250th anniversary celebration will include announcement regarding search for the HMS Gaspee


STATE HOUSE — Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) will be making an announcement regarding the search for the HMS Gaspee, the British customs schooner that was torched by Rhode Island colonists in an act of revolutionary defiance after running aground in shallow water on June 9, 1772.

The announcement will take place at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 10, at the Aspray Boat House in Pawtuxet Village at an event marking the 250th anniversary of the Gaspee Affair. British Consul General Dr. Peter Abbott will be in attendance for the announcement.

After Representative McNamara’s greetings and introduction, welcoming remarks will be given by Steve Miller, president of the Gaspee Days Committee. Col. Ron Barnes will then present a commemorative coin to the consul general.

Dr. D. Kathy Abbass, founder and principal investigator of the Rhode Island Marine Archeology Project will make some remarks, followed by questions and answers. John Howell, publisher of the Warwick Beacon and the Cranston Herald will then offer a toast before Representative McNamara’s announcement.

At the conclusion of the event, participants will walk down to the Peck Lane Monument, recognizing the landing site where the Gaspee crew disembarked in Pawtuxet Village.

The burning of the HMS Gaspee, along with other acts of violence in Narragansett Bay, set the stage for other uprisings, such as the Boston Tea Party two years later, which ultimately led to the Battle of Concord and Lexington and the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775.

Since 1965, Pawtuxet Village has commemorated the act with its annual Gaspee Days celebration finding new ways to engage the community and promote awareness of Rhode Island’s place in American history. The festival includes arts and crafts and races, but the highlight is the Gaspee Days parade, which features burning the Gaspee in effigy and a Revolutionary War battle reenactment.

The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project was created in 1992 to include members of the diving and non-diving public in a professionally organized and directed effort to study Rhode Island’s maritime history and marine archaeology.


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