out history many small New England towns have chosen local landmarks
that personify the
unique flavor and history of the area.
Often it will be a home where Washington slept, a tract of
land where a battle occurred or even pub historical characters
frequently stumble from on a late evening.
When these sites are put at risk the community rallies to
protect them. All in all, as this story begins it sounds much like
the usual Yankee lifestyle and it would be if it were not for the
odd characters and location involved. For in North Kingston RI at
the end of Devilís Foot Road is a rock bearing the same name.
It came as a surprise to me when I had heard how important
this slab of stone had become to this fair town and the many
mysteries wrapped up in its history.
It was known as Devils Foot Rock as far back as when Rhode Island
was just an island in the bay surrounded by a collection of
settlements along the shores. The
tale has many variations and itís not clear which is the original.
In the most popular version, the Devil and his Devil Dogs had been
leaping around the New England coast, made a stop in Little Rhodey
to rest. He had been busy recruiting new minion in order to
establish his kingdom here. When arriving in the ocean state he
decided to take a bride before returning to the fiery abyss from
whence he came. He had chosen a local woman who put up great
resistance. The Devil took her hand and running up the rock face,
leaped into the air changing into a serpent before landing in
Narragansett Bay. In the process of this dastardly exit, his hot
cloven hooves and those of his dogs had burned their imprint into
the granite bedrock.