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

NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920

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Chas. H. HortonCHARLES H. HORTON  --  There are very few families that have been more closely or prominently identified with the interests of Rhode Island, or for a greater period of time, than that which bears the name of Horton, and which is so well represented at the present time (1917) in the person of Charles H. Horton, of Woosocket, that State.  From the close of the seventeenth century to now, the twentieth century, the Hortons have resided in and about the ancient town of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, and the adjacent portions of Rhode Island.  The sturdy and virtuous character of the stock, so typical of all that is best in New England, has been preserved throughout the many generations with undiminished force, and is especially noticeable in this present day descendant of a long line of worthy ancestors.

Born in 1819, Otis H. Horton, father of Charles H. Horton, was a native of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, and there reared and educated.  Upon attaining manhood, he acted as paymaster as well as bookkeeper for the mills at Orleans, Massachusetts.  At that time it was the custom to pay the employees once in three or four months, those having families adjusting their accounts with the factory store at this period of settlement.  Charles H. Horton, then a mere boy, was accustomed to carry the envelopes from the office to the mill, passing then about to the employees, all of whom he knew by name. The employees were mostly natives of the vicinity, known as 'Yankees', with a sprinkling of English people, who had come to this country from the cotton manufacturing shires of England.  This was a period of long credit, commencing with labor, and passing through all commercial transactions.  In the winter of 1862, Ottis H. Horton removed to Woonsocket, Rhode Island, having been engaged by Edward Harris for a term of three years to take charge in the construction of the mills known as Privilege Mills, now the Lawton Spinning Company, and later as a contractor and builder.  Mr. Horton married Elizabeth Kingsley, of North Swansea, Massachusetts, and they were the parents of the following children:  Albert K., Marion E., Ellen F., Charles H., of whom further; Walter, Adeline, and Otis H., Jr.   The father of these children died June 17, 1896.

Charles H. Horton was born September 21, 1850, in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. He attended the public schools of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, whither his parents removed in 1862.  He was an excellent scholar and exhibited an ambition to excel, not very usual in his sex at that age, and he showed in a marked degree the qualities that were later to distingush him in his career. When sixteen years old, he was appointed a clerk in the post office at Woonsocket, which position he held for four years.  Then, like so many young men of that period, he followed the advice of Horace Greeley to go West, and accordingly went to Illinois, in the year 1870, and served in the capacity of bookkeeper, and later buyer for Day & Sprague, of Providence, Rhode Island, who were engaged in the grain business, with whom he remained until 1872.  In that year he returned to Woonsocket and engaged in the small ware and notion businesss, and later in the shoe business, and conducted an establishment along that line until 1882.  While engaged in the shoe business, he was the manager of the Music Hall, the only place of amusement in Woonsocket at the time.  During that period, between the years 1877 and 1882, the theatrical profession was particularly brilliant, containing such talent as Edwin Forrest, Edwin Booth, Lawrence Barrett, John McCulloch, Mary Anderson, Madame Janauscheck, Modjeska, Annie Pixley, John T. Raymond, Kate Claxton, E. L. Davenport, E. H. Sothern, and many others, all of whom visited Woonsocket, and in many instances were taken to the larger cities of New England under Mr. Horton's management.  Mr. Horton first took up the manufacture of harness pads and horse furnishings in 1877, and has continued in the same up to the present timne.  This enterprise has prospered greatly, and Mr. Horton is now at the head of one of the largest concerns of its kind in New England.  He finds a very large market for these goods throughout the United States and Canada, where they are rightfully regarded as setting a standard of quality and workmanship.  The success of Mr. Horton's business, no less than his many distinctive personal qualities and talents, have brought him prominently into the public notice, and he occupies a position not shared by many.  He is president of the Producers Savings Bank of Woonsocket, a director in the Produce National Bank, and president of the Woonsocket Building and Loan Association, all of which institutions are in a flourishing condition.

But it has not been only in the business world that Mr. Horton has distinguished himself.  On the contrary, there is hardly any aspect of the city's life in which he has not taken a position of leadership.  In the years, 1879-80, while Woonsocket was still a town, Mr. Horton became a member of the town council, and when in 1888 it was incorporated as a city he served for three years as city councilman.  Later he was elected to the board of aldermen, where he served with conspicuous ability.  The scope of Mr. Horton's usefulness as a public official was greatly enlarged by his election in 1891-92-93-94 to the State Legislature to represent his home city.  He also served his city as Senator in the years 1900-01-02-03.  He is also a conspicuous figure in the social world, and is closely identified with the religious life of the community, being a member of St. James Episcopal Church, Woonsocket, in which he holds the office of junior warden. For forty-five years he has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Mr. Horton married, January 3, 1872, at Mattoon, Illinois, Mary Casto, daughter of William E. and Eusebia E. Casto, old and highly respected residents of Terre Haute, Indiana.  One son was born of this marriage, William T., who is now employed as a salesman in his father's business.

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JEREMIAH POTTER ROBINSON, one of the most notable figures in mercantile and civic life in New York City, in the latter half of the twentieth century, was born on Aug. 18, 1819, at Tower Hill, in the town of Wakefield, R. I., a member of one of the oldest and most distinguished of Rhode Island families. His early life was spent and [sic] Wakefield and Newport, Rhode Island, where he received his education.  At the age of sixteen, however, evincing a decided taste for mercantile life and for business affairs, he came to New York City, where in 1836 he secured employment with the firm of E. P. & A. Woodruff.   He worked his way rapidly through minor positions to a post of responsibility, and a few years later was admitted to partnership in the business.  The firm conducted its affairs under the name of A. Woodruff & Robinson, until the death of the senior, when G. C. Robinson was admitted to partnership and the name became J. P. & G. C. Robinson.  During the period of his connection with this enterprise, nearly half a century, his business desk stood on practically the same spot, and to-day the business in which he was so vital a factor in the upbuilding continues its operations on what is practically the site of the house which he entered as a boy.  At this time the growth and rapid development of the city of Brooklyn, New York, brought forcibly to his mind the prime importance of its waterfront, and he began to immediately purchase heavily in real estate on the Brooklyn river front.  He improved this property, building large warehouses and piers, and was one of the pioneers in the movement which gave Brooklyn a warehouse system, manufacturing plant system, and chain of docks second to none in the United States.  At a somewhat later date he became insterested in the waterfront of South Brooklyn, and with William Beard began the work of planning and constructing the great Erie basin, and the adjoining basins, buiding piers and warehouses, and developing a wharfage and dockage several miles in length.  This dock system is the largest and most comprehensive in the world.  An executive of fine ability, possessing great inventive and constructive powers, Jeremiah P. Robinson was the prime mover and guiding genius of this great undertaking, and through his success in it was acceded a place of honor and influence in mercantile life which he never relinquished.  When the project of bridging the East river was broached, he became active in furthering it, and was one of the most prominent of its supporters.  When the work was finally decided upon he became a bridge trustee, devoting much of his time to the important duties which this involved.  Through the most trying period of the work, he filled the post of president of the board of trustees, and through masterly handling of problems which came before the board earned the gratitude of those whom the successful completion of the bridge so greatly benefited, namely the city of Brooklyn.  At a time when the welfare of employees was a minor consideration, he introduced into his business emterprises a system of co-operation between himself and his laborers, which made him not only the employer but the trusted friend and advisor.  His success in business was very great, and in the course of a half century he amassed a large fortune. His gifts to charitable undertakings, though unostentatious, were large.

On May 23, 1843, Mr. Robinson married Elizabeth De Witt, of Cranberry, N. J. Mrs. Robinson was born June 30, 1819, and died Nov., 1888, in Brooklyn, N. Y., at the Robinson home there.  They were the parents of the following children:  1.  Mary Niles, born March 13, 1844, died July 30, 1845.  2. Jeremiah Potter, Jr., born May 1, 1846, died July 2, 1916; married, Nov. 21, Margaret Downing Lanman, daughter of David Trumbull Lanman; their children are:  i.  David Trumbull Lanman Robinson, born Nov. 14, 1868, in Brooklyn; ii.  Elizabeth De Witt Robinson, born April 28, 1870, in Brooklyn;  iii. Mary Helen Robinson, born Oct. 15, 1871, in Brooklyn;  iv.  Margaret Faith Robinson, born April 22, 1883, in New York.  3.  Elizabeth De Witt, born Aug. 12, 1851; married, Jan. 10, 1870, Lewis Leonard; children:  i. Esther Henrietta Leonard, who married, June 1, 1892, John Griffin Underhill; ii. Josephine Bulkley Leonard;  iii.  William Boardman Leonard, born Aug. 14, 1873; iv.  Mabel Robinson Leonard, born May 1, 1876, in Brooklyn. 4. Harriet Woodruff, born March 11, 1853; married June 21, 1883, John E. Leech, of Brooklyn; children:  i. Robinson Leech, born May 4, 1884; ii.  Charlotte Leech, born July 30, 1886.  5.  Isaac Rich, whose sketch follows.

Jeremiah Potter Robinson, the father of these children, died at his home in Brooklyn, N. Y., Aug. 26, 1886, in the sixty-seventh year of his age.

p. 69:

Isaac R. RobinsonISAAC RICH ROBINSON, son of the late Jeremiah Potter and Elizabeth (De Witt) Robinson, and a member of the prominent and long established Robinson family of Wakefield, R. I., was born at Brooklyn, N., Y., July 8, 1856.  He was a man of wide culture, of magnetic, though retiring personality, and took considerable interest in mechanical arts.  His home during the winter  months was in New York City.  With the exception of supervising his property interests, he remained entirely outside business life.

The ancestral estate at Wakefield, Rhode Island, was his home during the greater part of the year, and his interests in the welfare and development of the town was earnest and sincere.  He was prominent in local affairs, and a leader in movements towards the improvement of local conditions. Mr. Robinson was the prime mover in and was largely responsible for the laying of the first macadam roads of Wakefield.  His home was the Edgewood farm, the homestead of his great-grandfather, Jeremiah Niles Potter, and he spent much time in improving and beautifying the place, which he loved for its associations.  Mr. Robinson was well loved and highly respected in Wakefield.  A man of broad sympathies, he drew into his confidence men of all ranks and walks of life, who remained to become his fast friends and admirers.  Sincerity and lack of pretence characterized his entire life. For many years he was  a member of the Manhattan Club of New York, and a charter member of the Automobile Club of America.  At one time he held a membership in the New York Club of New York City, and the Hope Club of Providence, Rhode Island.  He became a member of the Society of Sons of the American Revolution, on February 21, 1900, by virtue of his descent from Christopher Robinson, his great-grandfather, who was second lieutenant in Captain Adams' company, Rhode Island Militia, June, 1777; and captain-lieutenant in Captain Adams' company, Colonel Elliot's regiment of artillery, Rhode Island Militia, February, 1778.

Mr. Robinson married Ellen L. Pate, daughter of William and Harriet de Lacey (Wastell) Pate, of Brooklyn, New York.  They were the parents of two daughters, Ruth and Elsie Potter Robinson; the latter married Tristram Roberts Coffin.  Isaac Rich Robinson died March 22, 1913, at his home on Fifth avenue, New York City.  Mrs. Robinson survives her husband and resides at the Robinson home in Wakefield.

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DAN OZRO KING, M. D.  --  As a surname, King had its origin in England in several diverse sources.  The Kings of to-day are of no royal descent, nor yet is the title always a mere nickname, like Caesar, Emperor, from the royal bearing or appearance of the original nominee.  Entries in early English records take the following form:  Hamond le King, Robert le Kynge, Saher le King.  The Hundred Rolls, 1273, also furnish a William Littleking, and there is also record of a Roger Wyteking.  Stature and dress will account for these latter entries, however.  The most frequent source of the name, however, was the mock ceremony of the thirteenth and fourteenth century; at Epiphany, every village held a great feast, presided over by a king and queen who were elected by the villagers.  The King was proud of his title, and as surnames came into common use the hereditary title became the family name.  Another source was the familiar 'King of Misrule', whom every nobleman possessed.

Arms --  Sable a lion rampant between three crosses crosslet or, ducally crowned or.
Crest  --  Out of a ducal coronet or, a demi-ostrich argent, wings endorsed, beak of the first.
The name King is uncommon north of Shropshire in England, although branches are to be found in Devon, Cornwall, Cambridge, Essex and other counties.  Of the many immigrants of the name who came to the New England Colonies after the year 1634, little is known as to their English homes.  Much research has failed to reveal a relationship between them.  The progeny of the early King emigrants has played a prominent part in American life and affairs from the earliest days.  Kings have played parts of prominence in the affairs of state, in business, industrial and commercial life, and in the professions. The stock is a virile, adventurous one, and the strength which characterized the pioneer has been transmitted through each successive generation.  In the history of the medical profession in New England the names of Dr. Dan King, 1791 - 1864, Dr. Howard King, 1824 - 1875, and Dr. Dan Ozro King, 1852 - 1917, rank high on the roster of physicians whose achievements have brought honor to the profession.  These eminent physicians, father, son and grandson, were lineal descendants of Elder Thomas King, founder of the family in America, and members of the Massachusetts branch of the family.

(I)  Elder Thomas King, progenitor, was born in Cold Norton, County Essex, England, son of George King.  In 1635 he sailed from London, England, on the ship 'Blessing', at which time his age was twenty-one years.  He settled in Scituate, Massachusetts, where he subsequently became prominent in civic and religious affairs.  He was ruling elder of the church at Scituate in 1691, in which year he died.  Elder Thomas King married (first), Sarah, daughter of James Pike, of Duxbury, and she died in 1652.  He married (second), in 1653, Jane Hatch, of Scituate.

(II)  Thomas King, son of Thomas and Sarah (Pike) King, was born June 21, 1645, in Scituate, and died there in 1720.  He married Rebecca Clopp.

(III)  Deacon John King, son of Thomas (2) and Rebecca (Clopp) King, was born August 11, 1704.  He removed to Norwich, Connecticut, in 1756, and resided there, a prosperous farmer and prominent church member until his death.  He married (first), Mary Cleft, of Northfield, Mass.; (second), Elizabeth Burnham, of Lebanon, Conn.; (third), Mary (Davis) Ford.

(IV)  John (2) King, son of Deacon John (1) and Elizabeth (Burnham) King, was born May 26, 1762, and died in 1837.  He married Jane Knight.

(V)  Dr. Dan King, son of John (2) and Jane (Knight) King, was born January 27, 1791.  His entrance into the medical profession was against the wishes of his father, a deacon of the Presbyterian church at Mansfield, Connecticut, who intended that his son should enter the ministry.  Despite the very considerable opposition raised by the elder man, young King took up his residence with the family of Dr. Adams, of Mansfield, completing his preliminary studies for the profession under Dr. Adams and his partner, Dr. Swift.  In November, 1814, he matriculated at the Yale Medical School, at the opening of the second course, and on April 4, 1815, he received his license to practice medicine.  He began his practice in the vicinity of 'Brewster's Neck', where for a short period, in conjunction with it, he manufactured 'nigger cloth', at a little water-fall which to the present day bears the name 'King's Mill'.  He subsequently lost all his stock in the great fire which destroyed the commission house district of New York, and financially ruined, he left Connecticut.  In 1841 he established himself in practice in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where he remained until 1848, when he removed to Taunton, Massachusetts.  He became a prominent figure in medical circles in Massachusetts, and in 1852 the Berkshire Medical Institution conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine.  He was an active and well known member of the Massachusetts Medical Society from the time of his removal to that State until his retirement from the medical profession in 1859, and was a member of the committee which revised the by-laws of that Society.  In 1859 Mr. King retired from practice, but on the departure of his son, Dr. Howard W. King, to the War, he went to Greenville, Rhode Island, to conduct his practice until he should return.  Here he died, Nov. 13, 1864.  His remains were buried at Brewster's Neck.

Dr. King was an able and forceful writer, definite in his convictions and logical in his presentation of an argument.  He was a continuous contributor to the 'Boston Medical and Surgical Journal' between the years 1849 and 1854.  He was the enemy of quackery and of spiritualism, and  many of his articles in the above-mentioned journal attack these in one form or another. In 1857 he read before the Bristol County Medical Society an address entitled, 'Spiritualism Unmasked', which was later published in pamphlet form.  In 1858 he produced, as a natural sequence to the series of articles which prceded it, an octavo volume of 334 pages, 'Quackery Unmasked, or a Consideration of the Most Prominent Empirical Schemes of the Present Time, with an Enumeration of Some of the Causes which Contribute to Their Support.'  This work, which is considered his finest effort, was read with great interest and satisfaction by the medical profession.  In the following year he published 'Tobacco: What It is and What It Does.'

From early manhood he was a student of the law, purely for the enjoyment which legal study afforded him.  He was deeply interested in political and public issues, and eminently well fitted for public service.  Dr. King represented Charlestown, Rhode Island, in the General Assembly for several years, and in 1832 was appointed with the Hon. B. B. Thurston to make an investigation and report on the condition of the Narragansett tribe of Indians.  The report, acceded to be Dr. King's work, was presented to the Legislature on February 6, 1833, and aroused great interest.  It is a State paper, the value of which increases as time goes on.  Dr. King was a staunch member of the Suffragist party, and in 1837, with Thomas Wilson Dorr, was nominated as a standard bearer for the party.  Dorr was a friend of Dr. King and a welcome visitor at his home, where he came frequently to discuss the reforms he planned.  Despite the fact that he was so prominently connected with the Dorrites, Dr. King retained his honored position in the community. He was arrested when the Dorr Rebellion was at its height, but released by the officer in charge immediately, so well was he known in the city as a patriotic and loyal citizen.  He still remained a firm adherent to the cause of the Suffragist party, although he had not espoused the rebellion and the appeal to force as a means of furthering its cause.  On the death of Thomas Wilson Dorr in 1859 he published 'The Life and Times of Thomas Wilson Dorr, with Outlines of the Political History of Rhode Island.'  From the earliest days of dissension between the North and South he supported the Union, and was a stern Abolitionist.  A finished, well-rounded gentleman of the old school, he maintained his interest in politics and public affairs almost to the time of his death.  Few men of the period enjoyed a greater measure the love, honor and respect of their collegues.  His death was deeply mourned, coming as it did in a period when men of his calibre were badly needed by the nation in arms.

Dr. Dan King married, in 1816, Cynthia Pride, daughter of Captain Absolom Pride, of Long Rock, Rhode Island, descendant of an honored Colonial family.

(VI)  Dr. Howard W. King, son of Dr. Dan and Cynthia (Pride) King, was born in Charlestown, R. I., May 1, 1824.  He was educated in public and private schools in Rhode Island, and on completing his studies engaged for a short period in manufacturing in the town of Smithfield, Rhode Island.  The medical profession had interested him deeply from early childhood, however, and he soon abandoned mercantile pursuits to enter upon the study of medicine under the tutelage of his father, who was then engaged in an extensive practice.  On finishing his preparatory studies, he entered Bowdoin College, where he was graduated with the degree of Doctor of Medicine, immediately thereafter establishing himself in practice in Greenville, Rhode Island.  Dr. King was highly successful in his practice, giving to it all his ability and his strength.  With an art which only the country practitioner knows he made himself a place in the heart of the community.  No man was more loved or more deeply respected for his work.  On the outbreak of the Civil War he received a commission as surgeon of the Second Regiment, Rhode Island Cavalry, and served with his regiment in the stern campaigns of Mississippi and Louisiana.  In 1864 he was elected surgeon-general of the Rhode Island militia, which office he held until his death.  On the conclusion of peace he returned to Rhode Island and settled in Providence.  In 1868 he was elected president of the Providence Medical Association, and held the office until 1870.  In 1874 he was vice-president of the Rhode Island Medical Society.  In the latter year his health, which had been failing for years, broke down, and in hopes of rebuilding his strength he made a trip to Europe.  This failed, however, and on March 15, 1875, he died, and was buried with military honors.  The following tribute to his memory appeared in the contemporary press:

'A good physician attaches himself to the homes wherein he ministers as by hoops of steel.  It was so with Dr. King.  He went to the sick room with such sympathy and manifestation of interest as soon found their way to the heart.  He carried to the bedside of the sick a moral atmsphere which was of more value to his patients than the medicine he dispensed so skillfully. His patience with the invalid and his encouraging words and manner will never be forotten by those who have trusted themselves and their dear ones to his professional treatment.  Dr. King loved his healing work and threw himself with rare devotedness into its prosecution.  He was an observer and a student down to the very close of his life.  Outside of his profession Dr. King made many friends.  His kindness of heart, his courtesy, and gentlemanly manner, endeared him to a wide circle, who will gladly bear testimony to his personal worth and his genial companionable nature.'

(VII)  Dr. Dan Ozro King, son of Dr. Howard W. King, was born Dec. 15, 1852. He received his elementary education in the public schools of Smithfield, Rhode Island.  He later attended Greenville Academy, and the Providence High School, where he completed his preparation for college.  He matriculated at Brown University, from which he was graduated, and immediately thereafter entered Bowdoin College, where he continued his studies in the medical school.  An intervening year was spent at the Detroit Medical School, but he later returned to Bowdoin, from which he was graduated with the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1875.  Dr. King began practice in Pontiac, in the town of Warwick, Rhode Island, where he remained for a period of fifteen years, building up a very successful and remunerative practice.  He rose rapidly into the foremost ranks of the medical profession, and at the time of his removal from Pontiac was the leading physician of that part of Rhode Island. In 1891, Dr. King removed to Auburn, Rhode Island, where he conducted a highly successful practice until the time of his death.  His reputation as an able practitioner and skillful surgeon was very great, and he was known in medical circles throughout New England.  He was one of the first medical examiners appointed by Governor Bourne, in 1884, for six years, after the change in the medical laws.  Warwick and West Greenwich, Rhode Island, were under his jurisdiction.

Like his grandfather, he was not only the physician, but the man of affairs and an able statesman.  For many years he represented the town of Warwick, in both branches of the Rhode Island Legislature, and for a long period he served as a member of the Town Council of Cranston.  He was deeply interested in political and public issues, well informed on current events, and a careful student of the times.  Dr. King was well known in social and fraternal circles, and was a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  He was connected with several organizations of the medical profession, among them the Rhode Island Medical Society.  He was a man of broad sympathies, tolerant in his views, possessing the adaptability of the true cosmopolite.  Dr. King was widely travelled, and was one of the first men of Rhode Island to go to the Klondyke, making the trip for the mere pleasure and adventure of it, and not in search for gold.  He later visited nearly every quarter of the globe. The culture and refinement and the literary atmostphere of his home drew to it a society of thoughtful men, among whom were some of the leaders of professional life in Rhode Island.

On Oct. 10, 1876, Dr. King married Mary E. Harris, daughter of Wanton Harris, and a member of the well-known Harris family of Rhode Island, whose coat-of-arms is as follows:

Arms - Argent a chevron erminois between three hedgehogs or, a label for difference.
Crest - A hedgehog or, charged at the side with a key in pale azure.
Motto- Ubique patriam reminisci.
Dr. and Mrs. King were the parents of a daughter, Lucille, who died at the age of nine months.  Mrs. King, who survives her husband, resides at the Minden on Waterman street, Providence, Rhode Island.  She is well known in the more conservative of the social circles of the city.

Dr. Dan Ozro King died at his home in Auburn, R. I., April 8, 1917.


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

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