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Death in Early New England
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Death in early New England came early and often during those harsh first decades of settlement.
Epidemics, hunger, accidents and childbirth contributed to a heavy toll in New England. Disease in some cases erased entire families, and almost always affected the majority of individuals in the communities. For most families, death was still a private affair. Traditions brought over with European customs and others that were strictly American were eventually interwoven, and these ceremonies, tokens and portraits of remembrance became part of these rites and rituals of mourning. Other forms of remembrance were carved into stone with heart-wrung epitaphs, the cause of death and brief biographies. Burial sites themselves evolved from family plots and church graveyards to public, garden-like cemeteries.
Historian Robert A. Geake explores the development of rites and rituals of death in this New World.
Rhode Island Clam Shacks
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See how Rhode Island's hard-shell clam industry came about and remains as popular as ever to this day.
Steamships once plied the waters of Narragansett Bay, carrying thousands of guests to feasts of clams prepared in every way imaginable at scenic spots like Rocky Point and Crescent Park. After hurricanes and pollution destroyed Rhode Island's soft-shell clam and oyster beds, the quahog became the state's favorite bivalve, and Rhode Islanders took to their automobiles and drove to the beach for clam cakes and chowder at the shacks and chowder houses that carried on the old traditions. Quahogging remains a major business in Rhode Island, where men and women continue to make a living from the sea. The long lines at take-out windows attest that the future of Rhode Island's clam shacks is secure as they successfully balance changing tastes with time-honored recipes.
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