2013 is the 375th anniversary of the Founding of Portsmouth, Rhode Island in 1638. Portsmouth was settled in 1638 by a group of religious dissenters from Boston Colony, including Dr. John Clarke, William Coddington, and Anne Hutchinson. It is named after Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. Roger Williams convinced the settlers that they should go there, instead of settling in New Jersey, where they had first planned on going. It was founded by the signers of the Portsmouth Compact. Its original Indian name was Pocasset. It was officially named Portsmouth on May 12, 1639.
To honor the founding of the town and its subsequent history, the community of Portsmouth plans a series of public events and observances over the course of the entire year of 2013. Planning for these events has begun and volunteers are needed to participate in developing and conducting these civic events and other birthday-related functions.
Planning for Portsmouth's upcoming 375th anniversary kicked off on Thursday, August 9, when a group of 20 volunteers met in the Portsmouth Free Public Library to begin organizing a year of events and festivities. Doug Smith, ‘PortsmouthRI375’ Steering Committee Chair said, “planning has gained momentum and we have a lot of good ideas. But to make it a success we need more people to step up to volunteer. If you have a connection to some group that would like to participate or have a particular skill, we would appreciate your help. But, no experience is really necessary and if you just want to lend a hand, we have a lot of things that need to get done.” For more information, go to the celebration web site www.portsmouthRI375.com or e-mail info@portsmouthRI375.com.
A public meeting about the 375th celebration will take place this Thursday, 20 September, at 5 PM at the Portsmouth Free Library. If you belong to a group or committee that would like to conduct an event in conjunction with the year-long celebration of Portsmouth's 375th year, please attend. The Steering Committee is looking for volunteers to take charge of and organize sporting events (such as 3.75 mile race and a Sailing Regatta) as well as concerts, dances, picnics, a parade and other public events. The 375th Steering Committee can provide support in the way of funding, publicity and overall coordination. A major fund raising campaign will soon begin to help support these efforts. Now is the time to schedule and organize such events for next year, so please join us and get involved in celebrating our town's past, present and future.