Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 10

centuries of family history, including John (the Miller) Smith, who
is recorded in 1640 as one of the earliest settlers of Rhode Island.
"It holds fifteen generations and it's still not enough," she says of
the chart, turning the hanger to indicate where the back of a second
page accommodates more ancestors. "This is what I've been working on for twenty years. I don't know if I'll ever finish it."
A trim, energetic woman with a gregarious personality and a
sprinkle of mischief, Julanne is the seventh generation of her family on the farm. Their Shrewsbury roots first took hold in 1780 with
the arrival of Nehemiah Smith from Rhode Island. A veteran of
both the Revolutionary and French and Indian wars, Nehemiah can
also be credited as one of the town's founding fathers, since he was
one of the first three selectman elected when it was incorporated
in 1781.
From humble beginnings-a lean-to built against a boulder across
the road, Nehemiah eventually assumed ownership of a more comfortable dwelling. The family isn't sure how it came about, but
they think he might possibly have benefited from a dispute between fellow war veteran Lemuel White and the land surveyors
who were becoming active during that time in building roads and
laying out land parcels.
"This was Lemuel White's tavern," Julanne explains, gesturing
around her cozy living room, which is judged to be the oldest part
of the existing farmhouse. "But Lemuel liked to drink and gamble,
so we figure he lost the tavern because he didn't pay the surveyors."
For the earliest settlers in Shrewsbury, a good deal of their initial
10

Perspectives Magazine

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efforts went into clearing the forested land and converting it to tillable fields. This produced one of their few cash crops-a harvest
of trees to sell for making potash. At that time it was a common
industrial ingredient used in a variety of products, from soap to
gunpowder. For the first several generations farming was largely a subsistence operation, but with Julanne's grandfather, Harold
Smith, born in 1895 and the fifth generation to take over the farm,
things began to change.
"I've been reading up on him and going through old scrapbooks,"


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Perspectives - Spring 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Perspectives - Spring 2018

Contents
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - Cover1
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - Cover2
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - Contents
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 4
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 5
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 6
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 7
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 8
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 9
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 10
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Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 44
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 45
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - 46
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - Cover3
Perspectives - Spring 2018 - Cover4
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