We are still working to compile the accurate history of the house. A few things we can certify at this time are:
- The house is named for Elisha Reynolds and was transferred through multiple
generations of the Reynolds and Potter Families, whose ancestors date back to the arrival of the Mayflower. Nathaniel Potter [b.1616/17-d.circa1644] (with wife Dorothy
Wilbur [b.1617-d.1695/96]) arrived on the Mayflower and arrived to Aquineck Island in 1638 and was one of the 29 signers of the April 30, 2639 compact to King Charles that read: We whose names are underwritten do acknowledge ourselves the
legal subjects of his Majesty King Charles, and in his name do hereby bind ourselves into a civil body politicke, unto his laws according to matters of justice.
Nathaniel Potter's son, Ichabod Potter, Sr. [b.1640-d.1676] marries Martha Hazard [b.1641-d.?] and have six children, the youngest being Robert Potter, Sr. [b.1670-d
.1745] who weds Elizabeth Wells [dates unknown] with whom five children are born, the youngest is Susanna(h) Potter [b.1705-d.?]. Susanna(h) Potter marries Col.
Elisha Reynolds [b.1706-d.1791] in 1728, and they purchase 200 acres in 1738 and 300 acres in 1739 from Henry Knowles south of the highway (present day RI
-Route138) and likely resided at the Potter Homestead on this land. They purchased another ½ acre of land from Susanna(h)'s father in 1729 for 10 pounds
and exchanged this land for Lot 1 in 1733 for 16 pounds; the land identified as Lot 1 we suspect was much of the current property identified as 2545 Kingstown Road.
Mostly commercial buildings were constructed on Lot 1 between 1733 and 1740; the land, all dwellings, stables, and other buildings were sold to Stephen Mumford
in 1740 for 1,000 pounds and repurchased from Mumford 5 years later for 900 pounds. The property, having returned to the Potter and Reynolds families,
continues to be passed down through generations through the 1938/39. Many family
members of the Potter and Reynolds families served the State of Rhode Island as lawyers, governmental representatives, and as part of the military. The lineage of the property continues as follows:
Col. Elisha Reynolds and Susanna(h) Potter Reynolds pass property to daughter Elizabeth Reynolds [b. 1737-d.1806] who married Col.
Thomas Potter [b.1738-d.1793] in 1758; he is also her first cousin, son of Capt. Ichabod Potter [b.1703-d.1742/43] and wife Margaret (Helme?)
Potter [dates unknown] who was Susanna(h) Potter Reynolds' older brother. Col. Thomas Potter operated a tavern with guest rooms on the
corner (east lawn) of the property and the likely host to President George Washingston to his visit to Little Rest (Kingston), RI.
Property passes to Thomas Potter, Jr. [b.1762-d.?], the second of seven children of Col. Thomas and Elizabeth (Reynolds) Potter and enters
a period of frequent partial sales and repurchases, acquirements of additional land, and partial land leases to Jeremiah Sand, William Lunt,
and William Nichols either directly through Thomas Potter, Jr. or his younger brother the Hon. Elisha Reynolds Potter, Sr. [b.1764-1835].
While the entire property was willed to Thomas Potter, Jr. in 1806 following his mother's death, Elisha Reynolds Potter, Sr. (married to Mary
Mawny [b.?-d.1835] in 1811) assumed formal ownership of Lot 1 in 1806.
Elisha Reynolds Potter, Sr. gifted the property to Maria Potter [b.1790-d.1831], the daughter of his younger brother Asa Potter, Sr. [b.1766-d
.1805] and Hannah Hagadorn [b.1767-d.1836]. Maria Potter married Thomas Robinson Wells [b.1784-d.1853] and assumed ownership of Lot 1
in 1813, but the property (plus Lot 2) was re-gifted to Maria's brother the Hon. Asa Potter, Jr [b.1802-d.1872] in 1829, the year in which he
built the current house attached the a pre-existing structure- likely a shop, in celebration of his 1830 marriage to Mary Ann Thurston (b.1808-d
.1857]. Asa Potter, Jr. re-acquired Lot 2 from William Lunt in 1831 leasing him garden on the northeast portion of the land and sold 1/3 acre to
Christopher Comstock and The Kingston Boot and Show Company in 1837.
The land and property was later transferred to Elisha Reynolds Potter, Sr.'s eldest son, Elisha Reynolds Potter, Jr. [b.1811-d.1882], who also
repurchased Lot 2 from The Kingston Boot and Show Company. Never marrying, Elisha Reynolds Potter, Jr. sold the property to his younger
brother James Brown Mason Potter, Sr. [b.1818-d.1900] and his wife and first cousin Elisa Palmer-Potter [b.1831-d.1916], the daughter of
Asa Potter, Jr. for $2,000. James Brown Mason Potter, Sr. then sold Lot 1 to Providence architect, Henry Hidden after 1848 and Lot 2 to Job. W. Watson in 1863 for $725.
James Brown Mason Potter, Sr.'s younger brother Judge William Henry Potter [b.1816-d.1904] and his wife Sarah Corliss Whipple Swan [b.?
-d.1895] re-purchased Lot 1 from Henry Hidden in 1870 for $5,000 and Lot 2 from Job B. Watson in 1870 for $950. He purchased additional
lands from John G. Perry and Thomas P. Wells and occupied the estate until his death. At this time, the property was returned to James
Brown Mason Potter, Sr's widow Elisa Palmer-Potter Potter, who turned ownership over to her daughter Mary Lemoine Potter [b.1860-d.1938]
immediately and gifted away other land to the north and west in 1911. While she inherited Lots 1 and 2 and the Potter Homestead south of
the highway, it is unknown if Mary Lemoine Potter ever resided in the home on Lot 1, but remained in Kingston through the hurricane of 1938
in which both properties (2545 Kingstown Road and the Potter Homestead) sustained major damage. Upon her death, the Potter Estate on
Kingstown Road and the Potter Homestead on South Road were willed to cousin Carroll Potter, Jr. of Boston and his wife Maud. Additional
properties were gifted to Frank and Elizabeth Barber (Lot 2), who were Mary Lemoine Potter's driver and cook and Harriet L. Thurston (the
Boxwood property on North Road purchased by Miss Potter in 1913), who was a distant relative. The home and land at 2545 Kingstown Road was then sold to Drs. Charles and Marie Fish in 1938/1839.
- George Washington did not sleep in this house! However, there is evidence that President Washington may have taken a little rest in a guest
room of the tavern that used to exist on the east lawn of the property during a trip through Little Rest (Kingston) on March 6, 1781 en route to
South Ferry and Newport. The Reverend J. Hagadown Wells referred to the property as "a public house" and in 1782 and 1783, Col. Thomas Potter was listed as a tavern keeper.
- The Fish family were the founders of the marine studies program at the State College of Rhode Island, now the University of Rhode Island.
- Upon acquiring the house in January 2011, Ann Danis and Catherine Gagnon have poured much TLC into the interior restoration of the
property. They continue to improve and restore the exterior of the home and develop its gardens.
We are seeking more information about our home. While we continue to search public and private documents, if you have a story to share about the
Elisha Reynolds House, also called the Potter-Reynolds House, or the property, known for many years as Fish Corner, please contact us -- all information is greatly appreciated!.