211014ind history

This home located at 65 Boston Neck Road in North Kingstown was built by carpenter Joseph Horton in 1892 and in the nearly 130 years since has seen its share of owners and uses change almost as much as the world around it.

Pawtuxet, Rhode Island -born house carpenter Joseph Horton built the fine home located at 65 Boston Neck Road in North Kingstown on land he purchased from the owner of the house just to the west, Thomas Peirce, in 1892. He moved in with his wife Laura, a member of the prominent and successful Baker family, and their two children Mary and William after living elsewhere in the village of Wickford for more than three decades. Eventually his daughter married Warren Hopkins, a Providence based printer and his son William, who was employed as a weaver in a nearby textile mill married May Belle Arnold and they both moved out of the home. Joseph Horton died in 1905 at the age of 78; he left the house to his two children with the understanding that Laura should be allowed to live there as long as she wished. In 1910, she chose to relocate to Providence and live out her days with her daughter. As a way of helping to pay for those expenses, William signed over his half share of the house to his sister Mary and she sold it to John Jay Spink.

John Jay Spink, long time tax collector for the Town of North Kingstown as well as full time clerk at Farnham’s Drugstore on nearby Brown Street, most certainly felt this home was not only conveniently located across from the Town Hall, but appropriately grand for a man of his stature in the community. He moved in with his wife, Annie (Cassidy) Spink and his twice-widowed father John Harris Spink. Sadly, John Jay did not get to enjoy his fine home for too long, as he died of kidney disease in 1914; his father outlived him, dying three years later in 1917. Annie, rather than living in the big house alone, invited her unmarried brother George Cassidy to move in and also, as a means to provide herself income in a time well before Social Security, rented out rooms. Annie lived out the rest of her life here and in her will left the house to a nephew Vincent T. Cassidy.

Vincent Cassidy, the original owner of the still extant Colonial Liquor Store on Post Road, moved in with his family and operated it much like his Aunt Annie had, although the rented rooms had been replaced with actual apartments. He owned the building for 11 years, selling it in 1955 to Jamestown and Wickford lawyer and businessman M. James Vieira. Vieira primarily owned as an investment property, but may have had his law office here for a time. He sold it in 1959 to Gaylord and Lois (Bray) Olsen.

The Olsen family lived in the main part of the home, renting out the apartment space as an income source for many years. Gaylord, a career Navy man, and Lois split up and she later married Lester Salisbury Jr. Lois and Lester Salisbury sold this home in 1975 to Dr. Thomas Coghlin who has used it as the office for his popular business South County Eye Physicians.  In 2020 it was purchased by second generation lawyer James Sullivan and is now used as his office.

The author is the North Kingstown town historian. The views expressed here are his own.

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