Newport County Rhode Island
Newport County is made up of 6 small towns in Rhode Island, most of them belonging to the original Plymouth Colony. This 314 square mile of the state is broken down into the following towns: Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth, and Tiverton. Jamestown sits on the second-largest island of Rhode Island, Narragansett Bay. This hidden cove has only a little over 5,000 permanent residents that call it home year-round. Jamestown is one of the last areas in the state still clinging on to the “old way” of life.
Most of the area is still rural farmlands with only less than 30% of its population leaving the island for outside work. In 2005 a new bridge, the Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge, was constructed to allow for better access to and from the island. Little Compton is exactly what its name implies, little! This residential community only consists of around 3500 people. The most historical area of this small town lies to the east in one of the many 16th century cemeteries. If you walk around through the old cemeteries you will see that most people buried here are from the original Mayflower era of history. Middletown is one of the largest towns in the county with almost 20,000 residents. This part of Rhode Island land actually receives a fair amount of visitors yearly due to the airport that is located within the county. Newport State Airport takes up a large part of Middletown’s landmass, but also allows for a steady flow of visitors to come through the area.
Newport probably has the most decorated past of all the towns located within Newport County. This is largely due to the role it played back in the 1700s in the slave trade industry. It is estimated that over 70% of slaves entered into the eastern states through this area. You can still walk through the Old Brick Market and stand on the exact location where slaves were traded over 300 years ago.
Portsmouth is best known for its important historical role in the American fight for independence. In American history, most of the battles (including the famous Butt’s Hill battle) were fought by the African-American military units commanded by Gen. John Sullivan. If you look at statistics today, you will find that less than 1% of African-Americans are still living in the Newport County area.
Tiverton is the last town in Newport County. The area used to thrive as a summer resort and residential community up until 2002. During routine land tests, the lands here were found to contain large amounts of harmful compounds. Arsenic, cyanide, and lead were found in high quantity and the digging in the area stopped immediately causing all land values to plummet down to almost nothing.