Tag: Explorers & Adventurers

Dr. Robert D Billington

Growing up, he just wanted to become a drummer. However, a new journey to reclaim a post-industrial valley, reveal its history, clean up its river, and build an understanding of events that changed the course of America was about to unfold. Bob built an organization and organized communities to bring back the Blackstone Valley from

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Captain Robert Gray

On August 10, 1790, a week before George Washington completed his trip from New York City to Rhode Island to acknowledge and celebrate the reluctant thirteenth state’s entrance to the Union, Captain Robert Gray of Tiverton completed another journey in Boston harbor: he was the first American to circumnavigate the world. Gray–who has remained relatively

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John DeWolf

John DeWolf – (September 6, 1779- March 8, 1872) was a member of the famous and wealthy clan of Bristol merchants. Although Captain Robert Gray of Tiverton (see Rhode Island Founders) became the first American to circumnavigate the globe in 1790 aboard his ship Columbia, John DeWolf became the first American (and probably the first

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Giovanni DaVerrazzano

Giovanni da Verrazzano (1485-1528) was an Italian explorer and navigator who sailed in the service of France. Although the exact place and date of his birth have not been positively established, he was probably a native of the Chianti region of Tuscany, well-born and well-educated. As a young man, he took up residence in Dieppe

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Abraham Whipple

Abraham Whipple (1733-1819) was a successful privateer and naval officer who was born in Providence, the son of Noah and Mary Whipple. Of humble origins, Whipple went to sea at an early age and became associated with the wealthy and influential Brown family of merchant entrepreneurs. During the French and Indian War, he served as

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James Allen

James Allen (1824-1897) a native of Barrington, became the pioneer American balloonist when he made the first of over 150 ascensions in 1856. The “Zephyrus,” the first of his fifteen balloons, rose three-and-a-quarter miles over Providence from a vacant lot at the present site of City Hall. When the Civil War began, Allen and his

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Edward Payson Weston

Edward Payson, 1839″1929, one of Rhode Island’s most colorful native sons, was born in Providence on March 15, 1839. His father, Silas Weston, was at one time a school teacher and at another a publisher and the editor of a semi-monthly paper entitled The Pupil’s Mentor. Edward’s mother, Maria Gaines, was a talented writer who

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Dr. Robert D. Ballard

Best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic, Dr. Robert Ballard has succeeded in tracking down numerous other significant shipwrecks, including the Lusitania, the German battleship Bismarck, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the U.S. aircraft carrier Yorktown (sunk in the World War II Battle of Midway), and John F. Kennedy’s boat, PT-109. While those

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Sam Patch

Patch, Sam, 1807-1829 Sam Patch was born in North Reading, Massachusetts, one of six children produced by the stormy union of Samuel Greenleaf Patch and Abigail McIntire Patch. Following several family moves to northeastern Massachusetts towns, the Patches arrived in the mill village of Pawtucket at the falls of the Blackstone in 1807. Shortly after

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Billie Ann Burrill

World-class master’s athlete, coach, sports administrator, and indefatigable worker for the performing arts in Rhode Island, Billie Ann Burrill’s talents have known no bounds. While she was director of the Health and Physical Education Department at Rhode Island College, her drive and enthusiasm enabled the school’s Performing Arts Series to become the finest in the

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