In 1919 Portsmouth’s soil was good for growing and Portsmouth’s farmers were industrious.  It was possible for someone to start as a laborer on someone else’s farm and end their career farming their own land.  Here are more of the farmers listed in the Portsmouth Directory a hundred years ago and information on some of them.

Manuel Araujo – Glen
Joseph Arruda – Glen

Raymond Ayler – farmer and poultry dealer -boards with Edward Ayler
Edward Ayler – Freeborn and E. Main Rd

Edward Ayler came to Rhode Island with his parents, Morgan and Matilda Brent Ayler.  The Aylers had been slaves in Virginia and were brought to Portsmouth by Joseph Macomber.  The Aylers were successful farmers with their own land on Freeborn Street.  Raymond served in World War I.  To read more about the Ayler family, click on this link: From Slaves to Portsmouth Citizens

Matthew Bettincourt – mkt gardener, Indian Ave and Mill
Richmond Bishop – Union
Alfred Borden – E. Main and Schoolhouse
Arthur Borden – E. Main Road

John Borden – East Main and Power

The Borden Farm passed continually through Borden family hands to John L. Borden. During John’s ownership of the farm he added many outbuildings and the farm seemed to be a going concern.   John’s occupation is listed as farmer, but he was also very involved in the Portsmouth community.  In 1898 he donated a piece of land to the Portsmouth Free Public Library Association so that they could build the library that we all enjoy today.  He continued to support additions to the library and he served on the board of directors for over twenty years.  When John L. Borden died he was characterized as “a frugal man,” and at his death he had a substantial estate.

Benjamin Boyd – West Main and Mill (farmer and miller)

Boyd’s Windmill

Benjamin Boyd was a farmer and operated Boyd’s Windmill on West Main Road by Mill Lane.  He was part of the third generations of Boyds to run the mill.  In 1901 he remodeled mill, changing the number of vanes from 4 to 8 to use the mill on days with lighter winds.  In 1916 he converted it from wind power to gasoline.  In 1990 the Boyd Mill which had stood for 185 years in Portsmouth was transferred to Paradise Park in Middletown and restored by the Middletown Historical Society.  For more information on Portsmouth windmills – Click on:    Portsmouth Farm Heritage: Windmills    

Charles Boyd – West Main with William Boyd
William Boyd – West Main and Freeborn
Frederick Brazell – Sprague near E. Main
Joseph B Brazell – at J.C. Brazell
Joseph C. Brazell – Sprague and East Main
Joseph T. Brazell – E. Main Road