Around 1637, Richard Smith, an original settler of Taunton in Plymouth Colony, established a trading post at Cocumscussoc and built an English house. It is thought to have been a grand house that was, possibly, fortified. This is how it got the name Smith's Castle. Smith increased his holdings, and Cocumscussoc soon became a center of social, political, and religious activities. Smith died in 1666 leaving Cocumscussoc to his son, Richard Smith, Jr.
The Castle was burned in 1676 during an uprising between Native Americans and colonists. By 1678, Smith, Jr. had built a new home with front rooms flanking a large stone fireplace, a kitchen lean-to at the back, and a massive two-story, gabled porch on the front. When he died childless in 1692, he bequeathed Cocumscussoc to his nephew Captain Lodowick Updike and Lodowick's wife Abigail Newton Updike. The Updike family developed Cocumscussoc into one of the great plantations of 18th-century New England. At its height, it encompassed more than 3,000 acres, and was divided into five farms worked by tenant farmers, indentured servants, and slaves. The Updikes were primarily stock and dairy farmers producing cheese, a breed of horse known as the Narragansett Pacer, as well as some agricultural crops.
Around 1740, Lodowick's son Daniel extensively remodeled the 1678 structure. He removed the facade gables and projecting front porch, installed an elegant entry staircase, expanded the lean-to kitchen, paneled walls, and encased some beams. At this time, the house appeared much as it does today.
In 1948, a group of concerned citizens established the Cocumscussoc Association, which purchased the property in order to preserve and assure its use for public education. Because of their foresight, Smith's Castle remains today a Rhode Island and American treasure.
Pictures and information were provided by Smith's Castle
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