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     His house is said to still stand at "Pender Zeke Gardiner's Corner," which is the junction of Pendar and Shermantown Roads. Left-over lumber for the house supposedly was used to build another across the street. There are gambrel-roofed houses at this corner that are very likely these houses.

These are the houses built for Benoni at "Pender Zeke's Corner" in North Kingstown. They appear to be at least very similar in plan. The shape of the houses, the layout of the doors and windows and the chimneys either certainly or probably date to the original construction, but the windows themselves, all of the dormer window construction, the sidelights, portico and other decorations at the the doorways are not. More research on this is needed to find out who lived in these houses and when.

     Benjamin sold 2 acres of land on which the Narragansett Anglican Church (now St. Paul's) was built in 1707. It was on the south side of Shermantown Road to the west of the Sweet houses. The site is marked by the cemetery associated with the church. The church was moved to the village of Wickford in 1800 to better serve a congregation that had changed from rural to "urban." After a new church was built the old building was neglected for many years. It has since been restored and can be found on Church Lane.
     Benoni is said to have been called "Bonesetter Sweet," the tradition being that bonesetting, particularly from dislocation, became a family skill carried down through the 19th century. He was also a captain in the local militia.
     On 8 November 1724, Benoni was baptized by Rev. James McSparran at St. Paul's Church. Benoni became an active member of the church and appears to have had a personal association with MacSparran. His pew was next to the minister's. He was voted a vestryman for nearly every year between 1725 and 1734. There is a In the minister's diary, he mentions that "Capt. Sweet came and I wrote his will" on 30 May 1745. Another entry, dated 19 July 1751, says "Joseph Jesse came to me on a message from Betty Sweet, to attend her husband's Capt. Sweet's funeral tomorrow; he had died ys Morning." The next day, "Tom has bro't Mors mare for me to ride to Capt. Sweet's Funeral." In the church records, an entry is found for 19 July stating "being Friday, early in the morning died Capt. Benoni Sweet of N: Kingstowne in ye 90th year of his Age, into wch year 90 he entered the 28th Day of March last. Dr. MacSparran preached his Funeral Sermon in Saturday the 20th and buried him in ye Cemetery of his Ancestors.
     There is a cryptic reference in McSparran's diary to the "Clinick" baptism (administered to those thought to be deathly ill) of a woman who claimed to be Benoni's daughter. She was Mary Sweet, aged 23, who was baptized at the house of Phillip Briggs in North Kingstown on 27 May 1734. This was unlikely to have been Benoni and Betty's daughter Mary, not only since there appears to have only been one, born in 1696, but the circumstances of the baptism appear not to indicate a fully sanctioned event in the eyes of the church. Was she "illigitimate?" (1)

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all text and photographs © 1998-2010 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted