Two events were held to celebrate Jonnycake Days and the Rhode Island Flint Corn Harvest here in South Kingstown – first a party and talk at the SKLT Barn on Saturday, October 26, from 2 to 4 pm. Speakers included Samuel E. Perry Grist Mill keepers Bob and Diane Smith and special guest Nancy Brown-Garcia, a member of the Narragansett Indian Tribe. Nancy spoke on traditional uses of corn in Native American culture. A very moving ceremonial song and drum performance by Nancy’s son and young grandson highlighted her presentation. On Sunday, October 27, at 1 pm an open house took place at the Samuel E. Perry Grist Mill on Moonstone Beach Road. Visitors got to observe the sluiceway in action and see the grinding process within the 310-year-old mill house while enjoying jonnycakes hot off the griddle. On hand was whitecap flint corn producer Stuart Sherman, who grew and harvested the corn at his Wakefield farm.
In continuous use since the 18th century and operated by Bob and Diane Smith over many decades, the remarkable Samuel E. Perry Grist Mill is the only water-powered mill currently operating in Rhode Island. The landmark property, situated alongside Mill Pond and acquired by South Kingstown Land Trust in 2012, is located at 364 Moonstone Beach Road in the Perryville section of South Kingstown.