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

NY: The American Historical Society, Inc. 1920

p. 125 - 126.

HENRY D. SPENCER  --  The Spencer family in America comprises the progeny of four brothers, Michael, Jared, Thomas and William Spencer, who were living in New England in 1648.  They were legatees of Sir Richard Spencer, of London, who is believed to have been their uncle, and were English-men of excellent family, coming of a house long established in Stotfold, England. These brothers were the founders of a large family which has been prominent in New England life and affairs since the middle of the seventeenth century. Michael Spencer settled first at Cambridge, Mass., whence he removed to Lynn; he owned land on the Connecticut river. William and Thomas Spencer settled first in Cambridge, but later removed to Hartford, Conn.  Ensign Jared was one of the first purchasers of the town of Haddam, Conn.

The surname Spencer had its origin in the feudal office of house-steward, called a spencer, custodian of the stores.  Among royalty the office carried great dignity, and 'la despencer', or 'la spencer', was among the highest in the king's household, and proportionately great among the barons. The name of the office was in many cases retained as a family name, and Spencer families have for many centuries ranked among the foremost in England.

The early Colony and the State of Connecticut, have been the home of several distinguished branches of the early New England family of Spencer for several generations.  The late Henry D. Spencer, of Coventry, R. I., for many years engaged in the coal and lumber business at Central Falls, R. I., and a well known business man of that section of the State, was a member of a long established Connecticut family. He was educated in the public schools, and spent the early years of his life on his father's farm.  At the age of nineteen he entered the employ of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad.  He subsequently established himself in the coal and lumber business in Central Falls, in which he was actively engaged with a large degree of success until ill health prevented him from giving proper attention to his business affairs.  Gradually the large business declined and he eventually failed.  Broken in health and spirits by his failure in the business world, Mr. Spencer removed to Coventry, R. I., settling in the old Arnold homestead, where he died in 1909.

Henry D. Spencer married, in 1860, at Washington, R. I., E. Ellen Matteson, daughter of Henry and Almira (Arnold) Matteson, and a descendant of families long prominent in Rhode Island.  They were the parents of one son, Harry Arnold, who was born at Uxbridge, Mass., in 1871.  He was educated in the elementary and high schools of Uxbridge, and on completing his studies entered the employ of the Gorham Manufacturing Company, of which for fifteen years he has been office manager.

(The Matteson Line).

The Matteson family of Rhode Island is of Danish origin, and was established in Rhode Island in the year 1678, by Henry Matteson, who was born in Denmark, in October, 1646, and died about 1690.  He was of Prudence Island, and removed from there to East Greenwich, R. I.  No relationship has been traced between Henry Matteson and Francis Matteson, who on June 2, 1657, were granted accommodations with a house lot at the further end of Ship Cove, in Providence.  Henry Matteson was the progenitor of the well-known Rhode Island families of the name, and it is to him that Mrs. E. Ellen (Matteson) Spencer traces her lineage.

Arnold and Waitstill (Barney) Matteson, grandparents of Mrs. Spencer, were residents of the town of Warwick, R. I., where Arnold Matteson was a prosperous farmer and highly respected citizen.

Henry Matteson , son of Arnold and Waitstill (Barney) Matteson, was born in Coventry, R. I., in 1813, and was educated in the schools of his native town.  He learned the trade of machinist, and within a short period became an expert mechanic.  Mr. Matteson was employed in the capacity of chief mechanic, superintendent and overseer in several of the largest mills of Rhode Island, among them the mills at Washington and Phenix. He was employed for several years in plants in Connecticut.  His home was in the town of Coventry, and he was well known in its life and affairs, although he remained strictly apart from political circles.  He was a Republican in political affiliation, and an active member of the Congregational church.

Henry Matteson married, in 1833, Almira Arnold, daughter of Thomas G. and Eleanor G. (Bowen) Arnold, who was born in Warwick, R. I., in 1816, and died in Coventry, in 1881.  Thomas G. Arnold, grandfather of Mrs. Spencer, was born in Coventry, in 1786, son of Benjamin and Sarah (Greene) Arnold.  He married, in 1806, Eleanor G. Bowen, who was born in 1789, and died in 1881, daughter of Asa and --- (Brown) Bowen.  Thomas G. Arnold was a well known educator in Coventry and the vicinity, and built the first school in Coventry, which his wife taught during the opening term.  Henry Matteson and his wife Almira (Arnold) Matteson were the parents of the following children:  1.  E. Ellen, mentioned below. 2.  Emeline A., who became the wife of Amos Fuller, of Worcester, Mass.  3.  Albert Henry, who was born at Scituate, R. I., and was educated at the Norwich Academy, Norwich, Conn.; he subsequently received an appointment as revenue officer, but resigned this to enter Brown University. After leaving college he was employed in the Greene Mills at Norwich.  Mr. Matteson later was connected with the Pullman Car Company, of Chicago, Ill., for ten years, but at the end of this period retired and returned to the old Matteson home in Coventry, where he resided for the remaining years of his life.  He was well known and eminently respected in Coventry, and took a deep interest in its welfare, espousing the cause of the people against the political cliques.  He was a Republican in political affiliation. Albert Henry Matteson was a man of broad culture, a deep student, widely travelled, well versed in business affairs, and was looked up to on many occasions for advice in town affairs.

E. Ellen Matteson, daughter of Henry and Almira (Arnold) Matteson, was born in Washington, and educated in the schools of her native town, later attending the East Greenwich Academy.  On completing her studies and until her marriage she was a teacher in the schools of Coventry.  In 1860 she married Henry D. Spencer.  Mrs. Spencer is well known in social circles in Coventry.  She has been prominently identified with charitable and civic welfare work for many years, and is now active in the Red Cross.

p. 126 - 127.

LEWIS-WATERHOUSE  --  The Lewis families of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, tracing from several progenitors and immigrant ancestors, form one of the foremost of New England Colonial families, and for a period of more than two hundred and fifty years have played a prominent part in the life and affairs of that section of the country.  The different branches of the family have produced many men whose names carry distinction in business, financial, professional and industrial annals, and whose deeds have given the family the place which it occupies to-day.  Many of the name came to America in the early part of the Colonial period, and became the founders of large families.  The Lewis coat-of-arms is as follows:

Arms - Quarterly, first and fourth, azure a stag trippant or, unguled and attired, and bearing between his horns an imperial crown or; second and third, azure a chevron between three eagles' heads erased or.
Crest - A stag tripping, and an eagle's head as in the arms.
Swansea, Mass., has been the home of the branch herein under consideration for several generations, and it was in this quaint town, which retains much of its Colonial simplicity and picturesqueness, that Deacon Joseph Lewis, grandfather of Mrs. Cordelia W. (Lewis-Wilcox) Waterhouse, wife of Howard A. Waterhouse, of Oakland Beach, R. I., well-known and successful real estate dealer, was born.  Deacon Joseph Lewis married Roby Peirce and settled on the old Lewis homestead in Swansea, where his children were born, among them Hiram, mentioned below.

Hiram Lewis, son of Deacon Joseph Lewis, was born in Swansea, Mass., and about 1848 came to Providence, R. I., where for many years he followed the trade of mason and contractor.  He was prominent in business circles in Providence.  He was a member of the Baptist church at the corner of Broad and Fenner streets, Providence, in which he held the office of deacon. Hiram Lewis married Mary Maccumber, daughter of Sylvanus and Wealthy (Peirce) Maccumber, and they were the parents of the following children: 1. Eleanor, now Mrs. Charles E. Fallett, of Providence.  2.  Louisa, the wife of William H. Tabour, of Little Compton, R. I.  3.  Cordelia W., mentioned below.

Cordelia W. Lewis was born in Swansea, Mass., July 6, 1839, the daughter of Hiram and Mary (Maccumber) Lewis, and at the age of five years came to Providence, R. I., with her parents.  She was educated in the city of Providence, and spent her early girlhood there.  In 1857 she married (first) Martin V. P. Wilcox, son of Jonathan and Mary (Huling) Wilcox, of Providence.  Mr. Wilcox was the owner of a large portrait business in Boston, employing numerous artists and salesmen.  This business he conducted in partnership with his brother, J. T. Wilcox, with great success until the year 1910, when, having amassed a considerable fortune, he rtired to the old Wilcox homestead at Oakland Beach, R. I.  He was a lover of outdoor life, and of spirited horses, of which he had a large number on his estate. Martin V. P. Wilcox died at his home, on June 2, 1903.  Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox were the parents of one daughter, Ida C., who was born December 16, 1858. She was a graduate of Wilbraham Academy, and later became the wife of Frederick W. Sarle, a graduate of Brown University; she died January 15, 1909.  Mrs. Wilcox married (second), June 14, 1911, Howard A. Waterhouse, member of a prominent Eastern family, who for many years was actively engaged in the real estate business in Rhode Island. Mr. Waterhouse, although conducting real estate operations on a small scale, has partially retired from business.

Always an admirer of nature, and a lover of flowers, Mrs. Cordelia W. (Lewis-Wilcox) Waterhouse has for many years given much of her time to the study and painting of flowers and fruits in water colors.  Discovering her gift quite through accident, almost thirty years ago, she has since cultivated it seriously, and during that period of years has produced work which has brought favorable and flattering comment from artists of note. The inspiration to paint came to her through a purchase made primarily through kindness of heart from a small boy, from whom she bought an egg on which was painted a violet.  Later, admiring the skillful handiwork, she borrowed her brother's water colors and copied it.  Her ability was evident from the first and surprised her friends.  Within a short period she had bought colors and begun the study of painting by herself. Flowers and fruits she chose for her subjects, at times doing rural scenes and animals, and her home is filled with beautiful water colors.  Mrs. Waterhouse descends from many noted New England families, and numbers among her ancestors many patriots.  Her paternal great-grandmother, Rachel (Drake) Lewis, was a sister of Sir Francis Drake.  Mrs. Waterhouse resides with her husband at Oakland Beach, R. I.

p. 127 - 128.

Harold B. AndrewsHAROLD B. ANDREWS  --  That a man hardly yet accustomed to the feeling that he had attained the full legal responsibilities of manhood could succeed to the sole ownership and management of so important a commercial enterprise as the J. P. Rhodes Company was one of the wonders of the business world of Providence, a city of great enterprise and able men.  The company with which Mr. Andrews has been connected since his nineteenth year as clerk and proprietor was founded in Providence, in 1865, by James P. Rhodes, a cotton merchant, who successfully conducted it for thirty-eight years, then retired.  Mr. Andrews had entered his employ the previous year, 1902, and the founder laid down the reins of management in 1903. His son-in-law, James F. Phetteplace, with Gardner Cornet, continued the business until 1906, when it was taken over by Mr. Andrews who associated with him Edwin H. Coleman.  This partnership continued until 1915, when it was dissolved, Mr. Andrews continuing the same to date.  Comment upon the business capacity of a young man with the record Mr. Andrews has compiled in needless, as he could not be in the position he is and be what he is were not his quality of the highest.

Harold B. Andrews is a son of Franklin J. Andrews, now associated with the firm Kennedy & Company, clothiers, loctaed at the corner of Westminster and Dorrance streets, Providence, who has the distinction of having served clothing buyers at the same corner from boyhood until the present.  Franklin J. Andrews was born in Voluntown, Conn., but spent his early years in Westerly, then located in Providence, where he has since resided.  Mr. Andrews married Cora Bell Baker, born in Burrillville, R. I.  Her mother, Amy Ann Baker, is yet living, and on October 24, 1918, celebrated her ninety-second birthday.

Harold B. Andrews, son of Franklin J. and Cora Bell (Baker) Andrews, was born in Providence, September 4, 1883.  He completed the grades in the public schools, then entered classical high school, from which he graduated. He was offered a position in the National Exchange Bank in 1902, which he accepted, but resigned the following October to enter the employ of J. P. Rhodes & Company.  In 1903 Mr. Rhodes retired, Mr. Andrews remaining an employee until 1906, then took over the business, and in 1915 became sole owner, operating under the firm name of J. P. Rhodes Company.  At the time of taking over the business he was but twenty-three years of age, and although the twelve years which have since intervened have added to his dignity of years, they have not robbed him of the enthusiasm of youth.  He is one of the leading and rising young business men of Providence, and with the past as a criterion the future has much in store for him.

Mr. Andrews was a member of the finance committee of the old Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the board of directors of the new chamber, and chairman of the house and quotation boards committees, and at his residence, Cranston, R. I., he takes a deep interest in town and city affairs.  He was for five years a member of the City Council, two of those years he served as president of Council and two years as chairman of the finance committee.  He was formerly chairman of the Republican city committee of Cranston, and served six years as a member of the ward committee.  He was one of the 'Four Minute Men' who rendered valuable aid during the various Liberty Loan campaigns, and was a member of a committee to entertain the Belgian Relief Commission.  He is a member of the Church of the Transfiguration (Episcopal), was one of the organizers of the Men's Club of that church, an organization which, beginning with thirteen members, has so well proved its right to exist that the membership roll now contains over three hundred names.  During his incumbency in the offices of secretary, vice-president and president, Mr. Andrews contributed largely to this result.  He is a member of Harmony Lodge, No. 9, Free and Accepted Masons, and the Edgewood Yacht and Metacomet Golf clubs.

Mr. Andrews married, April 24, 1907, Bertha Phillips Tanner, daughter of Charles S. and Amy W. Tanner, of Cranston.

p. 127.

JOHN LYNDON THORNTON, president of the Thornton Brothers Company, manufacturing jewelers, was born in Warren, R. I., September 29, 1850.  He was the son of James and Sophronia (Luther) Thornton.  James Thornton was a cabinet-maker in Warren most of his life.  He was the son of Captain Solomon Thornton, a mariner, who was born in Pawtuxet, and died in 1888. His mother was a member of the Luther family of Swansea, and a daughter of Samuel Luther.   She died in Warren in 1878.  Three sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. James Thornton:  James A., died in 1890, at one time associated with John Lyndon; Charles D., died in Fall River, where he was engaged in the grain business; and John Lyndon, of further mention.  Their only daughter was Mary E., the deceased wife of Lorenzo W. Shurtleff, of Providence, who died in 1903.

In 1856 John Lyndon Thornton removed with his parents to South Providence. He was educated in the schools of Cranston, and at the Schofield Business College of Providence.  After leaving school in 1866, he entered the manufacturing concern of Sackett & Davis, jewelers, remaining with them for three years, learning the business.  Later he learned engraving with Hunt & Owens, and worked in that business for a short time.  About 1874 he formed the firm of Scott & Thornton, jewelry manufacturers, located on Dyer street, in the Dyer Street Land Company's building.  In 1875 he formed co-partnership with his brother James A., and William D. Pierce.  The firm was known as Thornton Brothers, manufacturers of lockets, and continued until 1890, when they added the manufacture of fraternal and all kinds of medals; such is their business to-day.  The business is a conservative one, and was incorporated in 1906 as Thornton Brothers Company, with John L. Thornton as president and treasurer, and Charles Orphin as vice-president. The secretary was Albert H. Oakley, of Newark, N. J.   For twenty years the concern was on Page street, then, in 1895, they removed to the Metcalf building, where they remained until 1900, when they moved to their present location in the Manufacturers' building.  Mr. Thornton is a member of the Jewelers' Board of Trade, of the National Jewelers' Assocation, and a member of the New England Jewelers' Association.  His residence is at his country estate at Long Meadow, R. I.  He is a member of the St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a Republican, but not an active one.  His home is his club.

In 1873 Mr. Thornton married (first) Jessie E. Pierce, daughter of William D. Pierce, who died in 1901.  September 22, 1904, he married (second) Irene P. Baldwin, of Jersey City, N. J.  They have two sons:  John L., born in 1905, and Arnold L., born in 1908.

p. 127 - 128:

RALPH COLWELL  --  In the year 1887, the manufacture of worsted goods was begun by Hopkins & Rhode, at No. 9 Calender street, Providence, the business soon afterward passing into the hands of the Colwells, Uriah R. and Ralph Colwell, father and son, as Ralph Colwell & Company. This business, in 1903, was incorporated as the Colwell Worsted Mills, of which Ralph Colwell is secretary-treasurer and a director.  His entire business life has been spent in the worsted manufacturing business, the original mill manufacturing worsted goods for men and women's wear.  The Colwell Worsted Mills, incorporated under the laws of the State of Rhode Island, was capitalized at $150,000.

Ralph Colwell is a son of Uriah R. and Zelote A. (Winsor) Colwell, who were married January 1, 1849, she a daughter of Samuel Winsor, of Johnston, R. I., he a son of Uriah Colwell, son of Stephen Colwell, son of Joseph Colwell, son of Robert (3) Colwell, son of Robert (2) Cowell, son of Robert (1) Colwell, the founder of the family in New England, who came not far from 1650, and is of record as the purchaser of a house and house lot in Providence, April 28, 1654.  Previous to December 31, 1670, he removed to Long Island.  The descendants of this Robert Colwell settled in Glocester and Providence, R. I., and through intermarriage with the Winsor family trace descent from Samuel and Mercy (Williams) Winsor, the daughter of Roger Williams, the 'Apostle of Liberty', and founder of Providence.

Uriah Colwell, of the sixth American generation, was a resident of Gloucester, R. I., a man of energy and usefulness, who died in 1863.  He married Deborah Bowen, and they were the parents of children:  Harley, a farmer of Johnston, R. I.; Uriah R., of further mention; Joshua, born in 1832; William, who located in Providence; Sylvina, married James Brown, and resided in Providence; Lillis, married Jeremiah Tourlelotte; George; and -----.

Uriah R. Colwell, second son of Uriah and Deborah (Bowen) Cowell, was born in Gloucester, R.I., in 1830, and became a textile manufacturer of Providence.  He died May 27, 1903.  Mr. Colwell married, January 1, 1849, Zelote A. Winsor, of Johnston, R. I.

Ralph Colwell, son of Uriah R. and Zelote A. (Winsor) Colwell, was born in North Scituate, R. I., September 19, 1860.  He was educated in the public schools, finishing with graduation from Providence High School in 1890.  In that year he became associated with his father in the manufacture of worsted goods for ladies' and gentlemen's wear, they forming the firm, Ralph Colwell & Company, out of which grew the present Colwell Worsted Mills, of which Ralph Colwell is the efficient secretary-treasurer.  In addition to his official connection with that company, he is president of the Richardson & Foster Company, dyers and finishers of piece goods and yarns, with mill and offices at Central Falls, Rhode Island, No. 739 High street.  The Colwell Worsted Mills are No. 204 Hartford avenue, Providence, where fine worsteds are manufactured.

While his life has been one of devotion to the business interests which have been committed to his care, Mr. Colwell has not forgotten the social side of life, and through his country club memberships has catered to his great love for recreation in the open air as well as to enjoy the society of friends without conventionality.  He is a member of the Rhode Island Country, Wannomoisett Country, and Silver Spring Country clubs, and the family attend the Protestant Episcopal church.  In political faith he is a Republican.

Mr. Colwell married, in Providence, R. I., June 7, 1904, Lillie S. Bishop, daughter of Charles A. and Lucy C. F. Bishop, and they are the parents of a daughter, Carolyn Angell, born January, 31, 1913.  The family home is at West Barrington, R. I.

p. 128 - 129:

Hedley V. HamHEDLEY V. HAM, manager of C. P. Darling Company of No. 415 Charles street, Providence, R. I., and a prominent citizen of this place, is a native of St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, born March 31, 1860, a son of Captain Mathias and Catherine (Stephens) Ham, old and highly-respected residents of that place.  Captain Ham was a native of New Brunswick, but his parents were born in Holland, and came to this country early in life.  He was for many years engaged in the lumber business in Canada, but later formed an association with a brother-in-law, and became interested in shipping at St. John.  He became master of one of their ships, and was finally lost at sea.  His wife, Catherine (Stephens) Ham, was of loyalist stock, her ancestors having gone from New Haven, Conn., to Canada in 1775.  Her death occurred in 1916.

Hedley V. Ham passed his childhood in his native city of St. John, and was there educated in the private schools and the business college of Bryant & Stratton.  As a young man he came to the United States and entered the employ of the Boston & Maine Railroad Company, working as a transfer clerk in the office of that concern at Boston, and also in the yard office there. He was successively promoted until he finally became yardmaster, and in 1893 was appointed transfer agent at New London, Conn., of the Norwich line of the New York & New England Railroad Company, which later became the New York, New Haven & Hartford system.  He remained at New London until 1894, when he was given the position of commercial agent for the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company at Norwich, Conn., and worked for them in that capacity until 1903.  It was in the latter year that Mr. Ham's connection with the business interest of Providence began, a connection that yet exists.  In the year 1909 Mr. Ham became manager of the C. P. Darling Company, an office which he continues to hold at the present time, and in which he is widely and favorably-known in business circles here.  He came to this city first as agent of the Silver Spring Company, which is now owned and operated by the Untied States Finishing Company, the latter concern being now the owner of a number of large mills in Providence and Pawtucket in this State and also in Connecticut.  The name of this plant has always continued to be the C. P. Darling Company, and it now devoted to the manufacture of packing cases and box shooks, etc.  In addition to this position as manager, Mr. Ham is also a director in the corporation and is an influential figure on that board.  After the purchase by the United States Finishing Company, the plant was greatly enlarged and brick buildings were erected in place of the old-fashioned wooden ones, which are equipped with all the most modern machinery for carrying on of this work.  Mr. Ham has been very successful both as agent and manager, his ability as a business man having been fully tested and proven, and under his successful management the business of the concern has been greatly increased.  Mr. Ham is a member of the British Empire Club, a director of the Rotary Club, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce of Providence.  In his religious belief he is a Baptist, and attends Calvary Baptist Church of this denomination here.  He is a Republican in politics, but the demands made upon his time and energies by the great business of which he is the active head have made it impossible for him to take an active part in local public affairs.

Hedley V. Ham married (first), in the year 1885, Mary L. Fellows.  He married (second), Laura B. Frain, of Providence, R. I., October 21, 1911. By his first wife the following children were born:  1.  Florence M., became the wife of R. F. Dickerman, of Providence, and they are the parents of Ralph and Ruth Dickerman.  2.  Ethel, who resides with her parents in Providence.  3.  Arthur, born May 2, 1888; a graduate of the Hope Street High School, and Brown University, at which institution he took his degree as civil engineer with the class of 1910; upon the completion of his studies, he entered the employ of the Stone & Webster Company in Seattle, Wash., as an engineer on the construction of the various power plants owned by this concern in that region; Mr. Ham later resigned to pursue a special course in forestry at the University of Washington, Seattle, after which he became identified with the Baker Lumber Company, of Baker, Ore., and was engineer in charge of the railway construction for this concern; when the United States declared war on Germany, April, 1917, he traveled three thousand five hundred miles to enroll; his qualifications were such that he was accepted for the Officers' Training Camp at Plattsburg, N. Y., and began his training there; not long afterwards, however, he was transferred to the aviation corps and assigned to the Military School of Aeronautics at Princeton, N. J., where he was commissioned as second lieutenant in the United States Signal Corps, air service; Lieutenant Ham served with the American Expeditionary Force in France.

p. 129 - 130:

DUTEE ARNOLD  --  William Arnold was one of the thirteen original proprietors of Providence Planatations.  His brother, Thomas Arnold, followed him to the New England colonies, and settled in Rhode Island at a later date.  Both these men rose to great prominence in civil and official life in the colony in the early decades of its history, and laid the foundations of honor and influence on which subsequent generations built the greatness of the family and the name.  The progeny of these two men in Rhode Island is numerous.  Numerous descendants of the founders have figured with great prominence in Colonial and State history, and have written their names large in the annals of the professions, finance, commerce, business, and public affairs.  The family is closely allied through marriage with the foremost houses of New England.  A most distinguished English lineage is claimed for William and Thomas Arnold, extending from the twelfth century, over sixteen generations.  The American founders were of the seventeenth generation in direct descent from Ynir, King of Gwentland, who flourished about the middle of the twelfth century, and was descended from Ynir, second son of Cadwalader, King of the Britons; the latter built Abergavenny in County Monmouth and its castle, afterwards rebuilt by Hamlet ap Hamlet, ap Sir Druce of Balladon in France.

The late Dutee Arnold, for several decades a notable figure in the life and affairs of East Greenwich, R. I., a well-known business man of the City of Providence, a widely-known inventor and promoter of mercantile enterprises, descended lineally through distinguished forebears from William Arnold, founder of the family in Rhode Island.  He was born in Pontiac, R. I., September 4, 1820, on the old Arnold homestead which had descended from father to son in the family for several generations.  He received his early education in the local schools, but at the age of fourteen years quitted his studies and secured his first employment in the business world as a clerk in a grocery store.  Several years later, having familiarized himself thoroughly with business methods, and amassed a small capital, he established, in partnership with his brothers a shoe business in Providence. This venture proved highly successful but, however, failed to engage his entire attention or to afford the stimulus which his active mind needed. From earliest boyhood he had been deeply interested in mechanics, and had displayed great mechanical and inventive talent.  In conjunction with his other business enterprises he continued his inventive experiments.  The first invention which insured his success and placed him in a position of prominence in this field in Rhode Island was the Spicer & Peckham stove, now the widely-known Barstow stove.  Mr. Arnold became the head of the company organized to manufacture his invention, and for several years was its manager, retiring only when ill health prevented him from engaging in active business duties.  He was widely known in mercantile and manufacturing circles in the City of Providence, not only as a man of great inventive genius, but as an executive and organizer of great ability.  Mr. Arnold was one of the founders of the Providence Wall Paper Company, and of the B. H. Gladding Company, and was connected in official and advisory capacities with many other business enterprises in the city.  A man of keen foresight, thoroughly familiar with business conditions in the City of Providence, his judgment was often sought by men about to launch new enterprises. Unimpeachable honesty, and a high-principled sense of justice and equity, characterized his every dealing in the business world, and made him honored and respected by his friends and associates.

In 1868 Mr. Arnold purchased a large farm at Chepiwanoxet, R. I, whither he removed shortly afterward.  At the same time he bought Chepiwanoxet Island, a tract of two and a half acres, which throughout his life time was thrown open to the public as a free camp ground for picnics.  This site is now occupied by the Gallaudet Air Craft Corporation, of East Greenwich.  Ill health necessitated his retirement from active business life and although he retained a minor portion of his large interests, Mr. Arnold spent the remaining years of his life on his farm.  This he cultivated to some extent, but he maintained it largely for the rest and recreation which it afforded, and because he wished his children to grow up in the healthful rural atmosphere, loving nature and the great out-of-doors.  After his removal to Chepiwanoxet he identified himself with the life of the town, and for more than fifteen years prior to his death was a beloved and respected member of the community.  He interested himself early in school affairs, and for many years was a trustee of the Cowesett School. Mr. Arnold was active in church work, and a generous donor to all religious endeavors.  He purchased old St. Luke's Episcopal Church to aid the congregation in erecting a new church. The transaction represented as absolute loss financially, for he subsequently disposed of the property by giving it away. His gifts to charity were very large.  He was not the impersonal philanthropist, but the friend of the poor and needy, and he was a staunch believer in the principle of helping people to help themselves.  Numerous small homes he erected at his own expense, and gave to needy families, furnishing land also for them to work.  He was a tireless fighter in the cause of temperance.  Mr. Arnold remained strictly outside the field of politics, although urged on numerous occasions to accept public office.  Fraternally he was affiliated with the Masonic order.

Mr. Arnold married (first), Mary E. Howard, daughter of the late Governor Preston Howard, of Rhode Island.  He married (second), Abbie Allen Patter. The children of the first marriage were:  1.  Nicholas. 2.  Dutee (2). Dutee and Abbie Allen (Patter) Arnold were the parents of the following children:  3.  Phoebe Patter, now the wife of George F. Brownell, of Providence.  4.  Mary A.; on the death of her father, Mary A. Arnold succeeded him in his numerous philanthropic and civic endeavors, and has since carried on his work.  5.  Harriet A.  6.  Celia S., now Mrs. Eldridge C. Wheat, of Great Neck, L. I.

Dutee Arnold died at Chepiwanoxet, R. I., on July 26, 1886, in his sixty-sixth year.


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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