"Frank H. Crandall Jr. recalls his father telling him that competition among the farmers to gather the seaweed was fierce; after seaweed had been washed ashore by a storm, the farmers would cover their horses' hooves in burlap so other farmers would not hear them making their way to shore. The seaweed was spread on the fields in the fall and then plowed under in the spring after it had decayed."
In the modern era, the town of Barrington has staked its own seaweed claim, as noted in the 2007 R.I. General Laws, Title 46 (Waters and Navigation), Chapter 46-11 (Seaweed).
46-11-1. Taking of seaweed by inhabitants of Barrington. - The inhabitants of the town of Barrington may, at all times between the rising and setting of the sun, take up and carry off from the public beach in Barrington, extending west from Hyde's Hole to land now or formerly of the heirs of John Watson, with their vehicles, not exceeding two (2) loads of seaweed in any one day; provided, that no person shall take more than one load of seaweed in any one day, until all who have repaired to the beach with their teams shall have obtained one load each.
46-11-2. Privilege restricted to Barrington inhabitants. - No person other than an inhabitant of the town of Barrington shall be permitted to take or carry off from the beach any seaweed in any manner whatsoever.
46-11-3. Penalty for violations. - Every person who shall take or carry off from the beach any seaweed, contrary to the provisions of this chapter, shall forfeit ten dollars ($10.00) for each and every load of seaweed so carried off, one-half (1/2) thereof to the use of the person suing for the same and one-half (1/2) thereof to the use of the town of Barrington.
On an even lighter note, samples of Rhode Island seaweed hang in a hall showcasing the evolution of flora and fauna at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. Rhode Island scientist and artist Alex Frost has exhibited seaweed prints in trendy Manhattan restaurants. And local chefs will tell you that cooking with seaweed isn't limited to the traditional Rhode Island clambake, which starts with mounds of the state's omnipresent brown rockweed, and improves from there.