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How We Got Our Name

Some say the explorer Verrazano was reminded of the Isle of
Rhodes when he sailed up Narragansett Bay. Others think our nickname “Rogues’ Island” was morphed into Rhode Island. It is hard to argue that is is entirely unearned. Ask a historian where Lt. William Dudingston was shot and they will tell you “on Narragansett Bay”. Ask a Rhode Island schoolboy – “Where was Dudingston shot? and he will answer “In the groin” – both are equally accurate but one clearly more memorable. So it goes throughout our history – it is said George Washington was so frustrated with our slowness to sign the Constitution he threatened invasion – only deciding against it when he realized that the neighboring states of Massachusetts and Connecticut would not take whole or even half of Rhode Island. Lincoln Stephens reported we were a “state for sale – cheap.” More recently we were know as the
home of “New England crime boss” Raymond Patriarca and movies like “The Departed” nodded to the viciousness of Providence’s Mafia. The state’s political class has contributed generously to the roguish behavior. Our fair share of politicians who serve their term and then served a second term. The problem is the first term is in office the …