Notes on collections at the RIHS
Even though the snow has melted in Providence for now, my winter sports dreams are still alive.
In 1791 a group of merchants and land owners in Providence around Main Street (now South Main Street) and Benefit Street signed a petition to the Providence Town Council to encourage them into action to stop children from sledding down the ‘cross streets and lanes’. The winter in the late 18th Century in Rhode Island involved a lot of snow, ice and mud. Everything a child could wish for.
So this winter should I see some children trying to sled down a hill near me, instead of writing to City Hall, I may just offer to help.
To the Worshipfull Town Council of the Town of Providence
The Petition of the Subscribers Inhabitants of the said Town most Respectfully sheweth.
That from the verry Dangerou[s] and Inconvenient practice that the Children of the Town are now in; of Slideing on Sleds down the Cross Streets and lanes that lead into the Main Street, much Danger arises to the Lives of the Inhabitants, as well as to Strangers that resort to this Town to Transact Business. That the practice is so Dangerous that the Lives and Limbs of the verry Children that practice this Business are often Indanger’d thereby.
Your Petitioners therefore Request that the Town Council would take this Representation into their most serious Consideration, and make such Orders and Regulations as they shall think necessary for preventing the abuse and Injury complained of and the will ever Pray.
Providence January 28th 1791
Signed on Verso:
Thomas Lloyd Halsey
Nicholas Brown, Junior
Nathanael Gladding, Junior
Oliver Bowen Jr.
Ephraim Bowen, Junior
John I. Clark