The Little Compton
Historical Society


The Little Compton Historical Society

PO Box 577

Little Compton, RI  02837

(401) 635-4035

Little Compton Historical Society



The Little Compton Historical Society was incorporated in 1937 to preserve the history and cultural heritage of Little Compton for the enrichment and enjoyment of the general public. The Society fulfills this mission by:

*    Maintaining and restoring selected local sites of historical significance including the Wilbor House property dating from 1690 and the early

      19th century Friends Meeting House;

*    Collecting, conserving and interpreting historical documents and objects linked to the houses, farms, and families of Little Compton;

*    Conducting education and outreach programs and issuing publications to share information and stimulate interest in the area’s history

The town of Little Compton, Rhode Island was founded by a band of explorers from Plymouth Colony seeking to expand their settlement along the Massachusetts coastline.  The land they chose, some twenty square miles situated on a peninsula sixty miles southwest of present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, was originally named Sakonnet (after the local Sogkonnite tribe of Indians).

In 1682, Sakonnet was incorporated by Plymouth Colony and renamed Little Compton.  In January 1746/47, Little Compton became an incorporated town of the state of Rhode Island, pursuant to a royal decree, and shortly thereafter was annexed to Newport County.

Wilbor House, 548 West Main Road (Route 77), Little Compton, RI

Directions to Wilbor House



Wilbor House, the Society's headquarters, stands on land purchased from the Sakonnet Indians in 1673. Built by Samuel Wilbore in about 1690, the original house consisted of only two rooms, one above the other, and a cramped stairway and attic. It was typical of 17th century New England.

Today one unusual feature of Wilbor House is that it spans three centuries and contains rooms representative of each.


Eight generations of Wilbors (variously spelled Wildbore, Wilbore, Wilbor, Wilber and Wilbur) continuously occupied it until after 1900.

Restoration of the Wilbor House began in 1955 when it was given to the Little Compton Historical Society. Nearly all the early details of the house survived, including beamed ceilings, feather-edge boards and original plaster.

Where necessary, some doors, floor boards, moldings, etc. were obtained from contemporary local houses being demolished. Some millwork was copied from remnants in place. Many of the furnishings in the house are loans or gifts from Little Compton people and date from the various periods the house represents.


2007 Schedule

June 14          Wilbor House Museum opens for the season.

                      Open Thursday through Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. (last tour at 4:30 p.m.) late June through Labor Day.

                      Open weekends in September and October.

                      Open year round by appointment.

                      Call (401) 635-4035 for further information about specific days and hours for tours


June 30          Exhibit Preview Party

                      "Taste of the Azores

                      Tickets on sale now.

    July & August    Hands-on History Camps

                               Call 401-635-4035 for schedule.


            July 1         Family Day  - Wilbor House - Summer Exhibit opens

                               "Terra Nova, Vida Nova - The Portuguese in Little Compton"

                               Free Event - Open to the Public

        August 4         Little Compton Antiques Show

        August 8         Annual Meeting held in United Congregational Church - 7:30 p.m.


       October 8        Cider Social - Free and Open to the Public



Colonial Herb Garden at the Wilbor House

For many years the Little Compton Garden Club has maintained the attractive and aromatic herb garden at the Wilbor House. All of the herbs found in the garden were grown in Colonial times, and since herbs were basically the only medicines known, most of the herbs had broad and medicinal purposes.

New! Updates and Errata to Little Compton Families

Pictures of the interior of Wilbor House and other buildings at the complex

Information on the Brownell/Little Compton Library's Genealogy Collection

Newport County, Rhode Island USGenWeb Project

Thank you for visiting the Little Compton Historical Society Home Page.  We hope you will
   visit us in Little Compton, Rhode Island and enjoy the many unique exhibits we offer.
Little Compton Historical Society � 1997-2005