, and dined on Martha Washington’s cookies and candies and an array of sandwiches and other desserts.  I believe we helped make a very special memory day for these little girls.  After the tea, they had a visit with Martha Washington, as portrayed by our Historical Society President, Deb Cote.

Our 40th Annual May Breakfast was a sold out event again this year, and as I have said in the past, there is little or nothing accomplished at the museum without the help and support of all our members and volunteers, and that is appreciated!  Many thanks for all the willing hands that made this past May Breakfast a success.  While thanks are being expressed, I am including some information from our Treasurer, Bob Sherman from his May 9th Treasurer’s Report:

“In the past nine months, Peter Giammarco has raised more money individually ($2,015) and has put in more hours toward these fund raising events than any other single Historical Society member.  Peter’s events include Saturday afternoon Open House that raised $1,100.00, Tavern Night that raised $775.00 and What’s Cooking that raised $190.00.  In addition to investing his time to raise these funds he purchases and donates all of the food for each event.

Thanks to Peter and his friends, including June Giammarco and Mike Korba.  The Smith-Appleby House is the only Colonial Museum in New England open every Saturday afternoon during the entire winter, beginning December and ending in April where visitors can experience period dressed interpreters, open hearth cooking and house tours.”

I certainly would like to add my voice regarding Peter’s fund raising efforts, but also to express thanks for the magnificent gardens that Peter and June are maintaining on the property.  It is something that people constantly comment on.

Other events at the house have included two school groups:  William Windsor, and Anna McCabe where 90 school children were entertained and educated with weaving, stenciling, candle dipping, silhouettes, writing with quill pens and games – two busy, happy days!

We hosted a wedding on June 22nd, an 18th Century themed wedding, and on June 29th the first of our four open houses this summer season. The remaining open house dates are:

  • July 27 – Open House Rhody Ramble – with old time games
  • August 17 – Open House Rhody Ramble – we’re making cornhusk dolls
  • September 28 – Open House – Smithsonian Day – scherenschnitte & thaumatropes
  • November 8 & 9 – Colonial Dinner – A Pirates Bounty
  • December – Christmas Open House, December 8 (members Christmas party December 14)

Lastly, we are still collecting email addresses (saving a stamp); so if you have not already done so, send me your new email! (

Warmest wishes,

Maggie Botelho

Program Director



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