Westerly Library will be showing a new documentary, “Patriot of Kings County”, by Betty-Jo Cugini, local filmmaker. The story is about the friendship between Joshua Babcock of Westerly and Benjamin Franklin.
Born in 1707, Dr. Joshua Babcock was the son of Captain James Babcock, grandson of one of the first permanent settlers of Westerly, and the first Rhode Islander to be graduated from Yale College in 1724 at the age of 17. Returning to Westerly after studying medicine in Boston and London, he bought the Babcock-Smith House property and married Hannah Stanton.
Dr. Babcock, through appointment by the Rhode Island Assembly - and possibly through his friendship with Benjamin Franklin - became Westerly's first Postmaster in 1775 and established a post office at his home, which is still standing on Granite Street. He also maintained an extensive general store at this same location.
As a politician, Dr. Babcock represented Westerly in the Rhode Island General Assembly for nine years and presided as Chief justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island for sixteen years. When the Colony repealed the act of allegiance to the King of Great Britain on May 4, 1776 - Dr. Babcock was there. Rhode Island declared its independence from the Crown before any of the other colonies. Besides being appointed Major General of the Rhode Island Militia, he was also a member of the Colony's War Council, procured equipment for Westerly's troops, and served as paymaster.
We hope you will join us for this very interesting film about Westerly’s history! Betty-Jo Cugini is an Emmy-award winning journalist who has received the National Edward R. Murrow Award for outstanding achievements in journalism. “Patriot of Kings County” is the result of much research and has been wonderfully filmed and edited by Jim Karpeichik. Jim has earned a number of awards for broadcast news and has over 40 years of experience with video production. His work has appeared on numerous networks such as PBS, NBC Nightly News, Discovery Channel, and the History Channel.
Programs at the library are free, open to the public, and handicapped accessible.