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Smithfield, Rhode Island
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Country United States
State Rhode Island
County Providence
 • Type Council-manager
 • Total 27.8 sq mi (71.9 km2)
 • Land 26.6 sq mi (68.9 km2)
 • Water 1.2 sq mi (3.1 km2)
400 ft (122 m)
 • Total 21,430
 • Density 805.6/sq mi (311.0/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
02828, 02917
Area code(s) 401
FIPS code 44-66200
GNIS feature ID 1219817

The town of Smithfield is located in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. It includes the historic villages of Esmond, Georgiaville, Mountaindale, Hanton City, Stillwater and Greenville. The population was 21,430 at the 2010 census. Smithfield is the home of Bryant University, a private four year college.


Greenville Bank at the turn of the twentieth century

The area comprising modern-day Smithfield was first settled in 1636 by several British colonists, including John Steere as a farming community and named after Smithfield, London. The area was within the boundaries of Providence until 1731 when Smithfield was incorporated as a separate town. Chief Justice Peleg Arnold lived in early Smithfield, and his 1690 home stands today. There was an active Quaker community in early 18th century Smithfield that extended along the Great Road, from what is today Woonsocket, north into south Uxbridge, Massachusetts. This Quaker community, and its members, became influential in the abolition movement, with members such as Effingham Capron and Abby Kelley Foster, and also gave rise to other Quaker settlements including one at Adams, Massachusetts where Susan B. Anthony was born as an early member. Elizabeth Buffum Chace is a well-known person from Smithfield who was influential in both abolition of slavery, and the women's rights movement. In the 19th century several mills were built in the town. In the mid-19th century the towns of North Smithfield, Rhode Island, and Lincoln, Rhode Island, became separate towns. The colonial ghost town of Hanton City is located within the boundaries of present-day Smithfield, but was a completely separate community in the eighteenth century. A Revolutionary war soldier, from the Smithfield side of the Massachusetts border, Captain James Buxton, ended up as a Massachusetts militiaman and Continental Army veteran, who was deeded 300 acres in Worcester County by Governor John Hancock. For this reason Buxton was lost to the history of Rhode Island Revolutionary soldiers.(see South Uxbridge history). Buxton served at Valley Forge among other battles.



Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 3,171
1800 3,120 −1.6%
1810 3,828 22.7%
1820 4,678 22.2%
1830 6,857 46.6%
1840 9,534 39.0%
1850 11,500 20.6%
1860 13,283 15.5%
1870 2,605 −80.4%
1880 3,085 18.4%
1890 2,500 −19.0%
1900 2,107 −15.7%
1910 2,739 30.0%
1920 3,199 16.8%
1930 3,967 24.0%
1940 4,611 16.2%
1950 6,690 45.1%
1960 9,442 41.1%
1970 13,468 42.6%
1980 16,886 25.4%
1990 19,163 13.5%
2000 20,613 7.6%
2010 21,430 4.0%
Est. 2015 21,632 0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 United States Census, Smithfield has 21,430 residents with a median age of 42 years and 16.9% of the population under the age of 18. The racial makeup as of 2010 was 95.7% White, 1.2% African Americans, 0.15% Native American, 1.31% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.58% from other races and 1.03% of two or more races. Hispanic and Latino of any race made up 2.17% of the population. The median household income is $71,305 and 4.1% of the population live below the poverty line.

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