Category Archives: Newport

Newport, RI’s Liberty Square


Just across Marlborough St. from The White Horse Tavern is a triangular patch of land known as Liberty Square. The square was donated to the Newport Magistrates in the mid-18th century by members of the Newport Artillery.  The donation was intended to establish a “Mustering Place” where free men could assemble and speak freely under the protection of habeas corpus – a writ requiring a person be brought to court as a protection against illegal imprisonment.

In the heat of our nation’s revolutionary period, militia officers Thurston and Sheffield relinquished their deed to Liberty Square rendering it free from ownership by any corporation, person, city, state or country.  As a result, this little patch of land is not considered real estate, but is more accurately described as “Surreal Estate,” a gift of freedom to our city and our nation.

Many (including this author – see George Sullivan’s comment below) mistake Liberty Square for Ellery Park located at the confluence of Farewell and Thames Street. A very old tree stands there marking the spot where 18th century slaves and free men organized and protested.

In 1755, prior to the Revolutionary War and the British occupation of Newport, Newport’s slaves gathered here to hold the first African election. They congregated under a great tree described in1766 by owner William Reed as a “large buttonwood tree,”  to elect a governor for the coming year.  Continue reading

Holiday Traditions? Easter Favorites? Make the White Horse One of Them!

One of the best things to look forward to during each holiday season is being with family and getting that special time to relax, to forget work, drop all the stress, be with those you love and celebrate traditions.  At the White Horse Tavern these are all things we try to help with.  Whether we have a larger family of 20 requesting a private room for Christmas Eve or a newly engaged couple coming for their first Thanksgiving, we try to make each and every holiday something to remember.  With Easter a week away, we have already been getting special requests for our fireside tables, private rooms, flowers being delivered and so on and so on.  These are all things we are happy to cater to.
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