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Coventry Roots: Blackrock

The fourth village in our series discussing the history of the villages of Coventry is the village of Blackrock.

The village of Blackrock was located between the villages of Anthony and Arkwright. It was founded in 1814 when William Greene sold land to the Black Rock Cotton Manufacturing Company in order for them to build a dam to raise the water level so that they could build a water powered mill.

Blackrock's population consisted of only 40 people.  The village was named for a large dark rock located nearby that according to legend was supposed to have been the site of Native American Marriage Ceremonies.

The village was operated by the Greene Family, the same family that established the village of Anthony. In 1815 Coventry had 8 cotton mills with the one in Blackrock being called Black Rock Cotton Manufacturing Company. The total income for this mill was $10,000 a year.

The factory drew its water power from the Black Rock Brook that flows from Black Rock Pond.  Fifteen of the 40 people residing in Blackrock were employed at this cotton mill and as the production at the mill increased, more machinery was added, requiring more water power. Again, William Greene sold them land to enlarge the mill pond for the factory. Around the year 1824 the factory was in decline and the wooden structure was sold to Nicholas Potter. The mill was then used as a machine shop and then a broom factory. 

Samuel Greene, a member of the Greene Family that owned the village and the manufacturing company, was a noted teacher there. However, at that time there were no formal schools. School was held in any available farm buildings with no blackboards, chairs with no backs, and desks made of rough boards. There was no school yard and recess was not heard of.  Teachers received monthly wages from $14 to $16. 

The village of Blackrock is now considered a continuation of the village of Anthony. Today the area has developed into a residential section of Coventry with an named for the rock formation.  The rock for which Blackrock was named can still be seen today as you are driving on Blackrock Road. 

joan card April 27, 2011 at 01:32 AM
This site is great. My husband WilliamCard was born on Blackrock Rd and Congdon St. His Mother was a Congdon. We lived on Blackrock Rd with therock in our front yardwhich was owned by Valley Construction. I would like more on thisarea Thank You
Lauren Costa April 28, 2011 at 03:44 AM
How interesting, Joan! I can put you in touch with the author of this column, he knows so much about our town's history. What is a good e-mail address to contact you at?

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