Perhaps you noticed the little historic cemetery one day while you were waiting patiently in line at the Burger King drive-thru; just in case you were wondering what it was all about, this week as part of our long standing continuing effort to examine all of the historic cemeteries in our fair town, we will stop a while and ponder the life and times of Col. Royal Vaughan and his kin, the permanent residents of this little graveyard.
Royal Vaughan, buried here with his South Carolina-born wife Jane Anthony, was born in 1772 in nearby East Greenwich; son of Robert Vaughan. He was a very successful farmer living on the Boston Post Road here in town on a site that many said was the original location of Roger William’s Trading Post, although that has never been proven. This respected gentleman was not only the commandant of the 8th Regiment, 32d Brigade of the RI State Militia, but also the local justice of the peace. His home was not only locally renowned as the Williams Trading Post site, it was also understood to be the location of one of the Town’s first private schools, with Vaughan renting out a room in 1805 to Daniel Havens a schoolmaster who operated a school in the home for quite some time.
Numerous Royal Vaughan descendants are buried here as well, including granddaughter Lydia Arnold and her husband Rueben. Rueben died bravely at the Battle of Fredericksburg during the Civil War. Also buried nearby is another Royal Vaughan granddaughter Eliza Weeden and her shoemaker husband Christopher Weeden whom we profiled in the past, in a story about their ancient home off Camp Avenue. Christopher worked with his father Daniel in a fine shoemaker’s shop on Church Lane in Wickford. Next to them is their son, also a Civil War Veteran, Rev. Warren Weeden. Warren survived the War only to succumb to tuberculosis just after his return in 1863. He was a schoolteacher at the time of his death.
All together more than 20 descendants of the good colonel lie here in final repose in a cemetery sited in a place that is so very different from the quiet bucolic farmlands wherein they were first buried. Although the world around them has changed dramatically since they were laid to rest, Col. Vaughan and his clan remain the same, waiting peacefully under the few trees that remain here.