The Rhode Island Red chicken was originally developed in Massachusetts and Rhode Island in the 1880's and 1890's. The ancestors of this chicken include the Malay, Shanghai, Java and Brown Leghorn.
Developed in Rhode Island in the 1830s, various breeds were used in their makeup, including Malays, Cochins and Brown Leghorns.
Making of the Breed: The exact ancestors of the Rhode Island Red have always been unclear, but early founders of the Rhode Island Red Club said they where from Red Shanghai, Cochin China, Red Chittagong, Black Breasted Red Malay and Red Malay. Some old timers felt that Dark Brown Leghorns may have been introduced in the early years to boost egg production.
I am sure there is more info out there,thanks for posting, i love looking up info..
Here is some information that I found, put together and posted in the R.I. Red thread some time back.
The Rhode Island Reds origin can be dated back to the middle 1840s and one of the oldest breed of chicken to be developed in America.
The States of Rhode Island and Massachusetts should get the most credit for the development of the
Rhode Island Red breed. Poultry farmers in the area wanted a breed of hen that would produce a good amount of eggs a year and still dress out nice as a meat breed. Some of the breed of poultry that was used to produce the Rhode Island Red seem to be unclear. The American Standard of Perfection says that it was the crossing of the Red Malay, Leghorn and native Asiatic fowl,
wile the founders of the Rhode Island Red Club say that it was the crossing of the
Red Chittagong (Red Brahmas), Cochin, Red Shanghai, Black Breasted Malay and the Red Malay.
Some breeders believe the Dark Brown Leghorn may have also been added to raise the egg productivity.
Historians believe that a man by the name Captain Richard Wheatland that lived in Rhode Island around 1846 is the person responsible for the rich red color of the Rhode Island Red we see today.
The early Rhode Island Red sported three types of combs, two of which we still have today.
The first is the Pea comb that may owe its pea comb to the Chittagong, second the Single comb that got its comb from the Cochin and the third is the Rose comb that received its combed from the Shanghai.
Many breeds of poultry owe there heritage to the Rhode Island Red, breeds like the New Hampshire and the some lines of Production Reds where bread solely from the Rhode Island Red with no record of outside blood being introduced. Rhode Island Reds also has been used in crosses to produce hybrid breeds such as the Red and Black Sex-Links and some breeder believe a second line of Production Red was produced by introducing Leghorn blood into the Rhode Island Red.
In 1954 the governor of Rhode Island signed into law that the Rhode Island Red chicken would be the state bird of Rhode Island.
The Rhode Island Red color pattern is a modified Columbian color pattern that may have came from the Brahma blood that was used in the making of this breed.
The first modification to the Columbian color pattern in the development of the Rhode Island Red was to replace the white with red. Note that in the American Standard of Perfection, it says any bird with a entirely white feather showing in the surface is a disqualification. The second modification was to remove the black pigmentation from all but the wing and tail in the male; and the same for the female with some black ticking remaining at the base of her hackles almost like a necklace. At the end what we have is a Rhode Island Red that has become entirely a rich red with black pigmentation left only in the tail and on one side of the wing feathers and some black ticking remaining at the base of the hens hackles.