Damaris, more commonly known as Dicie, was born in West Virginia, a daughter of the late David Hay Atwater and Eleanor Bartlett Atwater. She had two brothers and two sisters: Sally, Eleanor, Nathaniel B., and David Hay, Jr.
Dicie spent her youth in Tiverton, lived in Providence for several years, and moved to Little Compton permanently in 1949 after having summered there all her life.
Miss Atwater was an Administrative Assistant for Pembroke College in Providence for 15 years. A historian, she then became a tour guide for the Preservation Society at the Newport Mansions.
Lois was born on May 22, 1917 in Providence, RI to Philip W. and Grace E. Almy. Lois lived on the family farm on West Main Rd her entire life, as the fifth generation to live on the farm. Lois lived there with her two older brothers, Philip Jr. and Charles.
Lois attended Wilbur McMahon School, graduating in 1935. She then went on to Rhode Island College of Education (now RI College) graduating in 1939.
Lois started her teaching career in Tiverton at the Nonquit School. She taught two classes in one room, until 1945. She then started teaching first grade at the Wilbur School in 1945 and taught until her retirement in 1975.
In March of 2008, Lois received Teacher of the Year for her outstanding performance in teaching by the Little Compton Grange no. 32. Lois also received a citation from the Rhode Island House of Representatives for the distinguished honor of her 2008 Teacher of the Year Award.
Lois traveled extensively throughout the world, usually with her brother Philip and his wife Dorothy. I believe the only country they never visited was Australia.
After her retirement, Lois wintered in Coral Gables, FL until the late 1980’s. Lois and her sister-in-law Dot spent their winters making many crocheted and knitted items which they donated to the United Congregational Church’s Annual Fair held every July.
Lois was a member of the United Congregational Church since she was a young child. She, along with Dot would be found in front of the church during the fair hours. She was involved in town activities into her 90’s.
On November 15, 2013, Lois received the Boston Post Cane, given to the oldest resident of Little Compton. This was presented to her by Town Council President Robert Mushen. Lois was the third Almy to receive the cane. Her father Philip W. Almy Sr. received the cane in 1963 and Dorothy T. Almy received the cane in 2005. She had the cane until 2015 when she left her home to live at Sakonnet Bay in Tiverton. Lois resided at Sakonnet Bay until her death on October 23, 2018 at the age of 101½ years old.
Grace was born on October 6, 1877 in East Providence, RI to Baylais and Ella Bourne. Grace attended Normal School for 2 years. She began teaching in a one room school house with 8 grades on Neck Rd, Tiverton, RI until her marriage.
Grace married Philip W. Almy Sr. on December 13, 1898 and became a Little Compton resident for 63 years. Grace and Philip had three children; Philip W. Jr., Charles B., and Lois B. Almy.
When Grace and Philip were first married, they owned the Steamboat Company. The boat ran from Providence to Sakonnet Point. Grace did the cooking for the travelers taking the excursion. On December 12, 1933, Grace started to work at the Little Compton Post Office. It was her 35th wedding anniversary, but that did not stop her from reporting to work for the first day of which was to become 15 years on the job. She was the assistant postmaster until the sudden death of the postmaster. Grace passed the civil service exam and was then appointed postmaster. Helen Peckham was her assistant until she moved away and then Agatha Gomez became assistant.
The post office was a small room in a building north of Wilbur’s Store. She worked until she reached 70 years old and was forced to retire on December 31, 1948. This was the official government retirement age.
Grace was a member of the United Congregational Church. She served as the church clerk and was the chairman of the music committee. Grace sang in the church choir and also led a junior choir. She was a member of the Little Compton Grange, Newport County Pomona Grange and the National Association of Retired Civic Employees.
In 2005, a refurbished horse barn became a new business in Little Compton. The building was originally on a property in Adamsville. It was purchased and moved to Treaty Rock Farm and finally to South of Commons Road.
Behind this venture, Judith Worthen, who moved to town as a young woman met Josie Richmond Arkins, a lifelong resident. Early in their association they began taking hikes on the wonderful trails nearby chatting about their lives before meeting, local history, ambitions, future plans and current activities.
Josie, when she wasn’t creating art had begun teaching art to interested adults and youth. She was successful doing both.
Judith’s outgoing personality and kitchen skills soon made her home a popular gathering place for nearby neighbors. On a whim she bought an expresso machine to make special coffee for guests. A sign, Judy’s Coffee Shop, was placed on her door by a friend who had made it.
Over time they realized their skills might actually be the basis for a combined business. Their creativity developed plans for an art gallery and coffee shop. After the goal was set, attention turned to funding, coffee brewing equipment and furniture to create a welcoming business. Josie’s art was displayed and the dream became a reality.
In 2020, almost 15 years after opening, Art Café is still a popular meeting place for patrons, many of whom have made lasting friendships.
The shop offers 12 different ways of making coffee and 6 organic teas plus baked treats and fresh fruit. While inside the shop one may view the artwork of Josie and other artists, beautiful jewelry, handcrafted cards and many other crafts. During the winter a wood stove warms visitors and encourages customers to sit and chat. Then as the weather warms the shaded lawn, flower gardens, benches, tables and chairs lure people outside.
During the year, the Art Café sponsors fundraising concerts for the local food bank. These acts may include bands or solo performances, and they have also hosted gong baths and stargazing lectures.
Josie offers special art classes and activities for the children and youth. Their work is displayed for all to enjoy and all summer you can hear their laughter echo across the Commons.