Below are a number of links which detail some of the people, events, and other historical elements of the Squantum Association's past.

Andrew Eadie

Eventually health failed the dauntless Mr. Mosher, our talented and knowledgeable steward for forty years. In 1946, Andrew Eadie became his replacement.

Andy was born in Edinburg and came here by way of Canada where his father ran Eadies Marmalades Jams and Jellies, with recipes brought from Scotland.

He spent his childhood years in upper New York state and North Carolina before beginning his career as a restaurateur in the Keuk Hotel, which catered to Cornell University. He then spent time in Florida hotels and then in Providence as Assistant Manager of the Garden Room at the Biltmore Hotel. Next, he went to the Ledgemont Country Club as Manager. He then came to our club as Steward and then Manager. Mr. Eadie was a pleasant and helpful person, who helped to make Squantum what it is today. Many of us in the club remember Andy, as he was Manager when I joined in 1973. He was then in his 27th year with Squantum.

Bill Roach

During the twenties and thirties, there came to Squantum a man of mature years and pleasant ways, named Bill Roach. He became a fixture at Squantum and remained for the rest of his life. Born in Bangor, Maine in 1860, he ran way at age fourteen, and worked on a ship to New York and then as a cabin boy on a sailing ship to China. He held about every position in the Merchant Marine, except Captain.

Bill had a specialty; he was a well-known 'clam-opener' and presided over the clam bar where he effortlessly opened cherrystones, littlenecks and oysters, faster than a man could eat them. Bill was also a talented, self-trained painter of marine scenes and of his second home, Squantum. His work resembled that of the late Grandma Moses. Members would bid for his works of art. It is said, that the bidding got higher as the evening progressed.

Bill worked until New Years Day, 1948, when at age 88 he fell on the ice and broke his arm. At the Washington's Birthday Dinner, he was back opening with his usual dexterity. He died in his nineties, having worked until the end for an appreciative group of dinners and viewers.

Captain Cady

Captain Cady began his life at sea as a young lad aboard the ship Superior, out of Butler's Wharf in Providence, as an apprentice. The ship was headed to China with a half million dollars on board to buy tea in Canton. When roll was called he responded using the name "Joe". Later several of his friends saluted him as "Joe".

Captain Cady subsequently commanded the Brig Rising States, followed by the famous old brig, New England, and then the fine brig, Rowse--all in the West India trade.

The brig Rowse was a favorite with his friends and several sailed to Havana and home with him when he made such voyages. Rowseville, where Squantum began, was named after the brig, Rowse.

The Captain, after a long service on the ocean, became a merchant in the West India trade exporting and importing to and from the West Indies, under the name of Cady & Brown, succeeding the old house of Cady & Brown run by his father. Subsequently Captain Cady became a partner with Robert Aldrich and the firm became Cady & Aldrich. This firm branched out into ships, other mercantile transactions and even a partial banking business. The business finally dissolved leaving the Captain with a handsome sum in the exchequer.

Captain Cady was the first President of Squantum and remained so until his death in 1883. Known for his sense of humor, he let no opportunity for a good joke go by. The minutest phrases never escaped his vigilant observation.

Mr. Howard Knight

In 1913 Howard Knight, an eminent Providence publisher, and public relations man joined Squantum. During the 1920's he became very active in promoting the Bakes. He encouraged wider use of the club by qualified business organizations. More and more members began holding company conferences and dinner at the association.

To attract patronage, Mr. Knight used all the professional resources of the publishing house, Livermore & Knight Co. Cartoonists and other artists created very attractive and humorous mailings. Here is one of Roger Williams nibbling a Squantum clam while ducking an arrow.

Roger Williams nibbling a Squantum Clam

 

Luke Petraca

Arriving at Squantum about the same time as Andrew Eadie, Luke was for more than twenty-five years, Head Steward. Luke presided over the Culture Room, as well as, the wine supply for the Clubhouse and Bakehouse. He was friendly and capable, even filling in for Mr. Eadie in his absence.

Luke came to us via the original Camille's Roman Gardens, the old Hotel Dreyfus, and the Garden Restaurant at the Providence Biltmore.

All who knew him would attest that he was a mild mannered man, slow to anger. He did at one time, have an interest in wresting and handball. During this period, while working on the unglazed veranda, he was bothered beyond endurance by a large , belligerent Culture devotee who tried repeatedly to heft him up and drop him on over the railing. Luke administered a quick flip, pinning the problem drinker to the floor, teaching him that such behavior was not permitted in a Gentlemen's club. Luke never forgot a member's favorite drink. A tradition that continues to this day.

The Excellent Mr. Mosher

I doubt that any member today remembers William G. Mosher, but he is the one most responsible for our present high standard of gourmandise and decorum.

Our club had been mostly a Bake Club and member run until the early 1900's. In 1905, William Mosher applied for employment saying: "In the capacity of cook I was employed for four years on the boats of Ocean Steamship Company and the Merchants and Minors Transportation Company in the years of 1888 to 1891... seven years as manager of the Café at the Narragansett Hotel where I catered several of the shore clubs... understand thoroughly the setting up and serving of clam dinners. If you should employ me, I would be able to furnish dinners for 15 people without assistance..."

He was hired at once. The association was indeed a happy one for he stayed until his death in 1945. Mr Mosher was a small man barely exceeding five feet in height, but he had great tact and organizational abilities. During the parched times of the Twenties he was able to help members who wished to stock their home or Culture Room lockers.

Mr. Mosher took great pride in his immaculate appearance and resisted learning to drive an automobile. He was meticulous and never let the excellence of the menu decline from previous high standards. He was vastly instrumental in keeping the organization going during what might have been an extremely difficult period.

Thomas Nast

Through the years, Squantum has has several 'characters' as members. One such, was Thomas Nast. He was a famous cartoonist in his day and a frequent visitor to Squantum. After one of his staggering encounters with the Squantum Bake in 1901, he sent back for the Culture Room, a large, dashingly drawn cartoon showing himself leaving over a wobbling gangplank with a bulging waistline, a glowing smile and red nose. Its caption reads "NONE BUT THE BRAVE DESERVE OR STAND THIS FARE".

What a wonderful motto this would have been for the club! His cartoon hangs across from the bar in the Culture Room and is will worth an appreciative second look.

Walter Medley

Another, whose behind the scenes work, added to the reputation of Squantum, is Walter Medley, Head Chef from the early 60's until sometime in the 70's, of span of more than 20 years. Walter and his two predecessors worked a total of seventy-six consecutive years. At the time of the clubs 100th anniversary, Walter had charge of the entire kitchen staff, including extra chefs and temporary help for large parties.

In his mind and notebooks, were such special recipes as Squantum Chowder (Gourmet Magazine tried vainly to duplicate, thinking it was a variation of Manhattan Chowder). In addition, there was the preparation and keeping of Squantum Cheese. It was a Wisconsin Cheddar aged there and sent in 2-gallon horns for flavoring with brandies and wine before aging another year in our cool cellars.

During Walter's tenure the famous game Dinners got their start and entailed a whole set of recipes. The Game menus are and were based on American and Canadian fish, flesh, and fowl. These days many of the viands come from game farms and not the wild. I can remember lion steaks, rattlesnake, "real" Turtle Soup, bear, alligator, and buffalo, just to name a few.

Walter was another great from the past who made Squantum what it is today.

In the Beginning

Two groups visited Whortleberry Island (also called Huckleberry Island) to put on Clam Bakes. Several members of the class of 1844, the first class to graduate from the "new" Providence High School, located on Benefit street between Waterman and Angel Streets, known as the Benefit Street Boys, set sail in a borrowed Cat Boat on a Saturday in the summer of 1843, with some cooking utensils and landed on the Island to enjoy some sea food. It was enjoyed so much that the venture was repeated frequently. Among the group were James H. Armington, Benjamin W, Pearson and Benjamin C. Gladding, all chanter members when the club was incorporated.

The second group, known as the Rowseville Boys, were mostly merchants on South Water Street and cotton buyers. Captain Shubael Cady, master of the Brig Rowse, usually arranged outings on the island, which was referred to as Roweseville. The two groups joined forces around 1868.

In 1870, the owner of Huckleberry Island objected to further use of the island for clambakes and a rocky promentory just north of the island was chosen to hold future outlining. Captain Cady announced that same year that he had bought Squantum Point from Charles Jackson for $2,200. The Squantum Club was organized and on December 12, 1870, the 2.74-acre tract of land was conveyed to Shubael Cady, Trustee.

A Constitution was drawn in 1871, membership set at $50 and member shares limited to 88. There were 44 charter members and the rest of the 88 were immediately taken. A Charter "for the purpose of Culture" was granted to the Squantum Association on March 13, 1872. Captain Shubael H. Cady was elected the first President and held that office until 1883.

Squantum Name

Where did Squantum Association get its name and what does it mean? One legend calls "Squantum" an Indian word meaning "the annual visit of a tribe to the seashore to eat shellfish and other seafoods". That Indians made such visits regularly and for many years demonstrated by the occasional discovery on the Atlantic coast of enormous "kitchen-middens", that is piles of shells and other evidences of seafood feasts.

Others have defined Squantum as an Indian word meaning "pile of rocks." Some try to connect the word with "Squanto", the friendly Indian chief. Reference to books on the language of the American Indian does not verify these definitions.

It is established that the word "Squantum" was used about 1800 to denote a clambake. Also, it is safe to assume that the clambake was probably a refinement of the Indian seafood feast.

The name "Squantum Point" appears in the Atlas of the State of Rhode Island, published by D.G. Beers & Co of Philadelphia in 1870. George T. Hart, member of the Rhode Island Historical Society, in an article written in 1904 stated, "It is clear that the club gave its name to the mass of rocks and did not adapt that of the location."

There you have it! What is your theory? To me Squantum means a great location for great food!

Gladding Punch

In the early days and continuing for many years, it was the custom to go to the Club House after a dinner on field days for "Gladding Punch". It was named for "Ben" Gladding who concocted it. When the ingredients were put together in a large milk can with cracked ice, one of the bar men would blend it by shaking the can while dancing a little shuffle, to the accompaniment of whistling and clapping by the members.

Prior to this, the ingredients were mixed in a huge punch bowl. Enough milk was added according to the size of the party. Next, the sugar was added to taste, then rum (St. Croix was the early favorite) was poured in very slowly and stirred constantly. The quantity was determined by taste. Finally, brandy was blended to make the punch "smooth". After being blended, the mix was poured back into the punch bowl and liberally sprinkled with Nutmeg.

There were many volunteers to be taste testers. An old tradition that might be resurrected!

Squantum Members Taste-Testing Gladding Punch

 

Prohibition Blues

The 18th (prohibition) Amendment was passed by Congress and ratified on January 1, 1919 by all 48 States, except Rhode Island and Connecticut. Still it was the law of the land as of January 17, 1920. The interested public had one year to lay in supplies and plan.

For the New Year's Day Open House of 1919, before passage of the Amendment supplies ran to 17 gins, 5 whiskies and 6 rums. For the next year's party (the last before the impact of the new law) withdrawals showed 27 gins, 15 whiskies and 3 rums! Wines were not mentioned, but they were probably stored in the little Culture Room lockers, some of which remain along the north wall.

An accommodating group of freedom-loving, boating gentry who felt that Rhode Island's refusal to ratify the Amendment justified their traffic, slaked the great thirst created by the new law. Overgrown public rights-of-way became popular rendezvous for suppliers and supplied quiet, abandoned docks and old barn buildings; such that which stood on the west end of the parking lot, were favored The deep, tiny cove just to the north of the Bakehouse, the water-level door into the cellar and the tiny hatch just above in the kitchen might have served such purposes, on occasion!

Most of the boats, operators and customers have been conveniently forgotten; however, there was one fabulous, supercharged craft called the "Black Duck "which everybody seemed to know. The Duck ran a speedy, reliable delivery schedule for qualified cash customers on the upper bay. She dazzlingly used all her power and came tearing into a delivery area with many sealed casks lashed to her stern deck. Turn sharply, assume a practically Vertical position, pirouette with great style, drop the delivery into the bay, and roar off toward the ocean. The delivery sank to the bottom at a designated spot to be picked up a later and safer date.

Most of the "hot" cargo came from Canada and consisted of Scotch, Rye and Gin: Johnny Walker Red Label, Gordon's Gin and Canadian Club Rye. Rum was allegedly made by an old works in Rehoboth, long abandoned, but joyfully revved to meet the new demand. It was sold by friendly bootleggers for $5.00 per bottle.

Squantum Express

At the turn of the century (not this one-the last one) automobiles were non-existent to rare. Horse and buggy, as well as train were the most widely used for transportation. In the late 1800's the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad ran a line called the Providence, Warren and Bristol line. It ran from (not Providence) Fox Point to Warren and Newport. It started with steam locomotives and then converted to electricity. Now, why do we care? Because, one of the local stops along the way was the Squantum Station. It was located where the bike path and our entrance to the gate are today. The lines peak year was 1920 and the "take" was $1,165,157. This included, among other runs, 46 trains daily between Providence and Bristol. After the trains faded away, the 1938 Hurricane took care of what was left of Squantum Station.

Presidential Visits

Squantum has to date been host to two presidents of the United States. The first was Chester A. Arthur, a 52 year old Republican whose career combined both liberal and conservative activities. He grew up in Vermont and New York State, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Union College and Read Law in New York City.

He was an ardent abolitionist and won a case in 1855 that opened New York public transportation to blacks. He was Garfield's vice-president and served three years as the nation's leader following Garfield's assassination. He signed that first Civil Service Act and established the first Civil Service Commission.

On August 16, 1882 Squantum Association Management Group (a Wednesday Field Day) and agreed to invite the President to a Clam Bake. He answered promptly and was entertained about two weeks later; however, he selected Friday September 1, 1882 instead of the suggested Field Day.

The affair took the form of a reception followed by dinner. Local police, security people and even officials of the association needed accreditation cards. Legend has that Squantum President, Captain Shubael Cady, in introducing the guest of honor said to him: "Mr. Arthur, you may be President of the United States, but I'll have you know that I am King of Squantum."

The second president was William Howard Taft who visited us on Friday, June 23, 1911. He came up the bay on the presidential yacht, "Mayflower", which was escorted by Jesse H. Metcalf's yacht, "Felicia". They dropped anchor off the island and the President came ashore by motor launch to be greeted by Jesse Metcalf's party, as well as Horatio Nightingale, then President of Squantum.

Following the reception, the President proceeded to Providence to attend a dinner in his honor at Infantry Hall. "As he left later that evening on the Mayflower, Squantum had thousand of red fires burning along the water front and thousands of incandescent lamps in the trees." (According to the report printed in the Providence Journal.)

Japanese Governors Visit 1967

When John Chafee was Governor he entertained a group of dignitaries who were Governors of prefectures (not states). Some Accompanied by their wives in beautiful native costumes

They were very enthusiastic about our Squantum clambake and between courses listened to some local folk singers. After a few more courses they tackled the mysteries of the American Square Dance. Later there were letters of thanks from all. One Governor, Choemon Tanabe, of Shimane Prefecture sent one of his brush-paintings.

Through the years Squantum has had many visitors from many distant countries, but none more gracious and charming than these folks. They won the affection of members and staff.

Japanese Governor Visits Squantum in 1967

 

Shad Dinner

In the good old days, when I was first a member, and for several years thereafter, the Squantum held an annual 'shad and shad roe dinner'. The roe and rest of the dinner were prepared in the kitchen, but the shad got the special treatment. The fish was slit down the backbone and both halves pinned to a large board (I believe it was oak) and slowly cooked in front of an open fire in the Bakehouse fireplace until it was done. This event was held during the winter months and the members, libations in hand, stood, or sate near the fire to chat and watch dinner slowly cook. The boards were propped up at an angle in front of the open flames, but not so close that the flames could touch the fish. For some reason, the shad tasted much better this way!

A Steamboat Called Squantum

In the late 1800's, public coastal steamers and private yachts played a large part in peoples travels. Many members dropped anchor off the clubs dock. Most likely the reason the president of Squantum was sometimes called "Commander" and greeted with a cannon salute whenever he arrived at Squantum.

After the wharf was competed in 1885, the 11:00am boat was a popular way to get to Squantum On Field Days, Squantum as the second stop after Fields Point, a popular clambake spot across the river. After leaving Squantum the Ports of Call were: Riverside, Bullocks Point (Crescent Park) and Rocky Point. One of the bay steamers was named Squantum and was used in the Newport run until the 1930's.

Family Days

In 1875, after considerable discussions, it was voted to hold a Family Day on July 24. It was so successful that "Family Days" were regularly established and for more than twenty years, there was such a day each month of June, July, August, and September.

They were what they were call, the entire family came for the day. Children paddled in the water or swam while mothers sat at the shore with knitting and crochet work. Members of the club helped make the Bake and elder sons served as waiters. After dinner the members bowled, with the elder sons serving as 'pin boys'.

When 'Family Days' were discontinued, (1895-1900), there followed a period when 'Ladies Days' were a popular program.

The Bakehouse

In 1889, it was decided to build a new building to replace the Temple of the Clam (located where the flagpole is now).The committee reported, "The present site of the dinning room was carefully measured and found to be too small. We recommend that plot of ground fronting Southerly, lying between the Summer House on the Eastern side and the ridge rocks upon the end of which are mounted the old ship's gun on the West. The plot is now unoccupied, except, on one end by the ladies toilet. This location commands an unobstructed view South and West of the river and bay and is convenient of access from all the other points of interest on the premises." The cost was not to exceed $7,500.00 complete with furnishings!

The accompanying photo, taken sometime between 1889 and 1899 and looking southeast from the water shows two chimneys that no longer exist. Just left of the left chimney the "Brick House" or second club house can be seen on the site of the present Club House. The building on the left edge of the photo is believed to be the Original Club House.

Except for the two chimneys, the Bake House has remained mostly the same through the years; however, the porch on the south side (where the bar is) has been closed in, the third and only remaining fireplace rebuilt, new heating and air conditioning added, and a complete up to date audio-visual system installed. The latest improvement is completion of a sprinkler system to bring us into compliance with modern fire codes. Over time, the kitchen has been upgraded as needed and a further upgrade is in the planning stage.

The old ship's gun? Look down on the rocks from the West end of the building towards the water.

It is still there!

The Club House

The original Club House was dedicated June 28, 1871 and demolished in November, 1921

The "Brick House" or second Club House was built on the site of the present Club House in 1873. In the Providence Journal issue of July 18, 1873, a description of Squantum was published. It read in part, "On the highest promontory, rises the Club House, its red roof, a conspicous land mark. Below the other buildings appertinent to the institution, the kitchen, the spacious dining hall, open to the sea (these two were on the site of our present flagpole), the horse shed, the keepers cottage and the bathhouse, are scattered over the grounds."

The "Brick House" was described by a newspaper in 1879 as: "A building part Swiss Chalet, part Norwegian satyr, part Chinese pagoda, with a blood red roof and walls whitened to a dazzle."

In 1899, the Brick House came down and the present Club House was begun and completed in 1900. One newspaper called it "the brightest bit of architecture north of the family villas of Newport". The cost was $17,000 or $25,000 depending on the storyteller. The porch was open and, of course, the Culture Room was incorporated. A frequently asked question is, "Whose house was that?"

In time the porch was enclosed, the kitchen modernized, new heating and air conditioning systems and a lot of maintenance.

Burnsides' Cannon

After the Civil War, Union General Ambrose E. Burnside spent much of his time in Rhode Island and represented our State as a Senator in Washington. He became a member of Squantum and shared the good food and fellowship with his Capital friends. He often arrived by yacht.

Senator Burnside, Senator Henry B. Anthony and State Representative Nelson W. Aldrich presented to Squantum a handsome bronze cannon said to be the only Union cannon brought off the battlefield that was the scene of several battles of Bull Run.

The cannon was presented in 1880. Captain Cady, then President of Squantum, wrote a Receipt for it to the Providence Marine Artillery and promised to return it upon request.

Whortleberry Island

For a long time the officers of the Club wanted to buy Whortleberry Island (also known as Huckleberry Island) because of its sentimental value as the birth place of Squantum and protection from the south. The owners did not want to sell, but finally relented. A purchase was made for $5,000. This took place about 1912. The purchase included the cove and some shore property to the east. This increased the tract of land owned by Squantum to 8.75 acres.

Members were assessed $50 each for this purchase. United States engineers, in 1914, gave permission for the building of a causeway between the point and the island.

Some say it lost its distant and romantic charm!