The Narragansett Planters
During the 18th century, large plantations dotted the Narragansett shoreline from Wickford south to Point Judith and west to Connecticut. Richard Smith, Jr. was one of the first of the so-called Narragansett Planters.
When he died childless in 1692, he bequeathed Cocumscussoc to his nephew Captain Lodowick Updike and Lodowick's wife Abigail Newton Updike. Lodowick and Abigail were first cousins and grandchildren of the elder Richard Smith.
The Updike family developed Cocumscussoc into one of the great plantations of 18th-century New England. At its height, it encompassed more than 3,000 acres, and was divided into five farms worked by tenant farmers, indentured servants, and slaves. The Updikes were primarily stock and dairy farmers producing cheese, a breed of horse known as the Narragansett Pacer, as well as some agricultural crops.
Commerce developed with the entire Atlantic community, including England, the Portuguese islands, Africa, South America, the West Indies, and the other mainland British colonies.
Around 1740, Lodowick's son Daniel extensively remodeled the 1678 structure. He removed the facade gables and projecting front porch, installed an elegant entry staircase, expanded the lean-to kitchen, paneled walls, and encased some beams. At this time, the house appeared much as it does today.