The Little Compton Historical Society
PO Box 577
Little Compton, RI 02837
Email: 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* Collecting, conserving and interpreting historical documents and objects linked to the houses, farms, and families of Little Compton;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.
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.
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