Godfrey Champlin, founder of the Rhode Island branch to Edward Peckham Champlin
Wildbore/Wilbore/Wilbor/Wilbur - Descendants of Samuel Wildbore
Herbert Wilbour, descendant of Samuel Wilbore
The History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical, by the American Historical Society, Inc., 1920. For an unknown reason there are two copies of the book with the same title page, but with different contents. Articles will be added from these books regularly.
Charles Stone Brown
Until thirty-two years of age, Mr. Brown was engaged as a mill worker, becoming an overseer, but then he turned to agriculture, and is the owner of a fine estate of 700 acres in the town of West Greenwich, the nucleus of that estate being the Waite farm at West Greenwich Center. To that original purchase he has added by purchase and improvement until, in extent, equipment and utility it is unsurpassed in that district. One of the farms bought was owned by Dr. Wilcox, which had formerly been the homestead of the parents. One special feature of the Brown farm is its large pond, so situated that it can be used to irrigate every part of the estate. To its other natural beauties and advantages, a tract of several acres of timber land must be added, a feature likely to be of unusual benefit, should present conditions long continue. On his beautiful estate, Mr. Brown has now spent thirty-six years, 1884-1920, and to its upbuilding, improvement, and management these years have been devoted. He has created a wonderful home, and to him every acre is doubly dear from the fact that it is the product of his own ambitious effort, and represents his life work as a business man.
Through a maternal line, Charles S. Brown descends from William Bailey, who became a resident of Newport, R. I., soon after the settlement of the town. The earliest record of him, however, is of June 14, 1655 when he bought land of Gabriel Hicks. His parentage, place of nativity, date of birth and death, are alike unknown. It is known that he died previous to July 20, 1670. He married Grace Parsons, daughter of Hugh and Elizabeth Parsons, of Portsmouth, R. I. William and Grace (Parsons) Bailey were the parents of five sons, the fourth being Hugh bailey, who was made a freeman of the Rhode Island Colony at Newport, May 21, 1702. He removed from Newport to East Greenwich, R. I., some time prior to 1703, and there died in 1724, soon after his second marriage. He married (first) Anna -----, who died in February, 1720. They were the parents of eight children, the eldest being a son, William, of further mention.
William Bailey was born in the town of Newport R. I., April 29, 1696, and was admitted a freeman of East Greenwich, May 2, 1721. He married Rebecca Straight, born January 27, 1700, daughter of Henry and Hannah Straight, her father a blacksmith of East Greenwich, son of Henry and Mary (Long) Straight, who lived in a house at East Greenwich built by Henry Straight, the elder, as early as 1679. William and Rebecca Bailey were the parents of seven children, Caleb being the first born.
Caleb Bailey was born in East Greenwich, September 7, 1720, and there resided until 1754. He then moved to Coventry, and there resided until about July, 1756, and is next heard from in 1764, when he bought a tract of land in West Greenwich. He occupied a dwelling which stood on the farm, then built another nearby into which he moved about October 1, 1765. There he resided until his death in 1803, the old homestead yet remaining in the Bailey family, and is known as the Gideon Bailey house. He married (first) Mary Godfrey, daughter of John and Catherine (Davis) Godfrey, of East Greenwich. They were the parents of nine children, the sixth being a son, Joseph Bailey.
Joseph Bailey was born September 1, 1756, and died March 29, 1841. He owned and occupied the farm in West Greenwich, adjoining his father's on the south, and was a devoted member of the Noose Neck Hill Baptist Church, and a leader of the singing. He was a man of deep piety and upright life, and very fond of his family. When in advanced years it was not an uncommon sight to see him supporting himself with a cane, walking beside his equally aged brother Caleb, who required the aid of two canes. He married Elizabeth Hall, born September 24, 1759, died December 13, 1839, daughter of Robert and Sarah (Matteson) Hall. They were the parents of five sons and eight daughters, all of whom married except the eighth, a son Joseph, who died in infancy, and the youngest daughter Amey, who died at the age of eighty-eight years, in 1894. During the Revolution, Joseph Bailey served as a soldier in the Rhode Island Militia stationed to guard the shores of the bay. He contracted a lameness from exposure while on that duty, and was granted a pension by the Government.
Waity Bailey, second child of Joseph and Elizabeth (Hall) Bailey, was born at the farm in West Greenwich, R. I., March 22, 1781, and died January 2, 1848. She married Seth Brown, born April 7, 1778, died October 22, 1866, son of Josiah and Amy (Stone) Brown. Seth Brown was a probate judge of his native town, a man of influence and high standing. He married (second) January 31, 1850, Lois (Waite) Carpenter, widow of Christopher Carpenter. Seth and Waity (Bailey) Brown were the parents of nine children: Lydia, married Potter S. Wilcox, of Connecticut; Nathaniel, a farmer, married (first) Dorcas Tabitha Tillinghast, (second) Phebe Matteson, and resided near Jewett City, Conn.; Allen, married (first) Unice Greene, of West Greenwich, (second) Hannah Elliott; Ambrose, of further mention; John Anthony, born Oct. 15, 1809; Set (2), married Polly Matteson; Josiah Enos, born May 15, 1815; Alfred Nelson, a farmer of West Greenwich, married Betsey Palmer; Betsey Ann, born Sept. 13, 1820.
Ambrose Brown, fourth child of Seth and Waity (Bailey) Brown, was born July 4, 1806. He married (first) December 12, 1824, Phebe Rathbun, who died January 24, 1841, leaving four children: Abel R., born Dec. 12, 1825, died September 25, 1847; Dorcas Catherine, married, at Sterling, Conn., William Henry Butler, a manufacturer of safes; Seth Anthony, of further mention; John A., born Dec. 27, 1835, died June 8, 1841. Ambrose Brown married (second) Lydia, daughter of Amos and Elsa (Ellis) Greene, and they had one child Horatio A., born Jan. 3, 1847, married Emily Smith, now deceased; one daughter was born to them, Minda, now deceased. He married (third) Lydia, daughter of Thomas and Lucy (Greene) Lewis. He married (fourth) June 4, 1869, Rhoda, daughter of Caleb and Elizabeth (Tillinghast) Hall.
Seth Anthony Brown, son and third child of Ambrose Brown, and his first wife, Phebe (Rathbun) Brown, was born December 13, 1828, and died September 23, 1907. He was a farmer of West Greenwich, Kent county, R. I. He married Lucinda Cory, born August 11, 1830, died October 19, 1909, daughter of John and Hannah (Douglas) Cory. Seth A. and Lucinda (Cory) Brown were the parents of nine children: John A., born April 20, 1848, died in early boyhood; Phebe H., born April 28, 1851, married, Dec. 3, 1871, Rev. John H. Edwards, pastor of the Baptist church in Exeter, R. I., son of John and Lucinda (King) Edwards, and she is the mother of a son, William Henry Edwards, who married Jennie Brown; Charles Stone, of further mention; Emma E., born Nov. 2, 1856, married Erastus A. Straight, a farmer of Exeter, R. I., and has children: Oliver C., Lucy A., and Charles Straight; William H., born Jan. 19, 1859, married, Nov. 21, 1885, Ella F. Young; Randall, born Oct. 23, 1860, died aged two years; Ella L., born April 28, 1862, married George A. Rose, and has children: Walter L., Ambrose H., Jennie, Lewis Anthony; Lucy L., born April 24, 1867; Waity, born Jan. 23, 1876, married Lewis N. Palmer.
Charles S. Brown, of the ancient Rhode Island family, was born at Escoheag Hill, R. I., September 8, 1853, son of Seth Anthony and Lucinda (Cory) Brown. When four years of age he was sent to the public school at Escoheag Hill, but soon afterward the family moved to a farm at Davisville, North Kingston, and there he attended public school until nine years of age, when he began working in an Exeter cotton mill. He continued as a cotton mill worker for twenty-three years, advancing through the positions open to the boys. Very rapidly and long before his hears justified, he was filling a man's position, being superintendent of a spinning room at the age of sixteen, when the Hallville Exeter mill burned. Mr. Brown then went to a Massachusetts mill, but six months later returned to Rhode Island, entering the Wyoming mill at Richmond, there remaining overseer of the spinning department until 1884. This closed his career as a mill man, he purchasing the Waite farm at West Greenwich Center in 1883, and around that purchase has added different tracts until his present seven hundred acres is the result.
He moved to his purchase soon after acquiring title, and has since made agriculture in general and the upbuilding of a valuable estate in particular his life work. He has been very successful, and is one of the substantial, influential men of his community. He has long been an active member of the West Greenwich Baptist Church, was superintendent of its Sunday school for several years, and has filled a number o its offices, as needed. When requested to allow his election to the office of deacon, he declined in favor of another, but he was ever ready to serve the interests of the church in a private capacity. He is an active temperance worker, in its political aspect, and may always be depended upon for efficient service in any good cause. He was selected to take the West Greenwich farm census, but he had taken little part in the political life of his town except as a public-spirited citizen and a property owner desirous of good government, local, state and national. In political faith he is an Independent.
Mr. Brown married (first) September 24, 1871, Harriet F. Weeden, of Exeter, R. I., who died October 18, 1875, leaving three children: Stephen E., born Sept. 17, 1872, a farmer of South Kingstown, R. I.; Lillie May, born March 13, 1874, married Lewis C. Grinnell, of Exeter, R. I., a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives; Fred Ambrose, born July 8, 1875, married Mildred Brown; now a merchant of Greene, R. I. Mr. Brown married (second) Penelope Bates, who died December 15, 1917, daughter of Pardon T. and Olive (Peck) Bates, and a woman of rare religious experience, her life reflecting the virtues of her New England ancestry, and the strength of the religion she professed. She was the mother of two children: Pardon Tillinghast, born March 18, 1880, now a farmer of West Greenwich Center; Clifford A., born Dec. 11, 1881, died March 7, 1900.
There is, probably no citizen of Block Island who throughout his career has been more thoroughly identified with the interests of the place than has Mr. Champlin. His large farm is one of the finest on the island, and for more than a quarter of a century he has filled the position of town clerk of New Shoreham. In addition to this he now holds the offices of clerk of the Town Council, clerk of the Probate Court, and clerk of the Board of Assessors.
(I) Godfrey Champlin, founder of the Rhode Island branch of the family, was born in England, and was in Westerly in 1631, and in Newport in 1638. He married, in 1650, in Newport, and his children wee: Godfrey, born in 1652; William, born in 1654; Christopher, mentioned below. The name of the wife of Godfrey Champlin, the immigrant, has not come down to us.
(II) Christopher Champlin, son of Godfrey Champlin, was born in 1656. He married, about 1682. He and his wife were the parents of six children.
(III) Christopher (2) Champlin, son of Christopher (1) Champlin, was
born September 21, 1684. He married, December 5, 1705, Elizabeth Dennison.
(IV) Joseph Champlin, son of Christopher (2) and Elizabeth (Dennison) Champlin, was born August 4, 1709. He married, in 1732, Rebecca Chesborough.
(V) Elihu Champlin, son of Joseph and Rebecca (Chesborough) Champlin, was born June 19, 1737. He married ----- Lewis.
(VI) Nathaniel Lewis Champlin, son of Elihu and ----- (Lewis) Champlin, was born June 14, 1767. About 1800 he settled on Block Island. He married Thankful Hull, of that place, who was born in 1769, daughter of Edward Hull, one o f the largest landholders of Rhode Island. Mr. Champlin, who was a farmer, died April 18, 1836, and his widow passed away on April 13, 1845. Their children were: Mary, born Dec. 12, 1793; Uriah, born Jan. I, 1796, died July 5, 1878; Ruhama L., born Jan. 14, 1798; Peleg C., mentioned below; Alvirah, born Feb. 13, 1803; John E. H., born Feb. 5, 1805, died Aug. 17, 1836; Christopher, born Feb. 16, 1806, died May 30, 1885, the grandfather of Dr. John C. and Christopher E. Champlin, the latter for twenty-five years represented Block Island in the Rhode Island Legislature; Johanna H., born in 1808.
(VII) Peleg C. Champlin, son of Nathaniel Lewis and Thankful (Hull) Champlin, was born February 20, 1801. He married Lucy P. Dunn. Their children were: Edward Hull, mention below; Weedon H., born Nov. 22, 1829, died May 18, 1906; Lucy A., born Nov. 30, 1830, died April 21, 1866. The death of Mr. Champlin occurred November 30, 1880.
(VIII) Edward Hull Champlin, son of Peleg C. and Lucy P. (Dunn) Champlin, was born January 23, 1823, on Block Island. He followed agricultural pursuits, and for twenty years was town treasurer of New Shoreham. He married Susan Sheffield Peckham, who was born June 20, 1825, on Block Island, and their children were: Mary J. H., born in 1848, married M. V. Ball, of Block Island; Carrie E., born in 1857; Edward Peckham, mentioned below. Mrs. Champlin passed away July 7, 1900, and the death of Mr. Champlin occurred October 31, 1911.
(IX) Edward Peckham Champlin, son of Edward Hull and Susan Sheffield (Peckham) Champlin, was born January 18, 1865, on Block Island. He received his preparatory education in local schools, afterward entering the State Normal School, Providence, with the class of 1884. For two years thereafter he taught in the Block Island schools, but at the end of that time took his place in his ancestral line of agriculturalists. Today he is the owner of a farm of one hundred and fifty acres, all under cultivation, proving that he inherits the ability as well as the inclination of his forefathers. From early manhood Mr. Champlin has been active in local politics. The many years during which he has served as town clerk furnish conclusive evidence of his efficiency and of the confidence reposed in him by his fellow-citizens, as does also his tenure of the other offices of which they have made him the incumbent. In addition to everything else he is a notary public, devoting much of his time to the work belonging to the position. He affiliates with Atlantic Lodge, No. 31, Free and Accepted Masons, of Block Island, and is a charter member of the Eastern Star. One of his chief pleasures consists of his interests as a fancier of fine stock.
Mr. Champlin married, November 23, 1886, at Niantic, Conn., Evelyn H., daughter of Robert G. and Mary (Champlin) Payne, of that place. Mr. Payne is a farmer, and his wife is a native of Block Island. Mr. and Mrs. Champlin are the parents of one son: Robert Payne, born September 23, 1889; attended the State Agricultural College, Kingston, R. I., and is now associated with his father in the management of the farm. He married, August 24, 1912, Lillian S. Chase, of Swansea, Mass., and they are the parents of two children: Edward Russell, born May 16, 1914; and Katherine Isadora, born Nov. 14, 1918.
Edward Peckham Champlin has been largely instrumental in the upbuilding of the community of which his ancestors, for three generations, were useful citizens. He has followed their example and upheld their traditions and in doing so has conferred additional honor on the family name. He, with Dr. John C. and Christopher C. Champlin and others, were largely instrumental in the opening and completion of the great South Pond Harbor of Refuge on Block Island. This has much historical significance and these men played important parts.
(I) Samuel Wildbore, immigrant ancestor and founder, was born in England and is believed to have come to this country before 1633 with his wife and several children. His first wife, Ann Wildbore, is thought by many authorities to have been the daughter of Thomas Bradford, of Doncaster, County York, England. He married (second) Elizabeth Lechford, widow of Thomas Lechford. In 1633 Samuel Wildbore was made a freeman in Boston, and with his wife was admitted to the church in December of the same year. In 1634 he was assessor of taxes. By 1637 he seems to have fallen away from the recognized church, for on November 20 of that year he was one of several disarmed “in consequence of having been seduced and led into dangerous error by the opinions and revelations of Mr. Wheelwright and Mrs. Hutchinson,” and given license to depart from the colony.
Shortly thereafter he removed to Rhode Island, where he is next recorded in Portsmouth, on March 7, 1638, on which date he was one of eighteen who entered into the following compact: “We, whose names are underwritten, do here solemnly in the presence of Jehovah incorporate ourselves into a Bodie Politick, and as he shall help, will submit our persons, lives and estate, unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and to all those perfect and most absolute laws of his given us in his holy word of truth, to be guided and judged thereby.”
In 1638 Samuel Wildbore was chosen clerk of the train band. In the following year he was made constable and given an allotment of a neck of land lying in the great cove, containing about two acres. In 1640 he and Ralph Earle, who seems to have been associated in some way with him, were ordered to furnish the town of Newport with new sawed boards at eight shillings per hundred feet, and half-inch boards at seven shillings, to be delivered at the “pit,” by the water-side. On March 16, 1641, he was made a freeman in Portsmouth; in 1644 he was sergeant of militia, and in 1645 returned to Boston with his wife. On November 29, 1645, Samuel Wildbore and his wife were received into the church in Boston, and in a deposition made May 2, 1648, he made oath that when he married the widow of Thomas Lechford he received no part of her former husband’s estate. In 1655 he was again at Portsmouth, but at the time of making his will he lived in Taunton and at the same time had a house in Boston. His will was recorded both in Massachusetts and in Plymouth Colony. It bore the date of April 30, 1656, and was admitted to probate November following. His estate was inventoried at £282 19s. 6d.
(II) William Wilbor, son of Samuel and Ann (Bradford) Wildbore, was born in England about 1630, and died in 1710 at Tiverton, R. I. On June 10, 1654, he received a deed of ten acres from Samuel Wildbore, then of Taunton. On December 10, 1657, he was granted eight acres. On June 7, 1671, he served as juryman. In 1678, William Wilbor represented the town of Portsmouth in the Rhode Island General Assembly. He owned property in Portsmouth, Little Compton, Swansea, and in Kings Town, the greater part of which he disposed of by deed to his sons before his death. His will, dated March 1, 1710, was proved August 15 following.
(III) Samuel (2) Wilbur, son of William and Martha Wilbor, was born in 1664, and died in 1740. He married, in 1689, Mary Potter, daughter of Nathaniel and Elizabeth (Stokes) Potter. He was a resident of Little Compton, where he followed the occupation of farming. His will, dated January 14, 1730, was proved June 17, 1740.
(IV) William (2) Wilbur, son of Samuel (2) and Mary (Potter) Wilbur, was born in Little Compton, R. I., January 6, 1695, and died in September, 1774. He married, June 20, 1717, Esther Burgess, daughter of Thomas and Esther Burgess, who was born in 1696, and died in 1768. William Wilbur was executor of his father’s estate, and inherited his dwelling house and west half of the homestead farm. He also received part of his working tools.
(V) Thomas Wilbur, son of William (2) and Esther (Burgess) Wilbur, was born in Little Compton, May 31, 1718, and died March 5, 1797. He married (first) Edith Woodman, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Briggs) Woodman, who was born December 20, 1719. He married (second) July 27, 1761, Mary Hoxie, daughter of Solomon and Mary (Davis) Hoxie, who was born September 9, 1737, and died August 4, 1827.
(VI) John Wilbur, son of Thomas and Mary (Hoxie) Wilbur, was born July 17, 1774, and died May 1, 1856. He married, October 17, 1793, Lydia Collins, daughter of Amos and Thankful Collins, who was born April 29, 1778, and died December 19, 1852. Their children were: 1. Thomas. 2. Amos C., mentioned below. 3. Lydia. 4. Phebe. 5. Susan C. 6. Sarah S. 7. Mary. 8. John. 9. Hannah C. 10. Ruth. 11. William H. 12. Anna A., born April 20, 1818, died Oct. 29, 1896; married, Oct. 24, 1837, Ethan Foster, 13. Elizabeth W., born Jan. 16, 1821.
(VII) Amos C. Wilbur, son of John and Lydia (Collins) Wilbur, was born in Hopkinton, November 25, 1796. He was educated in the local schools and for a few years taught the Hopkinton school during the winter months. During the summer he assisted his father on the farm. Eventually determining on the medical profession for his life-work, he entered Bowdoin College, Maine, from which he was graduated with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. He began active practice in Peace Dale, R. I., but later removed to Fall River, Mass., where for several years he conducted a drug store. In 1852, with Rev. John Wilbur, Amos C. Wilbur visited England, on a religious mission for the Society of Friends. Here he met and, in 1854, married, in the town. of Bakewell, County Derby, Catherine Smith, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth (Holt) Smith. On their return to America they settled in Hopkinton, where Mr. Wilbur died, December 1, 1873. Mrs. Wilbur died in 1861. Their children were: 1. John E., of Tampa, Fla., where he is engaged in the growing of oranges. 2. Lucy M., who became the wife of the late Edwin Bragg Foster, of Westerly. Mrs. Foster possesses a picture of the old Wilbur house on Diamond Hill, Hopkinton, built prior to 1739, which was the birthplace of the Rev. John Wilbur.
From the time Samuel Wilbore fled from Taunton, Mass., to Providence, driven by the persecutions of his religious opponents, the family has been prominent in the public and business life of the Colony and State of Rhode Island. Without an exception the heads of each of the nine generations of the branch herein recorded have been land owners and substantial farmers, the family possessions lying mainly in the town of Little Compton.
Isaac Wilbour, of the sixth generation, although a member of Congress, 1807-09, lieutenant-governor of Rhode Island in 1810, and from May, 1818, to May, 1827, chief justice of the Supreme Court, Rhode Island, ever made his home at his farm, following in that regard the example of his father, and was likewise emulated by his son Philip, his grandson, Isaac Champlin, and his great-grandson, Philip Herbert Wilbour, who inherited from his father the distinction of owning and operating the most extensive poultry farming business in the United States. He has made the continuation of that farm the aim of his business career, but since 1900 has figured prominently in public life. He is of the ninth American generation of the family founded by Samuel Wilbore, of Boston, who was admitted to the church there, December 1, 1633, that being the first recorded mention of the founder of the family in New England.
The name Wildbore became Wilbore in the second generation, was so spelled by the third, but in the fourth generation William changed it to Wilbour, which since prevails in this branch, although many of the same family line spell it both Wilbour and Wilbur as well.
Samuel Wildbore was one of the founders of the iron industry at Taunton, Mass., building with his associates a furnace at what is now Raynham, the first built in New England. He became wealthy for his day, but his standing in the community could not preserve him from religious persecutions, and for embracing the “dangerous doctrines” of Cotton and Wheelwright he was banished from Massachusetts with seventeen others. Although he owned a house in Boston, and one in Taunton, he abandoned both, and on the advice of Roger Williams he, with seventeen fellow exiles, purchased from the Indians the Island of Aquidneck, he moving there with his family in 1638, these eighteen persons forming a colony under a solemn compact, March 7, 1638. The founder died September 29, 1656, twenty-two years after having been made a freeman at Boston. His first wife Ann was a daughter of Thomas Bradford, of Dorchester, Yorkshire, England. Two of their sons, Samuel and William, settled in Portsmouth, R. I.; another, Joseph, located at Taunton, Mass.; the fourth, Shadrach, in that part of the same town now known as Raynham. Prior to November 29, 1645, Samuel Wildbore married a second wife, Elizabeth.
The line of descent from the pioneer settler, Samuel Wilbore, to Philip Herbert Wilbour is through William Wilbor, of Portsmouth, deputy in 1678; his son, Samuel Wilbor, a farmer of Little Compton, R. I., and his wife, Elizabeth (Potter) Wilbor; their son, William Wilbour, also a farmer of Little Compton, and his wife, Esther (Burgess) Wilbour; their son, Charles Wilbour, who owned and cultivated a large tract of land near Sakonnet river in the town of Little Compton, and his first wife, Hannah (Borden) Wilbour; their son, Isaac Wilbour, a farmer of the old homestead, member of Congress, lieutenant-governor, and his wife, Hannah, daughter of Captain Philip Taber; their son, Philip Wilbour, a farmer of one hundred and twenty-five acres yet owned in the family, and his wife, Eliza Penelope (Champlin) Wilbour; their son, Isaac Champlin Wilbour, of further mention, and his wife, Deborah Josephine Wilbour; their son, Philip Herbert Wilbour, of further mention.
Isaac Champlin Wilbour, born at the homestead in Little Compton, R. I., May 11, 1831, died September, 1899. He became owner of the home farm of one hundred and twenty-five acres, added to it by purchase until he had increased its area to two hundred and sixty acres. He was the pioneer poultry farmer of his district and developed that business to enormous proportions, having five thousand hens, his yearly shipments of eggs to all parts of the United States, Canada and Europe averaging 150,000 dozen. His energy and progressive ideas won him great success, and he ranked with the leading business men of his section. A work of love which was carried to completion with the aid of his cousin, Charles Edwin Wilbour, was the building of Sakonnet Cemetery, the beautiful chapel therein having a chime of bells imported from Belgium. Within are marble tablets commemorative of many members of the family beginning with Lieutenant-Governor Isaac Wilbour, and there the donor rests.
Isaac Champlin Wilbour married (first), Deborah Josephine Wilbour, born July 13, 1834, died, 1865, daughter of Benjamin and Abby M. (Taylor) Wilbour, and granddaughter of Daniel Wilbour and of Samuel Taylor. Mr. and Mrs. Wilbour were the parents of Philip Herbert, of further mention; Caroline Corey, died aged seven; Elizabeth Champlin; Deborah Josephine, married Frederick Marcy Patten, of Brookline, Mass. Mr. Wilbour married (second), Amelia French, of Nantucket, who survived him. They were the parents of a son, William French, a lawyer of New York City.
Philip Herbert Wilbour, only son of Isaac Champlin Wilbour and his first wife, Deborah Josephine (Wilbour) Wilbour, was born at the homestead at Little Compton, which he now owns, August 27, 1856. He was educated in the public schools and Friends’ School, Providence, and grew to manhood at the homestead, his father’s chief assistant and later partner in the poultry raising business for which the farm was famous. After the death of the founder of the business in 1899, the son assumed entire control and has continued to successfully manage it along the same lines, improved and added to as experience dictated. The house which sheltered several generations has been remodeled and added to until, with its beautiful grounds, conservatory and location, it is most attractive to the eye of the beholder, and a source of deep pride and satisfaction to its owner.
Inheriting the public spirit of his forbears, Mr. Wilbour has taken an active part in public affairs, and given much time to the service of the people of his State. He had been a member of the Town Council prior to the year 1900, and in that year was elected representative from Little Compton to the State Legislature. He served three years in the House, being chairman of the committee on special legislation, and a member of other committees. His work in the House pleased his constituents, and in 1903 he was elected State Senator, and in 1907 reelected. He was chairman of the committees on corporations and finance, and other committees, also upon the floor of the Senate proved one of the able, influential and valuable members of that body. In 1912 Senator Wilbour was elected president pro tempore of the Senate, holding until March 15, 1917. During that period, in the absence of the governor and lieutenant-governor, he officiated several times as acting governor. On November 30, 1897, he was appointed a member of the Shell Fish Commission by Governor Dyer, and after five years on the commission was chosen its president, holding that office twenty years, until January 19, 1917. In 1917 he was elected to his present post, state auditor and insurance commissioner. In politics he is a Republican, influential in the party and potent in council.
His farm responsibilities and State public service have not caused him to neglect local duties, and for fifteen years he served Little Compton as town treasurer, was a director of the Tiverton & Little Compton Mutual Fire Insurance Company, a charter member of Pomona Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, and with his wife has continued that membership until the present. He is also a member of the State Grange and the National Grange, and keeps in close touch with the efforts made through these bodies to improve farming conditions. He is a member of Eureka Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Portsmouth, R. I., and Sekonnet Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. There is no interest of his State but what appeals to him and commands his loyal support. As a public official his record is one of efficiency, every office being regarded as a trust to be faithfully administered as though it were his own private business. A genial, pleasing personality adds to his popularity, and he has never yet received an adverse decision at the polls.
Mr. Wilbour married, in Brooklyn, N. Y., May 28, 1885, Grace Frances Ropes, born in Salem, Mass., daughter of Ripley Ropes. Mr. and Mrs. Wilbour are the parents of a son, Lincoln, born March 6, 1886, now enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve Force, District No. 2, Station, New London, Conn., in business in Providence, R. I.; and two daughters: Elizabeth Champlin, who died young, and Dorothy.
There is a portion of the old farm, however, which is held sacred to the preservation of a historical spot, and a story which dates back to the early Indian occupation. This part of the farm bears the name Awashonks Park, and was once the home of the Saugkonnates tribe of Indians, it being known in an earlier day as the Tompee Swamps. Over this tribe reigned Queen Awashonks, a Queen who was gifted with a keener insight and greater wisdom than even the powerful King Philip, and stood firm in her insistence upon the white man’s right to live among them in peace. When King Philip sent his chiefs to her inviting her to join him and them in a war of extermination against the Whites, she flatly refused her aid and tried to dissuade the King from attempting war. She failed and one of the adornments of Awashonks Park is a monument to the good Queen’s memory. This monument is in the form of a great boulder of slate through which runs a gleam of white Hint quartz. The face of the rock bears this inscription: “To the memory of Awashonks, Queen of the Saugkonnates, and friend of the white man.” This inscription is deeply engraved in the face of the rock, and by chance curiously enough the words “White Man” are cut into the strata of white flint in the boulder. Another large boulder serves as a monument to both King Philip and the Queen, commemorating her refusal to join the King in his war against the Whites, a war which resulted in his death. The inscription on this monument is as follows: “Pometocum – August12, 1616 (Philip) King of the Wampanoags.”
This part of the old farm Mr. Wilbour has converted into a park, which he has improved and traversed with roads and paths, making all parts of its beautiful area accessible to the public to whom he has opened it, free of charge or expense. He has devoted much time and money to preserve this historic spot for future generations. The beautiful drives reach the spots preserved by tablet or inscription, and no part of the farm, no matter how important it may be to the business thereon conducted, receives the care and attention bestowed upon Awashonks Park, which commemorates the worthy deeds of this so-called “Savage” Queen.
The development of its beauty and the preservation of its historical value has given him deep satisfaction, and it is with an honest pride that he regards this chapter in his life’s history. No trees are allowed to be moved until they mar the landscape, and forestry is combined with skillful landscape gardening to produce the best results. To the natural timber Mr. Wilbour has added different varieties with especial regard to their autumn coloring, selecting those whose colors will form with the native trees a beautiful landscape view full of warm color when the frosts of the autumn have developed their richest tints. For the later winter landscape he has caused to be planted the choicest evergreens, and thus in spring, summer, autumn and winter, some particular form of sylvan beauty is presented in Awashonks Park.
The Newport County Reading Room Index More Biographies & History
Most articles will also be placed in the Rhode Island USGenWeb Archives.