2014-05-29 / Around Town

Opening Celebration for the 375th Anniversary

By Jack Kelly


Roy Lauth of the Newport Artillery Company signs the ceremonial Compact. Roy Lauth of the Newport Artillery Company signs the ceremonial Compact. The recent opening ceremony for Newport’s 375th Anniversary year-long celebration, began with measured pomp and circumstance, patriotic music, impassioned speeches and a big boom. Former Newport Mayor Stephen Waluk and John Trifero, Co-Chairs of the Newport 375 Committee, served as the Masters of Ceremonies and welcomed the crowd of approximately 250 attendees and onlookers.

Held at the front steps of the Old Colony House in Washington Square, the event was steeped in Newport’s rich and diverse history, as the city’s journey from colonial times to present day, was addressed by a number of local, state, and Congressional leaders. It was also on display in the presentation of colors which began with the Newport Artillery Company, founded in 1741, and was followed by Color Guards from both the Newport Police Department and Fire Department. US Navy seamen, representing the Navy’s presence and contribution to Newport’s history, were also honored guests and participants.


Jonas Lauth affixes his mark to the Ceremonial Compact. Jonas is the son of Roy Lauth ll, and grandson of Col. Roy Lauth. Jonas Lauth affixes his mark to the Ceremonial Compact. Jonas is the son of Roy Lauth ll, and grandson of Col. Roy Lauth. Local schoolchildren also participated in the ceremony and Pearl Emerson, 14, Rogers High School Class of 2017, stunned and amazed everyone in attendance with her spectacular rendition of the National Anthem. The winners of a city-wide, youth art competition, the Newport 375th Poster Contest, were announced by Mayor Harry Winthrop. The winners were escorted to the podium by Navy personnel to receive their awards from Mayor Winthrop. The winners, representing students from grades 1-9 were, Owen McNally, Grade 1, Arabella Pichette, Grade 4, Nick Perrotti, Grade 5, and Keeley Cunningham, Grade 9. Their artwork will be used during the city’s celebration.


Newport Artillery Company fires the closing blasts. (Photos by Jack Kelly) Newport Artillery Company fires the closing blasts. (Photos by Jack Kelly) Former Newport Mayor and member of the 375th Committee, Paul Gaines, gave a spirited reading of the original Newport Compact of 1639, from the balcony of the Old Colony House. Gaines, the first black mayor in New England, also explained the intentions of the nine signers of the Compact; William Coddington, Nicholas Easton, John Coggeshall, William Brenton, John Clarke, Jeremy Clark, Thomas Hazard, Henry Bull, and W. Dyre.

The descendants of the original signers were invited to come forward and sign a ceremonial copy of the Compact, in a rite that linked the past to the present, and offered hope to the future of Newport. The Lauth family of Newport, descendants of the Easton family, was represented by four generations. The last to affix his mark was Jonas Lauth, age 8 months. Aided by his father John Lauth and his uncle Roy Lauth, the youngest Lauth placed his blue-ink fingerprints on the Compact.


375th Committee Co-Chairs: Hon. John J. Trifero and Steve Waluk; Lynn Ceglie, Christine Cobaugh, Paul L. Gaines, Jennifer Hanson, Patrick Murphy, Hon. Rick O'Neill, Philip Pelletier, Bea Ross, Kathy Silvia, Dennis Sullivan, and Deborah Winthrop 375th Committee Co-Chairs: Hon. John J. Trifero and Steve Waluk; Lynn Ceglie, Christine Cobaugh, Paul L. Gaines, Jennifer Hanson, Patrick Murphy, Hon. Rick O'Neill, Philip Pelletier, Bea Ross, Kathy Silvia, Dennis Sullivan, and Deborah Winthrop As the event drew to a close, the Ancient Order of Hibernian Singers stirred the crowd with their performance of “God Bless America”. The Newport Artillery Company then put a powerful accent on the proceedings with two ceremonial cannon blasts. The rest of the year promises to be a blast as well.

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