The Commission on the Affairs of the Narragansett Indians was established by Chapter 800, January Session 1880 “An Act to abolish the Tribal Authority and Tribal Relations of the Narragansett Tribe of Indians.” A board of three (3) commissioners were appointed and were authorized, empowered and directed on behalf of the state, to negotiate with and purchase from the Narragansett tribe of Indians all their common tribal lands, now contained within the Indian Reservation, so called as bounded A.D. 1709 as well as all their tribal rights and claims. Commissioners appointed were William P. Sheffield, Jr. of Newport; Dwight R. Adams of Warwick; and George Carmichael, Jr of Richmond.
The Commission organized Thursday April 29, 1880 and was active until the completion of its business in 1883. From that period the commission met with the Indian Council to obtain the deed of the common tribal lands and rights of the Indians by their council and resulting dissolution of the tribe. The Commission was also to determine who were members of the tribe and the subsequent apportionment of the five thousand dollars purchase money given by the state.