Some items by and about
Milton J. Budlong

budlong         budlong



budlong         budlong







Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, January 2 1930


Boy's Rifle Discharges and Shot Hits Domestic

Seekonk, Mass., Jan. 1 - Miss Margaret A. AHEARN, 40, a servant, was accidentally shot and killed here today by 13-year-old Milton J. BUDLONG, Jr., son of Milton J. BUDLONG of Newport, whose marital difficulties have been in the courts for several years.

According to police, the child and the domestic were in the yard when the latter pointed an air rifle in her direction and accidentally pulled the trigger. The shot lodged in Miss AHEARN'S neck and she died within ten minutes. The District-attorney's office said there would be no legal action against the boy.

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Brenton Point State Park History


Welcome to Brenton Point State Park. Occupying the former grounds of one of Newport's grandest estates, the park is located at the point of land where Narragansett Bay meets the Atlantic, affording its' visitors one of the most commanding and spectacular views on the East Coast.


Brenton Point is named after William Brenton, an early settler whose farm occupied most of the land in this area during the seventeenth century. In 1876 the land at the point passed into the hands of Theodore M. Davis, a lawyer and one of the most famous Egyptologists of his time. Between 1876 and 1883 he erected "the Reef", a large shingled mansion characterized by its tall chimneys, distinctive tower and wide windows overlooking the sea. As landscape gardening enthusiast, M. Davis also created some of the most beautiful and extensive formal gardens in Newport.

The L-shaped stables at the rear of the estate were designed to be both fashionably grand and fireproof. The tower originally held a four-faced clock and musical chimes, while the stables quartered twelve men as well as horses, carriages and motorcars. The present park administration building was known as "The Bungalow" and contained the servants quarters, laundry and heating plant for the main house.

Mr. Davis died in 1910, and following the death of his estranged wife in 1915, the estate became the subject of long litigation.


In 1923 "The Reef" was purchased by Milton J. Budlong of Providence, a pioneer in the automobile sales field. A few years later the estate was once again the center of controversy, this time during the Budlongs' spectacular divorce suit. Following the final settlement in 1928, Mr. Budlong and his children continued to summer at the house until his death in 1941.


In that same year the estate was taken over by the United States Army to serve as the sight of a coastal artillery battery (the gun mount is still visible next to the mound on the lawn). "The Reef" was returned to the Budlong family in 1946, but remained unoccupied and left to the elements.

In July 1960 a fire destroyed the heavily vandalized main house which was finally torn down in 1963 (the rubble is buried beneath the mound).


In 1969 the State of Rhode Island took over the property under the Green Acres program, and in 1976 Brenton Point State Park was opened to the public.


Brenton Point Park: (NR) This open space is a state park which commands an impressive view toward Beaver Tail Lighthouse and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. The park is located on the former estate of Theodore M. Davis's "The Reef" which was developed beginning in 1882. Boston architects Sturgis and Brigham designed a stone "cottage" for Mr. Davis which cost between $40,000 and $50,000. The estate was famed for it's gardens and greenhouses and for the Davis collection of "primitive pictures" and archeological relics. The house burned and has been demolished, although several auxiliary buildings remain as ruins.

Carriage House,1882: one and a half stories; brick walls with stone facing. This structure was remodeled for use as servants quarters during the first decade of the 20th century and a reinforced concrete frame was inserted into the original walls.

New Carriage House, 1903-1912: two stories; reinforced concrete frame; iron roof beams; fire brickwalls with stucco finish on the exterior and stone facings.

Tower, 1903-1912: stone-faced brick tower which may originally have been a picturesque windmill and water tower.


Recommendation: Brenton Point Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Ocean Drive Historic District. The park and the surviving structures should be maintained in keeping with its own history and its key location on Ocean Drive. The Historical Preservation Commission should be consulted before significant alterations to the property of the buildings are undertaken.

"The Reef" takes its name from the prominent Brenton family of Newport, a charming member of which was strangely connected with such a wreck. During the British occupation of Newport in the Revolution, Jahleel Brenton, a Tory entertained two English officers at his home. One of the men, Lieutenant Stanley, observed that Alice Brenton, adopted daughter of Jahleel, looked remarkably like a young sister of his who had left England years before and had been lost at sea. To the astonishment of all, it was found that Alice Brenton was indeed Beatrice Stanley whom the Brentons had saved as a child, and the sole survivor from a wreck on this reef.

Text taken from: Rhode Island American Guide Series
Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, Ma.1937
Page 433
May 10, 1967

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