Smithfield Police – A Concise History

Smithfield Police – A Concise History

Written By James H. McVey, Deputy Chief, (Ret.) 

     Originally published in the Smithfield Police FOP 1991 Yearbook.

Click on images to enlarge.

     To learn more, click here: Protecting Smithfield In A Simpler Time

Citizens Bank, Greenville, R. I. – 1986

     This bank building was located on Rt. 44 in Greenville.  It closed in 2017 and moved to a new building across the street.  This building is now a donut shop.  

     Photo courtesy of John Murphy Sr. of Greenville. 

Click on image to enlarge.

Moving The Smithfield Railroad Station – 1975

Moving The Smithfield Railroad Station – February 2, 1975

     The Smithfield Station was located on Brayton Avenue just in the from the intersection of Farnum Pike, (Rt. 104).  It was one of four stations in Smithfield that were built in the 1870s as part of the Providence & Springfield Railroad.   Passenger service to Smithfield ended in 1931, and the station fell into disrepair.  In February 2, 1975, members of the Historical Society of Smithfield brought the old station to the Smith-Appleby House.  There it sat for almost five years before being taken to the Davies Technical School in Lincoln where it underwent restoration.  It was then brought back to the Smith-Appleby House and placed on a granite foundation where it sits today on permanent display.   

     To learn more click here: Smithfield’s Woonasquatucket Railroad and here: Woonasquatucket Railroad Newspaper Articles

 

Click on images to enlarge.

The train station after restoration.

The train station after restoration.

 

East Smithfield Water District $1,000 Bond

East Smithfield Water District Water $1,000 Bond 

     The East Smithfield Water District was established in 1934, and in its final years was located at 307 Waterman Avenue in the Esmond portion of town.  It merged with the Providence Water Supply Board in January of 2017.

     To learn more about the history of the E. S. W. D., click here: The Battle To Bring Water To Smithfield

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Seal used by the East Smithfield (R. I.) Water District

East Smithfield Water District Official Seal

Seal used by the East Smithfield (R. I.) Water District

To learn more about the East Smithfield Water District click here: The Battle To Bring Water To Smithfield and here: East Smithfield Water Supply $1,000 Bond

Sgt. Robert Martin Memorial

     Sergeant Robert Martin of Smithfield was a tail-gunner on a B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber aircraft in World War II.   He was killed on July 28, 1943, while flying his first mission.  To learn more about his story, click on the following article:  Chance Relics Reveal A Forgotten Tale

     Peter den Tek, of Holland, found the crash site of Sgt. Martin’s B-17 and erected a signboard. (See below.)  Mr. den Tek was also responsible for the creation of a memorial to Sgt. Martin’s crew, as well as the crews of five other allied aircraft.  For more information, see the following article: Freedom Isn’t Free

Click on images to enlarge.

Signboard at the site where Sgt. Martin’s B-17 crashed in Holland on July 28, 1943. Photo by Peter den Tek

Sgt. Robert Martin

Memorial created for Sgt. Martin’s Crew.
Photo by Peter den Tek

The memorial nearing completion.
Photo by Peter den Tek

The base of the memorial with the names of allied crews. Photo by Peter den Tek.

The crew names of Sgt. Martin’s B-17.
Photo by Peter den Tek

Woonasquatucket Railroad Newspaper Articles – 1870s

Articles from the Woonsocket Patriot newspaper.

     The Woonasquatucket Railroad was chartered in 1857, but due to financial setbacks and the American Civil War, work wasn’t begun until 1871.  In 1872 the name was changed to the Providence & Springfield Railroad.  It later became the New York & New England Railroad in 1890, and in 1895, the New England Railroad.  The name was changed again in 1898 to the New York & New Haven Railroad.

     Passenger service to the Smithfield portion of tracks was discontinued in 1931, and the tracks were torn up in 1962.

Click on images to enlarge.

Woonsocket Patriot

February 18, 1870

Woonsocket Patriot

November 24, 1871

Woonsocket Patriot

March 15, 1872

Woonsocket Patriot

April 5, 1872

Woonsocket Patriot

April 12, 1872

Woonsocket Patriot

April 19, 1872

Woonsocket Patriot

June 28, 1872

Woonsocket Patriot

August 16, 1872

Woonsocket Patriot

July 19, 1872

Woonsocket Patriot

September 6, 1872

Woonsocket Patriot

October 4, 1872

Woonsocket Patriot

November 15, 1872

Woonsocket Patriot

November 28, 1872

Woonsocket Patriot

December 6, 1872

Woonsocket Patriot January 24, 1873

Woonsocket Patriot

February 21, 1873

Woonsocket Patriot

March 7, 1873

Woonsocket Patriot

May 2, 1873

Woonsocket Patriot

May 23, 1873

Woonsocket Patriot

August 15, 1873

Woonsocket Patriot

August 22, 1873

Woonsocket Patriot

May 22, 1874

Woonsocket Patriot
December 25, 1874

Woonsocket Patriot
January 29, 1875

Woonsocket Patriot January 29, 1875

Woonsocket Patriot
April 30, 1875

Woonsocket Patriot
February 4, 1876

Woonsocket Patriot
February 4, 1876

Woonsocket Patriot
October 27, 1876

Woonsocket Patriot
December 27, 1878

     Other known railroad accidents that have occurred on the Smithfield portion include the following:

     On August 14, 1888, a 55-year-old man was struck and killed by a moving train.  The exact location is not recorded.

     On May 16, 1924, a 37-year-old man was killed when he fell under a moving train in Stillwater.

    On April 14, 1925, an automobile containing a man and three women was struck by a train at the Brayton Avenue crossing.  All four were killed.

     On November 30, 1928, a husband and wife were injured when their automobile collided with a train at the Brayton Avenue crossing.

     On September 18, 1945, an automobile was struck by a train at the “Bull Run” crossing at Farnum Pike and Leland Mowry Rd.  One person was killed and six others were injured.

     On September 28, 1955, one man was killed when his car collided with a train that was crossing Douglas Pike near the North Smithfield town line.      

 

Lightning Strikes – 1870s

 

Woonsocket Patriot
May 3, 1878

Woonsocket Patriot
May 31, 1878

Railroad Accident – 1878

 

Woonsocket Patriot
December 27, 1878

Highway Robbery – 1901

This incident occurred on “Barnes Hill”, on Putnam Pike, in Greenville, in the vicinity of where the Greenville Public Library stands today.   The Smithfield Town council later offered a reward for the capture of those responsible.

Woonsocket Evening Reporter
November 9, 1901

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