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History Bytes: President James Monroe’s Visit to Newport

Two hundred years ago today, on June 28 1817, Newport hosted a visit by President James Monroe as he travelled through New England. The president arrived from Stonington, Connecticut on the famed U.S. Revenue Cutter VIGILANT accompanied by Capt. John Cahoone, Oliver Hazard Perry (most noted for his heroic role in the Battle of Lake Erie), and other dignitaries. Salutes were fired from Fort Adams and Fort Wolcott as the schooner toured the harbor. Later, President Monroe visited Tonomy Hill with its commanding view of the town and bay, and attended a reception with Rhode Island governor Nehemiah Knight and a welcoming committee.  The following day, President Monroe attended services at the Episcopal, Baptist, and Congregational churches. He later paid a special visit to William Ellery, one of four surviving signers of the Declaration of Independence. At the end of the day, the president visited manufacturing sites at Fall River, then sailed to Bristol and Providence.

Image:  Building contract for the Revenue Cutter Vigilant dated 1812, drafted and signed by William Ellery, as well as Capt. John Cahoone and ship builder Benjamin Marble.