This blog series is based on Portsmouth historian Edward West’s article “The Lands of Portsmouth, RI.” that was published in 1932.  West continues his tour down the West Shore by giving us a glimpse of neighborly friction. We start south of Cory’s Lane with land that had been granted to John Porter.  In 1675 John had given Thomas Shrieve permission to build on a house lot on his property.  Mrs. Shrieve must have had a reputation as a troublemaker because the Town Meeting got involved. “It is consented unto by vote that Thomas Shrieve hath liberty to sett down for the present, upon his wife’s peaceable and good behavior towards her neighbors: until he can more conveniently provide for himself or the town take further orders. Mr. William Baulston, Philip Sherman and Mr. John Briggs are appointed to speak with Shrieve’s wife and William Charles and George Lawton’s wife to give them the best advice and warning for their own peace and the peace of the place.”

In West’s tour we come to the Wading River where George Lawton had been granted 40 acres to build a mill for Mr. Baulston.  George Lawton’s land was mainly on the East side of West Main Road.  Apparently Lawton built a dam on the river, but in 1672 there was concern that it made the bridge there unsafe.  Since Lawton created the dam, the town ordered that George Lawton should make the bridge “sufficient” and that the West Main highway should be restored to the way it was before the damn was built.  Robert Dennis and Jacob Mott were to deal with Lawton on this matter.  Apparently Lawton did not make the repairs because they sent more representatives to him because it “was so dangerous.”

The last property before the Newport (now Middletown) border belonged to Thomas Cornell (100 acres), Edward Hutchinson (100 acres) and Joshua Coggeshall had land that was partly in Portsmouth and partly across the town line.