Lawton's Valley
REWHC's Involvement - An Introduction

  Background
Along the southern edge of the property, across the security fence, lies a rocky gorge with a brook running through it. Known since colonial time as Lawton's Valley, it is the site of waterworks, mills, and the subject of poetry by famous authors. Steep rocky cliffs angle sharply to the valley floor 50 to 100 feet below. Inaccessibility has allowed old growth trees to prosper with some subjects over three hundred years old. The foundations of old mills still exist and during low water, a remnant of a grinding stone of years past can be seen. Ownership of the Valley is divided between Raytheon, Bayview Apartments, Newport Water, and the US Government.

Process
We will catalog the historical and natural features of the valley to support its protection. We will work with local organizations such as the Aquidneck Island Land Trust to map out a strategy for the Valley. We will speak with Owners for development of easements. We will provide leadership in discussions for appropriate development of the Valley to enable access and education. We will develop an interpretive, educational trail in line with community desires.

Progress
We have begun the survey of the historic and natural features of the valley. Many of the historic features found to date appear in these pages. We have made initial contact with the Aquidneck Island Land Trust. A whitepaper, titled "Lawton's Valley: A Natural and Historic Treasure in Rhode Island" has been drafted.
 Lawton Valley Links
  Introduction
  Timeline to History
  Lawton Family Arms
  Lawton Valley Revisited
  Battle Hymn of the Republic
  Portsmouth Compact(s)
  Peterson's History o f RI
  Enchanted Forest
  Water Mills (NHS)

    Maud Howe Elliot:
    This Was My Newport

  Arriving Lawton's Valley
  Receiving Visitors
  A Children's Adventure


"A Glimpse of Lawton's Valley near Newport Rhode Island",
A Postcard:
ca. 1909, Robbins Bros. Co.



In My Valley
by Julia Ward Howe

From the hurried city fleeing,
From the dusty men and ways,
In my golden sheltered valley,
Count I yet some sunny days.

Golden, for the ripened Autumn
Kindles there its yellow blaze;
And the fiery sunshine haunts it
Like a ghost of summer days.

Walking where the running water
Twines its silvery caprice,
Treading soft the leaf-spread carpet,
I encounter thoughts like these:�

"Keep but heart, and healthful courage,
Keep the ship against the sea,
Thou shall pass the dangerous quicksands
That ensnare Futurity;

"Thou shalt live for song and story,
For the service of the pen;
Shalt survive till children's children
Bring thee mother-joys again.

"Thou hast many years to gather;
And these falling years shall bring
The benignant fruits of Autumn,
Answering to the hopes of Spring.

"Passing where the shades that darken
Grow transfigured to thy mind,
Thou shalt go with soul untroubled
To the mysteries behind;

"Pass unmoved the silent portal
Where beatitude begins,
With an equal balance bearing
Thy misfortunes and thy sins."

Treading soft the leaf-spread carpet,
Thus the Spirits talked with me;
And I left my valley, musing
On their gracious prophecy.

To my fiery youth's ambition
Such a boon were scarcely dear;
"Thou shalt live to be a grandame,
Work and die, devoid of fear."

"Now, as utmost grace it steads me,
Add but this thereto," I said:
"On the matron's time-worn mantle
Let the Poet's wreath be laid."

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