1661 - The Misquamicut Purchase was made between the Niantic under Sachem Ninigret and a company of English colonists from Newport, including Robert Burdick, Joseph Clarke, John Crandall, and Tobias Saunders.
1757 - The Town of Hopkinton was incorporated by Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, completing the setting of Westerly’s modern boundaries 88 years after its incorporation.
1669 - Rhode Island and Providence Plantations incorporated King’s County as the Town of Westerly. Its namesake is not confirmed; however, the two most prominent theories are that it was named either for its geographic location as the western-most town in the colony or for the village of Westerleigh in South Gloucestershire, England, where one member of the Misquamicut Company was born.
1806 - The first lighthouse at Watch Hill Point was built.
1776 - As the Revolutionary War escalated, the Rhode Island colony declared independence from the United Kingdom on May 4. Shortly thereafter, Rhode Island joined the other British colonies represented at the Second Continental Congress in ratifying the United States Declaration of Independence. Numerous accounts attest that Westerly was strongly in favor of the colonies’ independence.
Two years prior, resident Samuel Ward, who had served as Governor of the colony twice in the 1760s, was elected by the General Assembly as a delegate to the second Continental Congress.
1837 - The first railroad station in Westerly was built to serve the New York, Providence, and Boston Railroad.
1845 - The Smith Granite Company was started by Orlando Smith. In the following decades, the business would grow to become the leader of the local granite industry. Over 300 workers were employed at its height.
1879 - The famous Flying Horse Carousel was left behind in Watch Hill by a traveling carnival.
1894 - Construction of the Westerly Library, a memorial to the Town’s contributions to the Union during the Civil War, was completed.
1902 - Following an unsuccessful first attempt, the State government granted Dr. John Champlin approval to establish the Westerly Automatic Telephone Company as the first automatic telephone services in Rhode Island.
1918 - Rhode Island public health officials set up an emergency hospital in Westerly following the outbreak of Spanish influenza across New England as some areas of the town were placed under quarantine, patrolled by the Rhode Island National Guard.
2010 - The most significant flooding since the Great Freshet of 1886 occurred, swelling the Pawcatuck River and Chapman Pond.
1898 - Westerly voters rejected the Town’s proposed purchase of the Rowse Babcock estate, resulting in its acquisition by Harriet Wilcox. Shortly thereafter, Wilcox retained esteemed landscape architect Warren H. Manning to create the Victorian strolling park which the town enjoys today. Wilcox Park is named in Harriet’s and her husband’s honor and it has been expanded twice since its opening.
1912 - A building boom occurred in the urban Downtown which included construction of the current Town Hall and Municipal Courthouse on Broad Street and the current Westerly Station on Railroad Avenue. The United States Post Office at Dixon Square was completed two years later.
1938 -A large crowd, estimated to be as large as 2,000 people, gathered around a newly constructed landing strip to witness the first airmail flight serving the town.
The Great New England Hurricane swept to shore as the most powerful cyclone to batter Westerly since the Greater September Gale of 1815. The hurricane devastated the community, permanently severing Sandy Point from Napatree Point and destroying numerous homes and local icons, such as the Weekapaug Inn, along the coast.