337 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 222-2353
Fax: (401) 222-3199
Open to the public
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
This sub-group brings together records created by various commissions, legislative committees, interstate groups and other bodies formed to address outstanding boundary issues between Rhode Island and Connecticut from the colonial era to the twentieth century.
Partly due to each state's vaguely worded land acquisition agreements with Native American tribes, inadequate geodetic methodologies, unclear written descriptions, shifting natural markers and displaced and destroyed man-made monuments over time, the boundaries between Rhode Island and Connecticut have been a source of contention, investigation, and negotiation from the eighteenth to well into the twentieth century.
Rhode Island's borders were first defined by a royal patent of 1641, and then in the Royal Charter of 1663. Since then different portions of the line have been re-examined, adjusted and re-affirmed by various bodies. In 1703 a commission consisting of members from the two states agreed to the boundary between the two states, which was confirmed in 1726 and marked in 1728. Similar efforts to clarify and make boundary descriptions more explicit took place in 1840 and 1888, particularly involving the Ashaway River, which straddles the border, and, again in the late 1930s, after which a joint report was issued dated March 7, 1941.