ROADSIDE RHODE ISLAND: Devil’s Foot Rock, North Kingstown, Rhode Island

As you drive on Post Road in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, you will come to a street sign with a very bizarre name. Devil’s Foot Road. Near the entrance to Quonset is a large granite ledge known as Devil’s Foot Rock. It is this ledge that led to the naming of the road.

Though the legend of Devil’s Foot Rock was known for some time, no one was able to actually find it until the area was cleared to make way for the railway system. This is when the rock was discovered, hidden quite nicely by overgrown brush.

According to the legend, which goes back to the colonial era, there was an Indian squaw that was being chased by the Devil. In some stories she is said to have been chased from Boston, Massachusetts. At this time, many were leaving the Boston area to escape religious persecution. The legend goes on to say that the Devil not only left his footprint at Devil’s Foot Rock in North Kingstown but also at Chimney Hill in South Kingstown, and finally at Block Island. There are also other versions of this story.

According to author Michael Bell, who wrote the book “Food for the Dead: On the Trail of New England’s VampiresIn one version of this legend, an Indian woman murdered a white man near Wickford. Just as she attempts to escape, a stern-looking English gentleman appears, asking if she will walk with him for a short distance. She balks, but cannot escape before he seizes her by the arm. As she cries out for Hobomoko to save her, her attacker reveals, “I’m Hobomoko.” Then, dropping his disguise, the devil grabs her by the waist, stamps the ground fiercely once or twice, and flies with her to Purgatory Chasm, plunging her into its turbulent waters. The story concludes, “To this day may be seen near Wickford the footprints of Satan on the surface of a ledge near the road. One has the form of a cloven hoof, and the other has exactly the shape and size of a human foot, even to the mark of the great toe.”

Though there is no way to prove what actually made these prints, at the same time, there is no way to disprove that it was the Devil himself. Whatever the source, it makes a great story, adding to the growing list of Rhode Island legends. Make sure to read my other entries in my ROADSIDE RHODE ISLAND series.

~David Albaugh

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