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History of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical

NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920

p. 48 - 49:

John W. HortonJOHN WESLEY HORTON   --  In the town of Hinsdale, in the State of New Hampshire, Mr. Horton obtained his first business training and spent his youth.  He passed through varied experiences in different localities, finally in 1897 settling in Providence, Rhode Island, where the partnership was formed, now the Rhode Island Supply and Sprinkler Company, of which Mr. Horton is first vice-president and treasurer.  His business really began at the age of fourteen when he rebelled against authority, 'Walked Out', and found a job.  He was not afraid of the world then and that same courageous spirit has been the keynote of his career.  He has succeeded in his undertakings since leaving Hinsdale, his capital represented at the time by a minus mark.  The company in Providence at first employed two hands, now sixty are required, and in like ratio Mr. Horton has developed to meet his responsibilities.  Horton is an old New England name, ancestors of Mr. Horton serving in the War of the Revolution.  Heirlooms owned by his father, which he well-remembers in the New Hampshire home, were an olden-time rifle and a sword, both of which a Horton carried in the fight for liberty.

His great-grandfather, Stafford Horton, settled in Guilford, Vermont, in the year 1800, but the next generation settled in Hinsdale, and there Hezekiah Frank Horton, grandson of Stafford Horton, spent his life a farmer.  He was born in 1825, and during the Civil War recruited a company for the Union Army but was himself rejected on account of physical disability. Hezekiah F. Horton married Susan Elizabeth Cook, and they were the parents of John Wesley Horton, of Cranston, Rhode Island.

John Wesley Horton was born in Hinsdale, New Hampshire, January 19, 1864, and spent the first fourteen years of his life at the home farm, attending school in the winter months and assisting with farm work in summer.  The last two years he attended Hinsdale High School, but became dissatisfied and walked out.  He did not inform his father that he was not attending school, but left each day, working for a contractor for whom he lathed two new houses.  He was found out, but his father appreciating the situation, did not compel the lad to return to school.  Later his father bought an interest in a Hinsdale hardware store for his son, the same store, by the way at which he had been working nights and mornings for some time, receiving $12.00 monthly for his services, and paying eleven dollars for his room and board.  The firm was Stebbins & Horton, and for two years Mr. Horton continued therein, then secured a position as a traveling salesman for a prominent firm of Utica, New York, putting a man in his place at his Hinsdale hardware store.  After one year with the Utica firm he returned to Hinsdale, sold his interest in the business, paid his father the money he had loaned him and paid other debts, this leaving him $20.  A bank failure quickly accounted for that twenty, and he returned to his position in Utica broke.  He continued in the employ of the Utica firm fourteen years, ending in December, 1897, that being the date of the founding of the business with which he is now connected.

A partnership known as Mills, Horton & Reed was founded in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1897, which was the beginning, the partners continuing as a firm until about 1900, then incorporated as the Rhode Island Supply & Engineering Company.  The business prospered and in 1915 was leased to the Rhode Island Supply and Sprinkler Company, Mr. Horton, first vice-president and treasurer.  Branches are maintained in Boston, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut, the plant and main offices of the company at Providence.  Mr. Horton is also vice-president of the Warwick Lace Works, a corporation in which he is financially interested.

A Republican in politics and an active worker, he consented in 1909 to allow his name to be presented for the office of mayor of Cranston, the city of his residence.  He consented much against his will, but once in the race made a strong canvass and reduced a normal adverse majority of six hundred to two hundred and twenty-five.  In 1911 he was again the Republican candidate, but lost the verdict of the polls by three votes.  In 1913 he was again a candidate and was returned victor by six hundred votes.  In 1916 he was reelected and for the first time in the history of Cranston every political office in the city is filled by a Republican.  He has given the city a clean, efficient administration, has kept all the pre-election promises, and is a most popular chief executive.  In religious faith he prefers the Methodist Episcopal church; his parents were members of that church and bestowed upon their son the name honored above all others in Methodism.

In Masonry, Mr. Horton is a member of Harmony Lodge, No. 9, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Providence Chapter, No. 1, Royal Arch Masons; St. John's Commandary, Knights Templar, of Providence; Palestine Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, of Providence, and Rhode Island Consistory.  He is a member of the Edgewood Casino, Alerta and Providence clubs, is on the transportation committee of the Chamber of Commerce, and is helpful in all municipal affairs.

Mr. Horton married, June 17, 1897, Grace Medore Fales, of Hinsdale, and they are the parents of a son, Rogers Fales, born April 11, 1901, now a student in Cranston High School.

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CHARLES R. EASTON  -- For twenty years, Mr. Easton has practised his profession in Providence, Rhode Island, and occupies a strong position at the Rhode Island bar.  He is a descendant of Nicholas Easton, one of the founders of Newport, Rhode Island, and of a numerous influential family.

Charles R. Easton, son of Charles F. and Laura P. Easton, was born at Lincoln, Rhode Island, May 12, 1874.  After preparation in graded and high school, he entered Brown University, whence he was graduated, A. B., class of 1896.  He studied law in the offices of Judge Benjamin M. Bosworth and Judge W. B. Tanner, was admitted to the bar in 1898, and has been in continuous practice in Providence since that year.  Mr. Easton was State Senator, 1893 - 95; was chairman of the Republican Town Committee of Lincoln, 1912 - 14, and is one of the active, public-spirited men of the community.  He married Elizabeth M. Jordon, of Lincoln.

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WILLIAM BINNEY  -- Providence, Rhode Island, the home of William Binney, of Wilson, Slade & Company, was also the home of his eminent father, William Binney, lawyer, founder of the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company, the first trust company incorporated in New England, president of City Council, author of the present city charter, and member of Legislature. William Binney is a grandson of Horace Binney, United States Senator from Pennsylvania, director of the United States Mint in Philadelphia, with a national fame as a lawyer.  For many years he was honored as the oldest living graduate of Harvard College, that institution conferring upon him the honorary degree, L.L. D., in 1827.  Of him it was said, 'A proficient in the literature of France and Spain, delighting in history and poetry, a close student of theology, he was much more than a lawyer much more than a scholar.'

Horace Binney was a son of Dr. Barnabas Binney, a surgeon of the Revolution, and a physician of Philadelphia, a graduate of Brown University, 1774, 'distinguished on account of his patriotism, a steadfast friend, and a generous advocate of the rights of man.'  Dr. Barnabas Binney was a son of Captain Barnabas Binney, born in Hull, Massachusetts, a master mariner, owner of a plantation at Demerasa, British Guiana, a Boston merchant, his estate in Boston extending from Summer street to the shore front.  Captain Barnabas Binney was a son of Deacon John Binney, of Hull, Massachusetts, who in several documents of the period is variously styled, 'mariner', 'deacon', and 'gentleman'  Deacon John Binney was a son of Captain John Binney, founder of the family in America, who came from England to Hull, Massachusetts, with his wife Mercy, and two sons, John and Samuel.  Captain John and Deacon John Binney were buried in the same grave at Hull, and in 1883 a monument was erected by their descendants to mark the hallowed spot. This review will deal with the Rhode Island Binneys, William Binney, father, and William Binney, the son, the latter being the worthy twentieth century representative of one of the strongest American families.

William Binney, son of Horace and Elizabeth (Coxe) Binney, was born April 14, 1825, in the city of Philadelphia.  The elementary portion of his education was received at the local schools, where he prepared for college, and in 1845 he matriculated at Yale.  Unfortunately, however, his health was not robust, and he was obliged to abandon his studies there at the end of his junior year.  In spite of the fact that he never graduated from that institution, he received the honorary degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1849, and of Master of Arts in 1866.  He was also the recipient of the latter degree from Brown University in 1856.  While still comparatively young, Mr. Binney chose the legal profession as his career in life, and accordingly studied law in Philadelphia, being admitted to the bar in that city.  He did not, however, remain in Philadelphia, but in 1853 removed  to Providence, Rhode Island, where he resided until 1883-84.  During these years he erected his handsome residence at Newport, on the corner of Catherine street and Delois avenue.  In the meantime he has built up a large legal practice in Providence, and it has been with this city that his career has always been associated.  In 1867, however, he organized the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company, in Providence, and became its first president.  From that time onward until his resignation, in 1881, he gave practically his entire attention to the building and developing of this great concern, and abandoned the practice of the law.  The Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company was the first trust company incorporated in New England, and Mr. Binney continued as a director of it until his death, April 23, 1909.  From the time of his coming to Providence, Mr. Binney took a public-spirited interest in city affairs and identified himself with every department of its life. In spite of the important private interests which he was responsible for and which of necessity made heavy demands upon his time, he nevertheless gave much of his energy to local public affairs and held a number of important offices in the city.  From June, 1857, until January, 1874, he served as a member of the City Common Council, was president of this body from 1863 to 1871, and drew up the present city charter of Providence.  Mr. Binney was chosen to deliver the memorial oration in the old Roundtop Church after the assassination of President Lincoln, represented Providence in the General Assembly of the State, and in many ways served the community.  He never lost his interest in the common weal, and it was only very shortly before his death that he wrote to the Providence 'Journal' a letter advocating a public market in Providence.  In his possession was an invaluable old family heirloom, the oil portrait of Avis (Engs) Binney, the wife of Captain Barnabas Binney, his great-grandfather, and a fine portrait of his father, the Hon. Horace Binney by Sully, and a miniature of him by Brown.

William Binney married, June 14, 1848, Charlotte Hope Goddard, born December 1, 1824, died April 26, 1866, daughter of William and Charlotte Rhoda (Ives) Goddard, of Providence, and a sister of Colonel R. H. I. Goddard. Children: 1.  Hope Ives, born May 10, 1849; married, December, 1870, Samuel Powel, Jr., of Philadelphia.  2.  Mary Woodrow, born December 14, 1856; married Sidney Frederick Tyler.  3.  William, Jr., of further mention.  4.  Horace, born May 18, 1860; a graduate of Harvard, class of 1883; married, April 20, 1888, Marie Sorcham, of Paris, France.

William (2) Binney, son of William (1) and Charlotte Hope (Goddard) Binney, was born July 31, 1858, at Potowomut, in the town of Warwick, Rhode Island. His early education was received at the well-known Mowry and Goff's School of Providence, and at St. Paul's School of Concord, New Hampshire.  Here he completed his preparation for college, and immediately upon graduation matriculated at Harvard University, from which he was graduated A. B., class of 1881.  He at once entered business life as an employee of Lawrence, Taylor & Company, a large dry goods firm of New York City, but there remained for a short time only.  His next position was with the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company of Providence, founded by his father, and from that time he has been connected with the banking interests of the city, first as partner in the firm, William Jackson & Company, bankers and brokers, then as junior partner in the firm, Sheldon & Binney, and finally as partner in the well-known firm, William Slade & Company, bankers and brokers.

Mr. Binney married, July 14, 1881, Harriet D'Costa Rhodes, daughter of James Aborn and Rosa Merlano (D'Costa) Rhodes. They are the parents of the following children:   1.  Hope Ives, born January 25, 1884, died September 7, 1896.  2.  Beatrice Rhodes, born June 12, 1886; married, April 20, 1909, Howard Anson Richmond; they have three children:  Hope Binney, born May 8, 1910; Howard, born March 20, 1913; and Harriet Binney, born July 2, 1917. 3.  Elisabeth Goddard, born January 6, 1893; married June 28, 1915, Barnes Newberry, a son of Hon. Freeman H. Newberry, of Detroit, Michigan, former Secretary of the Navy under President Roosevelt; they have a daughter, Elisabeth Goddard Binney, born July 3, 1917.

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William Henry JordanWILLIAM HENRY JORDAN, M. D. --  As a skilled specialist, devoting his knowledge and talents to the treatment of diseases peculiar to children, Dr. Jordan is well-established in the affections of a large and loyal clientele in Providence, Rhode Island, a city in which he began practice in 1901. He not only made the usual educational preparations for the practice of his profession, but during the years 1905 - 07 he attended special courses on children at Harvard, and in 1911 studied abroad in London, Paris, Munich, Strassburg, and Vienna, spending more time in the last-named city than in any of the others.  He also visited the hospitals in Venice, Rome, and Florence. Dr. Jordan is a son of William Jordan, of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, who died in 1909, and his wife, Ellen (Sullivan) Jordan, who is yet a resident of Woonsocket.

William Henry Jordan was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, May 18, 1874. His youth was spent in Woonsocket, and there he attended grammar, parochial, private, and high school.  He entered Maryland Medical College, at Baltimore, and in 1901 was graduated  an M. D.  As soon as he received his degree, Dr. Jordon applied for enlistment in the United States Marine Hospital Corps, passed the examination successfully, and was assigned to duty in Baltimore.  A month later he was transferred to Evansville, Indiana, but shortly afterward he resigned from the corps, and the same year, 1901, located in Providence, Rhode Island, which has since been his professional home.  Dr. Jordan has made a specialty of children's diseases, and through experience and special study at Harvard Medical College, and abroad, has fitted himself as an authority on such diseases.  In 1906 he was appointed visiting physician to Saint Vincent de'Paul's Infant Asylum, and the same year physician to the out-patient department of children, of the Rhode Island Hospital, and received similar appointments at about the same time to St. Joseph's Hospital, at Providence.   He is a member of the American Medical Association, a life member of the American Medical Association of Vienna, Rhode Island Medical Society, Providence Medical Association, New England Pediatric Society, president in 1915 of the Pediatric department of the Rhode Island Medical Society.  He is a member of St. Michael's Church, and of the Catholic Club, in his political action is an Independent.  A feature of Dr. Jordan's professional career is his crusade against impure milk and his strong fight for an amended milk law which would provide for a compulsory tuberculin test.  Over his own signature, Dr. Jordan discussed the subject in the October, 1916, issue of the 'State Board of Health Bulletin', and boldly declared that conditions in Rhode Island were badly in need of correction.  He asserted that the milk supply of the city fell far short of the standard set for good milk, and with facts and figures fully proved his position.

Dr. Jordan married, in St. Mary's Church, Providence, June 27, 1904, Louise Gertrude Atkinson.  They are the parents of two daughters: Helen Louise, born February 23, 1906; Marian Gertrude, born May 22, 1908. The family home is a beautiful Broad street residence, purchased by Dr. Jordan several years ago.


These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project. Transcription and pictures 2001-2 by Beth Hurd