Message Boards > Localities > North America > United States > States > Rhode Island > Counties > Washington
Subject: Dec 15, 1870, N. Kingstown RI Town Records Destroyed 160 yrs of birth, marriage & death records!! Wickford National Bank Fire
Author: Courtney Fisher
Date: Monday, March 24, 2014
"In an attempt December 15th, 1870, to blow open the vault of the bank, the building was burned, but the would-be robbers failed to secure any plunder. The present two-story building of pressed brick, witli freestone trimmings and slate roof, was then erected and furnished with a good substantial vault, with all protection available.” — J. R. Cole, History of Washington and Kent Counties, Volume 1.New York: W. W. Preston & Co., 1889.
While the explosion and fire mentioned above did not damage the bank’s funds, the office of the Town Clerk of North Kingstown didn’t fare as well. It was also housed in the building and lost 160 years of records in the destruction. (This cite confirmed with 2 LIbrarians & 2 local historians, as noted on this website); http://www.ricurrency.com/bank-name/wickford-national-bank/
Records for some surrounding towns, housed in this bank (for "safe" keeping, though not in a safe), were also destroyed. Will report back with the surrounding towns who also lost town Birth, Marriage, and Death records in this fire.
The remnants are housed in the North Kingstown Town Hall today.