Newport’s Old Quarter comes to life on Saturday, August 24, 2019 from noon-5pm, during the Newport Historical Society’s 6th annual summer living history program,Life During the Burning of HMS Liberty.

The summer of 2019 marks the 250th anniversary of the burning of HMS Liberty, John Hancock’s sloop that was seized by the Royal Navy in 1768. This often overlooked historical incident, which took place in Newport’s harbor three years before HMS Gaspee was burned, is considered one of colonial America’s first acts of defiance against the British Crown.

This one-day event features over 50 costumed historical interpreters who will represent all ages and various stations of life, along with conflicting political viewpoints.  Learn and experience aspects of life from 1769 including:

  • Discussions from Governor Wanton along with residents who witnessed the burning.
  • Meeting merchants and tradespeople impacted by the non-importation agreements.
  • Experience a spinning bee presented by Daughters of Liberty at the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House. 

Visit stations around Washington Square such as a tavern, school and printer. Much like the Newport Historical Society’s previous summer History Space events, visitors might find themselves in the midst of hostile debates as the living historians recreate the tensions that surrounded this incident which helped to spark the American Revolution.

Life During the Burning of HMS Liberty will take place on Saturday, August 24, 2019, from noon-5pm in Washington Square, and at the Wanton-Lyman-Hazard House 17 Broadway, Newport, RI. Free, donations welcome.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.