The first meeting of the club was held in approximately 1940 or thereabouts. At the time, they evidently met in the Kentish Guards Armory on Pierce St. in East Greenwich. Anyway, my mother drove my father to the meeting, only to discover a row of guys sitting on the curb with their feet in the gutter, as no one had gotten a key to get into the Armory!  So that was his introduction to the club.

At some point after that, the club got land on Belleville Pond in North Kingstown, and built a small clubhouse there. They were there until the Town took over the land around Belleville Pond for use for recreation. My playhouse, as a child, was actually the clubhouse – or part of it – which my dad took down and brought home.

As the club was looking for a new home, the land around Tippecansett Pond and the pond went on the market. The club did not have any money to buy it.  My mother and father loaned the club the $10,000 they needed, and a real gem of a property became the new home for the South County Rod and Gun Club.

Over the years, my dad spent a lot of time working on club activities. I believe he was treasurer for a while; and I know he cooked or otherwise helped out at almost every event. In the late 1950s and 60s, the rod aspect of the club’s name became a bigger facet of club activities as a team was entered from South County in the U.S. Atlantic Tuna Tournaments being held annually at Pt. Judith.  My father was a member of the 4 boat teams for several years with our 42 foot power boat, the “Nancy Anne”. His crew was usually Ned Brennan and Bill Waring, and he always took the less experienced club members who wanted to fish the tournament. I know the Walter Maynard and Eddie Tarsa also fished as part of the So. County Team with their boats, and Dr. Clarke might have been the 4th boat (I’m not sure of that). I know that they did very well, winning one year; and also winning the Cape Cod Tuna Tournament one year (the only year they went, I think.) I have a scrapbook of the Pt. Judith tournaments, if you would like to look through it.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, through my dad, I was able to use the club as a base for the 30 mile competitive endurance rides (horseback) which I was running for my club, the Drum Rock Riding Club. Entrants from all over New England loved coming to South County Rod and Gun for the pleasant and spacious facilities and of course, for the excellent trails in Arcadia and Pachaug.

I also ran a National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration for the Federated R.I. Sportsmen’s Clubs – I was secretary for 13 years – at South County for several years. We always got a good turnout and introduced a lot of new people to field sports. We had demos of skeet and trap, stationary exhibits in the clubhouse, usually including a natural scene with all of the taxidermy mounts which I could borrow from DEM – one year, we even did a small pond. (I sent the kids out to catch frogs, and they got a lot, which we let loose so that at any time of the day there would be one sitting on a lily pad in the pond. Not so easy to clean up afterwards!! The club sold hotdogs and hamburgers, etc. I don’t think anyone does the National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebrations anymore.

After my father died in the 1970s, the New England Chapter of the Society of American Foresters planted a beech tree south of the clubhouse in memory of my dad. I believe it is still standing.

Anne D. Holst