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This document contains a list of lotteries that took place in Rhode Island between 1744 and 1839. It includes the year and month the General Assembly made the grant, the amount of the initial grant, and an abbreviated description of the purpose of the lottery.

Lottery#1.jpg (13 kB)
1752 -A lottery ticket for paving the streets of Newport. This lottery was originally authorized in 1747, but the time for drawing having lapsed it was authorized anew at the February 1753 session of the legislature. (Ticket: 9.8 cm X 5.8 cm)

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1761-A Class II lottery ticket for the purpose of raising £6,000 towards the cost of paving the streets in the town of Providence. (Ticket: 8.6 cm X 4.7 cm)

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1763 -A ticket for raising £400 lawful money bills in order to build a bridge over the Pawtucket River at Furnace Unity, Cumberland. (Ticket: 9.8 cm X 3.9 cm)

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1761 –Three classes of lottery tickets for the Presbyterian or Congregational Meeting House in Providence. The purpose of this lottery was to raise £560 lawful money to purchase a parsonage in order to bring the congregation back to “Gospel order”. (Class 1 Ticket - 8.6 cm X 4.4 cm)

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see above, Class 2 Ticket – 7.8 cm X 4.2 cm

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see above, Class 3 Ticket – 7.8 cm X 4.2 cm

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1772 -A Class Seventh ticket for the raising of additional funds to complete the paving of King Street (now Washington Street) in Newport. An earlier lottery granted in 1768 to raise $500 proved insufficient to complete the work. (Ticket: 8.6 cm X 5.2 cm)

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1772- The Glocester Road lottery was granted at the October session of the legislature. Its purpose was to put the existing road in good order and for the building of a bridge over the Clear River. (Ticket: 11.2 cm X 4.3 cm)

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1774 -A lottery to raise £300 for the purpose of purchasing a parsonage lot and building a parsonage house for the Baptist congregation of Pawtuxet. (Ticket: 8.6 cm X 3.5 cm)

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1782 –A lottery ticket for the benefit of George. H. Peckham of Charlestown, RI. Peckham was in debt and unable to sell his property. The prizes in this lottery were not cash but parcels of Peckham’s land. The proceeds from the ticket sales were intended to discharge Peckham’s debt. (Ticket: 17.2 cm X 4.7 cm)

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1784 -Class I and Class III lottery tickets for the Providence Market House and Bridge lottery, the purpose of which, was to erect a public market house for the benefit of the north part of the town and to build a bridge from the south side of the town over to the main street. (Class I Ticket – 8.8 cm X 4.9 cm)

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see above, Class III 8.7 cm X 4.4 cm

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1785 -Following the War of Independence many churches were in disrepair and funds to make repairs were generally lacking, therefore the Rhode Island legislature granted numerous requests from congregations throughout the state for lotteries. This lottery ticket was for the Providence Episcopal Church to raise $800 for the repair of the church. (Ticket: 11.4 cm X 4.3 cm)

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1790 -Class Second and Class Fourth tickets for building a Great Bridge over the Weybosset River in Providence. (Second Class Ticket – 12.1 cm X 6.2 cm)

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see above, Fourth Class Ticket – 12.2 cm x 6.2 cm

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1795 –The intent of the Smithfield and Cumberland lottery was to build a bridge over Martin’s Wading Place between the two towns. The lottery was granted for the sum of $4,000. (Ticket: 10.9 cm X 4.6 cm)

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1795 -A Class First ticket for the Cumberland Meeting House lottery. This lottery was intended to raise £800 in order to erect a meeting house for the Catholic Baptist Society of Cumberland. (Ticket: 12.0 cm X 6.0 cm)

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1791 –A ticket for the Providence Street Lottery; the petition of this lottery was granted at the January 1795 session of the legislature. The purpose of this lottery was to raise £400 in order to reimburse the lottery managers for the extra cost of the 1791 lottery and thus settle the accounts of the directors. (Ticket: 11.5 cm X 6.0 cm)

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1796 -First and second class tickets for the Beneficent Congregational meeting house lottery. The goal of this lottery was to raise $2,300. (First Class Ticket – 10.8 cm X 6.2 cm)

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see above, Second Class Ticket – 10.2 cm X 5.2 cm)

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1796 -Rhode Island College (now Brown University) requested and received a lottery to raise $25,000 for the use of the college. (Ticket: 10.4 cm X 3.9 cm)

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1795 –In June 1795 a lottery to raise $5,000 was granted to St. John’s Church in Providence to cover the cost for the purchase of land and building a parsonage upon it. (Ticket: 10.3 cm X 3.8 cm)

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1798 -A ticket for the Barrington Meeting House lottery, the purpose of which was to raise $3,000 for the completion of the United Congregational Society’s house of worship. (Ticket: 11.5 cm X 3.5 cm)

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1801 -The Episcopal Church of Bristol was granted a lottery to raise $4,000 to build a glebe house on the farm near the church. (Ticket: 10.2 cm X 3.7 cm)

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1807 - Six tickets, one from each class, of the Smithfield meeting house lottery, and three receipts for the purchase of tickets. The purpose of this lottery was to raise $4,000 to build a meeting house in town. (First Class Ticket – 13.7 cm X 5.8 cm)

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see above, Second Class Ticket – 13.9 cm X 5.7 cm

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see above, Third Class Ticket – 13.9 cm X 5.8 cm

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see above, Fourth Class Ticket – 13.2 cm X 6.0 cm

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see above, Fifth Class Ticket – 13.7 cm X 6.0 cm

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see above, Sixth Class Ticket – 15.4 cm X 7.8 cm

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see above, Receipt dated July 1808 - 15.0 cm X 5.3 cm

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see above, Receipt dated April 1808 – 17.1 cm X 4.9 cm

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see above, Receipt dated January 1808 – 19.4 cm X 5.0 cm

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1813 -At the June session of the General Assembly for 1813, the Second Baptist Society of Providence received a grant to raise $2,000 by lottery for repairs to their meeting house. (Ticket: 13.0 cm X 5.0 cm)

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1822 –In 1822 the Rhode Island Society for the Encouragement of Domestic Industry was granted a lottery to raise $8,000. This same society had also been granted a lottery just two years earlier for the raising of $12,000. (Ticket: 14.6 cm X 5.7 cm)

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1823 -The General Assembly granted a lottery to raise $8,000 to straighten the road to Worcester from Smithfield, RI to the state line at Mendon, MA. Ticket was printed by John Miller, printer and publisher of the Providence newspaper The Manufacturers and Farmers’ Journal. (Ticket: 14.7 cm X 5.5 cm)

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1826 -Three different lottery tickets for the building of a Masonic hall in Wickford. At the same 1826 session of the General Assembly, the Washington Lodge No. 5 was granted a charter and permission to conduct a lottery to raise $4,000 for a new hall. (First Class Ticket – 15.3 cm X 6.1 cm)

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see above, Second Class Ticket – 15.4 cm X 6.0 cm

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see above, Ninth Class Ticket – 16.4 cm X 5.3 cm

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1826 -In 1823 the inhabitants of Burrilville were authorized a lottery to raise $2,000 for the repair of Buck Hill Road. This ¼ prize ticket is for the third class drawing of 1826. Note the statement on the left of the ticket “The drawing effected in a few minutes.” (Ticket: 16.1 cm X 6.8 cm)

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1826 -A ¼ prize ticket for a lottery to raise $5,000 for the building of a free bridge over the Blackstone River near Central Falls. (Ticket: 15.4 cm X 6.0 cm)

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1826 -In the 1820’s, with the advent of professionally managed lottery companies, many RI lottery grantees sold their lottery rights to such companies. Advanced payment, albeit at a discounted amount, and without the hassle of actually running the lottery were the main reasons. In turn, lottery management companies grouped many of the purchased grants into “consolidated” lotteries, the proceeds of ticket sales going to the lottery company. This ticket is for such a generic lottery. Ticket dated 1826 - 14.6 cm X 5.3 cm

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see above, Ticket dated 1829 – 15.3 cm X 5.0 cm

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1769 –In September 1769 a lottery to raise £120 was granted to the freemen of North Kingston because “they are greatly burthened (sic) with poor People; that the building of a Work-House in said Town, in which to employ the Poor, will be of great advantage.” (Ticket: 15.7 cm X 3.3 cm)

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1839-1842 –Three tickets for the School Fund lotteries, all of which were managed by James Phalen, an agent for Phillip Chase. (Ticket: Class 263, 4th Series 15.3 cm X 5.0 cm)

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see above, Ticket: Class 16, 5th Series 17.0 cm X 6.3 cm

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see above, Ticket: Class 271, 7th Series 16.7 cm X 5.5 cm

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1848 –A receipt with the promise to pay $8 for the purchase of two tickets in the Glocester Road lottery. With hard money tight, it was not unusual to pay for tickets, even losing ones, after the lottery was drawn. (Receipt: 20.0 cm X 4.7 cm)

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1818 –A receipt for the Scituate Foster Academy lottery. During the economic depression that followed the War of 1812 only one lottery was granted between 1816 and 1819, that for the establishment of the Scituate Foster Academy. (Receipt: 17.6 cm X 5.9 cm)

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1831 -The concept of a lottery for the support of public schools was first presented in Newport with the Long Wharf, Hotel and Public School lottery in 1798; but it wasn’t until 1828 when the Rhode Island General Assembly passed an act providing for the support of free public schools that a state wide initiative took effect. From 1828 on all lottery grants, with one exception, had provisions for some proceeds going to public schools. Beginning in 1831 the General Assembly issued grants to lottery managers specifically for public schools, these lotteries were known as the School Fund lotteries. Shown here is a representative promotional broadside for the Rhode Island Literature lottery for the encouragement of public schools. The School Fund period of lotteries lasted until 1844. (Broadside: 20.4 cm X 32.0 cm)

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1833 –Two representative School Fund broadsides for lotteries under the management of Yates and McIntyre. (Broadside: dated March 18 - 18.0 cm X 31.2 cm)

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see above, Broadside dated September 27 – 29.5 cm X 32.0 cm

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1839 -Shown here are three items for the School Fund lottery drawing of November 20, 1839. During this period School Fund lottery drawings were held daily, six days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. Each drawing represented a class, the example here is for the 201st class of 1839. The broadside announces the drawing and the scheme to be used, in this case 11 numbers to be drawn out of a total of 72 numbers. The scheme also explains how the prizes are to be awarded. The ticket with the first three numbers drawn would constitute the top prize of $5,000 (in this example the ticket with #20 #12 #48 would win the top prize). In most cases the top prize was not drawn and no payout made. The small receipt was used to record the numbers at the time of the drawing. The completed certificate was signed by the Secretary of State, who was required by law to have a representative at each drawing to insure the integrity of the drawing. (Broadside: 13.2 cm X 35.0 cm)

Lottery#54.jpg (20 kB)
see above, Receipt: 20.2 cm X 8.7 cm

Lottery#55.jpg (67 kB)
see above, Certificate: 19.8 cm X 25.1 cm

Publisher Statement

Coverage: 1744-1839 Publisher: Bartlett Press, Middletown, Rhode Island