lawtonWe think of Julia Ward Howe at Oak Glen, a house that is still standing.  Julia had a house in Lawton’s Valley before that. 1853 was her first summer in Portsmouth.  Julia lived in Boston, but she had deep Rhode Island roots.  There was a water powered mill near by where the local farmers brought their corn to be ground.  Julia found this place an inspiration.  Her poem, “In My Valley” was her first writing in the new house.  She wrote: “My first writing in the new house, where may God help and bless us all.  May no dark action shade our record in this house, and if possible, no surpassing sorrow.”  Read the poem here:  In my valley-From sunset ridge: poems, old and new

In 1865 Julia’s husband Samuel sold the Lawton Valley house.  By 1870 the bought Oak Glen which was a short way from Lawton’s Valley.  Julia would live at Oak Glen until her death there in 1910.